Day 609 – On Shell

Here’s the story.

Right. Let’s just get my position out in the open at the start, shall we?

1. I appreciate the need to move away from fossil fuels.
2. I would love to have a simple, straightforward, economically viable way to not use fossil fuels anymore.
3. I would rather that Shell (or anyone else) were not doing seismic testing in the waters around South Africa.

BUT...

We all use fossil fuels every day here in SA.
Our electricity here comes (when it comes) – overwhelmingly – from coal, diesel and gas.
Our cars use petrol, and if they did use electricity, then that electricity would come – overwhelmingly – from coal, diesel and gas.
Eskom chucks out about 18 million tons of CO2 each and every month.

We need to understand that the vast majority of this country has no choice but to use dirty fuels to live their lives. It would be great to change, but we can’t just switch that off: our power grid doesn’t work full stop, let alone work with clean or renewable sources of energy.
And we should certainly be trying to step away from fossil fuels, but as you are flinging around your hashtags and basking in the righteousness of your slacktivism, please remember that we need to get our energy and electricity from somewhere: someone has to provide it.

And why shouldn’t that be Shell? How do their seismic surveys and oil drilling habits differ from whoever’s powering your car today, as you “#BoycottShell” and go to Engen or Sasol or BP?

Do you know? Do you care? Or is it just about jumping on a conveniently passing (hopefully hybrid-powered?) bandwagon?

And if you are going to pop online and tell us how to live our lives, and which dirty oil company we should use over which other (I love the “tip the pump attendants” idea, by the way, lol!), then at least think before you post.

After all, nothing quite says “Leave our oceans alone” or #SaveOurOceans like a “cleverly” altered corporate logo and is that a picture of… er… a local sewage outflow…

Right.

Presumably you are boycotting your toilet as well, then? How’s that going for you?

Look, I’m not saying that a seismic survey off the East Coast is a good thing – I’d much rather it wasn’t happening, but as I noted above, that’s not really a tenable option right now.

But I have to say that this exceptionalism, hyperbole and misinformation around this one issue when numerous such surveys have happened around SA before and we’re all still here? Well, it’s weird, it’s misplaced, and it’s rather hypocritical given that we are all using products and services that rely on oil and gas each and every day.

Day 591 – Power station being robbed of R100m fuel oil each month fails to deliver much power SHOCK!

Or rather no shock, because no power, amirite?

I’ve been looking at some facts and figures online (when I can, thanks to this infernal, eternal, often diurnal loadshedding) and have made an amazing discovery.

Published a couple of days ago, this slide, presumably from a presentation about the horrific state of our dirty, broken national power grid:

…in which you might well note Tutuka Power Station stuck in bottom place (Kusile isn’t properly commissioned yet) with a somewhat ropey Energy Availability Factor of 34.34%, and this document, released on twitter yesterday evening:

…in which Eskom announces the arrest of several individuals for alleged theft of R100 million worth of fuel oil PER MONTH from [checks notes…] er… Tutuka Power Station.

I mean, amongst a plethora of other questions, “How the hell did no-one notice?” has to be right up there. Or is this merely a drop in the metaphorical Mpumalanga fuel oil ocean? How much fuel oil do you get (or not get, I guess) for R100m each month?

I’m no expert in these sort of things, but could there… could there possibly… be any sort of connection between these two pieces of information?

I guess we’ll probably never know.

Day 502 – Bits n pieces

  • The Ashton Arch is due to be… er… “launched” into its final position on the 14-15th August. This has been a ridiculously big engineering project in a tiny town in the Western Cape and it seems to have been going on forever.

But this is it virtually finished. I don’t pass through there a lot, but I’ve only ever seen it not existing at all or completely buried in scaffolding:

IMG_2969 | new bridge, work in progress, ashton, western cap… | Flickr
ashton_montague_september_2019.jpg | Western Cape Government

This is a lot of scaffolding. Now all they need to do is move… er… “launch” the completed structure into the path of the actual road. Livestream above this weekend.

  • Cape Town will get drier and more extreme. And I’m not talking about our sense of humour:
  • And finally, ahead of our Fantasy Draft Night tomorrow evening, I was looking at my chosen team and thinking that it looked pretty much invincible. And then I realised that the other guys in the league get to choose some of the players as well, because that’s how a draft works. I’m suddenly far less confident.

Day 473 – Misery everywhere

There’s no good news today.

I’m not feeling great (no, not that).

Defeat for England (although), preceded by an unpleasant frontlash and followed by a (now sadly usual) disgusting backlash.

Rain, gales, floods and cold in Cape Town. More leaks in our house.

KZN and parts of Gauteng right on the brink of… something terrible.

Copious sexual intercourse won’t cure Covid-19.

More loadshedding on the way.

And this is just the stuff I feel I can share.

I have a lot of amazing memories from a few days away, and a lot of photos to process. But today doesn’t seem the right day to do anything except just hope that things get better.

Day 441, part 2 – Can’t watch

News just in. The President is doing a thing at lunchtime:

Sadly, also happening at 12h00 – loadshedding:

Which will prevent me from watching, and which will also prevent any “swift and lasting economic recovery”.

Who’s going to tell him? (Both bits.)