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LP GAS STRATEGY APPROVED FOR IMPLEMENTATION

LP Gas strategy approved for implementation

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Cabinet has given the go ahead for the implementation of South Africa’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP Gas) Strategy to be implemented.

This was announced on Thursday by Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, during a briefing on the outcomes of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.

The strategy – when implemented – is expected to bring some relief to the country’s constrained energy supplies.

“The strategy seeks to expand the LPG industry in the country. LPG will contribute meaningfully to the diversification of sources of energy.

“The strategy will amongst other interventions to regulate the pricing in the value chain, and support the manufacturing of LPG cylinders in the country. It will also educate the public about the benefits of using LPG as an alternative form of energy,” Gungubele said.

Earlier this year, Gungubele said the strategy would also deal with “the structural features of the current LPG market, existing infrastructure, the pricing structure and the current local manufacturing capacity of LPG cylinders”.

Land summit

Meanwhile, the Minister in the Presidency announced that the Land Administration and Land Tenure in Communal Areas Summit will be held in Gauteng at the end of this month.

“Cabinet adopted the Position Paper on Land Administration and Land Tenure in Communal Land Areas in March 2021. It directed that further consultation be undertaken witj all relevant stakeholders.

“The summit will be the culmination of the work that was done in the past year, which solicited inputs from various stakeholders,” Gungubele said. – SAnews.gov.za

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Recent rains in most parts of the country boosts water levels 

The recent rains in most parts of the country have boosted the national water storage, a weekly report on state of reservoirs in the country issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation has shown.

The volume of water stored in the reservoirs of most provinces has shot up, increasing from 95.0% last week to 96.3% this week. They include KwaZulu Natal province which has suffered major flooding that caused destruction in the province. 

According to the Departmental Spokesperson, Mr Sputnik Ratau, the reservoirs at Free State, Northern Cape and Gauteng provinces are at their full capacity. Free State dam levels have increased from 105.4% last week to 106.9% this week. Gauteng province was 102.9% last week but has risen to 104.2 this week. Northern Cape province is also at a staggering 115.3% this week, an improvement for last week’s 113.7%.

KwaZulu Natal province has also seen an increase in its water levels, despite the destruction caused by the major floods.  The water levels in the province have increased from last week’s 90.4% to 92.5% this week. 

“It is unfortunate that the heavy rainfalls in KwaZulu Natal have resulted in massive flooding which caused much damage to infrastructure and even loss of life, but the rains have also brought a great improvement from last year’s water levels which stood at 73.5% during this time”, said Mr Ratau.

Ratau has however appealed to water users in the provinces with dam water storage at full capacity or satisfactory levels to continue to use water sparingly and conserve water as much as they can to ensure water security in their provinces. 

However, it is noted that the water storage in Cape Town has decreased to 56.8% this week, from last week’s 58.3%. The dam levels in the Western Cape were standing at 50.6% last year at this time. “Water Supply Systems with dams supplying water to the City of Cape Town have slightly declined by 68.4% this week, from last week’s 69.8%”, Mr Ratau further explained. 

North West province has seen an improvement in its level of dams, from last week’s 76.5% to 78.7%, this week. This is a considerable drop when compared the levels were at 83.4% last year during this period. Klipvoor Dam is at its full capacity at 108.4% this week, an improvement from last week’s 104.5%. Bospoort Dam has slightly increased from last week’s 105.1% to 105.3% this week. Buffelspoort Dam is also at its full capacity but has remained unchanged 101.6% this week.  

Mpumalanga dam levels have also increased from last week’s 95.1% to this week’s 96.3%. This is an improvement when the province’s water levels were standing at 88.1% last year at this time. Westoe Dam in Usutu river is at its full capacity and has increased from last week’s 100.5% to 102.9% this week. The province’s Nooigedacht Dam is at its full level at 103.2% this week, an improvement from last week’s 102.0%. Vygeboom Dam is also at its peak by 104.0% this week compared to last week’s 100.9%. Kwena Dam is full by 101.6% this week and Longmere Dam remains at its high levels with 101.6% this week compared to last week’s 101.1%.

Water levels in Limpopo have also increased, recording 89.9% this week compared to last week’s 88.4%. Flag Boshielo Dam has increased from last week’s 104.9% to 108.5% this week. In Mopani Region, a critically low Middel-Letaba Dam to dropped to 3.2% this week, compared to last week’s 3.4%. Tzaneen dam has slightly declined to 100.1% this week from last week’s 101.3%. The biggest dam in Limpopo, De Hoop is at its full capacity by 100.5% this week, from last week’s 100.4%. 

Eastern Cape has decreased in its water levels with the provincial water storage at 66.4% this week, a slight decline from last week’s 66.5%. The Algoa Water Supply System with dams supplying the Nelson Mandela Bay area is at a very low of 13.6% this week, a slight decrease from last week’s 13.9%. Kouga Dam which supplies the Nelson Mandela Bay is also very low at 13.5% this week.

Water levels in the Amathole Water Supply System have improved slightly to 67.9% this week, from last week’s 66.8%. Nahoon Dam which supplies water to Buffalo City Metro has seen a drastic improvement to 100.0% this week from last week’s 97.4%.

Free State dam levels have increased from last week’s 105.4% to 106.9% this week. Fika Patso Dam, which supplies the residents of Phuthaditjhaba in QwaQwa, is at its highest levels and remains unchanged 100.0% this week. Free State’s biggest dam, Gariep, is also at its full capacity and has risen to 105.6% this week from last week’s 103.1%. 

Despite these great improvements of the water levels in various province, the Department of Water and Sanitation still reiterates its call on water consumers to continue to use water sparingly.

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Global Carbon Footprint of Bitcoin Mining up 17% to stand at 114 Mt

  • Bitcoin’s carbon footprint globally stands at 0.19%
  • This figure is equivalent to what Czech emits as an entire country

Since Bitcoin came into play, crypto enthusiasts have been championing its mainstream adoption. And while it seemed like it would take a couple of years to convince the global population, the pandemic proved to be one of the most significant crypto driving factors. Between June 2020 and July 2021, Bitcoin recorded an 880% surge in adoption.

But, as we welcome the new age of money, we have to think about its negative impacts as well. Banklesstimes.com has been compiling data on the effects of Bitcoin mining on the environment, and the findings are alarming. As of February 2022, Bitcoin’s carbon footprint globally accounts for 0.19%, which is just about what Czech emits as an entire country.

Carbon emission concerns increase following China’s crypto ban

The concerns around Bitcoin mining effects have been a hot debate for quite some time now. While crypto die-hards keep pushing for crypto use in everyday tasks, environmentalists argue it is doing more harm than good.

Elon Musk, a well-known crypto enthusiast, argued that Bitcoin mining was now moving to renewable energy, increasing its green share.

But as recent findings would have it, this is not the case. The Bitcoin mining carbon footprint has been steadily rising, and China’s current ban on crypto use only fueled it further. Research shows that carbon emissions have increased by 17% following the crackdown.

China was a significant Bitcoin hub, accounting for more than 75% of Bitcoin’s hash rate and 44% of crypto miners. That was until June 2021, when the country banned Bitcoin mining. The ban resulted in a mass exodus of miners from China to the US, Russia, and Kazakhstan, where the negative impact is higher.

Now, this may seem absurd, especially because China relies heavily on coal. But, the country also uses renewable hydropower to mine cryptos.

Hydropower and other renewable energy hold the solution

Although things seem bleak right now, there just might be a way out. Going by Musk’s stance, shifting to renewable energy might solve the stalemate between adoption and climate impact.

And it seems that things are already set in motion.

A Costa Rican hydropower plant recently converted into a green Bitcoin mining plant. Sure, the adverse effects on the climate may not start reversing just now, but it is a step in the right direction.

When all’s said and done, cryptocurrency is here to stay, and instead of beating down its adoption, it’s time to find a permanent solution to its carbon footprint.

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Celebrate SA Wines This Open That Bottle Night

February sees people from many parts of the world celebrating a very special occasion!  In this instance, it is not Valentine’s Day, but rather Open That Bottle Night on 26 February, dedicated to cracking a special bottle of wine and honouring the harvest of the humble grape and its progeny – wine.

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Pandemic, climate change raise stakes for South Africa

In the face of Covid-19, climate change and growing economic hardship in South Africa, disaster risk reduction (DRR) should be a priority for government at all levels; the signs are, though, that there is still insufficient capacity and commitment to carry through on this mandate.

According to Martin Stols, principal consultant in GIS and disaster management at SRK Consulting, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of the importance of being prepared for unexpected events. It also demonstrated that certain risks are often underestimated, and that there is no room for complacency.

“The top priority hazards that we identified in disaster management plans in 2019 were fire, floods and drought, while human disease was ranked 14th,” said Stols. “The Covid-19 pandemic certainly would have changed this perception – but importantly it taught us how different sectors are impacted during a disaster and how interdependent many sectors are during a disaster.”

In this sense, DRR is everybody’s business, so it is vital to avoid taking a ‘silo’ approach when planning for and responding to disaster risk.

Integrated approach

“No single entity can ‘own’ or take sole responsibility for a hazard or disaster,” he emphasised. “There is sometimes a misconception that certain departments are responsible for a certain category of hazard – but there are always knock-on effects that extend well beyond the core impacts.”

For example, he noted that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) may have a programme like Working on Fire, but the effects of a fire may require intervention by other departments such as Human Settlements and or Agriculture. Similarly, floods are not only the problem of the Department of Water and Sanitation.

On different levels of government there could be different agencies involved in the disaster continuum. For example, flood mitigation in a city environment will most likely be the responsibility of the roads and stormwater department, but the response efforts should there be a flooding event will lie with the emergency services.

“Disasters frequently demand more from government agencies than their direct mandate suggests,” he said. “The DFFE has a clear mandate to protect the environment, for instance, but when the Covid-19 hard lockdown led to the closure of the county’s national parks, many households around these parks needed emergency assistance. They were stripped of their primary source of income through tourism-related activities, and this led to the DFFE having to support these communities by providing food parcels and monetary support.”

He highlighted that disaster risk involves various factors, and can often be most effectively addressed by reducing vulnerability and improving capacity or resilience – a role which includes the responsibilities of a number of departments and sectors other than the department dealing directly with the hazard.

“This also means that better communication is needed among the different stakeholders, through participation in disaster management forums already established,” he said.

Institutional basis

Progress can only be made when DRR is mainstreamed into the operations of government, he urged. This requires – first and foremost – that DRR is well grounded, or institutionalised, within each department or agency. In practical terms, this means having the required policies and interventions in place, as well as organisational structures and cultures in support of DRR within each development intervention.

Stols noted that disaster management planning was already required by law, but that there were high levels of non-compliance. South Africa’s Disaster Management Act of 2015 demands that each national organ of state must conduct a disaster risk assessment for its functional area, map these threats, and prepare a disaster management plan (DMP). Many national departments, however, have not submitted DMPs to the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), as the law requires.

This presents a significant challenge to the national DRR effort, as the NDMC is mandated to make these plans available to provincial and municipal disaster management centres. The law also mandates the departments to coordinate and align their DMPs with other stakeholders, and to invest in DRR. Without full compliance at the national level, the roll-out of disaster management to other levels of government inevitably becomes compromised.

An important element of what the Disaster Management Act requires from departments is that DRR must also consider climate change adaptation, including ecosystem and community-based adaptation approaches. In the country’s currently depressed economic situation, this has a special relevance.

Community vulnerability

“Our high rates of unemployment – further exacerbated by Covid-19 restrictions – mean that communities are increasingly vulnerable,” he said. “This makes disasters far more devastating, both in their immediate impact and their long-term effects on livelihoods and quality of life.”

Mainstreaming DRR into the development planning process is very important for sustainability, and essentially means looking critically at each programme, activity and project being planned – not only to reduce the existing disaster risks but also to minimise the creation of new risks. This makes it vital to apply the law’s requirement for government departments to develop early warning mechanisms and procedures for risks identified in their functional areas – and to regularly review and update these plans.

“This would allow a positive shift of focus towards removing root causes of communities’ vulnerability to hazards,” said Stols. “Increased resilience – which would include better housing, infrastructure, basic services and access to resources – would reduce the dependency on government intervention and other external assistance.”

Such a mainstreaming process would be in line with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Sendai Framework for 2015-2030, the Africa Strategy of Disaster Risk Reduction Programme of Action, and the SADC Regional Resilience Framework 2020-2030.

The Sendai Framework, emphasises four basic priorities for action: understanding risk; strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; investing in DRR; and enhanced resilience for disaster preparedness and effective response, to ‘build back better’ during recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. Implementing these four priorities will ensure institutionalisation of DRR in any organization.

“Covid-19 has been a wake-up call, demonstrating the wide-ranging and devastating effects of a disaster that we were not well prepared for,” he said. “By complying more fully with our own law and implementing the existing global and regional guidelines, we could take important steps in the right direction.”

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SAEEC Partnership with the Africa Energy Indaba

For years, the innovative partnership has leveraged the respective strengths of both entities to create compelling value for anyone vested in the realm of energy.

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