Lookout

Map of Fukushima evacuation zones
April 03, 2014
Here’s a pop quiz. How many people have died as a direct result of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident: A) 15,884, B) 1 or, C) 0? Until last week the correct answer was C but it can now be argued to be B as a worker at the wrecked nuclear plant died on Friday after being buried under gravel while digging a ditch. Answer A is actually the number of confirmed deaths as a result of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which sort of puts things in perspective.
US natural gas production 1990-2040
March 13, 2014
Ukraine and the Crimea are a long way from Asia and, quite understandably, most people and countries across the region are rather less concerned than Europeans and Americans over Russia’s actions. We live an interconnected world, however, and although the eventual outcome of the Ukrainian crisis remains uncertain, there’s one sure bet that should have the attention of energy and climate policy makers across Asia.
Tesla China
January 27, 2014
Thanks largely to its rather uncompromising top-down system of governance, China is more capable than most in delivering on ambitious development goals in a relatively short space of time. The massive growth of its renewable energy sector to become the world’s biggest (although not per capita), is a case in point. By the same token, however, when the central planners get things wrong they can be spectacularly wrong.
Airline emissions over European territory
October 17, 2013
The European Commission has set the cat among the aviation pigeons once again by proposing to apply the European Union’s emissions trading system (ETS) within its own airspace from 1 January 2014. The move has drawn a predicable chorus of whining from the airlines which are currently basking in self-congratulation over the recent progress made toward a global regime to control their greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this month industry regulators meeting at the assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in effect agreed to come to a final agreement on a market based mechanism to control emissions at their next triennial assembly in 2016.
Kevin Rudd looks at Australia's carbon market once again
July 17, 2013
Kevin Rudd, Australia's re-emergent Prime Minister, is gearing up for elections by announcing a plan – that can only be implemented after the election – to transition from the country’s current carbon tax to a cap and trade system in 2014 instead of 2015. His facts and figures were dominated by promising average households an annual saving of AUD380 (USD350) on gas and electricity bills. In a magical piece of political jiggery-pokery he said the nation's 370 biggest greenhouse gas emitters would still pay for the carbon footprint but by switching from the tax to a European-style emissions trading scheme, they would pay less
Sarawak forest
June 28, 2013
When it comes to brass-necked gall, you've got to hand it to the clique that runs Sarawak. Regular readers of CleanBiz.Asia should be more than passingly familiar with the shameful shenanigans of Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Malaysia state’s Chief Minister since 1981. He is also Sarawak’s Financial Minister and Minister of Resource Planning and Environment. (And did someone say President-for-Life? He did, after all, directly succeed his uncle as Sarawak’s Chief Minister.)
Plasma torches
June 19, 2013
The Hong Kong Government has ruled out the use of plasma gasification technology – citing scalability and reliability issues – as part of the solution to the city’s mounting solid waste management problem. With its three current landfills due to reach capacity this decade, the administration has been pushing high-temperature incineration for some time but its funding request for an integrated waste management facility (IWMF) was rejected by the Legislative Council last year and the project’s environmental impact assessment is currently under judicial review.
Malaysia's solar biomass choice
June 14, 2013
The Malaysian Government is thinking about revamping the way it allocates feed-in tariff (FiT) to the solar power sector, as applications continue to far outstrip available budget. Under the country’s Renewable Energy Bill the Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia (SEDA) allocates FiT budget – split between biogas, biomass, small hydro and solar photovoltaic – on a first-come, first-served basis, every six months. To fund the FiT Tenaga Nasional, the country’s state-controlled electricity company, charges customers on the Malaysian Peninsular a one percent levy on electricity bills.
Hong Kong's looming landfill problem
May 21, 2013
The Hong Kong Government has a new, multi-prongeed solid waste management plan that maps out the city’s strategy for the next decade. It's aimed at slowing the rate at which rubbish is sent to the city’s three existing mega-dumps, which are projected to reach capacity in 2015, 2017 and 2019 unless something is done. Unveiled by Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing, Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022 repackages the familiar mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” as “Use Less, Waste Less” and envisages building of at least two organic waste treatment facilities together with a large waste-to-energy incineration plant.
Chinese premiers Wen Jiabao and Li Keqiang
March 06, 2013
Out-going Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has told China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) – the country’s rubber-stamp legislature – that the government should adopt effective measures to prevent and control pollution in response to peoples’ expectations of having a good living environment. This obvious assertion came as Wen delivered his final work report to the NPC, which opened for its annual meeting this week. Next year China’s premier-in-waiting, Li Keqiang – who takes over as the head of China’s government at the close of this NPC session at the end of next week – will be delivering the work report.