Tag Archives: climate change

COP17 gets underway in Durban


The much-anticipated COP17 climate change conference, regarded as one of the world’s most significant events, got underway in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal province.

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) started yesterday and ends on 9 December.

The conference has gathered together industry professionals from all over the world to debate strategies to the growing threat of global climate change.

Roughly 20 000 individuals are expected to assemble in Durban to participate in the climate talks, among them heads of state, government representatives, international organisations, entrepreneurs, businessmen, academics, activists and NGOs.


Conference outcomes


The primary goal of the discussions is to move forward the implementation of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, in addition to the Bali Action Plan, agreed upon at COP13 in 2007, as well as the Cancun Agreements, reached at COP16 last year.

“We have come a considerable ways since Copenhagen and Cancun. Durban must take us many steps forward towards a resolution that saves tomorrow today,” said President Jacob Zuma, welcoming the delegates to COP17.

A great many anticipate that the Kyoto Protocol is probably going to dominate the talks, as 2012 marks the conclusion of the first commitment period for the agreement which had been signed in 1997.

The Kyoto Protocol at present places legal commitments on nations, except for the US, China, India and Brazil who happen to be non signatories to the treaty, to cut back on greenhouse emissions by 5.2%.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, is positive that governments have arrived in Durban with the understanding of the incredible importance of the Kyoto Protocol.


“For this reason, I strongly believe that there will be an attempt to move into a second commitment period,” Figueres said, talking at a media gathering in Durban in advance of COP17’s opening day.

Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa stated that the necessity to renew and revise the Kyoto Protocol has grown to be vital.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who concluded a three-kilometre walk along Durban’s beachfront over the past weekend to boost consciousness with regards to rising sea levels, pointed out that South Africa was hoping to secure a legally binding agreement during the COP17 negotiations.

In a statement, Motlanthe asserted that strategies to climate change will need global input.

“The Kyoto Protocol can come to an end and that is certainly a very good reason why there ought to be another endorsement. No single nation can tackle climate change, we require a coordinated effort,” he explained.

President Jacob Zuma stated it was vital for COP17 to make sure that the Cancun Agreements, which included the establishment of a Green Climate Fund, started to be operational.


Essential for Africa


Molewa pointed out that despite the fact that Africa has added the least to the build up of greenhouse gases globally, the negative effects of climate change might possibly be felt most significantly on the continent.

As outlined by Molewa, the average African generates roughly 13 times less greenhouse gases when compared with his equal in North America. In 2007, the continent made up less than 4% of the globe’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Having said that, without mitigation and adaptation measures these statistics could quite possibly increase.



She asserted that Africa requires more sustainable development with new, clean technologies in order to avoid the environmental blunders of the developed world.

“Taking into account that 550-million people in Africa do not have access to electricity, there exists tremendous scope for Africa to become a world leader in alternative energy sources,” she explained.

These types of developments can aid in eliminating the vulnerability of African societies, and in many cases make certain that Africa becomes climate resilient.


Global cooperation and accountability


Molewa declared that a response to climate change demands global cooperation and accountability.

“The South African government acknowledges its position as the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions on the continent. We are to blame for 38% of Africa’s total emissions,” she mentioned.

South Africa promises to change this.



The National Climate Change Response White Paper sets out government’s commitment to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 34% below a business as usual trajectory in 2020, and also by 40% in 2025 prior to stabilising emissions in absolute terms, and in the long run reducing them.

The African Union has partnered with South Africa to make certain that the African Pavilion at COP17 effectively presents the issues of climate change that Africa is having difficulties with.

“The effects of climate change know no border, and it has been a motivator for cooperation amongst African governments,” said Molewa.


More climate change consciousness


The UN’s Figueres explained to reporters that there is increasing momentum amongst rich and developing nations to do something to protect against global warming.

Developed countries have passed a lot more legislation and governments as well as businesses are at the same time boosting awareness on the subject of climate change.

Figueres stated it is encouraging to see governments and civil society taking action.

“Durban should mark the next milestone in the climate talks. We anticipate that a great many of the issues that leaders agreed upon in Mexico will find a way of being carried through here,” she said, “and included in this are the Green Climate Fund in addition to other matters.”

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


Plans finalised ahead of COP17


With less than 3 weeks to go ahead of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) climate talks begin in Durban, government and stakeholders are confident the plans carried out for the summit are on track.

Edna Molewa, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, hosted the final Stakeholder Engagement Summit aimed towards bringing up-to-date all stakeholders on the country’s state of preparedness to participate in COP17, in addition to sharing with stakeholders progress on key areas of South Africa’s responsibility at COP17.

A number of events have already been organised throughout the country as part of the build up towards the conference.

Participants happen to be positive that all was in place for the summit, and that a fair, credible and balanced final result could well be achieved.

“We are going to Durban without any illusion that it will be a walk in the park, but we are ready to fight,” said Environmental Affairs Chief Negotiator Alf Wills.

He explained South Africa’s position was affected by the changing world for the industrial countries. He explained that SA would attempt to seek out a balance over and above successful implementation.



He stated the true secret to Durban will be what Cancun failed to agree on, like the commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, adequate ambition to prevent long term global emissions together with a fair allocation of burden cost.

Molewa pointed out for Durban to achieve success, there would have to be resolutions and a second commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. Other success factors included finance, mitigation and adaptation, which would be key concern for developing countries.

SA has produced a White Paper on Climate Change, which places the country on higher ground and will make certain that government will address the challenge of climate change, and that country transitions into a low carbon economy.

Molewa explained the policy would embody government’s commitment to a fair contribution to stabilising global greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, protect the country and its people from the effects of unavoidable climate change and present government’s climate response and long term transition into climate resilience.

She pointed out that her department would carry on and further engage stakeholders on the implementation process of the policy.

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Source: BuaNews


Manuel appointed chairperson of Global Climate Fund

Minister in The Presidency Trevor Manuel

South Africa’s Minister in The Presidency Trevor Manuel has recently been appointed as joint chairperson of the Green Climate Fund, which happens to be given the job of coming up with a finance system to assist developing countries get accustomed to climate change.

Manuel, who heads the South Africa’s National Planning Commission, is going to chair the Green Climate Fund alongside Mexican Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero Arroyo and Kjetil Lund, state secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Finance.

The Green Fund was created soon after an agreement was signed at the 2010 UN climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico. The master plan was to start up a new institution to be able to set in motion international action when it comes to addressing climate change.

The fund comprises of a 40-member committee and is commissioned to raise and distribute R674-billion (U$100-billion) a year by 2020 in order to safeguard poor countries against the influences of climate change and be of assistance when it comes to low-carbon development.

The committee will get together four times in 2011 to put together a written report on the fund. The report will be presented to around 190 countries due to attend the UN climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, in December this year.

“The high level of interest among governments in adding to the design process can be described as a demonstration of the truly amazing interest among parties within the Green Climate Fund,” said UN’s Framework Convention for Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueres. “Parties have put forward skilled and recognized individuals from the areas of finance and climate change.”

The funds is going to be raised by way of public and private sponsorships, and additionally through a system of environmental taxes. The South African government’s proposed carbon levy is an example of an environmental tax.

Penalties for polluters

The South African government is contemplating a tax of R75 ($10.63) per ton of carbon dioxide emitted. In accordance with the government’s suggested “polluter pays principle”, they would like to take advantage of the carbon tax to cut back South Africa’s greenhouse emissions at the same time making certain that polluters are penalised. The country is looking to reduce its carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025.

“Carbon emissions have to be priced,” said Manuel. “The indisputable fact that you can pollute the atmosphere and never pay for that pollution has to be one of the most manifest market failures.”


South Africa is to a great extent dependent on coal as well as being the world’s 14th largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Committed to cutting emissions, the country intends to penalise companies which include state power company Eskom, along with other companies in dominant industrial sectors such as metals, mining and petrochemicals that operate with coal, which are classified as the most significant carbon emitters.

A world of experience

Manuel has vast practical experience and knowledge when it comes to dealing with global development. He has served on the UN’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Finance in 2010 in addition to being appointed UN special envoy for Development Finance in 2008.

He chaired the 2007 G-20 summit and was previously a member of former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s 2004 to 2005 Commission for Africa.

In 2000 he chaired the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s board of governors, not to mention the bank’s development committee from 2001 to 2005. He was also one of two UN special envoys to the 2002 Monterrey Financing for Development summit.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com,


Eskom energy-efficiency campaign commences

Eskom, South Africa’s power utility, has unveiled a countrywide effort urging citizens to cut back electricity use and in addition make use of current supplies a lot more conscientiously to ease demand on the power grid.

The roll-out of the 49M energy-efficiency drive, lead by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, took place at Turbine Hall in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The ceremony was attended by Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters, Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba, chairperson of Eskom Mpho Makwana and leading business owners.


Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe



Power to the people

The 49M effort, making reference to the 49-million citizens who are now living in South Africa, happens to be endorsed by government and business leaders. Its goal and objectives is generally to instil a long-term national culture of energy-saving.

The campaign will run for five years.

Motlanthe said: “The movement being unveiled is a crucial contributing factor in the country’s push when it comes to responsible economic and developmental expansion. All of us have it within our capacity to really make a difference to energy-efficiency throughout South Africa.


“Government has pledged itself to make certain that all South Africans have accessibility to electric power. As a public utility in charge of electricity generation, Eskom has already in recent times expanded its network and additionally by means of electrification initiatives, contributed to bringing quality lifestyle and economic possibilities to a large number of rural regions who had in the past been refused the ability to access services.”

The campaign requests all South Africans to “lift a finger”, meaning that it will require merely one flick of the hand to turn off devices which are not being used.

The symbol for the advertising and marketing campaign is a yellow reminder string tied around an index finger with messages: “Remember your power” along with “If you are not using it switch it off”.


Furthermore there will also be stickers intended for people to place in strategic spots for instance on plugs and light switches, serving as a constant reminder.

Eskom’s chairperson Makwana said: “It will be the group effort and commitment coming from all South Africans that will actually really make a difference to the energy future of our country.

“Some South Africans already have made a start with simple and easy measures, which include making use of compact fluorescent lamps as an alternative to incandescent globes, attempting to keep unused appliances turned off and minimizing electricity wastage, which in turn can have a significant outcome.”

Eskom chairperson Mpho Makwana

Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters added: “We already have acknowledged energy-efficiency and conservation as being a low-risk and low-cost solution in order to take action against climate change imperatives in addition to being an easy method of delaying several of the investment in infrastructure, the financing for which during this current economic climate could possibly be challenging.”

It is estimated that South Africa will probably need to double its existing installed capacity of 42 000 megawatts over the upcoming 20 years to be able to keep up with demand.

Eskom has already committed to expend R300-billion (US$43-billion) by 2020 to make certain South Africa meets its energy supply and demand ratio.


Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said: “Government is wholly commited to ensuring long-term security of electrical energy supply for all South Africans and definitely will continue to partner with Eskom together with other appropriate stakeholders to accomplish this goal. We continue to be resolute of the fact that the country should under no circumstances experience yet another time period of painful, rotational load-shedding as experienced in 2008.”

Supporters of the campaign include American Chamber of Commerce, Endangered Wildlife Trust, Food and Trees for Africa, Information Technology Association of South Africa, Massmart, MTN, National Union of Mine Workers, National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa, National Economic Development and Labour Council, National Stakeholder Advisory Council on Energy, Sci-Bono, Solidarity, South African Chamber of Commerce and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa.

Eskom CEO Brian Dames said: “The movement will be built on ‘three P’s’, which translate to save the power, save the planet and save your pocket.”


Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


Eat less meat

According the United Nations, the livestock industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation worldwide. It contributes to deforestation, air and water pollution, land degradation, loss of topsoil, climate change, the overuse of resources including oil and water, and loss of biodiversity.  On top of the environmental impact, excessive meat consumption is bad for your health.

By cutting down on your meet consumption to just a few meals a week you are making a very real contribution to reducing negative environmental impacts and you may find yourself  pleasantly surprised when you start experimenting with meat-free cooking. Whenever you do have meat, check to see that it has been sustainably and ethically produced.

Source: the Enviropaedia