BCB311

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fwd: 1.WHAT IS SOUTH AFRICAS POSITION AS FAR AS SUSTAINABILITY IS CONCERNED AND IS IT IMPROVING SUSTAIBIL

DALE OVERMEYER

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>>> DALE LEONARD OVERMEYER 02/27/06 02:52PM >>>

At the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on
Climate change in 2005 in Montreal evidence of South Africas
unsustainability was exhibited (Douthwaite, 2005). The members of these
meetings in Montreal understand that to stand a good chance of
preventing mass extinctions, droughts, runaway melting of icecaps and
the Gulf Stream turning off, the volumes of greenhouse gases released
into the atmosphere need to be reduced sufficiently quickly to prevent
earth's average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees above
pre-industrial levels (Douthwaite, 2005). They also agree that unless
these reductions begin within about five years, the rate at which cuts
would have to proceed would be so rapid that many people might regard
them as impossible (Douthwaite, 2005). A problem that the UN faces is
that it has to allocate a restriction of the main greenhouse gases to
each country, about 900 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide - should be
allocated around the world over the next century (Douthwaite, 2005). The
negotiations which have taken place so far show this quite clearly
(Douthwaite, 2005). The "developing" countries have argued that they
need a bigger allocation in order to be able to catch up with the rich
countries which have caused the climate problem (Douthwaite, 2005).
South Africa is a good example (Douthwaite, 2005). With only 0.7 per
cent of the world's population, it is responsible for 1.4 per cent of
global emissions (Douthwaite, 2005). Will it cut these back? No, says
its government. We need to increase the amount of fossil energy we use,
hence our emissions, if we are to lift millions of our people out of
poverty (Douthwaite, 2005). The truth, of course, is that there are two
South Africas (Douthwaite, 2005). One is a grossly over-developed
country which should be making emissions reductions now, the other a
very poor "developing" country which the over-developed one is using as
an excuse to shirk its international responsibilities (Douthwaite,
2005).

According to a sustainable energy watch report, estimates as shown in
table 1 have been developed for eight indicators (Fecher, 2002). For
each of these indicators, the value of 1 is either the global average or
the historical trend for South Africa, while the value of 0 is the
sustainability target (Fecher, 2002). The low value for resilience to
external impacts (energy exports) may be somewhat misleading (Fecher,
2002). While it is true that South Africa is not as vulnerable to
international energy markets as the OPEC countries, there is significant
concern in the country about how the implementation of the Kyoto
Protocol will affect the coal industry, and the 61 000 workers that it
employs (Fecher, 2002) . A report from the International Energy Agency
suggests that South Africa may be the most vulnerable fossil
fuel-exporting country in the world to the impacts of the Kyoto Protocol
(Fecher, 2002). South Africa will have to drop well below 0.09 on this
indicator, therefore, before it is less vulnerable to external impacts
(Fecher, 2002).

South Africa performs worst on the indicators for carbon emissions per
capita (2.35) and energy intensity (2.21) (Fecher, 2002).

Post apartheid government recognizes the importance of equal access to
energy (Fecher, 2002). Progress in this important area of sustainability
is a major accomplishment (Fecher, 2002). The new South Africa sadly
still holds traditions from old government and adopts practices such as
an energy intensive economic structure and reliance on domestic coal
(Fecher, 2002).


DALE OVERMEYER

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696 0309

083 272 1002

1 Comments:

  • Dale - this is really an excellent analysis of the situation - it raises debate and deals with fairly complex issues and is EXACTLY what I was looking for.

    Well done

    By Anonymous Rich, at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 10:44:00 pm  

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