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Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 32, October 11, 2012

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Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 32, October 11, 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
Emphasis on Alternative Energy
EU Fund for Renewable Energy Project
Sajha Yatayat to Purchase EURO III Emission Standard City Buses
Governments, Private Sector and Civil Society Deepen Common Understanding of How to Scale Up Mobilization of Long-Term Climate Finance
U.S.-China Climate Action Suggested
UN Warns of Rising Food Costs after Year's Extreme Weather
Beijing Completes Air Quality Monitoring Network after Public Pressure and US Embassy Tweets

Links of the Week
QUIZ Of The Week # 529
Answer Of Quiz Of The Week # 528

National News
Emphasis on Alternative Energy
 
By RSS

Speaking at a programme in the capital today, energy experts said the problem of energy crisis could be addressed through the adoption of solar energy and biogas. They opined that it would be better to invest on alternative energy rather big hydropower projects. “The construction of small hydro power projects and promotion of alternative energy in both Nepal and India should be prioritized to reduce energy crisis,” said the experts.
 
The programme was jointly organized by the Ministry of Energy and the Embassy of India.
 
The participants of the programme emphasized the need for mutual cooperation to reduce the energy crisis since energy is the backbone of country's economic development.
 
Ministry's Secretary Hareram Koirala said the Ministry has taken a special policy to reduce the duration of load-shedding hours in winter. Koirala also said that the solar energy and biogas promotion programme being run at the local level is getting supportive to reduce energy crisis to some extent.
 
Secretary at the Ministry of Water Resources, Brinda Hada said the government has a policy of promoting small hydropower projects. The government has focused on energy promotion with the operation of both short and long term projects to reduce energy crisis.
 
Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Jayanta Prasad has said that both Nepal and India have been facing extreme energy crisis during winter and underlined the need of promoting alternative energy to end such crisis.
 
Preparations are underway for additional power supply from India during winter. Energy experts Dr Ramesh Baidya and Pashupati Dhungel suggested the government to focus on the promotion of alternative energy to address the energy crisis.
 
EU Fund for Renewable Energy Project
 
 
Close to a million plus people living in remote villages of 21 Himalayan districts of Nepal now benefit from services supported by renewable energy following the successful completion of the Renewable Energy Project (REP).
 
The project was co-funded by the European Union through a EUR 15 million grant (approximately NPR 1.5 billion) to the Government of Nepal.
 
The Government of Nepal, which contributed EUR 675 thousands, implemented the project through its Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (APEC). The project has invested in the required infrastructure for renewable electricity generation.
 
Dr. Alexander Spachis, Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nepal, said that the REP is an excellent example of a joint undertaking between the Government of Nepal and the EU that has made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life in rural areas of Nepal.
 
Ambassador Spachis further stated that high-level officials from the EU have had the opportunity to visit the project in the field. Their feedback has been very positive and the EU is currently exploring further bilateral cooperation in this sector.
 
The REP has established the foundation for rural communities in Nepal to move towards the sustainable use of resources, conservation of the environment and enhancement of their local economies. More concretely, the project has provided solar systems to over 206 health posts, 378 schools, 29 community computer literacy programmes, 59 community entertainment centres, as well as 124 community telecommunication centres across the country. In addition, the project has successfully promoted income generating activities by providing 107 agro grinding mills, 30 water pumping systems, 24 solar dryers and 14 solar hot water systems.
 
The REP has put in place renewable energy infrastructures in these remote rural areas to facilitate income generation, sustainable growth and delivery of social services, thus alleviating poverty through the installation of 933 Photovoltaic (PV), and 38 thermal systems.
 
"Nepal attaches top priority to tapping the immense renewable energy potential that it possesses for reducing poverty through promoting inclusive, green and sustainable economic development. The EU's support to this end with the implementation of the just completed Renewable Energy Project has been extremely helpful. We would like to thank EU for this, and request for further support in various forms to promote this sector." said Mr. Krishna Gyawali, Secretary for Environment, Science and Technology at the handover ceremony of the REP Project October 10, 2012.
 
Executive Director of AEPC, Dr. Govind R. Pokharel thanked the EU for supporting Renewable Energy Technologies in the remote rural areas of Nepal. He stressed that this project has contributed to improving living standard of the rural people, improving local environment and most importantly increasing access to clean energy.
 
Based on a press note sent by the EU delegation, Kathmandu.
 
Sajha Yatayat to Purchase EURO III Emission Standard City Buses
 
 
An agreement has been signed between Sajha Yatayat and Sipradi Trading Ltd, the distributor of TATA Motors, for the purchase of 16 city buses. These buses will be of TATA Model LPO 1512/55 BSIII diesel, seating 54 seats and of EURO III emission standard. The letter of credit was opened on 8 October with the Nepal Investment Bank in favour of TATA Motors Ltd, Mumbai, India.
 
Six distributors of bus manufacturers from China, Hong Kong SAR and India had competed for the order under international competitive bidding (ICB) called by Sajha Yatayat. The cost of the 16 buses and one pick-up totals about NRs 3.35 crores excluding customs and other taxes.
 
Kanak Mani Dixit, Chairman of Sajha Yatayat says, “We plan to use these 16 buses on two model routes in Kathamndu Valley under urban public transportation standards. We hope our effort will lead to increase in use of public transport by the city population.”
 
Padam Lall Maharjan, executive officer of Sajha Yatayat says “TATA will make the bus bodies in India and the colour scheme of the buses will be in original green colour of Sajha Yatayat. Keeping in mind the pollution of Kathmandu valley, we have ordered less polluting buses of EURO III emission standard. The delivery will be within 120 days from the date of opening the letter of credit”.
 
“TATA Motors is happy to renew its relationship with Sajha Yatayat, which began back in 1962. We hope to be a partner in the development of public transport in Nepal,” says Vinay Nidige, representative of TATA Motors for Nepal and Bhutan.
 
Sajha Yatayat was established in 1962 as a cooperative, with the membership of the government and the general public. The company having gone through some institutional instability, a new board of directors was tasked in May 2011 with providing quality public transport to the public in Kathmandu Valley as well as to connect the districts.
 
International News
Governments, Private Sector and Civil Society Deepen Common Understanding of How to Scale Up Mobilization of Long-Term Climate Finance
 
 
Meeting at a transparent and interactive workshop in Cape Town, South Africa, representatives of governments, major financial institutions, civil society and private sector entities have deepened their common understanding of what is required in terms of financial resources for developing countries to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to build their resilience to deal with the impacts of climate change.
 
The three-day workshop was part of a UNFCCC work programme on long-term climate finance, and included presentations by major private banks, think-tanks and multilateral institutions, plus in- depth analytical discussions amongst all participating stakeholders. The work programme was requested by governments at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban at the end of 2011 and will run until the end of this year.
 
“The world requires a fundamental transformation of its economy in order to stave off the worst effects of climate change. Societies are on the right track in their efforts, and I see a groundswell of action building and good progress in many areas. But the speed and scale of climate action must be significantly stepped up. Mobilizing financial resources to combat climate change is key to this effort, and we need forward-looking and creative inputs from all major players,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.
 
The Co-chairs of the UNFCCC work programme on long-term finance, Zaheer Fakir (South Africa) and Georg Børsting (Norway) are to report back to the Conference of the Parties meeting in November in Doha with their key findings and recommendations. The report will be made available ahead of the meeting in Doha (26 November to 7 December).
 
“We have been able to identify a variety of very practical options, drawing on the huge experience and expertise of government, civil society and private sector experts dealing with climate finance. What we have been able to gather in terms of extensive contributions from a variety of stakeholders will allow us to provide both detailed and practical ideas on how to mobilize, scale-up and catalyze climate change finance after 2012,” said Zaheer Fakir.
 
“The work programme has continuously drawn in and engaged relevant stakeholders over the past months, and we have also built institutional knowledge about long-term climate finance with the help of the UNFCCC secretariat. This can be extremely useful to inform the international climate process and can help build the capacity of countries at the national level, and of all stakeholders dealing with climate finance,” said Georg Børsting.
 
To enable the widest possible participation of all stakeholders in the workshops in a transparent and interactive way, the work programme has made extensive use of electronic tools, including webcast, web platforms and social media. The activities included two workshops, webinars, an E-forum, the possibility to connect to the co-chairs online, and the creation of a resource library on the UNFCCC web site.
 
Around 130 government officials, public and private finance sector representatives and members of civil society and academia took part in the Cape Town workshop and 180 in a similar event in Bonn in July. The web-based seminars were attended by around 280 participants. The two interactive workshops of the work programme were viewed by more than 1000 external participants via webcast and the combined social media interactions during the two workshops generated more than 13 million Twitter impressions.
 
U.S.-China Climate Action Suggested
 
 
Australia's former prime minister urged China and the United States -- the top two emitters of carbon dioxide from fuel combustion -- to cooperate on climate change.
 
"If the United States were to achieve some sort of compact with the Chinese on how to entrench national actions within a global regulatory framework, then we'd start to cook with gas, literally," Kevin Rudd told The Australian newspaper.
 
China emitted 8 billion tons of carbon in 2011 and the United States about 5.26 billion tons, says the International Energy Agency.
 
"China has massive national self-interest in ensuring that climate change is effectively dealt with," Rudd said. "Otherwise, China's moment in the sun -- that is, the next decade or two of China's economic and political position in the world -- could be undermined."
 
An IEA report in May said that China's emissions rose by 720 million tons in 2011 as more coal-fired power plants came on line. But its carbon intensity -- the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of gross domestic product -- decreased 15 percent from 2005 to 2011.
 
Emissions in the United States also fell in 2011, by 1.7 percent, which IEA attributed to a mild winter and a continuing shift from coal to natural gas for power generation.
 
Rudd argues that China isn't recognized enough for its domestic policy decisions on climate change, including its stance on coal, nuclear and clean energy.
 
Just before the 2009 Copenhagen, Denmark, climate change summit, China pledged to decrease carbon intensity 40-45 percent less than 2005 levels by the end of this decade, while switching to non-fossil fuels for about 15 percent of its energy.
 
"Quite large steps are being taken, driven by administrative and regulatory decisions by the Chinese state," he said.
 
But the United States, Rudd said, was "not lifting its weight sufficiently" in the area of climate change and so one key strategic objective was to "bring the Americans into this."
 
All countries -- developed and developing -- have a responsibility to achieve the objective set forth in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord to limit temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, Rudd said.
 
Australia, one of the world's highest per-capita emitters of carbon, aims to reduce national emissions to 5 percent less than 2000 levels by 2020 and 80 percent less than 2000 levels by 2050.
 
A carbon tax went into effect in July in Australia, under Prime Minister Julia Gillard's administration. An earlier version of a carbon tax, introduced by Rudd, led to his downfall in June 2010.
 
UN Warns of Rising Food Costs after Year's Extreme Weather
 
By John Vidal, Rebecca Smithers and Shiv Malik
 
The UN has warned of increasing meat and dairy prices in the wake of extreme weather in the United States and across large parts of Europe and other centres of global food production.
 
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, global wheat production is expected to fall 5.2% in 2012 and yields from many other crops grown to feed animals could be 10% down on last year.
 
"Populations are growing but production is not keeping up with consumption. Prices for wheat have already risen 25% in 2012, maize 13% and dairy prices rose 7% just last month. Food reserves, [held to provide a buffer against rising prices] are at a critical low level
 
"It means that food supplies are tight across the board and there is very little room for unexpected events," said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the FAO.
 
"The decrease in cereal production this year will result in a significant reduction in world reserves by the close of seasons in 2013, even with world demand sliding as a result of high prices," he said.
 
The warning of further food prices came as some British supermarkets said they were struggling to keep shelves stocked with fresh produce and the National Farmers Union (NFU) reported that UK wheat yields have been the lowest since the late 1980s as a result of abnormal rain fall.
 
The NFU president, Peter Kendall, said: "There are many farmers who are down 25% to 30% on the wheat crop. In some cases you looked from the outside and you thought, this crop will do over four tonnes to the acre – and it's been struggling to do three and some cases two tonnes to the acre."
 
"It's been soul-destroying for the farmers growing the crops," he said.
 
Kendall added that the increase in the global price of wheat over the past year was also putting pressures on pig and poultry farmers, who rely on grain to feed their livestock.
 
Confirmation of one of the worst global harvests in years will come on Thursday, when the US government is expected to announce that drought and heat damage to crops this year has reduced its wheat, maize and soy harvests by more than 10%.
 
Because the US is by far the world's biggest grower and exporter of grains, this is expected to have repercussions around the world.
 
Farmers are still harvesting their crops but the maize harvest is expected to be the lowest in nine years.
 
Nearly 40% of all US maize is now used in biofuels, further restricting exports and raising prices.
 
British supermarkets said they had not ruled out the prospect of price rises of staple foods, but they pledged to offer "competitive pricing" of essential food items in their value and economy ranges.
 
A spokeswoman for Waitrose said: "There's no doubt that this has been an exceptionally tough growing season for our farmers, who have been coping with very bad weather and rising costs for critical inputs such as fuel. We are working closely with all our growers to help them manage their costs and get as much of their crop on our shelves as possible through initiatives such as selling cosmetically imperfect but good-quality fruit and veg – something we have always done."
 
Sainsbury's said in a statement: "We continue to work with British farmers and growers to get the most out of the crop. We've taken the decision to radically change our approach to buying British fruit and vegetables as a result of this year's unseasonal weather."
 
The run of unpredictable weather this season has left farmers and growers with bumper crops of "ugly"-looking fruit and vegetables, with reported increases in blemishes and scarring, as well as shortages because of later crops. This week, Sainsbury's launched a trial of its Basics range of potatoes, which have visible cracks and blemishes, in more than 35 stores in the Midlands. Last month, the supermarket said it was relaxing its rules on the cosmetic appearance of fresh produce.
 
New research by the consumer group Which? found that the average cost of a shopping bill is now £76.83 a week – an increase of £5.66 in a year. Richard Lloyd, the group's executive director, said: "The rising price of food is one of consumers' top financial worries and is changing the way we shop. Recent Which? research found more of us are shopping at discount supermarkets and four in 10 people told us they planned to cut back on their food shopping. We want retailers to be clearer about food pricing and offer responsible price promotions that give the consumer the best possible value for money."
 
New figures from the charity FareShare – which fights hunger and food waste in the UK – shows that lower-income families have cut their consumption of fruit and vegetables by nearly a third in the wake of the recession and rising food prices, to just over half of the five-a-day portions recommended for a healthy diet.
 
Beijing Completes Air Quality Monitoring Network after Public Pressure and US Embassy Tweets
 
By Associated Press
 
Beijing authorities have completed a network of monitors that will more accurately measure air quality in the smog-ridden city after being pushed into it by public pressure and pollution reports from the U.S. embassy.
 
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said Saturday that another 15 monitoring stations had begun releasing real-time data on small particulates known as PM2.5. The tiny pollution particles that may result from the burning of fuels in vehicles and power plants can penetrate deep into the lungs, so measuring them is considered a more accurate reflection of air quality than other methods.
 
Chinese citizens have prodded their government into publishing more detailed pollution data since the U.S. Embassy started publishing PM2.5 readings taken from its rooftop on Twitter.
 
Beijing started releasing PM2.5 data in January. It now has 35 monitoring stations set up in central Beijing and its suburbs, including near tourist favorites Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven and the Beijing Botanical Garden.
 
The monitors will run for a three-month trial, and then the city’s environmental protection department will formally use PM2.5 to evaluate the city’s air quality, rather than relying on the larger particles it currently measures.
 
White mist sat stubbornly among the captial’s skyscrapers on Sunday as people traveled home on the final day of an eight-day public holiday that had brought with it mostly blue skies as industry shut down.
 
Just after lunchtime, the U.S. Embassy, which measures the air from its rooftop, tweeted that the PM2.5 reading, at 137 micrograms per cubic meter, was unhealthy.
 
The Beijing environmental monitoring website reported a similar reading from a nearby station for that hour, but it didn’t interpret the data. Guidance on the website suggested that such a reading would be termed satisfactory if it became part of the daily air quality roundup. The U.S. Embassy rates pollution levels according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard, which is more stringent than the one used by the Chinese government.
 
Appearing frustrated with the dueling standards, the Chinese government told the embassy to stop publishing the data in June. It said it wasn’t fair to judge Chinese air by American standards because China is a developing country and noted that U.S. environmental guidelines have become more strict over time.
 
U.S. consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu also post readings of the cities’ air quality on Twitter.
Links of the Week
Environmentally Correct
By Batukrishna Upreti
 
Go Green
By Raju Pandit Chhetri
 
Pedalling to Prosperity
By Sarala Gautam
 
Power Plugs
By Navin Singha Khadka
QUIZ of the Week # 529

 

The Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology has recently upgraded the Nepal Vehicle Emission Standards (NVMES) equivalent to …………, to control emission from motor vehicles.
 
a) Euro 1
b) Euro 2
c) Euro 3
d) Euro 4
Answer of the week # 528
Nepal is now finalizing designs for 70 village-level LAPAs to address the needs of 400,000 people in 14 mid- and far-western districts, as part of a US$........................... million commitment by DFID and the European Union.
a) 21

The following participants provided correct answer:
Arbindra Shrestha 
Heerakaji Maharjan


Arbindra Shrestha is the winner of the week. Please contact CEN office with your valid ID card within a week.
Congratulations to the winner and thanks to all the participants.
 

Compiled and Edited by:
Sunil Acharya and Prashanta Khanal

Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) 

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