Tuesday, March 31, 2015

World Bank: 5 Ways to Reduce the Drivers of Climate Change

In a lecture to students at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., on March 18, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim laid out five key areas where policies and growth choices can help reduce the drivers of climate change. “We have to keep the economy growing – there is no turning back on growth,” President Kim told the student audience. “What we have to do is decouple growth from carbon emissions.”  Read more at http://www.worldbank.org

Monday, March 30, 2015

Vancouver to shift to 100% renewable energy sources

Vancouver City Council voted unanimously last week to shift Vancouver’s energy use to 100 per cent renewable energy sources by 2050, aimed at removing greenhouse gas production and curbing climate change. Currently, 32 per cent of Vancouver’s energy comes from renewable sources. Read more at http://www.vancitybuzz.com

Friday, March 27, 2015

European Energy Security: EU Members Fail to Introduce Energy Efficiency Law

Malta is the only EU Member State that managed to transpose the block’s Energy Efficiency Directive into national law. The remaining Member States were hit by legal action on Thursday (26 March). The EU Commission now wants Hungary, the only country to be referred to the European Court of Justice, to pay a fine of €15,444 daily for not translating the directive by the June 2014 deadline. the other 26 EU countries were hit by infringement procedures because they did not meet the June 2014 deadline to inform the Commission how they were introducing the directive in their home countries. Only four EU countries managed to meet the deadline – Cyprus, Italy, Malta, and Sweden – but only in Malta’s case, the EU executive arm was able to determine that the transposition into national law was sufficient enough. Read more at http://eubulletin.com

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Top Chinese Meteorologist Warns Climate Change Will Have 'Huge Impact' On Country

"As the world warms, risks of climate change and climate disasters to China could become more grave," said  Zheng Guoguang, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) chief.
The CMA chief said climate change would seriously threaten big projects in the country, such as the Three Gorges Dam and a massive scheme geared toward diverting water from southern portions of China to areas north of the country to address water problems. Zheng called on China to take a development path that accommodates the aim of lowering carbon emissions, but he also pointed out that the use of solar and wind energy in the country has limited potential.
Along with the United States, China accounts for about 45 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in the world.  Read more at http://www.techtimes.com/

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Costa Rica is now running completely on renewable energy

Thanks to some heavy rainfall this year, Costa Rica’s hydropower plants alone are generating nearly enough electricity to power the entire country. With a boost from geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources, the country doesn’t need an ounce of coal or petroleum to keep the lights on. Costa Rica is a small nation, has less than 5 million people, doesn’t have much of a manufacturing industry that would require a lot of energy, and is filled with volcanoes and other topographical features that lend themselves to renewable energy. Read more at http://qz.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What next for the Green Climate Fund?

GCF  board meets in Korea to discuss how it will leverage billions in private funds. The Private Sector Facility (PSF), widely regarded as one of the innovative features of the Fund, has started to take shape with the board confirming that private sector intermediaries can be accredited to deploy the Fund’s resources.Such entities, the Board decided, will have a choice of financial instruments that includes equity and guarantee instruments alongside grants and loans.
Advice and specific recommendations on two particularly innovative roles of the PSF were provided.
First,  the importance for ensuring the Fund supports the local private sector in developing countries, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) for both mitigation and adaptation activities.
 The other potentially innovative role for the PSF is on mobilising funds at scale. Given the scale of the climate related investment challenge, accelerating the participation of institutional investors within the financing of countries’ mitigation and adaptation programmes was emphasised.  Read more at http://www.rtcc.org

Monday, March 23, 2015

Africa’s power sector offers ‘potentially attractive opportunities’

Using per-capita data, a US citizen on average uses 12,461 kilowatt hours of electricity per annum; a citizen of Ethiopia uses 52. On average, only 30% of Sub-Saharan Africa citizens have any access to electric power, and even where power is available, provision can be sporadic, with frequent power cuts and “brown-outs”.   A US government-sponsored initiative, Power Africa, is looking to provide financing and expertise to encourage investment links between businesses and African governments to develop smaller-scale, technologically innovative generation projects. The projects are slanted toward renewable energy solutions that utilise Africa’s abundant resources of solar, wind and geothermal power, but are not neglecting the growing potential of natural gas as the number of hydrocarbon discoveries across Africa multiplies. The Power Africa initiative has been ongoing for a little over a year, but additional funding announced at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in August 2014 has increased the potential budget for the operation to US$26bn in direct financing and investment guarantees. The China-supported dam building efforts, supplemented by other major projects, including proposed nuclear plants in South Africa and a major coal-fired power station in Zimbabwe, could potentially make a huge difference to Africa’s generating capacity. Read more at http://www.blackstarexodus.com

Friday, March 20, 2015

China Spawns Its Latest Renewable Energy Billionaire

Cao Renxian, chairman of China’s Sungrow Power Supply, has joined the ranks of the world’s renewable energy billionaires. Sungrow makes power supply equipment for the solar and wind power industries, mainly inverters and converters. Its revenue rose by 44% last year to 3 billion yuan, or $479 million. That helped to boost net profit to 291.7 million yuan, or $46.6 million, an increase of 61% from 2013. China’s richest man, Hanergy chairman Li Hejun, also hails from solar power industry. His flagship business, Hong Kong-listed Hanergy Thin-Film Power Group, boasts a market cap  six times that of top U.S. thin-film panel supplier First Solar. Read more at http://www.forbes.com

Thursday, March 19, 2015

IPCC launches complete Synthesis Report, the concluding instalment of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)

Written by over 800 scientists from 80 countries, and assessing over 30,000 scientific papers, the Fifth Assessment Report tells policymakers what the scientific community knows about the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The key findings of the Synthesis Report, initially released on 2 November 2014, are:
· Human influence on the climate system is clear;
· The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts; and
· We have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future. Read more at http://www.ipcc.ch/

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A fully transparent solar cell that could make every window and screen a power source

Unlike other “transparent” solar cells this one really is transparent. Researchers at Michigan State University, who  have created a fully transparent solar concentrator, are confident that the transparent solar panels can be efficiently deployed in a wide range of settings, from “tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Previous transparent solar cells have actually only been partially transparent — and, to add insult to injury, they usually they cast a colorful shadow too. To get around this limitation, the Michigan State researchers use a slightly different technique for gathering sunlight. Instead of trying to create a transparent photovoltaic cell (which is nigh impossible), they use a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC). Michigan’s TLSC currently has an efficiency of around 1%, but they think 5% should be possible. Non-transparent luminescent concentrators (which bathe the room in colorful light) max out at around 7%. Read more at http://www.extremetech.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

IEA: Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014

Data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicate that global emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy sector stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn. In the 40 years in which the IEA has been collecting data on carbon dioxide emissions, there have only been three times in which emissions have stood still or fallen compared to the previous year, and all were associated with global economic weakness: the early 1980's; 1992 and 2009. In 2014, however, the global economy expanded by 3%. The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. In China, 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal. In OECD economies, recent efforts to promote more sustainable growth – including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy – are producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. Read more at https://www.iea.org

Monday, March 16, 2015

Your shower is wasting huge amounts of energy and water. Here’s what you can do about it.

For a standard shower head, every minute wasted equates to 2.5 gallons of water — and insofar as some of it is warm, “that’s energy-rich water that we’re running down the drain.” And research conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has suggested that the waste levels may be even higher — 30 percent of shower water overall and 41 percent of “hot water energy.” Showering drives almost 17 percent of water use in homes, and an average American family uses some 40 gallons of water per day in the shower. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

US Secretary of State Says Climate Science is as Settled as Gravity

Secretary of State John Kerry argued Thursday that the science showing Earth’s climate is warming because of human activity is as clear and settled as the science that shows gravity will force an apple to fall out of its tree and down to the ground. Kerry has routinely called for steps to reduce human-based carbon emissions. Kerry’s devotion to the issue has led some to criticize him for focusing on climate issues instead of spending more time on Ukraine, Iran or other global hotspots. Read more at http://www.theblaze.com

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nicaragua On Course To Become Renewable Powerhouse

In the period 2006-2012, the Central American country attracted $1.5 billion in investment in renewable energy, the largest such per capita investment in Latin America. As a result, it now derives 15% of its electricity from wind power plants, 16% from geothermal, 12% from hydro, and 7% from biomass. It has scarcely begun to exploit solar power potential too.  According to the energy plan released last fall, the government plans to attract $4 billion in renewable energy investment over the next 15 years. Read more at http://oilprice.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

India to partner with Africa to fight climate change

Ahead of the UN climate conference in Paris later this year, India Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar  on Wednesday said that adaptation and mitigation must be accorded "equal" importance and assured that it will partner with African nations to fight climate change while taking cooperation to a "new level". Read more at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

European Commission published its proposals for the Energy Union

The paper sets out the Commission’s thinking on what it describes as the biggest energy project since the creation of the Coal and Steel Community. The vision, put simply, is to create a bloc where surplus energy in one place can be moved to where there is a shortage, thereby bolstering the EU’s resilience to shortages. The Energy Union was given political impetus after the Ukraine crisis brutally exposed Europe's energy dependence and vulnerability. Shortages caused by Russia turning off the taps in 2009 have prompted the union to develop plans which go beyond to encompass issues such as climate change. Read more at http://www.euractiv.com

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hidden costs of greenhouse gas emissions.

The study, published in the journal Climatic Change, is the first to pull together a proper accounting of the hidden costs of greenhouse gas emissions. It shows the true (and much higher) cost that Americans  pay in dollars at the pump and light switch—or in human lives at the emergency room. If all greenhouse gas  damages are added in like the gas tax, a gallon of regular in the United States would really cost $6.25. The price of diesel would be a whopping $7.72 a gallon. Read more at http://qz.com

Friday, March 6, 2015

Is it climate change or just a string of bad natural luck?

What’s up with the weather? In California, now in the fourth year of drought, it was even worse, with hot weather from Mexico to Oregon over the Presidents’ Day Weekend. A patch of abnormal weather or the front edge of a dramatically changing climate? Climate scientists don’t agree, and those on the sidelines have argued even more vehemently. Read more at http://mountaintownnews.net

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A new path forward for energy efficiency based on markets

How to overcome the limitations of top-down energy efficiency programs and to lay out a pathway toward a market where energy efficiency is treated as a tradable resource, spurring business model innovation and private investment? Energy efficiency needs a version of the net energy meter, where savings can be calculated, tracked and valued, and programs can give way to competitive scalable markets. The lack of such a meter is the Achilles heel of energy efficiency. However, with recent investments in smart meters and data standards, it is now possible to reliably track savings at a portfolio level in near-real time. Read more at www.greentechmedia.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New book on Green Industrial Revolution

 In the new book, The Green Industrial Revolution (GIR): Energy, Engineering and Economics, published by Reed/Elsevier (late 2014), authors, Woodrow Clark and Grant Cooke, state that GIR is even more significant to the world's future than the original 18th century Industrial Revolution, because our children and grand children's lives are at stake. Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Can We Fix Climate Change With Technology?

A report from the National Academy of Sciences concluded that experiments in blotting out the sun in order to reduce the amount of the sun’s rays that hit the Earth would be too risky. Spraying aerosols into the atmosphere – one leading approaching to “geoengineering” – would be a massive science experiment that would have unknown environmental side effects. Read more at www.time.com

Monday, March 2, 2015

Google's new investment in renewable energy

Google Inc. is making its largest bet yet on renewable energy, a $300 million investment to support at least 25,000 SolarCity Corp. rooftop power plants. Google has now committed more than $1.8 billion to renewable energy projects, including wind and solar farms on three continents. This deal may have a return as high as 8 percent it is structured as a tax-equity transaction, meaning the web search developer gets tax breaks that flow from solar systems financed by the fund.  Read more at www.bloomberg.com