In the headlines: Tesla’s Model S is Norway’s best-selling car & largest solar installation in the world is being built in India
- 14 October 2013
Clean Revolution news stories you may have missed:
- OECD: We should eliminate fossil fuel emissions in the second half of this century, October 10
- UN approves landmark agreement on a carbon emissions cut in the aviation industry, October 9
- New global solar energy target proposed, October 9
- Staples honored by EPA for continued commitment to green technology, October 8
- If you’re on twitter join over 43,000 other people from around the world and follow @climategroup for the latest daily news and quick facts.
How to lose half a trillion euros – a feature on the decline of European utilities . The Economist, October 12.
The viability of the UN’s Green Climate Fund could be sealed at Ban Ki-moon’s climate leader summit next September, when its sources of funding are expected to be revealed. A meeting of the GCF’s board in Paris this week ended without setting a date for raising new funds, after the USA and Australia blocked any specific timeline. In a statement the Board said fundraising will start “within three months of the adoption of a set of key policies and procedures that enable the fund to receive, manage and disburse funds. RTCC, October 11.
New research shows that climate change will force the more than one billion people who live in tropical areas to adapt to extreme climates within the next decade. Extreme heat waves will likely reach the U.S. by 2043. Published Oct. 9 in the journal Nature, the article by scientists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa predicts that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates, the annual average temperatures in many areas will be hotter than they have been in any year between 1860 and 2005. By 2047, the coldest temperatures would be warmer than the past hottest temperatures, the scientists say. If greenhouse gas emissions are stabilized, they estimate the date could be pushed back to 2069. CBS News, October 10.
Focusing on keeping world temperatures beneath 2°C is no longer an effective policy strategy, warn scientists from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change. They say the UN needs to consider adapting climate policy to an amended goal of ‘Mitigate for 2 but adapt for 4’ as the 2°C limit – the point beyond which the effects of climate climate are likely to become catastrophic – starts to slip out of sight. RTCC, October 9.
Asia – Pacific
The Japanese space agency JAXA is developing a revolutionary concept to put "power stations" in orbit to capture sunlight and beam it to Earth. Many of the country's nuclear reactors were closed due to stricter safety regulations after the emergency. Now JAXA is aiming to set up a Space Solar Power System (SSPS) by 2030. An array of mirrors would sit in geostationary orbit to collect solar energy and then transmits it to a power plant on the ground via microwaves or laser beams. There it could be used to generate electricity and hydrogen. Wired.co.uk, October 2.
Electricity demand and emissions across the Australia's National Electricity Market (NEM) have continued to fall throughout the year according to the pitt&sherry Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX). Current to September 2013, CEDEX indicates electricity demand overall was down by nearly 7% from its maximum in the year to December 2008. Demand fell in every NEM state except Tasmania; where it increased by 0.3%. The fall in demand coupled with wind, hydro and gas generation displacing coal fired power generation saw emissions down by 29 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent, a nearly 16% reduction over the same period. Energy Matters, October 7.
China has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest net oil importer, according to US estimates, as its steady increase in imports has crossed over with the steep decline in America. The US government’s Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday that in September the gap between oil consumption and domestic production averaged 6.24m barrels per day in the US, and 6.3m b/d in China. Financial Times, October 8.
Violators of Beijing's air pollution rule may see penalties above 1 million yuan. Beijing is weighing whether to remove its upper limit on fines for violating air pollution regulations next year. The Beijing government released its second draft of the regulation on Sept 25, scrapping the 1-million-yuan ($163,396) limit and adding five categories of illegal behavior to a list of those for which fines will be doubled. If the draft is approved, it means that certain actions, such as barbecuing food out in the open and discharging more vehicle exhaust than allowed, may result in heavier fines than currently applied, while serious breaches of regulations may exceed the current 1-million-yuan upper limit. China Daily USA, October 13.
The EU is close to hitting its carbon reduction targets eight years ahead of schedule, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency. Its latest assessment reveals the bloc has already achieved emission reductions of 18% on 1990 levels, while proposed low carbon policies could see a further drop of 24% by 2020. The EEA warns that not all EU states are on track. Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Spain need to purchase significant numbers of offset credits to meet their national targets. RTCC, October 10.
Wind and solar produced as much as 60% of Germany’s electricity during the 3 October, according to an energy consultant. Around noon of that day, the two renewable technologies were producing 59.1% of the country’s power with conventional sources above 100MW in size producing just 23GW, according to the study by Bernard Chabot. PV Tech, October 8.
India's Welspun Energy, which will commission the world's second-largest solar power plant and two other projects by December, will invest an additional $1.6 billion in new projects over three years, its managing director said on Friday. The 151 MW plant in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is a part of Welspun's push to capture a slice of the renewable energy market that the government hopes will nearly double in the five years to 2017. Reuters, October 11.
An ‘ultra-mega’ green solar power project with a capacity of four gigawatts, making it the largest solar installation in the world, is being set up in Rajasthan, India. The project will be built on 23,000 acres of land with the phase of 1GW expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016. Being the first project of this scale anywhere in the world this project is expected to set a trend for large scale solar power development in the world, said the government in a statement. RTCC, October 8.
North America is the global leader in developing and deploying carbon capture and storage and carbon capture utilization and storage, with seven of the world’s 12 operational large-scale integrated projects located in the US and one in Canada, according to a study by the Global CCS Institute. These 12 projects prevent the release of 25 million metric tons a year of greenhouse gases. An additional eight projects under construction will increase the total to 38 million metric tons a year by 2016, the report says. Environmental Leader, October 10.
US newspaper the Los Angeles Times has said it will not accept letters containing the “factual inaccuracy” that humans are not causing climate change. Its statement came after the publication received a letter about the shutdown of the US Congress and Barack Obama’s health reform. Because it contained a false assertion, the newspaper explained, “Letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there’s no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed.” Blue & Green Tomorrow, October 10.
Britain's energy sector is close to securing tens of billions of pounds in investment from the Far East, Energy Secretary Ed Davey has said. He said a "massive" wave of investment in nuclear and other technology from China, Japan and Korea would help secure the UK's future power supply. A deal to build new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset was close, he added. BBC News, October 13.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has launched a new initiative to promote ‘smart cities’ across the UK, which are expected to have a value of $400 billion by 2020. A smart city uses technology and social and environmental capital to improve the quality of life and the environment where its inhabitants live. It tries to address challenges such as waste, water usage, energy efficiency and transport issues. According to BIS, the sector will worth about $400 billion (£250 billion) by 2020, with the UK expected to have a 10% share. Blue & Green Tomorrow, October 10.
The number of patents issued for renewable-energy technologies has risen sharply over the last decade, according to new research from MIT and the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). The study shows that investments in research and development, as well as in the growth of markets for these products, have helped to spur this dramatic growth in innovation. For example, between 2004 and 2009, the number of patents issued annually for solar energy increased by 13 percent per year, while those for wind energy increased 19 percent per year, on average; these growth rates approach or exceed the rates for technologies such as semiconductors and digital communications. Overall, renewable-energy patents in the United States increased from fewer than 200 per year in the period from 1975 to 2000 to more than 1,000 annually by 2009. By comparison, there were about 300 fossil-fuel-related patents in 2009, up from about 100 a year in earlier decades. The fraction of all patents accounted for by energy is also increasing. MIT News, October 10.
Toyota could start selling a hydrogen-powered sedan in 2015 at a price of less than £62,500 after slashing the cost of its fuel cell system by almost $1m. The Japanese automaker is expected to unveil a concept model of the sedan at the Tokyo motor show next month that could soon be sold in Japan, the US and Europe. The new fuel cell system will cost around five million yen (£32,000) – a dramatic improvement on an earlier prototype design that cost more than £625,000, which was achieved by slashing the use of platinum in the cell. BusinessGreen, October 11.
Tesla Motor Inc.’s all-electric Model S became the top-selling car in Norway last month, with drivers in the country of 5 million people paying a premium to buy the award-winning luxury car second-hand to avoid having to wait five months for a new one, dealers said on Tuesday. The high performance Tesla S, which went on sale in Europe in August, had a market share in Norway of 5.1 per cent last month, pushing the conventionally-powered Volkswagen Golf into second place with 4.6 per cent, according to the latest official figures. The Globe and Mail, October 8.