[WSMDiscuss] [demandclimatejustice] (Fwd) Anti-extractivism in South Durban, where ExxonMobil/ENI/Sasol/Statoil are exploring for oil offshore (Des D'Sa & SDCEA)

Lidy Nacpil lnacpil at gmail.com
Mon Nov 12 03:33:22 CET 2018

Thanks for sharing this Patrick. Salute to Desmond!

Lidy Nacpil
Coordinator - Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)
Co-Coordinator - Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice

On Sun, Nov 11, 2018 at 4:20 PM Patrick Bond <pbond at mail.ngo.za> wrote:

> https://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/opinion/why-we-should-stop-oil-and-gas-drilling-offshore-kzn-17804012
> Why we should stop oil and gas drilling offshore KZN
> Opinion <https://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/opinion> / 7 November 2018,
> 12:00pm / *Desmond D'Sa*
> Desmond D'Sa
> OPINION -  The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) has
> 16 community and environmental organisations in our network, all
> increasingly opposed to oil and gas exploration underway on our coast. The
> exploration is already doing damage to marine life and tourism, and future
> drilling also threatens humanity and all of nature due to climate change.
> KwaZulu-Natal is a popular home as well as destination for visitors partly
> because of the province’s beautiful beaches. Healthy oceans are critically
> important to marine life and to coastal communities whose economies rely on
> tourism, fishing and recreational activities.
> Opening up new offshore areas to drilling by the likes of ExxonMobil, the
> Italian firm ENI, Sasol and Norway’s Statoil will risk permanent damage,
> especially if we suffer huge oil spills such as occurred when ExxonMobil’s
> Valdez tanker wrecked the Alaska coast and BP destroyed so much aquatic
> life in the Gulf of Mexico when an oil drilling rig blew up.
> With unaccountable companies like these drilling offshore Durban, we face
> added risks of an oil spill ruining our beaches, bringing harm to those who
> live, work and vacation along the coasts, as well as destroying habitats
> critical to plants and animal species. Along the KZN coastline, more than
> 50 000 subsistence fisher folk eke out a living daily. Oil spills can
> quickly traverse vast distances.
> Even early-stage exploration causes environmental degradation, because
> when seismic tests are conducted, fish and even whales are either killed or
> forced to leave the area. The website ‘Oceans not Oil’ –
> https://oceansnotoil.com/  – documents our concerns about the unusually
> high number of recent whale beachings along our coastline.
> As a result, we are now forcefully contesting all these firms’
> Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) statements. When initiated by fossil
> fuel corporations, they typically lack integrity due to the firms’ enormous
> power and endless dishonesty. Even New York’s state attorney general sued
> ExxonMobil last month because of its “longstanding fraudulent scheme…
> concerning the company’s management of the risks posed to its business by
> climate change regulation.”
> At a time South African leaders are seeking Foreign Direct Investment,
> these companies’ promises of trickle-down benefits to our shrinking foreign
> reserves and to the huge pool of unemployed labour are apparently
> mesmerizing – but they are also deceptive, because extractive industries
> engage in the worst of Africa’s notorious Illicit Financial Flows, and
> because oil rigs, refining and transport are all capital-intensive,
> requiring only a few skilled workers.
> We owe future generations, our current coastal residents and our marine
> life much more rigour than government has provided to date in the EIA
> process. Vast ecological threats are rising rapidly, beyond the drilling
> and extraction stages now under consideration, extending into oil and gas
> refining which happens in South Durban more than anywhere else in Africa,
> in transport through Transnet’s dubious pipelines, and in the combustion of
> oil and gas. A full-cost accounting is required.
> To illustrate, South Durban refineries run by BP, Shell and Engen have
> been devastating to our air, land and water quality. We conclusively
> demonstrated this by showing that Settlers Primary school students suffered
> a 52% asthma rate, the world’s highest ever recorded. This research forced
> municipal officials to belatedly insist on sulfur scrubbing that has made
> an improvement – yet the refineries’ CO2 emissions causing climate change
> are worse than ever.
> As for transporting the fuel, numerous pipeline blow-outs on the
> Durban-Johannesburg pipeline in recent years have been devastating. Yet
> instead of following the safest existing path for a new pipeline (which
> will eventually double the capacity flow of petroleum westward), Transnet
> decided on a brand new route. Instead of following the N3 westwards, it now
> takes a ridiculous, racist southern detour through low-income black
> communities like South Durban and Umbumbulu. This added hundreds of extra
> kilometers and helped raise the cost from R6 billion to R27 billion.
> Even the Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba admitted in 2012
> that KZN pipeline construction suffered “systemic failings” since “Transnet
> Capital Projects lacked sufficient capacity and depth of experience for the
> client overview of a megaproject of this complexity. There was an
> inadequate analysis of risks.”
> He confessed that the Durban-Joburg pipeline is profoundly flawed:
> “Transnet’s obligations on the project such as securing authorisations –
> EIAs, land acquisition for right of way, water and wetland permits – were
> not pursued with sufficient foresight and vigour.”
> The threat of oil and gas combustion is even greater due to a climate
> change crisis now increasingly evident in KZN. The recent droughts,
> thunderstorms, other extreme weather events and added costs of adaptation
> are never considered by these oil and gas corporations. The largest of
> these, ExxonMobil, is a notorious climate denialist, even though from the
> 1970s it already possessed extensive documentation of climate damage
> resulting from its core business model. It chose to threaten our planet’s
> very future so it could maximise profits.
> The offshore oil and gas exploration and subsequent drilling now under
> consideration would bust our government’s own (very inadequate)
> carbon-budget strategy of peaking and then reducing greenhouse gas
> emissions by 34% from 2030. If government officials approve the exploration
> and then drilling, they are no better than Donald Trump.
> Finally, although the oil companies predict economic benefits will accrue
> to South Africa, this is because they have failed to provide full-cost
> accounting. For example, they ignore ‘natural capital accounting’ which the
> late Environment Minister Edna Molewa committed South Africa to supporting
> at the 2012 Gaborone Declaration meeting. Once fossil fuel reserves are
> measured as not simply a ‘credit’ to Gross Domestic Product, but also as a
> ‘debit’ to the country’s natural wealth (since these resources do not
> regenerate), it becomes evident that the extraction systems run by
> multinational corporations are not a positive but instead a negative
> contributor to South Africa’s overall wealth.
> All these factors should be fatal to the proposed oil and gas drilling,
> even at exploration stage. The Legal Resources Centre and other
> socio-environmental watchdogs are helping SDCEA make this our most
> important campaign going immediately forward.
> But we desperately need society to ask the question: instead of remaining
> addicted to such dangerous, dinosaur forms of fuel, can we not put pressure
> on our politicians to urgently convert South Africa to renewable energy,
> public transport and non-fossil agriculture, as soon as possible?
> *Desmond D’Sa is a 2014 Goldman Prize Recipient, Africa and the South
> Durban Community Envrionmental Alliance Coordinator*
> *Daily News*
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