clean energy nepal

Clean Energy News Vol. 13, Number 18, 16 May, 2013

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Clean Energy News
Vol. 13, Number 18, 16 May 2013

Clean Energy News (CE News) is a weekly roundup of news, views and analysis about clean energy, clean air and climate change issues with focus on Nepal. To view the past volumes of CE News, click here.

In this Issue

National News
[Kathmandu] More pollution in city air as people battling breathing problems
Bid to Check Air Pollution Level Hits Snag
Govt Warming up to Green House Concept
Mount Everest Glaciers Have Shrunk 13% in 50 Years
Outer Ring Road a Hard Sell Among Valley Public

International News
Carbon Dioxide Levels Hit Troubling Milestone, Scientists Say
Health Impacts of Air Pollution: the Evidence Reviewed
Climate Change to Halve Habitat for Over 10,000 Common Species

Opinion, Analysis and Resources
Plugging in Polluting Power
Unsafe Roads
Reform Nepal Electricity Authority
Obstacle Course
Enhancing Disaster Resilience
Quest to Drive Down Energy Consumption

National News

[Kathmandu] More pollution in city air as people battling breathing problems
The Kathmandu Post, 6 May 2013
With most of the road sections lying in a neglected state, the onset of the summer season and the strong winds mean an increase in respiratory problems and eye irritations due to the rising dust level in the valley. The Kathmandu Valley Town Development Implementation Committee (KVTDIC) has so far demolished and expanded 140 km of the road, among which only 15 km have been blacktopped. KVTDIC still plans to bulldoze 260 km as part of the expansion drive.Data at the Tribhuvan Univeristy Teaching Hospital show that 377 patients with COPD had been admitted in the hospital in 2011, while 548 had been admitted in 2012. The hospital says that since these are chronic patients and require special medical attention, many patients with minor problems visit the OPD of the hospital every day.
Read more...

Bid to Check Air Pollution Level Hits Snag
By Pragati Shahi, The Kathmandu Post, 10 May 2013
The government’s attempt to resume air quality monitoring stations has suffered a setback as four of the total seven existing stations broke down barely two months after being repaired. The stations were brought back into operation after necessary repairing in the first week of February to address the growing concerns over the deteriorating quality of the Kathmandu Valley. An official at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MoSTE) said that the government was trying to revive the existing non-functional monitoring station just as short-term solution. “We’ve tried to fix the existing stations due to lack of budget to install the new ones. But installing the monitoring stations is not enough to address the deteriorating ambient air quality inside the Valley,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
Read more...

Govt Warming up to Green House Concept
By Pragati Shahi, The Kathmandu Post, 13 May 2013
The unchecked urban sprawl has led to myriad challenges ranging from severe energy crisis, environmental pollution, poor solid waste management to deteriorating quality of life of the city denizens. And Nepal is not an exception. As the environmental impacts of buildings become more apparent, planners in the country have started discussing the concept of green homes to create healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition. The maze of unmanaged infrastructure development has not only put pressure on natural resources such as water, soil and energy sources, but has also contributed to the increase in the emissions of harmful greenhouse gases over the years. According to the United Nations statistics, buildings emit 40 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases and contribute to 40 percent of solid waste.
According to Mahendra Subba, director general at the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, there is a growing consensus among policymakers, planners and development partners to work on transforming the existing housing sector from conventional brick-concrete buildings into more eco-friendly and sustainable development structures for both human well-being and local environment. The department has prioritised green building promotion in the national housing policy and finalised a draft on the green building guideline.
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Mount Everest Glaciers Have Shrunk 13% in 50 Years
Environment News Network
Glaciers in the Mount Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent and the snow-line has shifted 180 meters (590 feet) higher during the past 50 years, according to a study that will be presented this week at a conference organized by the American Geophysical Union. The research, led by Sudeep Thakuri of the University of Milan, is based on satellite imagery and topographic maps. Thakuri and colleagues reconstructed the glacial history of the region and concluded that ice retreat on Everest and the neighboring Sagarmatha National Park is accelerating due to warming temperatures (a 0.6 degree Celsius rise) and declining snowfall (a 100 millimeter decrease) since the early 1990s.
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Outer Ring Road a Hard Sell Among Valley Public
Republica, 14 May 2013
The news about outer ring road (ORR) construction had brought cheers to the valley public. The excitement, however, petered out soon with the project failing to take off. Now the government has announced to continue the project again, but people here are not very hopeful that the plan would materialize.
Read more...

International News

Carbon Dioxide Levels Hit Troubling Milestone, Scientists Say
By Brian Castag and Jason Samenow, Washington Post, 11 May 2013
Human influence on the Earth’s atmosphere touched what climate scientists called a dire milestone Friday as concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide nudged up to a level unseen in about 3 million to 5 million years — long before modern humans. A monitoring station in Hawaii recorded carbon dioxide concentrations of 400 parts per million Friday, dramatically up from the 316 parts per million recorded when the station made its first measurements in 1958. The monitor, high atop the Mauna Loa volcano, offers the longest-running record of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured directly from the air.
Read more...

Health Impacts of Air Pollution: the Evidence Reviewed
By WHO Regional Office for Europe
The damaging health impacts of some key air pollutants can occur at lower atmospheric concentrations than indicated by the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality guidelines, set in 2005 and currently used in Europe. This is according to a new WHO report, which assesses scientific evidence to help inform European air pollution policies. The report highlights key findings of the Review of Evidence on Health Aspects of Air pollution project, part-funded by the EU. It was written by 29 invited experts from a range of scientific fields who reviewed a wide range of scientific research to answer 22 key questions regarding the health effects of three major pollutants: particulate matter (PM), ozone and nitrogen dioxide. The experts drafted answers to each question based on the consensus found in research papers, which were then assessed by an independent scientific advisory committee.
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Climate Change to Halve Habitat for Over 10,000 Common Species
By Jeremy Hans, mongababy.com, 13 May 2013
Even as concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history last week, a new study in Nature Climate Change warns that thousands of the world's common species will suffer grave habitat loss under climate change. "While there has been much research on the effect of climate change on rare and endangered species, little has been known about how an increase in global temperature will affect more common species," says lead author Rachel Warren from UEA’s school of Environmental Sciences and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
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Opinion, Analysis and Resources

Plugging in Polluting Power
By Navin Singh Khadka, The Kathmandu Post, 10 May 2013
That Nepal’s perennial power crisis demands at least one large storage hydropower plant is a no-brainer.Stored water from such a project can make up for the supply gap mushrooming run-of-river type plants create during the dry season when water levels drop drastically. A number of promising storage sites have been identified, including Budi Gandaki and Upper Seti. But these are the pipelined projects we have been hearing about for ages now and they are still only on paper. There are several theories on why none of them has come into being all these years. Here is the latest one: storage projects would store water during monsoon to be used for dry-season power generation entailing high-value regulated flow for India. The water that becomes available during the dry season would indeed be precious. Many Nepali water experts have argued that Nepal needs to be compensated for creating such downstream benefits for India.
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Unsafe Roads
By Giri Bahadur Sunar, Republica, 11 May 2013
It is common knowledge that the roads in Nepal are not safe for driving. Pedestrians, cyclists, children, and the elderly are among the most vulnerable road users. Notably, Kathmandu Metropolitan City has one of the largest networks of roads in Nepal. There are rules and regulations in place for easy driving, but the so-called intellectuals living in the capital have their own driving rulebook, it seems. They hardly bother with traffic lanes and signs. Peter Friedman, a friend of mine from Germany, once talked about traffic in his native country. According to him, there are no traffic police on the roads there. Traffic moves smoothly with just the help of traffic lights. No bullying is needed on the road, because people are aware of their drivng lanes.
Read more...

Reform Nepal Electricity Authority
By Saroj Dhakal, The Kathmandu Post, 12 May 2013
Energy is not merely a commodity that project developers sell to the NEA but also a catalyst for economic and industrial growth. Since energy issues affect the price of consumer goods, inflation and economic growth, initiating some reform within the authority can assist in easily achieving these economic objectives. The chief secretary perhaps agrees with the fact that 21st century management and institutional strategy can prepare NEA for the potential investment that may come if politics were to be more stable. Time has come about to put the house in order as Nepal prepares to welcome its neighbors in a sector that can be a game changer for Nepal’s economy.
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Obstacle Course
Editorial, Republica, 13 May 2013
In Kathmandu valley at least, it has become more a norm to break traffic rules than to observe them. It isn’t hard to see why: most people can get away with it. Easily. The pedestrians have it the easiest. Unlike the motorists, they are not expected to follow even minimal rules. They can walk through red light and the traffic police at the intersection won’t even raise his eyebrow. There is no monitoring to ensure that pedestrians are using overhead bridges. Most people find it convenient to run across the short stretch under the bridge than overburden their legs going up and down. In fact, people can be seen crossing the road at the most unimaginable places, even when there are clear barriers to prevent them from doing so. It is clear that they don’t give two hoots about traffic laws. Inexplicably, some initial endeavors to punish jaywalkers petered out soon after they started a few months ago.
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Enhancing Disaster Resilience
By Dinanath Bhandari, The Himalayan Times, 13 May 2013
Summer monsoon is approaching and South Asia climate outlook has predicted above normal precipitation in Nepal. Recent data revealed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) shows that at least 420 people are killed every year in different disaster events in Nepal. Injuries, disruptions and a range of impacts including losses and damage to properties and livelihoods are not precisely reported due to lack of trustworthy mechanism. The losses of common property resources such as the forests gutted are rarely enumerated and included in the national disaster database.
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Quest to Drive Down Energy Consumption
By Dip Pandey, The Kathmandu Post, 14 May 2013 
In order to achieve comfortable living environment for human activities buildings in response to topography, geology and climatology of place should receive enough day light, air flow and solar radiations. Then, choosing appropriate material and technology that exerts lesser pressure on the resources and put lesser impact on the environment can make a building green. Installing solar photovoltaic panels for electricity, harvesting water from rain or managing solid waste is a later step applicable to all buildings.
Read more...

 

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