03 October, 2007

TED - Tegnology, Entertainment and Design ...

www.ted.com - just one of the most inspiring sites I have come across in a long while

Here is one reason why:

11 September, 2007

Climate Change Modeling in South Africa ...


Last week I attended the launch, at UCT, of a most interesting South African Climate Change project.

Now your own PC can be used, while you are not using it, to assist in climate data processing to improve the reliability of climate change modeling for South Africa.

See the "AfricanClimate@Home" link at www.worldcommunitygrid.org

Please read on.

Capetown, South Africa, September 3, 2007 . . . IBM and the Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) at the University of Cape Town (Bruce Hewitson) launched a global computing effort to improve regional climate models in order to make better projections about what effects a changing climate will have in Africa.

Climate change is of grave concern in all areas, but in developing regions such as Africa, the impact will be more acute because of the lack of access to healthcare and other social services. Widespread floods, for example, can lead to water borne illness and related diseases such as dengue fever or malaria, which are spread by infected mosquitoes that thrive in water. Droughts can have devastating effects as well by bringing on pervasive food shortages.

By making better predictions about how global climate change might realistically affect regions of Africa, resource managers can start to make decisions that might alleviate the adverse effects. For example, they could begin planning an irrigation infrastructure or promoting appropriate drought resistant crops. The project, “AfricanClimate@Home,” will use the vast computational power of World Community Grid, a virtual supercomputer comprised of hundreds of thousands of individuals who donate their unused computer time, making it as powerful as one of the world’s top five supercomputers. Researchers will use the computational power of World Community Grid to improve the models used to predict the climate by conducting simulations in small regions of Africa and then checking them against real observations.

While large-scale global climate models provide people with a general idea of what the climate may be like over a wide area, they do not necessarily reflect what will happen in a particular region because the global models do not sufficiently take into account large lakes, mountains, or plains that can affect the local climate.
Lead researcher Dr. Mark Tadross, says, “Making predictions about the climate requires an enormous amount of computational power because of all of the variables, such as temperature, wind, pressure, and humidity. In order to improve the models, we need to come up with better algorithms that will more closely match what is observed in a local area. By using World Community Grid, we have the computational power necessary to run the tests we need to improve our models.”

Once researchers have access to models that more accurately predict regional weather patterns, they can then begin to run forecasts about how global climate changes may affect the region. People can then use the data to make management decisions related to agriculture and water resources. This is important in an area of the world that is still developing and often does not have adequate infrastructure. Forewarning any potentially dramatic changes in climate, especially those related to extreme events such as droughts and floods, can enable vulnerable communities and disaster management teams to act in advance of the climatic hazard.

“We can all have a profound effect on this research by simply by donating our unused computer cycle time,” said Stanley Litow, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation. “If you own a computer and can access the Internet, then you can be a part of the solution".

To donate your unused computer time to this project, you can register on www.worldcommunitygrid.org and install a free, small software program on to your computer/s. When computers are idle, for example people are at lunch, their computers request data from World Community Grid’s server. These computers then perform climate modeling computations using this data, and send the results back to the server, prompting it for a new piece of work. A screen saver will tell individuals when their computers are being used.

World Community Grid, the largest public humanitarian grid in existence, has an impressive 315,000-plus members and links more than 700,000 computers. However, it’s estimated that there will be one billion computers worldwide by 2008, underscoring the potential for the grid and its computational power to significantly expand and make an even greater impact on a range of humanitarian issues.

Seven projects have been run on World Community Grid to date, including "FightAIDS@Home", which completed five years of HIV/AIDS research in just six months. Additional projects are in the pipeline.

Clint Roswell
mailto: roswellc@us.ibm.com

Let's support CSAG and have as many South Africans as possible signing up to the World Community Grid "ClimateChange@Home" project and see if we can lead the world in regional climate modeling.

07 June, 2007

RECC Presentations

This post gives access to all the presentations delivered at the Western Cape Renewable Energy and Climate Change Summit

Click on the links below to download the presentations and documents from the Western Cape Renewable Energy and Climate Change Summit held at the CTICC, Cape Town 7-8 June 2007

Correlate these presentations with the Summit Programme

DAY 1 - 7 JUNE 2007 - Renewable Energy

Mark Borchers ppt 4.35MB
Ronald Chauke ppt 304KB
Adam Gordon ppt 192KB
Mark Gordon ppt 7.7MB
Daniel Modise ppt 385KB
Raudiyah Sahabodien pps 8.9MB
Brian Sechotlho ppt 2045KB
Nicola Steen ppt 14.11MB
M Visage ppt 771KB
SANERI presentation to RE and CC Summit in CT 070607 ppt 579KB
NERSA Licensing Rules RE Summit 20070607 ppt 175KB
NERSA Regulatory Support RE Summit 20070606 ppt 182KB

Today the National Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, delivered his budget speech

Professor Wikus van Niekerk of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies of the University of Stellenbosch drew delegates attention to a regular discussion forum hosted by the Centre relating to Renewable and Sustainable Energy issues.

Here is the Draft Sustainable Energy Strategy pdf 16.6MB (Note: this is a full colour pdf of the printed document)

Queen Protea, Protea magnifica,
on the slopes of Milner Ridge Peak,
Hex River Mountains

At the end of the day MEC Essop's office issued the following press statement:

MEC Essop commits to bold actions to accelerate Renewable Energy initiatives in the Western Cape

Yesterday in Cape Town delivering the first day closure of the Provincial Government’s Renewable Energy and Climate Change Summit, MEC Tasneem Essop acknowledged the contributions, gaps, opportunities and challenges raised by all the stakeholders present.

This summit was held to create an enabling environment to promote dialogue between stakeholders and government in order to activate the renewable energy sector within the Western Cape.

The MEC summarized the day’s proceedings and committed to a range of immediate actions.

Essop offered that her Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning would facilitate a process to understand barriers and constraints to implementing Renewable Energy projects.

The Department will develop a document readily available to provide information to prospective RE developers to explain the regulatory processes involved in implementing Renewable Energy projects. The pamphlet will also include information about incentives and provide specific contact details.

Essop also recognized the urgent need to build smart capacity in government departments, municipalities and other relevant organs of state to efficiently manage Renewable Energy project implementation.

Furthermore, she committed to facilitate the roll-out of the short-term actions identified in the recently finalized Western Cape Sustainable Energy Strategy and establish a Renewable Energy networking forum to regularly debate Renewable Energy issues between all stakeholders including government.

Cognizant of urgent climate change adaptation and mitigation imperatives, Essop announced that she will take the initiative to develop a Renewable Energy Act for the Western Cape in consultation with her national and provincial counterparts.

In conclusion Essop offered to investigate and promote the creation of funding opportunities for small and medium Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency projects, and facilitate skills development programmes within the Renewable Energy sector (such as installation and maintenance of solar water geysers), where there is currently a shortage of such skills.


Contact Person:
Suraya Hamdulay
083 555 4150

DAY 2 - 8 JUNE 2007 - Climate Change

There is an earlier post on this blog where you can download draft copies of the Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan and Supplimentary Reports

Belynda Petrie ppt 4.7MB - Presentation on the Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan

01 June, 2007

Western Cape Renewable Energy and Climate Change Summit ...

Ms Tasneem Essop, the Western Cape Minister of Environment, Planning and Economic Development, has extended an invitation to participate in the Renewable Energy and Climate Change Summit on 7 and 8 June 2007 in Cape Town during World Environment Week hosted by her Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.

The Provincial Government of the Western Cape has set a target of 15% of energy production from renewable sources by 2014. The first day of the summit is mainly a business and renewable energy investment forum and exhibition to stimulate the implementation of renewable energy projects in the province.

The second day of the summit focuses primarily on the Draft Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy and Action Plan. A wide range of national and provincial stakeholders are invited to participate. There will be an address by the honourable Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of the National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Premier of the Western Cape on this vital issue. The climate change segment of the summit addresses the impacts of climate change on the poor and most vulnerable sectors of society.

Register for the Summit online. (The number of delegates is limited so to avoid disappointment please register and do not just pitch up on the day)

Draft Western Cape Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and Supplimentary Reports ...

The Draft Western Cape Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and Supplimentary Reports are now available online on the Western Cape Climate Change Project Website.

There will be ongoing opportunities to engage with the department in finalising the report after the Western Cape Renewable Energy and Climate Change Summit to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 7 and 8 June 2007 - for further information consult this blog regularly. Click on the link to the Sumit above to register online.

18 May, 2007

NewScientist Special on Climate Myths ...

For those who are perhaps confused by all the conflicting claims about climate change and want to find out what's really going on, New Scientist has put together a special on climate myths.

Why? Because time is running out. We need to be debating how to achieve the drastic cuts in CO2 emissions that are required to reduce our impact on the climate, not wasting time endlessly rehashing a debate that was largely settled half a century ago.

11 May, 2007

Information Sessions on Threatened and Protected Species Regulations ...

South African Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

For immediate release

Threatened and Protected Species Regulations -
to come into force on 1 February 2008

On the 20th of February 2007, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, announced the new Threatened and Protected Species Regulations. After presentations by some Provincial MECs around challenges in implementing these regulations by 1 June 2007, the Minister has decided that these regulations will come into force on 1 February 2008.

No further postponement will be considered. The Minister would like to call on all stakeholders to ensure that they are ready for the implementation on 1 February 2008. In the interim, applicants are encouraged to apply for registration of facilities, as well as for elephant ivory, and for possession permits of, for example, cycad species. Even though permits will only be issued after 1 February, early submission of applications will avoid congestion and aid compliance.

Enquiries: Riaan Aucamp - 083 778 9923


Below are the specific venues for the information seminars on Threatened or Protected species regulations. Copies of the regulations as well as the implementation guidelines are obtainable from Amanda Dana (see contact details below).

Venue: Queen Elizabeth Park
Date & Time: 10 May 2007 (Government officials only)- 14h00-16h00
Date & Time: 11 May 2007 (Stakeholders and the General Public)- 09h00
till 16h00

Venue: CSIR- Ruby Auditorium
Date: 14 May 2007
Time: 07h30-15h30

Venue: Grahamstown Foundation-Thomas Pringle
Date: 15 May 2007
Time: 09h00-16h00

Cape Town
Venue: Cape Sun
Date: 16 May 2007
Time: 09h00-16h00

Venue: Bains Game Lodge
Date: 17 May 2007
Time: 09h00-16h00

Venue: Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA)- Auditorium
Date: 18 May 2007
Time: 09h00-16h00

Venue: Oasis Lodge
Date: 21 May 2007
Time: 09h00-16h00

Venue: Langberg Gasteplaas
Date: 22 May 2007
Time: 09h00-16h00

Contact Person:
(from whom further information and copies of the regulations and an implementation guideline can be obtained)
Amanda Dana
+27 12 310 3969

20 March, 2007

Consultant services required by C.A.P.E. ...

General Procurement Notice:
Consultant Database Listing
C.A.P.E. Fine-scale Biodiversity Planning Project

C.A.P.E. is a partnership programme, hosted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), that seeks to conserve and restore the biodiversity of the Cape Floristic Region and adjacent marine environment, while delivering significant benefits to the people of the region. Component 5 of the C.A.P.E. programme, which deals with establishing the foundations of the biodiversity economy to enhance conservation stewardship in key lowland landscapes, consists of four sub-components. This project constitutes sub-component 5.1, i.e. Undertaking fine-scale biodiversity planning in five broad priority areas namely the Riversdale Coastal Plain, Nieuwoudtville, Upper Breede River Valley, North West Sandveld and the Saldanha Peninsula. The Fine-scale Biodiversity Planning Project is a four year project, (May 2005 – December 2009), funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). CapeNature has been appointed as the lead implementing agency for the fine-scale biodiversity planning project and will be working in close partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute and other project partners such as provincial departments and agencies, local authorities, planning and environmental consultants and local conservation NGOs.

The services of a number of consultants will be required during the production of these English and Afrikaans land-and resource-use guidelines which are to be associated with these conservation maps and plans. These services include:

A Guidelines Manager: To produce land-and resource-use guidelines to be associated with the conservation plans and maps;
A Guidelines Text Editor;
A Guidelines Designer; and
An English/Afrikaans translator.

Interested consultants are invited to register their interest in any of the above short term contracts related to the project by providing CV’s indicating relevant skills, qualifications and experience together with a covering letter to the Project Co-ordinator, Kerry te Roller at teroller@sanbi.org by 26 March 2007. Specific Terms of Reference will be provided after registration.

Impact of livestock on the environment ...

I recently listened to a podcast, 'theWatt, episode 70' that dealt with the impact of livestock on the environment, icluding energy issues of producing various foods. This is an interesting podcast dealing with energy issues.

They mentioned a very interesting report, 'Livestock's long shadow', on the subject.

Summary: This report aims to assess the full impact of the livestock sector on environmental problems, along with potential technical and policy approaches to mitigation. The assessment is based on the most recent and complete data available, taking into account direct impacts, along with the impacts of feed crop agriculture required for livestock production.
The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.
Livestock’s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale and its potential contribution to their solution is equally large. The impact is so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency. Major reductions in impact could be achieved at reasonable cost.

By the way my other favourite podcasts include the NewScientist podcast and Scientific American podcast and on a lighter note More Hip than Hippie

17 March, 2007

Talk by Sir Nicholas Stern ...

On Thursday last, as the provincial representative on the National Climate Change Committee, I was lucky enough to attend a talk at the DBSA, Midrand, by Sir Nicholas Stern

A really interesting talk and very interesting discussion with the audience afterwards

You can download the actual report and associated reviews here

Passing through Johannesburg International Airport (O.R. Tambo Airport) was the evidence of last weekend's Cape Argus Cycle Race - boxes and boxes of bicycles transported free by SAA on the new cut rate airline Mango

This year just over 30 000 cyclists from around the globe participated in the world's largest timed cycle race, including familiar names and faces like Nicholas Laidler, Francois Pienaar and tandem partner, Lucas Radebe, as well as Tour de France greats, Greg LeMond, Jan Ullrich and Steven Rooks.

10 March, 2007

Whatever you do don't mention Polar Bears ...

American censorship of science, particularly of climate change, is still alive and well.
See the latest daming report on the NewScientist blog.

08 March, 2007

Short course on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedures ...

Rhodes University: Short course on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedures

Course dates: Monday 7 May to Friday 11 May 2007

Rhodes University's Departments of Environmental Science and Botany, in conjunction with Coastal & Environmental Services (CES), are offering another short course on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedures at Rhodes University, Grahamstown during May 2007.

For more information on this course, please obtain a brochure (in pdf format) and registration form (Word document) from the contact person below.

Please forward this information to anybody you feel may be interested in attending a course in Environmental Impact Assessment procedures.

Should you have any queries about this EIA short course, please contact :

Lisl Griffioen
Short course coordinator
Coastal & Environmental Services


P O Box 934
6140, South Africa
Tel: 046-622 4455
Fax: 046-622 6564

07 March, 2007

Draft guideline on biodiversity offsets - comments requested

In December 2005 the Department of Environment Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) commissioned the preparation of a provincial guideline on biodiversity offsets. A draft guideline was produced in June 2006 (www.capegateway.gov.za/eng/pubs/guides/P/133948/2 ) but, due to a number of issues, was not finalized.

In January 2007, the Department appointed Susie Brownlie (deVilliers Brownlie Associates), together with Mark Botha (Botanical Society of South Africa), Nick Helme (Nick Helme Botanical Surveys) and Hugo van Zyl (Independent Economic Researchers), to strengthen and finalize the draft guideline.

Drawing on a focused biodiversity offsets workshop, and input from a number of stakeholders, the draft guideline has been revised. This revised draft will be available for comment by interested and affected parties on DEA&DP's website [(www.capegateway.gov.za/eadp) from Friday 9 March - please go to 'publications' and then 'guidelines', and look for the 'biodiversity offsets' guideline].

Should you have any comments on the revised draft guideline, please send them to Susie Brownlie (email: dbass@icon.co.za) by the very latest 20 March 2007.

Please contact Susie Brownlie [021-6744 253] should you have any queries.

27 February, 2007

Transforming the global energymix - What role for biofuels? ...

INVITATION TO LECTURE: Transforming the global
energymix - What role for biofuels?

Biowatch South Africa and the University of Cape Town's Environmental
Evaluation Unit are jointly hosting a lecture which will focus on

Biowatch is an environmental organisation concerned with issues of
biodiversity, biosafety, food sovereignty and social justice.

The Environmental Evaluation Unit is an independent self-funded unit
based at UCT. Founded in 1985, the Unit has established itself as a
centre of excellence in the fields of integrated environmental
management and sustainable development.

Please RSVP to Feroza at biowatch@mweb.co.za or on 021-447 5939 by
Friday, 2 March 2007.

To find out more about Biowatch South Africa, please go to
www.biowatch.org.za or ring us on 021-447 5939.

To find out more about the Environmental Evaluation Unit, please go to

Transforming the global energy mix
What role for biofuels?

Dr Karin Kniessl discusses some of the geopolitical and market issues
which dominate the current debate on transformation of the global energy
market - the "third industrial revolution" - as coined by some
scientists. She will examine the role of the European Union, OPEC and
international energy companies in this debate and its implications for
South Africa.

Seminar Room
Chemical Engineering Building
Upper Campus, UCT
Wednesday, 7 March
5 pm (17.00)

Refreshments will be served after the discussion

Dr Karin Kniessl is an academic and author who teaches international
relations with a focus on the Middle East and energy affairs at the
Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria. She is a former Austrian Ministry
of Foreign Affairs official and a member of the board of the Society for
Political and Strategic Studies.

23 February, 2007

Dioxin and Furan info ...

Around the dioxin / furan issues of Energy-from-Waste facilities.
See the United States Environmental Protection Agency
(USEPA) Air Pollution Training Institute (APTI) manual on the
characteristics, formation and control of dioxins and furans. The following
are links to 1-page explanations. For your info:




Threatened or protected species regulations ...

Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism




Today, it gives me great pleasure to publish the regulations that pertain to threatened and protected species. These regulations will come into effect on 1 June 2007.

The regulations are a culmination of a three year period of consultation between government, civil society, the wild life industry as well as animal welfare groups. They also take into account several recommendations by a panel of experts which I appointed in January 2005.

For the first time nationally listed species will now have uniform conservation status across the country. Government will have new muscle to ensure that our biodiversity is utilised in an ecologically sustainable way. A broad range of restricted activities will now require permits. The illicit trading of our endangered fish, bird and plant species, like cycads, will be rooted out. The same legal standards will apply throughout the country, closing loopholes and removing discrepancies between provinces.

In support of these regulations, our initiatives to improve law enforcement demonstrate Government’s resolve to protect our biological heritage. The Green Scorpions will continue to play a key role in ensuring compliance.

Let me turn to some of the specifics:

Registration and self-regulation

The Regulations introduce a uniform national system for the registration of captive breeding operations, commercial exhibition facilities, game farms, nurseries, scientific institutions, sanctuaries and rehabilitation facilities. These institutions will be required to meet strict criteria. For the first time, provision will be made for the recognition of hunting organisations and the application of codes of ethical conduct and good practice.

The introduction of game farm hunting and nursery possession permits will streamline the permit issuing process. It will also compel permit holders to provide critical information to the authorities, which will assist in assessing the status of biodiversity in the country.

Meeting International Commitments

In order to meet our CITES commitments, we are establishing a national scientific authority, which will replace the current fragmented system. The new authority will enable uniform implementation and provide access to scientific information beyond just CITES species.

As a signatory to the international Convention on Biodiversity, South Africa has a commitment to the sustainable use of our natural resources. We understand the huge responsibility that rests on our shoulders to nurture the ecological and economic value of our biodiversity. Therefore, we must protect the integrity of our ecosystems to ensure their long term contribution to tourism and job creation. These regulations empower us to do this.

Canned Lion Hunting

We are putting an end, once and for all, to the reprehensible practice of canned hunting. The regulations specifically prohibit hunting large predators and rhinoceros that are “put and take” animals - in other words, a captive bred animal that is released on a property for the purpose of hunting within twenty four months.

South Africa has a long-standing reputation as a global leader on conservation issues. We can not allow our achievements to be undermined by rogue practices such as canned lion hunting.

Cleaning up the Hunting Industry

More broadly, the regulations signal the start of a clean-up of the hunting industry. They lay the basis for a well regulated and ethical hunting and game farming industry in South Africa.

Whilst we applaud their substantial and positive contribution to conservation management and economic growth, we also have a responsibility to preserve the resource base and ensure that the industry has a sustainable future. In order to do this, we must balance economic objectives with conservation management objectives. Hunting is an important industry, but we must manage it in accordance with ethical and defensible standards.

The regulations include prohibitions and restrictions on certain activities and methods of hunting. For example, hunting thick skinned animals and large predators with a bow and arrow will be prohibited and hunting from vehicles will no longer be allowed.

Two-step process

The implementation of these regulations will be the first step of a two-step process to clean up the hunting and game farming industry. The next step will be to promote even greater uniformity with regard to elements of the hunting industry that we are not dealing with today. We will introduce national norms and standards that provide a framework for provincial regulation and further streamline permitting. This will also be developed in close consultation with the industry, provincial authorities and other stakeholders.

The regulations are available on www.environment.gov.za


Chief Director: Communications, Blessing Manale - 083 677 1630
Director: Ministerial Liaison, Riaan Aucamp - 083 778 9923

Electronic Database on African Plant Information ...

The three larger SANBI herbaria, The National Herbarium, Pretoria, The
Compton Herbarium, Cape Town, and the KwaZulu-Natal Herbarium, Durban,
during the past three years collaborated with Aluka in building an
electronic database on African plant information. SANBI was one of the
34 participants in the project and contributed more than 20 725 high
resolution images of type specimens held in the three herbaria, together
with numerous images of slides and artwork held in its collections. The
Aluka resource now holds more than 260 000 images and
descriptive texts of plants from Africa and Madagascar contributed to
date by the participants. This resource will be officially launched at
the AETFAT congress that will be held in Yaounde, Cameroon in February 2007.

This resource can now be accessed at http://www.aluka.org.
A help facility can be accessed at http://www.aluka.org/page/help/index.jsp,
and contents areas and descriptions at

It is inevitable that you will come across mistakes in the database.
These you can report to the contact person below.

Dr J.P. (Koos) Roux
Curator: Compton Herbarium
Private Bag X7
Claremont 7735
South Africa

Tel.: +27 21 799 8681
Fax: +27 21 761 4151
e-mail: roux@sanbi.org
website: www.sanbi.org.

20 February, 2007

EU Agrees to cut green house emissions by 20%

European environment ministers have agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Climate Change themes ...

Some useful links in climate change related themes

Climate change communications:

Defra climate change communication

Carbon allowances:

Defra personal carbon allowances
Evaluating emissions - guidance and tools for calculating your organisations emissions

Individual Actions:

Individual and political action on climate change - Wiki
Focus on climate change - individual action

Reality show deals with climate change reality

Reality show deals with climate change reality

WA$TED!, which was supported by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, visits a different household each week targeting energy efficiency, water use, transport choices, rubbish and recycling.

Come on SABC - get WA$TED!

22 January, 2007

UK Climate Impacts Programme ...

I have just received the latest news and events of the UK Climate Impacts Programme.

Of particular interest is the latest edition of the UKCIP Climate Digest, a monthly digest of climate change adaptation research from the academic literature.

The digest covers the science of climate change, impacts, adaptation and decision-making. It aims to provide a broad coverage of a range of sectors and regions. Full references for each article are provided.

Western Cape can learn many lessons by studying Climate Change programmes in other countries.

Western Cape Climate Change Website ...

The Western Cape Provincial Government has commisioned OneWorld Sustainable Investments to develop a Provincial Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.

OneWorld has created a Western Cape Climate Change Website where information about climate change in the Western Cape is available.

There is also an on line bulletin board with all the latest news about the project such as announcements of workshops. You can also register there as a project stakeholder.

16 January, 2007

ExxonMobil Disinformation on Climate Change ...

On January 3 2007 ABC News reported that ExxonMobil withdrew and reissued, within 20 minutes of publication, an amended response to a report about the company by 'The Union of Concerned Scientists' criticising Exxon's funding of disinformation on climate change science.

Exxon's amended response states, "We recognize that the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere poses risks that may prove significant for society and ecosystems…Human activities have contributed to these increased concentrations [of greenhouse gases], mainly through the combustion of fossil fuels for energy use; land use changes [especially deforestation]; and agricultural, animal husbandry and waste-disposal practices…Even with many scientific uncertainties, the risk that greenhouse gas emissions may have serious impacts justifies taking action." What is clear today is that greenhouse gas emissions are one of the factors that contribute to climate change, and that the use of fossil fuels is a major source of these emissions." amongst other issues.

I first came across this in a Newsweek article published on 4 January 2007.

The fact that an oil company like ExxonMobil now recognises climate change and the links thereof to greenhouse gas emissions, together with the recent political developments in the US, makes me think we will see movement on the issue sooner rather than later by the US National Government.

Reading 'The SciGuy's' blog post on the topic and all the comments that respond to that post really start to give one an idea of the complexities of the political and scientific minefield around the climate change and disinformation issue.

The Carbon Footprint of a Cheeseburger ...

How much carbon does your cheeseburger habit create?

At 2.85-3.1 kg of CO2 (equiv) per burger, then, that's 428-465 kg of greenhouse gas per year for an average American's burger consumption.

Follow the link, it's an interesting read.
For a real education you must read the 34 odd 'blog reactions' or comments. See the bottom right of the post in question - green text.

Internship with IUCN Species Survival Commission ...

The IUCN Species Survival Comission (SSC) is advertising a six month internship as assistant to the Chair of the SSC, Dr Holly Dublin.

The internship will be for a total of six (6) months (negotiable), starting as soon as possible in 2007. Applicants must meet at least six of the following eight criteria:
- Be studying towards a Doctoral Degree in the field of conservation biology, zoology, botany, environmental management, or related fields
- Be a newly-qualified Masters graduate in the above-mentioned fields
- Be fully computer literate
- Be able to make use of the public transport to Kirstenbosch Gardens or have their own transport
- Be able and willing to travel or work after hours if required
- Be enthusiastic, willing to learn and eager to undertake any task assigned to them
- Be competent in both written and verbal communication (English essential, French and/or Spanish advantageous)
- Have the flexibility to start in early 2007 and be available for a minimum of four (4) months

The Intern in the SSC Chair’s Office will be expected, amongst other things, to do the following:

1. Fill in for the SSC Chair’s Assistant when necessary and undertake any administrative tasks required
2. Proof-read documents and reports; researching and providing comments on technical information when required
3. Assist in compiling documents and reports by collating information from a variety of sources
4. Assist in researching and summarizing proposals to the upcoming CITES Conference of the Parties (June 2007, The Hague)
5. Liaise with specific SSC Specialist Groups on specific issues
6. Liaise with the Species Programme staff at IUCN Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland and in the other regional offices around the world.

Selection will be based on enthusiasm, the candidate’s ability to benefit from the internship, teamwork capabilities, and academic achievements and relevance. A monthly stipend can be discussed, out of which the intern will be expected to cater for their own accommodation, transport medical aid and other expenses.

The SSC Chair will continuously monitor the Intern’s progress based on specific pre-determined criteria developed in conjunction with the Intern and, if necessary, the Intern’s academic institution. The Intern may be requested to give regular presentations and feedback about their experience. A probationary period will apply.

You can obtain the full announcement from Carol Poole as below.

Applicants should send their CV, together with a covering letter detailing their reasons for applying to Carol Poole, on SSCChairOffice@iucn.org .
Assistant to the Chair
Species Survival Commission (SSC)
IUCN - The World Conservation Union
Private Bag x7
Claremont, 7735
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: +27 21 799 8762
Fax: +27 21 797 7186

Applications Close on 26 January 2007 Short-listed candidates will be asked to an interview in February 2007

12 January, 2007

Western Cape Biodiversity Conservation Bill - Call for expression of interest

CapeNature, in terms of the Western Cape Nature Conservation Board Act, 1998, calls for expressions of interest by suitable persons with respect to the finalisation and promulgation of the proposed Western Cape Biodiversity Conservation Bill and consequent regulations to repeal the Nature Conservation Ordinance, 1974 as well as a Bill to repeal the Problem Animal Control Ordinance, 1957.

For the full text of the proposal call or further information please contact:

Jodie Johnson
Law Administration Manager: Legal
Western Cape Nature Conservation Board
(t/a CapeNature)
CapeNature House
Belmont Business Park
Belmont Road
Private Bag X29
Tel: (021) 659-3426
Fax: (021) 659-3415
email: jojohnso at pgwc.gov.za

08 January, 2007

NewScientist Special Reports - Climate Change and Energy & Fuels ...

See the Jan 2007 NewScientist Special Reports on Climate Change as well as Energy and Fuels

Sign Up for Al Gore's Climate Project ...

As some of you may know, Gore is training a thousand people to give the climate change presentation made famous by An Inconvenient Truth.

See here for more info

The Darwin Awards ...

See The Darwin Awards

Evolution in action!

Honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from the human gene pool, thereby ensuring that the next generation is one idiot smarter.

Of necessity, this award is (generally) bestowed posthumously.

02 January, 2007

Imagine earth without people ...

Here is a most interesting read from New Scientist about a future without people.

Also see NewScientist.com's other most popular stories of 2006

Chance to comment on draft EIA guidelines ...


Minister of Environment, Planning and Economic Development: Western Cape, Tasneem Essop, has published the following draft guidelines for comment in terms of the requirements of Regulation 76 of Government Notice 385 of 21 April 2006 (the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations):
(a) Guideline on Public Participation
(b) Guideline on Transitional Arrangements
(c) Guideline on Alternatives
(d) Guideline on Exemption Applications
(e) Guideline on Appeals
(f) Guideline on the interpretation of the Listed activities
(g) Generic Best Management Practise Guidelines for Aquaculture Development and Operation in the Western Cape

All comments must be submitted before 31 January 2007, to:
Paul Hardcastle at phardcas@pgwc.gov.za

or in writing to:

The Chief Director
Environmental and Land Management
Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
Private Bag X9086
Cape Town

The draft guidelines are available on the website of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Western Cape:

Copies of the relevant documents are available on request from:
Ms Laurin Wilson
Tel: (021) 483 5113
1 Dorp Street
Cape Town


Ms Adri Pienaar
Tel (044) 874 2160
York Building

Public lecture in SA by Sir Nicholas Stern ...

I have just been informed that, due to unforeseeable circumstances, Sir Nicholas has had to postpone the trip, probably until mid-March.
I know that you will disappointed at this news, but please feel free to contact me some time around the beginning of March to enquire if new dates for the trip have been confirmed.
Ann Herd
3 January 2007

Sir Nicholas Stern is proposing to visit South Africa in January, and will be giving a public presentation on "The Stern Review : The Economics of Climate Change" on the morning of Friday 19 January, probably at Wits University . You may be interested in attending the presentation on 19 January. Please contact Ann Heard as soon as possible - but by the first week of January at the latest - please provide names, plus title/designation, phone number & e-mail address of anyone you consider might have an interest in attending (attendance at the presentation will be by invitation only).

Miss T Ann Herd
2nd Secretary Climate Change and Sustainable Development
British High Commission
Hill Street
South Africa
Tel : +27 (0)12 421 7591
Fax : +27 (0)12 421 7540
FTN : 8303 7591