28 July, 2006

Heat Wave Shows Limits of Nuclear Energy ...

And, the Western Cape is apparently not the only region with Nuclear Reactor woes!

Here is an interesting article on the nuclear situation in Europe as a result of the current heatwave.

Are our Koeberg nuclear reactors on the coast cooled by sea water or fresh water? Sea water I guess. Or is sea water so corrosive it is used to cool a closed freshwater cooling system that actually cools the reactors themselves?

Global warming will sink the insurance industry? ...

See this thought provoking article from Climate Change News Digest

25 July, 2006

Earth Policy Institute ...

I've just added a permanent link under the 'Sustainable Development Links' in the right hand sidebar, to the 'Earth Policy Institute'. That site seems to have some very useful information and links.

For example see these articles on:
* The World After Oil Peaks;
* The Coming Decline of Oil; and
* U.S. Mayors respond to a Washngton Leadership Vacuum on Climate Change here

Supermarkets and Service Stations Now Competing for Grain ...

A thought provoking article about the competition between using grain to produce food and animal feeds or ethanol for vehicle fuel. In the light of the collapse of the recent international trade talks it looks like ethanol is leading by at least a head!
See this link.

For similar articles and more information on Earth Policy Institute,
please see http://www.earth-policy.org.

24 July, 2006

District Workshops for the Supplementation of the National EIA Regulations ...

Dear Stakeholders

We have finalised the details for the forthcoming series of district
workshops for the Supplementation of the national EIA Regulations project.
The project has been following a process of 1) mapping of geographical
layers (e.g. rivers, wetlands, rigdes, sensitive vegetation, urban areas
etc.), and 2) the parallel drafting of inclusion (NEMA 24(2) b) and
exclusion (NEMA 24(2) c) lists of activities for the WC Province.

At each district workshop a composite map (all layers) will be on display
for that district with one area selected for 'zooming in' to show some
detail. The DRAFT associated lists of activities for Basic Assessment,
EIA/Scoping and exclusions will be available, and the team will demonstrate
how these link in with the maps.

All workshops will take the form of an open-house session followed by a
discussion (Q&A) session. The open-house will allow stakeholders to view the
maps and get an idea for how the lists link to areas on the map, before
coming together for the discussion.

Workshop times will be as follows:
Cape Town - Belville Town Hall, 24 July - open house 14h00-15h30, discussion
15h30-17h00

West Coast - Saldanha Bay Protea Hotel, 25 July - open house 14h30-15h30,
dicussion 15h30-16h30

Beaufort West -Karoo National Park Conference venue, 25 July - open house
14h30-15h30, dicussion 15h30-16h30

Winelands - Joie de Vivre Paarl, 26 July - open house 14h30-15h30, dicussion
15h30-16h30

George - Far Hills Hotel just outside George, 26 July - open house
14h30-15h30, dicussion 15h30-16h30

Caledon at the Caledon Town Hall next to the Caledon Museum, 27th July -
open house 14h30-15h30, dicussion 15h30-16h30

Please note: This is not a capacity building session as the project is still
going through its development process and all products presented are DRAFTS
for discussion. (DEADP will be conducting capacity building sessions on the
new national EIA regulations (effective 1 July 2006) in the six districts
shortly after these workshops).

It is also recommended, although not essential, that stakeholders have a
look at the lists of activities for Basic Assessment and EIA/Scoping prior
to attending the workshops in order to better understand the additions and
exclusions that are to be discussed. These lists are available on
www.capegateway.gov.za and www.environment.gov.za

We have not been able to confirm every response we have received. If you
have emailed a reply to Shawn Johnston or Kathy Leslie, you can assume you
are down to attend the relevant workshop. If you are no longer able to
attend, please let us know soonest. If you have not yet replied, please do
so asap.

Regards,

Kathy Leslie - 021 671 9350 or 083 325 5615 (wleslie@iafrica.com)

Shawn Johnston - 083 325 9965 (swjohnston@mweb.co.za)

20 July, 2006

DEADP Annual Performance Plan ...

The Western Cape Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning's (DEADP) latest Annual Performance Plan is available on the departmental home page

Click on the top link under 'Latest Publications'.

National Wetlands Indaba 2006 ...

Organised by the Eastcape Wetlands Forum
Dates: 23-27 October
Venue: Stutterheim, Stutterheim Theatre

Programme and other details available from:
Conference secretary:
Juanita McLean
JUANITA@IWR.RU.AC.ZA

REN21 Press Release Global Status Report 2006 update ...

REN21
Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century

POSTAL ADDRESS Renewable Energy Policy Network
for the 21st Century
Tour Mirabeau, 39-43, quai André Citroën,
75739 Paris cedex 15, France
TEL (33-1) 44 37 14 65
FAX (33-1) 44 37 14 74
E-MAIL info@ren21.net
INTERNET www.ren21.net

REN21 Press Release Global Status Report 2006 update

2005: Record year for investments in renewable energy
New REN21 Global Status Report

PARIS, 18 July 2006 – Up from USD 30 billion in 2004 to USD 38 billion last year, 2005 was a record year for investment in the renewable energy sector.

According to REN21, the Renewable Energy Policy Network, wind power capacity grew by 24% in 2005 to reach 59 GW, and ten countries added over 300 MW of wind power, up from five countries that had done so in 2004.

These findings and more are contained in REN21’s 2006 update to its Global Status Report showing trends in renewable investment and policies worldwide.

The 2006 update is, like the first Global Status Report of 2005, a collaborative effort involving more than 100 researchers worldwide in a REN21 issue group with Eric Martinot as leading author, who presented the results in New Zealand today. The definitive version will be available on www.ren21.net soon.

Other findings in the 2006 update include:

- Biomass power production has increased by 50-100% in several countries.
- The US produced record amounts of ethanol fuel for cars, and three new EU countries became ethanol producers.
- Biodiesel production grew by 85% in 2005 and nine new EU countries became producers.
- Grid-tied solar power grew by 55%, led by Germany, now with more than 200,000 solar rooftops.
- Solar hot water capacity grew by 23% in China and reached record levels across Europe.

The renewable industry has captured investors’ attention in the past year more than ever before.

“Renewables are capturing increased attention of businesses and policy-makers around the world” said Mohamed El-Ashry, chairman of the REN21 Steering Committee.

The REN21 report estimates that at least 85 renewable energy companies or divisions have market valuations greater than USD 40 million, up from 60 companies or divisions in 2004. The estimated total market valuation of companies in this category is USD 50 billion, double the 2004 estimate, as several high-profile initial public offerings have recently taken place. The solar PV industry invested record amounts in new plant and equipment (about USD 6 billion), as did the biofuels industry (more than USD 1 billion).

Many new policies to support renewable energy were adopted over the past year, and many more were extended, revised, or discussed. Not only the EU and US were active, but more than 16 developing countries as well, including Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Thailand, and Uganda. Most notable was that a number of countries dramatically stepped up targets and mandates for biofuels – ethanol and biodiesel mixed with conventional fuels. The number of countries with so-called “feed-in” policies for the purchase of power from renewable sources increased to 41, and the number of countries with future targets for the share of energy from renewables increased to at least 49. Initiatives for grid-tied solar power multiplied, including new initiatives in the EU, California and other US states, Australia, and China.

Note to Editors:

REN21 is a global policy network in which ideas are shared and action is encouraged to promote renewable energy. It provides a forum for leadership and exchange in international policy processes. It bolsters appropriate policies that increase the wise use of renewable energies in developing and industrialized economies. Open to a wide variety of dedicated stakeholders, REN21 connects governments, international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, industry associations, and other partnerships and initiatives. Linking actors from the energy, development and environment communities, REN21 leverages their successes and strengthens their influence for the rapid expansion or renewable energy worldwide. Background and further at www.ren21.net.
The REN21 Global Status Reports can be found at www.ren21.net

For more information please contact:
Paul Suding, REN21 Secretariat, at Tel: +33 1 44371465, E-mail: paul.suding@ren21.net

REN21 Press Release

NEMA EIA regulations: draft guidelines, forms, transitional arrangements and capacity building workshops ...

NEMA EIA REGULATIONS: DRAFT GUIDELINES, FORMS, TRANSITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS AND CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOPS.

On 21 April 2006 the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism promulgated regulations in terms of Chapter 5 of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) (“NEMA”) (Government Notice No. R. 385, R. 386, and R. 387 in Government Gazette No. 28753 of 21 April 2006 refer). The regulations replace the environmental impact assessment (“EIA”) regulations that were promulgated in terms of the Environment Conservation Act, 1989 (Act No. 73 of 1989) in 1997 and also introduces new provisions regarding environmental impact assessments. The NEMA EIA regulations came into effect on 3 July 2006 (Government Notice No. R. 612, R. 613, R. 614, R. 615, and R. 616 in Government Gazette No. 28938 of 23 June 2006 refer).

Availability of draft guidelines:

The Department has developed a series of guidelines and information documents (NEMA Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations Guideline and Information Document Series) that provides information and guidance for applicants, authorities and interested and affected parties (“I&APs”) on the procedures to be followed. The following guidelines are already available:

· Guideline on Transitional Arrangements
· Guideline on Alternatives
· Guideline on Public Participation
· Guideline on Alternatives
· Guideline on Appeals
· Guideline on Exemption Applications

These guidelines are intended to assist in the capacitating and understanding of all involved in the process and to facilitate the transition from procedures in terms of applications received by the Department under the Environment Conservation Act, 1989 (Act No. 73 of 1989) (“ECA”) to the procedures in terms of the NEMA EIA regulations. Included in the guideline and information series is a Guideline on Transitional Arrangements developed with respect to Chapter 9 of the NEMA EIA Regulations. This guideline specifically addresses the transitional arrangements for pending applications received by the Department under ECA and provides guidance on the procedures and consideration of such applications.

Although the Department is confident that the guidelines will provide guidance to all the different stakeholders, it however remains the task of applicants and their environmental assessment practitioners (“EAPs”) to familiarize themselves with the new procedures and requirements of the NEMA EIA regulations, and specifically the transitional arrangements. The Department therefore expects applicants (together with their consultants) to apply their own minds to the new requirements.

The lists of activities identified in terms of Sections 24 and 24D of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Government Notice No. R. 386, and R. 387 in Government Gazette No. 28753 of 21 April 2006) requiring either a Basic Assessment process or a Scoping and EIA process are very prescriptive in their identification of which activities would require an environmental authorization. These lists when used in conjunction with the NEMA Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations Guideline and Information Document Series and the Department’s Application Forms and Templates (see below) should provide more than adequate assistance to those either intending to determine whether a potential development will require an environmental authorization or, intending to submit an application to the Department. For clarity purposes and based on the needs of environmental consultancies, EAPs and others, the Department is currently finalizing a detailed interpretation guideline on the lists of activities identified in Government Notice R. 386, and R. 387. The Department will make this guideline available shortly to provide further assistance in this regard.

Please note that all the draft guidelines are currently available for comment by all interested and affected parties. All the relevant draft guidelines are available and can be downloaded from the Department's website .

Notwithstanding this, the Department will entertain significant/noteworthy enquiries pertaining to the NEMA EIA Regulations and these must be directed to the Department’s NEMA EIA Helpdesk (contactable on: Tel. (021) 483 4098; email: EIAINFO@pgwc.gov.za ). However, it must be noted that the function of this service is not intended to ‘do the work’ for environmental consultancies nor replace the requirements of EAPs as determined by Regulation 18 of the NEMA EIA Regulations (General Requirements for EAPs) and should therefore not be abused.

Application forms and templates:

The Department has also developed a number of forms in terms of the NEMA EIA Regulations. The following forms are already available:

· Notice of Intent to Apply Form
· Application Form
· Basic Assessment Report Form
· Notice of Intent to Appeal Form
· Appeal Form

The above forms can be downloaded from the Department's website.

It is important to note that the application form is relevant for both the Basic Assessment and the Scoping/EIA process. It is also important to note that anyone who intends to submit a Basic Assessment Report, must submit the notice of intend to apply at least 14 days before initiating the Basic Assessment process. This is an essential step to provide this Department with information to advise the EAP or applicant on the relevant matters, as well as providing a departmental reference number that must be quoted on all information (by the EAP, applicant or interested and affected parties) submitted to this Department. Note that forms that contain inadequate information will be rejected. All documentation submitted to the Department that does not contain the departmental reference number, will be rejected or disregarded.

Transitional arrangements:

Seven different scenarios are discussed in the Department’s Guideline on Transitional Arrangements. Please however specifically take note of the following two scenarios:

· Where an application submitted in terms of the previous EIA regulations (in terms of the Environment Conservation Act, 1989) (an “ECA application”), is pending and the same components of the development (that were listed under ECA) also constitute a listed activity under the new NEMA EIA regulations, the following must be noted: According to the NEMA EIA Regulations an application for authorisation of an activity submitted in terms of the previous regulations and which is pending when the NEMA EIA Regulations take effect, will be dispensed with in terms of the previous regulations as if the previous regulations were not repealed (Regulation 84(1)). According to the NEMA EIA Regulations authorisations issued for applications that were pending in terms of the previous regulations when the NEMA EIA Regulations take effect, will be regarded to be environmental authorisations issued in terms of the NEMA EIA Regulations (Regulation 84(3)). In accordance with the Regulations anything done in terms of the previous regulations and which can be done in terms of a provision of the NEMA EIA Regulations will be regarded as having been done in terms of the provision of the NEMA EIA Regulations (Regulation 83(1)). Therefore where an ECA application is pending and the same components of the development that were listed under ECA are now also listed under the NEMA EIA regulations, and the impacts associated with the entire development (and therefore also the impacts associated with the activities in terms of the NEMA EIA Regulations) were considered in the EIA process undertaken in terms of the ECA, a new application in terms of NEMA will not be required.

· It must also be noted that in any instance where development activities that are regarded as a listed activity in terms of the NEMA EIA regulations, that have not commenced before 3 July 2006 (regardless if an application has been submitted to other relevant authorities in terms of other relevant legislation), will require written environmental authorisation in terms of the NEMA EIA Regulations from this Department before such activities can commence.

Capacity building workshops:

Also note that the Department will be holding six capacity building workshops at different venues within the Western Cape shortly. The purpose of this capacity building initiative is to familiarise external stakeholders with the provisions of the new regulations and its implications so that stakeholders can participate meaningfully in the new EIA process. It is also aimed at developing capacity amongst municipalities, provincial and national government departments in the Western Cape, environmental and planning consultants, NGO groups, business and industry, as well as members of the public. The dates and venues for these capacity building workshops will be advertised in the press and on the Department’s website shortly.

Society for Conservation Biology - Annual Meeting ...

21st Annual Meeting,
Port Elizabeth,
South Africa
1 - 5 July 2007
www.conbio.org/2007

One World
One Conservation
One Partnership

Important Dates:
Call for symposia and workshops: 14 July - 16 October 2006
Call for short courses: 14 July - 13 November 2006
Call for abstracts, papers & posters: 16 October 2006 – 8 January 2007
Registration opens: 15 January 2007
SCB 2007 meeting: 1 – 5 July 2007

Institute of Environment & Recreation Management Convention ...

Institute of Environment & Recreation Management Convention 2006
13 - 15 September 2006
ICC Durban
"LIVEABLE COMMUNITIES THROUGH SERVICE DELIVERY"
Further info contact:
IERM Secretariat
ierm@vdw.co.za
Tel: (011) 789 1384
Fax: (011) 789 1385
www.ierm.org.za

5th Southern Connection Conference ...

5th Southern Connection Conference,
Adelaide South Australia
We have recently updated our website providing information on
registration, accommodation and helpful weblinks for visitors to
Adelaide.
We encourage you to visit frequently as there will be regular updates: http://www.ees.adelaide.edu.au/events/Southern_Connections/
Also available a conference poster for your notice bulletin boards.
(Let me know if you want a copy - Ingrid)
In the interest of others, it would be much appreciated if you could
post this within your area to advertise the Conference.

Kind regards,
Maria
--
Maria Lekis
maria.lekis@adelaide.edu.au
Administrator, Networking Environmental Sciences
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Adelaide, AUSTRALIA SA 5005
Darling Building, DP 418. Rm 209a
Ph:+61 8 8303 3952 Fax : +61 8 8303 4364
visit us at-->>>http://www.ees.adelaide.edu.au/

Seminar - Western Cape Fire Prevention ...

Western Cape Fire Prevention and Management Seminar.
6 and 7 September 2006,
Ganzekraal.

For full programme and registration details contact:
Susan Steyn
susan@dwaf.gov.za
Private Bag X16
Sanlamhof
7532
T: 021 - 950 7121
F: 021 - 950 7277
C: 082 808 2720

17 July, 2006

New staff at the Table Mountain Fund ...

The Table Mountain Fund (TMF) and WWF-SA are pleased to introduce the appointment of a new Manager and Assistant for the TMF. The new manager is Onno Huyser, who takes over the position previously filled by Julia Wood and who joined them on 1 July 2006. The new Assistant is Tamaryn Allan who replaces Zohra Parkar-Salie and will start with us on 1 August 2006.

The Table Mountain Fund is an independent sustainable funding facility, established to support the implementation of the C.A.P.E Strategy and specifically the conservation of the biological diversity of the CFR and its adjacent marine systems. Founded by WWF eight years ago, the TMF was co-capitalised through investments from South African custodians, as well as the Global Environmental Facility.

In conjunction with its partners, the Fund has historically focused its activities in the following conservation needs:

• Protection of prioritised habitats;
• Conservation within the working lowlands;
• Building environmental awareness;
• Control of alien invasives & restoration of natural Biodiversity
• Applied research that supports Biodiversity conservation
• Enhancement of the Global Conservation Status of the CFR
• Capacity Building of CAPE partner organisations

Please contact Onno Huyser at ohuyser@wwf.org.za or phone 021 762-8525 for more information.

13 July, 2006

Energy and Climate Change Short Course, ERC, UCT ...

The Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town will be hosting an Energy and Climate Change Short Course from 28 August - 1 September 2006. The details and application form can be obtained from Dr Debbie Sparks - see contact details below.

Please could forward this to any colleagues you think me be interested in attending.

--------------------------------------------
Dr Debbie Sparks
Energy Research Centre
University of Cape Town
Private Bag, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa
Tel: +27 21 650 2420 Fax: +27 21 650 2830
Email: debbie@erc.uct.ac.za

"Climate Change: Adapt or Bust"... the Insurance Industry wakes up ...

Fact: Last year, natural catastrophes killed 97,000 people and cost the
insurance industry $83 billion more than ever before.

With new weather patterns, exposures are changing and insurers need to
act now, says the new Lloyd's report Climate Change: Adapt or Bust.

Despite debates around the causes and effects of climate change,
scientific evidence shows that global temperature, sea levels and rain
fall are rising faster than previously thought. And, if the industry
wants to survive, it must adapt its responses to these trends sooner
rather than later, says Lloyds.


That means investing both time and money in business-focused academic
research which will help the industry come up with workable risk models
- a key instrument for assessing risk exposure and therefore setting the
right price, terms and conditions.


At the moment, the industry is lagging behind. The fact that no-one has
an accurate picture of the financial impact climate change could have on
the industry is a clear indication that more needs to be done.


Lloyds says that the industry needs to stay ahead of the game by
taking a new approach to underwriting, with pricing and capital
allocation models regularly being updated to reflect the latest
scientific evidence.


For example, current sea levels are higher in the Gulf of Mexico than
in the past and, with sea temperatures rising, the industry must prepare
for increased windstorm activity. It also means that US hurricane
exposure will remain high and insurers need to plan for that. Risk
modelling and pricing are key factors which the industry cannot afford
to lose sight of.


Over the past few years, insurers have battled with record hurricane
seasons, a trend that is expected to continue. These changes mean that
long term historical data should not be the only tool that underwriters
use. As forecasting becomes more precise, underwriters should be able to
respond to the scientific predictions of each season ahead.


Rolf Tolle, Lloyds Director, Franchise Performance said: The models
the industry has been using up until now may not adequately anticipate
the pace of change. Thanks to scientific advances, underwriters can now
take into account the increasingly reliable predictions which exist for
the storm season immediately ahead, and factor these into their planning
and pricing.


He added: Although it's almost two decades since the UN recognized
that climate change was a catastrophic threat to earth, it's clear that
the insurance industry has not taken catastrophe trends seriously
enough. As an industry we must work together to understand and manage
these new risks, and to change our behaviour.


Today's risk environment is changing and evolving more rapidly than
ever before. So at Lloyds, understanding and anticipating major risk
trends is at the heart of all we do. Climate change is todays problem,
not tomorrows. If we don't take action now to understand the changing
nature of our planet and its impact, our industry will face
extinction.


The report also says that the industry needs to figure out how to work
in partnership with governments and businesses to look for practical
solutions to help society adapt to climate change. Such partnerships
would help to mitigate risks such as the number of people living on
coastlines, and kickstart work to reduce CO2 emissions.


And although most natural perils are insurable ?as long as the market
is free to price risk adequately, Lloyds warns that long-term
insurability of weather-related risk is by no means guaranteed because
climate change is developing much faster than initially thought.


The message is clear, and is right there in the title Adapt or Bust.
As the report says in its introduction: Climate change is likely to
bring us all an even more uncertain future. If we do not take action now
to understand the risks and their impact, the changing climate could
kill us.


About the 360 Risk Project

The aim of the Lloyds 360 Risk Project is to generate discussion and
debate on how to manage risk in todays environment. This is a major
issue and one that will not be addressed easily or quickly. That is
why the Lloyds 360 Risk Project is a long-term initiative addressing
different aspects and elements of risk across a range of issues.


The first series is all about catastrophe trends - an issue that
concerns not just the insurance industry but everyone with an interest
in the future of our planet. This series will run over the coming months
and as it evolves we hope to understand more about catastrophe trends
and what the insurance industry and indeed the wider business world and society can do to cope with catastrophes.


Future series of the 360 Risk Project will address similar important
and wide-ranging issues. But, as the 360 Risk Project is all about
creating discussion and debate, we want your views on what topics we
should be addressing. Send us your ideas on what should be on the agenda by
emailing us at 360@lloyds.com


Source:

http://www.lloyds.com/News_Centre/Features_from_Lloyds/
Climate_change_adapt_or_bust.htm

08 July, 2006

Workshop announcement - Western Cape Wetlands Forum ...

You are invited to attend a special workshop on the 21 July 2006:
Wetland Conservation meets the Development Imperative. A concept
document which includes a programme outline can be obtained from Philippa Huntly (contact details below).

The workshop is open to all so please feel free to invite people you
think may be interested - you can forward this URL or send Philippa their
details and she will invite them.

The venue is the Congress Room of the Biodiversity Centre at
Kirstenbosch from 9.30am to 3.30 pm.

If you are going to attend please RSVP to Philippa for catering purposes.

Philippa Huntly
on behalf of:
Urban Conservation Unit
SA National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Kirstenbosch
Pvt Bag X7
Claremont
Cape Town
7735
South Africa
Tel: 27 21 799 8682
Fax: 27 21 797 8390
website: http://www.sanbi.org/
project website: www.capeflatsnature.org

Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative ...

Click here for info about the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative where you can download your own SASSI booklet and pocket guide.

Be aware of the conservation issues surrounding your favourite seafood species. Would you still happily eat that crispy fish fillet if you knew that it came from a species of which the population has been overfished down to 5% of the original pre-exploitation levels, or would you willingly choose fish that are caught by a fishery that kills thousands of endangered albatrosses as bycatch every year?

'Watt' did the one Koeberg generator say to the other? ...

'Watt' did the one Koeberg power station generator say to the other?
"Lets go out together"

See here also for further lighter perspectives on the whole issue.

For those of you who don't get this Western Cape 'in joke' see
http://iafrica.com/news/features/958940.htm to get a hint of the issue

Also Google 'Koeberg power outage' to read lots about it.

05 July, 2006

Bioregional Programmes Newsletter - E Cape ...

The Bioregional Programmes Co-ordination Unit, SANBI, produces a quarterly newsletter that features information about what is going on in the Eastern Cape regarding all the bioregional programmes that are active in the province, including C.A.P.E., STEP and SKEP.

Contact:

Tracey Cumming
Project Developer
Bioregional Programmes Co-ordination Unit
South African National Biodiversity Institute
Tracey.Cumming@deaet.ecape.gov.za
Tel (041) 508 5849 Fax (041) 585 1964