"You Can’t Eat Electricity"

Why tackling inequality and hunger should be at the heart of low carbon development in South Africa

Publication date: 27 May 2013
Author: Tim Gore, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Research for Oxfam’s GROW campaign & Liz McDaid, Environmentalist and independent consultant

How can low carbon development be pursued without making inequality and food insecurity worse?

South Africa, like many middle income countries, faces the challenge of how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the context of high levels of inequality and persistent hunger and malnutrition. Prices are already high, and rising, and force too many people to choose between using scarce household budgets for food or for energy.

This Oxfam discussion paper considers how putting action on inequality and hunger at the heart of the low carbon development agenda in South Africa could also help to mobilize new constituencies of political support for low carbon action, which could be critical if vested interests in the carbon-based, energy-intensive economy are to be overcome.