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Environmental Studies News

Human-induced climate change potentially detrimental to emerging economies 

By: Natasha Odendaal     15th November 2013 Emerging countries would feel the “catastrophic” impact of ever-increasing human-induced climate change more than developed economies, World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) CEO Morne du Plessis said on Friday. As the effects of climate change increasingly become more visible, South... 

Global Carbon budget to 2100 may be depleted by 2034  

By: Natasha Odendaal     4th November 2013 In the next two decades, the world would exceed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change- (IPCC-) established carbon budget, limiting global warming to 2 °C by 2100, the latest PwC Low Carbon Economy Index revealed on Monday. Despite a rapid move to adopt renewable energy worldwide, efforts... 

Global Carbon budget to 2100 may be depleted by 2034

Innovative cell structure converts a record 44.7% of sunlight into electricity

By: Schalk Burger     11th October 2013 A new world record of 44.7% of sunlight was converted into electricity by a photovoltaic panel using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells last month, says German research organisation Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems department head and development project leader Dr... 

Stunted relationships undermining water governance in rural areas

By: Schalk Burger     13th September 2013 Damaged relationships and stunted professional networks are negatively affecting effective water governance, says research institution Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Water Governance Group (CSIR WGG) senior researcher Dr Richard Meissner. The CSIR WGG is studying water governance... 

South African honeybees killed unnecessarily

By: David Oliveira     23rd August 2013 South Africa is not experiencing honeybee shortages like Europe and the US, where in some parts of those countries up to 80% of honeybee colonies are reported as collapsed, says association for the plant science industry CropLife South Africa consultant Dr Gerhard Verdoorn. A honeybee shortage is... 

New map offers visibility of all renewable-energy project applications

23rd August 2013 A new map detailing the applications for environmental authorisation to build renewable energy projects in South Africa has been released, says research organisation Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) project leader Paul Lochner. “This is the first time that a publically... 

 New map offers visibility of all renewable-energy project applications

CSIR unit concludes passive energy efficiency study, moves to continue research  

By: Samantha Herbst     23rd August 2013 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) Build Environment unit has signed its second memorandum of understanding with chemicals giant BASF to continue researching passive energy efficiency in new buildings. The CSIR concluded a two-year performance research project earlier,... 

CSIR unit concludes passive energy efficiency study, moves to continue research
CSIR Built Environment senior researcher Llewellyn van Wyk discusses the results of a two-year passive energy-efficiency study.

Five-year research project to study irrigation management

By: Zandile Mavuso     9th August 2013 To increase water availability and land productivity, which will cater for the increasing human population, a new project by the Water Research Commission (WRC) will record information about the irrigation management of ryegrass/kikuyu pasture under different pasture management conditions.  

Five-year research  project to study  irrigation management
RYEGRASS PASTURE PRODUCTIONThe WRC is investigating irrigated pastures to determine the water use and irrigation requirements of the most common farming practices, including those pertaining to kikuyu/ryegrass, legume/ryegrass mixtures and lucerne

SA moving to secure its share of world aquaculture growth

By: Samantha Herbst     26th July 2013 South Africa’s aquaculture industry, though still in its infancy, has been identified by government as a key priority sector because of its potential to supplement dwindling wild-caught fish stocks with cultured fish products. 

SA moving to secure its share of world aquaculture growth

Varsity team develops ecofriendly shark barrier

14th June 2013 A team of Stellenbosch University researchers, led by Botany and Zoology head of department Professor Conrad Matthee, has developed an effective alternative to shark nets. “Shark nets lead to the deaths of sharks and other marine animals. The team has developed an eco-friendly shark barrier that... 

Forestry group moves ahead plan to integrate Sabie site, extract more value 

By: Samantha Herbst     10th May 2013 Forestry and forest products group York Timbers is hoping to break ground early next year on its R1.5-billion site integration project at its Sabie facilities, in Mpumalanga, once it receives a record of decision from the Department of Environmental Affairs on its environmental-impact assessment... 

National Treasury tables carbon tax policy paper for final comment 

By: Natasha Odendaal     2nd May 2013 South African industry have until August 2 to comment on the carbon tax proposals tabled by the National Treasury on Thursday. The Treasury aimed to promulgate a phased-in tax rate of R120/t of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), increasing 10% a year during the first phase, in an attempt to curb... 

Coega IDZ embarks on natural rehabilitation experiment

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th April 2013 The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), Uhambiso Consult and WBHO Construction have partnered to undertake an “environmental experiment” at the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) over the next 12 months. The baseline study, funded by the Uhambiso/WBHO joint venture, entailed a natural... 

Water, wastewater infrastructure crucial to sustaining ecosystems 

By: Schalk Burger     19th April 2013 The most crucial infrastructure for managing South Africa’s environment is water and wastewater infrastructure. The dire need to improve wastewater-treatment plants and water management skills in South Africa can also develop significant, sustainable employment, says Rhodes University Unilever... 

Transdisciplinary approach to water-resources management project hailed

By: Schalk Burger     8th March 2013 The Rhodes University Institute of Water Research (IWR) achieved success in diagnosing and creating effective engagement with water-security and water-quality concerns in the lower Sundays River Valley catchment area, in Eastern Cape by establishing relationships between the IWR, the local... 

Rhodes researchers grappling with key environmental water challenges

By: Schalk Burger     1st March 2013 Researchers at the Rhodes University Institute for Water Research are conducting a number of studies on environmental water-quality and quantity issues, including water-source testing, identifying the systems that influence water quality, hydrological modelling of water resources, biomonitoring... 

Sustainable solutions needed to deal with worrying imbalances, says Saice president

By: Schalk Burger     1st March 2013 Environmentalists and demographers increasingly warn of the dire consequences of population growth, not only for present generations, but also of the decline of essential biodiversity and the environmental degradation and deterioration in the quality of life for future generations, says South... 

Second Africa CDM centre to be established

By: Natasha Odendaal     14th February 2013 The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has established a second regional collaboration centre in Africa to assist under-represented regions to realise the benefits of the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM) projects. UNFCCC executive secretary... 

2013 Indaba attracts greater interest, expects 20% growth

By: Samantha Herbst     8th February 2013 Africa Energy Indaba (AEI) organiser Siyenza hopes to further its objective of positioning Africa as the continent of energy opportunity by delivering a comprehensive event for the fifth consecutive year. Siyenza MD Liz Hart tells Engineering News that enquiry and interest levels have grown... 

Green Fund opens research project funding bids

By: Natasha Odendaal     6th February 2013 The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) on Wednesday called for research and policy-development project proposals within its R34-million ‘green’ research and development initiative. The parties, through the newly formed Green Fund, aimed... 

Global monitoring system for biodiversity needed

By: Natasha Odendaal     18th January 2013 Research into biodiversity and human society could be improved through the development of a global biodiversity monitoring system similar to the system implemented to monitor climate change, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said. Questions such as what fraction of... 

New assessment looks at global urbanisation

2nd November 2012 A new assessment by the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) highlights that global urbanisation will have significant implications for biodiversity and ecosystems if current trends continue, with knock-on effects for human health and development. The Cities and... 

Initiative to document forestry land rights under way in West Africa

By: Joanne Taylor     2nd November 2012 A US initiative to document forestry land rights is expected to promote sustainable agroforestry, environmental protection and the rural livelihoods of the upper Guinean tropical forest. Information group Thomson Reuters and the US Forestry Service (USFS) have teamed up to provide resources to... 

Honeybee foraging resources to be identified for preservation

19th October 2012 A project to identify and protect the dominant forage sources that sustain honeybees throughout the year was started by The South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology of Stellenbosch University, says Stellenbosch University Honeybee... 

SA’s renewable energy advantages outlined

By: Joanne Taylor     19th October 2012 At the International Infrastructure & Invest Convention in Johannesburg last month, South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia) board member Christopher Haw explained that a country’s success in renewable-energy projects depended on various aspects. 

Mining industry increasingly seeking water solutions

By: Natasha Odendaal     27th September 2012 The global mining water and wastewater sector was expected to grow as the focus on sustainable water solutions within the mining industry increased, a recent report by Frost & Sullivan found. In its ‘CEO 360 Degree Perspective of the Global Mining Water and Wastewater Treatment Market’ report,... 

Green-rated buildings ‘don’t cost an arm and a leg’

31st August 2012 There is no significant difference between construction costs for green buildings and those of conventional buildings, and green buildings achieve better investment returns and higher valuations, says industry body Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) CEO Brian Wilkinson. 

Researcher to monitor impact of renewable energy on bird life

17th August 2012 A senior researcher has been appointed by nongovernmental conservation organisation BirdLife South Africa to monitor and report on the impact of renewable- energy generation on bird life, specifically regarding wind farms, says BirdLife South Africa conservation manager Dr Hanneline Smit. 

Agroecology could help green SA agriculture

By: Joanne Taylor     17th August 2012 Worldwide, agriculture contributes 30% of Greenhouse-gas emissions and consumes 50% of South Africa’s water-use. Therefore, it is critical that South Africa develop a water-efficient economy, with a social ethic of water conservation for sustainable water resource reuse, said Lindros Whole Earth... 

Satellite tracking to be used to monitor secretary birds

3rd August 2012 A collaborative satellite-tracking project of Secretary bird raptors was launched by the University of the Witwatersrand, conservation nongovernmental organisation BirdLife South Africa and the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme (EWT-BoPP) in July. 

Technique developed to see pollutants through cloud formations

27th July 2012 A satellite technique to better estimate concentrations of pollutants, such as soot, through cloud cover has been developed by University of Iowa (UI) scientists, the university said in a statement. 

Input sought on ecosystem biodiversity management plans

20th July 2012 Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa invites public comment on the norms and standards for biodiversity management plans for ecosystems (BMP-E), says the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs. 

Scientists urge collaboration on endangered water resources

20th July 2012 Water Research Commission scientists are urging collaboration after the National Spatial Biodiversity Assessment has found that 82% of South Africa’s river ecosystems are threatened and 44% are critically endangered, say Water Research Commission aquatic ecologist Dr Jackie King and Council for... 

Study suggests solution for encroaching Nelson Mandela Bay dunes

20th July 2012 A study conducted on the Noordhoek dune fields, southwest of Nelson Mandela Bay, to determine the impact of dune migration on nearby infrastructure has revealed that the rate at which the dunes are advancing has nearly doubled from 14 m a year in 1989 to 25 m a year in 2009.  

DEA breaks ground on R8bn ‘green’ head office 

By: Natasha Odendaal     19th July 2012 The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on Thursday broke ground on its new R8-billion head office in Pretoria, which will be South Africa’s first government-owned green building. The building, which was designed to meet the green output specifications outlined in the Climate Change... 

Despite concerns, work advancing on next Lesotho Highlands Water Project phase 

By: Joanne Taylor     13th July 2012 Some concern is already being expressed about the possibility for corruption in tender processes for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project’s (LHWP) Phase 2 crossborder water project, as was the case during the earlier phases.  

SA aims to double domestic tourist trips to 54m by 2020

By: Jean McKenzie     25th May 2012 With domestic tourism already having contributed 76% of South Africa’s total tourism volume and R20-billion to the economy in 2011, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has unveiled a strategy to grow domestic tourism even further. 

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