‘Climate Change and Natural Resources Conflicts in Africa (June 2010)’

This monograph contains papers that were presented at the International Conference on Climate Change and Natural Resources Confl icts in Africa, 14–15 May 2009, Entebbe, Uganda, organised by the Environment Security Programme (ESP) of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Nairobi Offi ce.

The climate change phenomenon is a global concern, which typically threatens the sustainability of the livelihoods of the majority of the population living in the developing countries. Africa, particularly the sub-Saharan region, is likely to be negatively impacted by climate variability and change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Africa’s vulnerability arises from a combination of many factors, including extreme poverty, a high rate of population increase, frequent natural disasters such as droughts and fl oods, and agricultural systems (both crop and livestock production) that depend heavily on rainfall. Extreme natural occurrences such as floods and droughts are becoming increasingly frequent and severe. Africa’s high vulnerability to the negative impacts of climate variability and change is also attributed to its low adaptive capacity.

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‘Brown Dystopia or green hope?’

With dwindling fossil fuel resources and climate changes looming, researchers argue that the world as we know is about to change. The fossil fuels that have predicated the matchless expansion of the 20th century show difficulties in keeping up with increasing demand. At the same time, continued use of remaining fossil fuel deposits risks pushing the world towards catastrophic climate changes.

On 9 june 2010 SEI executive director Johan Rockström and researcher Karl Hallding teamed up with Professor Kjell Aleklett from Global Energy Systems Group, Uppsala University to discuss future energy and climate security challenges.

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‘EU sees solar power imported from Sahara in 5 yrs’

Engineering News, 21st June 2010

Europe will import its first solar-generated electricity from North Africa within the next five years, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in an interview on Sunday.

The European Union is backing projects to turn the plentiful sunlight in the Sahara desert into electricity for power-hungry Europe, a scheme it hopes will help meet its target of deriving 20% of its energy from renewable sources in 2020.

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‘How realistic is the green economy?’

The idea of a green economy has gained great popularity of late but the proof will be in implementation. During the last year, particularly, green economy issues have gained ascendancy, receiving a boost through fiscal stimulus measures in many countries where the recession has resulted in significant job losses within the more traditional sectors.

The idea that an economy will simply become ‘green’ as a result of a strident investment criteria imposed in terms of fiscal stimulus measures is more of an ideal than an immediate reality. Truly green economies will, of necessity, be characterised by a major shift in the economic paradigm itself. If a country is going to go green, this will not be achieved purely through short-term fiscal stimulus measures.

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‘Nuclear power could triple over next 40 years – IEA’

Engineeering News, 17th June 2010

Almost one-quarter of global electricity could be generated from nuclear power by 2050, which would significantly contribute to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated.

A joint study by IEA and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) showed that such an expansion would require nuclear generating capacity to more than triple over the next 40 years, a target described as “ambitious”, but “achievable”.

To read the full article click here

‘Eskom hopes to complete concentrating solar power project by 2014’

Engineering News, 18th June 2010

As power utility Eskom continues working to ensure the lights are kept on and new coal-fired power stations are built, the company also continues to progress with work on its first concentrating solar thermal power (CSTP) plant, and has identified a site near Upington, completed an environmental-impact assessment and received the record of decision for it.

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A New Report: ‘OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2010-2019’

Foreword: This report covers biofuels, cereals, oilseeds, sugar, meats, and dairy products over the 2010-19 period. The market assessments are based on a set of underlying assumptions regarding macroeconomic factors, agricultural and trade policies and production technologies. They also assume normal average weather conditions and longterm productivity trends. The Outlook’s relatively stable price projections are highly conditional on these assumptions, and on the continuation of domestic policies and policy settings. For instance, an agreement of the Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations would likely have a considerable impact on the prospects for agricultural markets as contained in this assessment. Nevertheless, the Outlook presents a consistent view on the evolution of global agricultural markets over the next decade and provides a baseline for further analysis of alternative economic or policy assumptions. Continue reading

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