Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 11, May 2, 2012
|Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 11, May 2, 2011
|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 www.cen.org.np|
• UN Team Visiting Nepal for Sustainable Energy for All by 2030
UN Team Visiting Nepal for Sustainable Energy for All by 2030
The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) team is visiting Nepal for meeting on second week of May to meet with wide range of stakeholders.
The visit is a part of the invitation to join the UN Secretary General call for action to reach the “Sustainable Energy for All” goals by 2030. The SE4ALL team is in the process of developing a road map toward the goals and the actions necessary to achieve them and as initial steps of this process it is starting a dialogue with a number of countries as many as possible before RIO + 20 to explore possibilities for working together to explore modalities for working together to achieve the goals through universal action that involves a variety of stakeholders across the world.
According to UN 1.3 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, 2.7 billion people do not have clean and safe cooking facilities. While a shift to sustainable energy use is imperative to protect the Earth’s climate, the UN Secretary General has launched the Sustainable Energy for All Campaign with three goals: universal energy access, doubling energy efficiency improvements, and doubling the renewable energy share of the global energy mix. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is leading a global initiative on “Sustainable Energy for All” to mobilize action from all sectors of society: business, governments, investors, community groups and academia. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
Call For Third Nepalese Youth Summit
The application call for third Nepalese Youth Summit going to be held on 3-5 June, 2012 is open. The deadline for application is May 13, 2012.
Third Nepalese Youth climate Summit is being organized specifically focusing on Rio+20 agendas: Green Economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development, and Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development with the Simulation of Rio+20.
NYCA has successfully organized Nepalese Youth Climate Summit I and II in 2008 and 2010 respectively. These national youth summits have been instrumental in bringing youths together to discuss on climate change and sustainable development issues, sensitize them for climate action and collectively push local and central governments to mainstream climate change in development process and planning.
The application form can be downloaded from www.nyca.net.np/resource/download. Applications can be sent it to firstname.lastname@example.org or applicants may also drop the form at Clean Energy Nepal, 140 Bulbule Marga, Thapagaun, Kathmandu.
Himalayan Mountaineers Call for Unity in Battle Against Climate Change
By Punjita Pradhan
With the conclusion of the 99-day Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) which took place in Nepal as an effort to battle the climate change, participants and organizers called for unity in facing up to climate change and its challenges.
The GHT Climate Smart Celebrity Trek began on January 15 with a team led by renowned mountaineers Appa Sherpa and Dawa Steven Sherpa inviting all concerned and enthusiasts to trek along the 1700 km east-to-west Himalayan range of Nepal. The trek was aimed at spreading information about climate change in the Himalayan region to the world while also acknowledging the felt impact of climate change and possible threats it could pose in the future to the people of the region and the entire world as a whole. The trek was also aimed at mapping a trekking route which could further enhance tourism in the sector, thus, improving the livelihood of the rural community of the 20 districts of Nepal and give them more resources in fighting against climate change and its impacts. Talking to Xinhua after the conclusion of the trek, 52-year-old mountaineer Appa Sherpa, who is also the Guinness World Record holder for climbing Mt. Qomolangma 21 times, expressed his concern over the impacts of climate change which is already hurting different parts in Nepal. "Agricultural production in different parts of Nepal has been badly affected. It has also affected the lives of the locals," Appa said. Many of the key agricultural production of Nepal such as tea, orange, cardamom and herbs which yield remarkable revenues to the country have been greatly affected due to the impacts of climate change, according to Appa. He also said some changes in the pattern of climate were noticed in the trail. "Places which received a lot of snowfall in the past have been receiving less snow and more rain," Appa said. He also talked about the risks posed by the glacier lakes along the trail. "A lot of glacier lakes are rising in their size showing signs of possible outbursts," he added.
Glaciers have been the source of fresh water for more than 1.3 billion people the in entire region and a large number of these glaciers are on the risk of outburst with their increase in size. He also mentioned the positive changes that were taking place. "We did not have to spend nights without electricity. There were solar and micro-hydropower generated electricity which showed that development was reaching the areas," He told Xinhua. "We also noticed positive changes in education. More and more children were going to schools and more importantly mobile and network services were also available," he said adding that if development activities took place at such a pace, then the faces of the rural areas of Nepal would change soon. He also highlighted that though Nepal is not much accountable for climate change, it will have to bear the consequences as it has many mountains lying under it. "Therefore everyone must come together for the cause," He said. The trail which was estimated to be 1700 kilometers and be completed in 120 days ended in 99 days and covered 1550 km. Answering a question about his experience through the trail, He said, "It was certainly not easy. We started the trail in January and in most of the parts, the winter is extremely cold with a lot of snow. Some of the routes were difficult, sometimes we were lost in the jungle, sometimes there was no good food."
Likewise when asked about the similarities with his past record setting climbs, He said, "The trail is totally different from the Mt. Everest (Qomolangma) ascend. Both are equally difficult and both require a lot of pledge."He said that he was mesmerized by the beautiful places he came along the trail. "Nepal is definitely beautiful and naturally wealthy. If we develop the access to these places with regular air services and road services, then these places have absolute potentials," he said. He who is himself a victim of climate change and a strong advocate for the benefits of tourism expressed his hope that everybody would come together and join the cause. "We have drawn the line. Now we want everyone to join us," he said. A farmer by profession, He lost everything to a glacier outburst in his village in Thame in Himalayan region in 1985. He gives credit to the tourism industry due to which he started working as a porter and managed to make a better living. The same profession led him to become a world renowned person as the "Super Sherpa" for his numerous Mt. Qomolangma climbs. "I want to therefore promote tourism in all these areas. They can generate good income and promote better living," Appa remarked. Talking about his plan after the trail, Appa told Xinhua, "We will present our report to the government and the concerned agencies and begin exploring every possibilities that can build greater avenues for the nation in terms of climate change, tourism promotion and betterment of mankind."
The trail began on January 15 and was organized by the Himalayan Climate Initiative, a non-profit group working towards protecting the climate with support from various donor agencies and private sectors.
Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com April 26, 2012
NOC Steps up Fuel Supply
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has stepped up fuel distribution in the market amid low oil stock and reduced supply by Indian Oil Corporation.
“We pumped out 380 kiloliters of petrol and 357 kiloliters of diesel in the Kathmandu Valley on Thursday,” said Birendra Goit, chief of NOC Thankot depot -- the main supply point of fuel for the Valley. The volume of fuel supplied on the day is well above the normal daily consumption level of the Valley. However, dealers said the supply still failed to meet the demand. The announcement by NOC that it only had fuel enough for five days´ supply has turned the consumers jittery. “The consumers thus have been hoarding fuel, raising the demand,” said Saroj Pandey, former president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association. Given the situation, Pandey said the corporation would need to pump out around 400 kiloliters of petrol in the next few days if the scarcity is to be addressed. Officials at NOC, which has been facing cut in import volume due to the failure to settle dues of over Rs 1.5 billion to IOC, said they will consistently supply higher volume of fuel over the next few days to end scarcity. As the government on Wednesday provided to NOC Rs 750 million in VAT refund, officials said they are paying the new tranche to settle the dues on Friday. “This will enable us to bring in more fuel. There is no need for consumers to panic. We will continue to supply fuel in excess of normal demand,” said Goit. Although other top officials of the corporation echoed Goit, they noted that the latest VAT refund will solve the problem for the time being only. The long-term solution will come only when the government adjusts the retail rates in line with the international trend. In the absence of price adjustments, the corporation is presently incurring a loss of Rs 1.55 billion a month.
Source: http://myrepublica.com April 26, 2012
Bank Slips to Replace Traffic Receipts
Traffic rule violators will soon have to pay fines at the bank, instead of having to rush to Metropolitan Traffic Police Division for the purpose.
The division has invited interested commercial banks authorised by Nepal Rastra Bank to submit proposals to operate the service, within 15 days. DIG Ganesh Raj Rai, MTPD in-charge, said the decision was in line with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ approval of the idea on December 23, 2011. Asked why MTPD did not go for the change earlier, Rai said, “We held informal talks with some banks. But their proposals were not satisfactory.” He said the banking system would increase transparency in revenue collection besides giving MTPD and its units some respite from dealing with traffic rule violators. MTPD has been depositing the revenue collected from traffic rule violators at Thapathali-based central bank. MTPD has also written to the Office of the Comptroller General seeking its nod for the system, as per the existing law. Rai said the decision was not triggered by recent allegations of revenue misappropriation and Nepal Police Headquarters’ monitoring of it office. Once the system is implemented, traffic rule violators will have to deposit the prescribed fine in a bank and go to MTPD or its subordinate traffic unit with the voucher to claim their seized driving licence. Although the news system will make police accounts more transparent, it is not free of disadvantages. Traffic rule violators will have to rush to two places the bank and the traffic police office for their driving licence.
Source: http://www.thehimalayantimes.com April 30, 2012
Distribution of LPG User Cards Begins Today
Consumers will finally start receiving their liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) customer cards, which will entitle them to regularly receive the popular cooking fuel, from Sunday.
Nepal LPG Retailers Federation, which has been entrusted by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) with distributing the cards, said cards will be issued through nearby retailers that have been supplying the gas in the past. “Consumers should approach their nearby dealers, full up a form that the LPG retailer will issue to them and submit documents proving they are genuine consumers. On submission of the documents, the retailer will issue the card instantly,” said Arjun Devkota, acting president of the Federation. The Federation has priced the forms at Rs 10 and asked customers not to pay retailers more than that. The customers will need to attach a photocopy of their citizenship certificate and also a letter from the landlord certifying their residential status in a given locality, while submitting the form. They need not make any additional payment. “Some 1,800 LPG dealers, who serve as retailers for gas bottlers in Kathmandu Valley, have already been supplied with the forms and cards,” Devkota told Republica. Although the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), which issued the first card to Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai on April 17, had announced it would start distributing customer cards to the general public immediately, it had trouble standing by its word after retailers dragged their feet. Under its directives, MoCS had announced that it would ban sale of LPG from groceries and other mixed retail outlets, and urged gas dealers to register separately and open exclusive LPG retail outlets within a month. The retailers, however, protested the decision, saying it would inflict additional costs on them. “So far, 1,800 retailers have already complied and we are distributing the cards through them from Sunday,” said Devkota. The number of re-registered retailers, however, is around 1,400 less than the existing number of outlets dealing in gas. “What this means is, dealers supplying gas to you so far might not be dealing in gas henceforth. But you need not worry; you can approach any other nearby retailer,” said Devkota.
The Federation has also suggested to consumers not to collect multiple cards even if they are using gas supplied by different companies. “One customer should take one card only. If the dealer from whom you collect gas is not supplying the brand you use, it will change the cylinder for you without any additional cost,” said Devkota. However, given that the government has announced a plan to provide subsidized supply based on the cards, officials are doubtful about consumers acting fairly. “And there are equal chances of retailer foul play as well,” said a MoCS official. NOC has announced that it has readied 4 million customer cards in a bid to regulate LPG distribution. Of that, 2.5 million red cards will be issued to household consumers, while the remaining 1.5 million cards, that are blue, will be distributed to commercial users. All LPG consumers will eventually need to possess a card to get hold of LPG.
Source: http://myrepublica.com April 29, 2012
Power Grid Completes 40MW Transmission Project to Nepal
By Anil Sasi
With three key projects aimed at beefing up the power transmission capacity between India and Nepal achieving completion, an additional 40 MW of electricity transfer from India to the Himalyan nation is expected to commence over the next couple of months.
The wrapping up of the projects by the Indian side executed on the ground by state-owned transmission major Power Grid Corporation comes at a time when the country is working hard to set the ball rolling on its strategic initiative of putting in place a multilateral SAARC Market for Electricity (SAME) on the lines of the Nord Pool in the Scandinavian countries and the West African Power Pool. Power-starved Nepal, which is facing an electricity deficit of around 300 MW, currently draws around 50 MW from Bihar currently under a bilateral pact, along with some additional transfers from NHPC’s Tanakpur hydro station in Uttarakhand. Extra power transfers from India would help Nepal in a big way to bridge the continuing electricity shortages back home. Nepal has already, in pinciple, agreed to substantially ramp up power buys from India, with plans already underway to increase the power exchange volume to 200 MW by ramping up capacity between the two countries. For the additional purchases, the Himalayan nation plans to tap the short-term electricity market window existing in India, including the two operational power exchanges, accroding to the decision taken at the Tenth meeting of the Indo-Nepal Power Exchange Committee held here in December 2011. On the larger SAARC grid plan, while a transmission link with Bhutan is already in place, there are plans to augment the existing line to enable up to 5,000 MW of electricity imports into India by 2020. With Sri Lanka, plans are under way for setting up a $450-million undersea power transmission link.
Source: http://www.indianexpress.com April 29, 2012
Wind Turbines Found to Create Local Warming
From Sid Perkins
Large wind farms can substantially influence local climate, most notably by boosting nighttime temperatures, a new study suggests.
Utilizing the same analytical techniques used to discern temperature trends in urban heat islands, researchers scrutinized satellite images of a 10,000-square-kilometer area of west-central Texas, home to four of the world's largest wind farms (turbines near Fluvanna, Texas, shown). The team's analyses revealed that in the 9-year period from 2003 through 2011, when more than 95% of the turbines in the area were erected, the average nighttime land-surface temperature during summer months in areas where wind farms were located increased by 0.65°C more than did temperatures in nearby areas without wind turbines. At night, when air at ground level is cooler than that found a few dozen meters up, turbulence generated by individual wind turbines stirs warm air downward to heat the surface, the team reports in Nature Climate Change. The warming rates measured in this study—the first to show temperature increases based on satellite data rather than computer simulations, the researchers note—are high simply because the region has experienced a rapid growth in wind farm development.
Source: http://www.enn.com April 20, 2012
Northern Canada Feels the Heat: Climate Change Impact on Permafrost Zones
Permafrost zones extend over 50% of Canada's land area. Warming or thawing of permafrost due to climate change could significantly impact existing infrastructure and future development in Canada's north. Researchers Jennifer Throop and Antoni Lewkowicz at the University of Ottawa, along with Sharon Smith with the Geological Survey of Canada, have published a new study, part of an upcoming special issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (CJES), that provides one of the first summaries of climate and ground temperature relations across northern Canada.
Dr. Christopher Burn, Editor of the CJES special issue on fundamental and applied research on permafrost in Canada, says the study by Throop, Lewkowicz, and Smith is unusual because it presents data on permafrost throughout Canada's three northern territories. Most previous reports have concentrated on restricted regions within the North, but this paper presents conditions at the continental scale. This summary shows the factors that govern the response of permafrost to climate change, and indicates how the emphasis on snow conditions, soil moisture conditions, and surface peat and moss varies across the North. "This important research gives strategic assistance in projecting how permafrost may change with the climate, as it pinpoints important characteristics, and demonstrates how these vary from place to place," says Burn. "The response of permafrost to climate change is a critical factor Canadians must anticipate if our northern infrastructure is to be adapted to thawing ground."
Source: http://www.enn.com April 26, 2012
Palm Oil Industry Lobbies EPA to Reverse Palm Oil Biofuel Findings
Wilmar International, the world's largest palm oil processor and trader, has hired a major lobbying firm to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency's ruling that palm oil-based biodiesel will not meet greenhouse gas emissions standards under America's Renewable Fuels Standard, reports The Hill.
Wilmar Oleo North America hired lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman to pressure the EPA on its finding that biofuels produced from palm oil do not offer substantial emissions savings relative to conventional gasoline. The EPA based its decision on analysis of lifecycle emissions from palm oil production, which at times occurs at the expense of carbon-dense rainforests and peatlands. The Hill notes that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group that drafts legislative language favoring corporate interests that fund it, is working to overturn the EPA's finding. “The Environmental Protection Agency's decision to restrict the trade of tropical palm oil marks an abandonment of free trade principles that have been so beneficial to so many,” the group said in comments submitted to the EPA. Malaysian and Indonesian groups have also complained about the EPA's ruling. The period for comment on the matter closes April 27. But environmental groups said the assumptions underlying the EPA's conclusion were too conservative, noting that the agency expects only nine percent of palm oil expansion in Malaysia and 13 percent in Indonesia to occur on peatlands. But a study published today in the National Academy of Sciences, found that half of oil palm plantations in Indonesian Borneo were established on peat lands. Conversions of peat for plantations generate substantial greenhouse gas emissions.
“It is a disturbing development to see a politically motivated group like ALEC join forces with the shadowy palm oil lobby from Malaysia and Indonesia as well as with huge agribusiness companies Cargill and Wilmar to pressure the EPA to overturn what is supposed to be a science-based decision made in the best interests of the American people,” said Laurel Sutherlin with the Rainforest Action Network, in a statement. “The question the EPA is tasked with answering is whether biofuels made with palm oil meet our nation’s greenhouse gas requirements as a renewable fuel. The stark reality of the impacts of palm oil plantation expansion in Southeast Asia, where nearly 90% of the world's palm oil comes from, makes it clear that it does not.” “The emissions of palm oil based biofuels substantially exceed the emissions from conventional petroleum diesel,” added Jeremy Martin, Senior Scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. The renewable fuels standard targets 7.5 billion gallons of 'renewable' fuels to be blended into gasoline by the end of 2012. The initiative aims to reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut emissions from transportation, but some analysts have questioned the effectiveness of the program, since the bulk of 'renewable' fuel is expected to come from corn ethanol, which environmentalists say has mixed climate benefits.
Source: http://news.mongabay.com April 26, 2012
Climate Change has Intensified the Global Water Cycle
Climate scientists have been saying for years that one of the many downsides of a warming planet is that both droughts and torrential rains are both likely to get worse. That’s what climate models predict, and that’s what observers have noted, most recently in the IPCC’s report on extreme weather, released last month. It makes physical sense, too. A warmer atmosphere can absorb more water vapor, and what goes up must come down and thanks to prevailing winds, it won’t come down in the same place.
The idea of changes to the so-called hydrologic cycle, in short, hangs together pretty well. According to a new paper just published in Science, however, the picture is flawed in one important and disturbing way. Based on measurements gathered around the world from 1950-2000, a team of researchers from Australia and the U.S. has concluded that the hydrologic cycle is indeed changing. Wet areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier. But it’s happening about twice as fast as anyone thought, and that could mean big trouble for places like Australia, which has already been experiencing crushing drought in recent years. More than 3,000 robotic profiling floats provide crucial information on upper layers of the world's ocean currents. Credit: Alicia Navidad/CSIRO. The reason for this disconnect between expectation and reality is that the easiest place to collect rainfall data is on land, where scientists and rain gauges are located. About 71 percent of the world is covered in ocean, however. “Most of the action, however, takes place over the sea,” lead author Paul Durack, a postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said in a telephone interview. In order to get a more comprehensive look at how water is exchanged between the surface and the atmosphere, that’s where Durack and his colleagues went to look. Nobody has rainfall data from the ocean, so Durack and his collaborators looked instead at salinity that is, saltiness in ocean waters. The reasoning is straightforward enough. When water evaporates from the surface of the ocean, it leaves the salt behind. That makes increased saltiness a good proxy for drought. When fresh water rains back down on the ocean, it dilutes the seawater, so decreased saltiness is the equivalent of a land-based flood.
Fortunately, as the scientists make clear, research ships have been taking salinity measurements for decades in most of the planet’s ocean basins, so it’s possible to see where and how fast salinity has been changing. And it turns out that the saltiness has been increasing, especially in the waters surrounding Australia, southern Africa and western South America all places where drought has increased as well. The climate models weren’t really wrong, Durack hastened to add. “They’re accurately capturing the spatial patterns in hydrologic changes, and they’ve got the basic physics right. They’re just providing very conservative estimates of how big the changes are, and now we’re starting to understand that. Surface salinity changes for 1950 to 2000. Red indicates regions becoming saltier and blue regions becoming fresher. Credit: Paul Durack. This understanding is likely to grow dramatically: since 2000 or so, scientists have deployed some 3,500 autonomous Argo floats, which measure ocean temperature and salinity automatically and continuously — a much more reliable set of records than you can get from ships. And a little more than a year ago, NASA launched the Aquarius satellite, which measures salinity from space, with even more complete coverage. “I’m an early-career scientist,” Durack said, “and this is a great time to be getting into this field.” Durack is also more aware than many scientists of the havoc changes in the planet’s water cycle can be. “I’m from Perth, in Western Australia,” he said, “where there’s been a fair amount of rain decline since the 1970’s.” The state government, noting projections from climate models that the drying would likely continue, has opted to build desalinization plants. “It’s expensive,” Durack said. “But if it’s not going to fall out of the sky, it has to come from somewhere.”
Source: http://news.opb.org April 26, 2012
|Link of the Week|
Please Visit: http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/44325
|Did you Know ?|
Glaciers in the Himalaya are not shrinking as fast as once predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The newest study, published in Science, is based on satellite data showing that glaciers in the Himalayas and Karakoram cover a total area of about 40,800 square kilometers — about twenty times larger than all glaciers of the European Alps put together,but as much as twenty percent smaller than was previously assumed. Along with satellite data, the researchers added all existing measurements of length, area and volume changes and mass budgets into their calculations. Some of the measurement series on length changes date back to 1840, and measurements of glacier mass budget that instantaneously reflect the climate signal are rare. Overall, the researchers recorded average length decreases of 15 to 20 metres and area decreases of 0.1 to 0.6 percent per year in recent decades, as well as an average 40 centimeter lowering of glacier surfaces.
|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 # 514|
Government of Nepal is issuing cards to LPG customers in a bid to regulate the gas distribution and supplies. For the purpose, NOC has readied four million cards, including 2.5 million cards for household consumers and 1.5 million for commercial users. Household consumers will get …………………………… and commercial users blue cards.
While sending your answer please mention “Quiz of the week#” in the subject line and please send your answer in email@example.com
One lucky winner will get an attractive prized from Clean Energy Nepal.
|Answer of the week # 513|
Utilizing the temperature data from the HMS Challenger expedition and comparing it to contemporary temperatures, researchers writing in Nature Climate Change found that the oceans' surface— where marine warming is most intense—saw temperature rise on average by …………………………… degrees Celsius (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 135 years or so.
Congratulation to the Winner and thanks to all participants.
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