First bottle house in Africa

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 07 Nov 2011

Each sand-filled plastic bottle weighs three kilogrammes - Photo: AFP

The idea undoubtedly seemed strange at first: take the plastic water bottles that litter Nigeria’s roads, canals and gutters and allow people to live inside them.

Not literally, but almost.

What a group of activists did was come up with a plan to build a house using those bottles, providing what they say is an environmentally smart strategy of chipping away at a housing shortage in Africa’s most populous nation.

With the prototype near the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna now well underway, the group wants to extend its efforts and build more, aiming to unleash what they say is some long bottled-up potential.

Unconvinced? Supporters say those yet to see the structure on the outskirts of the village of Sabon Yelwa can throw stones if they want to. This house is being built to last.

“This is the first house in Africa built from bottles, which could go a long way in solving Nigeria’s huge housing need and cleaning the badly polluted environment,” project initiator Christopher Vassiliu said during a tour of the building.

It is in many ways a marvel to look at. The project was initiated by the Kaduna-based NGO Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), with help from foreign experts from Africa Community Trust, a London-based NGO. Continue reading

More power stations won’t affect carbon emission hopes

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 02 Aug 2011

South Africa hopes to cut its carbon emissions 34 percent by 2020, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says.

Building coal-fired power stations would not affect this, as cutting emissions did not happen in an instant, but required space and time, she told reporters in Pretoria.

The rolling out of renewable sources of energy, including wind, was “well underway”.

Cutting emissions would be achieved through “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” in the transport, agriculture and energy sectors.

“The extent to which this commitment is achieved depends on the provision of finance, technology and capacity building support by developed countries, and through the United Nations climate change regime,” she said.

Molewa and International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane were briefing journalists about the upcoming climate change conference in Durban.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the country was ready to host the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 17th Conference of Parties in Durban from November 28 to December 9.

“South Africa is very much on schedule, if not ahead. We are hoping for a balanced outcome, one that is fair, equitable and inclusive,” she said of preparations for the conference.

Source: Times Live

South Africa wants Kyoto Protocol extended

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 23 April 2011

South Africa, which will host the next round of United Nations (UN) climate change talks in Durban in November, said on Wednesday that the Kyoto Protocol should be extended.

Durban cannot be the death of the Kyoto Protocol

South African environment minister Edna Molewa told the media at the South African parliament in Cape Town that South Africa does not want the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to be the end of the Kyoto Protocol.

The South African government views continuation of the protocol as critical, the South African Press Association (SAPA) reported her as saying.

The Kyoto Protocol is a 1997 international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The first commitment period of the agreement expires in 2012.

COP17 aims to build on agreements reached during COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico. It also hopes to establish a new global climate change regime. Continue reading

Global warming threatens global stability

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 16 February 2011

Global warming is a looming threat to stability and national security around the world, and militaries should spend some of their ever-expanding budgets on reducing carbon emissions to avoid “climate chaos,” the U.N.’s top climate official said Tuesday.

Much of the funding for the growth of armies could help curb carbon emissions that fuel global warming

Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. climate secretariat, warned of the destabilizing effects created by growing water stress, declining crop yields and damage from extreme storms in some of the world’s poorest countries, which could set off mass international migration and regional conflicts.

Figueres said the world’s military budgets grew by 50 percent in the first nine years of this century. Rather than continue that growth in weaponry, she said, the generals should invest in preventative budgets to “avoid the climate chaos that would demand a defense response that makes even today’s spending burden look light.”

She was speaking to Spanish legislators at the national defense college in Madrid. Her remarks were distributed by her office in Bonn, Germany.

Scientists and defense think tanks have warned for years of the heightened military risks created by global warming. In 2007, the U.N. panel of climate scientists said hundreds of millions of Africans will face persistent drought and food insecurity over the next decades that could prompt many to abandon ancestral homes. Continue reading

Australian disasters linked to global warming

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 06 February 2011

An architect of Australia’s stalled climate-change policy has linked the nation’s recent natural disasters with global warming and called for a new political push to cut carbon emissions.

Cyclone Yasi - just a taste of what could come.

Ross Garnaut, releasing updated advice to the government, said extreme weather events like massive Cyclone Yasi, which hit the northeast coast on Thursday, and recent floods were just a taste of what would come if climate change went unchecked.

“The greater energy in the atmosphere and the seas can intensify extreme events and I’m afraid that we’re feeling some of that today, and we’re feeling that at a time when global warming is in its early stages,” he said in a speech late on Thursday.

Australia accounts for 1.5 percent of global emissions but is one of the world’s top per-capita polluters because of its reliance on coal for around 80 percent of power generation.

Canberra has delayed plans to force polluters to pay for carbon-emission permits on an open market and has instead set up a committee to find the best way of putting a price on carbon.

Greens and independent MPs are involved in developing the new policy, with other options such as an interim carbon tax also being considered.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Monday reaffirmed a commitment to pricing carbon pollution, likening the move to key economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s and saying the move would lead to a new technological revolution in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper has said the government is moving toward the Greens idea of a hybrid carbon-trade plan, with an initial fixed price on carbon pollution until a full carbon market could be established.

The government’s previous carbon-trade plan proposed an initial set price of around A$1 a tonne, before moving to a market price, and emission cuts of at least 5 percent of year 2000 levels by 2020. The Greens want cuts of 25 to 40 percent.

In Europe, the world’s largest carbon market, prices have been trading around 14.50 euros ($19.70) per tonne.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has previously played down the benefits of a carbon tax, saying a carbon trade scheme would give more certainty on cuts to emissions. ($1 = 0.735 Euros)

Source: Reuters