COP17 and Durban’s Debatably Dodgy Water

30 November 2011

It seems as though COP17 delegates may have been spooked by the absence of bottled water at the COP17 meetings in Durban.  Rumours have done the rounds that local drinking water may not be up to standard and the local municipality has been doing some fire-fighting:

The eThekwini municipality (read Durban) has allayed fears that its drinking water may have been contaminated during the recent floods which left a trail of destruction and claimed lives.

“We would like to assure all our residents and thousands of delegates attending the climate change conference that our drinking water was not affected by floods,” acting head of health at the municipality Dr Ayo Olowolagba told Sapa.

Olowolagba said it was possible certain water bodies had been contaminated with sewage and that this may pose an increased risk to public health.

On the same day, Durban has warned COP17 delegates to stay out of the ocean due to pollution problems!  See photos at this link.

I see that our Water Minister Edna Molewa has been a tad disingenuous by picking on the big nations to meet their Kyoto and related obligations.  While her argument is correct, it is undermined by coming from a country that is one of the world’s worst per capita producers of ‘greenhouse gases’, and does not have a matching tally of stuff we actually produce.  Best to avoid the “Do as I Say but don’t Say as I Do” trap until such time as your own house is in order.

She also had a go at Canada (read more below):

Molewa called for “ship jumpers” such as Canada and Japan to “engage” in the conference.

She said it was too early for her to make statements on rumours that Canada had decided to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, which commits 37 developed countries to reducing carbon emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2012.

Greenpeace campaigner Tove Ryding said: “Canada has been a bad joke of these negotiations for a very long time . Canada needs to step up and it seems as if Canada just hasn’t got the message.”

The South African Dept of Water Affairs is on record as lauding stuff coming from Canada, yet a Canadian report today comments that Canada has a marked indifference to environmental issues and that

we’ll spend millions on fighter jets, yet continue to ignore [the] environment.

Wow, for a moment I thought I was reading a South African press article!!

Today was not a good day for Canada, hey!? While on the subject,  Desmond Tutu has directed a challenge to the Maple Leaf as well:

Archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu is challenging the Canadian government’s support for the oil and gas industry, while urging it to start leading the world in addressing climate change as it did in opposing the “whites-only” rule that plagued South Africa in the 1980s.

“Canada, you were once considered a leader on global issues like human rights and environmental protection,” says a new statement signed by Tutu and other South African leaders that was published in newspapers Tuesday. “Today you’re home to polluting tarsands oil, speeding the dangerous effects of climate change.”

The statement is part of a $53,000 marketing offensive by environmental groups, including Canadian organizations such as Environmental Defence, Greenpeace Canada, Equiterre and the Nobel Women’s Initiative, who drafted the message to raise awareness about Canada’s position at international climate-change negotiations that started this week in Durban, South Africa.

And here I was thinking that it was just some of our rugby and cricket players who don’t know when to retire gracefully!   Celebrity activism rules!  What about the South African governments opinion on fracking Bish?

South Africa has lots of threats ahead and should look internally before assuming that it is important enough to criticize others – especially when it has been SO silent in cases where it could have made a real difference, not least within its own borders.

South Africa is experiencing an increasing number of days with high temperatures, with the rate of increase above the global average, South African Weather Service CEO Dr Linda Makuleni said on Tuesday.

She said the frequency and intensity of severe weather conditions in the country would continue, with either droughts or heavy rains.

The Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces have experienced the severe impacts of droughts.

Farmers, particularly small-scale farmers, the agricultural industry and business in the Eastern Cape, one of the poorest provinces, with a high unemployment rate, were affected.

South Africa’s ability to deal with climate change and water resource (water quality) problems remains severely hampered by the decay that has been allowed to occur in so many service disciplines, from railways to hospitals.

At the same time, the current pace of urban population growth is outstripping economic growth, and the urban economic growth rate has failed to deliver required jobs.

Corruption, financial mismanagement and non-compliance with financial legislation are common in many municipalities. This results in poor performance, and delivery of service is compromised.

This was the assessment by Chris Nagooroo, president of the Institute of Municipal Finance Officers (IMFO), in his address at the Institute’s 80th annual conference recently held in Cape Town.

One Response to COP17 and Durban’s Debatably Dodgy Water

  1. Desiree says:

    Most thought provoking as always.

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