Harald Winkler on WITS Radio

With the UN’s COP22 underway in Marrakesh, Wits Radio hosts a programme called ScienceInside that focuses on climate change. In an interview with Professor Harald Winkler, the director of the Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town and others, they find out more about what the Paris Agreement means for South Africans. Listen to the interview on SoundCloud.

Paris Agreement comes into force.

Today the Paris Agreement comes into force – thirty days after having been ratified by more than 55 countries prod for more than 55% of global emissions, the two-fold legal trigger required. In total, 97 of the 197 Parties to the UNFCCC have ratified the Paris Agreement domestically; a list can be found on the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement page. Below we have pulled together a number of articles from around the web to give you a clearer picture of what ‘entry… Read moreParis Agreement comes into force.

SA ratifies Paris Agreement

South Africa has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change. In doing so, it has joined the growing momentum to take climate action. 87 countries had ratified already, exceeding the requirement of 55 Parties – and on 5 October, the second ‘trigger’ of representing 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions was also met. Thirty days after these two triggers were met, the Agreement formally ‘enters into force’ – on 4 November 2016.   SA snuck in with its instrument of ratification… Read moreSA ratifies Paris Agreement

SA’s coal habit hurts carbon budget

SA will have to close either all its coal-fired power stations or Sasol’s coal-to-liquids plant by 2050 to stay within its carbon budget of 14 gigatonnes, Jesse Burton, a researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre, says. In any event, SA cannot build more coal-fired power stations if it is to meet its commitments under the Paris agreement to reduce its share of emissions of greenhouse gases to keep the increase in global temperatures below 2ºC above… Read moreSA’s coal habit hurts carbon budget

Shale gas, air quality and GHG emissions

Technological advancements over the past decade have led to a rapid rise in unconventional natural gas production, known as “shale gas”, particularly in the USA and Canada. The large-scale and rapid development of shale gas has resulted in an abundant and cheap energy source with lower direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than coal and petroleum. That South Africa has the eighth largest technically recoverable shale gas reserve in the world – located in three geological formations in the Karoo –… Read moreShale gas, air quality and GHG emissions

China and US ratify Paris Agreement on climate change – SA next?

Image credit: HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images

The US and China have jointly announced that both countries are ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change. This has increased, the percentage of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions covered by countries that have ratified dramatically. The  official UNFCCC website now shows 26 Parties having ratified, accounting for 39.08% of emissions. That latter number gets the world closer to the 55% required. And with the political momentum generated, it seems highly likely the Paris Agreement will enter into force soon. Before… Read moreChina and US ratify Paris Agreement on climate change – SA next?

IPCC special report on 1.5 degrees scoped out

A scoping meeting for the IPCC special report on 1.5 °C, (SR 1.5),[1] was held in Geneva 15-18 Aug 2016. In the Paris decision, the UNFCCC had invited the IPCC to provide a speicial report (SR) in 2018 “on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways”. The Paris Agreement (PA) includes the aim to keep temperature increase “well below” 2 °C and pursue efforts limit to 1.5 °C.  Ambitious climate… Read moreIPCC special report on 1.5 degrees scoped out

Development paths consistent with zero poverty and 1.5°C

The world faces the twin challenges of development and climate change. 2015 saw the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement (PA) on climate change.1 An IPCC special report on keeping temperature below 1.5 °C is being scoped, relating to the global temperature goal in the PA;1 at the same time, the imperative is to eliminate “eliminate poverty, in all its forms, everywhere”. 2 And those are not all the challenges we face – at global,… Read moreDevelopment paths consistent with zero poverty and 1.5°C

How policy drives the German Energy Transition (Energiewende): lessons for SA

Since 1990, and particularly since Energiewende was launched in 2012, the share of renewable energy (RE) within Germany’s total energy supply has steadily increased. The most significant growth has been evident within the electricity sector, where the RE supply share has grown from a base of less than 5% in 1990, to 28% in 2014. Policy is now aimed at further growing this share to between 40 – 45% by 2025, and to 80% by 2050. How has this growth… Read moreHow policy drives the German Energy Transition (Energiewende): lessons for SA

The complexity of global knowledge networks

This post relates to the presentation of this paper: Rennkamp, B and Boulle, M. 2015. Novel shapes of South-South collaboration: Emerging knowledge networks on co-benefits of climate and development policies. MAPS Working Paper No.30. Cape Town: MAPS Programme At the core of knowledge networks are people working together to create and generate knowledge, share and spark new ideas. Knowledge networks entail a commitment to collaborative effort; bringing different groups of people together to achieve cross-sectoral knowledge exchange and learning for… Read moreThe complexity of global knowledge networks