Toxic Futures: South Africa in the Crises of Energy, Environment and Capital

Toxic Futures: South Africa in the Crises of Energy, Environment and Capital

by David Hallowes


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This is a moment of major and rapid historical change. The global elite ? what used to be called the ruling class - are confronted by crises to which they have no credible response. First, the economic and political system presided over by the US is in turbulent decline. Second, within the next few years global oil production will have dwindled and, with the 'easy oil' gone, energy production is dirtier than ever. Third, climate change is gathering momentum and is just one aspect of a broader environmental turning-point that threatens human survival.

Toxic Futures locates South Africa in the crisis and explores the implications for environmental, social and economic justice. It concludes that another world is inevitable. Whether people allow the political and economic elite to lead them into a world of growing destruction or take charge to create a world of mutual solidarity is the central challenge of the age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781869142117
Publisher: University Of KwaZulu-Natal Press
Publication date: 09/01/2011
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Nnimmo Bassey vii

Acknowledgements xi

Abbreviations xii

Introduction 1

Unequal South Africa 4

Carbon economy 8

The global scale of ecological debt 14

1 Elite crisis 19

Imperial crisis 20

Energy in crisis 30

Environmental crisis 37

Dust and ashes 41

2 The Vaal in South Africa 50

The concentration of power 51

Fronts of environmental injustice 55

Another Vaal 76

3 New South Africa 79

Negotiating the future 80

Environmental policy 91

Paint it green 104

4 The toxic cradle of production 108

The sacrifice to mining 108

Steeling the future 119

Power to aluminium 123

Toxics to cement 127

Leaving ruin 131

5 Peak poison 133

Failing future 134

6 The chains of petro production 165

Africa's oil rush 165

Refining environmental injustice 173

Chemicals and plastic 189

7 Power trip 195

Centralising power 197

Darkest Cape 202

The logic of an elite future 220

8 Future power 222

Things fall apart 223

Remaking the coal economy 230

Terminal logic 248

9 Driving climate change 251

False dealings 252

South Africa's offer 264

10 Change coming 280

For people's power 282

Notes 304

Select bibliography 324

Index 337

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