South Africa runs on coal. It is the world’s seventh-largest coal producer, and about 80 percent of the country’s energy is generated by it. In addition to the extensive use of coal in the domestic economy, about 30 percent of South Africa’s production is exported, making the country the fourth-largest coal exporter in the world.
The vast scale of South Africa’s coal operation, run by the state power company Eskom, is an obstacle in the way of global efforts to combat climate change. Indeed, today South Africa is the 12th-biggest carbon dioxide emitter in the world.