Climate News September 2016

Five new Small Grants Facility projects approved
The National Implementing Entity for the Adaptation Fund has approved five new projects in Mopani District Municipality in Limpopo under the Small Grants Facility.
In Mamanuha village, community members and the Ramotshinyadi HIV/AIDS Youth Centre will build a one hectare food garden with the intention of improving food security and household income.

In Sikhunyani and Shawela villages, community members will work with World Vision South Africa to expand their food garden to reach more families and supply vegetable retailers. In Mninginisi village, Holani Home Based Care will develop a two hectare vegetable garden, with produce to be shared amongst participating households. In Ga Ntata village, Tsogang Water and Sanitation will work with community members to install rainwater harvesting infrastructure and refurbish earth dams that provide water for livestock. Finally, in Homu village, Khanimamba Training and Resource Centre will work with community members to produce vegetables and improve water storage. All five projects will now enter into a technical design phase.

For more information please contact Mpfunzeni Tshindane: m.tshindane@sanbi.org.za


High court proceedings relating to proposed Thabametsi coal power station
In late August, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, represented by Centre for Environmental Rights, instituted High Court proceedings to set aside the environmental authorisation for the Thabametsi coal power station that is proposed to be built near Lephalale, Limpopo. The organisation argues that the impacts of climate change are significant and South Africa needs to adopt a committed response, concluding that new coal development is not in the country’s best interests.
For more information contact:

Makoma Lekalakala, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg: makoma@earthlife.org.za
Bobby Peek, groundWork: bobby@groundwork.org.za


Signal of human caused climate change evident since 180 years ago
An international team of scientists from Australia, Asia, Europe, and United States has revealed that human influence on the climate is evident since 180 years ago. Although in general it has been accepted that anthropogenic climate change began with industrialisation, the clearest signals have shown it to be a 20th century phenomenon. The new research, which analysed natural climate records such as corals, tree rings, cave decorations, and ice cores, show that humans made their mark as early as the 1830s. Human related increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was relatively small in the early 19th century, but the researchers say that onset of warming that early on indicates that the Earth’s’ climate responded rapidly and measurably even to a small increase in carbon emissions. Warming was evident earliest in the Arctic and in tropical oceans, but was delayed in the Antarctic possibly because warmer waters are pushed away to the North. The research is published in Nature.


Northern forests’ ability to absorb carbon dioxide reduced by earlier snowmelt
Mountains in the western United States are an important part of the regional carbon and water cycling. Carbon uptake by trees reaches peak in spring when snowmelt provides water to trees. Climate change is projected to result in earlier and slower snowmelt, which reduces water availability and reduces tree growth. New research published in Geophysical Research Letters shows that by mid-century this change in snowmelt timing could result in a 45 per cent reduction of carbon uptake by forests during the snowmelt period. The change also affects water users downstream who are dependent on snowmelt to feed streams and rivers.


Manuel Pulgar-Vida appointed to WWF
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal has been appointed to lead WWF’s global climate and energy work. He is a former Environment Minister of Peru, and was President of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2014/2015. He played a key role in the Lima and Paris climate change conferences and their outcomes.