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In the headlines: Bangladesh gets 480,000 new solar home systems and Australian droughts caused by manmade emissions

21 July 2014
In the headlines: Bangladesh gets 480,000 new solar home systems and Australian droughts caused by manmade emissions

News snapshot for the w/c 21.07.14 is below, please click the links to read further.

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Global inequality risks spread of military conflicts, Cameron warned
David Cameron is warned today by Graça Machel, widow of the late South African statesman Nelson Mandela, that unless world leaders made 2015 a year for development, the consequence would not just be poverty but also growing military conflicts from which the rich would be unable to protect themselves for decades to come. The letter to Cameron has also been signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the rock star Bono, the Nobel peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the billionaire entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim and the 17-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. The Guardian, July 18

Mary Robinson given UN climate change role
Former Irish president Mary Robinson has been charged with overseeing UN efforts to tackle climate change. United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has appointed Ms Robinson as special envoy for climate change ahead of an international summit on the crisis in September. "I have mixed emotions at handing over the role in the Great Lakes region when I make my final report to the Security Council on 7 August, but ultimately I feel it is appropriate that I respond positively to the request of the secretary-general," she said. BBC News, July 14

Asia – Pacific

Australian droughts caused by manmade emissions
American scientists have just confirmed that parts of Australia are being slowly parched because of greenhouse gas emissions – which means that the long-term decline in rainfall over south and south-west Australia is a consequence of fossil fuel burning and depletion of the ozone layer by human activity. Such a finding is significant for two reasons. One remains contentious: it is one thing to make generalised predictions about the consequences overall of greenhouse gas levels, but it is quite another to pin a measured regional climatic shift directly on human causes, rather than some possible as-yet-unidentified natural cycle of climatic change., July 18

480,000 New Solar Home Systems for Bangladesh
The World Bank has offered to loan the Bangladeshi government $78.4 million in order to finance 480,000 solar home systems. This huge solar home systems project aims to install about 7,000 photovoltaic systems in Bangladesh every month. If it achieves this rate, it will be the largest of its kind in the world. CleanTechnica, July 15


China Requires Electric Vehicles to Make Up 30 Percent of State Purchases
China is mandating that electric cars make up at least 30 percent of government vehicle purchases by 2016, the latest measure to fight pollution and cut energy use after exempting the autos from a purchase tax. Central government ministries and agencies will take the lead on purchases of new-energy vehicles, a term that China uses to refer to electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell autos, according to a statement on the central government’s website yesterday. The ratio will be raised beyond 2016, when local provinces are required to meet the target. Renewable Energy World, July 16

China May Announce Emissions Cap Next Year: Treaty Envoy
China hopes to announce “very ambitious” goals to cut carbon-dioxide output after 2020 and may announce during the first half of next year an overall cap on emissions, the country’s lead climate-treaty negotiator said. China is working to announce in the first or second quarter of next year what measures it might include in a new global agreement to fight climate change that treaty envoys from 194 nations aim to devise by year-end, Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters today in Berlin. Bloomberg BusinessWeek, July 14


Juncker supports 30% energy efficiency target for EU
Designated European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker supported a 30% minimum target for energy efficiency across the EU in a speech before the Parliament today. Confirmed as the next Commission president by MEPs today, Juncker called for a binding energy efficiency target and more renewable energy across the 28-state bloc. “A binding 30% energy efficiency target is for me the minimum,” he said. The EU is currently working on a package of measures guiding climate policy up to 2030., July 16

Germany Pledges $1 Billion to UN Green Climate Fund
German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised 750 million euros ($1 billion) to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, the first major pledge it has received. The fund, designed to channel climate aid to poor nations, has so far only had seed capital to help set itself up. In May, it opened up for big donations after completing rules on how it will collect and disburse money. Executive Director Hela Cheikhrouhou said in an interview last month that she’s seeking to raise as much as $15 billion by year-end. “I can speak for Germany that we take our responsibilities seriously,” Merkel said when announcing the funding during a July 14 speech in Berlin. Bloomberg, July 16


Delhi Considers ‘Rent-a-Roof’ Solar Power Program to Meet Rising Electricity Demand
A solar rooftop policy mastered by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat during his tenure as Chief Minister is set to be replicated across the country, starting with the national capital Delhi. The aggressive expansion of this solar power program may help bridge the energy access gap and fulfill the government pledge to provide 24/7 electricity to all consumers. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has come out with a detailed plan for generation of solar energy through roof-top installations. The plan aims to install roof-top solar panels on the 40 identified civic buildings. Sustainability Outlook, July 16

India Targets 35% Renewable Energy Share In Installed Capacity Mix By 2050
2040-50 may finally be the decade when the installed renewable energy capacity in India would overtake the coal-based installed capacity, if the ambitious Integrated Plan for Desert Power Development is fully realized. Under the Desert Power India – 2050 plan, a gargantuan 455 GW of renewable energy capacity addition has been targeted to meet India’s ever-growing need for electricity. According to a government enterprise, the Asian giant would require an installed power base of 1,388 GW, compared to the current 250 GW. CleanTechnica, July 17

North America

Former Treasury Sec. Paulson, in Portland, calls climate change 'biggest risk of our time'
There are no easy solutions to mitigate the risks of climate change, but ending fuel subsidies and taxing carbon could be the first steps, Former Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson Jr. said Friday in Portland. And if that were an easy sell to make anywhere, it should be Oregon, he told a crowd of community, business and political leaders at a talk hosted Friday by the Portland City Club. Paulson, who was in office when the economy collapsed in 2008, said he now considers climate change the biggest risk of our time. Oregon Live, July 18

Google and EDF join to expose gas leaks under U.S. streets
Thanks to a partnership with Google Earth Outreach, EDF has mapped thousands of natural gas leaks beneath three American cities — Boston, Indianapolis and New York City’s borough of Staten Island. Using three of the company’s famous Street View cars equipped with special sensors, we gathered millions of data points over thousands of miles of neighborhood streets. For the most part, these natural gas leaks don’t pose an immediate danger; utilities are required to monitor and repair the major ones and usually do a good job of it. But leaking gas, which is mostly methane, has a powerful effect on the global climate, packing up to 120 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide. GreenBiz, July 17


Liz Truss appointed Environment Secretary
Liz Truss is to replace Owen Paterson as Environment Secretary, as the second phase of David Cameron's far-reaching reshuffle gets underway. Truss, 38, is part of the 2010 intake of Conservative MPs and has spent two years serving as an Education Minister. She had been widely tipped for promotion having impressed senior figures across the Party during her short time in parliament. Her views on environmental issues are not particularly well known, but earlier this summer she welcomed the government's support for the installation of solar arrays on schools and expressed concern about the extent of solar farm developments. The Guardian, July 15

Three-quarters of businesses want to see energy security made a top priority, CBI poll reveals
Three quarters of UK businesses and households are worried enough about energy security to rate security of supply as a "crucial energy objective of the UK", according to a survey published today by the leading business group the CBI. Over 73 per cent of businesses and households believe security of energy supply to be a crucial objective and 57 per cent think that the UK’s energy security is worse off now than it was five years ago. And an increasing number of them see energy efficiency as a solution to the looming problem. GreenWise Business, July 17


India Considers $2.5 Billion Subsidy For Hybrid, Electric Cars To Save $11 Billion In Fuel Costs
India’s National Mission on Electric Mobility may finally be getting some much-needed attention from the government even as the 2020 plan under the mission seems quite ambitious. According to a leading national newspaper, the Indian government is considering a financial incentive scheme worth Rs 14,000 crore ($2.5 billion) for hybrid and electric cars. The subsidy would be proportioned to the difference of the price of a car running on fossil fuel and that of a hybrid or electric car, the newspaper reported citing government sources. CleanTechnica, July18


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