CIWARS CCI News covers climate change, conflict, and infrastructure news focus on water, food, extreme weather, sea level rise, migrants/refugees and destabilizing conflicts. Center for Infrastructural Warfare Studies including cyber infrastructure
Brexit: 94 unanswered questions for climate and energy policy
What does the UK's shock vote to leave the European Union mean for energy and climate change?
Speaking simultaneously on Wednesday morning at separate events in London, Amber Rudd, secretary of state for energy and climate change, and Andrea Leadsom, energy minister, both sought to offer reassurances that UK energy and climate commitments would continue.
However, Rudd conceded that the referendum result had made the path to climate action harder, raising a host of questions. Adding to the air of uncertainty, there is now the prospect of a new Conservative prime minister being in place by September, as well as the possibility of a snap general election.
Carbon Brief has assembled a lengthy, and probably incomplete, list of post-referendum questions for climate and energy policy.
In the days following the referendum, a range of questions, and possible answers have already been offered on the climate and energy implications of the vote.
Or will the spending be pared back as part of a move to end the UK commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on international aid?
Is the cross-party commitment to UK climate ambition assured, as Rudd claimed this week?
Will the next prime minister believe in continuned climate action?
Are doubts over the climate views of leading contender, Boris Johnson, unfounded?
What are the views of other contenders, such as home secretary Theresa May or work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb?
How long will Rudd remain secretary of state for energy and climate change and Leadsom as energy minister, with both tipped for promotion if their side won the referendum?
Who will replace them if they are moved on?
Will the Department of Energy and Climate Change continue to exist under a new government?
UK Climate Change Act:
The indications are that the government will put legislation on the fifth carbon budget before parliament on 30 June, but Carbon Brief understands that parliamentary process means it may not pass into law before the end-of-June legal deadline. Will that legislation be in line with the advice of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to cut emissions by 57% by 2032, against 1990 levels?
Will carbon accounting rules be amended, as per CCC advice, so that all UK emissions are counted towards carbon budget compliance?
Will the government still publish a UK carbon plan by the end of 2016, on how the whole economy can decarbonise in line with the fourth and fifth carbon budgets for 2023-2032?
If this plan is delayed or abandoned, how long can stasis continue without jeopardising UK carbon targets?
Would a delay or abandonment be subject to legal challenge, given the Act requires a plan to be presented "as soon as is reasonably practicable" after the carbon budget is set?
Does the Act itself retain the overwhelming support of parliament, given all but six MPs approved it in 2008?
Does it count for anything that Andrea Leadsom – Leave supporter, energy minister and potential Conservative leadership candidate – has said both before and after the referendum (see above) that the UK's climate commitment would be secure after Brexit?
What price premium on loans will be demanded by investors in UK energy infrastructure to cover the costs of political uncertainty? Rudd was unable to offer a direct answer to this "depressing" question from Carbon Brief.
How much will this add to the costs of building new electricity generating capacity?
Will any impacts vary by technology type, potentially favouring lower- or higher-carbon sources of power?
How quickly will exchange-rate driven increases filter through to pump prices and energy bills, via the fuel used to heat homes and generate electricity?
Is it realistic to expect any new government to mitigate this impact through a promised end to the 5% rate of VAT on energy, given the £2bn a year it brings the exchequer?
How will steel and other energy-intensive industries cope with the expectation of higher energy prices?
For instance, will the hoped-for Tata Steel rescue still go ahead?
Will the government's Levy Control Framework, designed to limit the impact of low-carbon support on energy bills, remain in place?
Could a new government seek to scrap the UK carbon price floor as a means to reduce energy bills for homes, businesses and industry, even though it brings in more than £1.5bn a year for the Treasury?
How would this be squared with consequential increases in the level of required support for low-carbon sources of power?
Will rising UK wholesale electricity prices attract investment in new generating capacity or will the rising cost of imported fuel outweigh any benefit?
Could a post-Brexit cut in tariffs on Chinese solar module imports offset the impact of a falling pound?
Will windfarms get more expensive in the UK, as sterling's fall pushes up the price of imported steel or turbine parts?
UK energy markets:
Will Brexit lead to weaker economic growth and reduced energy use, as expected?
Will this ease pressure on electricity supplies and reduce UK emissions?
How will the new administration approach fuel duty, which has been repeatedly frozen by current chancellor George Osborne?
Is there still a business case for new interconnectors if the UK leaves the EU internal energy market, and how will that case be affected by currency swings and changes in carbon pricing in the UK, France or other countries?
How will energy firms operating in the UK and elsewhere fare if the value of sterling remains depressed, affecting relative earnings denominated in pounds, euros and dollars?
Will the City of London still remain a leading lender to oil and coal projects around the world, as well as a centre for carbon trading?
Rudd has this week reiterated plans to phase out unabated coal, but when will the consultation on how to achieve this be published, and what policy levers will it propose?
Could the fall in the pound revive the UK coal-mining industry, which is currently embroiled in contentious efforts to expand despite the UK's coal phaseout plans?
Will the new government heed climate-sceptic calls to back out of the EU Industrial Emissions Directive, blamed for the closure of ageing coal-fired power stations?
Will the government invoke provisions of the 2013 Energy Act, allowing it to set a 2030 decarbonisation target for the power sector, once it has set the fifth carbon budget?
How will support for shale gas exploration be affected by changes in government personnel?
How will the nascent fracking industry fare with a weaker economy and pound?
When will the government publish the CCC's report on fracking and UK carbon budgets?
Will North Sea industry benefit from currency movements as costs become relatively cheaper, or will restrictions on freedom of labour movement pose greater challenges?
Will the UK now abandon efforts to meet its EU 2020 renewable energy targets, which it has in any case been widely expected to miss?
Could the UK still be fined by the European Court of Justice if Brexit is slow, and the UK is still a member of the EU when the target bites in 2020?
Is there cross-government backing for new renewable heat and transport subsidies?
Will the UK continue to support electric vehicle uptake?
When will the government set out the details and budget of the next auction for low-carbon electricity subsidies, supposedly due to take place later this year?
Will this year's Autumn Statement set out post-2020 arrangements for low-carbon support under the Levy Control Framework, as suggested this week by Leadsom?
Will there be support for low-carbon technologies other than offshore wind, which has received the clearest government backing but is more costly than solar and onshore wind?
Rudd has given post-referendum assurances to French firm EDF over the Hinkley C new nuclear plant, but can the scheme hope to retain the high-level political support it has enjoyed from David Cameron, George Osborne and the French government?
Does Brexit render Austria's legal challenge to the Hinkley C scheme irrelevant?
Would a UK exit from the EU free the UK's hand to subsidise further new nuclear reactors without the need to seek state aid approval from the European Commission?
Will the new government be as keen on small modular nuclear reactors as the current one?
After Siemens' decision to freeze its UK wind power plans and with UK access to the EU's single market in doubt, can the UK attract new renewable manufacturing investments?
What will a weaker pound mean for the cost of burning imported biomass at power stations including Drax, formerly the UK's largest coal plant?
Does the prospect of Brexit mean the UK can award further biomass subsidies to Drax, before the ongoing EU state aid investigation into the planned support has concluded?
When will the government publish follow-up research it commissioned on the climate impacts of burning wood, mostly imported from north America, to generate electricity?
Could a new administration reverse the current government's scepticism over financial support for carbon capture and storage or tidal energy?
How will Brexit affect the balance of power between EU member states on the European Council, given the UK has been part of a progressive alliance on climate and energy?
Could Brexit strengthen Germany's hand, with its backing for more interventionist and target-led approaches such as binding energy efficiency and renewable energy targets?
Or will Brexit give eastern European countries more leverage as they attempt to limit EU climate ambition?
Will the UK relinquish its EU presidency, scheduled for the second half of 2017?
Will the EU continue to negotiate its effort-sharing decision on member state climate targets for 2030, despite the prospect of Brexit?
If the EU's 2030 target is recast with no UK participation, will it keep its headline goal of a 40% emissions reduction on 1990 levels, or will it choose a new goal for 2030 emissions, either by simply removing the UK contribution or formally renegotiating country shares?
Will the UK remain part of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)? (Non-EU members including Norway are part of the scheme).
Are currently-proposed EU ETS reforms still considered sufficient to cope with market shocks, such as that experienced in the wake of the UK vote?
Does the fall in EU ETS prices of more than 20% in a week suggest further reform, perhaps an EU-wide floor price, is necessary to maintain decarbonisation momentum?
Who will lead the reform process now that British MEP Iain Duncan has resigned from the role of European Parliament rapporteur?
Will the UK remain part of the EU Energy Union, with its plans for closer coupling between European energy markets?
Would current or future energy infrastructure investments, including electricity interconnectors to the continent, automatically lose EU funding after Brexit? (The EU is investing more than €2bn in UK energy projects, more than any other member state).
Will the UK remain subject to EU product standards, including on the energy efficiency of vehicles and household goods?
Scotland and Northern Ireland:
If Brexit triggers a successful Scottish independence referendum, what would become of UK climate policy and how would UK climate targets be divided? (Scotland already has its own climate goals, but the rest of the UK does not).
Would consumers in the rest of the UK be willing to continue paying for a planned expansion of renewable energy in Scotland?
Could the rest of the UK meet its climate targets without Scottish renewables?
Would Scotland be willing to shoulder the cost of North Sea oil and gas decommissioning, which being funded via tax breaks on the industry?
Are moves to unite Northern Ireland with the Irish republic likely to gain any traction and what would that mean for UK, Irish and EU climate pledges?
What are the prospects for a third runway at Heathrow, given the committed opposition of Boris Johnson, a leading candidate to become prime minister?
Does Brexit ease its path, given the UK's long-running breach of EU air pollution rules has been seen as a barrier to approval, or will its demise enable the UK to meet suggested targets for aviation emissions more easily?
How will the UK respond to this week's ruling that it breached EU air pollution rules in relation to the coal plant at Aberthaw in south Wales?
Will the National Infrastructure Commission, seen as a personal project of current chancellor George Osborne, still be able to carve out the significant policy role it had been poised to secure?
Will a new government reverse the decision to scrap rules for zero carbon homes?
How will it approach planning law, in particular the major pieces of UK environmental legislation that originate in EU law?
If these EU planning rules are scrapped, will it become easier to build new energy infrastructure including windfarms, fracking sites or marine renewables?
Will a new government continue to respect EU law during any transitional period, as called for by some lawyers?
Update 29/6/16 – The question on the fifth carbon budget was amended. It previously said, in line with earlier press reports, that the fifth carbon budget would pass in to law on 30 June, meeting the legal deadline. However, Carbon Brief now understands that the parliamentary process will not be completed on 30 June.
Main image: Waving flags. Credit: Abdullah Bin Sahl/Flickr.
Investors must adjust their portfolios now for a changing climate
Constellation Brands was mistakenly included among the companies with energy assets. The article has now been corrected.
Scientists discussing climate change often talk about the impact of a warming planet over the next 100 years. For investors, however, winners and losers are already emerging as a result of "sea changes," including actual rising sea levels and uncertain, shifting regulations.
Across the country, discourse within the boardroom over climate change is rapidly accelerating from how to mitigate its effects to adapting to its consequences, from rising sea levels to more extreme weather.
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––
Investors — climate change skeptics included — would be smart to look at their portfolios through the lens of these changes.
Even a diversified portfolio is at risk in ways that are only now becoming apparent. For instance, the utilities sector has traditionally been used as a stabilizer for a portfolio in down markets, given utility stocks' low correlation with economic activity. But the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules moving through the courts could disrupt the classic utility model, bringing in competitive forces and introducing new technologies.
For an investor whose equity portfolio tracks the S&P 500 SPX, +1.70% some 10% is invested in the utilities and energy sectors combined — both segments directly exposed to regulation tied to climate change.
In addition to these direct effects, there are generalized macroeconomic effects from droughts and wildfires, and effects on other sectors such as agriculture and reinsurance to consider. Even municipal bonds in coastal regions will be tied to climate change adaptation.
Two critical factors that underpin the need for investors to adjust allocations today are rising sea levels and increasing regulations.
Rising global sea levels
In the coming years, global sea levels will rise noticeably. Flooding and the expense of protecting property will spur tightening global climate-change regulations, and could eventually foment global consensus among regulators that some of the fossil fuels that underpin the valuation of energy companies must stay in the ground.
According to our analysis, investors can expect a global sea-level rise of at least 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) by 2030, since much of the emissions and warming causing that projected rise has already occurred.
Beyond 2050, global sea-rise forecasts become uncertain because we don't know how much future emissions will be curbed. The higher the emissions, the greater the sea-level rise.
While a vertical sea-level rise of 14 cm may not seem overwhelming, coastal impact can be devastating as a result of flooding and tidal surges. Scientists increasingly view this estimate as being conservative, so investors should keep in mind this number could grow as scientific findings about melting polar ice are solidified.
Estimates of the cost of rising seas are staggering, ranging from $2 trillion to $11 trillion annually by 2100. According to the report "Coastal Flood Damage and Adaptation Costs under 21st Century Sea-level Rise" published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, flooding by the end of this century will cause annual losses of 0.3% to 9.3% of global economic output, without adaptation. Governments (federal, state and municipal) will choose adaptation to avoid those losses. For example, the report forecasts annual spending on dikes of $12 billion to 71 billion by 2100.
A rise in sea level will benefit infrastructure service companies. Potential winners among infrastructure companies could include such firms as Alcoa Inc. AA, -2.47% Emerson Electric Co. EMR, +1.87% Fluor Corp. FLR, +3.45% and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. JEC, +1.86%
Municipal bond investors will need to assess the viability, or potential futility, of projects in such places as southern Florida, where seawater pumping infrastructure aims to hold back the ocean.
In addition to major infrastructure projects, entire cottage industries have emerged in coastal regions to construct elevated housing that is mold-resistant and can be powered off the grid.
Rising sea-level forecasts also suggest coastal oil refineries and nuclear power plants could be at risk when adaptation costs exceed the benefits of continued operation. Potential losers with significant coastal exposure to energy assets could include such firms as Entergy Corp. ETR, -0.39% Dominion Resources Inc. D, -0.04% Exelon Corp. EXC, +0.69% and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. PEG, +1.68%
In late 2015, nearly 200 countries committed to targeting net zero emissions in the second half of the century. Countries promised to manage carbon emissions but offered few specifics. Still, we forecast that renewable energy sources such as solar and wind will emerge as clear winners by the mid-2020s. And, surprisingly, coal could remain competitive in niche commercial markets if carbon capture and storage is employed.
In the utility sector, clear winners and losers are emerging. Already, some utilities are positioned better than others if President Obama's Clean Power Plan stands up to legal challenges and is eventually supported by the next White House.
Consequentially, investors should consider discounting energy assets to reflect exposure to climate risk and regulation and explore alternative investments that might thrive under new regulations. Conventional energy has already taken a hit by political — and even geopolitical — issues such as fossil fuel divestiture campaigns. That pressure will likely only increase.
Smart investors will adjust portfolios now to account for these changing realities of the coming years.
Thomas H. Stoner Jr., CEO of Entelligent, a company that tracks alternative energy markets, and the author of "Small Change, Big Gains: Reflections of an Energy Entrepreneur." David Schimel is Chairman of Entelligent and Senior Research Scientist at Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA. He is also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report.
Venezuela Oil Services Debt Rises To $1.2 billion As Rig Count Dips
Contractors have cut back the drilling of oil in Venezuela amid a rising unpaid debt owed to suppliers by the Latin American country's government and state-owned producer PDVSA.
As originally reported by Bloomberg on 28 June 2016, Baker Hughes noted that the number of oilrigs in Venezuela fell from 69 to 59 last May. This would represent the lowest level of rigs in more than a year, according to the Houston-based industrial service company.
The information from Baker Hughes comes after Stefano Cao, CEO of Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem SpA, said last April that his company had suspended operations on 25 of its 28 rigs in Venezuela.
Halliburton Co., meanwhile, said last month the amount it was owed rose by 7.4 percent in the first quarter to $756 million.
Neither Saipem nor Halliburton commented to Bloomberg.
Schlumberger Ltd. President Patrick Schorn told investors at a conference last week that his firm reduced activity in Venezuela amid a drop in payments to pay off $1.2 billion owed by PDVSA as of 31 March. He affirmed the commitment of the world's largest oil-services company by market value in Venezuela, and added that operations can increase if "new payments models" are implemented.
Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino declined to mention if PDVSA has delayed payments to its contractors, but expressed confidence they will continue to function in Venezuela.
"They have been operating in the country for more than 100 years," the minister said. "They are not going to leave."
As oilprice.com mentioned on 23 June, analysts believe that Venezuela's diminished oil production could be worsening at a rate faster than initially believed. The low price of crude, strong reliance on a weakened power grid system, and a lengthy drought has been blamed for the decline in production. This is making it more difficult for the Venezuelan state and PDVSA to promptly pay back its creditors and is adding to their debt.
"The situation is becoming more and more difficult for oil services in Venezuela," Baptiste Lebacq, an analyst at Natixis SA in Paris, mentioned to Bloomberg. As long as oil prices are at current levels, it will be "very difficult" for PDVSA to pay the contractors, he mentioned.
Global turmoil, drought and fish deaths slow Vietnam economy
HANOI: Vietnam's economy slowed in the first half of 2016, official figures showed on Wednesday (Jun 29), with a severe regional drought and a spate of fish deaths adding to losses caused by turmoil in global markets.
GDP growth dropped to 5.52 per cent in the first six months compared to 6.32 per cent in the same period last year. The country grew at its fastest pace for five years in 2015 thanks to strong exports and a flurry of foreign investment.
"Less active global trade and investment ... and unpredictable upheavals in the world financial and monetary markets have badly influenced our economy," the General Statistics Office (GSO) said in a statement on Wednesday.
Domestic production was also hammered by the region's worst drought in decades, which slammed Vietnamese rice and coffee farmers and cost the country US$681 million, according to the GSO.
The economy suffered another blow from a huge loss of fish along the country's central coast that has yet to be fully explained.
"Drought and serious salinisation in Central Highlands and the Mekong Delta as well as mass fish deaths in the central coast have created a major impact on the people's production and lives," the Hanoi-based office said.
Tonnes of dead fish and other marine life began washing up on central shores two months ago and continued to appear for two to three weeks.
The environmental disaster has devastated local fishermen and hit tourism in the area, while also sparking protests across the country.
Activists have pointed the figure at Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa, which operates a steel mill in the area where the fish have died and has a poor environmental track record around the globe.
Communist authorities have cracked down on the demonstrations with arrests. They are expected this week to announce the result of an official probe into the fish deaths.
Polynesian leaders group gathers in Tahiti for climate change update
By Fatu Tauafiafi in Pape'ete
Leaders and officials of the Polynesian Leaders Group gathered today in Pape'ete, Tahiti, in a special conference to follow-up on climate change and other critical issues ahead of its 6th annual session later this year.
The conference updated leaders on issues discussed at the France/Oceania Summit at the Elysée Palace, Paris, in France last November.
The principal focus is on climate change with the two key issues being Oceans, and an overview of the UN's climate summit in Paris (COP21) last December where the PLG's Taputapuatea Declaration proved pivotal in incorporating the 1.5°C margin into the Paris Agreement.
The conference session format was based on presentations on themes followed by open discussions that would help feed into the development of a road map for the future.
Climate change The Director-General of SPREP (South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme), Kosi Latu, is one of the key speakers providing an overview of decisions and resolutions made at COP21 . Special focus on future perspectives post-COP21 and what the Polynesian group ought to expect from the next UN climate summit meeting COP22 in Morocco later this year.
Leaders will focus on the theme of the Oceans-Te Moana Hiva, an idea of elaborating on a "Common Oceans Declaration" providing a sub-regional effort to be conveyed to the presidency of COP 21 and COP22 in Morocco.
The theme is also being used as a launching pad the second Preparatory Committee Meeting for United Nations Conference on the Ocean in Suva, Fiji, in June next year.
Leaders will also visit and observe French Polynesia's climate adaptation and resilience projects during the week.
Climate change: John Hewson accuses Coalition of 'national disgrace'
The former Liberal leader John Hewson addressed an estimated 2000 people protesting in the Sydney suburb of Double Bay – minutes from Malcolm Turnbull's harbourside mansion – calling on the prime minister to take stronger action on climate change.
"I think climate change should be the dominant issue of this campaign – it should have been for quite some time," said Hewson, who was once the local member for the seat of Wentworth, which includes Double Bay.
He said "short-term politicking" from both sides left targets that were inadequate and policies that were not going to meet those targets.
"The one thing that hasn't failed is people like yourselves," he said. "The community is way ahead of the political leaders and the business leaders on this issue."
He urged the crowd to push political leaders for a bipartisan approach to climate change. "Enough is enough, it's time to act," Hewson said.
A spokesperson from GetUp, which organised the protest in coalition with three other environment groups, estimated there were about 2000 people in the crowd.
Protesters were given placards in the shape of coral, which were coloured on one side, and white on the other, which symbolised the devastating bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. They turned them around for the cameras, while chanting "Choose the reef, not coal".
Robert Shelly, who lives in Vaucluse, attended the protest with his two-year-old daughter, Ariella, and her dog. "We come from a family with a big environmental conscience. It's a very important issue and it's been completely ignored by the mainstream," he said.
"The Coalition was really far down, and this is Malcolm Turnbull's electorate and so it was important to show him that people care about environmental issues," she said.
The crowd was also addressed by Dr Kate Charlesworth, who was until recently a Wentworth resident and previously worked at the sustainable development unit at the National Health Service in the UK. She said although climate change was a great risk to human health, and a health emergency, actions that would mitigate climate change had the potential to be a great boost to human health.
"Things like active transport – walking and cycling – improved diets with more plant based foods; looking at the causes of air pollution; reducing traffic congestion; healthier cities with more green space and tree cover. All these things will have tremendous benefits to human health," she said.
Michael Borgas, a climate scientist at the CSIRO also addressed the crowd, calling on the government to fund climate science, following the news that the CSIRO was making significant cuts to its climate research.
Tony Fontes, a Great Barrier Reef diving instructor, also spoke, calling for stronger climate action to protect the reef. "We've just seen the greatest, most devastating bleaching event in the history of the reef and we're going to see more."
Lyndon Schneiders, the national director for the Wilderness Society, which helped organise the protest, said: "Malcolm Turnbull must do more to address climate change. The Great Barrier Reef is dying on Mr Turnbull's watch and yet his government sticks to its inadequate Direct Action policy."
Nikola Casule from Greenpeace – another organiser of the protest – said Australia's greenhouse gas emissions were growing and forecast to increase until 2030. "The science is clear – the world needs to stop emitting greenhouse gases but our emissions are going in the other direction."
The protest caps three days of protesting in Turnbull's electorate.
On Friday Greenpeace activists hung a banner from Turnbull's electorate office in Edgecliff, saying: "Turnbull's Legacy: bleaching – brought to you by Malcolm's mates in the coal industry."
And on Saturday, a group of 50 pacific islanders kayaked from Blues Point to Lady Martin's beach, mere metres from Turnbull's harbourside mansion, raising awareness of climate change and sea level rise.
Tanzania: UK to Fund Sh18 Billion Climate Change Response Strategy
By Gadiosa Lamtey
Dodoma — The government has received support from the UK, aimed at boosting its efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The Sh18 billion programme funded by the UK government aims at focusing on preparedness for climate change related disasters.
Dubbed, 'Decentralised Climate Finance' it was launched here with the main objective of mobilising funds for climate adaption activities.
UKaid Climate Change Advisor Abdalla Shah said the government of Britain will provide approximately Sh6 billion annually to finance the programme.
Technical support towards the strategy will come from the International Institute of Environment and Development and the United Nations Capital Fund, will be implemented in 18 regions both on the mainland and on the Isles was set in motion over the weekend.
Senior Climate Change Advisor with the President's office (Regional Administrative and Local Government) Lucy Ssendi said the programme would facilitate investments in improving responses to climate changes across 15 pilot districts on the mainland and three in Zanzibar.
The districts include Same, Kilosa, Monduli, Longido and Ngorongoro and more.
Dr Ssendi said once the results of the programme were proven to be successful it would then cover other parts of the country that have experienced hunger as a result of drought.
Babati — As human activities continue to encroach into game-protected areas, the toll on wildlife across the country is rising by the day. Because of this, the Burunge Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Manyara Region, is now on the verge of collapse.
But at the forefront of the ruinous activities, are unscrupulous politicians from 10 villages surrounding the WMA. They have, for years, been fingered in rampant malpractices threatening the protected area.
Villages surrounding the 283-square-kilometre Burunge WMA are Sangawe, Mwada, Ngoley, Vilimavitatu, Minjingu, Kakoi, Olasiti, Manyara, Magala, and Maweni.
An investigation conducted by The Citizen in the WMA, which doubles as a wildlife corridor linking Tarangire and Manyara national parks, shows wildlife creatures in the area are likely to be wiped out in the near future if deliberate measures are not swiftly taken to protect the godsend.
Pastoralists from the Barbeig community and farmers from nearby districts have settled in the Burunge WMA where they continue developing structures which prevent wildlife animals from moving from one national park to another.
They admitted in separate interviews with The Citizen at Vilimavitatu, Maweni, Magala and Manyara villages that they had settled and carried out their activities in the area.
Vilimavitatu villager Mabee Giyani defended the decision to encroach on the WMA saying they were not effectively involved in the establishment of the area which was their birthplace. He condemned the government's decision to relocate them to Mfulang'ombe area in a bid to pave the way for the establishment of the WMA.
Nanida Gidabutalila, a herder, vowed that he would never leave the area with quality pasture land, as he recalled his torched house and confiscated livestock in several attempts to evict him and his fellow encroachers.
"We plead with authorities to bear with us and our livestock, for we coexist with wildlife animals. We do not hunt them for meat or any other reason," Gidabutalila said.
Peasants at Magala, Maweni and Manyara villages also defended their decision to encroach on the WMA, accusing authorities of expanding boundaries of the area without engaging them in the process.
Daniel Ninga and Elibaribi Bayo are some of the farmers who accused Manyara National Park and the WMA of expanding boundaries of the game protected areas and encroaching on their customary land without their consent.
Belela Erasto, Vilimavitatu Village chairman, admitted that encroachment of human activities on the WMA was retarding wildlife conservations efforts.
"It's true, there are some herders and farmers encroaching on the WMA. A village land use plan though is in place, it is not adhered to," he said, explaining, however, that most of those encroaching on the WMA were outsiders and that several attempts to evict them had proved futile.
"We've set aside 700 hectares for pasture, yet some herders continue encroaching on the WMA,' he regretted, pointing an accusing finger at politicians for deliberately undermining conservation efforts.
Ramadhan Ismail, chairman of the institution manning the WMA, known as Juhibu in its Kiswahili acronym, said grazing, cultivation and deforestation was greatly destroying the environment of the area.
"We're playing our role of protecting the WMA due to its importance in conservation of Tarangire and Manyara national parks, but the government also ought to intervene in rampant hypocrisy among politicians who had of late withdrawn from the management of the area," he said.
"Politicians promise to distribute the WMA to herders and farmers during their election campaigns and fuel conflicts once they sail through their elective posts," he observed.
Wildlife corridor's input
Dr Maurus Msuha, a researcher from the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri), said conservation of wildlife corridors went a long way in providing animals with safe areas for healthy reproduction and quality pasture.
"When wildlife corridors are destroyed, it makes it hard for some animals to reproduce, as they usually mate and conceive outside national parks," he said.
A research conducted three years ago indicated that most of the wildlife corridors countrywide were in a pathetic condition that was jeopardising sustaianable conservation efforts, calling for deliberate measures against wanton encroachment of human activities in those areas.
Mr Ismail said despite supporting Tarangire and Manyara national parks as well as Ngorongoro Conservation Area, villages surrounding the Burunge WMA were generating revenue from the investor in the area.
Tourists' camps, hunting blocs, wildlife corridors and the Lake Manyara shores attractted levy, fines and aid from different donors, he said.
The UN Lodge En Afrigue is the largest investor in the WMA where the firm runs a tourist hotel and a hunting bloc.
Mr Ismail said revenue from the WMA kept on increasing, citing Sh37.4 million registered in 2006/07 of which 50 per cent was distributed to the surrounding villages.
In 2015/16, the WMA fetched Sh820.9 million of which Sh410.4 million was distributed among the villages as stipulated in laws guiding the management of the area.
Retired Lieutenant Canal Leonard Werema, the Human Resources manager with the UN Lodge En Afrigue, said despite investing heavily in the WMA, the firm was facing a challenge of herders and farmers encroaching on the area, accusing some politicians of protecting the culprits.
Grazing, farming and other human activities encroaching on the WMA though were affecting the firm's tourism activities, the government was not taking measures against the destruction of the ecosystem of the area.
"We're here legally, we've entered into contracts with the WMA and pay taxes, yet politicians are disturbing us," lamented the retired Lt Canal, as he pleaded with the fifth phase government to consider intervening in the destruction in a bid to rescue the area.
Manyara regional commissioner Joel Bendera and Babati district commissioner Crispin Meela admitted in separate interviews with The Citizen that herders and farmers had encroached on the WMA.
Dr Benderal said the regional secretariat had started taking some measures against the malpractice, including forcefully evicting the herders and farmers.
"We're in a process of embarking on a special operation to evict them, we can't allow few people to destroy our game protected areas for their own selfish interests," he stressed.
The government was investigating claims on some politicians protecting the culprits and that stern measures would be taken against them regardless of their elective posts, he cautioned.
However, Mr Meela blamed the WMA and village leaders for colluding with herders and farmers encroaching on the area.
"The investigation in progress will leave no stone unturned, we'll announce their names in public before stern measure are taken against them," he promised.
Mr Jitu Vrajlal Son (Babati Rural - CCM) said though he condemned encroachment on the WMA, few natives of the area should continue coexisting with wildlife animals.
"I am not responsible for deploying the herders and farmers to the WMA, but it's true that some leaders are giving them a big head," he said.
Both the Natural Resources and Tourism minister, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Major General Gaudence Milanzi, separately said they were aware of the ongoing encroachment of human activities not only on the Burunge WMA, but also on similar other game protected areas throughout the country.
Prof Maghembe said the government would from now on take stern measures, including confiscating livestock and crops found in those areas.
Major Gen Milanzi called on all those encroaching on game and forest protected areas to understand benefits accrued from those areas and leave voluntarily.
Africa: Over 43 Million Africans Face Extreme Poverty Due to Climate Change By 2030 - allAfrica.com
By Michel Nkurunziza
The World Bank has warned that the current level of climate adaptation funding which is insufficient could trigger extreme poverty in Africa by 2030.
Speaking during the Africa Carbon Forum in Kigali that is also discussing sources of climate finance and how to access them, James Close, the director of climate change at the World Bank Group said not addressing climate change could plunge 100 million more people into poverty by 2030 of which 43 million would be in Africa.
This could happen due to lower crop yields, higher food prices and negative health impacts from climate change if no coping mechanisms are put in place.
He said millions of Africans could be hurt by further warming that will cause disastrous consequences for the region in the form of heat extremes, increased risk of severe drought, crop failures every two years.
The Bank warns that there could be a 20% reduction in major food crop yields and by the end of the century, up to 18 million people might be affected by only floods every year.
To combat the huge financing gap, the World Bank prepared the Africa Climate Business Plan as an important step in mobilizing climate finance to fast-track Africa's climate adaptation needs while reducing greenhouse emissions.
The Bank says that the current level of climate adaptation funding in Africa is insufficient at about $3 billion per year and is not rising at the rate necessary to meet future needs.
Close told the participants at the Africa Carbon Forum that the World Bank plan estimates a need of $19bn from different sources by 2020 as finance to help Africa adapt to climate change effects.
The plan also notes that further results could be achieved by 2025 at a cost of about $21 billion.
Daniele Violetti, chief of staff at United Nations Climate Change Secretariat said; lack of commitment means the costs of climate change are projected to be higher, especially in some least developed and island developing countries are severely affected by climate change.
Anthony Nyong, the division manager, environment and social protection at AFDB stressed that as efforts to reduce emissions Africa Renewable Energy Initiative will benefit from a pledged finance of $10bn from several sponsors to enable Africa produce 300 gigawatts of electricity by the year 2030.
Rwanda faces climate effects
Minister of Natural Resources of Rwanda, Vincent Biruta said: "Rwanda felt the severe and tragic consequences of climate change last month when 56 of our citizens were killed in floods and landslides in the northern and western parts of the country."
He added, "This extreme weather event also left many homeless and is a clear illustration of the high level of vulnerability to climate change that we face. However, we believe the continent can overcome these kinds of challenges if we work as one. This is why the 2016 Africa Carbon Forum is so crucial."
Biruta shared Rwanda's own Green Fund (FONERWA) that has mobilized $100m and has approved 33 investments.
"The fund is investing in a range of initiatives, from landscape restoration and water resource management to clean energy and sustainable housing. To date, the fund's investments have employed more than 20,000 people in green jobs and protected close to 10,000 hectares of land and water bodies", he said.
He said the country has set up the ambition to be a developed, climate resilient and low carbon economy by 2050.
"Rwanda is planning to put in place systems for emission tracking to monitor report and verify any progress made towards greenhouse gas emission reduction. Such concrete achievements are needed towards green development and climate resilience", said ONE UN representative, Mr. Lamin M. Manneh.
Nigeria: Lagos Blames Residents for Persistent Flooding
By Monsur Olowoopejo
Lagos — As the rainfall persists across Lagos State, residents have been blamed over the persistent flooding that have taken over roads in parts of the state.
This came barely a week after residents decried the persistent flooding that had restricted vehicular movement in parts of the state.
Speaking in an interview with pressmen yesterday, Sole Administrator of Apapa Local Government, Mr. Babatunde Alao, lamented that the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in canals across the state has led to blockage of the drainages.
His words, "It will be unfair to spend money which could have been used in the provision of other basic amenities in the state especially in Apapa Local Government on unethical environmental habits."
Alao who inspected several drainages expressed regrets over the action of Lagosians, even as he urged residents to shun indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the canal, saying "we need to embrace good hygiene as a way of life."
Vanguard gathered that the most affected areas where motorists have had harrowing experiences navigating the roads.were Lekki, Oshodi, Apapa, Ajegunle among others.
A resident who identified himself as Chijioke, said, "With all the rain falling in Lagos, let's channel some of this Lekki flood to the river. This will help address the flood that had crippled business activities in this part of the state."
Another resident simply identified as Wale, lamented "Our streets have turned into River Nile to the extent flood now flows into our homes."
... assures of efficient, safe water transportation
Meantime, the state yesterday restated its commitment to sanitize the water transportation system so as to ensure improved, efficient and safe mode of movement of people and goods on its waterways.
Managing Director of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Ms Abisola Kamson in a statement said the government had recently embarked on stock taking and repositioning by putting efforts in place to ensure sanity on its waterways that would also prevent mishaps and wanton loss of lives.
According to her, the current operations on the waterways does not conform to the international standard, which the State Government under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode intends to reposition the water transportation system, saying the process is not limited to the private sector operators alone.
Explaining some of the painstaking efforts of government to modernize and move water transportation forward, she said the Government has concluded a Master Plan which has identified 30 routes across the State, adding that they have been earmarked for channelization, dredging, lighting and demarcation specifically for water transportation.
Algeria: TV Station Staff Who Produce Satirical News Shows Arrested in Algeria
New York — The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the arrest of two senior staff at a privately owned television station in Algeria on June 24. Mahdi bin Issa, the manager of KBC, and Riyadh Hartouf, a producer, face charges of falsifying permits and complicity in abuse of position, and were ordered detained by a judge, according to reports.
The charges against Issa and Hartouf relate to the satirical studio talk shows "Ki Ki Hna Nass" (We Are Like Everyone Else) and "Nass el Sath" (People of the Roof), which premiered during the current month of Ramadan.
The shows deal with political, economic, and social issues, including allegations of corruption against long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and other government officials, according to reports. If convicted, Issa and Hartouf face sentences of up to three years in prison on the first charge, and up to 10 years on the second, according to reports.
"No journalist should be put behind bars because of work at a television station," CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said in Washington, D.C. "We call on Algerian authorities to immediately release Mahdi bin Issa and Riyadh Hartouf and to let journalists and media professionals do their jobs without the threat of imprisonment."
Security forces closed the studio where "Ki Ki Hna Nass" is filmed on June 19, with authorities saying the closure was because the studio had been used by the shuttered station Atlas TV, according to reports. Atlas TV was shut down by the government after a police raid in 2014, according to reports. No reason for that raid and closure was made public, according to reports at the time.
Issa was summoned as a witness in the case about the studio on June 22, and asked to present KBC's filming permits and registration, according to reports.
Issa, Hartouf, and Munia Nedjai, an officer in charge of licensing at the Ministry of Culture, were then summoned for questioning June 24. Nedjai was charged with abuse of position, and Issa and Hartouf were charged with complicity in the abuse of position and falsifying permits, Issa's lawyer told reporters.
The investigative judge who questioned Issa and Hartouf said the channel obtained permits for "Ki Ki Hna Nass" and "Nass el Sath" on the basis that the shows would focus on culture and arts, but instead the journalists used the show to discuss politics, according to news reports.
KBC is part of the privately owned El-Khabar media group, which runs a daily newspaper of the same name, and has been known for its criticism of the Algerian government since the media group was founded more than 25 years ago, according to Arabic media reports.
Separately, the Algerian government has opposed the recent sale of the El-Khabar media group to businessman Yesad Rebrab, on the grounds that it violates the country's anti-monopoly law that prevents an individual owning more than one outlet, according to reports.
El-Khabar's lawyers filed a petition for Issa and Hartouf's release on bail Sunday, which news reports said would be reviewed by the court in the coming days. CPJ was unable to determine if the journalists have responded to the charges against them. CPJ was unable to reach the television station for comment.