Environment

4 successful land reform elements and the 'wolf at the door' for SA farmers

29 November 2018

Of the 64 countries globally which have embarked on land reform, 17 had restitution programmes in place and only 11 have claimed to be successful, says Dr Theo de Jager, president of the World Farmers Association.

"Our research shows that there are four elements the countries with successful land reform had in common. This should be a guideline for SA as well," De Jager said at the African Agri Investment Indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Thai prosecutor among trio jailed for $1.4m rhino horn haul

20 November 2018

A public prosecutor and two Thais were sentenced for four years Tuesday after they were caught attempting to smuggle more than a dozen rhino horns worth $1.4 million through Bangkok's main airport last year.

The smugglers were caught with bulging bags of the contraband at Suvarnabhumi airport, accompanied by the senior justice official who tried to sneak them through customs undetected.

Niger to move protected giraffes as habitat shrinks

22 November 2018 

Part of a group of a rare giraffes that has become a Niger tourist attraction is to be moved to a reserve 600km away owing to encroaching desert, farmland and increasing instances of them being struck by vehicles, officials said on Wednesday.

"It's to give the species better protection," Environment Minister Almoustapha Garba told a media conference.

Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere hit new high — UN

22 November 2018 

The levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the main driver of climate change, have hit a new record high, the United Nations said on Thursday, warning that the time to act was running out.

“Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth,” the head of the World Meteorological Organisation Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

“The window of opportunity for action is almost closed.”

High Court rules in favour of Xolobeni community in historic mining rights cas

22 November 2018

The minister of mineral resources will have to obtain full and formal consent from the Xolobeni community prior to granting mining rights, the Pretoria High Court ordered on Thursday.

The Amadiba Crisis Committee launched a court battle against the department of mineral resources and Australian company Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (TEM) over mining rights earlier this year.

Courts deliver big wins for environment

South Africa’s environment law has a strange loophole. In theory, every activity that would harm the environment falls under the National Environmental Management Act (Nema) and the Acts linked to it. This allows the government to uphold everyone’s constitutionally guaranteed right to a healthy environment.
Nema is what should give the environment department teeth.

But mining is exempt because of a 2014 takeover by the mineral resources department of most environmental oversight for mining.

South Sudan plans to build new capital in former game park

15 November 2018 

South Sudan's government said it is planning to construct a new state capital in a central location in what was a wildlife park, to make the seat of government more accessible.

Government spokesman Michael Makuei said the new capital will be named Ramciel and will be located in Lakes State. He said it will be built in an area that was previously a rhino sanctuary in the forest. The land is currently uninhabited and lacks basic infrastructure such as roads and electricity.

Crisis proofing South Africa’s water security

12 November  2018

South Africa is often referred to as the 30th driest country in the world, a claim that’s based on its average annual rainfall of 500mm compared to the world average of 860mm.

National rainfall averages have a purpose. They do, however, have limited value where regional and local rainfall distribution varies considerably and when water security is threatened by recurring droughts, or when water use is poorly regulated and managed. Average rainfall data is meaningless when water demand exceeds supply.

This is true in South Africa.

Two thirds of African cities face 'extreme climate risk'

14 November 2018

Rapid population growth and poor infrastructure have put two out of three cities in Africa at “extreme risk” of the threats posed by climate change, according to a new analysis released Wednesday.

With UN figures showing 86 of the world’s 100 fastest-growing cities are in Africa, experts warned nearly half of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) was exposed to the perils posed by our warming planet.

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