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Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 4, February 1, 2012

 
Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 4, February 1, 2012
CE News is a free weekly e-mail publications that features news, information and events related tp clean energy, clean air and climate change. CE News is published by Clean Energy Nepal. For more information on our campaign please visit www.cen.org.np
 
Headlines
•    Road Widening Move Draws Flak
•    Economy Cannot Afford Fuel Subsidy, PM Admits
•    Diesel Plant in Operation
•    Nepal Seeks Help in Power Generation
•    Load-Shedding Effects: Industries Slash Production
•    Nasa Confirms Man's role in Global Warming
•    Rainforests Store 229 Billion Tons of Carbon Globally Finds New 'Wall-To-Wall' Carbon Map
•    Beijing Air Pollution Soars with Fireworks Smoke
•    Climate Change Diminishing Canadian Forest's Carbon Sink
•    Renewable Energy Deals Buck Uncertainty to Rise 40%, PWC Says
•    Sustainable Energy is Answer to Wider Crisis: EU's Hedegaard
•    Link Of The Week
•    Did You Know?
•    Media Watch
•    QUIZ Of The Week #  507
•    Answer Of Quiz Of The Week # 506

 
Local News
Road Widening Move Draws Flak
Protesting the government’s road-widening campaign, a group of people picketed Kathmandu Valley Town Development Implementation Committee (KVTDIC) today.
Residents along the Lazimpat-Bhudhanilkantha road section chanted anti-government slogans and warned of strong protest against the road-widening move. “We will act against the road-widening drive,” said Krishna Paudel, secretary of the struggle committee. “The government has terrorised us and encroached our land and property in the name of road-widening,” he said. The government has been demolishing illegally built structures on the roads for the past three months to widen the road in the Valley. Protesters said the government was enacting a dead law. “Even before it implements the Land Acquisition Act, it has started capturing our land,” said local Ramesh Bhatta. “Earlier, local authorities allowed us to make houses leaving 8 metres on either side of the road. “We will submit documents to the government,” said Nirmal Nakarmi and Akash Maharjan, members of the struggle committee. However, government officials said all the protesters today were not genuine land owners. Bhai Kaji Tiwari, KVTDIC chief, said they would study the documents and decide whether to compensate. “If they are encroaching road assets, they will be demolished.” “The government will continue to widen roads,” said Tiwari. “Legal action will be taken against those who have violated the laws.”
Source: http://www.thehimalayantimes.com January 26, 2012
 
Economy Cannot Afford Fuel Subsidy, PM Admits
With the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) struggling to ensure smooth supply of petroleum products and seeking government subsidy, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has admitted that the economy cannot afford to subsidies fuel.
There is a need of a national commitment for fuel price adjustment as per the international market price, said the Prime Minister at an interaction with economic journalists here on Saturday. “The government cannot provide subsidy on imported products,” said Bhattarai. “We must reach a national consensus on the matter.” He also said that the government is considering introducing a legal framework to enforce energy emergency for a certain period until the country is able to produce 2,500MW electricity. Stating that foreign investments will not come unless the power crisis is addressed, the Prime Minister said such an emergency arrangement is necessary. Amid criticism over the Immediate Action Plan (IAP) introduced on Thursday that has repackaged the existing programmes in the annual budget, Bhattarai defended IAP, but accepted that it does not include new programmes. “Though the programmes are the ones that have been mentioned in the annual budget, IAP has highlighted the government priorities,” said Bhattarai at an interaction with economic journalists here on Saturday. “As IAP was to be introduced in the middle of the fiscal year, we were not in a position to introduce new ideas,” said Bhattarai. “Therefore, we have tried to prioritise existing programmes staying under the budgetary allocation.” Introduction of IAP, according to the Prime Minister, is to ensure people that the government is serious about development. “The IAP has been brought by keeping growth, employment and social justice at the centre,” he said. The target of bringing in $1 billion foreign investment within next six months as mentioned in IAP is possible, according to him. “If we start a few mega projects, the target is not an ambitious figure,” he said. He was candid when he said that the revolutionary leap for economic development and prosperity was not possible given the current state of the country. Thus, the government, according to him, is working for general reform measures so as to give immediate relief to the people. “With a coalition government in place, we cannot do much,” he said candidly.
The Prime Minister was of the view that along with domestic investment, foreign investment is also needed to stimulate economic growth. The signing of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with India, according to him, is an attempt to give a message that large foreign investments are required for faster economic growth. Amid differences within the Maoists over foreign investment, he made it clear that promoting foreign investment and their security is his party’s official policy. “Until we are not self reliant, we need foreign capital,” he said. With his own party divided over Indian investment in the hydropower sector, the Prime Minister said efforts are being made to reach a consensus on the matter. Saying that the country transformation is not possible without commercialization of agriculture, he said he has directed to double the agriculture budget next year. According to the PM, purchasing two aircraft for the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is one of the government’s top priorities. “Restructuring of NAC and aircraft purchase will be carried out this year,” said Bhattarai.
Source: http://www.ekantipur.com January 29, 2012
 
Diesel Plant in Operation
Outage won't go up‚ says state minister
Nepal Electricity Authority began generating electricity at the Hetauda-based thermal plant today, a week after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai directed concerned authorities to do so. The plant, which was set up in 1996 and shut four years ago following locals’ protests, will generate 10 MW daily. Inspecting the plant today, State Minister for Energy Surya Man Dong directed the state-run electricity utility to keep the plant in operation. Plant chief Rajesh Kumar Pandey said the plant, which consumes 3,000 litres of diesel daily, resumed its operation after maintenance for which the government had provided Rs 20 million a week ago. Three of the four generators at the plant are producing electricity. “When all the generators are in operation, the plant can generate up to 14 MW of power,” said the plant chief. Dong, who was on his way to the Mid-Marshyangdi hydropower project, said, ‘’The government plans to purchase 30 MW power from India.’’ He said the government will not increase the daily outage to more than 14 hours.
Source: http://thehimalayantimes.com January 30, 2012
 
Nepal Seeks Help in Power Generation
Kathmandu has asked Dhaka to join it as equity partner in a power generation plant in Nepal.
"We discussed flood control management and energy cooperation in my meeting with the Nepali finance minister," finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said at a press briefing on Tuesday. He said Nepal has a huge capacity to generate power but it is not properly utilised due to investment shortage. "They asked us to join them as equity partner," he added.
Source: http://www.bdnews24.com January 31, 2012
 
Load-Shedding Effects: Industries Slash Production
By Bhusan Yadav
The 14-hour daily load-shedding has forced industries based in the Bara-Parsa Industrial Corridor, the country’s largest industrial base, to slash their production by 60 percent.
According to industrialists, power shortage coupled with diesel crisis has hit them hard. They say they are receiving much less amount of diesel than their normal requirement. “Industries that require around 7000 litres diesel daily are getting only 3000 litres,” said an industrialist. Rushi Unnithan, executive director of Jagdamba Steels, said his factory has slashed operation to 10 hours a day from the regular 20 hours. “Our factory used to produce 1,280 tonnes of iron rod daily, which now has come down to only 500 tonnes,” said Unnithan. The power shortage and fuel crisis, according to Ashok Temani, president of the Birgunj Chambers of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), has already forced five iron factories to shut down their operation. “There is no environment to run industries,” said Temani. “The government is only busy collecting revenue.” Due to the energy crisis, nine cement factories and seven iron factories in the corridor are struggling to run under their normal production schedule. The cement factories having daily production capacity of 15,000 sacks have been producing just 3,000-5,000 sacks for the last few weeks. Mahendra Agrawal, sales manager of Jagdamba Cement, said his company is struggling to supply cement as per the market demand.
With domestic producers forced to cut down their production, domestic steel and cement manufacturers fear that Indian products might acquire bigger market share in the local market. “With domestic manufacturers having larger market share unable to cater to the demand, Indian brands might get hold of the local market,” said Bishnu Agrawal, promoter of Rajesh Metal Craft. Agrawal’s fear is logical as domestic cement and steel manufacturers have been forced to reduce production by 60 percent.  BCCI has urged the government to import additional 12 MW power from India by repairing Birgunj-Raxaul transmission line. “The repairing of the transmission line will cost only Rs 400,000,” said Temani. Industrialists have also demanded to bring into operation the 14-MW diesel plant in Hetauda. Arun Mahato, head of Birgunj Power Distribution Centre of Nepal Electricity Authority, said NEA has held talks with Bihar Electricity Board to restart the Birgunj-Raxaul transmission line. According to Mahato, import of the 12-MW electricity from Raxaul could bring down power shortage in Birgunj by three hours a day.
Source: http://www.ekantipur.com January 29, 2012

 
International News
Nasa Confirms Man's role in Global Warming
A new NASA study confirms the fact that greenhouse gases generated by human activity - not changes in solar activity - are the primary force driving global warming.
The study offers an updated calculation of the Earth's energy imbalance, the difference between the amount of solar energy absorbed by Earth's surface and the amount returned to space as heat. The researchers' calculations show that, despite unusually low solar activity between 2005 and 2010, the planet continued to absorb more energy than it returned to space. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, led the research. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics recently published the study. Total solar irradiance, the amount of energy produced by the sun that reaches the top of each square meter of the Earth's atmosphere, typically declines by about a tenth of a percent during cyclical lulls in solar activity caused by shifts in the sun's magnetic field. Usually solar minimums occur about every eleven years and last a year or so, but the most recent minimum persisted more than two years longer than normal, making it the longest minimum recorded during the satellite era. Pinpointing the magnitude of Earth's energy imbalance is fundamental to climate science because it offers a direct measure of the state of the climate. Energy imbalance calculations also serve as the foundation for projections of future climate change. If the imbalance is positive and more energy enters the system than exits, Earth grows warmer. If the imbalance is negative, the planet grows cooler. Hansen's team concluded that Earth has absorbed more than half a watt more solar energy per square meter than it let off throughout the six year study period. The calculated value of the imbalance (0.58 watts of excess energy per square meter) is more than twice as much as the reduction in the amount of solar energy supplied to the planet between maximum and minimum solar activity (0.25 watts per square meter). "The fact that we still see a positive imbalance despite the prolonged solar minimum isn't a surprise given what we've learned about the climate system, but it's worth noting because this provides unequivocal evidence that the sun is not the dominant driver of global warming," Hansen said.
Source: http://www.enn.com January 31, 2012
 
Rainforests Store 229 Billion Tons of Carbon Globally Finds New 'Wall-To-Wall' Carbon Map
Tropical rainforests store some 229 billion tons of carbon in their vegetation about 20 percent more than previously estimated finds a new satellite-based assessment published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The findings could help improve the accuracy of reporting CO2 emissions reductions under the proposed REDD program, which aims to compensate tropical countries for cutting deforestation, forest degradation, and peatlands destruction.
The paper is based on a combination of remote sensing and field data across forests, woodlands, and savannas in tropical Africa, Asia, and South America. The authors used multi-sensor satellite data, including cloud-penetrating LiDAR, to reduce the degree of error in estimating carbon stocks. They found that Brazilian forests store some 53.2 billion tons of carbon, followed by forests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with 22 billion tons of carbon, and Indonesia, with 18.6 billion tons of carbon. Overall, forests in the Americas stored about 51 percent of the carbon locked up in tropical vegetation. Africa (28 percent) and Asia (20 percent) followed. "For the first time we were able to derive accurate estimates of carbon densities using satellite LiDAR observations in places that have never been measured,” said study lead author Alessandro Baccini of the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC). “This is like having a consistent, very dense pantropical forest inventory.” The authors used the data to estimate that net emissions from deforestation from 2000 through 2010 amounted to 1.14 billion tons of carbon per year, suggesting that deforestation accounted for roughly 13 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources between 2008 and 2010. "The paper is important for two reasons," said co-author and WHRC senior scientist Richard A. Houghton. "First, it provides a high-resolution map of aboveground biomass density for the world's tropical forests. Previous maps were of much coarser resolution and yielded wildly different estimates of both regional totals and spatial distribution. Second, the paper calculates a new estimate of carbon emissions from land-use change in the tropics." Study co-author Scott Goetz, also a scientist at WHRC, added that a study of this nature could have not been done without technological advancements like LiDAR. "Coupling the Lidar and field measurements is what makes this study and our map so unique, and powerful" he said in a statement. "Without measurements from a satellite-based Lidar, a study of this nature would not have been possible. We need that capability going forward."
Source: http://news.mongabay.com January 30, 2012
 
Beijing Air Pollution Soars with Fireworks Smoke
By Christopher Bodeen
Clouds of smoke from Lunar New Year fireworks sent air pollution readings soaring in the more sensitive measurement system Beijing started using a little more than a week ago, reports said Sunday.
Readings of fine particulate matter called PM2.5 reached 1.593 milligrams per cubic meter on the Jan. 22 eve of the holiday, about 100 times worse than the amount considered good for 24-hour exposure, the city's environmental bureau said. The reading drew wide publicity in the local media on Sunday. The popular Beijing Youth Daily praised the city government for taking a more critical look at air pollution, while urging residents to consider the environmental effects of setting off fireworks. The readings moderated under relatively clear skies in recent days. By noon Sunday, before the weeklong holiday ends and people return to work, the level stood at a relatively good 0.039. Beijing is frequently cloaked in yellow haze that obscures buildings a couple of blocks away. On particularly bad days, schools cancel outdoor activities and hospitals treat more people particularly the elderly for respiratory complaints. The city began measuring the small particles in the air and releasing the readings on Jan. 21, as concern has grown over Beijing's air pollution from all sources. PM2.5 — particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size, or about 1/30th the width of an average human hair — are believed to be the greatest health risk because their smallness means they can lodge deeply in the lungs. Beijing previously had only given PM10 measurements of coarser particles, which indicated pollution was "light," leading to accusations the true extent of the problem was hidden. The U.S. Embassy since last year has released PM2.5 readings from a device on its rooftop and some residents have tested the air in their neighborhoods and posted the results online. The embassy measured more pollution than the city on Sunday, but the sampling stations are 10 miles apart or more. Beijing says its PM2.5 measuring station is about 4 miles (7 kilometers) west of central Tiananmen Square.
Source: http://green.yahoo.com January 29, 2012
 
 
Climate Change Diminishing Canadian Forest's Carbon Sink
By Jeremy Hance
Climate change, in the form of rising temperatures and less precipitation, is shrinking the carbon sink of western Canada's forest, according to a new study released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Tree mortality and a general loss of biomass has cut the carbon storage capacity of Canada's boreal forests by around 7.28 million tons of carbon annually, equal to nearly 4 percent of Canada's total yearly carbon emissions.
"Recent climate changes in this region may have had substantial impact on the carbon balance of Canadian boreal forests as a result of increased fire frequency, an unprecedented expansion of insect outbreaks, and widespread drought-induced tree mortality," the authors write, but focused their study on drought. Researchers analyzed carbon data from 96 long-term natural and undisturbed forest plots. They looked at plots both in eastern and western Canada, but found that forest carbon levels in eastern Canada had remained static, while those in western Canada had significantly decline. The difference: precipitation. Although both regions have seen higher average temperatures, western Canada has suffered a drop in precipitation, while eastern Canada had seen a rise. The drought in western Canada led to higher tree mortality and less biomass overall. "Our results indicate that since 1963, drought-induced water stress has led to a weakening of the biomass carbon sink across a large area of the western Canadian boreal forest, with the largest reduction occurring after 2000," the authors write, only to warn that "western Canada’s boreal forests may become net carbon sources if the climate change–induced droughts continue to intensify." Although the scientists examined other trends that could be behind the forest's decline in carbon sequestration, such as tree stand aging, they found that drought far outweighed the impact of tree aging. A 2005 analysis by the Pembina Institute for the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) estimated that the carbon stored in Canada's forest and peatlands was worth 3.7 trillion Canadian dollars.
Source: http://news.mongabay.com January 30, 2012
 
Renewable Energy Deals Buck Uncertainty to Rise 40%, PWC Says
By Alex Morales
Renewable energy mergers and acquisitions rose 40 percent in value last year, bucking the uncertainty caused by the European Union debt crisis, the global consultant PwC said today.
About $53.5 billion of wind, solar, biofuels, energy efficiency, geothermal, biomass and hydro deals were completed, up from $38.2 billion in 2010, PwC said in an e-mailed report. It’s the highest in the four years that PwC has conducted the survey. The overall number of deals dropped to 570 from 606. The uptick in money spent on mergers and acquisitions against a backdrop of European governments cutting spending to balance budgets and “challenging” debt markets shows how the renewables industry has matured, Ronan O’Regan, director of energy in London at PwC, said in a phone interview. “Total deal value was up, and there’s been a trend toward larger-size deals, which reflects increasing maturity in wind and solar,” O’Regan said. It’s a surprise as “the negative drivers seem to outweigh the positives,” he said of EU government efforts to cut deficits. Wind and solar each had more than $15 billion of deals while $10 billion of transactions were completed in energy efficiency. European bidders accounted for 48 percent of the total, North America 24 percent. The value of deals with Asian bidders almost doubled to $9.4 billion, or 18 percent of the total, up from 12 percent last year, the consultant said. “We expect to see this activity strengthen with interest from acquirers from Korea and Singapore featuring alongside Chinese and Japanese bidders,” PwC said in the report, without naming potential acquirers. The year’s biggest deal was CPFL Energia SA of Brazil’s $2.9 billion purchase of ERSA Energias Renovaveis SA, according to PwC. It classified Iberdrola SA’s acquisition of part of its clean energy unit Iberdrola Renovables SA as a share repurchase. It will be “difficult” to predict what volume of deal activity will be this year because of the “rolling uncertainty” regarding European economies, O’Regan said. “On balance, it’ll be another difficult year and I’d be surprised if deal value increases by as much in 2012 as in 2011,” he said.
Source: http://www.businessweek.com January 30, 2012
 
Sustainable Energy is Answer to Wider Crisis: EU's Hedegaard
By Barbara Lewis
Energy efficiency offers one of the best tools for tackling the world's debt and social crises as sustainable development comes in from the margins to the mainstream of economic debate, the European Union's climate chief said on Tuesday.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard was speaking after Monday's summit of EU leaders sought ways to create jobs as well as to deal with massive amounts of debt. At the same time, data showed euro zone unemployment had reached the highest level since before the launch of the single currency. "When we want to adjust our economics and make them more resilient, can anyone come up with a better proposal than to address energy efficiency?" Hedegaard asked. "We must bring sustainable development from the margins of the economy to the mainstream of the global economic debate," she said. "It sounds easy, maybe even logical, but everybody knows it's a very different kind of thinking." An example would be adapting buildings with better insulation in Europe, which could create up to half a million jobs in the years to 2020, Hedegaard has said. It would also cut Europe's energy import bill, which for oil alone rose to 315 billion euros ($413 billion) last year. Such a figure equates to a significant chunk of Greece's debt, estimated to reach 420.6 billion euros this year, nearly 200 percent of its gross domestic product. "How do we want to spend our money? Do we want to continue to pour it into Saudi Arabia and elsewhere?" Hedegaard asked. She was speaking at a roundtable session to discuss a report published on Monday by the U.N.'s high-level panel on Global Sustainability. Hedegaard is one of the 22 members of the panel, which was set up to formulate a blueprint for sustainable and low carbon development. The report cited the urgent need to tackle shortfalls of food, water and energy as the world's population continues to grow. Hedegaard drew the contrast with previous centuries when the prices of resources fell progressively. Now, they are expected to continue to rise as the scramble for commodities intensifies. The U.N. report includes 56 recommendations, but Hedegaard said there was a need to focus on priorities in the run-up to the United Nations conference on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro in June. "My concern is for the next two or three months, everybody will be just talking about everything without specific priorities. Then we will come up with paper, paper, paper without making any difference," Hedegaard said.
One real target was working out how to ensure sustainable energy for all by 2030, she said, as well as to double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Asked for a working definition of sustainable, Hedegaard said it referred to development that combined social, economic and environmental factors. The conference on sustainable development, named Rio+20, will mark the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit, which was regarded as a step on the way to the Kyoto process on tackling climate change. After initial progress in raising the world's awareness of the need for more sustainable growth, the advent of economic crisis has made it much more difficult to focus politicians' attention beyond urgent matters such as spiraling debt. Expectations for the U.N. climate conference in Durban last year were low, but Hedegaard and the EU team of negotiators were credited with keeping the multilateral process alive, although some environmental groups have said it is in intensive care. "What we did achieve in Durban was that the whole world had to accept that we are moving forward together," Hedegaard said. "Durban could have delivered nothing and that would have created a very problematic background for Rio." Instead, it showed the multilateral process still had a role to play, marking a shift from a world divided into North and South, rich and poor, developing and developed, to an interdependent one. "We saw the start of this paradigm shift in Durban," Hedegaard said, citing the EU's close collaboration with small island states and least developed nations, rather than its traditional allegiance with the West.
Source: http://www.reuters.com January 31, 2012

 
Link of the Week

  Carbon Link to Snowball Earth reassessed
  Please Visit: http://www.enn.com/climate/article/43919

 

Did you Know ?
Initiated in 1992 with support from the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), Nepal has installed over 240,000 household biogas plants with a thermal energy capacity of 444 megawatts and greenhouse gas savings of 367,409 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.
 
 
Media and Event Watch
Every Monday 8:30 pm on Nepal FM 91.8 MHZ “Climate Change Mero Bhawisya Mero Chaso”
Every Sunday at 7:30 am on Radio Sagarmatha 102.4 MHz "Batabaran Dabali"
Every Monday at 5:30 pm (re-telecast every Tuesday 11 am) on ABC Television “Climate Change
Every Alternate Friday at 2 PM on ENPHO Hall – “Green Discussion” Organized by Clean Energy Nepal, Nepalese Youth for Climate Action anGrnd Green Youth Network
Every Friday on The Himalayan Times “THT Green Plus”
Environment Cycle Radio F.M.104.2Mhz (ECR FM)
 
 
QUIZ of the Week # 507
The global average temperature last year was the ninth-warmest in the modern meteorological record, continuing a trend linked to greenhouse gases that saw ………………… of the 10 hottest years occurring since the year 2000, according to NASA.
a)    3
b)    5
c)    7
d)    9

While sending your answer please mention “Quiz of the week#” in the subject line and please send your answer in cenews@cen.org.np

One lucky winner will get a T-shirt with an Environmental Message from Clean Energy Nepal.
 
 
Answer of the week # 506
One improved stove emits …………… ton less carbon dioxide annually as compared to the general stoves.
b) 1.8

Sheela Sharma
Heerakaji Maharjan
Rajesh Kc
Aakriti Poudel
Khem Raj Bhandari
Rajan Parajuli
Sangeeta Pandey
Keshav Thapa
Rahul Ghale

Sheela Sharma is the lucky winner for this week. Please contact the CEN office within a week with your identity card.

Congratulation to the Winner and thanks to all participants.

 
 
Prepared by: Suman Udas and Pabitra Basnet
Edited by: Bhushan Tuladhar
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