Monday, February 7, 2011

Guardian.co.uk

UK firm develops way to store hydrogen

Cella Energy used nanotechnology to develop microbeads that can trap hydrogen and release it when heated

One of the biggest stumbling blocks on the road to hydrogen power has long been the difficulty in storing the fuel. Hydrogen atoms are so small that they can slip between the spaces in molecules of other materials, and the gas can be a hazard if it escapes.

But a cheap and practical way of storing hydrogen has been developed by a British company. Cella Energy used nanotechnology to develop microbeads – about the size of a grain of sand – that can trap hydrogen and release it when heated. The energy can then be used safely to power vehicles – drivers could simply top up with microbeads on filling station forecourts. What's more, the beads are not just for hydrogen vehicles - they also work in standard combustion engines, in which they can be used as an additive to help the petrol burn more cleanly, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Cella's invention, developed at its lab in Oxford, was in the limelight on Tuesday after the company scooped this year's Springboard award from Shell.

Stephen Voller, chief executive, said the prize was "a great boost [that] will give us real credibility in the eyes of customers and potential investors alike". Cella received £40,000 from Shell, which the company will use to scale up its technology to an industrial scale.

Second place in the awards went to VPhase, a Chester-based company, for a voltage optimisation product for households. This works on the basis that standard voltage is variable, meaning some devices are using more energy than they need to run. So installing the device should result in instant savings on electricity bills.

Among the runners-up and regional winners from the 200 small businesses that entered were Ashwoods Automotive, with a product that lengthens the life of electric car batteries, and Naked Energy, with a solar panel that generates both electricity and hot water in cool climates.

The Springboard awards have been running since 2005, in which time 53 companies have shared more than £2m.

Comments in chronological order (Total 38 comments)

25 February 2011 4:58AM

Major breakthrough in Hydrogen energy storage. Hydrogen is the future energy carrier. Hydrogen along with fuel cells are expected to be major alternate energy.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

China plans to make a million electric vehicles a year by 2015
  • Green Futures: China and India take a lead in electric vehicle manufacture

Electric car production: workers assemble a Flyer car at the BYD plant in Xian, China. Photograph: Chien-Min Chung/Corbis

China is aiming to put more than a million electric vehicles onto the road each year by 2015, according to the state-run People's Daily. It claims that new plans for the auto industry are about to be published and will make "new energy" – electric and hybrid electric – vehicles a national priority.

China's long-term target is for 100 million new cars and buses to be produced each year by 2020, it says. China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is pledged to invest more than 100 billion yuan over the next 10 years to support new energy vehicle production, "in order to make China the world's largest new energy automobile production country".

EV manufacturers in India, meanwhile, have had a boost in the shape of a government decision to extend support in their domestic market. The subsidy package is worth up to about £13.4 million between now and 2011 and will represent 20% of each vehicle sold to Indian customers.

Pawan Goenka, the automotive sector president of G-Wiz manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra, said the move will encourage development of alternative fuel technologies across India. But Goenka, who leads the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, said the government would have to continue supporting the country's "technology leap" beyond 2011.

's comment

Comments in chronological order (Total 30 comments)

anumakonda

19 February 2011 10:27AM

China can make it. But what are needed are standards for Electric Vehicles. Our past experience with Electric scooters in India leaves much to be desired. Unless the efficient batteries are used for storage at an affordable price, Electric Vehicles may not be that popular.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India

Green economy needs 2% of every nation's income, says UN

Global green investment drive 'would pay off in terms of jobs, cleaner air and energy use'

The UN says a global green investment levy would pay for itself Photograph: Mick Tsikas/Reuters

The United Nations will call on Monday for 2% of worldwide income to be invested in the green economy, a move it says would boost jobs and economic growth.

The call is expected to be matched by statements of support for low-carbon investment from heads of state including President Barack Obama of the US and Hu Jintao of China, and several chiefs of multinational companies.

An investment of 2% of global GDP would more than pay for itself in the form of millions of new jobs, the development of new industries, health benefits from cleaner air, energy efficiency savings and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the UN is expected to say.

These findings are also backed up by a report to be published today by the German government, which warns that Europe will suffer continued low growth rates unless investment in green projects is increased. Raising the level of ambition in the EU's climate targets would increase European GDP by up to $842bn, a 6% rise, and create up to 6m additional jobs across member states.

The world stands at a critical point in terms of low-carbon investment, according to the UN. While India has a national action plan expected to stimulate $1tn of investment in the next decade, and China - already the biggest producer of wind power and solar panels - is pushing ahead with a five-year plan for a "clean revolution", other economies are wavering.

In the US, investment in renewable energy has stalled, and an HSBC analysis found that Republican plans currently before Congress would more than halve federal spending on low-carbon projects, including high-speed rail, carbon regulation and contributions to international climate funds. Plans put forward by Obama, by contrast, provide for a 20% increase in climate and clean energy funding above 2010 levels, paid for by the repeal of $4bn in fossil fuel subsidies and research.

Nick Robins, head of climate change at HSBC, said: "We expect tough negotiations to close this gulf in budgetary priorities between the president and Congress... Although we do not expect all the proposed cuts to materialise, key climate initiatives look set to be curbed."

In the European Union, politicians, green campaigners and businesses are at loggerheads over whether to adopt more ambitious climate targets. Several member states, including the UK, want to toughen the current goal of cutting emissions by 20% by 2020 to a cut of 30% by the same date, arguing that a more stringent target will create new jobs and allow the EU to keep up with China in the race to dominate the green economy. Their case was strongly boosted by a confidential European Commission analysis, seen by the Guardian, showing that if existing policies are followed through, the EU will comfortably exceed its current target, with a fall in emissions of about 25% by 2020.

The German environment ministry's report, also seen by the Guardian, added to this case, concluding that the current 20% target "has become too weak to mobilise innovations". Sticking with it, the authors say, "is the equivalent of digging deeper while still being stuck in a hole", while the 30% target is not only achievable but "economically beneficial".

In the UK, a group of leading businesses will unite today to urge George Osborne, the chancellor, to include measures to stimulate low-carbon development in his March Budget. Peter Young, chairman of the Aldersgate Group, said: "The chancellor has promised a budget for growth but we believe this must be a budget for green growth. The UK needs an explicit strategy to take advantage of the global shift to a green economy, driving jobs and exports. Cuts alone will not deliver a competitive economy."

Comments

anumakonda

21 February 2011 10:44AM

Yes. Every country should earmark sizeable budget for Green Economy.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India

Bill Bryson launches battle against litter on railways

Campaign led by the author aims to force Network Rail to fulfil its legal obligation to clear up rubbish

Bryson, the president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which has published a guide on complaining about litter. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

Standing on a crowded, windswept railway platform can be dreary on a cold Monday morning, especially when it's filthy with crisp wrappers and drink cans.

But in stations around the country, commuters are rising up and striking a blow against litter – even if they can't do anything about the weather.

The author Bill Bryson and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) are spearheading a campaign to force Network Rail and the train operators to clean up their stations, sidings and approaches, as they are legally obliged to do. Members of the public can use a legal mechanism called a litter abatement order to compel public land managers to remove rubbish.

Bryson, the president of the CPRE, is presenting an order to clean up the litter in stations in Cambridgeshire. Other campaigners are targeting London Bridge station, St Austell in Cornwall, Hersham in Surrey, Ainsdale on Merseyside, Clacton-on-Sea in Essex and Gravesend in Kent.

Bryson said: "This is not a complicated or controversial issue. Organisations responsible for public land are required to keep it clear of litter. If they are not taking this responsibility seriously, we all have the power to compel them to do so."

CPRE has written an online guide to the orders. For one to be granted, the complainant has to show that litter was persistently left uncleared, and a request to the land manager to clean it was ignored.

A photograph of the problem is the best way to start, along with a letter or email to the station manager. If this is ignored, it should be followed up with an email or letter to the chief executive of the station operator – such as Network Rail – declaring the intention to apply for a litter abatement order. At this stage, according to CPRE, most managers will respond and clear up.

Applying for an order costs about £80 to £200, but if a magistrate decrees it is valid, the costs are returned.

Bryson said railway stations had been targeted first because of the poor image they give to tourists and visitors. "Railway operators and Network Rail are not the only offenders, but they are responsible for far too much uncollected litter," he said. "The first impression for a visitor arriving in a town is often formed by their view from a train carriage, and it is a disgrace that the view is so often a degraded and dirty one that suggests a lack of care or pride in the area."

14 February 2011 2:21PM

I agree with you Bill Bryson, I wish we in developing countries adopt cleanliness in Railways and public places. As Mahatma Gandhi said, CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS. The trouble is many people in developing countries are individually clean but collectively not.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India

China bids to ease drought with $1bn emergency water aid

World's biggest wheat producer resorts to desperate measures in attempt to protect harvest from worst drought in 60 years

A villager irrigates his dried wheat field against the winter drought in Jimo, China. Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA

China has announced a billion dollars in emergency water aid to ease its most severe drought in 60 years, as the United Nations warned of a threat to the harvest of the world's biggest wheat producer.

Beijing has also promised to use its grain reserves to reduce the pressure on global food prices, which have surged in the past year to record highs due to the floods in Australia and a protracted dry spell in Russia.

The desperate measures were evident at Baita reservoir in Shandong – one of several key agricultural provinces afflicted by four months without rain. With nearby crops turning yellow, a mechanical digger cut a crude, open-cast well into the dried-up bed of the reservoir. Muddy water from the five-metre deep pit was pumped up to the surface via a hose that snaked past a fishing boat stranded on the cracked earth.

As the water spluttered on to his wheat field, farmer Liu Baojin expressed concern the support may have come too late. Despite the emergency well digging and partial compensation from the government, he fears he may have to seek work in the city if his harvest fails.

"I guess a third of my crops have already died," he said. "I'm very worried. I've never seen such a dry spell."

The problems are compounded by the growing water demands of cities and industry. On the outskirts of Sishui – which translates as Four Waters due to its historic abundance of rivers and sprints – villagers complain that they are not allowed to use the Si river that runs past their homes because the water is earmarked for the Huajin paper mill and an artificial lake in a nearby urban development.

"We can't use our own water. The local officials want to keep it so they can show a 'green face' to the big-shot leaders from Beijing," said a peanut and cotton farmer who gave the surname Liu. "We are very angry. But we are afraid to complain."

Local newspapers have been filled with stories of the drought's impact on the "wheat basket" provinces of Henan, Anhui and Hunan. About 2.6 million people and 2.8 million livestock are affected. To induce precipitation, the army and metereological officials have fired cloud-seeding chemicals into the sky.

A light overnight fall of snow raised hopes that the drought may be about to break, but the Shandong Climate Centre said it stopped at 0.4mm – only enough to dust the fields.

"It's too little to make any difference," said Kong Dekun, who farms land near the mythical birthplace of Confucius in Fuzidong. "We should have had at least two big snowfalls by now."

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation issued an alert earlier this week (pdf). "The ongoing drought is potentially a very serious problem," it said, noting that the affected area of 5.16 million hectares representd two-thirds of China's wheat production.

This has added to upward pressure on global wheat prices, which surged 76% last year due to a combination of speculation, rising demand and climatic impacts on production in Canada, Australia, Europe and Russia.

China bucked the trend with a record harvest in 2010, but the lack of rain – even by the standards of the dry season – has prompted concerns and price speculation that have pushed domestic wheat prices to record highs.

"This drought is unusual," said Kisan Gunjal, food emergency officer at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. "There is not such a great problem now as the crop is dormant, but we must keep in mind that if it remains dry or if temperatures in February go below the frost kill level – then this could be a significant event."

Rising food prices are said to have contributed to the unrest in Egypt and Tunisia. The Chinese government is trying to head off a destabilising level of stress over water, which is arguably the country's biggest environmental problem.

Premier Wen Jiabao has visited Shandong to promise help for the farmers. This week, his government unveiled a 6.7bn yuan ($1bn) package of measures to divert water, construct emergency wells and improve irrigation.

Last month, it announced a doubling of spending on water conservation to 4tn yuan (£400bn) over the next ten years, along with a first annual cap on water at 670 billion cubic metres. Huge sums are also being spent on water diversion projects, well digging and desalination plants.

Comments

anumakonda

12 February 2011 5:47AM

Chinese timely measures to tackle drought and save wheat production are laudable.

Here is a FAO Report on the Subject:

“The FAO has just released a special briefing on wheat production in China, through its Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS). “A severe winter drought in the North China Plain may put wheat production at risk,” said the FAO. “Substantially below-normal rainfall since October 2010 in the North China Plain, the country’s main winter wheat producing area, puts at risk the winter wheat crop to be harvested later in the month of June.”

Low precipitation resulting in diminished snow cover has reduced the protection of dormant wheat plants against frost kill temperatures (usually below -18°C) during winter months from December to February. Low precipitation and thin snow cover have also jeopardized the soil moisture availability for the post-dormant growing period. Thus, the ongoing drought is potentially a serious problem”.


FAO’s GIEWS said that the main affected provinces include Shandong, Jiangsu, Henan, Hebei and Shanxi, which together represent about 60% of the area planted and two-thirds of the national wheat production. According to official estimates some 5.16 million hectares out of the total of about 14 million hectares under winter wheat may have been affected in these provinces. The drought has reportedly affected some 2.57 million people and 2.79 million livestock due to the shortages of drinking water.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

The truth behind India's nuclear renaissance

Jaitapur's French-built nuclear plant is a disaster in waiting, jeopardising biodiversity and local livelihoods

Comments (33)

Praful Bidwai

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 8 February 2011 23.00 GMT

The global "nuclear renaissance" touted a decade ago has not materialised. The US's nuclear industry remains starved of new reactor orders since 1973, and western Europe's first reactor after Chernobyl (1986) is in serious trouble in Finland – 42 months behind schedule, 90% over budget, and in bitter litigation. But India is forging ahead to create an artificial nuclear renaissance by quadrupling its nuclear capacity by 2020 and then tripling it by 2030 by pumping billions into reactor imports from France, Russia and America, and further subsidising the domestic Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL).

The first victim of this will be an extraordinarily precious ecosystem in the Konkan region of the mountain range that runs along India's west coast. This is one of the world's biodiversity "hotspots" and home to 6,000 species of flowering plants, mammals, birds and amphibians, including 325 threatened ones. It is the source of two major rivers. Botanists say it's India's richest area for endemic plants. With its magical combination of virgin rainforests, mountains and sea, it puts Goa in the shade.

NPCIL is planning to install six 1,650-MW reactors here, at Jaitapur in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district, based on the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) design of the French company Areva – the very same that's in trouble in Finland. The government has forcibly acquired 2,300 acres under a colonial law, ignoring protests. As construction begins, mountains will be flattened, trees uprooted, harbours razed, and a flourishing farming, horticultural and fisheries economy destroyed, jeopardising 40,000 people's survival.

To rationalise this ecocide, the government declared the area "barren". This is a horrendous lie, says India's best-known ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who heads the environment ministry's expert panel on its ecology. As I discovered during a visit to Jaitapur, there's hardly a patch of land that's not green with paddy, legumes, cashew, pineapple and coconut. So rich are its fisheries that they pay workers three times the statutory minimum wage, a rarity in India.

Jaitapur's villagers are literate. They know about Chernobyl, radiation, and the nuclear waste problem. They have seen films on injuries inflicted on villagers like them by Indian uranium mines and reactors – including cancers, congenital deformities and involuntary abortions. They don't want the Jaitapur plant. Of the 2,275 families whose land was forcibly acquired, 95% have refused to collect compensation, including one job per family. The offer provokes derision, as does Indo-French "co-operation". When Nicolas Sarkozy visited India to sell EPRs, Jaitapur saw the biggest demonstration against him.

The EPR safety design hasn't been approved by nuclear regulators anywhere. Finnish, British and French regulators have raised 3,000 safety issues including control, emergency-cooling and safe shutdown systems. A French government-appointed expert has recommended modifications to overcome the EPR's problems. Modifications will raise its cost beyond €5.7bn. Its unit generation costs will be three times higher than those for wind or coal. India had a nightmarish experience with Enron, which built a white elephant power plant near Jaitapur, nearly bankrupting Maharashtra's electricity board.

Jaitapur's people are more concerned about being treated as sub-humans by the state, which has unleashed savage repression, including hundreds of arrests, illegal detentions and orders prohibiting peaceful assemblies. Eminent citizens keen to express solidarity with protesters were banned, including a former supreme court judge, the Communist party's secretary and a former Navy chief. Gadgil too was prevented. A former high court judge was detained illegally for five days. Worse, a Maharashtra minister recently threatened that "outsiders" who visit Jaitapur wouldn't be "allowed to come out" (alive).

This hasn't broken the people's resolve or resistance. They have launched their own forms of Gandhian non-cooperation and civil disobedience. Elected councillors from 10 villages have resigned. People boycotted a 18 January public hearing in Mumbai convened to clear "misconceptions" about nuclear power. They refused to hoist the national flag, as is traditionally done, on Republic Day (26 January). They have decided not to sell food to officials. When teachers were ordered to teach pupils about the safety of nuclear reactors, parents withdrew children from school for a week.

The peaceful campaign, with all its moral courage, hasn't moved the government. It accepted an extraordinarily sloppy environmental assessment report on Jaitapur, which doesn't consider biodiversity and nuclear safety, or even mention radioactive waste. It subverted the law on environment-related public hearings. It cleared the project six days before Sarkozy's visit.

Why the haste? India's nuclear establishment has persistently missed targets and delivered a fraction of the promised electricity – under 3% – with dubious safety. It was in dire straits till it conducted nuclear explosions in 1998, which raised its status within India's national-chauvinist elite – and its budget. The major powers have "normalised" India's nuclear weapons through special exceptions in global nuclear commerce rules. France used these to drive a bargain for cash-strapped Areva. Its counterpart is the disaster-in-waiting called Jaitapur.

Comments

anumakonda

9 February 2011 7:25AM

I read and read your article., Praful Bidwai . I differ with you on some issues raised.

India has a 12% shortage in power during the peak hours between 5pm and 11pm, but experts say this number could be higher.

"The government has estimated that India will require an installed capacity of over 200,000 megawatt (MW) by 2012 to meet the electricity demand, which will be 60 percent more of what the country has at present. At present, about 26 percent of installed power generation capacity in India is hydropower against 50 percent in the 1960s, while around 66 percent is thermal generation including gas. Hydropower projects based in south India account for 30% or 11,400MW of the country’s installed capacity of 38,000MW of such power. To make matters worse, of country’s total installed capacity of 147,000MW, only around 85,000MW is operational at any given point of time. India plans to add 78,577MW by 2012, but Mint had reported on 28 August 2007 that it could miss this target by up to 60% because of shortage of equipment and contractors.India’s track record in adding power generating capacity is poor: in the five years to 2007, the country added 20,950MW of capacity, against a target of 41,110MW.India needs to give a major thrust to nuclear energy to overcome power shortage and fuel economic growth, given the limitations of the conventional sources of energy, said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee."( Pradeep, Power Shortage In India Filed under: Economy, Happenings by moonwrites ).

Nuclear Energy in India

"Dr. Srikumar Banerjee(Chairman,Atomic Energy Commission,Government of India) spoke to Nature about India's nuclear ambitions, and the balance between its civilian and military programmes.
How do you plan to increase India's nuclear-power capacity?
Presently we generate 4.7 gigawatts of nuclear power from 18 reactors — about 3% of the total electricity generation in India. We would like to increase that to 60 gigawatts by about 2035, which will be roughly 10% of expected total installed capacity.
“We have always emphasized that we should have the right to reprocess imported nuclear fuel to separate plutonium.”
Srikumar Banerjee
Atomic Energy Commission
India's established reserve of uranium will allow us to raise our installed capacity only to 10 gig watts. We are intensifying our efforts to search for uranium in the country, but that takes time. But now that the Nuclear Suppliers Group [the international group that oversees nuclear exports] has relaxed its guidelines, we can access international markets.
Agreements with the United States, France and Russia on civilian nuclear cooperation have been signed. Negotiations between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and companies in France and Russia are under way for finalizing the import of nuclear reactors, and we have already placed a purchase order for uranium with Kazakhstan(India's nuclear future,naturenews, Published online 4 January 2010 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2010.0)".

To meet the power shortage in India Nuclear Energy has a major role to play.

It is unfortunate that a hue and cry is raised whenever a big power plant is proposed. For Nuclear power, safety and for coal based Thermal power pollution. In Andhra Pradesh, India there is a major opposition for the establishment of Coal based Thermal power plants. My question is, how are coal based Thermal power plants are working in USA, Europe and other developed countries? Why there is no uproar on them if they are heavy pollluters? As power is a dire necessity,the Government should ensure there is safety for nuclear power plants and coal thermal plants produce least pollution.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India

The cost of climate policy uncertainty

    • Even a modest price for carbon would encourage investment in green jobs and reduce
  • Comments (16)
·

The carbon capture unit at a power station. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Observer

Any mention of climate policy was noticeably missing from President Obama's recent state of the union address. This is unfortunate because every day of inaction on climate policy by the United States government is another day that American consumers must pay substantially higher prices for products derived from crude oil, such as gasoline and diesel fuel. Moreover, a substantial fraction of the revenues from these higher prices goes to governments of countries that the US would prefer not to support.

So, what is the cost of a single day of delay? US crude oil consumption is approximately 20m barrels per day and roughly 12m barrels per day are imported. An oil price that, because of climate policy uncertainty, is $20 a barrel higher than it would otherwise have been implies that US consumers pay $400m per day more, of which $240m per day is paid to foreign oil producers. Dividing these figures by the United States population implies that every US citizen is paying about $1 per day more for oil – and more than half of that may be going to an unfriendly foreign government.

Why does this climate policy price premium exist? It is not due to a dearth of readily available technologies for producing substitutes for conventional oil. A number currently exist that are economic at oil prices significantly below current world prices of $80-90 per barrel. Several even have the potential to scale up to replace a large fraction of US oil consumption.

Tar sands and heavy oils, gas-to-liquids and coal-to-liquids are all available to produce substantial amounts of conventional oil substitutes at average costs at or below $60 per barrel. If these technologies were currently in place throughout the US, the world price of oil would not exceed that price, because any attempt by conventional oil suppliers to raise prices beyond that level would immediately be met by additional supply from producers of oil substitutes.

But if these technologies are financially viable at current world oil prices, then why don't they exist in the US? That's because they require massive up-front expenditures to construct the necessary production facilities. These fixed costs, plus the variable costs of production, must be recovered from sales over the lifetime of the project – and future climate policy can substantially increase the variable costs of these technologies.

Climate policy uncertainty impacts of the economic viability of these technologies because of the increased carbon intensity of the gasoline and diesel fuel substitutes they produce. Almost double the greenhouse gas emissions result per unit of useful energy produced and consumed relative to conventional oil. Therefore, if the US decided to set a significant price for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at some future date, either through a cap-and-trade mechanism or carbon fee, investors in these technologies would immediately realise a massive loss – because they would have to pay the price fixed for all of the CO2 emissions that result from producing and consuming these oil substitutes.

To understand this point, suppose that a technology exists to convert coal to an oil substitute that is financially viable at an oil price of $60 per barrel and that this technology produces double the CO2 per unit of useful energy relative to oil. At a $90 per barrel oil price, this technology could be unprofitable for a modest price of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions because of its substantially higher carbon intensity. For instance, at a $100 per ton price of CO2 emissions – which is roughly twice the highest price observed in the European Union's emissions permit trading scheme – the total cost per barrel of oil equivalent, including the cost of the additional emissions, could easily exceed $90 per barrel.

A solution to this investment impasse is a stable, predictable price of carbon into the distant future. Although there is currently a regional cap and trade mechanism for CO2 emissions in the Northeast US, permit prices in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have been extremely modest – less than $5 per ton of CO2. California also plans to implement a cap-and-trade mechanism in 2012. No significant coal-mining activity takes place in the participating RGGI states or in California. But such regional cap-and-trade programmes are unlikely to set prices for CO2 emissions for a long enough time and with sufficient certainty to encourage investment in facilities to produce conventional oil substitutes. In other words, despite regional experiments with cap-and-trade, it is the national climate policy uncertainty that remains the major factor in preventing these investments.

If prospective investors in the major fossil fuel-producing regions of the US knew the cost of the CO2 emissions associated with these alternative technologies over the lifetime of each alternative fuel project, they would be able to decide which projects are likely to be financially viable at that carbon price. Particularly for coal-to-liquids, much of this investment would take place in the US because of the massive amount of available domestic coal reserves. This investment would also provide much-needed new domestic high-wage jobs.

New sources of supply of conventional oil substitutes would reduce oil prices, create new jobs in the United States and reduce the amount of money sent to governments, whose interests are counter to the US. Finally, this price of carbon would raise much-needed revenues for the US government and stimulate investment in lower carbon energy sources, such as wind, solar and biofuels. A modest, yet stable long-term price of carbon might even stimulate so much investment in conventional oil substitutes and low-carbon energy sources that the long-term net effect of this carbon price could be lower average energy prices across all sources.

The investments in these technologies need not result in higher aggregate CO2 emissions. For example, coal-to-liquids produces a concentrated CO2 emissions stream that is ideally suited to the deployment of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. Consequently, a carbon price high enough to make CCS financially viable, yet reasonable enough to make this technology competitive with conventional oil, would address both concerns.

If there are concerns that committing to a modest carbon price may be insufficient to address climate concerns, this commitment could be stipulated only for investment projects initiated within a certain time window. The US government could reserve the right to increase this CO2 emissions price for projects initiated after that period. This logic has not escaped the Chinese government, where General Electric and Shenhua, a major Chinese coal producer, recently announced a joint coal gasification project, which is financially viable because the Chinese government can provide the necessary climate policy certainty.

The choice is stark: either we can continue to wait to implement the perfect climate policy, and in the meantime pay higher prices for oil, and watch countries like China that are able to provide climate policy certainty to investors move forward with this new industrial development; or we could commit to a modest climate policy and so unleash the new technologies and new jobs made possible by this more favourable investment environment.

Comments:

anumakonda

6 February 2011 6:15AM

Yes. There is urgent need for Climate Policy in USA.

Here is an excellent interview on the Climate Policy.

Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung, 14 November 2010)THE GLOBAL WARMING POLICY FOUNDATION)

Interview: Bernard Potter

“NZZ am Sonntag: Mr. Edenhofer, everybody concerned with climate protection demands emissions reductions. You now speak of "dangerous emissions reduction." What do you mean?

Ottmar Edenhofer: So far economic growth has gone hand in hand with the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. One percent growth means one percent more emissions. The historic memory of mankind remembers: In order to get rich one has to burn coal, oil or gas. And therefore, the emerging economies fear CO2 emission limits.

But everybody should take part in climate protection, otherwise it does not work.

That is so easy to say. But particularly the industrialized countries have a system that relies almost exclusively on fossil fuels. There is no historical precedent and no region in the world that has decoupled its economic growth from emissions. Thus, you cannot expect that India or China will regard CO2 emissions reduction as a great idea. And it gets worse: We are in the midst of a renaissance of coal, because oil and gas (sic) have become more expensive, but coal has not. The emerging markets are building their cities and power plants for the next 70 years, as if there would be permanently no high CO 2 price.

The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.

That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.

That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.

Basically it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. Why? Because we have 11,000 gigatons of carbon in the coal reserves in the soil under our feet - and we must emit only 400 gigatons in the atmosphere if we want to keep the 2-degree target. 11 000 to 400 - there is no getting around the fact that most of the fossil reserves must remain in the soil.”

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

How extreme weather could create a global food crisis

2010 was among the hottest and wettest years on record – we are entering a period of climate and food insecurity

Russians attempt to put out a fire during last year's unprecedented month-long heatwave. Photograph: Denis Sinyakov/Reuters

The US national oceanic and atmospheric administration reported that 2010 tied 2005 for the hottest year on record – and was the wettest year on record. This is no coincidence. As Kevin Trenberth, the head of climate analysis for of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, explained:

There is a systematic influence on all of these weather events nowadays because there is more water vapour lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be, say, 30 years ago. It's about a 4% extra amount, provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it's unfortunate that the public is not associating this with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get worse in the future.

Globally, 2010 saw 19 nations – a record number – set temperature records including Pakistan, which hit 53.5C, the hottest temperature ever reliably measured in Asia's history. From mid-December to mid-January of this year, the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) reported that parts of north-eastern Canada were 21C above average, "which are very large values to be sustained for an entire month". In Coral Harbour, in the north-west corner of Hudson Bay, "the town went 11 days without getting down to its average daily high." In mid-December, Greenland experienced the most extreme high-pressure system of its kind ever recorded anywhere on the planet. Last year saw the greatest ice melt on record for Greenland.

In America, Tennessee was devastated by a once-in-1,000-year rain storm leading to what some called Nashville's Katrina. In October, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Midwest broke pressure records.

As Craig Fugate, who heads the US federal emergency management agency, said in December: "The term '100-year event' really lost its meaning this year."

The Moscow heatwave this summer was so severe that the Russian Meteorological Centre reported: "There was nothing similar to this on the territory of Russia during the last 1,000 years in regard to the heat." The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, said: "What is happening now in our central regions is evidence of this global climate change, because we have never in our history faced such weather conditions in the past." The country banned grain exports through this year's growing season.

Pakistan was inundated by a deluge that seemed beyond imagination – until an area the size of Germany and France combined was inundated by "biblical" floods in Australia. In Carnarvon, more than a year's rain fell in just 24 hours. In one city in Queensland, six inches fell in just 30 minutes. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology in its annual report for 2010 pointed out:

Very warm sea surface temperatures contributed to the record rainfall and very high humidity across eastern Australia during winter and spring. The most recent decade (2001-10) was also the warmest decade on record for sea surface temperatures following the pattern observed over land.

In January, more than 300mm fell in just a few hours in many regions of Brazil, causing their deadliest natural disaster in history. Again, a key contributor was the second warmest sea surface temperatures on record for the moisture source region.

Individually, these climate-driven extreme events were disasters, but collectively they contributed to a global food crisis. In early January, the Financial Times reported the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's food price index, "a basket tracking the wholesale cost of wheat, corn, rice, oilseeds, dairy products, sugar and meats" had jumped to a record high.

Lester Brown, a leading authority on food insecurity, and author World on the Edge, explained to me what the world is facing. When the real food instability comes – if, for instance, the US or Chinese breadbasket gets hit by the type of heatwave Russia just did – the big grain producers will ban exports, to make sure their people are fed. In this scenario, if you don't have your own food supplies or an important export item to barter – particularly oil – your country is going to have big, big problems feeding its people.

We are entering an era of climate and food insecurity. Munich Re, one of the world's leading reinsurers, issued a news release in late September, entitled "large number of weather extremes as strong indication of climate change," which noted:

Munich Re's natural catastrophe database, the most comprehensive of its kind in the world, shows a marked increase in the number of weather-related events ... it would seem that the only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change. The view that weather extremes are more frequent and intense due to global warming coincides with the current state of scientific knowledge as set out in the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report.

America's top climatologist, Dr James Hansen, head of Nasa's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, said:

Given the association of extreme weather and climate events with rising global temperature, the expectation of new record high temperatures in 2012 also suggests that the frequency and magnitude of extreme events could reach a high level in 2012. Extreme events include not only high temperatures, but also indirect effects of a warming atmosphere including the impact of higher temperature on extreme rainfall and droughts. The greater water vapour content of a warmer atmosphere allows larger rainfall anomalies and provides the fuel for stronger storms driven by latent heat.


Barring a major volcano, half the years this decade are likely to be warmer than 2010. That means wetter and more extreme weather. And that means more food insecurity.

On our current emissions path, Russia's grain-export-ending heatwave and drought could be a once every decade event – or even more frequent. And that will collide with extreme events around the world.

In 2010, the world received its first global warning, bombarded by multiple events that are considered extreme today, but what will eventually be viewed as the norm – if humanity fails to act.

• Joseph Romm is editor of the US-based blog Climate Progress

Comments

6 February 2011 5:52AM

There is an equation:

C= B: E

The Carrying Capacity of any land depends on the Biotic Potential and the Environmental Resistance.

Nature has its own inbuilt mechanism to maintain ecological balance, when man violates it the calamities occur. Hence the old saying MAN HAS TO LIVE IN HARMONY WITH NATURE but not loot it and pollute it.

As Mahatma Gandhi said:

"There is enough for everybody’s need but not for anybody's greed".

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India

When it comes to windfarms, I don't feel bad about nimbyism

Whatever the government may say, wind turbines are not necessarily a good thing

·

Wind turbines generate electricity only when the wind is blowing and there is no economic way of storing it. Photograph: Heath Korvola/Getty Images

People are frightened of criticising windfarms. It is politically incorrect to do so, for windfarms are hailed as powerful weapons in the battle against global warming. Unlike fossil fuels, which presently generate more than 70% of Britain's electricity, wind turbines emit no carbon into the atmosphere. They are clean and green and therefore virtuous, unlike those who attack them. They are viewed as such throughout the world, and especially by the EU, which has told member countries how much of the energy they use must come from renewable resources by 2020: for Britain the figure is 15%. In our sunless country that kind of energy means windfarms, and the British government has actively encouraged them by requiring that power companies buy a percentage of their electricity from renewable generators or face fines. So to oppose windfarms is to be both unpatriotic and a bad citizen of the world.

There is a downside to wind turbines, of course. They are enormous. If Antony Gormley's Angel of the North is considered tall, the average wind turbine is twice its height. Windfarms loom over the countryside, visible for miles around. They kill bats by exploding their little lungs. They frighten horses with an effect known as "shadow flicker". They make a noise that keeps people awake at night. But all these drawbacks pale into insignificance compared to the great benefits they are supposed to bring to mankind. Even the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) decided at one stage that the "industrialisation of the countryside" was acceptable "in order to avoid the damage to the environment caused by not generating renewable energy". If even the CPRE, the chief defender of the English countryside, was in favour of these huge excrescences in the landscape, how could anybody reasonably object to them?

Wanting to look on the bright side of life, many people claim to find wind turbines beautiful; and it's true that one turbine standing alone in a windswept setting can look very striking. But just as the Angel of the North is striking, one might get a bit fed up with it if it were replicated thousands of times all over the country. Be that as it may, the drawbacks of wind turbines are well known and should, we are told, be tolerated for the sake of the greater good. And it particularly behoves those of us who live near potential wind-farm sites to forsake nimbyism and set an example of self-sacrifice. But at this point I must reveal an interest and confess that self-sacrifice is not an option I plan to adopt.

I live in south Northamptonshire, where I am the custodian of two 17th-century pavilions, once linked by colonnades to a country house called Stoke Park that burned down in the 1880s. Built originally as a chapel and a library, they are attributed to the architect Inigo Jones and are among the very first buildings in England in the Palladian style. They were almost derelict when my late uncle Robin bought them more than 50 years ago and restored them with the help of a large government grant. Though I say it myself, they are rather beautiful and look out over tranquil parkland that was recently replanted and returned to pasture with the aid of another government grant. Bordering the parkland runs the little river Tove, beyond which, along the length of the valley between Stoke Park and the racecourse at Towcester about three miles away, it is proposed to erect 16 wind turbines, each nearly 100 feet taller than Big Ben, or two and a half times the height of Nelson's Column. They would be a blight not only on the Stoke Park pavilions, which would be the nearest buildings to them, but on everyone and everything else for miles around.

The formal planning application has yet to be made. It is being preceded at present by an Environmental Impact Assessment in which interested bodies (but, strangely, not individuals) are asked to give their opinions about how the project would affect landscape, heritage, wildlife, traffic, leisure and so on. It seems pretty certain that English Heritage will advise against it, as I expect will the CPRE, which is becoming daily less keen on windfarms. In a paper entitled Windfarms: Time to Change Direction? which was published in July last year, the Northamptonshire branch of CPRE said the organisation should "re-evaluate" its support for them in the light of new evidence suggesting "that the generation of electricity from wind is not an effective way of reducing carbon emissions".

There are lots of reasons for believing this, but the main one is probably the fact that there is as yet no economic way of storing electricity; and since turbines generate it only when the wind is blowing, and this isn't necessarily when demand for electricity is high (as during last December, when the weather was freezing but there was very little wind), the old fossil fuel generators will have to be kept going to keep supply and demand in balance. There is also a question as to whether the carbon emitted in the manufacture of wind turbines exceeds the amount saved during many years of their operation. A recent article in the Sunday Times also highlighted the disastrous environmental pollution caused in northern China by the extraction of neodymium, a metal needed for the magnets on which wind turbines depend.

However persuasive the case in general against windfarms may be, the district councils that decide whether or not they may go ahead are not allowed to take this into account. They may not question the government's policy, which is that windfarms are a good thing, even at the cost of ruining large stretches of unspoiled countryside. But at least I don't need to feel guilty any more about objecting to having one on my doorstep.

Comments

5 February 2011 5:23PM

It seems the author is not aware of the history of Wind Energy and the present need to generate power by all means including wind. The following are some of the numerous advantages of using wind turbines.
• Generate more electricity since this energy is renewable.
• Wind turbines are cleaner compared to other sources of energy that creates pollution.
• It provides additional energy demand as population increases and many people are using the energy day by day.
• The energy we use here is free
• Wind energy is renewable so it will never runs out of availability
• There are no hazardous emissions in wind powered energy technology.
• There is no adverse impacts on environment
Wind is the oldest among Renewable Energy Sources.Water pumping windmills and windmills for grinding in Netherlands are centuries old. With the emergence of Wind Turbines large scale wind turbines are in operation. The present Wind Installations

The Total capacity of Wind Installations Worldwide upto June 2010,MW.

USA 36,300 China 33,800 Germany 26,400 Spain 19,500 India 12,100 Italy 5,300 France 5,000 United Kingdom 4,600 Portugal 3,800 and Denmark 3,700 Rest of the World 24,500 and Total 175,000 MW.


Latest offshore wind statistics released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) confirm that the UK is the European and world leader in the sector, with 1,341MW installed. The UK is followed by Denmark (854MW), the Netherlands (249MW), Belgium (195MW) and Sweden (164MW). Germany, Ireland, Finland and Norway have a further 145MW between them.

Alexander Chancellor,all the drawbacks of wind turbines you mention like noise, killing of birds, storage are nothing compared to the benefits of Wind Energy as a supplementary energy to conventional Energy like Coal,Petroleum,gas etc., There are two systems to tap wind energy: Stand alone systems which store energy in batteries and grid connected large wind turbines. Today the largest Wind Turbine is 5 MwW.

The wind energy has actually been used for thousands of years. This was used by our ancestors on their navigation, exploration and fishing.. Population is increasing every minute and the wide use of energy causes our sources to deplete faster than it is being replaced. Thus, we really have to consider using wind powered energy appliances as a strong contender for future production of renewable electricity.

“No Power is costlier than No Power” so spoke Dr.H.J.Bhabha the noted Indian Nuclear Scientist. In this context wind energy offers promise to provide energy in inaccessible areas which are not covered by Grid.

There is a Chinese old saying,: “When winds of change occur some build walls while others build Windmills”.

Let us promote Wind Energy which is inexhaustible, pollution-free and which cannot be misused.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
Wind Energy Expert
E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com.

China plots course for green growth amid a boom built on dirty industry

National economic blueprint set to tackle pollution and waste, and invest in renewable energy

Smog down a main street of Linfen, in China's Shanxi province. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Whisper it, but could China be about to turn an environmental corner after more than three decades of filthy economic growth? Hopes for a cleaner future are rising ahead of a national blueprint to tackle pollution, waste and champion renewable technology.

The five-year plan, due in March, is being hailed as the greenest strategy document in the country's history. Sceptics warn that one environmental threat – industrial pollution – may be replaced by another – excess consumption.

The five-year economic plan, once an arcane exercise in communist fiat, has big implications for the outside world. It could affect the colour of the sky, the planet's temperature and the welfare of billions of people beyond the jurisdiction of the country's mandarins.

An army of cadres, officials and academics have spent years laying groundwork for the plan – the 12th since Mao Zedong started Soviet-style strategising in 1953. They have one of the world's most ambitious administrative tasks: plotting a course for a continent-sized nation, a 1.4 billion population and a $5 trillion economy that is growing at double-digit speed every year.

It has never been more important to the global environment.

China is the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, number one energy user and arguably the most polluted nation on earth. The International Energy Agency noted that Europe's plan to extend 1990-2020 carbon dioxide cuts from 20% to 30% would equal only two weeks of China's emissions.

The final document will include measures to curb pollution, promote clean technology and initiate an environment tax, the Guardian understands.

"The environment tax is going to happen. This is evident in the proposals for the next five-year plan," said Ma Zhong director of the school of environment and national resources at Renmin University. "It is likely to be levied nationwide, but there is also a possibility it will initially be introduced in selected regions."

Other radical measures still under discussion include a possible cap on energy use and a shift away from GDP-based performance evaluation, academics and government advisers say.

Hu Angang, economics professor at Tsinghua University and a consultant on the plan, said he advised the government to set a cap on energy consumption, to influence when China's emissions might peak. With existing targets, this is not likely before 2030, by when carbon dioxide output will have more than doubled. Hu is pressing for more rapid reductions.

"For the first time, we will see a new model pioneered by a country that is not yet developed. This is a historical, critical change," he said. "The new five-year plan is an opportunity for China to lead the green revolution, which will de-link growth and carbon dioxide emissions."

It is far from certain his radical proposal will be adopted, though several NGOs and international institutions said the suggestion has had surprising traction.

The five-year plan will see a growth in both black and green power consumption. Even as coal use rises, Beijing will blaze further along the trail towards a low-carbon economy. Its wind power generating capacity has doubled annually for four years and in 2010 became yet another field in which China surpassed the US to become number one. Seven of the planet's top 10 solar panel makers are now Chinese.

The focus in future is likely to be nuclear energy, forecast to increase tenfold over the next 10 years, and hydroelectric power. Last month, the National Energy Agency said China plans to build an additional 140 gigawatts of hydropower capacity in the next five years, though this will have a dire impact on ecologically crucial sites.

The country's high-speed rail network – non-existent in 2008 – will be bigger than the rest of the world combined within two years. According to one domestic carmaker, China will soon unveil plans for 10m electric car charge-and-park places by 2020. In these and other fields, such as eco-city development and public transport construction, the five-year plan is likely to set ambitious spending targets.

Last year China invested $34bn in clean technology, compared to $18bn by the US. The contrast – which shocked many in Washington – is partly explained by different political systems, vested interests and stages of development. While the US is dominated by big oil and big money, China is run by big hydro and big brother – a dictatorship of engineers.

The "scientific development" policy of President Hu Jintao, who started his career working for Sinohydro, the world's biggest dam builder, recognises the challenges posed by climate change and the investment opportunities of renewable energy. It has been far less successful in curbing the dirty side-effects of industrial development.

Deborah Seligsohn of the World Resources Institute said there was a clear difference between China's record on pollution – where it lags far behind developed nations – and renewable technology, where it is ahead in many sectors.

"In clean energy, China is busy setting themselves up as a world leader. If they meet their most ambitious targets for 2020, they'll have the most wind, the most nuclear and the most hydro," she said. "But China is still playing catch-up on pollution. The air quality in Beijing does not exactly feel like London or New York."

That too should change. Sharp northern winds have helped Beijing to start this year with a record stretch of "blue sky" days.

A longer term solution to the smog shrouding many Chinese cities will be tighter factory and vehicle controls. Last week, the government said it would widen pollution reduction targets by adding nitrogen oxide – roughly a third of whichcomes from vehicle exhausts – and ammonia, a source of water contamination from chemical and textile plants.

Cities including Shanghai and Beijing have begun restricting car ownership. The authorities have also taken positive steps on the release of environmental data. For the past two years, the only real-time, publicly available air pollution monitor in Beijing was provided by tweets from the US embassy. From last month, up-to-the-minute air and water data from more than 100 cities in China has been available on the website of the environment ministry.

Green technology and pollution controls should improve the quality of the air and water, but they do little to ease the bigger environmental threat from depleting wildlife, ecosystems and natural resources. Each year northern China faces a shortfall of 40bn cubic metres of water, forcing ever deeper drilling into non-replenishable aquifers. To address this, China plans to cap water use and double spending on water conservation projects.

Government advisers say environmental talk will be greenwash unless local officials are persuaded to rethink their growth-at-all-costs mentality. Pan Jiahua, the executive director of the sustainable development research centre at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, expects this to happen naturally.

"GDP growth will have to be slowed down," said Pan. "This is somewhat natural. In Shanghai there is no more land available for development. In the steel industry, we have the capacity to produce 750m tonnes, which is 40% of the global total. There is no need to grow further."

While double-digit expansion has been the norm for the past five years, Pan expects the next target to be 8 or 9%. The plan will place greater priority on protecting arable land, food security, wildlife protection and the "ecological restoration" of areas damaged by construction of roads, rail and other infrastructure. Together, these would mark a turning point for China's environmental degradation. "In the 12th five-year plan, we will go beyond the peak and start to go down," he said.

That is optimistic. Previous attempts to give nature a breather by slowing the economy failed spectacularly. For the 10th and 11th five-year plans, the government aimed at 7-7.5% growth, but this was treated as a floor rather than a ceiling by overzealous local officials, who see GDP as a key measurement to compete with rival regions, get promoted and secure bribes. As a result, the economy surged forward at double-digit pace for most of this period – with dire consequences for coal consumption, pollution and habitat destruction. Once again, provincial governments appear unwilling to throttle back. Figures published late last month indicate most plan to double their GDPs during the next five years.

To tackle this problem, planners are considering another radical measure, to de-link GDP figures from cadres' performance evaluation. This may prove a step too far. While there is widespread praise for the proposals unveiled so far, there is scepticism about the government's ability to overcome business groups and corrupt officials who have benefited from growth.

"We are expecting to see a truly green five-year plan, which for the first time will contain really detailed measures and teeth in it," said Yang Ailun of Greenpeace. "The next five years will be the defining moment for China's environmental movement. There will be more disasters and more of a struggle to impose tougher regulations. Local interests groups have grown quite strong. They won't accept change quietly."

Ma Jun, of the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs, said the government would take a big step forward if it set absolute limits on pollutants and resource consumption, rather than the incremental, economy-linked targets seen until now.

"This is the first major effort to translate words into actions. Before the government set targets and talked of improvement, but this is the first really major effort to integrate that into an economic plan. They should get credit for that," said Ma.

China still had a long way to go, given the appallingly low level from which it starts and the lack of many of the tools used to improve the environment in the west, such as a strong civil society and regulatory obligations for factories to disclose a toxic release inventory.

"I don't consider this a turning point," said Ma. "We haven't seen air and water really get clean yet. The measures under discussion are not sufficient at all. "

Beijing's claims to have turned over a green new leaf are also weakened by the continued destruction of the nation's ecosystems. Last month, the boundaries of the last fish wild sanctuary on the upper reaches of the Yangtze river were redrawn to make way for a dam that showed, say conservationists, the authorities lack a protection baseline. This highlights the greater longterm environmental threat facing China from the unsustainable use of resources, already visible in the depletion of water systems, biodiversity, energy, soil quality and arable land.

To deal with this, environmentalists say even the most progressive top-down policies need to be balanced with greater awareness at the grassroots otherwise China will follow the west in looking clean but consuming dirty.

"I'm hopeful about the next five-year plan," said Li Bo of Friends of Nature. "The government is prepared to go further than before. But we should do more. Until now, low carbon concepts have been introduced only for industry. In the future, I hope those ideas can be adopted in the community so we see a change in lifestyles."

Comments

6 February 2011 5:24AM

Yes. Chinese 12th Five Year Plan envisages advances in Science and Technology, Energy and Environment.

"The 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) will be approved in March 2011. For the first time in history, China invites international expertise to advise on goals and policies of its Five-Year Plan. In the proposed Plan, China will nurture and develop seven new strategic industries with favorable policies in the next five years, including new-generation information technology, energy-saving and environmental protection, new energy, biology, high-end equipment manufacturing, new materials and new-energy cars. In addition, the country will no longer target the growth rate as its top priority in its industrial development plan, focusing instead on the quality and the profitability of industrial growth. In particular, China will encourage the use of high technology in its industrial development.

As illustrated in the past Five-Year Plans, Chinese planners have been trying to unify technology policy and economic policy, import and assimilate foreign technology, and overcome the problems of the separation of science, technology, and industry since the early 1950s. The commitment to these goals have been increasingly seen by Chinese administrators as requiring reforms in the operation of the economy and technology management. These initiatives will continue to be at the top of China’s planning agenda."

Source: http://en.ce.cn/subject/17cpc/index.shtml

China's growth in Energy is indeed spectacular.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India

No comments:

Post a Comment