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Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 31, October 4, 2012

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Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 31, October 4, 2012
CE News is a free weekly e-mail publications that features news, information and events related to clean energy, clean air and climate change. CE News is published by Clean Energy Nepal. For more information on our campaign please visit www.cen.org.np
Headlines
Load-Shedding Reduction Action Plan: Ministry Submits Plan to Cabinet
Ring Road Expansion: Nepal Asked to Clear Roadsides
SC Orders Govt to Implement Euro III
Crop Production to Drop by 10 percent
How Constraint Breeds Creativity: Farmer-Led Alliances For Rice
Hoteliers to Adopt Eco-Friendly Measures
U.N. Climate Chief Urges Greater Ambition in Doha
Cabinet Approved Climate Policy amidst Threats of Global Warming

Link Of The Week

National News
Load-Shedding Reduction Action Plan: Ministry Submits Plan to Cabinet
 
01 October 2012
 
Putting forth a 15-point recommendation, the Ministry of Energy submitted the ambitious Load Shedding Reduction Action Plan to the Cabinet on Sunday. The plan is aimed at reducing load-shedding to 10 hours a day from the predicted 21 hours.

In its plan, the ministry has proposed early construction of the 400KV Dhalkebar-Mujjaffapur inter-boarder transmission line, generating 40MW energy from diesel plants, importing 200MW additional energy from India and purchasing energy from the plants of local industrial units, among others. “The government should provide Rs 5.40 billion in compensation to the Nepal Electricity Authority each year which the authority would use to operate diesel plants and import 200MW electricity from India,” read the plan. NEA requires Rs 2.80 billion a year to operate its thermal plants, while another Rs 2.60 billion is required to import energy from India. 
 
The action plan has recommended that government construct 132KV transmission line from Duhabi to Kataiya by mid-February 2013 to import 50MW energy from India.
 
The Energy Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry to release Rs 330 million to build the transmission line. It also has requested the Indian government for subsidised loans of the same amount for the project. The plan also states that 150MW energy could be brought from India through the existing Biratnagar-Jogbani cross boarder transmission line.
 
The Energy Ministry, in its plan, has also asked the Cabinet to authorize it to initiate diplomatic dialogue with the Indian government for the import of the additional power and construction of the 132KV transmission line.
 
Ring Road Expansion: Nepal Asked to Clear Roadsides
 
03 September 2012
 
China has asked Nepal to clear the sides of the Kathmandu Valley Ring Road to start the widening work. The Chinese government is undergoing final preparations for selecting a contractor for the road widening work, according to the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management.
 
Based on a bilateral agreement, China last year had agreed to widen the existing four-lane Ring Road to eight lanes under grant assistance. In the first phase, the 9-km Koteshwor-Kalanki stretch will be upgraded based on the design readied by the Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation, a consultant hired by the Chinese government.
 
“Saying that it could send a contractor soon, the Chinese government has asked us to clear the way in the Koteshwor-Kalanki section,” said Tulasai Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the Physical Planning Ministry. He said the right of way (RoW) has been cleared at most of places, but the overhead bridge at the Kalanki junction will have to be demolished.
 
A preliminary road design report of the Chinese consultant had also asked the Nepal government to arrange enough space for the construction of an interchange at the Kalanki junction. As per the preliminary design, a 0.8-km interchange is planned for smooth operation of vehicles at the junction. An interchange is a road junction that typically uses grade separation to permit vehicles on at least one road to pass through the junction without directly crossing any other traffic stream.
 
Under the plan, the current 27-km Ring Road will be upgraded in three phases, according to the Department of Roads.
 
SC Orders Govt to Implement Euro III
 
26 September 2012
 
The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the government to implement the Euro III vehicle emission standard.
 
The new emission standard was not being implemented fully, with automobile dealers demanding at least a year’s time for the execution.
 
A division bench of justices Girish Chandra Lal and Gyanendra Bahadur Karki on Tuesday issued the order, directing the government to implement the Nepal Vehicle Mass Emission Standard (NVMES) 2012, which bars the import of vehicles that do not comply with Euro III, and the National Ambient Air Quality Standard 2012.
 
On September 6, advocate Jivan Kumar Pokhrel had filed a writ petition against the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, Nepal Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and Sipradi Trading, seeking the SC’s order to implement the new emission standard.
 
Nepal has been importing vehicles based on the Nepal Vehicle Mass Emission Standard 1999 (Euro I) for last 13 years. As per the new emission standard, all vehicles, except for heavy equipment vehicles, entering Nepal are required to be in compliance with Euro III. About one and half months ago, the government had published a notice in the Nepal Gazette, implementing the NVMES 2012. However, automobile dealers criticised the government’s move, saying they were not consulted before bringing the provision.
 
NADA, the apex body of automobile and spare parts dealers, had, however, welcomed the government move, but had also demanded that the government allow dealers to import vehicles built under old standards that have already been ordered for a certain time. “This is good that the SC too has directed to implement the new emission standard,” said NADA member Gopi Krishna Neupane. But he underscored the need for correcting some minor mistakes in the NVMES 2012 notice published in the gazette.
 
Lack of ‘hi-tech’ workshops and delay in bringing vehicle fitness test centres into operation have been highlighted as major hurdles for the effective implementation Euro III.
 
Crop Production to Drop by 10 percent
 
26 September 2012
 
The late monsoon along with the shortage of fertilisers during the plantation season is anticipated to reduce summer crop production by about 10 per cent, according to a report.
 
“As a result of late monsoon and fertiliser shortage during plantation, production of crops such as paddy and maize in 2012, is expected to decline by 10 percent, thereby increasing the risk of food insecurity,” according to joint report published by UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD), Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Consumer Interest Protection Forum.
 
The report has also raised concerns regarding possible rise in food prices due to the recent increase in fuel prices that is likely to contribute to the rise in transportation costs, adding food prices are likely to remain high until the next harvest which is normally anticipated in the next couple of months.
Due to an anticipated effect of a long drought in North America, the global food price index increased by 10 per cent in July 2012, as compared to the previous month, raising alarms regarding soaring food prices globally, said the report.
 
Retail prices regularly monitored by MoAD and WFP showed an upward trend, the report said. The national average price of staple foods such as coarse rice and wheat flour climbed up by 7.3 per cent and 6.4 per cent per kilo, respectively.
 
Index of food and beverages group increased by 9.9 per cent pushing inflation to 11.9 per cent, in the last month of the last fiscal year, according to the macroeconomic report published by Nepal Rastra Bank, which a month back was 9.9 per cent.
 
The index of both non-food and services group also increased by 11.2 per cent during review period which went up by 9.9 per cent last month. The increased food price pushed overall inflation to a double digit level of 11.5 per cent in mid-July. The recent increase in fuel prices will likely contribute to the rise in transportation costs, thereby raising food prices in the coming months.
 
How Constraint Breeds Creativity: Farmer-Led Alliances For Rice
 
By Sonja Vermeulen
 
Participatory plant breeding has matured into a dynamic and cost-effective science that provides a pragmatic match between desired crop traits and local climates, soils and socio-economies. But can farmer-led crop breeding deal with the pace and uncertainty of climate change? Absolutely, argues the recent article Institutional and technological innovation: understanding agricultural adaptation to climate change in Nepal by Netra Chhetri, Pashupati Chaudhary, Puspa Raj Tiwari and Ram Baran Yadaw.
 
Since the 1960s, Nepal has registered 62 new high-yielding rice varieties. The intervening decades have seen rice breeding evolve from top-down approaches, through a phase of farmer testing, to the current model in which farmers take the lead in designing, conducting, interpreting and applying research – which the authors rightly celebrate as a remarkable development. Other authors record that farmers have simultaneously strengthened their intellectual property rights: the registration of rice variety Pokhareli Jethobudho in 2006 was Nepal’s first legal acknowledgement of farmers as co-owners of an improved variety.
 
Alliances – both within communities and with external organisations – are at the hub of participatory breeding. Chhetri and co-authors posit that the “cultural endowment” of local institutions is crucial. Women’s groups, for example, ensure that breeding addresses not just climate-compatible traits but consumer preferences like flavour, aroma and water absorption. NGOs, universities and the CGIAR are established partners too, contributing to and learning from the genetic and agronomic innovations that go hand-in-hand in farmers’ breeding programs.
 
Advantages of farmer-led breeding for climate change adaptation are plentiful. The eight to ten cultivars a typical Nepali hill farmer cultivates offer a fundamental source of resilience to climate variability. Local and scientific knowledge can combine to track climate trends and select traits with considerable sensitivity and quick response times. Farmer-led breeding has demonstrably closed the yield gap between climatically marginal and higher-suitability rice growing areas in Nepal. Other pertinent research on barley shows that, despite the many partners and processes involved, participatory breeding is 5-28% cheaper than conventional methods, mainly because it produces equivalent genetic material three years earlier.
 
But are there drawbacks to “induced innovation” in crop breeding in response to changing climatic conditions? Perhaps the foremost risk is that climate change will surpass the limits of adaptability in local varieties and their wild relatives to heat, drought, disease, waterlogging or salinity. Here lies the value of scientific partners: to propose breakthrough technologies that might fit into local innovation systems. A related concern is whether disconnected local breeding programs can generate enough momentum and geographic scale in adaptation. Here knowledge networks surely deserve strategic investment: to share emerging approaches while avoiding top-down implementation.   
 
Sometimes emphasis on partnerships can sound hollow, giving little guidance on which actions and systems should be supported. But the experience and promise of participatory breeding in climate change adaptation, both in Nepal and in other countries, show just how much alliances matter in generation of practical, dynamic, cost-effective knowledge. To reach scale and pace in adaptation we need sustained investment in institutions that link across plural innovations and talents.
 
Hoteliers to Adopt Eco-Friendly Measures
 
28 September 2012
 
With the objective to contribute towards sustainable tourism, hoteliers have expressed commitment to adopt more eco-friendly measures in their operation. In a recent program organized by Hotel Association Nepal (HAN), the hoteliers stated that they would prioritize alternatives of HCFCs (Hydrocholorflurorocarbons) in the near future.  
The equipment that are being used in Nepal by hotels like refrigerants and air conditioning units among others use HCFC.  
 
The new initiative comes at the time when hoteliers are working on the concept of ´green hotel´ by putting focus on rain water harvesting, waste management and installing solar lighting system. Executive Director of HAN, Madhab Om Shrestha said the program was targeted to raise awareness amongst hoteliers and to inform them about HCFCs free equipments. 
 
“These equipments are energy efficient and is certain to reduce the operating cost of the hotels, and at the same time hoteliers can contribute to better environment,” he said adding the association was positive about encouraging its member hotels for such initiatives.  
 
According to HAN, most of the hoteliers were positive on installing the new technology. “ We will also work to make sure the new hotels that are coming into operation install the new technology,” Shrestha said.  
 
Bal Shakya of Nepal Refrigeration and Electro Mechanical Association (NREMA) which is conducting consultancy for the use of eco-friendly equipments said most of the refrigeration and air condition equipment used in hotels in Nepal at present are HCFCs based equipments.  
 
“Like CFC based equipment have already been phased out, these equipments will also be phased out in the near future,” he said. “The cost of the new technology is little expensive but its very energy efficient and environment friendly.”  
 
President of HAN Shyam Sundar Lal Kakshpati said the association was targeting to get ´green hotel´ certification with all the eco-friendly measures. “We are working with different organizations to adopt more eco-friendly technology.
 
International News
U.N. Climate Chief Urges Greater Ambition in Doha
 
02 October 2012
 
The U.N. climate chief said Monday that countries have not backed off what they had agreed in climate talks in Durban last year but said current actions and pledges are not enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures.
 
Speaking at the Carbon Forum North America in Washington, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said although both developing and developed countries are making "good progress in the right direction" toward a legal agreement, current global efforts are insufficient.
 
"We are increasing the scope and coverage of emissions and also increasing the legal nature of those reductions because we are going from voluntary pledges to a legally based agreement," Figueres told a press conference on the sidelines of the conference.
 
"However, even if that goes into effect, the fact is that all of those efforts actually represent 60 percent of the global effort that needs to be made if we are to keep to a 2 degree (global temperature) rise," she added, referring to the threshold scientists have said would stave off dangerous climate change.
 
Last year, negotiators in Durban agreed to formalize a new legally binding emission reduction agreement by 2015, which would go into force by 2020 in which both rich and poorer countries would participate.
Figueres said that despite some reports after Durban that some major emerging economies, such as China and India, have backtracked on accepting a legally binding agreement, she does not "see any moving-away from where Durban left us."
 
"No comments I have heard after Durban surprise me or concern me. I am actually very grateful that the countries are taking the Durban text very seriously," she said.
 
The climate chief said that the Durban Platform, like other internationally negotiated texts, was left "creatively ambiguous" to serve as a starting point for the next round of negotiating.
 
She said that one principle that will play a role in the new agreement would be the concept of "common but differentiated responsibilities (CBRD)," a line between developing and developed countries drawn in 1992 that enabled countries such as Brazil and China to escape mandatory carbon cuts.
 
Brazil's climate change negotiator told Reuters last week that his country and fellow emerging economies China, India and South Africa, that a new climate agreement must contain the principle, which the U.S. has said created an unwelcome "firewall" between developed and developing countries.
 
"What is important… is while recognizing the (rich countries') clear responsibility we also need to move forward," Figueres said, adding that CBRD will remain a principle but will also be joined with a new concept of ensuring that all countries have equitable access to sustainable development.
 
She said the U.S., the world's second biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China, needs to increase its current target to cut emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and risks falling behind developing countries that are making greater advances in cleaner energy.
 
"This is an enormous lost opportunity to the United States, and particularly to the United States manufacturing industries, if they do not take advantage of the opportunities that are given to them with the explosion in green technologies that could be one very important way for the United States to move out of its fiscal cliff," Figueres said.
 
Cabinet Approved Climate Policy amidst Threats of Global Warming
 
26 September 2012
 
Amidst threats of worst climatic changes, the federal cabinet on Wednesday approved National Climate Change Policy to mitigate impacts of climate related disasters and adaptation to new strategies for sustainable growth in the country.
 
The new policy has elaborated concerted measures focusing all related areas as it bears the input by all stakeholders including the provinces and regions as Pakistan is under threat of the impacts of global warming from the mountains of Himalaya down to coastal areas.
 
Minister for Climate Change Rana Farooq Saeed Khan briefed media that new policy will pave way towards evolving regional and provincial strategies and action plans to meet the challenge Pakistan is facing though due to others follies.
 
"Pakistan is among the least polluting countries but the most threatened of adverse impacts of climate change. We emit only 0.8 percent of the world emission against America's 26 percent and massive emissions by China and India", the minister told the journalists.
 
"But, we are among the top ten vulnerable countries. This needs us to tighten our belts for challenges ahead". "This policy will prove to be beneficial for the people and the country and help us meet the socio-economic challenges surfacing in view of the climatic changes", the minister said.
 
Flanked by Secretary Climate Change, Mahmood Alam and author of the policy Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman, the minister explained that the policy is aimed at pursuing the sustained economic growth by appropriately addressing the challenges of climate change and to integrate climate change policy with other related national policies.
 
He said it will facilitate and strengthen Pakistan's role as a responsible member of the international community in addressing the climate change challenges and focus pro-poor gender sensitive adaptation while also promoting mitigation to the extent possible in a cost effective manner.
 
The minister informed that the policy is aimed at ensuring water security, food security and energy security and minimize the risks arising from expected increase in frequency and intensity of extreme events: floods, droughts and tropical storms.
 
He said it will strengthen inter-ministerial and inter-provincial decision making and coordination mechanism on climate change; facilitate effective use of the opportunities, particularly financial, available both nationally and internationally and to foster the development of appropriate economic incentives to encourage public and private sector investment in both adaptation and mitigation measures.
 
He said the policy will enhance the awareness, skill and institutional capacity of relevant stakeholders and promote conservation of natural resources and long term sustainability.
 
Elaborating on Pakistan's vulnerability to climate change threats, Rana Farooq mentioned to considerable increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, coupled with erratic monsoon rains causing frequent and intense floods and droughts as well as projected recession of Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayan (HKH) glaciers due to global warming and carbon soot deposits from trans-boundary pollution sources, threatening water inflows into Indus River System (IRS).
 
Consequent threats due to ice melting and floods, the minister said may result in increased siltation of major dams.
He also mentioned to increased temperature resulting in enhanced heat- and water-stressed conditions, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions, leading to reduced agriculture productivity due to climate change and further decrease in the already scanty forest cover from too rapid change in climatic conditions to allow natural migration of adversely affected plant species.
 
He said the climate change threats also include increased intrusion of saline water in the Indus delta, adversely affecting coastal agriculture, mangroves and breeding grounds of fish, projected sea level rise and increased cyclonic activity due to higher sea surface temperatures and stress between upper riparian and lower riparian regions on sharing the water resources.
 
"These threats are the cause of major survival concerns for Pakistan, particularly in terms of country's water security, food security and energy security considerations," he said in response to a question.
 
Answering the questions, the minister said the Climate Change ministry to endeavoring utmost to benefit from global climate fund by initiating more and more Clean Development Mechanism projects.
 
"Our 34 projects have been approved and more than 50 are in the pipeline. We have completed US$ 10 million MACP project and US$ seven million Glof project is under implementation."
 
When asked about coordination mechanism for implementation, Rana Farooq said, this policy has input of all stakeholders and they will not only own it but also put in every effort to implement it successfully.
Link of the Week
Nepal could not Get New Statute in Time as CA Failed to Meet Deadline: DPM Informs UNGA
 
Do the arithmetic
The kathmandu Post, 30 September 2012.

QUIZ 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
b) 31
c) 41
d) 51

 

Compiled and Edited by:
Sunil Acharya and Prashanta Khanal
 

Clean Energy Nepal (CEN)

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