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In the headlines: £166m wind farm planned for the banks of Loch Ness & Global Toyota hybrid sales pass 6 million

Date
20 January 2014
In the headlines: £166m wind farm planned for the banks of Loch Ness & Global Toyota hybrid sales pass 6 million

Clean Revolution news stories you may have missed:


Global

Climate impacts could lead to a drastic increase in food prices over the coming decades as the agricultural industry struggles to adapt to shifting climatic patterns. That is the stark warning contained in a series of studies published this week by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in a Special Issue of the journal Agricultural Economics. BusinessGreen, January 20.

Governments may have to extract vast amounts of greenhouse gases from the air by 2100 to achieve a target for limiting global warming, backed by trillion-dollar shifts towards clean energy, a draft U.N. report showed on Wednesday. A 29-page summary for policymakers, seen by Reuters, says most scenarios show that rising world emissions will have to plunge by 40 to 70 percent between 2010 and 2050 to give a good chance of restricting warming to U.N. targets. Reuters, January 15

The world’s 48 leading fossil fuel companies will be asked to run a ‘climate stress test’ at a summit hosted at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday. Fund managers and investors attending the meeting want oil and gas majors to assess how compatible their assets are with global efforts to avoid dangerous levels of warming. US low carbon business group CERES, which runs a network of investors worth $12 trillion, is organising this week’s event. Responding to Climate Change, January 14.

The world's most devastating global weather phenomenon – the weather events associated with "El Niño" – will double in frequency to once a decade if global warming remains unchecked, according to what scientists believe is a major step forward in the understanding of such events. The Guardian, January 19.

Asia – Pacific

The Fijian village of Vunidogolo has become the first to be relocated under the country’s climate change programme. Rising sea levels forced the community to abandon their traditional compound, according to reports in the Fiji Times. Locals say effect of climate change has resulted in seawater flowing into the village compound during high tide, damaging houses and ruining crops. The government has contributed $879,000, around two-thirds of the capital for the move. Responding to Climate Change, January 17.

The extreme heatwave gripping southern Australia forced the suspension of matches at the Australian Open tennis tournament on Thursday, as temperatures soared to 42C in Melbourne and officials warned of escalating risks of bush fires and power outages. Tournament organisers implemented an extreme heat policy and stopped matches played on outer courts, which do not have retractable roofs. Temperatures are forecast to reach 44C in Melbourne, putting pressure on electricity networks struggling to cope with surging demand. Government officials have warned of health risks caused by the extreme heat amid reports of an increase in cardiac arrests. A third day of temperatures over 40C has focused attention on scientists’ warnings that heatwaves are one of the clearest examples of man-made climate change and Canberra’s recent decision to scrap a carbon tax introduced to curb emissions. Financial Times, January 16.

China

China, the top emitter of greenhouse gases, is also the country that’s “doing it right” when it comes to addressing global warming, the United Nations’ chief climate official said. The nation has some of the toughest energy-efficiency standards for buildings and transportation and its support for photovoltaic technology helped reduce solar-panel costs by 80 percent since 2008, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York. Bloomberg, January 14.

Europe

This week sees one of the EU's big announcements. On Wednesday it will set out its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and for increasing the use of renewables like solar panels and wind power. It is a major moment because the EU has long regarded itself as the leader when it comes to addressing climate change. There are signs, however, that its early ambition may be hard to sustain. These new proposals will replace the current 2020 strategy. By that date the target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, for renewables to make up 20% of energy use and for energy efficiency to increase by a similar amount. There are some signs of success. By the end of 2012 the EU had cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 18%. By 2020 that figure might have reached nearly 25%. BBC News, January 20.

India

India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed an agreement to enhance cooperation in renewable energy, especially in the areas of solar and wind power. India's minister of new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah and Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, minister of state and the UAE's special envoy for energy and climate change, Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in these areas in Abu Dhabi. The Economic Times, January 19.

India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has published data which shows that the nation installed 1.004 GW of grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) capacity in 2013, to bring it to a cumulative total of 2.18 GW. This 1.004 GW is within 1% of the 1.0 GW forecast by Mercom Capital LLC (Austin, Texas, U.S.) as early as August 2013. Solar now represents 7.3% of India's installed grid-tied renewable energy capacity, but less than 1% of overall capacity. SolarServer, January 17.

North America

The Obama administration is getting ready to give a lot more juice to a key executive environmental office in a year officials say will be marked by the White House acting on its own when Congress won’t. The administration, led by newly installed senior adviser John Podesta, is expected to boost the profile of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), a division of the executive branch that saw a much higher profile during the Clinton and Bush administrations than it has under Obama. The backstage reshuffling hints at a streamlined process for bold new regulatory moves aimed at curbing greenhouse gases and standing up the alternative energy industry. Buzzfeed, January 13.

California Gov. Jerry Brown spoke to reporters on Friday morning to declare a drought emergency for the state, which had its driest year in recorded history in 2013. "Today I'm declaring a drought in the state of California," said Brown. "We're facing perhaps the worst drought California has ever seen since records began being kept about 100 years ago." The Huffington Post, January 17.

UK

Plans to build a £166m wind farm on the banks of Loch Ness have taken a major step forward, after securing consent from the Scottish Government. The Bhlaraidh wind farm near Invermoriston in the Scottish Highlands is expected to consist of 32 turbines once complete, boasting a capacity of 108MW. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing confirmed the project could go ahead on Friday, on condition it delivered a number of environmental measures, such as steps to protect biodiversity. BusinessGreen, January 20.

Innovation

There's a new kid on the block in motor racing this year, a quieter cousin to the brash Formula One, and it has the lofty aim of helping to get consumers to embrace electric cars. Featuring teams backed by Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio and British entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Group, Formula E will stage its first race in Beijing in September. It has signed up heavyweight commercial partners including French carmaker Renault SA and tire company Michelin for races in cities across the globe, including Los Angeles, London and Miami. Reuters, January 17.

Toyota Group's hybrid technology has reached a new landmark with cumulative global sales of their hybrid vehicles reaching 6.072 million units at the end of December. The latest million-milestone has been reached in the fastest time yet, just nine months since the figure moved past five million. Toyota recognises that its cleaner, efficient technologies can only truly make a positive impact if they are widely used, hence its on-going efforts to encourage the mass-market take-up of its hybrid vehicles. Next Green Car, January 16.

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