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Can SA provide a template for Africa’s just energy transition?

Can SA provide a template for Africa’s just energy transition?

AT the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow last year, climate experts demonstrated how Africa can contribute to global emission reduction owing to its massive green energy potential. A chorus of how the continent could benefit from the dynamics of the global energy transition reverberated throughout the 12-day conference. But unlike the previous forums where rich nations only paid lip service to Africa's bid to decarbonise, the aforementioned states pledged financial incentives to the vision, starting with South Africa which is still dependent on coal. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the meeting in Glasgow that the multi-billion dollar initiative would…
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In Nigeria’s disappearing forests, loggers outnumber trees

In Nigeria’s disappearing forests, loggers outnumber trees

NYANCHO NWA NRI and FIKAYO OWOEYE DEEP in a forest in Nigeria's Ebute Ipare village, Egbontoluwa Marigi sized up a tall mahogany tree, methodically cut it down with his axe and machete, and as it fell with a crackling sound, he surveyed the forest for the next tree. Around him, the stumps dotting the swampy forest were a reminder of trees that once stood tall but are fast disappearing to illegal logging in Ondo state, southwest Nigeria. "We could cut down over 15 trees in one location, but now if we manage to see two trees, it will look like…
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Fruit bats: the winged ‘conservationists’ reforesting parts of Africa

Fruit bats: the winged ‘conservationists’ reforesting parts of Africa

STRAW-COLOURED fruit bats exist throughout most of the African continent. This large fruit bat is one of, if not the most numerous fruit-eating animal (called frugivores) in Africa. They live in colonies of thousands to millions of individuals. Fruit bats sleep during the day, hanging upside down in the crowns of old trees, and become active at sunset when they set off in search of food – specifically nectar and fruit. Authors DINA DECHMANN, Researcher, Max Planck Institute MARIËLLE VAN TOOR, Researcher, Linnaeus University With their wingspan of up to 80cm, they are able to cover vast distances. When the…
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Africa’s $25-billion climate change war chest

Africa’s $25-billion climate change war chest

ZUBAIDA MABUNO ISMAIL, BIRD STORY AGENCY THE African Development Bank plans to commit some 25 billion US dollars (US$) to programmes to mitigate the impact of Climate Change - among them, clean energy and emergency food production - over the next three years. This is just a fraction of the estimated amount - between US$1.3 trillion and US$1.6 trillion - that the continent requires to tackle the threat by 2030. Speaking at the 57th Annual Meeting of the bank in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, the bank's president, Akinwumi Adesina, said Africa needs more resources to combat the effects of climate…
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Tanzania’s huge green energy pivot

Tanzania’s huge green energy pivot

SETH ONYANGO, BIRD STORY AGENCY ON April 29, Tanzania announced it had inked an agreement with exploration firm Equinor and with Exxon Mobil to develop a vast liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant worth 30 billion US dollars (USD). Tanzania has an estimated 57 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves but disagreements with oil corporations over production-sharing had stalled investments in the sector. However, President Samia Suluhu Hassan renewed negotiations with energy firms to revive the construction of offshore natural gas projects in 2023. But while the East African nation looks to prop up its gas industry, its renewable energy sector…
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Pollution kills nine million people, Africa hardest hit

Pollution kills nine million people, Africa hardest hit

GLORIA DICKIE WORSENING outdoor air pollution and toxic lead poisoning have kept global deaths from environmental contamination at an estimated 9 million per year since 2015 – countering modest progress made in tackling pollution elsewhere, a team of scientists reported Tuesday. Air pollution from industrial processes along with urbanization drove a 7% increase in pollution-related deaths from 2015 to 2019, according to the scientists’ analysis of data on global mortality and pollution levels. "We're sitting in the stew pot and slowly burning," said Richard Fuller, a study co-author and head of the global nonprofit Pure Earth. But unlike climate change, malaria, or…
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Evicting people from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro conservation area is a bad idea, there are alternatives

Evicting people from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro conservation area is a bad idea, there are alternatives

THE Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania is a spectacular area made up of expansive plains, forests and savanna. It’s also home to a huge caldera – a depression that forms when a volcano erupts and collapses – known as the Ngorongoro Crater. The Conservation Area, covering about 8,292km2, is special for the large number of wildlife that live there which led to it being declared a World Heritage site in 1979. Authors PABLO MANZANO, Ikerbasque Research fellow, bc3 - Basque Centre for Climate Change LUCAS YAMAT, PhD candidate, bc3 - Basque Centre for Climate Change It’s also special because…
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India’s UPL applies to flush toxic pesticides into South African sea

India’s UPL applies to flush toxic pesticides into South African sea

INDIAN agrochemicals manufacturer UPL Ltd has applied for permission to flush water contaminated by a toxic pesticide spill in South Africa's city of Durban directly into the sea or the sewerage system, the company said. The municipal authorities have judged the pesticides -- which were being contained in a dam that overflowed during devastating floods that struck the eastern port city earlier this month -- as being "highly toxic to the environment". Looters set fire to a UPL warehouse containing the pesticides during a wave of looting and arson in July last year. That caused a chemical spill which shut down…
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SA’s green transition to cost over $64-billion

SA’s green transition to cost over $64-billion

PROMIT MUKHERJEE SOUTH AFRICA'S efforts to wean itself off coal and focus on renewables, battery storage, electric vehicles and setting up a green hydrogen economy would require funding of over a trillion rand ($63.70 billion) by 2030, a top government official said on Tuesday. In November, the United States, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union agreed to offer a $8.5 billion package to help South Africa accelerate a transition from coal. South Africa is the world's 12th biggest emitter of climate-warming gases and the biggest in Africa. It is a coal-intensive economy where a fleet of decades-old and inefficient…
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Climate may not directly drive conflict but it’s critical for building peace

Climate may not directly drive conflict but it’s critical for building peace

CLIMATE change isn’t a direct driver of conflict. Most scientists agree on this and it’s reflected in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II Report. There isn’t a straight line between climate-related risks and conflict-related outcomes. The report compares the impacts of climate change with those of other global trends. The latter include “biodiversity loss, overall unsustainable consumption of natural resources, land and ecosystem degradation, rapid urbanisation, human demographic shifts, social and economic inequalities and a pandemic”. It finds that: Compared to other socioeconomic factors the influence of climate on conflict is assessed as relatively weak. But the…
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