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Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 17, June 13, 2012

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Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 17, June 13, 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
•    Experts Push for Regional Cooperation on Energy
•    Traffic Police FM 96.5Mhz Begins Test Transmission    
•    New Rules for Managing Public, Private School Buses
•    Govt Exploring Ways to Disburse Soft Loans to Hydel Projects
•    As The Earth Warms, Forest Floors Add Greenhouse Gases to the Air
•    Global Warming Over Last 50 Yrs Caused Primarily By Human Activity
•    Global Investment in Renewable Energy Powers to Record $257 Billion
•    World's Biggest Cities are Tapping into the Green Economy Benefits
•    Link Of The Week
•    Did You Know?
•    Media Watch

 
Local News
Experts Push for Regional Cooperation on Energy     
If data is anything to go by, Nepal and Afghanistan can produce more than 80,000 MW and 20,000 MW of energy respectively. Might of Bhutan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, in terms of power generation, too, is well known in South Asia.
But the actual situation of power generation in South Asia is completely different. "Today, more than one-third of the world population without electricity lives in South Asia," said Diep Nguyen-Van Houttee, senior operations officer at the World Bank. Bangladesh might have done best on the front of millennium development goals among all South Asian countries. Had it not faced power shortage, its economy would have grown by additional 2 percentage points over an average of some 6 percent recorded for the past half decade. Industrial power cuts have been slashing 400,000 jobs in Pakistan every year, and the impact of some 16 hours of load shedding on lives of people and national output need no explanations. Individual countries of South Asia may boast of a huge hydropower and natural gas resources, but reality is South Asia remains one of the worst parts of the world in terms of access to and reliable supply of electricity. "And that is despite the fact that Nepal and Afghanistan combined can produce 100,000 MW of hydropower, alleviating the crippling energy shortages which have resulted in job losses and reducing growing dependence on fossil fuel," said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country manager for Nepal. While South Asian leaders have seriously lagged behind in delivering benefits to people by making almost six-year old free trade area agreement work, their apathy to harness the region´s energy potential and trade on it have only exacerbated problems, making locally produced goods more expensive and causing the industries to lose competitiveness in the international market.
Experts at a journalism workshop on regional cooperation in South Asia, which kicked off in Kathmandu on Tuesday, raised concerns over such constraints facing South Asia, and urged the regional leaders to put in place energy trading scheme in the region so that countries could address their power woes collectively. "South Asia should implement regional power trading agreement if countries in the region are to tap opportunities abound," said Houttee, who works in the World Bank´s newly created department South Asian Regional Integration. Referring to the recent developments, she, however, lauded latest recognition of some of the countries in the region over losses emanating from the severe power crisis and their openness to trade on power.  "It is good development that Bangladesh and Pakistan have agreed to buy 500 MW of electricity each from India. And Nepal too is working on the project that will bolster its capacity on cross-border power trade," she noted. But experts said such segregated efforts will not yield strong result. They asked South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to strongly pick up the issue of cooperation on power development and trading. For this, they suggested the regional leaders to develop a power development fund, lay down cross-border transmission line and work out agreements that will pave the way for unhindered and reliable energy trading across the region. This is pretty crucial, particularly as the countries in the region will soon have 300 million people searching for new jobs every month, and unless they have energy to support industrial growth, they will face troubles in satisfying the people´s aspiration, said Sayed.
Source: http://myrepublica.com June 12, 2012
 
Traffic Police FM 96.5Mhz Begins Test Transmission 
The Metropolitan Police Division of Nepal Police has established a FM station 95.6 MHz to provide traffic related information like traffic management, awareness raising and road-mishaps reduction, among others.
Organizing a press conference today, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Nepal Police Ganeshraj Rai said, "Metro Traffic FM 95.6 MHz has been established under the Division." Presently, the FM station is in test-transmission. The FM is expected to broadcast programmes on traffic management, activities of Nepal Police and complaints of public to police, among others. The FM would launch is regular programme from June 15. DIG Rai said, "This radio will further help strengthen the relations between police and people." Similarly, the Division has announced its plan to collect revenue through three different commercial banks. This was made possible after the Nepal Rastra Bank approved to collect the revenue from Banks-- Nabil Bank, Global Bank and Citizens Bank International.
Source: http://www.myrepublica.com June 7, 2012
 
New Rules for Managing Public, Private School Buses
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. Rai said that it has also been agreed with the management boards of the schools that they will gradually replace the old buses with new ones. He added that a publicity campaign would be launched requesting all sides to give priority to school buses on the road and to request the bodies concerned for making arrangements for the unhindered operation of school buses during the transport strikes and general strikes. The new rule also requires that the school buses should only carry students, teachers and the related school staff, and that no outside people should be allowed to travel on them. Similarly, the bus drivers should wear the identity cards. The rules also require that arrangements should be made for providing education regarding the qualifications of the driver and the traffic rules. Rai said the new rules have been enforced with the consent of the Higher Secondary Schools Association, the Private and Boarding Schools´ organization and association, the Guardian´s Association of Nepal and the stakeholders in the education sector.
Source: http://www.ekantipur.com June 8, 2012
 
Govt Exploring Ways to Disburse Soft Loans to Hydel Projects
A High-Level Financial Sector Reform Coordination Committee, headed by Finance Minister, on Wednesday decided to form a taskforce to study ways to ensure necessary resources for the hydropower projects that are at the final phase of construction.
The committee decided to form a taskforce under the coordination of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Deputy Governor Maha Prasad Adhikari with joint secretaries from the Finance and Energy Ministries and directors of the Nepal Electricity Authority and Department of Electricity Development as members. Finance Ministry sources say there has been understanding of providing Rs 2 billion to these projects. Introducing Load Shedding Reduction Action Plan in February, the government had announced four types of incentives, including availability of loans at concessional rate. Hence, the committee decided to form the taskforce to suggest on how to provide the pledged support. The Action plan had also raised the power purchase agreement (PPA) rate, waiving value added tax on construction materials and delay charges. Finance Ministry Spokesperson Rajan Khanal said that the taskforce was formed to explore ways on mobilising the pledged resources to the hydropower projects to ensure their completion as soon as possible and help reduce load shedding hours. The government has pledged loans upto Rs 20 million per megawatt to independent power producers at the rate that has so far been reserved to the NEA. The NEA has been taking loans from the government at an average interest rate of 8 percent. According to Khanal, the Energy Ministry has already recomended the names of seven such hydropower projects for the pledged resources and exemption in VAT on construction materials. “Energy Ministry has informed us that other projects are also seeking the pledged support,” he said.
A total of 26 such projects will get waiver on VAT on construction materials and the delay charge if they complete the projects within April 2015. However, the Finance Minstry has some reservations over providing VAT exemption on construction materials on ground that similar incentive was misused in the past when the govenrment provide such facility to some foreign aided projects. Instead, the Finance Minstry has proposed providing grant worth Rs 1 million per megawatt to such projects as per the decision taken by the government led by Jhala Nath Khanal. “We have already proposed our readiness to provide Rs 1millon in grant to such projects and asked the Energy Minstry to go ahead accoridingly,” said Shata Raj Subedi, joint secretary at the Finance Minstry. The government has given exempetion on VAT on imports of machinary for hydropower projects through the budget. In another decision, the committee also decided to form a taskforce under the coordination of joint secretary at public enterprises coordination division of the Finance Ministry to study on lease period of Bhaktapur Brick Factory.
Source: http://www.ekantipur.com June 7, 2012
International News
As The Earth Warms, Forest Floors Add Greenhouse Gases to the Air
By Brian Vastag
Huge amounts of carbon trapped in the soils of U.S. forests will be released into the air as the planet heats up, contributing to a “vicious cycle” that could accelerate climate change, a new study concluded.
“As the Earth warms, there will be more carbon released from soils, and that will make the Earth warm even faster,” said Eric Davidson, who studies soil carbon at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts but was not involved in the new study. Forests are an important buffer against climate change, absorbing some of the carbon-dioxide pollution released from burning fossil fuels. Fallen leaves and dead trees return carbon to the soil, which takes its brown color from the element. But scientists have disagreed about how much of this huge store of locked-in carbon is at risk for release into the atmosphere. “Young carbon” such as that stored in leaves rapidly returns to the air as microbes decompose plant matter. As the air warms, the decomposition speeds up, releasing more carbon. That process is well-known. But deeper in the soil, older carbon is locked away as “humus” the soft, brown material that makes forest floors spongy. Some scientists have asserted that this carbon will stay locked away even as the planet warms. To test this idea, scientists took advantage of experimental forests maintained by the U.S. Energy Department and U.S. Forest Service in Wisconsin and North Carolina. Since the late 1990s, scientists have blown carbon dioxide from large tanks into these forests; the gas carries a specific radioactive carbon signature, which can be easily traced.
Francesca Hopkins of the University of California-Irvine collected soil from the two forests in jars and then measured how much carbon dioxide the soil emitted as she warmed the containers. She also measured how much of the carbon dioxide was more than a decade old— meaning it had been locked away in humus for years. She found that about one-third of the released carbon dioxide came from soils at least a decade old. As the soil heated up, that ratio stayed about the same, meaning that the older carbon was just as vulnerable to rising temperatures as the younger carbon. “We now know for the top 15 centimeters [about six inches] of topsoil, most of that is going to be vulnerable to warming,” Hopkins said. “It’s going to increase its respiration rate as global temperatures warm.” Hopkins called this accelerated release of carbon dioxide a contributor to a “vicious cycle” in which soil carbon dioxide triggers additional atmospheric warming, which in turn pushes the soil to release even more carbon dioxide. “While that older material is not going to decompose really fast, there’s an awful lot of it,” said Susan Trumbore, the scientist who led the study. The study increases concerns that temperate forests will flip from net absorbers of carbon dioxide to net emitters of the air-warming gas sooner rather than later, said Trumbore of the University of California-Irvine and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Germany. The average surface temperature of the Earth has increased by 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for limiting global warming to 3.6 degrees, a goal that looks increasingly difficult to reach as forests, melting permafrost in Arctic regions and the warming oceans absorb less and less of the greenhouse gas. Hopkins said her results should focus attention on reducing carbon-dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels. “We can control how much gasoline we burn and how much coal we burn, but we don’t have control over how much carbon the soil will release once this gets going,” she said. The study was published online Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Source: http://digg.com June 11, 2012
 
Global Warming Over Last 50 Yrs Caused Primarily By Human Activity
The oceans have warmed in the past 50 years, but not by natural events alone.
New research by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and international collaborators shows that the observed ocean warming over the last 50 years is consistent with climate models only if the models include the impacts of observed increases in greenhouse gas during the 20th century. Though the new research is not the first study to identify a human influence on observed ocean warming, it is the first to provide an in-depth examination of how observational and modeling uncertainties impact the conclusion that humans are primarily responsible. "We have taken a closer look at factors that influence these results," said Peter Gleckler, an LLNL climate scientist and lead author of the new study that appears in the June 10 edition of the journal, Nature Climate Change. "The bottom line is that this study substantially strengthens the conclusion that most of the observed global ocean warming over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities." The group looked at the average temperature (or heat content) in the upper layers of the ocean. The observed global average ocean warming (from the surface to 700 meters) is approximately 0.025 degrees Celsius per decade, or slightly more than 1/10th of a degree Celsius over 50 years. The sub-surface ocean warming is noticeably less than the observed Earth surface warming, primarily because of the relatively slow transfer of ocean surface warming to lower depths. Nevertheless, because of the ocean's enormous heat capacity, the oceans likely account for more than 90 percent of the heat accumulated over the past 50 years as Earth has warmed. Graphic shows Pacific and Atlantic Ocean zonal average cross sections (surface to 700 meters) of temperature changes for 1955 to 2011. Each globe represents a decadal average. The foreground is the most recent decade and preceding decades are in the background. Red represents warming ocean, white no change, and blue for cooling with respect to a 1957-1990 average. Data was provided from the National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC) World Ocean Database (WOD). Graphic by Timo Bremer/LLNL.
Source: http://www.enn.com June 12, 2012
 
Global Investment in Renewable Energy Powers to Record $257 Billion
Solar generation surged past wind power to become the renewable energy technology of choice for global investors in 2011.
Solar attracted nearly twice as much investment as wind, driving the renewable energy sector to yet another record-breaking year, albeit one beset with challenges for the industry, according to two new reports on renewable energy trends issued June 11 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012 is the fifth edition of the UNEP report, based on data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and has become the standard reference for global clean energy investment figures. This year it shows that despite an increasingly tough competitive landscape for manufacturers, total investment in renewable power and fuels last year increased by 17% to a record $257 billion, a six-fold increase on the 2004 figure and 94% higher than the total in 2007, the year before the world financial crisis. Although last year's 17% increase was significantly smaller than the 37% growth recorded in 2010, it was achieved at a time of rapidly falling prices for renewable energy equipment and severe pressure on fiscal budgets in the developed world.The REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report, which has become the most frequently referenced report on renewable energy market, industry and policy developments, notes that during 2011 renewables continued to grow strongly in all end-use sectors -- power, heating and cooling and transport. Renewable sources have grown to supply 16.7 % of global energy consumption. Of that, the share provided by traditional biomass has declined slightly while the share sourced from modern renewable technologies has risen.
In 2011, renewable energy technologies continued to expand into new markets: around 50 countries installed wind power capacity, and solar PV capacity moved rapidly into new regions and countries. Solar hot water collectors are used by more than 200 million households as well as in many public and commercial buildings worldwide. The two publications were launched jointly by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, Mohamed El-Ashry, Chairman of REN21, Michael Liebreich, Chief Executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and Professor Dr. Udo Steffens, President and CEO of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, host of the Frankfurt School -- UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance.
Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com June 11, 2012
 
World's Biggest Cities are Tapping into the Green Economy Benefits
Cities around the world have identified the economic benefits from tackling the effects of climate change, according to a new report released today by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
The CDP study found 82% of cities are tapping into the potential for growth as a result of climate change adaptation and more than half of cities are looking to create green jobs and new business initiatives. However, despite the substantial prospects for green growth, just under a third of the cities that participated in the global survey expect new sources of funding for tackling climate change. The report, published today, presents a global snapshot of the activities, challenges and opportunities facing cities as a result of climate change.  It is based on the carbon and water strategies and actions disclosed to CDP by 73 cities spanning every inhabited continent. The report also contains a special focus on the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), a network of the world’s largest cities working to reduce urban carbon emissions and accelerate climate change adaptation.  Measurement for Management: CDP Cities 2012 Global Report shows that reporting cities cite a wide variety of financial drivers for climate change action, with nearly a third of cities expecting improved energy efficiency of their operations and a fifth recognising the increased energy security that action on climate change affords.  However, job creation and industry growth are by far the most prominently cited opportunities with 55% of cities anticipating the creation of green jobs and 53% predicting new business from clean tech industries or the development of new low-carbon economy technologies.
As the sustainability spotlight turns to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the compelling economic drivers for city action on climate change should be used to advance discussion on how to increase cities’ access to external sources of finance and accelerate emissions reductions in the world’s metropolitan hotspots. Although the World Bank and other development banks have expressed interest in increasing access to funding for cities, less than 1% of city-wide emissions reduction activities reported by cities are financed by world development banks.  The study found that all of the reporting C40 cities and 81% of the total 73 disclosing cities are responding to the urgency of climate change by implementing a range of carbon emissions reductions activities, from education programs to waste management. With 64% of these initiatives funded through general municipal funds, cities are largely financing their climate change actions without significant external support. Conor Riffle, head of CDP’s cities programme, said: “Cities are major players in the fight against dangerous climate change. The 73 contained in our latest report account for nearly 1 billion tonnes of CO2e, roughly equivalent to the total emissions of Brazil and Canada combined.  “These cities are hubs of innovation and effective units for managing emissions reductions; increasing their access to climate finance could help achieve the gigaton-scale solutions required.” Chair of C40, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg added: “This report provides definitive data showing that cities are taking action to address global climate change.  “Cities' ability to act - especially in the absence of strong international agreements - presents a compelling argument for improving local access to funding from national governments and international bodies. The actions that cities are taking locally are the best hope we have for fighting climate change globally.”
Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, a C40 City, says: "It is with great pleasure that we welcome the second global cities report from CDP ahead of Rio+20. This information is testament to the decisive actions being taken at a municipal level and demonstrates how the collective power of cities could be used to guide policy-making on a global scale."  The special focus on C40 Cities within the report supports the theory of the “network effect”, with the C40 subset demonstrating an advanced and improving approach to climate change management. C40 Cities led the way in emissions assessment and reporting, helping to launch CDP’s cities program last year with the publication of its inaugural report.  The number of C40 Cities responding has increased this year, as has the percentage of cities reporting city-wide emissions inventories (as opposed to local government operations emissions only), which has jumped from 67% to 78%.  This year also showed a rise in C40 Cities setting emissions reduction targets from 62% in 2011 to 71%. Cities reporting emissions reductions targets for the first time include Bogotá and Changwon. 84% of the C40 Cities expect economic benefits as a result of their climate change action.  The C40 City of Los Angeles, for example, has a special focus on promoting clean technology. It has established a reclaimed rail yard for clean tech start ups and expansions. The city has also implemented a number of green schemes such as waste-to-energy and digester gas utilisation projects. London, another C40 City, expects that to deliver its 60% carbon reduction target will result in the creation of 200,000 green jobs by 2025 from opportunities such as those arising from its energy retrofitting, waste and decentralising energy aspirations.  Yokohama has big plans for new industries; the C40 City is creating new supply chains around the concept of cooperation on green initiatives in the city, bringing together energy-saving design and planning, electrical vehicles and photovoltaic power generation and at the same time supporting local manufacturers of the environmental technologies and products.
Source: http://www.clickgreen.org.uk June 7, 2012
Link of the Week
Kitchen air pollution is three-times higher than busy city centres
Did you Know ?
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.
Media and Event Watch
Every Monday 8:30 pm on Nepal FM 91.8 MHZ “Climate Change Mero Bhawisya Mero Chaso”
Every Sunday at 7:30 am on Radio Sagarmatha 102.4 MHz "Batabaran Dabali"
Every Monday at 5:30 pm (re-telecast every Tuesday 11 am) on ABC Television “Climate Change
Every Alternate Friday at 2 PM on ENPHO Hall – “Green Discussion” Organized by Clean Energy Nepal, Nepalese Youth for Climate Action anGrnd Green Youth Network
Every Friday on The Himalayan Times “THT Green Plus”
Environment Cycle Radio F.M.104.2Mhz (ECR FM)
 
 

Prepared by: Suman Udas and Pabitra Basnet
Edited by: Bhushan Tuladhar

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

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