WWF has added its voice to the public’s growing concern that Shell’s exploration for oil and gas along the Wild Coast will have adverse effects on the environment.
Despite endless protests, Shell’s seismic surveillance is set to begin tomorrow, December 1. In a statement released via their website, the environmental organisation indicated that they remain concerned regarding the “mounting threat of incompatible developments along the Wild Coast of South Africa.”
Along with this concern, the WWF also noted that the scheduled survey does not appear to align with South Africa’s recent climate commitments made at the COP26 and stated that they do not believe the development of an expanded fossil gas industry is “necessary for SA’s energy mix transition.”
“At present, we are quickly exhausting the remaining global carbon budget needed to stay within a critical 1.5°C world as per the Paris Agreement. This means that we must do everything in our power to limit emissions from oil and gas,” read the statement.
In order to align with its climate commitments, the WWF urged South Africa to explore its abundant climate-friendly sources of energy, including solar, wind and the potential for green hydrogen gas, ensuring a swift transition away from fossil fuels.
While climate change appeared to be the organisation’s main concern, how the seismic survey would affect the people who live along this incredibly biodiverse region was another concern.
“The Wild Coast is largely rural and undeveloped and the people who live here are dependent on the biodiversity for their livelihood mainly from consumptive utilisation and tourism-related activities. Of relevance is that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has allocated 57 fishing rights to small-scale fisher cooperatives along this coastline.”
The Wild Coast is rich in biodiversity but also faces additional threats such as high levels of poverty. “WWF finds the prospect of incompatible developments very concerning and calls for fully consultative and collaborative processes to be followed,” it noted.