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Take Stock of Fracking Risks and Count the Costs Towards an Ecosystem Services Assessment in South Africa
University KwaZulu-Natal.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7687-0844
Malmö University, Faculty of Education and Society (LS), Department of Natural Science, Mathematics and Society (NMS).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2835-097X
2023 (English)In: Alternation : Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Africa, ISSN 1023-1757, Vol. 30, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many citizens in countries now accept that there is a need to adapt to climate change and to invest in renewable resources. This paper contributes to the planning of energy development in South Africa. Currently, South Africa is faced with a crisis in energy security with ‘load shedding’ resulting in hours without power. Coal, a fossil fuel, is the main source for energy in South Africa with negative effects for the environment and human health. To provide security over the future supply of domestic energy, the technique of fracking on and offshore is being advanced as an alternative by government which has been granting exploratory fracking licences. A review of the literature at the nexus of fracking, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ecosystem services was undertaken from a triple risk lens (Prpich & Coulon 2018). The findings indicate that fracking operations may create a short-lived economic boom but there is substantive scholarly evidence on the immense long- term risks for both the environment and human health. The impact of land use changes through fracking and the risks of fracking operations for ecosystems, climate change and achieving the SDGs of Agenda 2030 are evident and form a ‘self-reinforcing loop’. We conclude that if fracking is predominantly being perceived from a prism of its economic benefits, then economic value needs to be attached to all the services that are provided by ecosystems. Thus, we recommend that an ecosystem services assessment must precede the granting of frackinglicences to evaluate whether fracking is a viable option. It is also suggested Take Stock of Fracking Risks and Count the Costs239that compensatory justice, be included as a policy measure for rehabilitation of the land where fracking has already commenced. In conclusion, we assert that healthy, environmentally sustainable living conditions need to be provided for all citizens and investment is needed to support adequate renewable energy infrastructure, a pre- requisite for government’s Just Energy Transformation (JET). 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Centre for the Study of Southern African Literature and Languages , 2023. Vol. 30, no 1
Keywords [en]
Fracking risks, Count the costs, ecosystem services, assessments 
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Science education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-62458DOI: 10.29086/2519-5476/2023/v30n1a11OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-62458DiVA, id: diva2:1796291
Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2023-12-08Bibliographically approved

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Ekelund, Nils

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