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Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 13, May 16, 2012

Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 13, May 16, 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
•    Bathing in dust roadside dwellers’ routine hassle
•    ADB Agrees to Provide US$56m Assistance to Nepal for Urban Development
•    EIB to Help Improve Economic Conditions‚ Energy Supply
•    Govt Readies Bill for Open Petroleum Trade
•    Govt Begins LPG Consumer Card Forms Distribution to Gas Dealers
•    Norway Opens Major Facility to Test Carbon Capture
•    Climate Change: Global Growth of Carbon Dioxide Emissions Continues
•    Solar Minimum May Lead to Abrupt Climatic Conditions
•    Biodiversity Loss Significant Impact on Ecosystems
•    Link Of The Week
•    Did You Know?
•    Media Watch

Local News
Bathing in dust roadside dwellers’ routine hassle
By Pragati Shahi
At mid-day on Wednesday, the Maitidevi Chowk in Kathmandu was covered in a cloud of dust. The debris left from the demolition of illegal roadside structures in the area generates tremendous volume of dust, affecting life of shopkeepers and passers-by alike.
“I am forced to close my shop early as the flow of customers is low due to dusty roads,” says Achyut Dahal, a grocer at Maitidevi. The government initiated its road-widening campaign across the Capital about six months ago by bulldozing structures within a designated radius of roads. The unchecked movement of dust and dirt particles has left people vulnerable to health hazards like headache, dizziness, minor fever and chest pain. People are complaining how dust is affecting their daily life, Dahal said. “Business has dropped 20 percent compared to normal days.”
Residents of the Capital, particularly those close to widened roads, and commuters are at the receiving end of a denser TSP (total suspended particulate) matters in the atmosphere. A report of the Atmospheric Pollution Research on the assessment of occupational and ambient air quality of traffic personnel in view of atmospheric particulate matter concentration (PM10), published in 2012, states that air-borne particle-associated health problems such as asthma and haze problems such as visibility impairment are typical environmental issues in cities. The study conducted in 10 high-density road traffic intersections in the Valley between February 2008 and January 2009 found that traffic-heavy areas and road junctions were seriously polluted with PM10. The monthly and yearly average occupational and ambient PM10 concentration in high-density traffic areas and road intersections greatly exceeded the 24-hour average limit value of 120 micrograms in Nepal. The study was conducted by Ahmad Kamaruzzaman Majumder, KM Nazmul Islam, Roshan Man Bajracharya and William S Carter.
“The movement of dust and dirt every day is really annoying and frustrating for me. It has affected my work,” says Shyam Kumar Shrestha, owner of a cloth shop at Koteshwor, which is considered one of the most polluted places in the Capital. “I hope rehabilitation and reconstruction works along the roads take place soon.” “Pedestrians are having tough times moving about, inhaling and getting dirt and dust into their eyes,” says environmentalist Toran Sharma. Chest infection, irritation of eyes, cold among children and elders and asthma among others are common symptoms of frequent contact with mobile air particles, he said.
Authorities concerned seem least bothered about the health condition of the people as no preventive measure like spraying water three to four times a day was done during the road expansion drive, Sharma said.
Source: May 04, 2012
ADB Agrees to Provide US$56m Assistance to Nepal for Urban Development
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide an assistance of US$ 56.8 million (equivalent to Rs 4.8 billion) to the government of Nepal for the implementation of Integrated Urban Development Project (IUDP).
The agreement to this effect was signed between the government and ADB at the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday. The ADB is going to provide 44.8 million US Dollars in loan and 12 million US Dollars in grant for the development of physical infrastructures in Dharan, Janakpur, Nepalgunj and Siddharthanagar Municipalities. In accordance with the priorities of each municipality, integrated urban environmental improvements, including drainage systems, solid waste management facilities, and urban roads, will be build in these municipalities. Country Director of the ADB to Nepal, Kenichi Yokoyama stressed on making the projects in an effective, transparent and inclusive manner. The project is expected to complete by June 2017.
Source: May 9, 2012
EIB to Help Improve Economic Conditions‚ Energy Supply
The EIB — European Union’s long-term financing institution — and the government signed a Framework Agreement under which the Bank may start financing capital investments in Nepal.
“The Framework Agreement is key in the very significant moment in Nepal’s recent history,” EIB vice president with special responsibility for the bank’s activities in Asia, Magdalena Álvarez Arza, said during the signing ceremony. “I am confident that the first milestone in the cooperation between Nepal and the EIB will soon result into the implementation of projects, especially in the area of renewable energy and energy infrastructure,” she said, adding that it will help Nepal develop further its huge hydropower potential and improve economic prosperity and quality of life for the people. Hailing the pact, ambassador and head of the EU delegation to Nepal Dr Alexander Spachis expressed optimism that it would open up additional avenues for Nepal to acquire funds for further pursuing development initiatives on important social, economic and development sectors. He also underlined that the agreement was in line with the EU’s recent initiatives designed to assist developing countries in achieving inclusive economic growth, including providing access to sustainable energy to their populations. The agreement was signed by the EIB vice president with special responsibility for the Bank’s activities in Asia, Magdalena Álvarez Arza and finance secretary Krishna Hari Baskota on behalf of their respective institutions.
Similarly, Baskota opined that the agreement will provide Nepal a basis for sufficient financing at low cost and create conducive environment for foreign investment in different projects like infrastructure development, energy, and sustainable environment. “We are confident that the venture will support Nepal to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic development,” he said, adding that the collaboration will grow further in the days to come. After the signing ceremony, EIB vice-president called on Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai at his office in Singhadurbar, where they discussed the future role of the bank in supporting sustainable development. The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the EU owned by its member states. It makes a long-term finance available for sound investment to contribute towards EU policy goals. Outside the EU, the bank supports projects that contribute to economic development in countries that have signed association or cooperation agreements with the EU or its member states. “Of Euro61 billion lent in 2011, some Euro7 billion went for projects outside the EU,” according to the EIB that finances projects in countries which have concluded cooperation agreements with the European Union. In Asia, the bank has so far signed Framework Agreements with Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.
Source: May 8, 2012
Govt Readies Bill for Open Petroleum Trade
The government has readied a new Bill on Petroleum Transactions in its fresh attempt to push open the petroleum import business to the private sector and end almost four-decade-long monopoly of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).
Though governments in the past too had made several attempts to liberalize the country´s messy petroleum sector, their efforts had failed mainly as the lawmakers, particularly from the UCPN (Maoist), strongly rejected the idea of ending state monopoly. Interestingly, Lekh Raj Bhatta, minister for commerce and supplies from the UCPN (Maoist) said on Thursday that the country cannot bear the cost it was incurring due to wide gap between import and retail rates, lack of reforms in NOC and frequent scarcities. “There has to be an end to it. And that can happen only if we deregulate prices, open imports to the private sector and cushion the poor through well-targeted subsidy,” said Bhatta. He said the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies has already finalized a draft law to realize these goals. “We will table it in the House for endorsement in the upcoming session of parliament,” said Bhatta. He did not elaborate on the content of the new bill though. Talking to the press at the end of a meeting held to review the performances of the ministry over the first nine months of 2011/12, Bhatta also said MoCS was strongly pushing for raising the capital of the debt-ridden NOC. MoCS officials stressed the urgent need for enhancing NOC´s storage and distribution capacity, streamlining its operations through organizational restructuring and cleaning up its balance sheet. However, they maintained silence on how the ministry plans to achieve these goals. As in the past, the ministry officials argued the existing taxes imposed on the import of petroleum products were unreasonably high and urged the Ministry of Finance for review.
NOC loss drops to Rs 1.14b
Meanwhile, fresh import rates made public by NOC show that its loss in the month of May will drop to Rs 1.14 billion from Rs 1.55 billion in April. The decline in loss has been projected mainly as the new supply rate provided by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has enabled NOC to enjoy Rs 3.71 profit on a liter of petrol and Rs 3.02 per liter of kerosene at present retail rates. The corporation´s profit has increased also on aviation turbine fuel (ATF). It now earns a profit of Rs 14.39 every liter of ATF it sells to domestic flights and Rs 19.73 every liter to international flights. Despite such profits, NOC´s fund flow is projected to disfigure as its loss on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the new import rate still stands at Rs 598.34 per cylinder (of 14.2 kg). In April, NOC had suffered a loss of Rs 800 per cylinder. Likewise, the corporation will also suffer a loss of Rs 10.60 on every liter of diesel sold in the market.
Source: May 4, 2012
Govt Begins LPG Consumer Card Forms Distribution to Gas Dealers
Minister for Labor and Transport Management Lekhraj Bhatta officially handed over the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) consumer card forms to the gas dealers on Wednesday.
Amidst a programme organised by the Gas Dealers Federation, Nepal (GDFN) in the capital, Minister Bhatta distributed the LPG consumer card forms to more than 50 gas dealers in the capital. Though the government has decided to distribute the LPG consumer cards from April 17 with an aim of collecting consumers’ details by issuing a LPG card along with providing subsidy, due to verification of gas dealers the distribution had lacked. Addressing the programme, Minsiter Bhatta said that the government has enforced this system to maintain transparency in the distribution of cooking gas and ease supply. Bhatta also urged the gas dealers, consumers and concerned authorities to support in implementing the system. Assuring GDFN best support in the implementation of consumer card system, former president of federation Gyaneshwor Aryal also urged the government to ensure commission of gas dealers. The gas dealers who are interested to procure consumer card forms can get it from GDFN after fulfilling all the required documentation in order to distribute to the general public. As per the new directives, the gas dealers are not allowed to sell any other products that are not related to LPG as various retail shops are also found selling it. The cards have two categories - red and blue. The red card is for the household purpose and blue for the industrial purpose.
Source: May 4, 2012
International News
Norway Opens Major Facility to Test Carbon Capture
By Nerijus Adomaitis
Norway on Monday launched the world's largest facility of its kind to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS), the so-far commercially unproven technology that would allow greenhouse gases from power plants to be buried safely underground.
A 5.8 million Norwegian crown ($1.00 billion) government-funded centre will test two post-combustion carbon capture technologies that could be extended to industrial-scale use if shown to be cost-effective and safe."Today we are opening the world's largest and most advanced laboratory to test carbon capture technologies... It is an important project for Norway and for the world," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told the opening ceremony at the Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM), northwest of Bergen city.The facility will be able unique in that it can test exhaust gases from two nearby sources a 280-megawatt combined heat and power plant and the 10-million tons per year Mongstad refinery. These produce flue gases with different carbon dioxide (CO2) contents - about 3.5 percent and 13 percent respectively.Mongstad's emissions have a similar carbon dioxide content to those emitted by coal fuelled power plants - which scientist say make a particularly serious contribution to climate change.CCS offers the prospect of possibly continuing to burn fossil fuels while avoiding the worst effects by burying the emissions, for example in depleted natural gas fields under the sea, although it will be costly.Stoltenberg said in a 2007 speech that carbon capture and storage would be Norway's equivalent of a Moon landing.The centre has two carbon capture plants with a combined capacity to process 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, making it the largest, Olav Folk Pedersen, the TCM's technology manager, told Reuters.
Source: May 7, 2012
Climate Change: Global Growth of Carbon Dioxide Emissions Continues
By Jeff Johnson
After declining 1.5% in 2009, global carbon dioxide emissions rose 5.8% in 2010, the largest yearly jump in two decades, according to a Worldwatch Institute report released on April 28. Worldwatch is a Washington, D.C.-based, environmental think tank.
Report author Xing Fu-Bertaux says economic recovery is the primary reason for the increase. In addition, the report finds little progress in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, noting that CO2 levels are now 45% higher than they were in 1990, a reference year for efforts to cut emissions. The report focuses on CO2 emissions because among greenhouse gases CO2 resides longest in the atmosphere and is the most abundant, making up 70% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Growth of atmospheric CO2 levels has been accompanied by significant global temperature increases in the past decade, the report notes. The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to a recent NASA study cited in the report. Developing countries led the 2010 jump in CO2 emissions with a 7.6% increase. Emissions from European Union nations, Japan, Canada, and the U.S. also grew, but by an average of 3.4%. Among developed countries, the top two CO2 emitters were Japan with 6.8% growth and the U.S. with a 4.1% increase. China’s growing economy resulted in a 10.3% increase in 2010 CO2 emissions, the highest increase among all countries. China emits 25.4% of the world’s total CO2 emissions and was the largest contributor in 2010.
Source: May 7, 2012
Solar Minimum May Lead to Abrupt Climatic Conditions
An abrupt cooling in Europe along with an increase in humidity and especially in windiness coincided with a sustained reduction in solar activity 2800 years ago, researchers say.
Scientists from the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ in collaboration with Swedish and Dutch colleagues provide evidence for a direct solar-climate linkage on centennial timescales. Using the most modern methodological approach, they analysed sediments from Lake Meerfelder Maar, a maar lake in the Eifel/Germany, to determine annual variations in climate proxies and solar activity. The study reports the climatic change that occurred at the beginning of the pre-Roman Iron Age and demonstrates that especially the so-called Grand Minima of solar activity can affect climate conditions in western Europe through changes in regional atmospheric circulation pattern. Around 2800 years ago, one of these Grand Solar Minima, the Homeric Minimum, caused a distinct climatic change in less than a decade in Western Europe. The exceptional seasonally laminated sediments from the studied maar lake allow a precise dating even of short-term climate changes. The results show for a 200 year long period strongly increased springtime winds during a period of cool and wet climate in Europe. In combination with model studies they suggest a mechanism that can explain the relation between a weak sun and climate change. “The change and strengthening of the tropospheric wind systems likely is related to stratospheric processes which in turn are affected by the ultraviolet radiation,” explained Achim Brauer (GFZ), the initiator of the study. “This complex chain of processes thus acts as a positive feedback mechanism that could explain why assumingly too small variations in solar activity have caused regional climate changes.”
Albeit those findings cannot be directly transferred to future projections because the current climate is additionally affected by anthropogenic forcing, they provide clear evidence for still poorly understood aspects of the climate system, emphasizes Achim Brauer. In particular, further investigations are required with a focus on the climatic consequences of changes in different wavelengths of the solar spectrum. Only when the mechanisms of solar-climate links are better understood a reliable estimate of the potential effects of the next Grand solar minimum in a world of anthropogenic climate change will be possible. In this respect, well-dated annually laminated lake sediments are also in future of crucial importance for these studies. Therefore, scientists from the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and other institutions search for such archives around the world in order to obtain a more accurate approach to the solar-climate relationship and the different regional responses.
Source: May 6, 2012
Biodiversity Loss Significant Impact on Ecosystems
Loss of biodiversity appears to affect ecosystems as much as climate change, pollution and other major forms of environmental stress, according to results of a new study by an international research team.
The study is the first comprehensive effort to directly compare the effects of biological diversity loss to the anticipated effects of a host of other human-caused environmental changes. The results, published in this week's issue of the journal Nature, highlight the need for stronger local, national and international efforts to protect biodiversity and the benefits it provides, according to the researchers, who are based at nine institutions in the United States, Canada and Sweden. "This analysis establishes that reduced biodiversity affects ecosystems at levels comparable to those of global warming and air pollution," said Henry Gholz, program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research directly and through the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. "Some people have assumed that biodiversity effects are relatively minor compared to other environmental stressors," said biologist David Hooper of Western Washington University, the lead author of the paper. "Our results show that future loss of species has the potential to reduce plant production just as much as global warming and pollution." Studies over the last two decades demonstrated that more biologically diverse ecosystems are more productive.
Source: May 3, 2012
Link of the Week
Global warming: Plants respond faster than expected
Did you Know ?
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. 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.
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)

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