Articles Posted in the Green News category

Australia’s environment minister rocks

November 30, 2007
Posted in Green News

Peter Garrett, the two-metre tall, bald-headed former frontman of Australian rock group Midnight Oil, has been made the environment minister by the country’s newly elected Labor government.


His band, which was very popular in South Africa in the late-1980s, sang about environmental and social injustice. “Beds are Burning”, a song about Aboringinal land rights, was an international hit. In 1990, the band reportedly also staged an impromptu concert outside oil company Exxon’s headquarters in New York with a banner that read: “Midnight Oil Makes You Dance, Exxon Oil Makes Us Sick.” The group disbanded in 2002 and Garrett turned his attention to politics.

In what is widely reported as “punishment” for political gaffes he made on the campaign trail, Garrett did not get responsibility for climate change, this was given to another minister Penny Wong, 39, who is Malaysian-born and openly gay.The change in government is good news for the UN’s Kyoto agreement. Australia has been one of the major greenhouse gas emitters – the US is the other one – that has refused to ratify the protocol and agree to emissions reduction targets.Kevin Rudd, Australia’s new prime minister, has already decided to ratify the protocol and participate fully in the fight against climate change, the Guardian reports, leaving the US somewhat out in the cold. In fact, Rudd has said he will join Garret and Wong at the Bali meeting of environment ministers to discuss the future of the Kyoto agreement beyond 2012.

SA must increase its share of the multi-billion-dollar carbon trade

June 13, 2007
Posted in Business

South Africa must position itself to take advantage of the huge carbon market developing internationally, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the minister of environmental affairs and tourism, said on Friday in a speech at the Western Cape Renewable Energy and Climate Change Summit held in Cape Town.

Africa has a mere 3% stake in the carbon market, which was valued at about $30-billion (R218-billion) in 2006, the minister said. South Africa accounts for about half of that 3%. By comparison, China supplied about 60% of the emission reductions purchased by industrialised countries since 2002.

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EWT’s joke of the bushveld

June 11, 2007
Posted in Conservation

Tourists come to Africa in their droves for the quintessential wildlife safari. But what will the African safari of the future be like? The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has posted a tongue-in-cheek look on YouTube in a video titled Joke of the Bushveld, a play on the famous South African novel by Percy Fitzpatrick, “Jock of the Bushveld”

The EWT’s objective is to highlight the potential effects of climate change on South Africa’s wildlife. It says that if we do nothing the joke might be on us.

To get us off our complacent butts, the EWT offers suggestions of things ordinary people can do to limit the effect of climate change: at home, at work, eating out and shopping. The most powerful tools we have, though, are education and knowledge, the EWT says.

For more click here

Climate crisis: Tips from Al Gore

June 5, 2007
Posted in Green News

If you haven’t seen Al Gore’s movie about climate change “An Inconvenient Truth” because you’re not sure you could sit through a feature-length lecture/slide show given by a US politician, his TED lecture offers a less intimidating introduction to the man with the message for the world.

Gore is surprisingly funny and engaging, despite the weighty subject matter: what individuals can do to stem the tide of climate change.

Beware, he’s likely to keep you riveted for a full 15 minutes and you won’t be the first person he’s converted to the cause.

View the lecture here

Climate change is an ethical issue

May 9, 2007
Posted in Green News

Climate change issues are usually presented in scientific or economic terms. Don Brown, a former Clinton administration climate negotiator, says it is “desperately important” to consider the moral and ethical issues of climate change because it could radically change the way things such as targets for global greenhouse gas emissions and payment for damages are being negotiated.

He spoke at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in April about climate change as a moral and ethical issue. See his talk on YouTube.

He says there are many different moral and ethical issues, many of which are hidden in the scientific and economic arguments.

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Climate change: Southern Africa is feeling the heat

May 7, 2007
Posted in Green News

Southern Africa is already feeling the effects of climate change. Average temperatures in the region having increased by between 0,2°C and 1°C since the 1970s and a further increase of about 1°C is “unavoidable”, said Dr Guy Midgley of the South African National Biodiversity Institute at a press briefing in Johannesburg recently.

Less than half of this temperature change can be ascribed to natural causes alone, the bulk is due to greenhouse gas emissions, he added.

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