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In the headlines: COP18 closes, China and Nike's emissions plunge and India forges ahead with renewables

Date
10 December 2012
In the headlines: COP18 closes, China and Nike's emissions plunge and India forges ahead with renewables

Here's a global snapshot of some of the biggest clean technology, economy and policy headlines, from the week commencing December 10, 2012.

Global

The UN climate talks in Doha have closed with what the BBC calls a “historic shift” in principle but “few genuine cuts in greenhouse gases”. COP18 established for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change. Governments also rescued the Kyoto protocol, the initial targets of which run out at the end of this year. The EU, Australia, Norway and a handful of other developed countries have agreed to take on new carbon-cutting targets under the treaty, running to 2020. Those countries cover approximately only 15% of global emissions. More by the BBC and the Guardian. December 8. See our COP18 coverage.

Despite an uptick in business activity -- which might be expected to result in higher emissions -- some of the world's top-earning companies are managing to reduce their carbon footprints, according to a new report. Five of the six highest-ranked companies - Unilever, UPS, Nike, Levi Strauss and L'Oreal - showed year-over-year revenue growth from 2010 to 2011 while reducing their total emissions across some or all of their business units, according to the Climate Counts 2012-2013 Annual Company Scorecard report. It ranks major consumer brands on their efforts to address climate change. GreenBiz, December 5.

Australia

One of the world's biggest mining firms says that extreme weather caused by climate change is already impacting some of its assets, thus forcing the company to re-evaluate its investments in the coal sector. Speaking to investors and analysts on Monday, the Chief Executive of BHP Billiton's coal division, an Australian company, explained how the company is reinforcing infrastructure around its coal export terminal in Queensland because of increases in extreme weather that threaten the facility. Just one month before, Randolph - the chief executive of the company's coal division - told the Australian Financial Review that he believes the market for coal is going to decline because of environmental constraints, and that "frankly it should". Think Progress, December 4.

China

According to local media reports, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) issued a statement confirming plans to cut levels of harmful PM2.5 particulates in 117 cities by 5% between 2011 and 2015. It also committed to cutting levels of PM10 particulates by 10%, sulphur dioxide (SO2) by 10% and nitrogen dioxide (NOX) by seven per cent over the same period. In addition, there will be more demanding targets for some of the most polluted metropolises, with the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta region and the Pearl River Delta region committing to reduce PM2.5 particulates by six per cent. BusinessGreen, December 6.

China will increase its investment and the number of programs to expand South-South Cooperation by helping other developing countries tackle climate change challenges, a leading official said. In the next two years, China has plans to train another 2,000 officials and technicians for other developing countries, in addition to the 380 from 87 developing countries who have already been trained, said Xie Zhenhua, the country's top climate change official and head of the China delegation. He said the training will focus mainly on adaptation to climate change, technology transfer and areas related to the development of renewable energy. China Daily, December 5.

India 

India could see around 5MW of new wind capacity installed every year, hitting 89GW by 2020 but it depends on the Government's policies. It could help the country attract around $16.5 billion (£10.2bn) of annual investment, create 179,000 jobs and save 179 tons of carbon emissions every year, according to a new report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE) and the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA). Energy Live News, December 5.

India has released a draft policy stating the nation will build 9,000 megawatts of solar plants by 2017, which will increase confidence and investment in solar energy within the emerging economy. Read our story here.

North America

The latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects states that renewable energy sources accounted for 41.14% of new electrical generating capacity installed in October 2012 and 46.22% for the first ten months of 2012. According to the report, in October, ten new wind power projects (594 MW) came on line as well as three biomass projects (69 MW), 10 solar projects (59 MW), and one water power project (5 MW). Renewable Energy World, December 4.

UK

The government will today commit to purchasing up to two per cent of its energy direct from green sources, with the launch of a major collective purchasing scheme, making the public sector one of the largest users of clean energy in the UK. More by Business Green, December 10.

EVs

An electric solar-powered "super car" has been a major feature at the Qatar Sustainability Expo taking place on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference. SolarWorld's 'SunCarport', a combination of a traditional carport and a high-performance solar energy roof, will supply solar power to charge the car's batteries. The firms claim the car can accelerate from 0 to 100 in just 3.6 seconds and can travel up to 300km per charge. Energy Live News, December 5. 

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan CEO's 360 Degree Analysis of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Market in Japan and South Korea finds that fuel cell electric vehicles in Japan and South Korea are expected to increase to 58,100 units in 2020 from 600 units in 2011. Mr. Rao said that the Japanese and South Korean Governments play a key supporting role in commercialization of FCEVs. He added that the Japanese government offers support for research and development, subsidizes hydrogen station infrastructure while the South Korean government offers funds and subsidies for R&D and is setting up hydrogen infrastructure along with oil companies. AZocleantech.com, December 6.

LEDs

Walmart Canada announced a first-of-its-kind sales floor LED lighting retrofit. The retailer has retrofitted all of the overhead sales floor lighting at its Brampton North supercentre from conventional fluorescent lighting to high efficiency LED 4-foot retrofit lamps. The retailer estimates this small change could save approximately 283,000 kilo-watt hours (kWh) per year, which will results in a savings of up to $26,000 per year. AZobuilding.com, December 7.

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