Building up Momentum for Change

first_img7 December 2011Ten innovative projects which will help thousands of people across the world deal with climate change have been launched at COP 17 in Durban as the first platform of the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change initiative.President Jacob Zuma, International Relations Minister COP 17 president Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres launched the projects at an informal event on Tuesday.Zuma showed his lighter side by making a joke about people in KwaZulu-Natal thinking COP 17 was about police officers before delving into the importance of such projects.Focus on public-private partnershipsThere are two South African projects on the list: the Buffelsdraai Landfill Site Community Reforestation Project, where rural communities collect seed, grow trees and plant these in a degraded forest area; and the eMalahleni Reclamation Plant, which treats underground water for everyday usage.The first platform of the Momentum for Change initiative is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focuses on public-private partnerships, especially those that benefit the urban poor in developing countries.One project that stands out involves “solar bottle bulbs”, where a 1 litre soda bottle is filled with a solution of purified water and bleach. The bottle is inserted halfway through a hole drilled in the metal roof and its sides are sealed. The bottle then looks like a bulb through a sunroof and provides a good amount of light by deflecting sunlight into gloomy interiors.These are now used in Manila, providing light to almost 10 000 people.Enabling people to contribute in practical waysThe projects, Zuma said, made it possible for individuals and communities to contribute in a very practical way to the process of reducing emissions, adapting to climate change and improving their quality of life.“These are projects that give people access to energy while at the same time, saving water,” Zuma said. “These are the projects that protect our ecosystems and … improve our food and water security. These are the projects that can be scaled up, replicated, enhanced and further innovated.”Nkoana-Mashabane used her address to highlight the role of women in Africa when dealing with adaptation and mitigation for climate change.Implementation? Ask a woman!She asked for projects to bring change and impact on the lives of women. She said women should no longer have to walk long distances to fetch water or wood, which in turns causes harm to forests.She added, half jokingly, that when you wanted projects to be implemented, you should ask women to do them for you.Ban, a self-confessed champion of gender equality, challenged African men to do more on the continent to help cope with climate change.He said if sustainable development was to become a reality, issues around global health, water scarcity, food prices, poverty and gender inequality had to be addressed.He once again said leaders needed to look beyond their borders, because climate change impacts did not respect borders and affected both the rich and poor.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Consultants to get Medupi on track

first_img11 July 2013South African Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, saying he was “extremely disturbed” by further delays to the completion of Eskom’s Medupi coal-fired power station, has brought in independent consultants to get the state company’s build programme running efficiently.Speaking at the release of Eskom’s annual results in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Gigaba said the government had prioritised South Africa’s infrastructure programme as the key driver of job creation, skills development and the industrialisation of the economy.“The importance of delivering on capacity expansion projects to increase overall Eskom generating capacity cannot be understated. I’m extremely disturbed by these further delays being experienced.”Consultants’ brief ‘broader than Medupi’Gigaba said the Department of Public Enterprises had commissioned independent consultants to look at Eskom’s project management capabilities and assess the risks and cost escalations of the state company’s build programme.The scope of the consultants’ task was “broader than Medupi,” encompassing Eskom’s entire build programme, he said.The results of their study, expected in two months’ time, would help Eskom and the government to craft a way forward, Gigaba said, adding that the revised date for Medupi’s first power delivery “puts pressure” on South Africa’s already constrained electricity supply.Eskom announced on Monday that the first unit of the Medupi station was unlikely to deliver first power by the December 2013 delivery date, but was only likely to do so in the second half of 2014, due to technical as well as labour issues.Govt, Eskom to meet with contractorsMedupi, one of the two large coal-fired stations that Eskom is building, is a 4 764 MW coal-fired power station located near Lephalale. It will the first South African power station to have “super-critical” technology, and one of the world’s largest dry cooled stations, so it will much more efficient than older coal-fired stations.The other station, Kusile, is located in Mpumalanga province and will have the same technology but with the addition of flue-gas desulphurisation, a state-of-the art technology used to remove oxides of sulphur from the exhaust flue gases in power plants that burn coal or oil.Department of Public Enterprises Director-General Tseliso Matona and senior Eskom officials are to meet with Alstom – one of the major contractors at Medupi – in France in order to discuss the events of the Limpopo plant. The other major contractor is Hitachi.Gigaba on Wednesday expressed support for Eskom’s possible penalising of non-performing contractors, but added: “This doesn’t preclude other remedial actions. It is important to be forward thinking. The study will inform corrective action. We should not make rash decisions that could impact the build programme.”Profit ‘to be reinvested in the business’Eskom reported group revenue of R128.9-billion for the financial year ended 31 March 2013, up from R114.8-billion in 2012, an increase of 12.2%.Eskom said the results reflected the impact of the 16% tariff increase granted by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) for 2012/13 and declining demand for electricity due to lower economic growth and industrial unrest.The utility said revenue growth had been offset by escalating operating expenditures, mainly due to an increase in primary energy costs.The utility’s net profit decreased from R13.2-billion in 2011-12 to R5.2-billion in 2012-13.The profits would be reinvested in the business, chief executive officer Brian Dames told Wednesday’s briefing, noting that Nersa’s decision to limit Eskom’s tariff increases would require new thinking from Eskom.The company had been able to keep the lights on, despite it being a tough year, he said, with Eskom for the first time conducting maintenance work at its plants over the winter period.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Kushwaha slams Nitish; rift in Bihar NDA widens

first_imgCracks in the NDA in Bihar are out in open, with Union Minister and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha accusing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of targeting him, following reports of the JD(U) wooing two of his legislators.Mr. Kushwaha’s comments came minutes after his meeting with the opposition leader and former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav. Mr. Yadav had walked out of the party last year after Mr. Kumar joined hands again with the BJP. Since then he has been rallying opposition parties to form an anti-BJP front.“Nitish Kumar has a habit of breaking parties. I do not know why he has come down to destroy me and my party. But no matter what he does, he cannot harm me,” Mr. Kushwaha told reporters with Mr. Yadav standing by him.His meeting with Mr. Yadav has given rise to speculations that he may finally be switching sides. Calling Mr. Yadav, his marg darshak or guide, he said the meeting was merely to discuss issues related to social justice. Apart from his differences with Mr. Kumar, Mr. Kushwaha has been unhappy with seat sharing formula evolved by the BJP. In 2014, RLSP contested and won three seats. But in 2019, he may get only two seats.He had earlier met with Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav.The latest outburst against JD(U) chief is because of reports that RLSP MLA Sudhanshu Shekhar met newly appointed JD(U) vice-president Prashant Kishor. He along with another legislator Lalan Paswan are rumoured to switch loyalities to the JD(U).Mr. Kushwaha said the BJP must intercede in the ongoing tussle between him and Bihar Chief Minister. “We are both in NDA and we are supposed to work together. I do not think Nitishji should do all of this,” he said. He has also sought a meeting with BJP President Amit Shah to raise the issue of his “humiliations”. He has alleged that Mr Kumar referred to him as neech (low born) in one of his interactions with reporters.The BJP however, is in no mood to back him against the JD(U). In a direct snub, Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi tweeted, “Nitish Kumar never used the word NEECH in his interaction with media .I was present in the programme . Still some leaders trying to become martyr but will not succeed.”last_img read more

Taksali leaders are B-team of the Congress, says Sukhbir

first_imgShiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday said by tying up with former Leader of the Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Taksali leaders have proved themselves to be the Congress ‘B-team’.Taksali (old guard) leaders MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Rattan Singh Ajnala had formed SAD (Taksali) party after raising a banner of revolt against the SAD leadership. SAD (Taksali) is now part of the Punjab Democratic Alliance which comprises Khaira’s Punjabi Ekta Party, Bains brothers and suspended AAP MP Dharmvira Gandhi. “The so called Taksali leaders have proved that they are the B-team of the Congress by tying up with another closeted Congressman Sukhpal Singh Khaira,” Mr. Badal alleged. Interacting with party workers at Attari and Baba Bakala, the SAD president said however much Mr. Brahmpura may deny his Congress links, the tie-up with former AAP leader Khaira has proved that he as well as Mr. Sekhwan and Mr. Ajnala were working as per the “Congress party’s agenda”.‘Conspiracy hatched’ “Mr. Brahmpura hatched a conspiracy during a meeting with the Chief Mnister. However he denies this… but the people will never forgive him for betraying his ‘panthic’ past to become a Congress agent,” he alleged.last_img read more