Tag Archives: South Africa

Iran, Saudi Arabia, UEA and other invited to join BRICS group

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, China’s President Xi Jinping, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pose during BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa August 22, 2023. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT


By Paul Homewood

Expansion is a victory for Russia and China who want to bolster the bloc against competition from the West

JOHANNESBURG—The Brics group of emerging nations has invited six additional countries to join the bloc in an effort to grow its global importance and ability to challenge the West on key political and economic issues.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Argentina, Iran, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates have been invited to join Brics, which currently comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the bloc’s leaders said on Thursday, the final day of a summit in Johannesburg.

The expansion of Brics is a victory for Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who had pushed to grow the bloc in the face of intensifying geopolitical and economic competition with the West. They argued that a bigger club would give the developing world a stronger voice that is more equal to its size.

“Let us work together to write a new chapter of emerging-market countries… working together for development,” Xi said in translated remarks at a news conference at the end of the summit.

Xi has been wooing developing nations at the summit this week, as Beijing looks to shore up friendships among African nations, as well as countries in Latin America and parts of Asia that are traditionally suspicious of U.S. power.

Joining the summit by video link, Putin also welcomed the addition of new members and said they would help galvanize the bloc. “We all stand for the building of a new multipolar world order, one that is truly balanced,” said Putin.

The Russian president has boosted efforts to court developing nations as Russia seeks to expand into new markets and make new allies to lessen the impact of Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

Putin couldn’t attend the summit in person, as the host, South Africa, would have been obliged to arrest him under a warrant for his arrest issued in March by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. He made no mention in his remarks of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner paramilitary group, who died in a plane crash on Wednesday.

Brazil and India had advocated for a more gradual expansion of Brics amid concerns that the group could become too far aligned against the West, morphing into an autocratic version of the Group of Seven major economies.

It appears that Brics is headed in that direction, with just one of the six newly-admitted nations—Argentina—ranked as “free” in Freedom House’s widely used global freedom index, with a score of 85 out of 100. The other five countries are all designated “not free,” with scores ranging from eight to 21.

Still, Brazil and India voiced their support for the expansion at the summit on Thursday. “India has always believed that the addition of new members would further strengthen Brics as an organization,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
Bracketed together originally by the clip of their economic growth, the current Brics nations account for more than a quarter of the global economy and some 42% of the world’s population.

The Brics leaders said the admission of six new members was a first step and further nations would be invited to join in the future. More than 20 countries, including Nigeria, Indonesia, Venezuela and Argentina, had formally expressed interest in joining the bloc ahead of the summit. The first six new members will join at the start of next year.

Analysts said the addition of new countries could further undermine coherence and decision-making in the bloc, whose current members already represent vastly different economic and governance systems and ideologies and who have taken divergent approaches to their relationship with the U.S.
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Wrong, Bloomberg, Climate Change is Not ‘Coming for Your Cabernet’

From ClimateRealism

By Linnea Lueken

A recent article in Bloomberg, titled “Mother Nature Is Coming for Your Cabernet,” makes the oft-repeated claim that climate change is threatening wine production, in this case, focusing on South Africa. This claim, as always, is false. In reality, wine production in South Africa in particular has done well over the past decades of modest warming, with no sign of any looming disaster.

The writer and senior executive editor at Bloomberg, Timothy L. O’Brien, described a conversation he had with a vintner in South Africa during a recent trip. He notes that winemaking is “just another version of farming” and that it’s “hard, unpredictable work.” This is true. All agricultural production is subject to sometimes unpredictable weather patterns over both short- and long-term time periods. Weather disasters are occurring all around the world at all times, so somewhere, some produce is being impacted. This is not new, and is not indicative of long-term effects from climate change.

O’Brien goes on to declare that climate change may make some of the most famous regions for wine production “inhospitable to grape production.” This statement is protected by the use of the word “may,” but in the context of the article, is clearly meant to be taken seriously. The possibility of major producing regions becoming “inhospitable” amid warming is extremely low, especially since data indicate that despite the last hundred-plus years of warming, grape growing and winemaking have not suffered.

Indeed, the opposite is true, especially for South Africa. The available United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FA0) data on wine production in South Africa show that since FAO records began in 1961 both grape production and wine production have improved. The all-time record for wine production in South Africa occurred in 2014, and the all-time highest grape production was as recent as 2017. (See figure below)

FAO data shows that since 1961:

  • Grape production in South Africa has increased 287 percent;
  • Wine production has increased 240 percent.

Bad seasons will happen on occasion—they are all but guaranteed to for any agricultural business, but this is nothing new. As explained in almost a dozen previous Climate Realism posts on climate change and wine or grape production, winemakers and wine consumers are usually aware that some growing seasons produce better wines then others, hence the collecting of particular vintages from particular vineyards. It is the overall weather of the growing season that results in those differences from one vintage to the next, and for some wines it is more noticeable than others.

O’Brien made another puzzling comment, that grapes used for wine “require very specific conditions to grow,” and it’s certainly true that each grape variety prefers certain conditions, but the implication that wine all around the world is threatened because conditions may change is more alarmist than accurate. As O’Brien himself points out, major vineyards can be found all around the world in different climates and with different soil conditions, and the kinds of grapes that are selected for each growing region are based on what produces the best product for the region. There is no reason to suspect that vintners will stop selecting the most suitable grapes for their climate.

The owner of the South African vineyard O’Brien visited, Jean Engelbrecht, said that not only can weather patterns impact different regions in unpredictable ways, but nearby vineyards can see different weather as well. O’Brien explains that, while there was drought in South Africa that recently “sideswiped many of Jean’s local competitors,” in Jean’s area, “robust rainfalls plumped some of his recent harvests.”

This in itself indicates that local weather, not long-term climate change, is responsible any difficulties vintners face.

Bloomberg and O’Brien would do well to temper their impulse to attribute every weather-related seasonal, regional crop production decline to climate change, and instead look at the long-term data and trends to verify whether climate change might be playing a role. Concerns about wine and climate change are unsubstantiated by available data, history, and common agricultural knowledge.

Linnea Lueken

Linnea Lueken is a Research Fellow with the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy.

While she was an intern with The Heartland Institute in 2018, she co-authored a Heartland Institute Policy Brief “Debunking Four Persistent Myths About Hydraulic Fracturing.”

Linnea Lueken

The South African Energy Crisis: A Battle between Power Needs and Environmentalists

From Watts Up With That?

In the face of a dire energy crisis, the South African government is waging a war on two fronts. On one side, the demand for reliable energy supplies is pressing, and on the other, the fervent resistance of environmentalists is proving to be a formidable hurdle to their proposed solutions.

South Africa’s energy troubles have been headline news for years now. The consistent blackouts and power cuts have taken a significant toll on the country’s economy. Recently, debt-ridden state utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. projected that they would only be able to supply electricity for half of the day during the upcoming winter season.

In an attempt to curb this power shortage, the South African government has sought to bring in help from the Turkish company, Karpowership. The proposal involves anchoring the company’s power ships at three of the nation’s harbors. This solution, however, has ignited outrage among environmental groups.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe commented on the issue, expressing frustration with environmentalist groups, stating, “Environmentalists veto every development they don’t like…People can take us to court as many times as they can, we will continue with gas and petroleum exploration.” This comment follows the South African government granting Karpowership and other winning bidders 20-year supply contracts.

Environmentalists argue that these contracts could lock South Africa into two decades of fossil fuel use. Yet, with South Africa’s energy needs pressing, the government seems willing to defend their decision in court if necessary. Even Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has publicly supported Mantashe’s procurement of new capacity.

Indeed, this conflict between the government and environmentalists has been ongoing, with plans to work with Karpowership embroiled in lawsuits and environmental challenges for years. Amid this discord, the energy crisis continues to bear down on the nation.

Meanwhile, South Africa has been unintentionally surpassing its emissions reduction goals. With regular breakdowns of coal-fired power plants and enforced rotational cuts, South Africa is inadvertently reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The country is ahead of its target for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, a silver lining to an otherwise daunting situation.

This scenario demonstrates the complex dynamics at play in South Africa’s energy landscape. The government is grappling with the pressing need to provide reliable electricity to its citizens, a responsibility that is becoming increasingly difficult with a grid pushed to its limits.

However, the vehement objections from environmental groups continue to cause gridlock driving the South African economy into a ditch.


Residents of an informal settlement without power supplies watch the sun set beyond an electricity pylon in Soweto, South Africa, on Monday, May 25, 2015. Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is struggling to supply the country with enough electricity after 20 years of underinvestment in power plants and this year it has implemented the most rolling blackouts on record as it grapples to meet demand. Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Tony Thomas: Don’t trust the media on climate | Tom Nelson Pod #108

Tom Nelson

TONY THOMAS has been a journalist in Australia since 1958 when he went straight from school at 18 to The West Australian newspaper, doing news and light features. He concurrently studied literature at university for eight years. In 1971 he switched to Economics coverage in the federal press gallery in Canberra, and a decade later he moved to Melbourne writing for the magazine Business Review Weekly for 20 years. He retired from paid journalism in 2001 but continues writing for the right-of-centre blog Quadrant Online. In the past ten years his output there has been 450-plus essays totalling about a million words. All up he’s been reporting for 65 years.

He’s authored close to a dozen books on anthropology, business, history, current affairs and climate, including five collections of his Quadrant essays in the past six years. See https://www.connorcourtpublishing.com…

Tony’s style is forensic and often humorous. He figures the most effective weapon against climate cultists is to ridicule them via their own overblown words and nonsense — with academics as one of his favourite targets. He continues to be amazed at how much incriminating material the climate cultists publish to their own detriment.

Tony turns 83 in June 2023 but has still not reached Shakespeare’s finale of “second childishness and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

Preferred pronouns: Ze, Hir, Zir.

“Ze is a writer and wrote that book zirself. Those ideas are zirs. I like both zir and zir ideas.”

Tony’s Quadrant work: https://quadrant.org.au/?s=%22tony+th…

Thomas mentioned these Arizona State climate cult prizes:


00:00 Introduction

01:14 Overblown nonsense

04:37 Censorship Industrial Complex

05:51 BBC Verify

06:54 28Gate

08:16 Trusted News Initiative

09:45 Climate Council

15:35 Covering Climate Now

24:03 Earth Journalism Network

27:43 Huge grid problems in South Africa

29:15 News Guard

31:21 Science Feedback

36:53 Q and A

South Africa And The Green Energy Wall

Wind turbines outside Caledon in Cape Town, South Africa. Solar and wind farms are filling in the gaps during power shortages.

By Manhattan Contrarian

By Francis Menton

It’s obvious to any person with the faculty of critical thinking that intermittent renewable “green” energy will never work to power a modern economy. So as various U.S. states and foreign countries press forward on their crash programs to go fully “green” with their electricity generation, the next obvious question immediately arises: who will be first to hit the green energy “wall”? That is, which state or country will be the first to find that without enough reliable generation its electricity system no longer works? And how will that impact the population?

In previous posts I have examined the progress toward energy disaster of various wealthy jurisdictions that have embarked on this supposed transition to renewable electricity. For example, here is a December 17, 2021 post titled “Which Country Or U.S. State Will Be The First To Hit The Renewable Energy Wall?” That post focused on California and Germany. My March 15, 2023 post, “Countdown To New York’s Rendezvous With Energy Impossibility,” considered New York as another candidate for the first to hit the wall.

But let’s now look at South Africa. South Africa is one of the wealthiest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is not saying much. The World Bank gives its per capita GDP as about $7000 for 2021. (For comparison, the U.S. per capita GDP is around $70,000. while wealthier European countries like Germany, the UK and France have per capita GDP in the range of about $40,000 – $50,000.).

Unlike wealthy Western countries, South Africa is far from completely developed, and has never achieved a fully-built-out electrical grid. The country has a legacy electricity infrastructure, almost entirely based on coal generation, dating from prior to the accession to power of the ANC in 1994. But South Africa needs a big increase in its electricity supply to become a fully-developed economy. Its population has grown rapidly (from about 43 million in 1994 to 60 million today). Meanwhile its electric utility, Eskom, is heavily indebted with little further ability to raise private capital. Thus the country substantially relies on Western aid to support and expand its supply of electricity. As an example of what is occurring in the realm of Western aid for electricity infrastructure, the World Bank stopped financing coal power plants in 2013 and stopped financing oil and gas extraction projects in 2017.

And thus South Africa has become a mostly-willing guinea pig for the green dreams of Western elites. According to Climate Home News from September 19, 2020, the South African government put out a so-called Integrated Resources Plan in 2019 “outlin[ing] a transition from polluting coal generation to renewable sources like solar and wind.” In September 2020, according to the same CHN piece, “the South African cabinet . . . approved a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is on record on multiple occasions over the past several years as supporting a Net Zero transition for his country.

On the ground in electricity generation in South Africa, here’s what I can learn. The New York Times reports on March 14, 2023 that over the past decade plus, since the wind/solar fad took hold, the country’s coal power plants have been allowed to become “dilapidated” due to poor maintenance and disinvestment. Meanwhile, the focus going back as far as the turn of the century has moved to developing wind and solar resources to provide electricity. A December 2021 piece from the Alexandria Engineering Journal provides a comprehensive overview of the growth in renewables in South Africa. The initial demonstration wind project was constructed by Eskom in 2002. Here is the lengthy list of wind projects subsequently completed:

Nor has South Africa lagged in the march to solar energy. From the same piece in the Alexandria Engineering Journal, here is a list of solar projects (for some reason not including the years, but they are almost entirely post-2010):

So surely by now the wind and sun must be providing the abundant and nearly-free electricity for all? Hardly. Here is a pie graph of the current electricity generation mix, stated to be based on data from the UN’s International Energy Agency:

Yes, after all of that effort, the wind generation is up to a full 2% of South Africa’s electricity, and solar 1%. And, from CNN, January 18:

South Africans have endured power cuts for years but 2022 was the worst on record with 205 days of rolling blackouts, as aging coal-fired power plants broke down and state-owned power utility Eskom struggled to find the money to buy diesel for emergency generators. So far this year, there have been outages every day. The situation worsened again last week when Eskom said it would implement more cuts because of breakdowns at 11 coal-fired generating units.

According to CNN, any individual home or business is getting hit with about 12 hours a day without power, generally coming in increments of about 4 hours at a time, and often without notice. It’s disgusting to watch what the self-important international functionaries are doing to this poor country. But at least we’re learning what the green energy “wall” looks like in practice.