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
biofuels.

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
www.eeu.uct.ac.za

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:

http://www.epa.gov/eogapti1/module6/dioxins/character/character.htm

http://www.epa.gov/eogapti1/module6/dioxins/formation/formation.htm

http://www.epa.gov/eogapti1/module6/dioxins/control/control.htm

Threatened or protected species regulations ...

Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

EXTRACTS FROM A SPEECH BY MARTHINUS VAN SCHALKWYK, MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE THREATENED OR PROTECTED SPECIES REGULATIONS ON TUESDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2007

MINISTER STARTS CLEANING UP HUNTING INDUSTRY, BANS CANNED HUNTING

Introduction

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


MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

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
http://www.aluka.org/page/content/index.jsp.

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

CONTACT:
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!