George Monbiot blog on renewable energy

  Out of Sight, Out of Trouble

George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website, 20th May 2010.

Whenever you suggest that renewables could one day supply a large proportion of our electricity, scores of people jump up to denounce it as a pipedream, a fantasy, a dangerous delusion. They insist that the energy resources don’t exist; that the technologies are inefficient; that they can’t be accommodated on the grid; that the variability of supply will cause constant blackouts…

And the actual report can be downloaded from…

(For the original blog, see South Africa’s 2010 Integrated Resource Plan -

Research on adaptability limit in humans to heat stress

Steven C Sherwood and Matthew Huber ‘An adaptability limit to climate change to heat stress’ 2010 (107: 21) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 9552-9555

Abstract: Despite the uncertainty in future climate-change impacts, it is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming. Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation. Peak heat stress, quantified by the wet-bulb temperature TW, is surprisingly similar across diverse climates today. TW never exceeds 31 °C. Any exceedence of 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible. While this never happens now, it would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about 7 °C, calling the habitability of some regions into question. Continue reading

New book on Climate Capitalism

Peter Newell and Matthew Paterson Climate Capitalism: Global Warming and the Transformation of the Global Economy 2010 (Cambridge University Press) -

Confronting climate change is now understood as a problem of ‘decarbonising’ the global economy: ending our dependence on carbon-based fossil fuels. This book explores whether such a transformation is underway, how it might be accelerated, and the complex politics of this process. Given the dominance of global capitalism and free-market ideologies, decarbonisation is dependent on creating carbon markets and engaging powerful actors in the world of business and finance. Continue reading

‘Three new US reports strengthen case for climate action’

Three reports (requested by the US Congress) have been released by the non-partisan National Academy of Scientists, which inter alia find that the threat posed by climate change is real and call for policymakers to put a price on carbon. The three reports, entitled ‘Advancing the Science of Climate Change’, ‘Limiting the Magnitude of Climate Change’ and ‘Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change’ are available here.  A media report is available here.

Camco and TIPS report on ‘Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities for the South African Economy – An Assessment of Mitigation Response Measures’

This report considers the ‘secondary’ impacts that climate change could have on various sectors of South Africa’s economy. It concludes that ‘efforts to maintain short and medium-term growth can no longer ignore the implications of climate change for business and the economy more broadly. Many of the commercial implications of climate change are already being experienced in developing countries such as South Africa, driving private sector innovation but also creating new areas of economic vulnerability. Continue reading

UNFCCC: Compilation of pledges for emission reductions and related assumptions provided by Parties to date and the associated emission reductions

This document presents a compilation of pledges for emission reductions and related assumptions provided by Parties to date and the associated emission reductions. It provides the background information from Parties on pledges and related assumptions, an overview of these pledges and estimates prepared by the secretariat of the emission reductions for Annex I Parties that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol individually and in aggregate, in accordance with pledges. It also provides an overview of the information and estimates of possible contribution of factors, such as the use of the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms and land use, land-use change and forestry to achieving emissions reductions in accordance with the pledges. Continue reading

Green Economy Summit in South Africa

A Green Economy Summit was convened in Sandton from 18-20 May 2010. A draft statement was produced noting the importance of, and committing to, following a less resource intensive growth path. A Green Economy Plan is to be developed by the end of July 2010:-




20 MAY 2010

 “Towards a resource efficient, low carbon and pro- employment growth path”

 We, the South African government, business, civil society and non-governmental organizations’, gathered here at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 18 to 20 May 2010, for the first summit considering the development of a job intensive green economy. Continue reading

Article on the role of indigenous knowledge in adapting to drought in Kenya

Chinwe Ifejika Speranza, Boniface Kiteme, Peter Ambenje, Urs Wiesmann and Samuel Makali ‘Indigenous knowledge related to climate variability and change: insights from droughts in semi-arid areas of former Makueni District, Kenya’ 2010 (100:2) Climatic Change 295-315

This article describes the indigenous knowledge (IK) that agro-pastoralists in larger Makueni District, Kenya hold and how they use it to monitor, mitigate and adapt to drought. It examines ways of integrating IK into formal monitoring, how to enhance its value and acceptability. Data was collected through target interviews, group discussions and questionnaires covering 127 households in eight villages. Daily rainfall data from 1961–2003 were analysed. Results show that agro-pastoralists hold IK on indicators of rainfall variability; they believe in IK efficacy and they rely on them. Continue reading

UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change releases Report and Recommendations on Energy for a Sustainable Future

This report, released on 28 April 2010, calls for the transformation of global and national energy systems through the scaling up of energy access and energy efficiency so as to ensure the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development:-

Energy is at the heart of most critical economic, environmental and developmental issues facing the world today. Clean, efficient, affordable and reliable energy services are indispensable for global prosperity. Developing countries in particular need to expand access to reliable and modern energy services if they are to reduce poverty and improve the health of their citizens, Continue reading

‘Wind turbine built at Coega’

‘ELECTRAWINDS Belgium has started construction of its first wind turbine in the Coega Industrial Development Zone in Port Elizabeth.

The wind turbine will be completed in time to provide energy for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium during the World Cup.

Electrawinds has invested R1.2billion in the Coega Wind Farm Project to build 25 turbines. Each turbine has a capacity of 1.8MW which translates into an annual yield 5700000kWh, enough energy to power about 1700 households. The electricity generated by the wind farm will be fed into the national grid and distributed by Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan municipality to households within the metro. Continue reading


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