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Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 19, July 4, 2012

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Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 19, July 4, 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
•    Let's Minimise Climate Change Impact: Tated
•    Monsoon May be Active Soon Amid Wait for Good Rain
•    Widened Road Segments in Tatters as Expansion Drive Resumes     
•    Flyover Project to Take Off in New Baneshwor
•    Electricity Tariff up 20%
•    Smoking in Public to Cost up to One Lakh
•    Controversial Carbon Tax Takes Effect
•    U.S. Sees Greatest Reduction in CO2 Emissions
•    Climate Change, Corporate Farming Threat to Small Farmers
•    Student Finds New Way of Turning Plastic into Biofuel
•    New Fuel Cell Keeps Going After the Hydrogen Runs Out
•    Link Of The Week
•    Did You Know?
•    Media Watch
•    QUIZ Of The Week #  518
•    Answer Of Quiz Of The Week # 517

 
Local News
Let's Minimise Climate Change Impact: Tated
Former Minister Hem Raj Tated has said the impact of climate change should be minimised by using the sources of renewable energy.
At a workshop seminar on 'Continuity of national adaptation programme' organised in Rajbiraj on Monday by the Ministry of Environment and Science and Technology, he said bio-gas will be quite useful in half a dozen districts including Saptari and Siraha at a time when forests are being depleted as 80 percent firewood has been used as energy. He also said adverse impact has been made in all parts of our country which has geographical diversity as unexpected changes have been made in climate due to green house gas emitted by the industrial countries. Ministry Undersecretary Arjun Kumar Thapa said we should prioritise the issues of climate change and environment conservation. Another Under Secretary Hari Prasad Ghimire said the ministry is effortful to guarantee the fundamental rights of the entire citizens to live in clean environment. CDO Hari Raj Panta said the problems of forest depletion, acid rain, floods and burst of glacial lakes are the challenges from climate change. LDO Krishna Prasad Sapkota said agriculture and water resources and health were affected from climate change. Under Secretary Thapa, Ngamindra Dahal, and Tulsi Prasad Chaulagain of the ministry will present working papers on ministry's efforts, climate change policies and risk evaluation, among others.
Source: http://thehimalayantimes.com July 2, 2012
 
Monsoon May be Active Soon Amid Wait for Good Rain
Heavy rainfall expected from Monday
The delay in the arrival of monsoon has hit the paddy farmers in the country. Even two weeks after the formal declaration of monsoon by the Meteorological Forecasting Division, the country is still waiting for a good rain. "The monsoon is still very weak due to the active activities in Bay of Bengal where it originates and advances towards the India and enters Nepal,” Rajendra Shrestha, Senior Meteorologist, Meteorology Forecasting Division said. According to the Weathermen, the condition for rainfall is forming and good rainfall could be expected from Monday. “The advancement of monsoon cloud from Bay of Bengal is quite good now so there could be heavy rainfall within a couple of days across the country,” added Shrestha. When the monsoon is highly active in Bay of Bengal and periphery, its advancement towards Nepal is very slow and weak that results into no rainfall which is the feature of monsoon. The monsoon generally starts from second week of June and ends at third week of September but delay for a week for onset and withdraw is taken as normal. “The delay in monsoon may cause adverse impact on agriculture as it is the peak time for paddy farming,” Shrestha said. There was some rainfall in eastern part of the country but the western and central part was fairly dry last week. “We don’t have rainfall for all three months, so there are active and passive days during the monsoon but it would have been good for agriculture if the monsoon was good in the beginning, unfortunately it didn’t happen,” Shrestha added.
Source: http://thehimalayantimes.com July 1, 2012
 
Widened Road Segments in Tatters as Expansion Drive Resumes 
By Om Astha Rai  
Even as the Kathmandu valley road expansion drive resumes after a three-month hiatus with the demolition of illegally-built structures on Saturday along the Lainchaur-Golfutar stretch, the previously-widened road segments are in tatters.
The government has failed to reconstruct the widened roads, leaving over 40 km of widened roads completely in a mess. The widened roads appear ugly with dangling telephone cables, not-yet-relocated electricity poles and debris strewn by monsoon rains. Worse, the reconstruction work of widened roads will begin only after the end of monsoon, say concerned authorities. “This is a tragedy,” says Dr Bhaikaji Tiwari, District Commissioner of Kathmandu Valley Town Development Authority (KVTDA), which replaced Kathmandu Valley Town Development Committee (KVTDC) only three months ago. “Other government bodies, which are responsible for reconstructing the widened roads, have failed to catch up with our speed at which we are now removing illegally-constructed structures.” According to Dr Tiwari, before being replaced by KVTDA, KVTDC had widened 41 km of road segments at different places. However, not a single stretch of road has been reconstructed so far. The Kathmandu Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (KMTPD) has cleared the debris in some parts of the widened roads and the Road Division Office of Kathmandu has blacktopped some widened road parts. But, that is all. “We are now gravelling some five road segments,” says Gopal Bahadur Khadka, Road Division Chief of Kathmandu. “We want to ensure that people do not have to walk the muddy streets in monsoon rains." However, according to Budhathoki, the division office will begin blacktopping the expanded roads only after monsoon by September. Shyam Kharel, Chief of Kathmandu Valley Road Expansion Project (KVREP), which has been tasked with reconstructing some of the major road segments including the Maitighar-Tinkune stretch, says, “We planned to start our work before the monsoon. But, we could not start our work due to bandas and fuel shortage in May.” On Saturday, KVTDA demolished illegally-constructed structures along a 4.9 km stretch linking Lainchaur to Golfutar. “In the first phase, we demolished only compound walls, huts and other temporary physical structures,” DIG Ganesh Raj Rai, chief of KMTPD, told media persons. "We have not touched any house as of now."
According to Dr Tiwari, the Lainchaur-Golfutar road stretch, which is just 11.5-13.5 meters wide now, will be expanded nine meters on either side. “As per the Kathmandu Valley Road Standards-2033 BS, this road segment should be expanded by 11 meters on either side,” says Dr Tiwari. “But, if we follow the 2033 standards, the number of houses to be demolished during the expansion drive will be very high. Therefore, we decided to expand this road only by nine meters from the centre.” The locals from Lazimpat area had formed a joint struggle committee against the expansion drive. Mainly due to a stiff resistance by the committee, KVTDC had not dared removing illegally-built structures from along the Lainchaur-Golfutar stretch. However, with former Kathmandu mayor Keshav Sthapit assuming office of KVTDA chief, the expansion drive entered Lazimpat area, too. "We were accused of hesitating to enter the Lazimpat area," says Dr Tiwari. "Our latest demolition work has sent a message that we are not scared of any one. Sooner or later, we will accomplish our work." On Saturday, security personnel were mobilized to prevent the locals from disturbing the demolition work. However, not many people stood against the drive. Some locals protested but without great effect.
Source: http://myrepublica.com July 1, 2012
 
Flyover Project to Take Off in New Baneshwor
If everything goes well, the foundation stone for the country’s first flyover will be laid at New Baneshwor, one of the busiest intersections in the Capital, within a few months.
Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hridayesh Tripathi said he wished to inaugurate the project within this fiscal to make good use of some of the leftover funds of the fiscal. The construction of the flyover with the length of 300 metres is expected to complete within two years at the cost of around Rs 35 million. The Ministry of Physical Planning and Works felt the urgency to initiate the project to keep pace with the City’s road expansion drive initiated a few months ago. The proposed flyover will have four lanes and there will be an underpass to facilitate the movement of pedestrians. The government wants to build the country’s first flyover on its own but with technical advice from a Bangladeshi company, which has handled similar projects overseas. Krityanand Thakur, deputy director general of the Road Department, said the government decided to seek technical help from a foreign company because none of the domestic companies had relevant experience. Thakur said his office will receive a detailed design report within a week, then discuss the report with stakeholders and incorporate their suggestions. “We might modify the design, if necessary,” he said and added that the government plans to expedite the project without hampering the movement of pedestrians and vehicles in the busy intersection. Apart from New Baneshwor, the government also plans to build similar flyovers in Thapathali, Tripureshwor and Old Baneshwor in the Capital. “We are starting from New Baneswor because this site has least complications compared to the other sites,” Thakur said. He said the New Baneswor flyover will withstand the pressure of vehicular movement for many years without requiring any further expansion.
Source: http://thehimalayantimes.com June 29, 2012
 
Electricity Tariff up 20%
The government has raised electricity tariff by around 20% effective from meter reading in the month of Shrawan (mid-July). The cash-strapped state power monopoly Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), which has not revised the tariff since September 17, 2001, will generate annual additional revenue of Rs 4.5 billion following the hike.
Electricity Tariff Fixation Commission (ETFC) Chairman Ganesh Prasad Subba revealed that there is no change for domestic consumers using up to 50 units per month. Those using up to 20 units per month will have to pay a minimum of Rs 80 while those using up to 50 units have to pay Rs 7.30 per unit. “But those using up to 150 units will have to pay Rs 8.60 per unit, those using up to 250 units Rs 9.50 and those using above 250 units Rs 11,” Subba added. The ETFC had planned to raise the tariff from mid-February but the Supreme Court acting on a quo warranto filed by the Consumer Rights Protection Forum had issued a preemptive interim order in January prohibiting it from raising the tariff by more than five percent. The court had later lifted the stay order in April.
Source: http://myrepublica.com June 29, 2012
 
Smoking in Public to Cost up to One Lakh
The Metropolitan Police Range Hanumandhoka in coordination with the Kathmandu District Administration Office (KDAO) is slapping on people smoking in public places penalty ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 1 lakh.
DSP Dhiraj Pratap Singh, spokesperson for the range, informed they have not fined anyone for smoking in public areas till date. Police have kept a record of smokers arrested on the first and the second day of the crackdown. Singh said they are also taking classes to educate people on the harmful effects of the tobacco. Police release the offenders three hours after their attention. Singh said they will not spare repeat offenders and they will have to pay steep fines. Since Wednesday, the day the crackdown began, police have arrested 247 for the smoking offence. The anti-smoking law defines government offices, corporations, educational institutions, libraries, airports, public vehicles, orphanages, childcare centres, cinema halls, elderly homes, cultural centres, children’s parks, hotels, restaurants, resorts, hostels, department stores, religious sites and industries as public places, prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco-related products in these areas. The Anti-Tobacco Act-2010, which the Parliament passed in April 2011 and took effect from August 2011, has it that individuals and firms, which breach the law, will have to pay a fine of Rs 100 to 100,000 depending on the nature of violations. The Act has also made mandatory to allocate 75 per cent of the space on cigarette packs or wrappers for pictorial health warning. Komal Acharya, member-secretary of the policy framework committee on anti-tobacco act, said they are working in close coordination with KDAO and the metropolitan police for effective implementation of the act. He said the police crackdown on smoking in public places is in keeping with the act. Every year 16,000 people die because of tobacco consumption in Nepal, 90 per cent of them from lung cancer, according to records at hospitals. Twenty-nine per cent smokers are females and 49 per cent are male. There are 38 tobacco factories in the country and four per cent of the total income goes on tobacco consumption. According to the Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2011, 52 per cent male and 13.3 per cent female (15-49) use tobacco.
Source: http://thehimalayantimes.com June 30, 2012


International News
Controversial Carbon Tax Takes Effect
Both sides of politics have ramped up public pressure over the carbon tax as one of the most divisive pieces of government policy in recent times officially begins.
From today, just under 300 businesses will be made to pay $23 for for every tonne of pollution they produce. They will receive some compensation in the form of tax offsets and credits, but still say they will have no choice but to pass on the cost to consumers. The Government is also compensating low-income earners and says life will go on for Australian households. But the Opposition argues it the tax is an unnecessary burden during tough economic times, and is rolling out an advertising campaign that highlights Prime Minister Julia Gillard's policy reversal. Ms Gillard announced before the 2010 election that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led. Today she again defended her decision to introduce a carbon tax, telling the ABC's Insiders program that putting a price on carbon will help protect the environment and strengthen the economy. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has promised to repeal the tax if the Coalition wins government, but Ms Gillard compared the carbon tax to the GST introduced by the Howard government, saying that once it was in operation it it was clear that there was no going back. Ms Gillard says at the time she was very concerned about how the GST would impact households, but that Australians came to accept it.
Source: http://www.abc.net.au July 2, 2012
 
U.S. Sees Greatest Reduction in CO2 Emissions
By Matthew Cardinale
According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency, the U.S. has seen the greatest reduction in carbon dioxide pollution within the past six years in comparison to any other country, even as global carbon dioxide pollution has reached record highs.
“CO2 emissions in the United States in 2011 fell by 92 Mt (million tonnes), or 1.7%, primarily due to ongoing switching from coal to natural gas in power generation and an exceptionally mild winter, which reduced the demand for space heating,” the IEA writes on its website. “US emissions have now fallen by 430 Mt (7.7%) since 2006, the largest reduction of all countries or regions. This development has arisen from lower oil use in the transport sector (linked to efficiency improvements, higher oil prices and the economic downturn which has cut vehicle miles travelled) and a substantial shift from coal to gas in the power sector,” the IEA states.
Source: http://www.ipsnews.net June 30, 2012
 
Climate Change, Corporate Farming Threat to Small Farmers
Speakers at a seminar on Friday highlighted the impact of climate change on agriculture and measures for its revival, said a press release issued by Damaan, a non-government development organisation that had organised the seminar. They described climate change as a great threat to Pakistan and asked farmers to practice traditional knowledge and improve food security.
The event was held in collaboration with the Sustainable Agriculture Action Group (SAAG), ActionAid, and Sungi Development Foundation to explore different models of sustainable agriculture, small farmers and food security. Mehnaz Ajmal Paracha from Oxfam Novib, while highlighting the plight of the small farmers, said the present agriculture system is creating inequality and food insecurity. She said 40 per cent of Pakistanis are food insecure and small farmers have no say in decision making. She pointed out that farmers are not getting their rights under labour laws. Paracha lamented that large farmers have representation in the legislative process and get all the benefits from the government, but agriculture is no longer profitable for small farmers, who are abandoning the trade and migrating to cities. She called for organising farmers’ associations so that they could fight for their rights. Taking a more holistic view, Damaan Project Manager Shoaib Aziz said increasing population and decreasing resources may pose threats to future generations and stressed the need for setting up market infrastructure for the promotion of organic produce. The participants also discussed the increasing prevalence of monocropping which they said was not good for the produce and the land. Khadim Hussain, an expert, said corporate agriculture farming is posing a big threat to agriculture since multinational companies are grabbing land and growing the same crop on the same piece of land, year after year. “Farmers from mountainous parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are growing medicinal plants and earning good amounts for their produce,” Sungi NRM Manager Gulfam Dogar said. He stressed the need to establish plant health clinics and requested farmers to link their agriculture with the lunar calendar so that they may be able to cope with rapidly changing climate in Pakistan. ActionAid Policy Officer Nasir Aziz cited success stories from many countries regarding sustainable agriculture. He said the promotion of sustainable agriculture not only saves the environment but also boosts farmers’ incomes. He said farmers from India are earning billions of rupees through promotion of organic produce. He lamented the lack of an enabling environment for sustainable agriculture in Pakistan.
Source: http://tribune.com.pk June 30, 2012
 
Student Finds New Way of Turning Plastic into Biofuel
A method for generating biofuel by breaking down plastics using a low-cost catalyst will be developed further in the United Kingdom next month (2 July). The process was developed by a sixteen-year-old Egyptian student, Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad, from the Zahran Language School in Alexandria, Egypt. Faiad won the European Fusion Development Agreement award at the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists — involving 130 competitors from 37 countries — held in Finland last year (23—28 September).
Her prize is a week-long placement at the Joint European Torus (JET) facility — the focal point of the European fusion research programme — at the UK-based Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, UK, where Faiad will present her project and receive help with its development. Faiad proposes exploiting Egypt's high plastic consumption, which is estimated to be around one million tonnes per year. "Plastic waste is a real problem in Egypt — and in most developing countries — and this project is simply converting the problem into a solution", said Nourwanda Sorour, a student at Alexandria University, Egypt, and one of Faiad's mentors.
Source: http://www.enn.com June 29, 2012
 
New Fuel Cell Keeps Going After the Hydrogen Runs Out
Imagine a kerosene lamp that continued to shine after the fuel was spent, or an electric stove that could remain hot during a power outage.
Materials scientists at Harvard have demonstrated an equivalent feat in clean energy generation with a solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that converts hydrogen into electricity but can also store electrochemical energy like a battery. This fuel cell can continue to produce power for a short time after its fuel has run out. "This thin-film SOFC takes advantage of recent advances in low-temperature operation to incorporate a new and more versatile material," explains principal investigator Shriram Ramanathan, Associate Professor of Materials Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). "Vanadium oxide (VOx) at the anode behaves as a multifunctional material, allowing the fuel cell to both generate and store energy." The finding, which appears online in the journal Nano Letters, will be most important for small-scale, portable energy applications, where a very compact and lightweight power supply is essential and the fuel supply may be interrupted. "Unmanned aerial vehicles, for instance, would really benefit from this," says lead author Quentin Van Overmeere, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS. "When it's impossible to refuel in the field, an extra boost of stored energy could extend the device's lifespan significantly." Ramanathan, Van Overmeere, and their coauthor Kian Kerman (a graduate student at SEAS) typically work on thin-film SOFCs that use platinum for the electrodes (the two "poles" known as the anode and the cathode). But when a platinum-anode SOFC runs out of fuel, it can continue to generate power for only about 15 seconds before the electrochemical reaction peters out. The new SOFC uses a bilayer of platinum and VOx for the anode, which allows the cell to continue operating without fuel for up to 14 times as long (3 minutes, 30 seconds, at a current density of 0.2 mA/cm2). This early result is only a "proof of concept," according to Ramanathan, and his team predicts that future improvements to the composition of the VOx-platinum anode will further extend the cell's lifespan. During normal operation, the amount of power produced by the new device is comparable to that produced by a platinum-anode SOFC. Meanwhile, the special nanostructured VOx layer sets up various chemical reactions that continue after the hydrogen fuel has run out.
"There are three reactions that potentially take place within the cell due to this vanadium oxide anode," says Ramanathan. "The first is the oxidation of vanadium ions, which we verified through XPS (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy). The second is the storage of hydrogen within the VOx crystal lattice, which is gradually released and oxidized at the anode. And the third phenomenon we might see is that the concentration of oxygen ions differs from the anode to the cathode, so we may also have oxygen anions being oxidized, as in a concentration cell." All three of those reactions are capable of feeding electrons into a circuit, but it is currently unclear exactly what allows the new fuel cell to keep running. Ramanathan's team has so far determined experimentally and quantitatively that at least two of three possible mechanisms are simultaneously at work. Ramanathan and his colleagues estimate that a more advanced fuel cell of this type, capable of producing power without fuel for a longer period of time, will be available for applications testing (e.g., in micro-air vehicles) within 2 years. This work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), a postdoctoral scholarship from Le Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique-FNRS, and the U.S. Department of Defense's National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program. The researchers also benefited from the resources of the Harvard University Center for Nanoscale Systems (a member of the NSF-funded National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network) and the NSF-funded MRSEC Shared Experimental Facilities at MIT.
Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com June 29, 2012


Link of the Week
A Trip to Bottle house

Please visit: http://cen.org.np/blog/a-trip-to-bottle-house/
 
Did you Know ?
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) has enforced new rules regarding the management of the public and private sector school buses. As per the new rules, the school buses will have to enter the respective school premises by 9 in the morning after picking up students and return back by 4:30 in the afternoon after dropping them. Currently over 1,200 school buses play on the Kathmandu Valley roads, according to the MTPD. Giving out this information in a news conference here on Thursday, Deputy Inspector General at the MTPD, Ganesh Raj Rai, said the new rules will go a long way in managing the Valley´s vehicular traffic. As per the new rules, schools cannot accommodate more than 1.5 students on a single seat, have to paint the buses yellow and have to hang board in yellow in the front and rear of the bus indicating the school bus.

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 # 518
The investment potential in energy efficient and renewable energy projects in the country´s industrial sector stands at Rs ……………………… billion, according to the latest report published by the International Finance Corporation, an investment arm of the World Bank.
a)    1.6
b)    2.6
c)    3.6
d)    4.6

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 # 517
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 ……………………….. 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).
a)    40

Kabita Poudyal
Isha Dhakal
Heerakaji Maharjan
Usha Khatiwada
Arbin Shrestha

Kabita Poudyal  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