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Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 14, May 23, 2012

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Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 14, May 23, 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 www.cen.org.np
Headlines

•    Call to Mitigate Climate Change Woes
•    Diesel Provides 531 MW of Electricity
•    Walking beats other modes of transport in Kathmandu Valley
•    Team Confirms Landslips Led to Seti Flash Flood
•    NOC to Import, Transport Fuel Under Police Escort   
•    G8 Leaders Agree to Act on Climate, Air Pollution
•    1,000 Years of Climate Data Confirms Australia's Warming
•    Sea-Level Rise Poses Expensive Questions for New York City
•    Scotland Opens Research Centre for CO2 Oil Recovery
•    Methane Sources Found Bubbling Up From Melting Ice Caps
•    Ancient Methane Released from Arctic Ice Melt May Intensify Global Warming
•    Link Of The Week
•    Did You Know?
•    Media Watch
•    QUIZ Of The Week #  515
•    Answer Of Quiz Of The Week # 514

 

Local News
Call to Mitigate Climate Change Woes
Policies and programmes on climate change have failed to address the problems of the vulnerable communities at the grassroots level in the country, a new study said.
The findings on "Towards climate change resilience building of vulnerable mountain people and local governments" in Ramechhap shared that there is a lack of effective integrating agency at the central level to push climate change agenda at the local level. The study was carried out in four VDCS namely Pakarbas, Majuwa, Deurali and Himganga in the district by the National Academy of Sciences and Technology (NAST) and Resources Himalaya in the country. Ramechhap is listed as the second most vulnerable district to climate change and the above four VDCs are top drought-prone areas in the district as per the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA). Though the recently endorsed Climate Change Policy and Local Adaptation Programme of Action framework have provisioned to allocate 80 percent of the total funds on climate change to the vulnerable local communities with the help of local bodies, no such arrangement is in practice so far in the district, the study said. “This is common for a majority of the districts which are vulnerable to the climate change impacts,” said Dinesh Raj Bhuju, one of the researchers. Meanwhile, weak institutional mechanism at the Ministry of Environment, focal point to implement policies and programmes related with climate change, compounded with poor coordination among line ministries has failed to come up with immediate adaptation interventions for the vulnerable local communities. According to Bhuju, rising temperatures followed by erratic rainfall and drought, the local communities in the district are facing increasing level of hardship to sustain their livelihoods in recent years. “The most critical problem is depletion of water sources among others,” he said. Other common problems among the VDCs studied during the research are reduction in agriculture production, shifting of agriculture practices, heavy infestation of invasive species and erratic climatic patterns, among others.
Source: http://www.ekantipur.com May 22, 2012
 
Diesel Provides 531 MW of Electricity
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has claimed that the country has been generating around 531 megawatt (MW) of electricity through the use of diesel.
The country has been facing a 10-hour power outage for years, said acting director general at the corporation Suresh Kumar Agrawal. “Diesel has been used as an alternative energy to generate electricity.” Around 30 to 40 per cent of diesel has been utilised to generate electricity during load-shedding, he said. “It is a primary estimation that one litre of diesel can produce 3.4 to 4 units of electricity,” said deputy director and engineer at NOC Sushil Bhattarai. The cost of diesel-generated electricity is higher as compared to hydropower, according to him. “The cost per unit of electricity stands at around Rs 25 to Rs 30 for diesel-generated electricity.” The general demand for diesel in the domestic market is 65,000 kilolitres (kl), according to NOC. “Nepal utilises around 26,000 kl diesel for electricity.” Diesel has been used not only by industries but also by departmental stores, hospitals and big outlets, claimed NOC. “Almost all outlets in Kathmandu use a generator to generate electricity during load-shedding,” said Bhattarai. “Departmental stores and malls have installed big generators that consume more diesels to fulfill their power needs.” The government should carry out a study to calculate the real scenario of the energy sector of the country, the corporation said. “The demand for fuel has been increasing due to the sophisticated lifestyle of citizens but the state has no vision about calculating the real data of the energy sector.” The corporation has estimated a consumption of a total of 17,000 kl petrol, 56,000 kl diesel, 6,000 kl kerosene, 10,000 kl Aviation Turbine Fuel and 17,000 metric tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas every month in the domestic market.
NOC to start lube business
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) will formally enter the lubricant business soon, said acting managing director Suresh Kumar Agrawal. The petroleum supply agreement which was inked on April 27 has included the trade of bitumen, lubricants and grease between Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and NOC. NOC is doing a homework to start trade of lubricants, bitumen and grease, said Agrawal, adding that NOC will place an order for these products once it clears the existing dues of IOC which is worth Rs 1.6 billion.
Source: http://thehimalayantimes.com May 7, 2012
 
Walking beats other modes of transport in Kathmandu Valley
A large number of Kathmandu Valley dwellers walk on foot rather than using motorised vehicles and bicycles, shows a JICA Nepal survey conducted in 2010.
According to the survey of 18,100 households, about 40 per cent of Kathmanduties walk, 26 per cent travel on motorcycle and 1.5 per cent use bicycle as their everyday mode of transport (excluding public transport users). In 1991, walking made up 53 per cent of the travel mode, while bicycles and motorcycles made 6.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent, respectively. The survey shows more people travelled on foot two decades ago. The use of motorcycle has gone up by almost three folds and bicycling has dropped to less than one-fourth.
According to the survey, the number of people using public transportation has slightly increased from 25.1 per cent to 26.9 per cent, mainly because of the two-fold increase in the number of people using micro and mini buses. Of the 570,145 vehicles registered in Bagmati zone between 2001 and 2010, more than 93 per cent were private vehicles (cars, jeeps, vans and motorcycles) and only 3.5 per cent were for public transportation (buses, minibuses, microbuses and tempos). Rest of the vehicles were tucks, lorries and others. The total number of person trips in the valley has doubled in the past two decades. During this period, motorcycle person trips increased by 5.8 times while car trips increased by 2.8 times, mainly due to growing population and the need for mobility. The main requirements for passengers, according to the passenger interview survey, in the old bus park are: Less time for travel (26.6 per cent); cheaper fares (26.2 per cent), safety (18.1 per cent) and comfort (15.4 per cent). In comparison, the main requirements for passengers in the Gongabu bus park are comfort (27.9 per cent) and safety (25.9per cent).
Findings of the survey
show that city bus users are more concerned about time and fare prices while long distance bus passengers are more concerned about comfort and safety.
However, a significant number of city bus users are also concerned about comfort and safety.
Issues such as information, bus stops and frequency did not feature too high on the requirement list for both the city bus and long route bus users.
According to the survey, Thapathali Chowk in Kathmandu registers maximum traffic volume with 94,689 vehicles every 24 hours.
Source: http://www.thehimalayantimes.com May 05, 2012
 
Team Confirms Landslips Led to Seti Flash Flood
By Lal Prasad Sharma
After 11 days of speculating about the cause of the Seti flash flood, a team including geologists has concluded that the tragedy was triggered by landslips.
The nine-member team of geologists and representatives of Trekking Agents Association of Nepal, Nepal Police, Nepal Army and local people has returned after studying the landslide site since May 9. The team has stated that a mass of soil and other particles deposited by old glaciers near the big glacier of Mt Annapurna IV pushed a hillock ranging in altitude from 4,200 meters to 4,500 meters, triggering a number of landslides. “It seems that a small avalanche opened a series of landslips, triggering the tragedy,” said a geology department faculty at Prithivi Narayan Campus, Pokhara. The team reasoned that the hillock fell as it could not withstand the pressure of snowfall and rain-soaked terrain. “Parts of the hillock still remain there, but it is not sure whether they will slip further,” said team coordinator Krishna KC.
Source: http://www.ekantipur.com May 16, 2012
 
NOC to Import, Transport Fuel Under Police Escort   
After imports through Raxaul, the main source point, remained stalled for four days, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has said it is preparing to resume imports and transport fuel to depots across the country under police escort.
The import had come to a standstill after banda enforcers in Tarai districts started targeting tankers ferrying petroleum products from Friday night. “We were continuing import and transportation of fuel in the evening and during night hours till last week. But Friday night´s attacks on trucks and tankers terrified drivers and tanker staff. They stopped ferrying fuel after the attack,” said NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Dhungel. Because of the stalemate, NOC has been failing to replenish its stock. That is not all. Banda in the Kathmandu Valley and other parts of the country has also left some 100 tankers en route to Kathmandu stranded on different highways. Given the security threats, Dhungel said NOC is preparing to depute senior officials to Amlekhgunj, wherein the main storage tanks of the corporation are located, to negotiate with the drivers and convince them to resume operations, and coordinate with the regional and district security councils for unhindered movement of tankers. NOC is planning to move the vehicles stranded in different places by deploying security officials, if the situation did not improve on Wednesday as well. “We have worked out a clear action plan for imports and transportation of fuel. If the situation did not improve tomorrow (Wednesday), we will act as per the action plan,” said Dhungel. NOC developed the plan after holding meeting with the officials of tanker operators, petroleum dealers and liquefied petroleum gas bottlers on Tuesday. During the meeting, petroleum dealers had strongly criticized the NOC for not taking any initiative to move stranded tankers to the depot. “If NOC was serious, it should have taken prompt steps to move stranded tankers to Thankot depot. That would have at least helped it replenish stock and freed the tankers for further operations,” said Linendra Pradhan, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers´ Association (NPDA). “Sadly, NOC leadership needed instruction from the Chief Secretary to carry out its basic duty. This is unfortunate,” said Pradhan. In the absence of fund, NOC has largely failed to maintain adequate import to meet demand since the past three weeks. This has triggered fuel scarcity in the market. As NOC used its stock to manage consumption, its stock across the country has dropped to around 14,000 KL, which is enough to meet demand for just four days.
Source: http://myrepublica.com May 23, 2012
 
International News
G8 Leaders Agree to Act on Climate, Air Pollution
From Edouard Stenger
At the Camp David meeting last week, G8 leaders agreed to act on climate change and air pollution by focusing on methane, black carbon (soot), and hydroflurocarbons (HFCs).
This is the logical follow up of a move in the same direction by the United States, China and other countries back to February. However, like the previous agreement, CO2 is still not mentioned. The aforementioned greenhouse gases are much more potent but remain for much less time in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide Since CO2 is the main pollution due to fossil fuels burning, it may take some time before it is addressed. We have seen however that more and more countries are willing to address it.
Source: http://www.enn.com May 23, 2012
 
1,000 Years of Climate Data Confirms Australia's Warming
In the first study of its kind in Australasia, scientists have used 27 natural climate records to create the first large-scale temperature reconstruction for the region over the last 1000 years.
The study was led by researchers at the University of Melbourne and used a range of natural indicators including tree rings, corals and ice cores to study Australasian temperatures over the past millennium and compared them to climate model simulations. Lead researcher, Dr Joelle Gergis from the University of Melbourne said the results show that there are no other warm periods in the last 1000 years that match the warming experienced in Australasia since 1950. "Our study revealed that recent warming in a 1000 year context is highly unusual and cannot be explained by natural factors alone, suggesting a strong influence of human-caused climate change in the Australasian region," she said. The study published recently in the Journal of Climate will form the Australasian region's contribution to the 5th IPCC climate change assessment report chapter on past climate. She said using what is known as 'palaeoclimate' or natural records, such as tree rings, corals and ice cores, are fundamental in evaluating regional and global climate variability over centuries before direct temperature records started in 1910.
Source: http://www.enn.com May 21, 2012
 
Sea-Level Rise Poses Expensive Questions for New York City
By John J. Fialka
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has given his city one of the most detailed and highly publicized plans to reduce carbon emissions and to adapt to rising sea levels and other risks posed by climate change.
He launched his program in 2007 and used it as a platform to vault into the chairmanship of C40, an international group of 40 big-city mayors determined to deal with the complex welter of climate issues they face. "Mayor Bloomberg is shaping the global dialogue and action on climate change in cities," boasts the latest version of New York City's plan, known as "PlaNYC." While Mitt Romney and other major Republicans sow doubts about climate issues and many Democrats including at times President Obama have soft-pedaled them, Bloomberg's plans appear to confront the difficulties of climate change head-on. "The scientific evidence is irrefutable," PlaNYC says. "Rising sea levels are extremely likely," says the New York City Panel on Climate Change, appointed to advise the city on carrying out the plan. Bloomberg has one built-in advantage. He oversees a city that has only one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions of the average U.S. city because New York has the largest underground subway and commuter train network in the United States. More than half of its densely packed population doesn't own a car. But there is also a steep downside. Because New York City has more than 520 miles of coastline, it is among the top 10 port cities in the world that are most exposed to coastal flooding. Measured in terms of private property subject to damage from more potent storms and torrential rains that scientists predict are coming with climate change, the low-lying Big Apple ranks second in the world, with $2.3 trillion of property at risk, according to its own data. One of the first victims of the flooding will likely be the same underground transit systems that make New York's carbon dioxide emissions so low. A recent report by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority warned that the combination of sea-level rise and the surging ocean currents that can accompany a powerful storm could flood many of the city's subway, highway and rail tunnels "in less than one hour." According to state and federal estimates, the resulting damage could take weeks, even months, to repair. The New York state study estimates that the economic losses from a once-in-100-years storm, including workers unable to get to work, could range from $58 billion to $84 billion, depending on the extent of sea-level rise and the size of the storm.
Source: http://www.eenews.net May 23, 2012
 
Scotland Opens Research Centre for CO2 Oil Recovery
Scotland's University of Edinburgh on Wednesday opened a centre to research the use of carbon to retrieve oil otherwise hard to extract from reservoirs, a method which could unlock three billion barrels of trapped North Sea oil worth 190 billion pounds ($300 billion).
A number of developers of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects have already suggested using the method, also known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR) that has been used in North America for decades, to enhance the economic viability of their plants which are expensive to finance. "The captured CO2 would be transported to the North Sea where it is injected into oilfields, forcing out additional oil, with the CO2 remaining permanently stored deep underground," the University of Edinburgh said in a statement. Experts say the use of CO2-EOR could reduce the price of electricity generated from CCS plants to 30 pounds per megawatt-hour, a level comparable with onshore wind. The centre is funded by the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise and CCS developer 2CO, which has already proposed using CO2-EOR in its Don Valley CCS project. The research will be conducted under the umbrella of Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage, a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey. "Our research will provide an independent voice to establish the conditions by which CO2-EOR can be made environmentally, commercially and technically feasible in the North Sea," said Professor Stuart Haszeldine of the University of Edinburgh, who will lead the CO2-EOR Centre. The UK government is supporting the use of CCS with a one-billion-pound funding scheme as it sees the technology as key to reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants.
Source: http://www.reuters.com May 23, 2012
 
Methane Sources Found Bubbling Up From Melting Ice Caps
U.S. scientists report that they have discovered new sources of methane percolating up from underground reservoirs as glaciers, ice caps, and permafrost melt in the Arctic.
University of Alaska researchers, conducting aerial and ground surveys, said they have discovered 150,000 methane seeps in Alaska alone near the margins of retreating glaciers or thawing permafrost. In Greenland, the seeps tended to be concentrated around the margins of ice caps that have been retreating for the past 150 years, the scientists said. Katey M. Walter Anthony, lead author of the study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, said that these seeps in the earth’s frozen zones, or cryosphere, are not currently a major source of methane emissions. But, she added, “As the cryosphere degrades further, it could be a really big source.” Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and researchers are concerned that rapid warming of the Arctic could trigger a methane “time bomb” as thawing permafrost, vegetation, and land ice result in the release of huge quantities of methane.
Source: http://e360.yale.edu May 21, 2012
 
Researchers have found that methane stored underground for millions of years in the Arctic is seeping out into the atmosphere and threatening to cause adverse climatic changes by raising the levels of greenhouse gas.
The study documented in the recent edition of the journal, Nature Geoscience, mentions that the release of the ancient gas can hasten the process of global warming. Methane is one of the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gases and is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together. The gas comes from various sources including wetlands, rice paddies, cow tummies, coal mines, garbage dumps and even termites. Drew Shindell, at Nasa's Goddard Institute in New York earlier mentioned that the level of methane has "gone up by 150 percent since the pre-industrial period. So that's an enormous increase. CO2, by contrast, has gone up by something like 30 percent."
Source: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk May 21, 2012
 
Link of the Week
Charcoal for African Cookstoves, What's the Story?

Please Visit: http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/44423

 

Did you Know ?
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.
 
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 # 515

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. Along with satellite data, the researchers added all existing measurements of length, area and volume changes and mass budgets into their calculations. Overall, the researchers recorded average length decreases of 15 to 20 metres and area decreases of ………………………… percent per year in recent decades, as well as an average 40 centimeter lowering of glacier surfaces.
a)    0.1 to 0.6
b)    0.5 to 1
c)    1 to 1.5
d)    1.5 to 2


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 an attractive prized from Clean Energy Nepal.

Answer 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.
d) Red Card

Pramila Dangol
Rajan Adhikari
Reshu Bashyal
Kabita Poudyal
Indra Kumari Manandhar
Isha dhakal
Lila Shrestha
Shashank Shrestha

Pramila Dangol 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