Burma's serene rainforest
March 21, 2014
A ban on the export of raw timber logs is set to take place in Myanmar from April 1 as the country’s new reformist government scrambles to save some of Asia's largest remaining forest stocks, stretching from the Himalayan foothills in the north to its vast rainforest in the south. Forest cover shrank almost a fifth, to 47 percent of land area in 2010, from 58 percent in 1990, Forestry Ministry data shows while total timber exports of 1.24 million cubic tonnes in the fiscal year to March 2013 brought in more than USD1 billion in revenue, according to Reuters.
Dr Rajendra Pachauri launches China-India Low Carbon Study 2014
March 19, 2014
Asia’s two giants, China and India, are starting to talk about policy convergence to address the challenge of climate change, following the publication of a ground-breaking joint study. The China-India Low Carbon Study 2014, launched in Beijing on Monday, is the first fruit of an initiative to study common challenges faced by the two nations and to try to evolve common solutions that maximize their joint leverage. While the findings of the new report would hardly rate as surprising, the fact that the two countries – usually portrayed as archrivals – are trying to collaborate is good news in itself.
Unspoilt Aru Islands forest and devestating plantation plan
March 17, 2014
The Indonesian Government, which is supposed to be committed to protecting natural forest, is facing a test of that obligation on the Aru Islands, located in the Arafura Sea southwest of New Guinea and north of Australia. Last year Indonesian forestry minister Zulkifli Hasan said the government was extending a moratorium, in place since 2011, on issuing permits for conversions of natural forests or peatland. The moratorium is crucial to the country’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2020 but sugar cane plantations are exempt.
HK Waste Incineration
March 12, 2014
Reporting back on a (yet another) fact-finding trip to Europe, Hong Kong’s Secretary for the Environment, Wong Kam-sing, says the advice given about establishing the territory’s first waste-to-energy incinerator was to stick to the choice of a moving-grate system. "We are told reliability is the top priority when it comes to the first incinerator," Wong told a news conference.
Dam Damage
March 11, 2014
It is the world’s most prevalent form of renewable energy, dwarfing all other categories put together and accounting for 16 percent of global electricity generation in 2008, yet critics have been saying for years that big hydropower projects come at a steep cost to the environment. Now they have a robust economic cost-benefit analysis of the global hydropower industry to add more muscle to their anti-dam campaigns.
India Coal Shortage
March 07, 2014
Yes, you read it right although the headline is ironic. However, talk from across India’s energy sector it that there’s not much future to be had with coal. The country’s coal ministry recently admitted that domestic production has fallen short of target for the sixth year in a row and, as a result, expensive imports will have to fulfil a greater share of market demand. Several power producers are already seeking higher tariffs to cover their losses as coal costs rose unexpectedly in September 2011 due to a change in the law in Indonesia, India's largest source for coal imports.
Malaysia's solar biomass choice
March 06, 2014
The Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia (SEDA) is revising the feed-in tariff (FiT) degression rates and bonus rates it will apply to new renewable energy projects in order to rebalance developer interest toward the biomass and biogas at the expanse of the solar sector. “For biomass and biogas, the principle is to improve the feed-in-tariff rates to make it more attractive to the RE developers, as the take-up rate has been rather sluggish in the past two years,” SEDA chief executive Badriyah Abdul Malek told The Star.
China wind power vs nuclear power prower production - 1995-2013
March 05, 2014
In China, wind power is leaving nuclear behind. Electricity output from China’s wind farms exceeded that from its nuclear plants for the first time in 2012, by a narrow margin. Then in 2013, wind pulled away—outdoing nuclear by 22 percent. The 135 terawatt-hours of Chinese wind-generated electricity in 2013 would be nearly enough to power New York State. Once China’s Renewable Energy Law established the development framework for renewables in 2005, the stage was set for wind’s exponential growth.
Wind and solar - the variable elements of renewable energy
February 27, 2014
A landmark study released by the International Energy Agency claims to shows that concerns over national power systems remaining reliable and cost-effective while supporting high shares of variable renewable energy (VRE) are overblown. The IEA acknowledges, however, that making the transition to energy system with a VRE component of 30 percent or more is easier for some countries than others, depending on the flexibility of their power industries.
China Smog Leaders
February 27, 2014
As thick smog blanketing northern China began to clear after a week at hazardous levels, the country’s leaders have come under fire for not acting swiftly or seriously enough to the crisis. Even as Chinese President Xi Jinping called the smog Beijing’s biggest challenge during a surprise visit to a city neighborhood and teams of investigators were sent far and wide to identify and deal with heavy polluters, detractors have questioned the government’s determination to address environmental damage from three decades of rampant economic growth.
Indira Paryavaran Bhawan
February 27, 2014
India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has officially inaugurated the country’s first net zero carbon building. The Indira Paryavaran Bhawan in New Delhi’s central government district is the head office of the Ministry of Environment & Forests and has been designed to accommodate about 1,000 officials. According to an official statement the new building has a solar-passive design and has been constructed from energy-efficient building material. It is expected to be a trend-setter in the country and inspire people towards adoption of green technology, it said.
RSPO in 2013 numbers
February 26, 2014
The long-simmering tension between palm oil producers in Malaysia and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) looks to be coming to a head with the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) due to vote on Friday whether to quit the international multi-stakeholder organization. According to a report in The Star today, the MPOA secretariat has recommended to the organization’s 17 council and exco members that the association give up its seat at the RSPO.
China Nuclear Smog
February 25, 2014
China’s current bout of toxic smog is having a health impact beyond the country’s human or indeed animal population. According to scientists from China Agricultural University, it is also has a potentially devastating impact on plant life, threating the nation’s food supply. He Dongxian, an associate professor with university’s College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, told Beijing-based media on Monday that an experiment conducted over the last few months on smog's effect on plants had shown a drastic slowdown in photosynthesis, which is the main process that allows plants to survive.
UNEP Forest Watch
February 24, 2014
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has teamed up with Google, World Resources Institute (WRI) and over 40 environmentalists to launch a “near real-time” forest monitoring system to track deforestation worldwide. The new on-line forest monitoring and alert system, dubbed Global Forest Watch (GFW), will show tree losses around the world in high resolution and with frequent updates, UNEP said in a statement.
A green future for China ... if only
February 20, 2014
By embracing conservation measures and renewable energy, China can transition to an 80 percent renewable electric power system by mid-century at far less cost than continuing to rely on coal, according to a new report from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released yesterday. But to make this happen, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter would need to phase out the use of coal completely by 2040, engineer high carbon prices through emissions trading schemes and impose rigorous standards of energy efficiency.
Polluted pond in rural China
February 19, 2014
Although China’s air pollution gets more headlines, its problem with water pollution is just as urgent and arguably more severe. One-fifth of the country’s rivers are toxic, while two-fifths are classified as seriously polluted. In 2012 more than half of China’s cities had water that was “poor” or “very poor”. To address this issue the Ministry of Environmental Protection is putting together a CNY2 trillion yuan (USD330 billion) action plan – exceeding the CNY1.7 trillion (USD277 billion) being spent to combat air pollution.