As Nelson Mandela Bay risks losing our title as the Automotive Hub of South Africa along with the jobs that our economy needs, amidst SA’s highest unemployment rate since since September 2003 we need to turn our focus onto how we are going to attract investment, money and jobs and maybe, just maybe deliver on the ‘better life for all’ promise that has been the refrain in our politics since 1994.
It was whilst watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s blunt Clean Energy message to Donald Trump on the back of Trump announcing that he is pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement that I was gently struck on the head with a thought:
Position Nelson Mandela Bay as the Renewable Energy hub of South Africa whilst cleaning up our environment, rivers, air and surroundings in order to attract renewable energy tourists, experts and eco-tourists from all over the world.
If California can do it then nothing can stop us from getting the leap on other metropolitan municipalities in South Africa.
Our city needs a singular focus that will sweep us into a sustainable future that creates jobs, empowers small entrepreneurs and, to borrow from Trump and Macron; “Make our city great again!”
- A clean energy eco-lodge in Soweto on Sea on the shores of the Salt Pans.
- Tours of the many wind farms that dot our region.
- Special rates for all guest accommodation establishments that embrace renewable energy and water harvesting.
- A central renewable energy tourism desk that ONLY promotes tourist destinations that use clean and renewable energy.
- A public database of all clean energy installations.
- Tours of renewable energy manufacturing plants.
- Dam tours.
- Tours of homes and commercial businesses with renewable energy installations.
- Lectures on renewable energy.
- Art exhibitions featuring renewable energy.
- All municipal buildings to be powered by renewable energy.
- Clean energy boat based tours – sail or solar energy only.
- More recharging stations for electric vehicles.
- Our remaining vehicle manufacturers launch our own local electric vehicle models.
- Relaxing of the 5 Kilowatt restriction on private home grid-tie solar installation.
- Installing grid-tie on ATTP homes – effectively renting the roof space and lowering the cost of electricity presently provided for free.
All it takes is the will to commit and support of all within the region to embark on this new and exciting future.
A transcript of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s blunt Clean Energy message to Donald Trump appears below:
One man can’t destroy our progress. One man can’t stop our clean energy revolution. One man can’t go back in time – Only I can do that – President Trump says he’s pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
My message to you, Mr President, is that as a public servant and, especially, as a president, your first and most important responsibility is to protect the people.
200 000 people die every year in the US from air pollution, and half of our rivers and streams are too polluted for our health. We can’t sit back and just do nothing while people are getting sick and dying, especially when you know there is another way.
Mr President I know that it can be easier and more comfortable to look backwards. And to many people the past that we know is less scary than the future that we don’t know.
But some of us know what a clean energy future looks like and, it isn’t scary.
We have seen it in cities and states all over the world.
In fact we know that the dirty energy future with asthma, emphysema and cancer is much, much more terrifying, So, please Mr President, choose the future.
No-one remembers the people who told President Kennedy not to go to the moon. We remember the great leaders. The great leaders that don’t walk backwards into the past but great leaders that charge forward towards the future.
You see the people will rise up. Local and state governments will rise up. Other leaders from local government will rise up and fill the void that you are creating.
Like all of the great movements in Human History our clean future starts with a grassroots movement in our communities, our cities and our states. 70% of our dirty emissions can be controlled at the state and local level.
We can’t leave it to Washington DC to lead, no we need to do it ourselves. As a matter of fact when I was Governor of California and Washington failed to lead, we passed the strictest environmental laws in our country. And our economy is now booming. Today we are No. 1 in protecting our environment and we are No. 1 in economic growth. We have the cleanest air and water, and we also have more manufacturing jobs than any other state. We added more jobs last year than the second and third states combined. Protecting the environment will not destroy our economy.
The bottom line is, great environmental policies do the opposite. They pump up the economy.
On Friday 2 June 2017 the South African Government said:
South Africa has expressed its profound regret over the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which reflects the multilateral agreement to keep the global temperature increase to well below two degrees Celsius.
“We recognise the outstanding contribution made to the fight against climate change in the US by past administrations, states, cities, scientific organisations, civil society, business and individual citizens,” the Department of Environmental Affairs said on Friday.
South Africa has called on the United States to reconsider its position and to recommit to the multilateral process.
“The international community regards climate change as the single biggest threat to well-being, health and socio-economic development facing humanity this century. Its impacts are widespread, unprecedented and disproportionately burdens to the poorest and most vulnerable,” the department said.
The department said the adoption of the Paris Agreement, 15 years after the withdrawal of the United States from the Kyoto Protocol, is a victory for multilateral effort to curb climate change.
The Agreement entered into force far earlier than expected due to the extraordinary speed of ratification by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the United States, and reflects the scientific consensus on severity of the crisis.
The Paris Agreement, which will be fully operational by 2020, is premised on contributions determined by countries themselves, towards collectively agreed global goals.
The department said these nationally determined contributions are to represent countries’ best effort, and to be progressively enhanced over time.
“It is further premised on a strong understanding that we all have a common responsibility to act, whilst noting that nations over time have contributed to the problem differently, and have varied capabilities to respond.
“The Paris Agreement represents the most flexible and dynamic approach to addressing climate change, and the withdrawal of the USA is not only an abdication of global responsibility we all have to humankind, but damaging to multilateralism, the rule of law and trust between nations,” the department said.
Historically, the US has contributed significantly to global emissions, and therefore has a moral obligation not only to lead in reducing emissions, but to support poorer economies in contributing to the global effort.
South Africa has full confidence in and reiterates its unwavering commitment to the realization of the goals set out in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement.
The department said the global effort to curb climate change and address its impacts cannot be postponed, adding that there is an urgent need for action, and as such there is no space for renegotiation.
South Africa has full confidence that the momentum of the collective effort to address climate change will only accelerate.
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