Renew On Line (UK) 68
|Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 168 July-Aug 2007
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
8. World developments
Climate IPCC latest
The second part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth report, on ‘Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability' emerged in April. There were claims that the final version, as agreed by political representatives, had been watered down, but IPCC denied this. But either way it was bad enough news: it will be the poorest of the poor in the world who are going to be the worst hit. e.g. 75-250 million people across Africa could face water shortages by 2020, and agriculture fed by rainfall could drop by 50% in some African countries by 2020. See Reviews.
The third part of the IPCC report, focussed on mitigation, emerged in May, looking to renewables, efficiency, CCS and maybe nuclear. However it commented that 'Geo-engineering options, such as ocean fertilization to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere, or blocking sunlight by bringing material into the upper atmosphere, remain largely speculative and unproven, and with the risk of unknown side-effects’.
The new PCC report was followed in June by the G8 summit, which struggled with the Kyoto II issue (see below). More in Renew 169
Asia-Pacific Pact or Kyoto II?
The US-led Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, which also includes Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea, was formed in July 2005 and aims to use technology, rather than binding Kyoto-style emission caps, to reduce greenhouse emissions. But so far not too much has emerged to make this look credible. Reuters reported the view of John Ashton, Britain’s Special Representative on Climate Change, that the six partner nations had little in common, making the chances of meaningful co-operation slight. So far, he noted, the pact had not led to large investment in new technologies other than by Australia, which has pledged US$78m for green energy, although the US has promised a similar amount in 2007.
The US is of course convinced that a technology led approach is best- or rather that they don’t want to have imposed mandatory emission caps. Bush has adopted a voluntary policy of reducing carbon intensity (i.e. carbon emission/$GNP economic output), but that’s hardly the same thing. The EPA have reported to the UNFCCC that US emissions grew 11.6% between 1998-2001 and say they will rise 11.0% between 2002- 12.
Meanwhile the EU has been trying to press ahead with ideas for the post 2012 Kyoto II, with talk of a 30% cut. But the key issue is how to ensure that the USA, India and China were onboard. That remained the sticking point at the G8 gathering in Germany in June. Bush had proposed a new process with a meeting for 15 countries in 18 months time, but in the event the US seemed to agree on the need ‘substantial’ cuts if India/China were included. 50% by 2050 was floated, but no targets were agreed. Sources: Reuters/New York Times/ US EPA
Biofuels round the world
Following Bush’s State of the Union commitment to biofuels, Brazil seemed very excited by the prospects of an expanded market opening up for its sugar cane alcohol in the USA. Although, given the increasing domestic demand, Brazil exports only a small portion of its ethanol output, 60% of Brazil’s ethanol exports this year were destined for the USA.
Meanwhile however, in Thailand plans for planting vast tracts of oil palms to make biodiesel have been abandoned by the new Thai Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand. Reuters noted that this ‘sharp change in direction puts Thailand at odds with other major Southeast Asian palm producers Indonesia and Malaysia. In July last year the two said they would set aside 40% of their palm oil production for biodiesel.’
Amranand is part of a cabinet installed after a military coup ousted
the Thaksin government last year, which has also halted plans to build
hydro dams in military-ruled Myanmar. Instead, he aims to boost the
use of renewable fuel in power production. Source: Reuters
Solar ‘will be the biggest’
Solar will be largest source of clean power by 2020, according to a survey of venture capitalists by Jefferies & Co of San Francisco. In a survey of 148 of the 800 attendees at the Cleantech Forum XII in San Francisco in Feb, solar was selected by 40% as likely to be the leader within two decades, followed by wind (33%), hydro (22%) and geothermal (5%). To surpass hydro by 2020, solar would need to grow faster than 30% p.a., assuming no new hydro.
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