JOHANNESBURG (SOUTH AFRICA) / PARIS (FRANCE), 13th May 2015 — This Friday, 15th of May, over a thousand protesters, organised by Earthlife Africa, will descend on the French Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa. The protesters demand an end to the destructive climate policy of the French government and French company Engie (formally GDF Suez) in which the French state is a 33% shareholder. As France prepares to host the international climate negotiations, COP21, at the end of this year, protestors demand that France stop exporting dirty coal to Africa.
Earthlife Africa Johannesburg demands that Engie stop its investments in dirty coal in South Africa. Engie plans to build a 1200MW polluting coal-fired power station in the ecologically fragile Waterberg in Limpopo province.
Young Friends of the Earth France will hold a demonstration in Paris on the same day, in solidarity with the South African picket. They demand their government and energy company to divest from dirty energy in developing countries such as South Africa. Rather, they call on the French government to support transfer of resources and technology to developing countries to facilitate community-led renewable energy projects.
“The Thabametsi power station will be a climate bomb for South Africa. Already France has a history of poor climate and energy choices in our country. Medupi and Kusile mega coal power plants are partly funded by French banks through loans guaranteed by the French Agency for Export Credit”, said Makoma Lekalakala at Earthlife Africa. “We ask that the French government divests from coal in South Africa and supports community-led renewables instead. We simply cannot rely on false climate solutions anymore,” she continued.
“France is just 7 months away from hosting COP21”, said Malika Peyraut, Energy and International Financial Institutions Campaigner at Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France). “President François Hollande is calling on the world to take action against climate change. Yet, French companies Engie and EDF, with the state as a shareholder, are still investing in damaging coal projects in South Africa and elsewhere. France must end its support to coal before COP21 or be exposed as a climate destroyer”, she continued.
Not only Engie, but other French companies such as EDF are also spreading dirty energy destruction across the world. EDF, with the French state as shareholder, is showing interest in funding a mega-dam called Mphanda Nkuwa on the Zambezi River. But Justiça Ambiental (Friends of the Earth Mozambique) and Amis de la Terre met with EDF to express opposition and demand EDF does not fund this harmful mega-dam.
The Johannesburg march is organised by Earthlife Africa, with support from Friends of the Earth International, groundWork, Amis de la Terre and 350africa.org.
Earthlife Africa Johannesburg: Makoma Lekalakala, +27 82 682 9177 or Email: email@example.com
Friends of the Earth France: Malika Peyraut: +33 (0)9 72 43 92 55 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org