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Posted Sat Sep 25 2010: from Mail and Guardian:
South Africa is nearing peak coal, say scientists
In the case of South African coal, the studies show production has already reached its peak, or soon will. "It is commonly believed that South Africa has abundant coal reserves which will last 200 years or more,'' says Jeremy Wakeford, chair of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (Aspo) in South Africa, in the organisation's latest newsletter. "But recent research [from] three scientific journals suggests that usable reserves are much smaller than previously thought, and that annual production could reach a peak and begin to decline within a decade -- or might even have peaked already.'' Wakeford says that "given the country's overwhelming dependence on coal, this issue has huge ramifications for our future development path''. Coal provides 70 percent of the country's energy supply, supports 90 percent of electricity generation, is used to make a quarter of the country's liquid fuels using the Sasol process and is a big earner of foreign exchange through exports to foreign users.... Wakeford said that leaving aside social and environmental concerns around carbon dioxide emissions, water scarcity, pollution and health impacts, entrenching dependence on a depleting fossil fuel is taking the country down a cul-de-sac.
[Read more stories about: coal issues, carbon emissions, peak oil]

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