Extreme waether on the way - Super Tyhoon Haiyan strikes the Philippines
March 25, 2014
Much of the extreme weather that wreaked havoc in Asia, Europe and the Pacific region last year can be blamed on human-induced climate change, the UN’s weather agency said in a report released yesterday. In its annual assessment the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said 2013 was the sixth-warmest year on record while 13 of the 14 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century and each of the last three decades has been warmer than the previous one.
Tight-fisted investment in clean energy
March 25, 2014
India’s goals of doubling renewable energy capacity to 55-GW by 2017 will require a big change in government policy to become if it is to become a reality, according to a study by the Climate Policy Initiative and the Bharti Institute of Public Policy at the Indian School of Business. The study underlines the fact that that: “Long-term, debt-related policies are more cost-effective than the existing policies.” This is a lesson that should be learned not just in India, but across Asia where tax-payers’ billion are being spent on feed-in tariff regimes that are producing sub-optimal results.
Flooded Bangkok industrial estate
March 24, 2014
Although it should come as no great surprise, given the number of warnings issued by other bodies in recent years, a new report from the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) due to be published this week will say coastal Asia is very vulnerable to climate change. The final draft of the report – Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – is being reviewed at a scientific meeting this week in Yokohama, Japan, and will form a key part of the IPCC's fifth assessment report on global warming, whose other sections will be published later this year.
Fossil fuel reserve distribution by stock exchange
March 21, 2014
Two years ago the Carbon Tracker Initiative released its ground-breaking Unburnable Carbon report, warning investors of the risks they face in backing huge fossil fuel reserves that can’t be burnt without massively exceeding the world’s rapidly shrinking carbon emissions budget. Now Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly-listed oil company in terms of production and refining capacity, has given into pressure from activist shareholders and, by the end of the month, will publish a Carbon Asset Risk report, which assesses the risk of its oil reserves becoming “stranded” by climate change.
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.