Climate activists and fossil fuel representatives got a chance to state their case either against or for expanding the fossil fuel industry in South Africa as the third annual Southern Africa Oil and Gas Conference got under way in Cape Town on Wednesday.
“One summit after the other, the use of fossil fuels for energy generation is being threatened by some in the energy transition debate. Those who advocate for climate change, continue to pit fossil fuels against renewable energies, and as a result downplaying the role of fossil fuels in the energy mix, while they exaggerate the role of renewable energies.”
So said the minister of mineral resources and energy, Gwede Mantashe, at the third annual Southern Africa Oil and Gas Conference held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Wednesday, 13 September.
Concluding his keynote address, Mantashe said, “All of us — no exceptions — are accepting that we must move from high carbon emissions to low carbon emissions. The debate is about the nature of the journey we must travel.”
Outside the CTICC, activists gathered in their numbers, waving placards and flags, calling for an end to the fossil fuel industry while inside, oil and gas professionals in suits and dresses sipped coffee in auditoriums and chatted about how to expand it.
Representatives of both groups shared their thoughts with Daily Maverick.
Speaking at the conference, Mantashe, whose opinions on the matter are no secret, said…