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Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 8, March 28, 2012

Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 8, March 28, 2012
CE News is a free weekly e-mail publications that features news, information and events related to clean energy, clean air and climate change. CE News is published by Clean Energy Nepal. For more information on our campaign please visit
•    Govt Accused of Weak Climate Change Policy Implementation
•    Call for New Energy Policy
•    IOC Agrees To Waive Off Cost of Duty, Refinery from Export Pricing
•    ADB, Norway Agree to Provide US$ 100m Aid for Development of Electricity Transmission
•    Power Production Begins from Three Micro-Hydropower Projects
•    Govt Prepares to Introduce Dual Pricing on LPG   
•    Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene Dear by Rs 4 Per Liter
•    Economic Impacts of Climate Change May be Huge
•    Cloud Forests may be Particularly Vulnerable to Climate Change
•    London to Ban Old Black Cabs!
•    Earth Warming Faster than Expected
•    Carbon Dioxide Was Hidden in the Ocean During Last Ice Age
•    Link Of The Week
•    Did You Know?
•    Media Watch
•    QUIZ Of The Week #  511
•    Answer Of Quiz Of The Week # 510
Local News
Govt Accused of Weak Climate Change Policy Implementation
Stakeholders engaged in climate change issues today complained that the climate change policy formulated by the Ministry of Environment last year was not being implemented effectively.
“Implementation of climate change policy 2011 has been very weak as there hasn’t been adequate discussion with local communities regarding the policy. The stakeholders have also charged that the government is too Kathmandu-centred,” said Sunil Acharya, Officer at Clean Energy Nepal — an NGO working on climate change. He added that the series of consultation meetings in eight districts last one year showed that local communities are unaware of what is happening in the Kathmandu, so there is need for further consultation while implementing the climate change policy and programme. Climate change policy 2011 has provisioned that 80 per cent of funds should be spent on activities at the grassroots as people there are the real victims. But participants from different districts said the fund brought in their names had not reached the villages or local communities. “Most of the funds are spent in Kathmandu on consultations and meetings and they have not reached local people who have been suffering due to climate change,” said Juneli Shrestha from Makwanpur. Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Environment and chief of Climate Change Management Division Batu Krishna Uprety said the ministry is implementing issues mentioned in the policy, but due to lack of adequate funds it is not possible to implement all the programmes at the same time. “We have been securing funds from donors and developed countries but the money received is not sufficient. However, the ministry has been trying hard to implement climate change policy,” said Uprety. He added that the ministry is almost ready to establish an environment department after which it will be able to work across the country. Representatives from various districts complained that issues of the communities have not been given importance while implementing projects. The programme was organised by Climate Change Network Nepal with the support of European Union, Oxfam GB Nepal.
Source: March 26, 2012
Call for New Energy Policy
Politicians and businessmen have called for a national energy policy for the development of this sector.
At an interaction organized by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) in the Capital on Thursday, they underlined the need to such a policy in order to address the existing power shortage.Speaking at the function, former Energy Minister and leader of the CPN-UML Gokarna Bista said that the country had lagged behind in the energy sector due to lack of political honesty and farsightedness."For resolving the multiple problems of the hydropower sector, a new law is required," he said.Leader of the Nepali Congress and former Energy Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat underlined the need to develop a trans-national transmission line for addressing the existing problem of power shortage.Former Ministers duo Bharat Mohan Adhikari and Bishnu Poudel stressed the need for national consensus for harnessing hydropower resources of the country.They also said that the existing laws should be amended.President of CNI Binod Chaudhary emphasized that yet another energy convention should be held so as to deal with the various issues related to it."We have not been able to develop the hydropower sector because of lack of cooperation from the banking sector, political unrest and lack of clear policies," he said.Earlier, Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) had organised a Hydro Convention in Kathmandu in coordination with the Indian Embassy.
Source: March 22, 2012
IOC Agrees To Waive Off Cost of Duty, Refinery from Export Pricing       
By Milan Mani Sharma
India has refused to change the basis of fixing export prices of petroleum products to Nepal, but agreed to address Nepal´s concern related with transfer of Indian duty on Nepali consumers.
During the negotiations on Petroleum Supply Agreement, which concluded on Monday, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has agreed to waive off Price Adjustment Factor (PAF), which includes cost associated to refineries and duties. The Indian supplier was so far charging Nepal 2.5 percent (of the crude and transportation cost up to the Indian port) as PAF. Officials said the new change agreed through the talks will bring down the rate of import for Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC). “Roughly, it is estimated to lower the import rate by Rs 1.5 per liter compared to the past,” said a source. IOC agreed to waive off PAF without effecting any change in marketing margin - which is IOC´s profit margin. In the previous meeting held between NOC and IOC in Mumbai last month, IOC had said it would remove the discount pledged on marketing margin, raising it to 5 percent from 2.5 percent (of crude and transportation cost up to the Indian port) if it was to waive off PAF. “This means we will continue to enjoy discount on marketing margin and also get PAF waived off,” the source told Republica. But this also means Nepal´s effort to further lower and fix marketing margin at a flat rate failed. NOC had pushed for a cut in profit margin mainly arguing that rise in crude prices and volume of consumption in Nepal since the last agreement has significantly raised profit that IOC enjoys from Nepal.
Referring to comparisons in Brent crude price, which was $60 barrel in 2007 and $124 at present, and Nepal´s consumption, which was just around Rs 25 billion per annum then and about to touch Rs 100 billion now, NOC had pinpointed that IOC was presently enjoying some 3.5-fold more profit than what it had eyed in 2007. However, IOC officials refused to lower the profit margin. IOC also refused to fix the marketing margin at a flat rate. NOC had pushed for the flat rate mainly as such an arrangement would have cushioned it during fluctuations of crude prices as well as exchange rate. Likewise, IOC also refused NOC´s request to allow it import petroleum products from other Indian companies. Keeping in view of growing interests shown by other Indian oil companies, such as Essar Group and Bharat Petroleu, NOC had requested the IOC to open up exports to Nepal for other companies as well. “We had perceived IOC will not respond to it positively. And we were true,” said the source, adding that IOC will continue to enjoy its monopoly in Nepali petroleum market. NOC presented the new arrangements worked out for the new supply agreement to the NOC board for approval on Monday itself. However, as the board meeting went on till late, Republica could not take reactions of the board members. If the board endorsed it, top NOC and IOC officials will ink the deal, and the new arrangement will come into effect from April 1.
Source: March 27, 2012
ADB, Norway Agree to Provide US$ 100m Aid for Development of Electricity Transmission
Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Norwegian government have agreed to provide an assistance of US$ 100 million to the government of Nepal for the development of Electricity Transmission Expansion and Supply Improvement Project.
Of the total assistance, ADB has agreed to provide US$ 56 million as loan and US$ 19 million as grant while Norway has agreed to provide US$ 25 million as grant. The agreement was signed between Lal Shankar Ghimire, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Paolo Spantigati, Officer-in-Charge, ADB, Kathmandu, on behalf of their government and institutions, respectively, on Friday. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will implement the project that is expected to be completed by June, 2017.
Source: March 25, 2012
Power Production Begins from Three Micro-Hydropower Projects
Power production has begun from three micro-hydropower projects in the northern Liding river of Khotang.
The projects were established by the people of Bakachol, Rakhawangdel and Ainselukharka VDCs. The Bakachold and Rakhawangdel VDCs have each produced 70 kilowatt of power while Ainselukharka VDC has produced 94 kilowatt of power from the river, according to Ainselukharka VDC Secretary Mohan Prasad Acharya. The locals, the concerned VDC, local residents living abroad and the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre have made financial contributions to the operation of the projects. As a result, some 1,000 households have benefited with regular supply of power.
Source: March 25, 2012
Govt Prepares to Introduce Dual Pricing on LPG        
The government is preparing to introduce dual pricing on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in a bid to check loss on cooking gas.
However, the arrangement that it is planning to put in place for the distribution of subsidized supply lack a clear mechanism to control possible leakages, which could prevent it from realizing the desired result. Under the new arrangement that a top Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) official said will be enforced soon, the government will supply only eight cylinders (14.2 kg) of gas at a subsidized rate to a family in a year. Students living away from the family will get four cylinders at subsidized rate every year. “Prices for rest of the consumption will be opened, meaning it will be set at par with the import rates,” said the source. Given that NOC is presently incurring a loss of Rs 563 per cylinder, officials said the open market rates of gas could stand somewhere around Rs 2,050. This means families consuming more than eight cylinders of gas and students consuming more than four cylinders in a year will need to pay more for the fuel. For subsidized supply, the Ministry has even instructed the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to issue consumer cards to general consumers. Only the customers holding the card will enjoy the subsidized supply and others will need to pay higher rates. “Commercial consumers, including hotels, restaurants, factories and automobiles will not get the cards, as they will need to pay higher prices for the fuel,” said the source. Interestingly, however, the MoCS and NOC have asked LPG bottling companies to identify and list out their consumers. They are planning to entrust the responsibility of distributing consumer cards to bottling companies. “We do not want to complicate the process. So, we have decided to leave it to the industries to supply the subsidized fuel,” said the source. With such a mechanism, concerned officials are hopeful they will be able to check the loss on LPG business. However, experts and sources at the NOC said the modus operandi adopted by the government was faulty and leaves scope for manipulations wide open for the companies.  As the government has not put in place a cross-checking mechanism, companies can easily create fake household consumers and supply their subsidized quota to industries at higher rates, said an NOC official. If that happened, the additional money paid by the industries will go into the pocket of the bottling companies instead of NOC.
 “What if the companies over-issued the consumer cards? That will start trading of cards itself, creating black-marketing and making life difficult for both the government and NOC,” said Amrit Nakarmi, energy expert, who is also the former general manager of NOC. Recalling the past experience when the government introduced dual pricing on kerosene, he said the haphazard distribution of consumer cards by ward offices then had suddenly sparked trading of cards, inflicting more than regular volume of loss to NOC. Failing to contain the situation, the government had withdrawn the dual pricing itself. “If the government did not seriously devise ways to plug the leakages, we will witness mere recurrence of similar situation,” he told Republica. Given the situation, experts said introduction of separate cylinders for household and commercial consumers is the most workable mechanism if the government wants to control loss through dual pricing.
Source: March 29, 2012
Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene Dear by Rs 4 Per Liter         
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) on Tuesday raised prices of major petroleum products making petrol, diesel and kerosene expensive by Rs 4 per liter each.
The hike, which came with immediate effect, has necessitated consumers to pay Rs 120 per liter of petrol and Rs 89 per liter of diesel and kerosene in the Kathmandu Valley. The corporation, however, left the prices of liquefied petroleum gas, the popular household fuel, unchanged at Rs 1,415 per cylinder (14.2 kgs), even though the product is causing a loss of Rs 676.08 million every month. “The raise was a compulsion, in the absence of due adjustment of retail prices in line with the import rates, we were suffering a loss of over Rs 1.34 billion each month,” said NOC Spokesperson. Following the hike NOC estimates its loss for this month will shrink to Rs 1.02 billion. With the fresh hike, consumers in Nepal have braved 17 percent rise in prices of petrol over the span of eight-and-a-half months of this fiscal year. Likewise, diesel, largely regarded as industrial fuel, and kerosene too has become expensive by around 19 percent during the period. Price of LPG, which is largely consumed by politically active urban consumers, on the other hand, has gone up by just around 8 percent. Such pricing decision, meanwhile, has widened gap between LPG and kerosene, making kerosene - previously known as poor´s fuel - expensive by Rs 32 per liter. At present retail rate, each liter of LPG costs consumers Rs 57, whereas kerosene costs Rs 89.  “But who´s bothered about how much low income families that cannot even afford one time investment of around Rs 5,000 (required to install LPG-based cooking system) or people in rural hinterland using fossil fuel just to light lamp are paying for the fuel? With fewer leaders living in rural Nepal, our politics has turned urban-centric and leaders feel obliged to politically active urban consumers, even though they can afford the price,” said an official at Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS).
NOC has been consistently raising the prices of kerosene after MoCS chose easy way of checking fuel adulteration, and decided to fix kerosene prices at par with diesel instead of taking other stringent steps to control anomalies in the market. But this smooth operation on kerosene pricing has come at a cost of loss coming from LPG business, 40 percent which is consumed by commercial consumers like hotels, restaurants, industries and automotive sector. Currently, NOC is suffering a loss of Rs 563.40 on each cylinder of gas, no matter whether it is consumed by general public or industries. Despite the latest hike, the corporation is still suffering a loss of Rs 10.52 per liter of diesel. On petrol and kerosene, however, the corporation is earning a profit of Rs 3.77 and Rs 4.88 per liter respectively. It is also earning profit of about Rs 20 on a liter of aviation fuel sold to domestic flights and Rs 25.25 per liter of aviation fuel sold to international flights.
Source: March 27, 2012
International News
Economic Impacts of Climate Change May be Huge
From Luisa Massarani
Climate change could reduce the economic value of the services the oceans provide to mankind by almost US$2 trillion a year by 2100, according to a study presented at the Planet Under Pressure conference this week (26—29 March).
The analysis, conducted by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), relates to loss of income from fisheries, tourism, ocean carbon sink, and those related to sea-level rise and storms. This figure presents loss at a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario — under a lower emissions scenario, the damage would be US$612 billion a year by 2100. Even looking to 2050, the estimated loss is US$106 billion and US$428 billion depending on the level of emissions. The researchers said that rather asking impossible questions such as 'what is the ocean itself worth?' they sought to answer questions such as 'what is the value of preventing further damage to the ocean?'.
Source: March 28, 2012
Cloud Forests may be Particularly Vulnerable to Climate Change
From Jeremy Hance
Mexico could lose nearly 70 percent of its cloud forests due to climate change by 2080, according to new research published in Nature Climate Change, that has implications for cloud forests worldwide. "Given the narrow environmental tolerance of cloud forests, the fear is that human-induced climate change could constitute an even greater peril [than deforestation] in the near future," says lead author Rocio Ponce-Reyes of the ARC Center of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and The University of Queensland in a press release. Cloud forests are usually defined as tropical forests growing at an altitude of more than 6,600-10,000 feet (2,500-3,000 meters) in elevation, where the forest receives most of its moisture from fog. Unique ecosystems, cloud forests harbor many species found no-where else including a wide variety of orchids, hummingbirds, and amphibians.
Researchers found that rising temperatures and climatic changes could devastate 11,685 square kilometers of Mexico cloud forest, equaling 69 percent of the whole biome at present. However the news gets even worse: most of Mexico's cloud forest (88 percent) remains unprotected and vulnerable to deforestation and degradation. If the unprotected forests are cleared and climate change impacts the rest as predicted, Mexico may lose 99 percent of its cloud forest and lose most of its species. The researchers write that "immediate action" is needed to protect cloud forests that appear most resilient to climate change impacts.
Source: March 26, 2012
London to Ban Old Black Cabs!
London's taxi regulators are to withdraw 2,600 ageing black cabs in an attempt to reduce air pollution in the capital.
No black cab over 15-years-old will be licensed by the Taxi and Private Hire Office — taking off the road 2,600 taxis this year. Now Mercedes-Benz has launched an initiative to help London cabbies keep the city moving and at the same time delivering cleaner air. Following discussions between Transport for London and Mercedes-Benz the new scheme will see cab drivers offered a £1,500 discount off the purchase price of a new low-emission Vito Euro 5 taxi in exchange for the driver agreeing to carry Mercedes-Benz advertising for 18 months.
Source: March 26, 2012
Earth Warming Faster than Expected
From Sid Perkins
By 2050, global average temperature could be between 1.4°C and 3°C warmer than it was just a couple of decades ago, according to a new study that seeks to address the largest sources of uncertainty in current climate models. That's substantially higher than estimates produced by other climate analyses, suggesting that Earth's climate could warm much more quickly than previously thought.
Many factors affect global and regional climate, including planet-warming "greenhouse" gases, solar activity, light-scattering atmospheric pollutants, and heat transfer among the land, sea, and air, to name just a few. There are so many influences to consider that it makes determining the effect of any one factor—despite years and sometimes decades of measurements—difficult. Daniel Rowlands, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and his colleagues took a stab at addressing the largest sources of short-term climate uncertainty by modifying a version of one climate model used by the United Kingdom's meteorological agency. In their study, the researchers tweaked the parameters that influence three factors in the model: the sensitivity of climate to changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the rate at which oceans absorb heat from the atmosphere, and the amount of cooling from light-scattering aerosols in the atmosphere. Then the team analyzed the results of thousands of climate simulations—each of which had a slightly different combination of parameters—that covered the years between 1920 and 2080, Rowlands says. All of the simulations assumed that future concentrations of greenhouse gases would rise from today's 392 parts per million to 520 ppm by 2050. Each of the runs also allowed for variations in solar activity (which would affect how much the sun's radiation warms Earth) and rates of volcanic activity (which would influence the concentrations of planet-cooling sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere). The team discarded results of simulations that didn't match observations of regional climate in more than 20 land areas and ocean basins from 1960 to today. Of those that passed this test, those considered statistically most likely—the two-thirds of those that best matched previous climate observations—suggest that global average temperature in 2050 will be between 1.4°C and 3°C warmer than the global average measured between 1961 and 1990. All of the simulations that matched recent climate patterns suggested warming would be at least 1°C, the researchers report online today in Nature Geoscience.
Source: March 26, 2012
Carbon Dioxide Was Hidden in the Ocean During Last Ice Age
Why did the atmosphere contain so little carbon dioxide (CO2) during the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago? Why did it rise when Earth's climate became warmer? Processes in the ocean are responsible for this, says a new study based on newly developed isotope measurements.
This study has now been published in the scientific journal Science by scientists from the Universities of Bern and Grenoble and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association. Around 20,000 years ago, the atmospheric CO2 concentration during the last Ice Age was distinctly lower than in the following warm period. Measurements from Antarctic ice cores showed this already two decades ago. An international team of glaciologists thereafter looked even further back in time. The climate researchers found that this close connection between carbon dioxide and temperature has existed over the past 800,000 years: with low CO2 concentrations during the Ice Ages and higher CO2 values during warm periods. Now they tried to answer also the question as to where the carbon dioxide was hidden during the Ice Ages and how it got back into the atmosphere at their ends. "We have now been able to identify processes in the ocean which are connected to the observed rise in CO2," says Dr. Jochen Schmitt, lead author of the recently published study and researcher at the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern. According to Schmitt, during the Ice Age more and more carbon dioxide accumulated in the deep ocean, causing the concentration of atmospheric CO2 to drop. Only at the end of the Ice Age this stored CO2 was transported back to the sea surface through changing ocean circulation and thus emitted back into the atmosphere, write the scientists in the scientific journal "Science."
A new method for isotope measurements has now made it possible for the first time "to reliably decode the fingerprint of the CO2 preserved in the ice," explains Schmitt. He and his colleague Prof. Hubertus Fischer initially developed these new isotope measurement methods for ice cores at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and further refined them in many years of research work after moving to Bern. Using the new method the glaciologists extract the air trapped in the ice core completely and the CO2 contained in the air is thoroughly cleaned. The different isotopes of the CO2 are analysed in a mass spectrometer and from this data the origin of the carbon dioxide can be derived. Researchers suggested back in the eighties that this puzzle could be solved using an isotopic "CO2 fingerprint." However, it had so far not been possible to make a precise analysis of the carbon dioxide trapped in the Antarctic ice due to the technical hurdles. The glaciologists and the climate researchers at the Universities of Bern and Grenoble and of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research have now managed a breakthrough with their study.
"The new data have already enabled us to revise and improve a few theories about the possible reasons for CO2 fluctuations. Measurement data from the past enable us to gain a clearer idea about how the climate must have looked at the end of the Ice Age," says Jochen Schmitt. And now the data must be compared with the results from climate models to verify and further develop the models. "In addition to the scientific curiosity about how our Earth functioned in the past, the main question to be asked is how the Earth will develop under the influence of man," explains Jochen Schmitt. These are important scenarios for the future because the CO2 content in the atmosphere has never been anywhere near as high over the past 800,000 years as today, says the climate researcher. Original publication: Jochen Schmitt, Robert Schneider, Joachim Elsig, Daiana Leuenberger, Anna Lourantou, Jérôme Chappellaz, Peter Köhler, Fortunat Joos, Thomas F. Stocker, Markus Leuenberger & Hubertus Fischer. Carbon Isotope Constraints on the Deglacial CO2 Rise from Ice Cores.
Source: March 29, 2012
Link of the Week
Engineering Humans: A New Solution to Climate Change?

Please Visit: 

Did you Know ?
Department of Transport Management (DoTM), the government has raised the public transportation fare by 4.54 percent and meter taxi by 8.19 percent while 5.26 percent and 5.29 percent has been raised in trucks and tankers operating in Terai and Hilly routes, respectively.
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 # 497

According to the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) under the Ministry of Environment, the executive board of UNFCCC has approved 40,602 biogas plants so far. Nepal received $2.1million for about 20,000 biogas plants in 2006 where the World Bank bought carbon dioxide at $........... per tonne reduced due to the use of biogas.
a)    7
b)    9
c)    11
d)    13

While sending your answer please mention “Quiz of the week#” in the subject line and please send your answer in

One lucky winner will get a T-shirt with an Environmental Message from Clean Energy Nepal.

Answer of the week # 496

According to MIT research, air pollution cost the Chinese economy ……………………… billion in 2005.  This is compared to $22 billion in similar damages in 1975.
d) $112

Parbati Limbu
Kabita Poudyal
Isha Dhakal
Rafiul Islam
Chandan Pandit
Lila Shrestha
Sushmeeta Dhakal
Raju Katuwal
Rahul Ghale
Shashank Shrestha

Parbati Limbu 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

Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) is an independent, not-for-profit organization working in the field of Energy and Environment.

CEN: 140 Bublbule Marg, Thapagaon, Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel: 977-1-44464981