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  • Quote of the Week

    "...there cannot be a future drive towards sustainable power generation without it being married to measures of energy efficiency and conservation".

    - Australian Quarterly, Oct-Dec 2016, Prof. Derek Abbott

  • Fact of the Week

    Eskom currently contributes about 44.5% to the national greenhouse gas emissions - Anoj Singh (CFO, Eskom).

    - BizCommunity: Climate Change News, 26/10/2016

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  • Research Topics

  • About Alex

    Alex has been consulting to many of South Africa’s blue-chip companies for the past five years, using innovative thinking to help them reduce their impact on the environment and enhance their bottom line. He is also a founding member of Carbon Calculated, a carbon management consultancy, and is also the creator of Carbon Known, a carbon management software solution.
  • Follow Alex on Twitter: @sustainSA

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    SA Electricity Consumption

    Source: Business Day

    Infographic print final

    Source: fin24

    California Burning

    This long-exposure photograph taken in July on the western border of Yosemite National Park in California, offers an ethereal, otherworldly view of the massive El Portal forest fire. Named after the gateway to the park, the fire, now under control, at one stage covered around 14 square kilometres and cut off several access points to the park. Summer is always fire season in the western states, but this year the battle against the blaze was exacerbated by three years of drought and the hottest summer on record.

    Between 14 and 24 July, the National Park Service reported more than 3000 lightning strikes and so far this year, fire crews have had to fight more than 30,000 minor fires across several states, in an area of over 4000 square kilometres.

    Source: New Scientist (19/08/2014)

    Water Poverty

    Source: Online Masters in Public Health

    Green Island

    Photographer Timothy Allen took the above picture while in Mali to photograph the annual restoration of the Great Mosque of Djenné. “By chance I stumbled across the scene during an evening stroll,” he says. “The garden stood out from the very yellowy mudbrick colour of Djenné.”

    During the dry season the Bani river, seen in the background, shrinks back and exposes the mass of litter and debris thrown away by Djenné’s 33,000 inhabitants. While the town’s population normally uses mud from the river banks as a building material, this farmer took advantage of the damp riverbed and nearby water supply to grow some crops. “The area he was working in would be underwater during the rainy season,” says Allen.

    Many farmers have been displaced by conflict in the north of Mali and the United Nations has emphasised that they must be helped to return to their lands – though this farmer’s story is unknown. Allen suggests he could be growing herbs or cassava for himself and his family.

    The image won Allen a runner-up prize in the Travel Photographer of the Year 2012 competition. A selection of the photos is now on display at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

    Source: New Scientist (29/07/2013)


    Source: The World Bank

    A Warmer World

    Source: The World Bank

    Deforestation in Brazil (New Scientist, 3 September 2012)

    These two images of Rondônia, a state in western Brazil, show the impact of deforestation on this part of the Amazon rainforest since 1975, when the picture on the left was taken. Human activity in the area began with the construction of a main highway (orange line in left-hand image), which cut deep into the rainforest. As settlers and farmers moved in, secondary roads were built at right angles to the initial road, resulting in the distinctive fishbone pattern visible in the right-hand image, taken in 2012.

    Source: New Scientist (3/09/2012)

    Megacity China (New Scientist, 17 December 2012)

    This megacity is Qingdao. It won the accolade of being China’s most liveable city in 2009 and 2011 and is home to 8.7 million people. One of the main criteria for the prize is that the city must have a beautiful environment.

    Chinese slang for urban sprawl is tan da bing, which means “spreading pancake”. The pancake sure has spread rapidly since the country’s economic reforms of the 1970s and 80s. These reforms have caused the middle class in China to steadily grow, and led to much of the rural population migrating to cities. By 2025, it is estimated that a total of 1 billion Chinese will live in urban areas. As of now, the country has at least 160 cities with over 1 million people. The U.S. has nine.

    Of course this means more housing, more public transportation and consequently more pollution. It’s home to a number of cement and coal factories spewing filth into the atmosphere. (Qing, ironically, translates as “lush” or “green”.)

    Source: New Scientist (17/12/2012)

    Electric Car Infographic (2degrees, 8 January 2013)

    As recent figures have shown, the number of electric vehicles and hybrids on our roads rose significantly throughout 2012. This in part is down to government incentives; in the UK electric cars are exempt from road tax charges. But how much would it actually cost if we all took the plunge? MoneySupermarket.com has crunched the numbers and created this infographic which shows what it would cost the UK government and how much the average motorist would save on their annual motoring costs.

    Source: 2degrees (8/01/2013)

    Resource Crunch Infographic

    Companies remain unprepared for the effects of dwindling natural resources, according to new research from the Carbon Trust.

    The study, amongst 475 senior executives in Brazil, China, Korea, UK and USA, shows that many are not prepared to look at the issue of resource shortages now and believe they will not need to make significant changes in their business operations to combat resource scarcity until 2018. Most consumer-facing companies predict that they will only need to take action within the next ten to 15 years at the earliest, meaning they may not have plans in place until 2025.

    Source: Carbon Trust (10/12/2012)

    Kyoto Protocol Infographic

    With the Kyoto Protocol’s expiration in 2012, InfoProductReview.org took emissions data from the UN and PBL to assess its impact so far. Sadly, the data (presented above as an infographic) shows that while there have been more successes than failures amongst nations with Kyoto targets, global emissions as a whole have continued to soar.

    Source: InfoProductReview.org