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