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Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 6, March 14, 2012

Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 6, March 14, 2012
CE News is a free weekly e-mail publications that features news, information and events related tp clean energy, clean air and climate change. CE News is published by Clean Energy Nepal. For more information on our campaign please visit
•    40‚000 Biogas Plants Registered for Carbon Trading
•    Hydropower on High Priority, Says PM Bhattarai
•    Power Projects to be Kept Off Protected Areas
•    Demolition Drive in Full Throttle in Chabahil Area
•    NOC Revokes Deal to Allow IOC to Raise Profit Margin   
•    Tar Sands Emit More Carbon than Previously Estimated
•    Power Generated By Coal Decreased Last Year
•    Brick Kiln Emissions Affect Crop Yields, Study Finds
•    Elevated Carbon Dioxide Concentrations Can Increase Carbon Storage in The Soil
•    Tornado Season Likely to Expand Due to Climate Change
•    Link Of The Week
•    Did You Know?
•    Media Watch
•    QUIZ Of The Week #  509
•    Answer Of Quiz Of The Week # 508

Local News
40‚000 Biogas Plants Registered for Carbon Trading
Nepal’s 40,000 biogas plants have been registered with the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNFCC) for carbon trading.
According to the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) under the Ministry of Environment, the executive board of UNFCCC has approved 40,602 biogas plants so far. “Now, biogas use helps us reduce carbon dioxide emissions and earn foreign exchange,” said Sandip Joshi, officer, Carbon Mitigation Programme, AEPC. Nepal received $2.1million for about 20,000 biogas plants in 2006 where the World Bank bought carbon dioxide at $7 per tonne reduced due to the use of biogas. The UNFCCC had established a mechanism to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide under which developed countries can buy carbon from the least developed and developing countries to reduce the global emission of carbon dioxide, a major agent for global warming and climate change.  The biogas plants installed in between April 2005 and July 2007 have been included for the CDM. “We have not yet negotiated with the buyers, so we cannot say how much money we will get. It may be more than $7 per tonne or more than that. It depends on the negotiation between Nepal and the buyer,” added Joshi. Nepal has claimed that it has reduced 56,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year since 2006 and will sell carbon to the interested party. For carbon trading, the country should submit details of the biogas plants with calculation of emissions reduced which needs to be approved by the CDM executive board.  “We have been registered now, so we can engage in carbon trade,” said Joshi. AEPC said the money received would be used for constructing new biogas plants. According to AEPC, 260,000 biogas plants have been installed in the country till date.
Source: March 5, 2012
Hydropower on High Priority, Says PM Bhattarai
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has said that the government has given high priority to the hydropower sector recognising this sector as the backbone of economic prosperity.
Inaugurating the Hydropower Summit in Kathmandu on Wednesday, PM Bhattarai said that the government is focused to the development of hydropower due to its crucial contribution for achieving economic prosperity. The PM also said that the government will put all its efforts in hydropower sector soon after concluding peace and constitution writing process. He also urged all the sectors to support his government for attracting investments for the development of hydropower in the country. PM Bhattarai also expressed his hope that the Summit would be fruitful to attract domestic as well as foreign investment in the sector during Nepal investment year 2012/13. The two-day Summit will hold discussions on the hydropower management system, economy through hydropower, development of transmission line between other countries, identification and investment in the hydropower areas among others.
Source: March 14, 2012
Power Projects to be Kept Off Protected Areas
By Ramesh Prasad Bhushal
The Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation has decided to tighten up on granting licence for hydropower projects in conservation and protected areas, citing threat to biodiversity.
The decision came in response to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation’s request to the ministry a few weeks ago that the government stop issuing licence for hydropower development in protected areas. “In the first phase, we will ask the Ministry of Energy not to issue fresh licences for hydel projects in Langtang National Park, Gaurishanker Conservation Area and Annapurna Conservation Area and urge the ministry to look for alternatives to the projects that have already received licences,” said MoFSC Spokesperson Jointsecretary Ram Prasad Lamsal. According to DNPWC, 21 licences have been issued for hydel project construction in the Langtang park area and 31 in the Annapurna area. The ministry has also formed a committee to amend the Terms of Reference for building infrastructure inside the protected areas. The committee under the chief of the Environment Division at the ministry will come up with the issues to be addressed and set new criteria for providing any forest area for infrastructure development. “We must be strict as the demand for forest land, which is on the rise, will put biodiversity in peril,” added Lamsal. The provision that hydropower companies have to plant 25 trees for every tree felled during the construction of the project has not been effectively implemented. “If this trend continues, the protected areas will become hydropower parks. So, the department has strictly said it won’t give consent for issuing licence for projects to be based in protected areas,” said DNPWC Director General Krishna Prasad Acharya.
Source: March 6, 2012
Demolition Drive in Full Throttle in Chabahil Area
The demolition of illegal structures began along the Chabahil- Chuchchepati road today.
DIG Ganesh Raj Rai, in-charge of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division involved in demolishing illegal structures along Kathmandu Valley’s roadsides together with Kathmandu Valley Town Development Enforcement Committee, said they razed illegal structures, including parts of houses and compound walls within eight metres on either side of the road. “We levelled structures built on encroached land around the main junction of Chabahil before moving to Chuchchepati,” Rai informed. Officials said they will wrap up the demolition work along the stretch within two days. As vehicular movement got disrupted due to the demolition, traffic cops manning the street in Gaushala diverted the vehicles heading towards Chabahil to other routes. Many houseowners have already started demolishing parts of structures built on encroached public land to avoid possible losses due to bulldozing. KVTDEC said demolition along the Chabahil-Chuchhepati stretch, in line with a notice published on Nepal Gazette on July 4, 1977, will widen 400 km of the 1,594.67-km stretch within the Kathmandu Valley. It claimed to have demolished only those structures built in violation of the notice for which there will be no compensation. Officials have pledged compensation for structures built before the gazette notice. Besides the Chabahil-Chuchchepati stretch, the government has already widened 17.83 km of the road in core areas of the city with authorities dismantling illegal structures built alongside 15 road stretches. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai had directed the authorities to speed up the road expansion initiative on Monday.
Source: March 4, 2012
NOC Revokes Deal to Allow IOC to Raise Profit Margin         
Board of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has turned down the management´s proposal to allow Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to revoke 50 percent discount, which it was pledging on marketing margin (profit margin), to secure elimination of refinery- and duty-related costs passed on to Nepal, saying that the deal will add loss to the country.
The board´s decision has forced NOC management to review an understanding that it reached during talks with IOC top brass in Mumbai last month. The IOC talks team led by NOC acting chief Suresh Kumar Agrawal had last month reached an understanding to allow IOC to revoke 50 percent discount that it pledged on its profit margin. In return, IOC had agreed to eliminate refinery- and duty-related costs, termed as Price Adjustment Factor (PAF), passed on to Nepal. Interestingly, the NOC management had agreed on the deal without due consent of the board as well as Supplies Ministry. “The team had straightaway bought the Indian supplier´s argument that such a deal will bring net gain of Rs 90 million to NOC in a month. However, our calculation showed the result will be otherwise,” said a source. Under what India says as special facility for Nepal, IOC is presently charging price worth 2.5 percent of cost of crude as well as transportation up to the Indian port as its profit margin. IOC says this is half the amount than what it otherwise has charged the Indian consumers. Following the board´s decision, NOC management has informed IOC about its change in stance over the understanding reached in Mumbai. “A letter in this connection has already been sent to IOC. It has not responded yet,” the source told Republica. As NOC and IOC gear up negotiations to review Supply Agreement, NOC board has instructed the management to push IOC to eliminate PAF, without seeking anything in return from Nepal. “It is already an established fact that supplies made to Nepal should not be subjected to Indian duty and taxes. Changes in the international market situation over the past 10 years, when India deregulated prices, have also proven that rates of refinery charges that we agreed on were quite high. So, our demand for elimination of PAF is valid,” said the source. A high-level commission formed by the government last year too had identified that PAF related cost passed on Nepal by IOC was faulty and had suggested to the government and NOC to get it corrected when the two side sit for talks to renew the NOC-IOC Supply Agreement. The same commission, interestingly, had even suggested to the government to seek IOC to further lower the marketing margin contrary to what NOC management agreed on saying that Nepal´s consumption over the past 10 years have grown by four fold. “This has already enabled IOC to reap four-fold more profits from petroleum trade with Nepal than in 2002. Hence, Nepal should negotiate for cut in its profit margin,” said the source.
Source: March 11, 2012

International News
Tar Sands Emit More Carbon than Previously Estimated
Environmentalists have targeted the oil-producing tar sands in Canada in part because its crude comes with heftier carbon emissions than conventional sources. Now, a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has found an additional source of carbon that has been unaccounted for: peatlands. Mining the oil in the tar sands, dubbed "oil sands" by the industry, will require the wholesale destruction of nearly 30,000 hectares of peatlands, emitting between 11.4 and 47.3 million metric tons of additional carbon.
Once destroyed peatlands will not return note the researchers: "Constraints imposed by the postmining landscape and the sensitivity of peatland vegetation prevent the restoration of peatlands that dominated the premining landscape." Instead drained peatlands will be turned into upland forests, which will store considerably less carbon. "Claims by industry that they will 'return the land we use including reclaiming tailings ponds to a sustainable landsca that is equal to or better than how we found it' and that it 'will be replanted with the same trees and plants and formed into habitat for the same species' are clearly greenwashing," the researchers write. Already carbon emissions from the tar sands produce significantly more carbon than conventional sources with various research showing around 20 percent higher than conventional oil to three times higher. However, such estimates have not included the loss of carbon due to peatland destruction, which the researchers estimate will be equal in total to "seven years worth of carbon emissions by mining and upgrading (at 2010 levels)." A recent study has found that if the entirety of the tar sands were exploited it would raise global temperatures 0.64 degrees Fahrenheit (0.36 degrees Celsius). This represents around 45 percent of how much the world has warmed since the Industrial Revolution.
Source: March 13, 2012
Power Generated By Coal Decreased Last Year
By Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Coal is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The good news is that coal's share of monthly power generation in the U.S. decreased to below 40 percent in November and December 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The last time coal's share of total generation fell below 40 percent for a monthly total was March 1978.
The EIA attributes the decrease in coal to the increasing competitiveness of natural gas. Natural gas prices dropped "significantly" this winter. However, there is another contributing factor: over a hundred, 106 to be exact, coal plants closed between January 2010 and February 2012. The latest coal plants to close are in Chicago, the Fisk Plant and the Crawford Plant. The number of coal plants closed represents 162 million tons of carbon a year (nine percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet). There is more good news. Renewable energy generation is increasing, EIA data also shows. The EIA forecasts that renewable energy will account for 33 percent of the overall growth in electricity generation from 2010 to 2035. Wind power, according to the EIA, has been the fastest growing sources of new electric power generation for several years. In 2010, wind power generation increased 28.1 percent over 2009. Previous years also saw major gains: 2008 had 33.4 percent gains, 2008 had 60.7 percent gains and 2006 had 49.3 percent gains.
Source: March 12, 2012
Brick Kiln Emissions Affect Crop Yields, Study Finds
By Faisal Raza Khan
Hydrogen fluoride emissions from brick kilns have been found to damage trees and crops in new studies conducted by an international team of scientists in the Peshawar area of northern Pakistan. Peshawar has 450 brick kilns and hydrogen fluoride is also released by factories making aluminum, ceramics, and phosphate fertilizers.
Reporting their findings in the February issue of Environmental Pollution, the scientists from the Netherlands, Pakistan and the UK said despite the potential of high fluoride emissions to damage to crops, "the impact of these brick kilns on agricultural production and farmers' livelihoods in Asia is poorly understood". The scientists looked out for visible signs of injury to leaves, such as burnt-looking tips, as well as the amount of fluorides and sulfur in the leaves of apricot, plum and mango trees. They also interviewed local farmers about their observations of tree injury in orchards.
Source: March 6, 2012
Elevated Carbon Dioxide Concentrations Can Increase Carbon Storage in The Soil
Elevated carbon dioxide concentrations can increase carbon storage in the soil, according to results from a 12-year carbon dioxide-enrichment experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The increased storage of carbon in soil could help to slow down rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. The Department of Energy-sponsored free-air carbon dioxide-enrichment, or FACE, experiment officially ended in 2009. The conclusion and final harvest of the ORNL FACE experiment provided researchers with the unique opportunity to cut down entire trees and to dig in the soil to quantify the effects of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations on plant and soil carbon. In a paper published in Global Change Biology, Colleen Iversen, ORNL ecosystem ecologist, and her colleagues quantified the effects of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations on soil carbon by excavating soil from large pits that were nearly three feet deep. Researchers saw an increase in soil carbon storage under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations, a finding that was different from the other FACE experiments in forests. Researchers found the increase in carbon storage even in deeper soil. "Under elevated carbon dioxide, the trees were making more, deeper roots, which contributed to the accumulation of soil carbon," Iversen said. Iversen pointed out that processes such as microbial decomposition and root dynamics change with soil depth, and information on processes occurring in deeper soil will help to inform large-scale models that are projecting future climatic conditions.
Source: March 6, 2012
Tornado Season Likely to Expand Due to Climate Change
By Jeremy Hance
Last Friday, around a hundred tornadoes left a wake of destruction in the U.S., killing 39 people to date and destroying entire towns. The tragedy hit hardest in Kentucky and Indiana and experts predict the weather-disaster will cost over $1 billion. But isn't this early for tornado season? Yes, say experts, and climatologists add that while research on tornadoes and climate change is currently in its infancy, it's possible, probably even likely, that climate change is expanding tornado season in the U.S. due to the earlier arrival of spring.
"Friday's tornado outbreak was fueled, in part, by high instability created by unusually warm, moist air flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico due to the high water temperatures there. This exceptionally warm air set record high temperatures at 28 airports in [...] the afternoon of the tornado outbreak," writes meteorologist Jeff Masters at his weather blog. While climatologists caution that one should not attempt to prove climate change on the basis of single weather events—it's the long-term trends that matter—data hints that tornadoes maybe arriving earlier. According to Masters' blog the top five tornado outbreaks occurring abnormally early in year (i.e. January-early March) have all taken place in the past 16 years (this includes data going back to 1950). Three of the top five occurred in just the past five years. This may be due to better detection of tornadoes over the decades or it could be linked to climate change. Either way, a longer spring is likely to allow tornado conditions to arrive earlier. "As spring moves up a week or two, tornado season will start in February instead of waiting for April," noted climatologist Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research told Reuters. This, however, does not mean that climate change is making tornadoes worse. Currently, little research has been done on if, or how, climate change impacts the frequency and intensity of tornadoes. The best scientists can say is that warmer average temperatures boosts the intensity of storms, creating fiercer weather patterns, however warmer temperatures have also been linked to dampening wind shear at high altitudes. The prognosis: climate change may make tornado outbreaks more intense, but occur less frequently even as tornado season expands. Still, it must be cautioned that scientists' understanding of how tornadoes change in a warmer world will likely shift as more research is conducted.
Aside from tornadoes, scientists have gathered solid evidence that climate change is increasing both the intensity of floods and droughts. Trenberth told Climate Progress last year that added water vapor (around 4 percent) in the atmosphere from climate change is propelling more extreme weather. "[The extra water vapor] invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future." Global temperatures have risen 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) since the Industrial Revolution. The past decade (2000-2009) was the warmest on record. Currently, nine of the ten hottest years globally have occurred since 2000 and there hasn't been a single year below the 20th Century average since 1975. Governments have pledged to keep global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), however experts warn we are running out of time.
Source: March 6, 2012

Link of the Week

  More Americans Believe Climate Change is happening

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Did you Know ?
Despite improvements in air quality, the economic impact of air pollution in China costs billions of dollars in health care, report researchers from MIT.The new study shows that the economic impact from ozone and particulates in the air in China has increased. The study analyzed the costs associated with health impacts from ozone and particulate matter, which can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. It was found that, after quantifying costs from both lost labor and the increased need for health care, this air pollution cost the Chinese economy $112 billion in 2005.  This is compared to $22 billion in similar damages in 1975.
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 # 509
Tropical rainforests store some ………………………… billion tons of carbon in their vegetation about 20 percent more than previously estimated finds a new satellite-based assessment published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
a)    229
b)    339
c)    449
d)    559

While sending your answer please mention “Quiz of the week#” in the subject line and please send your answer in

One lucky winner will get a T-shirt with an Environmental Message from Clean Energy Nepal.
Answer of the week # 508
Initiated in 1992 with support from the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), Nepal has installed over …………………. household biogas plants with a thermal energy capacity of 444 megawatts and greenhouse gas savings of 367,409 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.
a)    140,000
b)    240,000
c)    340,000
d)    440,000

Sushmeeta Dhakal
Heerakaji Maharjan
Chandan Pandit
Rafiul Islam
Keshav Thapa
Aayush Pokhrel
Dristy Shrestha
Sangeeta Pandey

Sushmeeta Dhakal 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
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Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) is an independent, not-for-profit organization working in the field of Energy and Environment.

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