greening it up - tiger on brink, eskom sued to reveal tariffs, sustainably grown tuna, cloves and more

Submitted by MichaelE on Fri, 2010-03-19 10:05

Tiger nearly extinct in the wild: pic by HeWhoWalksWithTigersTiger nearly extinct in the wild: pic by HeWhoWalksWithTigers

Eskom taken to court to reveal corporate tariffs

Sake24 has lodged a high court application to force electricity utility Eskom to reveal the tariffs it charges BHP Billiton, one of the world's largest mining companies, Beeld reported on Thursday. Sake24 wants to know how much its aluminium operations in Richard's Bay and Mozambique pay for electricity.

This comes after an investigations which showed that these operations used as much power as cities such as Durban and Cape Town.

Beeld said the tariffs BHP Billiton paid were lower than what it cost Eskom to generate the electricity. Eskom has declined to reveal how much BHP Billiton pays. More

Energy efficiency standards planned for this year

Business can expect mandatory energy efficiency standards, for both fuel and buildings, in a new domestic climate change policy being drawn up, environmental lawyer and consultant Andrew Gilder told a conference in Johannesburg recently.

Regulations for mandatory emissions monitoring and reporting would also be developed as part of this process, he said.

SA has committed to reducing its emissions trajectory by 34% by 2020, and by 42% by 2025, calculated on a business as usual scenario. This means local emissions will increase, but at a lower rate.

The climate policy process should explain how this lower rate of emissions growth will be achieved. A green paper is expected in June, with a white paper on climate change by the end of the year.

Gilder, who is from sustainability consultancy Imbewu, said it was not clear whether the white paper itself would be turned into legislation under the charge of the Department of Environmental Affairs, or whether it would remain as a white paper used to guide cross-cutting government initiatives.

Snake bite victim runs 3km for help

Despite three snake bite wounds in his left knee and his body slowly beginning to give in to the venom, Thomas Ncube ran 3km in search of help.

Ncube, 40, of Groutville, and three friends were going fishing when he was bitten by what is believed to be a green mamba at Tinley Manor yesterday morning.

"I was on my way to the beach and decided to take a shortcut using a narrow pathway through the grass. I didn't see the snake at first, but then I felt a sharp pain and I saw the snake had bitten me on my knee," he said from his Stanger Hospital bed yesterday. More

Firm breeds sustainable blue fin tuna

A Japanese company has started exporting what it calls sustainably grown bluefin tuna, which it says allows sushi lovers to keep eating the species without driving down ocean stocks.

Bluefin tuna is either caught in the open seas or farmed from baby fish caught in nets, but marine products company Burimy says it is the first to sell bluefin grown from artificially hatched eggs.

"Our tuna won't affect the ecological system so that we can help stop draining marine resources," said Takahiro Hama, a director of the company based in the southern Japanese city of Amakusa.

"We have just begun full shipments to the United States," he said. "We hope to provide our sustainable tuna for Japanese sushi bars and restaurants which are concerned about protests from environmental activists. More

Tiger on the brink of extinction says UN agency

Doha, Qatar - A top official with the United Nations wildlife agency says the world has "failed miserably" in protecting tigers in the wild.

Willem Wijnstekers, the secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), said on Monday that the tiger was on "the verge of extinction".

Delegates discussed ways to end poaching and illegal trade in tiger products.

Just 20 years ago there were 100 000 tigers in Asia. Only 3&nbsp200 remain in the wild, according to the UN.

Tigers are poached for their skins, and parts of their bodies are prized for decoration and traditional medicine. - Sapa-AP

Damage to peat bogs driving climate change
Some of the most beautiful areas of England are releasing millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year because of damage to peat bogs, environment watchdogs have warned.

Peatlands in beauty spots like Exmoor and the Peak District store carbon dioxide in ancient deposits of rotted vegetation.
However a report by Natural England found farming practices such as ploughing the earth and burning heather means three quarters of the deep peat area in England is now damaged.

This is causing three million tonnes of carbon dioxide stored in the soil to be released every year, the equivalent to the average emissions of 350,000 households.

Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England, said preserving peatlands could help the UK meet its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

She is calling for peatlands to be preserved by allowing the land to flood, blocking gullies to retain water in bogs and creating nature reserves. More

Cloves are the new healthy super-food say scientists
Spanish researchers discovered the spice was the best antioxidant because of the high levels of phenolic compounds it contained.
Antioxidants are crucial in keeping food fresh and the findings could have wide-ranging implications for the food industry.
They are also believed to have health benefits.
The study has been hailed as a win for the push towards more natural foods as cloves would be able to replace synthetic antioxidants which are currently used by manufacturers to make food last longer. More

GM scientists transfer disease resistance across plant families
An international team of scientists has managed to transfer disease resistance from one plant family to another, offering broader protection from potentially costly and destructive pests.
A team led by Cyril Zipfel at Britain's Sainsbury Laboratory found that transferring a single gene from a wild plant to disease-susceptible crop plants made them more robust against infections like bacterial wilt and other diseases.
If the results can be duplicated more widely, they could help prevent massive crop losses and avoid environmental, health and financial costs associated with using pesticides, the researchers wrote in the Nature Biotechnology journal on Sunday.
"The implications for engineering crop plants with enhanced resistance to infectious diseases are very promising," Sophien Kamoun, head of the Sainsbury Laboratory, said in a commentary.
The team is already extending its work to several crop plants, including potato, apple, cassava and banana -- all of which suffer from damaging bacterial diseases, particularly in the developing world. More