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Environmental Studies News

Deforestation, forest degradation responsible for 10% of yearly human-made carbon dioxide – report

By: Donna Slater     4th May 2022 A scientific assessment of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) policy finds that while REDD+ has provided a “convenient umbrella” for many forest and land use-related activities aimed at reducing deforestation and forest degradation,... 

Kipeto wind project's biodiversity plan offsets potential bird impacts

By: Schalk Burger     26th April 2022 The biodiversity action plan of the 100 MW Kipeto Wind energy project, in Kenya, includes attempts to offset potential impacts on birds through on-site mitigation measures, including the observer-led shut-down-on-demand (SDOD) of turbines. The plant also has off-site raptor conservation... 

Oracle study shows people worldwide and in South Africa prioritising sustainability

By: Schalk Burger     21st April 2022 A study of more than 11 000 consumers and business leaders across 15 countries, including South Africa, found that people are more likely to do business with and work for organisations that act responsibly toward societies and the environment, enterprise software services multinational Oracle... 

Advocacy groups disappointed by Minister’s leave to appeal Mpumalanga air pollution case

By: Donna Slater     13th April 2022 Environmental justice group groundWork and Mpumalanga community organisation Vukani Environmental Justice Movement in Action (Vukani) are disappointed with Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy's decision to apply for leave to appeal parts of an air pollution court... 

DFFE invites public comment on standard for the development of power lines, substations

By: Donna Slater     12th April 2022 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has opened channels for the public to comment on the 'Standard for the Development of Power Lines and Substations within Identified Geographical Areas Revision of August 2021', which negates the need for environmental assessments in... 

Sequestration crucial for local forestry, paper industries

By: Cameron Mackay     1st April 2022 Industry body Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (Pamsa) executive director Jane Molony highlights that in the National Treasury’s Budget Review in February, sequestration was recognised to include carbon sequestered in the forest, and carbon stored in harvested wood products, such... 

An image of Mondi's wetland conservation in South Africa
FIBRE-BASED SOLUTIONS A key mitigation measure in local industry is to replace fossil fuels used at the mills with biofuels such as tree biomass residues from plantations

World Bank issues $150m bond to help South Africa conserve endangered wildlife

By: Schalk Burger     24th March 2022 The World Bank, through its International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has issued a five-year, $150-million Wildlife Conservation Bond (WCB) sustainable development bond in support of South Africa’s efforts to conserve endangered species. Also known as the “Rhino Bond,” it... 

Photo of a black rhino

AFD support, expertise delivers innovative solutions to protect, manage Durban’s river systems

By: Natasha Odendaal     15th March 2022 The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is providing support and expertise to the eThekwini metropolitan municipality to help with the implementation of its Transformative Riverine Management Programme. The pioneering riverine management projects, in partnership with the municipality, AFD and... 

Environmental groups opposed to Richards Bay gas power plant get High Court date 

By: Schalk Burger     10th March 2022 Environmental organisations the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) and groundWork have been notified that their case challenging the environmental authorisation by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) for a 3 000 MW combined cycle gas power plant, in... 

Western Cape adopts new air quality management plan

By: Yvonne Silaule     10th March 2022 The Western Cape government recently adopted the Western Cape Air Quality Management Plan (2021 – 2025), which it says "progressively realises our vision for clean and healthy air for all in the Western Cape”. Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Minister... 

World atomic body reviewing plan to discharge treated Fukushima water into the sea  

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st February 2022 A task force of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other international experts visited Japan last week to gather information and collect water samples, in order to be able to draw up an independent review of Japan’s plan to discharge into the sea treated water from the Fukushima... 

Investment in conserving land, oceans can benefit economies and the environment

By: Schalk Burger     17th February 2022 South Africa has been urged to support the Global Deal for Nature proposal to conserve at least 30% of the world's land and oceans by 2030 at the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in China, in April and May. Conserving and protecting... 

Policies drive gas interest

By: Halima Frost     4th February 2022 The regulatory environment for environmental policies and decreasing emissions is a key driver when a boiler owner decides to convert to using natural gas as a fuel source, says natural gas supplier Egoli Gas MD Vishal Pooran. “Natural gas-fuelled boiler studies have shown an overwhelmingly... 

A large gas fueled boiler inside a building used in industrial applications
GOING GAS The amount of companies moving to gas fueled burners owing to an increased interest in going green has grown substantially

Sibanye stresses importance of healthy wetlands

By: Schalk Burger     2nd February 2022 Precious and battery metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater acknowledges that wetlands are critical ecosystems that support its business, communities and ensure all are resilient to the impacts of climate change through greenhouse-gas emissions reduction, buffering the impacts of changes in the... 

Social cost of using fossil fuels much higher than govt gains, study shows   

By: Marleny Arnoldi     31st January 2022 The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) finds in a report on South Africa’s energy fiscal policies, that the social cost of fossil fuel combustion for South Africa is at least R550-billion a year and exceeds, by five times, the revenues government earns from fossil fuel... 

A truck transporting coal, with a power station in the background
IISD discusses the social cost of fossil fuel subsidies in South Africa

Prepared to support energy transition

By: Cameron Mackay     28th January 2022 As South Africa prepares to transition to renewable sources of energy, carbon-intensive companies such as coal exporter Thungela can assist in this energy transition by ensuring delivery of higher quality, responsibly-mined coal, states Thungela CEO July Ndlovu. “This transition is going to... 

Image of a haul truck at a water reclamation plant
STAKEHOLDER BENEFITS The eMalahleni Water Reclamation Plant is an example of how mine water can be transformed into an asset with benefits for the local community

South African scientist helps discover world’s largest fish breeding colony

By: Darren Parker     25th January 2022 University of Pretoria Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Entomology Dr Mia Wege was part of an international collaborative research team that discovered one of the world’s largest fish breeding colonies in the southern Weddell Sea, Antarctica,... 

A photo of a breeding colony of notothenioid icefish
A breeding colony of notothenioid icefish

Shell’s South African partner warns against halting oil search

By: Bloomberg     25th January 2022 Shell’s South African partner dismissed fears that seismic surveys for offshore oil and gas could endanger marine life and warned that halting searches could leave the country entirely dependent on crude imports. There is no evidence that seismic testing has “had any biologically significant... 

South African groups take court action to block seismic search

By: Bloomberg     23rd January 2022 South African groups are taking court action to block a seismic survey, used to find oil and gas resources, that’s planned off the country’s west coast. Environmental organizations and communities have increased efforts in recent months to stop the activity that they say is harmful to marine... 

DFFE deploys environmental inspectors to investigate KZN mine slurry river pollution

By: Schalk Burger     14th January 2022 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has deployed a team of environmental management inspectors to assist in an investigation into a slurry dam burst in KwaZulu-Natal on December 24, which resulted in tailings material flowing into nearby rivers and onto nearby land.... 

Vergelegen wine estate tests environment-friendly gum poles

By: Schalk Burger     14th January 2022 Wine producer Vergelegen Wine Estate, in Somerset West, is testing a new concept – environment-friendly eucalyptus poles that have not been chemically treated – in some of its vineyards The untreated poles have been installed in two blocks of vineyards, extending over 3.55 ha. These are planted... 

Vergelegen Wine Estate viticulturist Rudolf Kriel
Vergelegen Wine Estate viticulturist Rudolf Kriel

Toxic fumes ship will be dumping chemicals off St Helena Bay until March - maritime authority

By: News24Wire      13th January 2022 Around 1 500 tonnes of chemicals on the NS Qingdao bulk carrier were being dumped into the sea about 250km off St Helena Bay in an operation expected to end in March, the SA Maritime Authority (Samsa) said on Thursday. In October 2021, the ship was evacuated from the Port of Durban to St Helena... 

Another seismic survey is heading to SA waters, this time from Australia

By: News24Wire      13th January 2022 Just as the Amazon Warrior, a vessel that was to conduct a seismic survey off the Wild Coast on behalf of Shell, left South Africa, attention is now focused on another planned survey, this time off the West Coast. In December, the Makhanda High Court granted an interim interdict to halt Shell’s... 

Indian Ocean

Opinion: Shell prevented from proceeding with seismic survey offshore of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province

10th January 2022 In this opinion piece, law firm Herbert Smith Freehills partner and Africa co-chairperson Peter Leon, senior associate Ernst Muller and associate Mandy Hattingh write about the High Court's decision to grant local communities an urgent interim injunction prohibiting Shell from conducting any... 

Herbert Smith Freehills partner Peter Leon
Photo by Creamer Media
Herbert Smith Freehills partner Peter Leon

'Special apartheid': Mantashe accuses anti-Shell lobby of 'oppressing' development  

By: News24Wire      9th December 2021 Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has condemned "unrelenting attacks" on oil and gas development in South Africa, which appear designed to thwart economic growth and deepen unemployment in the country. "Africa deserves an equal chance to develop its economies on the strength of... 

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe

JSE releases sustainability, climate change disclosure guidelines

By: Simone Liedtke     9th December 2021 Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have become central and are, more than ever, being factored into the development of sustainable and resilient markets and economies, both locally and globally. The JSE acknowledges the challenges faced by listed companies in navigating the... 

Sahpra approves Pfizer booster dose in S Africa to curb Omicron variant

By: Sane Dhlamini     9th December 2021 The South African Health Products Authority (Sahpra) has approved a third booster dose for South Africans following the outbreak of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. This follows concerns at early evidence suggesting that the Omicron has a higher re-infection risk. 

Image of Covid-19 vaccines

Shell faces fresh South African court test over seismic programme

By: Bloomberg     7th December 2021 Royal Dutch Shell faces a fresh legal challenge to its planed seismic survey off South Africa’s eastern coastline with local communities seeking to halt the program. The case, filed last week, comes after a South African High Court on Friday dismissed a request for an interdict from a group... 

Study finds best method for drones to observe elephants with least impact

By: Donna Slater     6th December 2021 Researchers from Stellenbosch University (SU) have been involved in the first ever paper to be published containing practical guidelines and a suggested ethical protocol on how to cause as little disturbance as possible to elephants when flying over them with drones. The paper, in the journal... 

An image of elephants taken with a drone

Shell can proceed with seismic survey after environmental groups lose urgent court bid  

By: News24Wire      3rd December 2021 The high court has dismissed an urgent application to block Shell from proceeding with a seismic survey off the Eastern Cape coast. The ruling was delivered by Judge Avinash Govindjee at the Eastern Cape Division of the Makhanda High Court on Wednesday. Earlier this week, four environmental and... 

Shell logo

Indigenous plant biofilters effectively remove pollutants from stormwater, researchers say

By: Schalk Burger     26th November 2021 Biofilters with indigenous South African plants, such as palmiet, mat sedge, soft rush, cobra lily and vleibiesie, are significantly more efficient than unvegetated soils in removing nutrients and metals pollutants from urban stormwater, Stellenbosch University (SU) researchers say. The team... 

DFFE appointing independent expert to help rule on Karpowership appeal

By: News24Wire      23rd November 2021 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment says it is appointing an "independent expert" to assist Minister Barbara Creecy in responding to an appeal by floating powership provider Karpowership SA. Karpowership SA, which falls under Turkey's Karadeniz Energy Group, was in March... 

Green Connection speaks out against Wild Coast seismic survey by oil and gas multinational

By: Schalk Burger     22nd November 2021 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) on November 22 said Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was responsible for the administration of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and that Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister... 

COP26 clean power initiative to ‘persevere through multiple obstacles’ for noteworthy change by 2030

By: Simone Liedtke     15th November 2021 The noticeable absence and lack of urgency and support of major coal power generation companies has resulted in a less than auspicious start to COP26’s Global Coal to Clean Power Transition initiative, says data analytics and consulting company GlobalData senior oil and gas analyst Effuah... 

B4SA urges broad participation in Vooma Vaccination Weekend

By: Sane Dhlamini     12th November 2021 As government rolls out the second Vooma Vaccination Weekend this weekend, Business for South Africa is calling on people over the age of 12, and especially those over the age of 50, to take advantage of the weekend vaccination sites ahead of the upcoming holiday season.  B4SA chair Martin... 

Image showing Covid-19 vaccine

Nigerian lecturer awarded Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer research grant

By: Schalk Burger     9th November 2021 The $150 000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer (JWO) Research Grant has been awarded to Nigeria Federal University of Technology Akure (Futa) department of chemistry lecturer and researcher Dr Gideon Idowu, whose research helps policymakers and communities gain a better understanding of the effects of... 

Nuclear regulator assures that contamination incident at Koeberg did not involve reactors

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th November 2021 The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) on Monday assured that a reported incidence of airborne contamination at the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant (NNP) did not come from the nuclear reactor. Koeberg, which is owned and operated by State-owned national electricity utility Eskom, has two reactors and... 

The Koeberg power station
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