S. Africa No. 12 polluter, Greenpeace says

Dec. 1, 2011 at 8:16 AM
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DURBAN, South Africa, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- As the 12th largest emitter of carbon dioxide, South Africa is hardly in a position to host an international conference on climate change, Greenpeace said.

Delegates from more than 190 countries and the European Union have gathered in Durban, South Africa, to debate the future of the greenhouse-gas limiting Kyoto Protocol, parts of which expire next year.

Greenpeace accuses South Africa of being one of the world's major polluters. The country, the advocacy group claims, gets less than 1 percent of its energy from renewable resources and more than 90 percent from coal.

South Africa is building a new coal-fired plant.

"As the host of the climate negotiations, which began in Durban this week, it is a far cry from the climate leadership role the South African government is promoting," the group said in a statement.

Greenpeace said South Africa could get as much as 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy within the next few decades if it taps into its wind and solar potential, however.

Optimism for any major breakthroughs at Durbin are low as most major economies won't sign new regulations without support from the United States, which abandoned the Kyoto Protocol in 2001.

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