South Africa

COP17 Urged to Reaffirm Kyoto Protocol

President Jacob Zuma has urged delegates at the United Nations climate summit to work for an outcome that is ‘balanced, fair and credible’ and reaffirm the Kyoto Protocol.

Zuma stated that a key issue facing delegates has to do with a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, and reaching agreement on the legal nature of a future climate change system.

Occupy Movement for COP17

Inspired by the Occupy Wall St movement, protesters calling for ‘climate justice’ are set to gather at the opening of UN climate talks in Durban, according to organisers.

Patrick Bond, professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, points out that, "A meeting at the 'Speaker's Corner' will be called, an assembly," referring to a spot near the venue of the COP17.

Bond, who is associated with the largely youth-driven initiative, states that, "Negotiations have begun with the city on an authorised protest space."

Hope for Kyoto Protocol Extension

The extension of the Kyoto Protocol is the main hope of South Africa and most developing nations at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) climate change summit in Durban, according to lead climate change negotiator, Alf Wills.

Wills states that the Kyoto Protocol is the only instrument in which all rules associated with accounting for carbon emissions are agreed and it is in the country’s interests to preserve those rules.

Secrecy Bill to Silence Public – LSSA

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has warned that the Protection of State Information Bill in its present form would not only silence the media, but also the general public.

LSSA co-chairs, Nano Matlala and Praveen Sham, point out that, "The courts, to a large extent, remain the preserve of the wealthy and most ordinary citizens who become aware of corruption and maladministration will be silenced for life if the bill goes unchallenged."

Call to Halt Global Warning

The United Nation’s top official on climate change, Christiana Figueres, says that new research and findings are ‘sounding alarm bells’ for urgent action to halt global warming.

Speaking at a curtain-raiser media briefing in Durban, ahead of the official opening of the COP17 conference, Figueres said that there are two very important backdrops to the next fortnight’s negotiations.

“The first has to do with a growing momentum for action… and the other is the new research and the findings that are sounding alarm bells for urgent action,” she explained.

Climate Change Worsen Food Crises

Oxfam says that storms and droughts that have unleashed dangerous surges in food prices could be a ‘grim foretaste’ of what lies ahead when climate change bites more deeply.

In a report issued at the start of United Nations climate talks, the British charity pointed to spikes in wheat, corn and sorghum prices, triggered by extreme weather that had driven tens of millions into poverty over the past 18 months.

CoAL, NGO Coalition, Bury the Hatchet

Emerging coal miner Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) and the Save Mapungubwe Coalition, which has hitherto been challenging the Vele opencast mine development in Limpopo, have agreed to work together.

The parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreeing to strengthen cooperation for the sustainable development, preservation and protection of the Mapungubwe cultural landscape.

Mbalula: Green's ‘Will Determine How Economies Are Run'

Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, says that the green movement, which advocates the protection of the environment, will soon determine how economies are run.

Speaking at a sport, environment and climate change seminar in KwaZulu-Natal, Mbalula also warned that the movement would also determine how political parties will assent to power.

SABC Criticised Over Anti-Malema Song

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has described the decision by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) radio presenters for playing an anti-Malema song as disappointing.

FXI executive director, Elston Seppie, points out that, “The banning of the song by the SABC amounts to the worst form of self-censorship and is a direct infringement on the right to artistic freedom”

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