clean energy nepal

Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 22, July 25, 2012

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Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 22, July 25, 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
•    Monsoon Usual This Year, Say Weathermen
•    Paddy Plantation Complete On 54 Percent Of Arable Land    
•    Traffic FM Starts Regular Transmission
•    More Than 600,000 Households Get Pollution Free Stoves
•    Traffic Fine Payment Through Bank From Wednesday
•    Broad Road Initiative Continues
•    Coca-Cola Launches Plant A Tree Campaign
•    Record 97 Percent Of Greenland's Ice Sheet Experienced Melting In July
•    Cut Air Pollution, Buy Time To Slow Climate Change: U.S.
•    Ice Age To Interglacial Period: Greatest Climate Change
•    Study Finds Climate Change Driving Salmon Evolution
•    Research: Climate Change Drives Rise In Food Poisoning
•    Link Of The Week
•    Did You Know?
•    Media Watch
•    QUIZ Of The Week #  520
•    Answer Of Quiz Of The Week # 519

 
Local News
Monsoon Usual This Year, Say Weathermen
The nation is likely to see ‘normal’ monsoon this year despite a delayed onset followed by sluggish advancement throughout June, say meteorologists.
For the past week, torrential rains have lashed the country and caused flashfloods and landslides in some parts. “Favourable activity of the monsoon trough (the phenomenon responsible for heavy rains in the country) along the foothills of the mountains has caused heavy rainfall across the country,” said Shiva Sharma, senior meteorologist at the Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD). Parts of the central, eastern and western regions—namely Bhairahawa, Pokhara, Nepalgunj and Biratnagar—received rainfall well above the average. “The active monsoon phase that we experienced last week has been receding since Friday but will continue for the next couple of days with light rainfall and thundershowers in most places,” Sharma said. According to the MFD, July is the wettest month and most parts of the country have already received 80 to 85 percent of the total average rainfall for the month.
Rajendra Shrestha, senior meteorologist with the MFD, said that though June remained almost dry, July is likely to provide enough rainfall for paddy plantation. Monsoon arrival in the east was delayed by a week this year. It took 10-15 days to gain momentum and spread across the country. “The country is likely to see an average monsoon this year,” said Shrestha. Normally the four-month monsoon starts on June 10 and remains active until September 10 in Nepal.
Over 80 percent farmers are dependent on rain. The Agriculture Ministry stated on July 14 that overall paddy plantation was 28 percent this year, against 45 percent last year.
 
Paddy Plantation Complete On 54 Percent Of Arable Land     
Paddy plantation has been completed in around 54 percent of total arable land, despite report of low plantations in key paddy producing districts due to late arrival of monsoon.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD), lowest plantation has been recorded in eastern region (38 percent). Plantation in far-western, mid-western, western and central development regions has been recorded at 85 percent, 66 percent, 64 percent and 40 percent respectively. “Progress in paddy plantation this year is comparatively lower compared to last year mainly because of the delay in rains,” said Dr Hari Dahal, spokesperson of the MoAD. According to the ministry´s latest report, major paddy producing districts such as Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Makawanpur, Bara, Siraha and Saptari have reported plantation in less than 15 percent of their arable land
 
Traffic FM Starts Regular Transmission
The country’s first radio station dedicated to reporting the traffic situation in the Kathmandu Valley began its first regular transmission today.
Minister for Home Affairs Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar inaugurated the transmission on 95.6 MHz amid a programme from the premises of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division in Ramshahpath. The Traffic FM will operate from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm every day. Forty traffic police personnel, including inspectors, have received training for anchoring, audio writing, editing, programme production and technical courses to conduct the programmes.
The FM station dedicated to motorists, commuters and pedestrians will provide updates on traffic condition, road closure, political activities on the streets, road safety tips, accidents, safety warning and traffic police activities besides broadcasting traffic awareness programmes. The FM station was granted Rs five million government assistance for infrastructure and preliminary operations. Priority will be given to disabled cops, conflict victims and women traffic cops to operate the FM station, which will cover Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and the surrounding areas.
The idea is to operate the radio as a non-profit FM station dedicated to motorists, commuters and pedestrians. “However, we can sell partial time for commercial advertisements to cover operation costs,” MTPD DIG Ganesh Rai said, adding that entertainment programmes were also on the cards. The FM was on test transmission since June 7, and operated in three segments — from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
 
More Than 600,000 Households Get Pollution Free Stoves     
While more than 80 percent of the people in the country still depend on traditional cooking methods fraught with serious consequences to health due to indoor air pollution, the center for alternative energy promotion center (AEPC) has shared a good news that at least 621,826 households are now free from such risks as they have been provided improved cooking stoves (IPS).
Speaking at a press meet in the capital on Monday Dr Govind Raj Pokhrel, executive director of AEPC said that the center aims to install the mud and metallic IPS in additional 600,000 households throughout the country within the next 5 years. [break} Interestingly, if the pace does not accelerate, it might take another 20 years to make the entire country free of traditional stoves. The national development index 2011 shows that 3 million households in the country follow traditional cooking method. Strikingly, the world health organization (WHO) ranks indoor air pollution as the fourth main culprit for deaths in developing countries and adds that 7,500 in Nepal die due to indoor air pollution alone while thousands suffer from different related diseases. Women and children are the most badly affected due to indoor pollution as they remain close to the kitchen for longer hours.
According to Pokhrel, with the instillation of the improved stoves 50 VDCs of 22 districts can now be declared indoor air pollution free households. “It is a significant achievement but more needs to be done in this regard. We plan to install at least 100,000 improved cooking stoves every year for the next 5 years,” he said.
 
Traffic Fine Payment Through Bank From Wednesday
In its bid to maintain financial transparency, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division is prepared to receive fines through the banking system.
At a press meet in the Capital on Sunday, MTPD Chief DIG Ganesh Raj Rai said that fines for traffic rule violations would be collected through banks from Wednesday. Rai said that those owing the traffic police in fine will now have to make payments through the Global IME Bank and its branches. The bank has 23 branches in the Valley—20 in Kathmandu and three in Lalitpur, with another branch slated to open at Suryabinayak in Bhaktapur in two weeks. Under the new procedure, those caught violating traffic rules will be presented with a receipt that they will need to take to the nearest traffic police office. Based on the offence, a traffic official, at least an Assistant Sub-inspector, will decide the fine. The violator will then have to pay the amount at any Global IME Bank branch by filling out three voucher copies.
Private documents will be returned once the payment is made and a copy of the voucher presented to the nearest traffic police office. The DIG also revealed that a dispute resolution committee was formed at all traffic police office branches to resolve any issues violators may have with regard to their fines. “We hope this will make our financial transactions more transparent,” said the MTPD chief. “However, the penalty for drink-driving will be controlled by the Division.” The MTPD claimed to have collected over Rs 110.31 million from traffic rule violators in the fiscal year 2011/12, a 323 percent increase year-on-year. According to the data made public on Sunday, the MTPD has collected over Rs 34.49 million from the anti-drinking and driving campaign, Rs 5.2 million from the seatbelt campaign and Rs 336,850 from jaywalkers. Traffic casualties in the Valley have decreased by 15.5 percent with cases of serious injuries down by 39.5 percent and minor injuries by 9.4 percent. Police say 38.19 percent road accidents involve motorbikes and drivers are found to be responsible on 76 percent occasions.
Meanwhile, the home minister will inaugurate the MTPD’s Traffic FM radio station on Monday. The FM will transmit traffic updates, awareness messages and police activities. “The FM will broadcast at 95.6 megahertz for 14 hours from 5 am to 7 pm daily.”
 
Broad Road Initiative Continues
The Kathmandu Valley Town Development Authority in association with the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division and the Kathmandu Metropolitan City today demolished private structures encroaching upon public land along the Naxal Bhagwati-Sano Gaucharan-Kalopul-Siphal-Mitra Park road section as part of a broad-road initiative.
MTPD in-charge, Deputy Inspector General Ganesh Raj Rai,said they chose to raze illegal structures along the three-km road on Saturday, a public holiday, when vehicular movement is thin in the City. According to him, the authorities bulldozed the illegal structures after the locals paid no heed to frequent notices to demolish encroached structures of the private houses and commercial buildings to minimise damage to private property.
The campaign today demolished parts of 150-odd houses on either sides of the road and Rai said that they expanded the road by seven metres on either side in the presence of riot police, mobilised to thwart possible protests from the locals. Meanwhile, government authorities also expanded the 150-metres Sano Gaucharan-Gyaneshwor Chowk section in line with a notice published on the Nepal Gazette on July 4, 1977. The government plans to widen roads having a total length of 400 km within the Kathmandu Valley.
Since the broad-road initiative began seven months ago, the government has managed to expand roads having a total length of around 55 km.
 
Coca-Cola Launches Plant A Tree Campaign      
Coca-Cola Nepal on Thursday launched "Plant a Tree Campaign" 2012 as a part of its sustainability initiatives, under which the company said it aims to create awareness on carbon dioxide pollution and green accounting for the larger community.
Issuing a press statement on the occasion, the company said the campaign launched jointly with Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) will be run in schools across the country“. "The plantation programs in the Kathmandu Valley will be organized in Balkumari Secondary School and Little Flower English School in Lalitpur, and Geeta Mata Higher Secondary School and Jagat Sundar Secondary School in Kathmandu,” reads the release. The initiative is also being implemented in community forest and other open spaces.
"Coca-Cola has always believed in building sustainable communities and supporting environment related initiatives the world over. The plant a tree campaign is a way for the company to help build awareness within Nepal´s local communities on the hazardous impacts of human activity on the environment," said Salman LatifRawn, Country Manager of Bottlers Nepal Limited, launching the program. Through the campaign, the company hopes to contribute in building a sustainable long-term future for the country by reaching out to the youths and encouraging them to plant trees and preserve their surroundings.
The campaign will make people aware of the impact humans have on the nature and environment and encourage them to plant at least one tree each year.
International News
Record 97 Percent Of Greenland's Ice Sheet Experienced Melting In July
NASA Earth Observatory images created by Jesse Allen, using data provided by Nicolo DiGirolamo (SSAI) and Dorothy Hall (NASA/GSFC) in the NASA/GSFC Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory.
97 percent of Greenland's ice sheet experienced some degree of melting this July, a record extent of melt, says NASA. Analysis of data from three satellites detected the record melting on July 12. The extent was such Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory initially questioned the results. “This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result,” said Nghiem. “Was this real or was it due to a data error?” Nghiem's observations were subsequently confirmed by Dorothy Hall from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Thomas Mote of the University of Georgia and Marco Tedesco of the City University of New York also confirmed the melt.
NASA said the melt may by the most severe since 1889. "Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years," said Lora Koenig, a NASA scientist and member of the team analyzing the satellite data. "With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time. But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome."
Every summer a portion of the surface of the Greenland ice sheet melts and runs off into the ocean or quickly refreezes depending the elevation and location of the melt.
 
Cut Air Pollution, Buy Time To Slow Climate Change: U.S.
Cutting soot and other air pollutants could help "buy time" in the fight against climate change, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday as seven nations joined a Washington-led plan.
Air pollution, from sources ranging from wood-fired cooking stoves in Africa to cars in Europe, may be responsible for up to six million deaths a year worldwide and is also contributing to global warming, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said. Seven countries -- Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Jordan -- formally joined the U.S.-led Climate and Clean Air Initiative, bringing the total of members to about 20 since the plan was launched in February.
"If we are able to do this we could really buy time in the context of the global problem to combat climate change," Jonathan Pershing, U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change, told a telephone news briefing from Paris. Pershing said that time was "desperately" needed to slow global warming. Unlike other developed nations, the United States has not passed laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions despite proposed cuts by President Barack Obama. Pershing said that Washington was in talks trying to attract more nations to the air pollution plan, including China and India which are the number one and three emitters of greenhouse gases respectively, with the United States in second. The U.S.-led plan in Paris focuses on limiting soot, heat-trapping methane, ground level ozone and HFC gases. Soot, for instance, can speed the melt of Arctic ice when it lands as a dark dusting that soaks up more heat and thaws ice. Soot can also cause respiratory diseases.
By contrast, U.N. plans for fighting climate change focus mainly on carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas released by burning fossil fuels that are blamed for causing more droughts, floods, wildfires and rising sea levels. The U.N. Environment Programme, which is a partner with the U.S. initiative, said that success could reduce the projected rise in global temperatures from a build-up of greenhouse gases by 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 Fahrenheit) by 2050. By 2030, fast action could also prevent millions of premature deaths and avoid the annual loss of 30 million tons of crops, it said. Pershing said that the small amount mobilized so far in pilot projects -- $13 million -- could catalyze wider change. And many projects paid for themselves in greater efficiency.
Karen Luken, of the C40 Partnership and the Clinton Climate Initiative, said that exploiting methane from trash decomposing in a landfill in Mexico City had reduced greenhouse gases and was providing energy for 35,000 homes.
 
Ice Age To Interglacial Period: Greatest Climate Change
The greatest climate change ever recorded by the world over the last 100,000 years has been the transition from the ice age to the warm interglacial period.
New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen indicates that, contrary to previous opinion, the rise in temperature and the rise in the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) follow each other closely in terms of time. In the warmer climate, the atmospheric content of CO2 is naturally higher. CO2 is a green-house gas that absorbs heat radiation from the Earth and thus keeps the planet warm. In the shift between ice ages and interglacial periods the atmospheric content of CO2 helps to intensify the natural climate variations, the journal Climate of the Past reports.
It had previously been thought that as the temperature began to rise at the end of the ice age approximately 19,000 years ago, an increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere followed with a delay of up to 1,000 years, according to a Copenhagen statement. "Our analyses of ice cores from the ice sheet in Antarctica shows that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere follows the rise in Antarctic temperatures very closely and is staggered by a few hundred years at most," explains Sune Olander Rasmussen, associate professor and centre coordinator at the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
The research, which was carried out in collaboration with the University of Tasmania, Australia, is based on measurements of ice cores from five boreholes through the ice sheet in Antarctica. The ice sheet is formed by snow that doesn't melt, but remains year after year and is gradually compressed into kilometres-thick ice.
 
Study Finds Climate Change Driving Salmon Evolution
For salmon trying to make it upriver to spawn before a hot summer hits, slow and steady loses the evolutionary race.
Salmon DNA records stretching back over 30 years show that nature has increasingly selected for fish that migrate from the ocean earlier in the year. It is among the first pieces of genetic evidence that climate change is driving the evolution of a species. Many species have changed their migration patterns over the past few decades in response to warmer temperatures. What is difficult to tell is whether the species are changing their behavior or evolving genetically — or both. Thanks to an old experiment, researchers at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks were able to confirm that genes play a role in at least one animal’s response to warmer temperatures — the pink salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha. Its migration from the ocean to the river is controlled largely by its genes. In the 1970s, Anthony Gharrett was studying why some salmon migrate up Alaska’s Auke Creek a month later than the rest of the population. Gharrett selectively bred some late-migrating fish so that they would share a rare genetic mutation that had no impact on their survival prospects. This allowed him to identify the late migrators even before the migration began. By the time Gharrett ended these investigations in 1985, 26 percent of the late-migrating salmon population had the genetic marker, compared with 3 percent of the rest of the population. He continued to collect DNA from the migrating salmon population every few years.
Fast-forward to 2011, when Ryan Kovach and David Tallmon analyzed Gharrett’s 32-year-long fish history. They found that the number of salmon with the genetic marker — more likely to be late-migrating fish — was relatively stable throughout the 1980s. But between 1989 and 1993, there was a steep decline in the marker’s frequency. It is now found in about 3 percent of all fish, and it is no longer possible to distinguish early- and late-migrating salmon by studying the frequency of the genetic marker in the population. The speed with which the marker has disappeared from the population suggests that something in the salmon’s environment changed between 1989 and 1993, making late-migrating fish less fit and increasing the number of fish in the general population with an early-migrating heritage. Stream temperatures in 1989, during the peak migration time, were the second highest on record, the researchers note.
The findings, published this month in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, fit with many observations of salmon changing their migration patterns, says Lisa Crozier of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle. But each population is different: Some are migrating later in the autumn rather than earlier in the spring, for example. If these shifts have a genetic component, she says, the selection of certain salmon might have long-term effects on their genetic diversity.
 
Research: Climate Change Drives Rise In Food Poisoning
By Stephen C. Webster
Research published Sunday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change claims that warning sea levels in the Baltic Sea are strongly linked to recent blooms of the Vibrios bacteria group, which have corresponded with an uptick in humans reporting foodborne illnesses in northern Europe.
And while the study notes that the Baltic Sea is “the fastest warming marine ecosystem examined so far anywhere on Earth,” scientists also found that other temperate and even cooler regions, like Peru, Chile, Israel, the U.S. Pacific northwest and northwest Spain, have all seen growth in Vibrios infections after warmer weather. But in the Baltic, scientists found their strongest evidence: tracing satellite data tracking sea levels, and medical data tracking Vibrios infections, the scientists found that in warmer years the number of infections spiked as much as 200 percent. Vibrios bacteria can incubate in seafood like shellfish and plankton and tend to cause a variety of illnesses, from the relatively common gastroenteritis, or inflammation that causes vomiting and diarrhea, to the horrifying pain of cholera, which can reach epidemic levels if not properly treated by medical professionals.
Because projected warning trends would seem to indicate the likelihood of booming Vibrio populations along European coastal areas in the coming decades, scientists recommend development of new reporting systems across Europe to track outbreaks of Vibrio infections and correlations with local climate. Development of such systems could help scientists predict the global spread of other diseases similarly influenced by weather systems. “Focussing efforts on areas with high population density, for example St. Petersburg, Stockholm and the southern Baltic coastline, and expanding the risk analysis to other regions undergoing rapid warming such as the Pacific northwest, the Sea of Okhotsk and the East China Sea may represent the most fruitful approach to predict areas where new Vibrio infections are likely to emerge,” they wrote.
Link of the Week
A new approach
Did you Know ?
Dumping iron in the seas can help transfer carbon from the atmosphere and bury it on the ocean floor for centuries, helping to fight climate change, according to a study released on Wednesday.The report, by an international team of experts, provided a boost for the disputed use of such ocean fertilization for combating global warming. But it failed to answer questions over possible damage to marine life. When dumped into the ocean, the iron can spur growth of tiny plants that carry heat-trapping carbon to the ocean floor when they die, the study said. Scientists dumped seven metric tonnes (7.7 tons) of iron sulphate, a vital nutrient for marine plants, into the Southern Ocean in 2004. At least half of the heat-trapping carbon in the resulting bloom of diatoms, a type of algae, sank below 1,000 meters (3,300 ft).

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 # 497
According to IEA on its website US emissions have now fallen by …………..Mt (7.7%) since 2006, the largest reduction of all countries or regions. 
a)    330
b)    430
c)    530
d)    630

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 # 496
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 ……………………. school buses play on the Kathmandu Valley roads, according to the MTPD.
c) 1200

Usha Khatiwada
Heerakaji Maharjan
Isha Dhakal
Meena Bohara
Arbindra Shrestha
Keshab Raj Joshi

Usha Khatiwada 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