As a result of criticism from members and nonmembers on the Fossil Fuel Foundation (FFF) of Africa’s focus on coal at the expense of other fossil fuels and related subjects, it would in future aim to create a platform that allowed for a much broader exposure to developments in the energy field, FFF president for 2012 Bill Lamont said in his president’s report.
The report was presented by South African Coal Road Map chairperson Ian Hall on behalf of Lamont at the FFF’s nineteenth annual general meeting, held in Johannesburg earlier this month.
Lamont stated in the report that a wider range of subject matter would be on offer through council discussions and conferences, compared with what had previously been on offer.
Hall added that clear gas would become increasingly important and would need to be on the agenda.
Further, the report indicated that there had been an ongoing debate on where and how the FFF could make a contribution to policy formation with respect to any matter that could influence or impact on its area of operation in South Africa.
“As an association of specialists and experts within a diverse range of working fields, it is highly unlikely that consensus can be reached on, for instance, the advisability . . . of fracking.
“It is, therefore, not really possible for the FFF to take strong positions on many policy issues,” Lamont said in his report.
It stated that the FFF could, however, attempt to ensure that the facts were voiced and disseminated and that the decision- makers had the facts at their fingertips, the report stated.
“If we can succeed in doing this, we have indeed taken a huge step forward,” Lamont noted in the report, adding that it was thinking in this vein that, in the past, led to the participation of FFF repre- sentatives in debates with the World Wildlife Fund in forums to inform the National Planning Commission and in the initiation of the South African Coal Road Map.
“This kind of involvement is fundamental to an organisation such as ours and must, I think, be made a priority for the future.”
Meanwhile, the report pointed out that the South African Coal Road Map initiative was all but complete and was expected to become dormant during 2013, with the intention that the FFF would become the custodian of the data collected and the process.
A further target for the year ahead was the initiation of an FFF-sponsored bursary or competition, where the funds received by the beneficiaries or winners would be used for further education in an energy- related field.
“Sponsorship of education has long been an ideal of the FFF, but the manage- ment of the day has not, until now, felt comfortable enough with the stability of the funding to undertake any specific project of this nature.
“The time has come, however, and the germs of some ideas have been sown within management, which will hopefully come to fruition during 2013,” Lamont concluded.