Sunday, 31 May 2015

FW: New rhino literature - Newsletter 39




Edited by Dr Kees Rookmaaker


The total number of references in the database and collection of the RRC now stands at 19,524. All about rhinos, their history, biology and conservation. Many items can be viewed direct on the website.


Please send us your articles on rhinos, pictures of rhinos. Reply to this email, thank you.


The RRC thanks the sponsors: International Rhino Foundation, SOS Rhino, WWF AREAS, Save the Rhino International and Rhino Carhire.




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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

SciDev.Net weekly update: Sustainable cities need empowered citizens, Conserving biodiversity and more


SciDev.Net update: 26 May 2015 | View in browser |

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Eldis Climate Change and Development Reporter: Special Focus on Low Carbon Energy


In this special issue: Two key issues guides examining pro-poor electricity and low carbon development and research focusing on: Financial Impact of the Low Carbon Transition; Sustainable energy and development in Viet Nam; Social science and the politics of energy choices; REthinking energy; Political Economy of Low Carbon Energy in Kenya; Solar Transition pilot project in Kenya, and more  .  . .


Climate change

With a focus across adaptation, mitigation & development, the climate change guide covers agriculture & food security, natural resource management, poverty & vulnerability, governance, health, gender, finance, & low carbon energy.







Eldis Climate Change and Development Reporter

21 May 2015
Eldis Climate Change Resource Guide:

This is our regular bulletin that highlights recent publications on climate change and development issues.

The documents are available without charge on the web. If you are unable to access any of these materials online and would like to receive a copy of a document as an email attachment, please contact our editor at the email address given below.

In this issue:

  1. Key Issues Guide: Pro-poor electricity provision
  2. Key Issues Guide: Low carbon development
  3. Moving to a Low-Carbon Economy: The Financial Impact of the LowCarbon Transition
  4. Turning the lights on: Sustainable energy and development in Viet Nam
  5. Transforming power: Social science and the politics of energy choices
  6. REthinking energy: towards a new power system
  7. The Political Economy of Low Carbon Energy in Kenya (working paper)
  8. The Solar Energy Centre: an approach to village scale power supply . The Solar Transition pilot project in Kenya

Key Issues Guide: Pro-poor electricity provision

Authors: Spratt, S.
Produced by: Eldis (2014)

Energy poverty is a major development issue: nearly 1.3 billion people, close to one-fifth of the world's population, have no access to electricity. We also face the pressing need to decarbonise existing energy systems to address climate change. Therefore, making progress on both objectives requires a sharp increase in renewable electricity production, both on and off-grid. It is within this context that this Key Issues Guide explores the potential poverty impacts of increasing renewable energy capacity in developing countries.

Available online at:

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Key Issues Guide: Low carbon development

Produced by: Eldis (2013)

The key question at the heart of the low carbon development agenda is: how can countries achieve development – especially rapid poverty reduction and improved human development outcomes – in ways that do not worsen climate change? This key issues guide highlights a range of central issues on low carbon development and presents the complex nature of this agenda including: frameworks for guiding low carbon development; low carbon energy; and low carbon land management, including avoiding deforestation.

Available online at:

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Moving to a Low-Carbon Economy: The Financial Impact of the LowCarbon Transition

Authors: Nelson,D.; Hervé-Mignucci,M.; Goggins,A.; Szambelan,S.J.; Zuckerman,J.
Produced by: Climate Policy Initiative (2014)

This report compares the costs of low-carbon electricity and low-carbon transportation systems with current systems. It assesses the impact of a potential transition, looking not just at the investment required and the impact of a transition on the value of existing assets, but also looking more broadly at other factors that could affect the financial capacity of the global financial system, including operating expenses, risk, and the lifespan of investments. It argues that a savings in operating costs, for instance, could provide investors additional cash that could then be invested back into the economy. Lower risk frees up reserves and enables investment in further growth. And longer asset life means that investments need not be replaced as often, freeing cash for investment that would otherwise be needed for asset replacement.

Available online at:

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Turning the lights on: Sustainable energy and development in Viet Nam

Authors: Scott,A.; Greenhill,R.
Produced by: Overseas Development Institute (2014)

This case study highlights three key factors which the report argues have driven progress in energy in Vietnam: sustained policy commitment, which has adapted to changing conditions; local-level implementation and the mobilisation of local resources for rural electrification; and donors playing a supportive role to the Government to achieve national objectives. It also highlights challenges including the creation of a sustainable energy mix, to stem the trend towards fossil fuels while meeting the growing demand for energy; achieving universal access to modern energy, as the poorest households are still lagging behind; ensuring a reliable supply; and reforming electricity subsidies while protecting access for the poorest.

Available online at:

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Transforming power: Social science and the politics of energy choices

Authors: Stirling,A.
Produced by: Elsevier Science; Elsevier (2014)

This paper explores the implications of the energy transformation debate for energy-based social science research.

Energy is of profound importance as a lens through which to view social processes. Given the increasingly urgent need to transition to a sustainable energy system, it is vital that we understand as much as possible about the multifaceted, complex network of dynamics and interests shaping, and shaped-by, competing visions of what such a transition entails, and how it is best achieved.

This paper, published in the Energy Research and Social Science journal, explores the key implications involved in this momentous debate for the social sciences, addressing the dynamics involved through consideration of three contending approaches: renewable energy, nuclear power, and climate geoengineering. Several challenges are identified for social science, applying especially where there are aims to help enable more democratic exercise of social agency.

The paper concludes that if social science is to support the transformation to a sustainable global energy infrastructure, then the following principles may prove important:

  • Social science research doesn't simply tackle complexity for the sake of scientific or engineering goals; it also assists in forming and evolving those goals, and of society more widely.
  • Aspirations or claims to a singular prescriptive conclusion are as misleading in the social science of energy as in other social science disciplines, conferring a responsibility to deconstruct such claims.
  • Instead, social science should present to policy-makers an explicit plurality of social interpretations of energy alternatives under different reasonable perspectives, carefully explicating each with its associated constituting conditions.
  • Social science should also examine its own contexts, and the practices of justification therein. This includes how specific reduced understandings of 'sustainability, 'transitions', and 'planetary governance' favour and suppress different political interests and implications.

This entails that social science in the service of democratic energy politics should be open and reflexive, and self-critical about its own subjectivities.

  • It is a matter of rigour as much as democracy that social science should resist the shaping of knowledge by incumbent interests by ensuring that marginal interests are promoted, privilege is redistributed, and choices benefiting the less powerful are enabled.


Available online at:

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REthinking energy: towards a new power system

Authors: Ferroukhi,R.; Gielen,D.; Kieffer,G.
Produced by: International Renewable Energy Agency (2014)

This report, which is focused on the power sector, tells the story of changing trends which are driving change. It looks at how technology is evolving, who is financing it, and the wider benefits it will bring. Finally, it examines what an energy system powered by renewables might look like and how policy makers can further support the transformation.

This report is part of a series named 'REthinking Energy' which explores how renewable energy is financed, produced, distributed and consumed, and aims to chart the changing relationships it is bringing about between states, corporations and individuals.

Available online at:

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The Political Economy of Low Carbon Energy in Kenya (working paper)

Authors: Newell,P.; Phillips,J.; Pueyo,A.
Produced by: Institute of Development Studies UK (2014)

There is growing international focus on how to support more integrated approaches to a ddressing climate change in ways that capture synergies and minimise the trade - offs between climate change mitigation, adaptation and development. These aims are embodied in the concept of climate compatible development (CCD). But what does this look like in practice in Kenya?

With a National Action Plan on Climate Change, a Vision 2030 Strategy, a new constitution and a revised Energy Policy, Kenya is at a critical cross - roads with respect to defining its energy future for the years to come. The challenge is to enable a just transition to a lower carbon economy that delivers poverty reduction and climate resilience at the same time. But thinking about who sets the terms of transition and for whom, raises key political questions about the role of actors, in terests and institutions in the energy sector. In other words, who has the power to change power?

Drawing on 29 interviews with government officials, donors and businesses conducted during 2013, insights gleaned from an interactive workshop with practitio ners on the themes of the research, as well as available academic and grey literature, t his paper explores the role of politics, actors and institutions in enabling or frustrating the pursuit of climate compatible energy development in Kenya. This is a cri tical time for Kenya in deciding its energy future and whether and how it will aim to make it 'climate compatible'. Issues of power and p olitical economy will play a key role in determining technological and social outcomes: the winners and losers from dif ferent energy pathways and on whose terms and how the trade - offs between competing policy objectives are resolved. In particular political economy analysis helps to understand the potential for energy systems to meet climate, development and adaptation nee ds simultaneously.

Available online at:

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The Solar Energy Centre: an approach to village scale power supply . The Solar Transition pilot project in Kenya

Authors: Muchunku,C.; Ulsrud,K.; Winter,T.
Produced by: University of Oslo (2014)

Access to electricity has a positive impact on a wide range of factors influencing rural communities, from improved health, to access to communication and information, to better educational facilities, economic prosperity and improved standard of living. However, finding ways to expand energy services to marginalizeed households in developing countries is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world today.

The village energy centre model, developed by the Solar Transitions project, targets provision of affordable and accessible basic lighting and electricity services for off-grid communities through an approach where all services are housed in one centre approximate to the community. The system design attempts to minimize the number of centralized batteries required to reduce future battery replacement costs. To achieve sustainability and enable expansion, the centre is designed to be operated by local residents on financial principles.

Available online at:

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