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Climate change poses a major threat to environmental sustainability. In Africa, sectors which face projected vulnerability include, food security, public health and water resources. A general increase in extreme weather events is also predicted and the effects thereof are beginning to be felt… (more)

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Energy holds the unenviable distinction of linking the word crisis to the delivery of essential services in the mind of the South African public. Damaging as it was (and may still be), it is transitory. Yet, before we are even out of the first crisis, the energy sector is now on the brink of pitching us all into a much more serious second crisis that threatens to relegate our entire economy to decades of gloom… (more)

Treasury has made a proposal that there should be a carbon tax in South Africa. In its discussion paper, the rationale for the tax is given as “Climate change and its effects are the result of GHG emissions, which are not paid for by the emitters. Such emissions impose external costs on society – an “externality” in economic terms. Because these costs have not been factored into the prices of goods and services, this is a “market failure”, which can be corrected by a pricing instrument.” But greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions are global, and the South African contribution is minor… (more)

by Mark Botha and Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

The debate around hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo is an issue of national and public interest. Shale gas extraction has the potential, some say, to change the face of the country’s power industry and improve the lives of millions of South Africans. Public opinion, however, is a powerful force well-known to have hampered the nuclear industry in the past… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers

At long last, the cabinet has approved and published the national Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity, IRP 2010. Now this just has to be passed by parliament and published in the Government Gazette. Let’s hope there will not be further delays, and that a measure of certainty will prevail so that the electricity sector can get down to work. But what is IRP 2010? Why is it important? And what exactly does it say?… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers

In recent months and at various venues Eskom has been lobbying and punting the view that a new dispensation and enabling environment is required for the utility to secure the cheap and abundant supplies of coal needed for its current and future fleet of coal-fired power stations. When pressed for details, Eskom officials become a little coy. But stripping aside the euphemisms, what Eskom is saying is that, in the light of higher global demand and world market prices for even the low-grade coal used in Eskom power stations, the utility is having difficulty matching these prices and contracting on a voluntary basis with the coal miners to secure its medium and long-term coal supplies… (more)

2010 is the start of a new decade, and the future suddenly looks a lot closer. For instance 2012, the original scheduled date for completion of the first unit at Medupi Power station is only two years away. 2013, the date by which we are destined to have 10 000 GWh of renewable energy generation is only three years away, and 2015 is only five. Ambitious plans need to be made in the next few years if the promises of this decade are to be met… (more)

Climate change has become one of the most talked about and argued about subjects in recent times. Everybody seems to have an opinion on the issue, and heated arguments flow back and forth in the media and social networks between supporters and opponents of the theory. The issue has a major impact on the future of power generation, and has spawned a renewed interest in nuclear power stations for the future… (more)

Coal has been the mainstay of economic development in South Africa for more than two centuries. However, the future of coal has now come into question worldwide, and serious consideration must be given to both the weaknesses and future opportunities for this commodity… (more)

Almost 90% of the world’s primary energy is provided by the burning of fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas. However the era of using these cheap fossil fuels is coming to an end. At current rates of consumption reserves will last around 80 years, but with the projected increases in demand they will run out much sooner. History will show that fossil fuel use was just a 300 year blip starting around 1800. Unfortunately for mankind, this burning of fossil fuels releases CO2 into the atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change… (more)

More investment in clean energy technologies is needed to avert climate change Remember the days when a million dollars was a lot of money? Now, with multi billion dollar government bailouts and trillion dollar budget deficits – in the US, that is – a billion is small change. But even for people who are used to hearing big numbers, $10-trillion is a good chunk of money… (more)

It was understandably a proud moment for South Africa when it led the charge of the BRICs (or is that now the BICS?) at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December last year by announcing that it would cut the growth of carbon dioxide emissions 34 % by 2020 and 42 % by 2025 if the necessary financial support was forthcoming… (more)

Land registers and cadastres have to extend their function beyond the conventional use for land markets and land taxation. The data comprised in the land information systems are also useful to facilitate government policy on adapting to and mitigating climate change. Registering new rights in the form of carbon credit titles would be feasible. With all these aspects in mind, the idealistic concept of registers and cadastres as “multi-purpose” land administration systems becomes a real possibility… (more)

Nuclear power has been coming back into the international news during the past year. Some of the impetus for this has been a spin off from the international climate change debate, in which fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas have been targeted for emitting carbon dioxide. Fossil fuels have to emit carbon dioxide, as the fundamental heat equation is the combustion of carbon, which is carbon plus oxygen, which equals heat and carbon dioxide, no way around that… ( more)

Climate change, energy supply and the future for Southern African coal – the focus of global attention is now firmly placed on the twin problems of climate change and the supply of energy at acceptable prices. Energy use and climate change are inextricably linked,  Almost 90% of the world’s primary energy is provided by the burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. But the more we consume fossil fuels, the more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.  However the era of using these cheap fossil fuels is coming to an end… ( more)

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