A closer look at how climate change is affecting the tourism Industry

Travelling green: how the tourism industry affects climate change by Leigh Myles, Profitroom’s Business Development Manager for Africa

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Are we on the path to extinction or regeneration?

New speakers announced for ground-breaking conference examining how to transform our broken global food system to make it work for people, animals and the planet

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Explosive revelations about South Africa’s power utility: why new electricity minister should heed the words of former Eskom CEO

A month ago South Africans heard some hard truths about the state of the power utility, Eskom, from the outgoing CEO André de Ruyter. In an interview broadcast on television, De Ruyter made accusations about the role of criminal gangs as well as politicians in corruption that’s crippled the utility. The interview triggered his immediate departure.

By David Richard Walwyn Professor of Technology Management, University of Pretoria

But, in my view, South Africans – particularly the new Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa – would be well advised to look more carefully at what De Ruyter said, rather than trying to discredit the messenger. De Ruyter outlined four levels at which Eskom is being destroyed.

Firstly, there is the issue of a lack of political support from Cabinet for a renewal strategy for Eskom which De Ruyter attempted to implement. The plan included dealing with crime, separating the existing entity into three different companies (generation, transmission and distribution) and over time, decarbonising energy generation. Effectively this meant, over time, closing coal-fired power stations and replacing them with renewable energy storage capability.

Secondly, De Ruyter outlined how Eskom continues to be infiltrated by systematic corruption involving private individuals and companies using public assets for personal gain. The pattern of state capture began in earnest under the presidency of Jacob Zuma but these players have continued to hold onto powerful interests within the company, including contracts for coal, construction and maintenance. They are principally rent-seekers, and extract money for no added value.

Thirdly, there is organised crime. These groups are distinct from the agents of state capture. They control how money flows as well as the operations of several power stations. For instance, Eskom has lost control of Tutuka, one of the bigger coal-fired power stations that should be generating at least three GW (12% of the total demand). Yet energy availability from the plant is now an eye-watering 12% of its capacity.

Finally, De Ruyter identified intentional malfunction and petty crime as a major threat. Anyone who can break the law does so without consequence.

Much of the resource and power that are necessary to solve problems at all four levels are in the Minister of Electricity’s or government’s control. He needs to get Cabinet behind a renewal strategy that aligns with the global energy transition, he needs to get the police to do their job with competence, and he needs a powerful CEO who has local legitimacy and support.

And he needs to act immediately.

The depth of the crisis

South Africa’s electricity supply crisis has never been more severe. This is clear from the data that Eskom publishes on its data portal.

Power cuts – known locally as loadshedding – have now risen to 15% of total demand. This means that, on average, embattled customers are without power for at least 5.5 hours for each 24 hour cycle (see figure below).

David Richard Walwyn

As the figure shows, loadshedding rises every month, with February being the worst on record ever.

(The data in the graph is based on actual dispatched generation versus the anticipated demand, where the latter is obtained by Eskom from historical patterns of use.)

Just when South Africans had hoped that the situation could improve, it deteriorated. In May last year, loadshedding was a 2% of the total demand. At the time they still had confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ability to solve the crisis with his six-point action plan.

Since then the country has endured a string of broken promises, heard explosive revelations from the De Ruyter interview and witnessed the further collapse of the coal fleet.

The longer the crisis lasts, the more Eskom’s energy market will shrink. Using the data from the last few years, it is possible to model what is happening to energy demand and what could happen in the future.

About nine GW of Eskom’s customer base are untouchable – these customers are unaffected by Eskom and unlikely to source alternative supply. We also know that about nine GW of demand mainly allocated to the Energy Intensive Users Group, will be replaced by in-house generation over the next two to three years.

Combined with the growing use of rooftop solar in residential and commercial buildings, my prediction, based on my modelling studies, is that by March 2026, the shifted demand will be 11 GW, leaving a residual demand on the national grid at 14 GW, or about 40% of the average demand in 2020.

David Richard Walwyn

If Eskom cannot sell the electricity that it generates, operating costs will quickly outstrip revenue. The challenge is therefore not only to rebuild generation, but also to keep high value customers, who are switching to solar.

What will help

All eyes are on the new Minister of Electricity. Does he have the skills, energy and political influence to resolve the energy crisis? Or will his appointment further obfuscate an already incoherent portfolio?

Minister Ramokgopa needs to add three important tasks to his programme of action. He needs to learn from the De Ruyter interview (and address the problems he identified), he needs to rapidly unbundle Eskom and he needs to solve problems that are delaying the implementation of the renewable energy programme.

In his budget speech, Minister Enoch Godongwana made it clear that the establishment of the National Transmission Company of South Africa is a priority. Although National Treasury will borrow R254 billion to refloat Eskom, the funds can only be used to secure and extend the assets of the transmission company. The implications of this position are clear – sell off the generation capacity to private investors and leave distribution to local authorities, where this is possible.

One aspect of the De Ruyter interview which has been largely ignored is the issue of the renewable energy programme and how this has been derailed despite its obvious benefits in terms of lower energy cost and minimal water usage. As De Ruyter mentioned, if the programme had remained on track, South Africa would have avoided 98% of the 2022 loadshedding.

In addition, the closure of several Eskom coal-fired water-cooled power stations will release billions of litres of water for use in domestic applications, savings which will become essential for a water-scarce country. Closure of these stations will also deal with the air quality concerns and the ongoing breaches by Eskom of its emissions permits.

It is apparent, now, that nothing will save Eskom in its present configuration. It will join a list of state-owned entities that are a fraction of their former scale – the Post Office, South African Airways, the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa.

How far it sinks will depend on how effective Minister Ramokgopa can be in his new position.

Article courtesy The Conversation.

GreenEconomy.Media believes that Minister Ramokgopa may light the end of the tunnel. Uncover how the minister proposed a way out of South Africa’s infrastructure emergency.

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How to talk to your family and friends about the new IPCC report – five tips from climate change communication research

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report is a sobering read, which some describe as a “final warning” from scientists. The core message remains the same as prior IPCC reports: human-driven climate change is happening, it’s bad, but we can act – though we now have even less time.

By Josh Ettinger Doctoral Candidate, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

On the positive side, there are growing indications that humanity will avert worst-case global warming scenarios – we already have the knowledge and tools needed, and progress is being made (but not quickly enough). It’s important that people who already know about climate change and treat it seriously take proactive steps to speak with others about IPCC reports and climate change more generally.

Young beautiful girl holding blank sheet paper over isolated background with open hand doing stop sign with serious and confident expression, defense gesture

As a researcher examining how to promote successful climate discussions among diverse groups of people, I have become convinced that one of the most effective ways of doing this is simply by talking to our family, friends, coworkers and communities about climate change. This not only helps mobilise climate action, it also creates spaces for us to process and reflect upon climate change, which can at times feel very overwhelming.

Despite the scale of the problem, we do not often speak about it. There are a variety of reasons for this, including a false perception that others do not care about climate change as much as we do, that it will spark contentious political debates, and a lack of confidence in our own knowledge about the topic. Raising such a depressing topic can generally feel awkward. Speaking up about climate change therefore takes courage.

So, rather than hoping that others will read about the new IPCC report in the news, here’s an alternative idea. Send someone you know a link to a news article about it, or even the report itself, then have a discussion about it. (You could also share this discussion at www.talkclimatechange.org – a website colleagues and I created to track climate conversations happening around the world.)

Ideally, try to engage someone who doesn’t normally talk about climate change. Here are a few conversation tips to consider if you decide to raise the topic:

1. Listen more than you speak

Remember, it’s a two-way conversation, not a lecture. Focus on asking questions – what do they think about climate change? How do the conclusions of the new IPCC report make them feel? What do they think we should do about it? Really try to listen to what they have to say rather than interjecting your own views, though of course you can and should share your perspective as well.

2. Affirm emotional responses

Climate change can spark diverse emotional responses in different people. Some might feel angry, fearful and worried, while others might feel hopeful and optimistic. If your conversation partner expresses emotional sentiments, it’s not your job to judge these feelings. Simply affirm that it is a complex topic and that it’s OK to feel the way they do.

At the same time, don’t be afraid to push back against claims that the world is absolutely doomed. You might say something like: “I understand where you’re coming from, but for what it’s worth, thousands of IPCC experts say there is still time to act to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.”

3. Tailor the conversation

Find ways to adjust your conversation based on what people are interested in. Researchers call this “tailoring”. You do not need to do this surreptitiously – simply express that you’d like to explore what climate change means to them. For example, if your friend loves skiing, talk about the potential impacts of climate change on mountain slopes. If they have grandchildren, talk about intergenerational impacts. The key is to find ways to help people connect the dots between what they already care about and acting on climate change.

4. Embrace uncertainties

IPCC reports are very carefully calibrated with levels of scientific certainty. Likewise, you do not need to know all the answers on climate change. In discussions, don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. Sometimes the best answer can be: “That’s a good question. I’m not really sure so we should look it up.”

5. Explore actions together

Before ending your discussion, try to pivot to action. The new IPCC report makes clear that feasible climate solutions already exist for every sector, and that individuals have an important role to play. Explore what steps you might be able to take together, whether through lifestyle choices such as diet or transportation, or through actions aimed at policymakers (such as voting, contacting elected officials or joining a protest).

If your conversation partner is ready to act, make plans. If they are hesitant, suggest that you can follow up at a later point. If they respond negatively to the idea of taking personal climate action, agree to disagree and try to end on a positive note. Even if no direct outcomes arise out of your discussion, remember that simply having a climate conversation is a significant accomplishment.

With scientists across the world warning us about the need for urgent climate action with greater alarm than ever, it is uncertain how long heightened attention to climate change in the wake of the new report will last. However, by speaking with our family, friends and communities about it, we can help maintain the attention this crucial issue deserves, and widen the pool of people engaged in climate action.

Article courtesy The Conversation

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Sustainable transformation in the energy sector

  • Scale-ups rather than start-ups: scaling market-ready technologies and companies for a sustainable transformation of the energy and technology sectors 
  • Profitable markets for renewable energy as the basis for a successful energy transition 
  • Institutionalising and scaling the potential of green investment

Sustainability in every sense of the word, ClimateTech and economic success: these terms describe the investment philosophy of econnext AG. The parent company of several ESG-oriented companies for the development of green technologies focuses on so-called scale-ups. They differentiate themselves from start-ups as their products and services have already reached full market maturity and they are ready for market expansion. A decisive factor in the selection of investments by econnext AG is the potential for synergies among of the scale-ups among each other. This holistic approach enables econnext group to think of innovations in a networked way and thus to decisively advance solutions for climate neutrality.

Given the need to reach climate neutrality by 2045 in Germany and by 2050 in the European Union there is no more time to lose in the energy transition. The significant fossil fuel price spikes and supply disruptions put further pressure on markets. With targeted investments in scale-ups, econnext AG is committed to practical solutions to these challenges. Sabrina Schulz, PhD, board member of econnext emphasises: “We now need a consistent shift away from all fossil fuels. This clears the way for existing renewable and green technologies to be successfully deployed. econnext AG has made it its mission to support young ClimateTech companies in establishing themselves on the market.”

econnext AG is currently invested in seven scale-ups. As an industrial management holding company, econnext focuses on two essential factors: innovative and scalable technologies as well as a positive effect on climate, environment and society in terms of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The portfolio ranges from companies in the B2B sector, such as Circular Carbon, which specialises in green heat and biochar, or the energy project developer GRIPS, to B2B4C companies such as Autarq, a provider of solar roof tiles. 

Since January 2023, econnext AG has been a founding member of Invest.Green, a membership-based network of companies, retail investors, their financial advisors and other key players in the emerging green economy. Dr. Matthew Kiernan, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Invest.Green: “Our corporate goal is to make green investing accessible to all segments of the population and to channel capital into environmentally sound and financially attractive projects. Partnering with pioneering companies like econnext brings us an important step closer to these goals.”

In addition to a diversified portfolio with a clear, sustainable and market-ready focus, econnext AG relies not least on synergies between its subsidiaries: The subsidiary Ambibox, for example, already produces solar inverters that are used for Autarq’s PV systems, among others. Another subsidiary, LUMENION, can store renewable energy using a special power-to-heat technology and make it available as industrial process heat. The interplay of the various solutions demonstrates the objective of econnext AG: the successful establishment of innovative and scalable technologies with a positive and sustainable effect on climate, environment and society on the market.

“The transformation of the energy sector goes hand in hand with great investment opportunities in Germany and Europe,” says Sabrina Schulz, board member of econnext AG. “Climate neutrality relies on innovation and new business models – and young tech companies and their solutions are already waiting in the wings to make it happen.”

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Climate risk is our reality and we need actions today to shape the future of business and society

We operate in an interconnected system that requires a healthy society for it to achieve sustainability in profits and business. This is against a dire backdrop in which the world has now recognised that trillion-dollar losses could occur due to inaction on climate change.

By Jehaan Anthony

Economists have warned that the potential economic costs of damage from climate-related disasters and extreme weather could be staggering. In 2018 the US alone incurred a loss of around $160 billion due to such disasters, and these numbers are only expected to increase as hazards become more complex and unpredictable.

In Africa, the energy crisis coincides with the dual threat of climate change, which is driving the imperative for renewables, not only to plug energy gaps but also to deliver power to drive sustainable economic growth as the continent has seen a rapid escalation of extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, severe droughts, wildfires and floods. Already, climate change in Africa has caused an estimated $38 billion damage in two decades. Adding to this is a heavy reliance on fossil fuel – South Africa, which relies on coal for 80% of its power, is also said to be warming twice as fast than the rest of the world.  

Rolling power outages are red flagged as a high-risk scenario that’s expected to continue until at least April 2023 and probably a lot longer. In June last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa raised the licensing threshold for self-generation power to 100 MW, with an option to sell into the grid, which will allow residential estates, shopping centres, mines, factories and other providers to not only generate their own electricity, but also to power nearby communities and help support economic recovery. This will help reduce dependency on Eskom and the government, and the first power-generation project in the private market has recently been approved by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa.

As the green bank, which has been on a sustainability journey for some years, Nedbank has fine-tuned our solutions for the market and offer specialised finance structures such as longer payback periods, structured repayments around the savings that the infrastructure provides, and offtake deals where the user does not own the equipment.

That said, going green encompasses far more than turning to renewable energy, and our first recommendation is to find ways to operate more efficiently before investing in costly systems.

There are always ways to use electricity more efficiently, reduce water use in operations, recycle water wherever possible and process waste in a more resourceful manner. Understand what your goal is. If you are planning to go off the grid, understand the size of the inverter (how much power you are going to need) and then build your system by buying components and adding more as and when required or as budget allows.

While it is inescapable that there is a need for urgent action to mitigate the risks associated with climate change, as failure to act now could result in huge financial losses and irreversible damage to the planet, businesses must take the lead in the fight against climate change by adopting sustainable practices and reducing their carbon footprint.

That is why funding solutions become an integral part of the solution. Nedbank Commercial Banking, for example, offers term debt funding for its commercial and agriculture clients. This provides for funding of capital expenditure to expand public access to safe and affordable drinking water, provide access to adequate sanitation facilities, improve water quality to be fit for human consumption, and increase water use efficiency through water recycling, treatment and reuses.

In short, this solves for rising water costs, mitigates against water interruptions due to drought, water scarcity or failing infrastructure, prevents unnecessary or preventable wastage and avoids business downtime.

Another is funding provided for construction, maintenance, manufacture and other components for clean energy to generate or transmit energy that would include wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal power, or funding of energy efficiency initiatives that include energy efficient technologies in new and refurbished buildings, energy storage, district heating, smart grids and appliance products.

The benefits are that this would enable businesses to generate sufficient energy for own use, thereby mitigating the impact of rising energy costs, minimising the impact of power interruptions, and ensuring income generation capacity for the company and employees during power cuts. Both options could take the form of an extended repayment term of up to 10 years, considering the savings when calculating cash flow or affordability, competitive pricing and direct ownership versus third-party ownership.

Nedbank Commercial Banking also provides term debt funding for commercial and agriculture clients to invest in environmentally sound technologies and processes that promote the recycling of post-consumer products, the upgrading of infrastructure and retrofitting of industries to facilitate increased resource efficiency, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse and promote sustainable agricultural practices. This addresses the rising energy and raw material costs hindering businesses from sustained growth, enabling community upliftment through job creation and the prevention of missed revenue opportunities.

In this regard, structured solutions are tailored to each business, with competitive pricing and off-balance sheet financing.

South Africa is not alone in facing energy and water scarcity challenges – it affects the whole world. Businesses must prioritise awareness around energy challenges and water scarcity in their operations and supply chains to mitigate against climate risks, while ensuring that clients derive value that will ensure that they are on a sustainable path while reducing their carbon footprint.

Do not miss GREEN ECONOMY JOURNAL ISSUE 77 (APRIL/MAY): we talk climate finance.

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SAPVIA launches NERSA registration data portal

SAPVIA has begun to track the uptake of embedded generation for different technologies.

“As a start, we are tracking the NERSA registered projects. We’ve already observed exponential growth in the registration of generation facilities. We anticipate that amendments to Schedule 2 of the ERA will further catalyse deployment of RE technologies,” says Dr Rethabile Melamu, CEO of SAPVIA.

“We are proud to publish a link to the data portal for your interaction.”

Some highlights from the data portal are:

•             Solar PV dominates the embedded generation market, with a 78% share for all registered projects, with the highest concentration in the Northern Cape, Free State and the North West province.

•             1 MW licence threshold exemption has been catalytic: Registered projects from August 2021 stands at 547 projects and have a combined capacity of 2839 MW. 

•             Removal of licencing threshold unlocks 100 MW private projects: Since December 2022, 5 renewable energy plants that are larger than 100MW were registered. Three of those, all Solar PV technologies, amount to 552 MW were registered in February 2023. The largest of which is 283 MW plant. 

The data portal access link is https://www.sapvia.org.za/nersa-registered-plants-dashboard/ Please send any comments, queries or recommendations regarding the portal and data contained therein to

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Technology helps achieve ‘Water for All’

This year’s National Water Week drives the agenda of ‘Water for All’, an objective which SRK Consulting has supported in many ways – one of which has been through its application of isotope technology.

Ismail Mahomed, principal hydrogeologist at SRK Consulting, has recently used isotopes to identify the source of water contamination, as a first step in resolving this threat to water security. South Africa is classified as a semi-arid country, emphasised Mahomed, and cannot afford the pollution of its scarce water resources.

In a recent address to the conference of the Network for Industrially Contaminated Land (Nicola), he explained how isotopes had proved a valuable and cost-effective technology to help resolve a contamination issue at a metals processing plant.


“A particular environment will acquire a characteristic isotopic composition or signature by virtue of the hydrogeochemical processes involved,” he said. “We can use this isotope signature for ‘fingerprinting’ – giving us clues to trace the source of water, and hence of the contamination.”

In his case study, he explained how spatial variations in deuterium and Oxygen-18 occur in the hydrological cycle – leading to a lower proportion of these isotopes in rain that falls inland than in rain falling at the coast.

“These are among the variables we can use to identify whether the source of water is from surface dams or from groundwater – as the signature from the rainfall will be retained in groundwater,” said Mahomed. “Evaporation also has an impact on this signature as preferentially lighter isotopes will evaporate from the oceans and surface water.”

Tracing groundwater

One of the aspects of the case study was considering the evaporation signature of some of the ponds on the client’s site – a signature which was different to the groundwater. Data analysed during this project suggested that there was some mixing of water from different sources in the underdrain of one of the ponds. He explained that hydrology can benefit greatly from using isotopes in the tracing of groundwater, to help determine the vulnerability and sustainability of water resources.

“The technology helps hydrologists to determine factors affecting water quality such as sub-surface processes, geochemical reactions and reaction rates,” he said. “It can also be used to better understand the relationship between surface and groundwater, and even to detect leaks.”

The United Nations’ World Water Day is also being celebrated in March, with the organisation warning that countries are not making enough progress in meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. This goal aims to ensure safely managed water and sanitation by 2030 for all the world’s population. The UN has said that there is an urgent need to accelerate change, by going beyond ‘business as usual.

Must move faster

“The latest data show that governments must work on average four times faster to meet SDG 6 on time, but this is not a situation that any single actor or group can solve,” reported the UN. It has called upon global citizens to “be the change you want to see in the world” – by taking action on how they use, consume and manage water.

Among the approaches for accelerating action in water management that SRK Consulting has promoted in its engagements with clients is water stewardship. With water management becoming a key risk for industries like mining, consulting firm EY has rated water as the leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk in mining for 2023. SRK Consulting principal consultant Fiona Sutton explained that water stewardship offered a practical process for companies in mining and other sectors to collaborate more closely with partners and stakeholders in managing their shared water resources.

“This approach is also supported by valuable best practice tools like the International Water Stewardship Standard from the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS),” said Sutton. “The AWS Standard offers a globally applicable framework for major water users to understand their catchment and their own water use and impacts, with practical guidance on how to effectively manage these impacts.”

Water security

Growing concerns about South Africa’s water security saw Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announce – in his recent Budget Speech – planned expenditure on national water infrastructure of R121 billion over the medium term. This included R3,7 billion in municipal water infrastructure, through the National Budget facility for infrastructure.

SRK Consulting has been extensively involved in water infrastructure, including facilities for rural water supply points. Gert Nel, principal hydrogeologist and partner at SRK Consulting, explained that these water points were vital in providing water to communities, schools and clinics which could not be reached through bulk water supply systems.

Rural support

“However, there is a need to provide more support for these stand-along supply points, to ensure they are reliable and sustainable,” said Nel. “After the installation of these facilities – such as boreholes and water treatment systems – there is seldom any backup support or funding to sustain their continuous operation.”

When such facilities are planned, it is necessary to also include aspects such as training, awareness raising, mentoring and on-going support. For instance, there needs to be ready access to technical support for breakdowns, and training on how to regularly maintain or service the equipment. This will extend the life of the installations and improve their value to the community – while reducing the risk of water-borne diseases.

SRK Consulting works with both the public and private sectors in their water management interventions, and applies a range of scientific and engineering disciplines to help achieve the goal of ‘Water for All’.

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Climate action mainstreamed at SRK workshop

As the consideration of climate change factors becomes part and parcel of doing business, SRK Consulting recently held a global climate action workshop to further mainstream this issue into its project work.

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New global payment platform enables communities world-wide to directly participate in the fight against climate change. 

Stellenbosch leads the world in demonstrating a new monetary system where economic growth creates environmental wealth.

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