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Social sciences:


Grade 8

Natural resources

Module 7

Energy and water


In general terms, energy use in South Africa is inefficient and unsustainable. The country’s estimated share of two per cent to the world’s carbon dioxide production is a disproportionately high contribution to global warming and human-induced climate change. According to the United Nations, on a per capita basis South Africa is the world’s third highest emitter of carbon dioxide. The country should therefore not strive towards generating and selling more power, as it would lead to more pollution. We should rather manage the demand, so that overall consumption is reduced.

More than three quarters of South Africa’s energy is derived from coal, making the country’s dependence on this non-renewable resource one of the highest in the world. However, South Africa has huge coal reserves of more than 58 000 tonnes. About half of the coal mined in South Africa is used to generate electricity. A quarter is used to produce synthetic liquid fuels through the Sasol process, while another quarter is burnt directly by industry or in homes to provide heat.

All the big coal-fired power stations are situated within a 150 km radius of the major coal mines in Mpumalanga. The result is air pollution that some scientists suggest is equal to the worst in the world.

Air pollution poses extremely serious environmental consequences, as a substantial amount of South Africa’s agriculturally productive land and commercial forests, as well as about 25 per cent of its surface water run-off also occur within this region. Direct coal burning by industry and in townships without access to electricity, is also responsible for substantial pollution, resulting in environmental and health problems.

Activity 1:

To explain concepts relating to energy

[lo 1.1]

1. Identify the three natural resources which, according to the text, are not utilised in a sustainable way, and describe their meanings:

2. Why do half of South Africa’s population rely on fuel-wood as a source of energy?

3. Explain the following:

Synthetic fuel

Global warming


Human-induced climate change

A major environmental problem is the fact that an estimated half of South Africa’s population currently still rely on the non-sustainable use of fuel-wood for their energy requirements. If current consumption rates continue, all natural woodlands in the former ‘homeland’ areas could be denuded by 2020.

Although nuclear power does enjoy some support, electricity generated at the Koeberg power station is more expensive that other power in the national network.

Moreover, a number of major environmental and social problems relating to the disposal of dangerous nuclear waste have not yet been solved.

Activity 2:

To find ways to reduce the use of resources

[lo 3.3]

1. Discuss the following statement:

More emphasis should be given to the provision of efficient and accessible public transport, while there should be incentives for making less use of private transport.

Questions & Answers

a perfect square v²+2v+_
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algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
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or infinite solutions?
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Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
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No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
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is it 3×y ?
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J, combine like terms 7x-4y
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f(n)= 2n + 1
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Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
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. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
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At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
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the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
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Source:  OpenStax, Geography grade 8. OpenStax CNX. Sep 11, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11036/1.1
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