Pollution

Temperature Target Likely to be Missed

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says that the 2° temperature target endorsed by climate scientists to ensure that the Earth does not undergo runaway climate change effects will likely become unattainable.

WWF chief executive officer, Dr Morné du Plessis, argues that, "The way things are right now, there's no way we'll come under 2°. A lot has to change before we can even make it."

Du Plessis points out that the planet has to have the capacity to absorb our waste, including the emissions that we put out through generating electricity, the plastic, the rubble.

NGO Slams ‘Ethical Fracking’

Environmental activist organisation, WWF South Africa (WWF-SA), says that ethical extraction of shale gas leaves many questions around the process of hydraulic fracturing or fracking unanswered.

WWF-SA chief executive officer, Dr Morné du Plessis, points out that the organisation has from the outset of these discussions around shale gas, made it clear that it has major concerns over the carbon intensity of shale gas extraction.

Developing Countries Frustrated: Minister

The Department of International Relations says that developing countries are frustrated by having to limit industrial expansion to avoid pollution.

International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, says that, "Countries with high standards of living are mostly responsible for the rise in greenhouse gases, and especially the early industrialised nations from Europe, North America and Japan."

South Africans Among the Unhappiest – NGO

Non-governmental organisation, New Economics Foundation, says that South Africa is one of the most miserable countries in the world - even unhappier than Zimbabwe.

In its ‘Happy Planet Index’, the organisation states that citizens of a happy country should have a life expectancy of 87, their level of happiness should be eight out of ten and their carbon footprint should not be bigger than 1.7 hectares per capita.

Are Climate Change Meetings Helping the Climate or Contributing to the Acceleration of Environmental Change?

Climate change is a well-debated topic of our time and the sense of urgency to reach agreements on how to curb this change has heightened over the last two decades. Over this time span, governments around the world have been trying to reach consensus on a legal mechanism to reduce green house gas emissions. However, the carbon footprints of these same conferences are very large and are often the equivalent to the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of a small town for a year (2).

Reconciling Sustainable Development and Climate Change Mitigation Within South Africa’s Energy Sector

The international climate summit, Congress of the Parties (COP17), in November/December 2011 and the upcoming sustainable development conference, Rio+20, from 20–22 June, highlight key national choices that will help determine the fate of the planet and its people. In South Africa (SA), for example, the energy sector falls at the intersection of human development and the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs), making it an essential aspect of poverty alleviation and the stabilisation of our climate system.

Greenpeace Slams SA’s Nuclear Plans

Environmental organisation, Greenpeace, has demanded that the government halts all discussions aimed at expanding nuclear power production in South Africa.

The organisation states that its activists blockaded the premises of the Industrial Development Corporation where the conference on 'Nuclear Power's Future for Africa' was underway.

The organisation’s anti-nuclear campaigner, Ferrial Adam, has been quoted as saying that, "If you have a combination and a proper mix of energy with solar and wind, you don't have to get stuck on having a large base load."

SA Warned Over Water Management

Two civil society organisations have warned that, despite comments from Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, about the need for improved water management, government policies and practices are yet to show urgent reform.

In a report released this week, the Centre for Environmental Rights, found that pressure on the country’s constrained water resources, including mining pollution, the failure of some municipal water treatment services, and agriculture’s overuse and pollution of water resources, is becoming ‘increasingly acute’.

Acid Water Threatens Mining in Six Provinces

The Chamber of Mines has warned that if acid mine drainage is not treated to remove the salts from the water, mining activities in six provinces could be affected.

In its document, Chamber of Mines, states that at the moment, desalination is not part of the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority’s short-term plan to rectify the Witwatersrand’s acid mine drainage problem.

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