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China's climate change talks: What's changed since Copenhagen?

26 10 10 - 22:37 By Jonathan Adams

Taipei, Taiwan - United Nations climate officials say they hope to get talks for a new global deal on carbon cuts back on track after last year's climate talk debacle in Copenhagen. This week's climate change conference hosted by China in Tianjin could give them just that opportunity.

But with mistrust still high and feelings raw, few expect any big breakthroughs in Tianjin, or at higher-level talks beginning in late November in Cancun, Mexico. Instead, participants are focusing on smaller side deals that are more realistic, observers say, indicating that though a comprehensive deal might not get finalized here the real success of the conference will be in smoothing relations with small steps. "Almost everybody is downplaying their expectations," said Yang Ailun, Greenpeace China's head of climate and energy, in a phone interview from Tianjin. "People are talking more about specific issues they think they can make progress on, such as climate finance and forestry."

Tough road ahead

The Tianjin talks are a prelude to Cancún, when world leaders will again try to cobble together a global deal on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions blamed for global warming. The aim is to forge a consensus before the current Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Hopes for a grand deal were dashed in Copenhagen last December, when talks broke down amid recriminations between rich and developing countries who couldn't agree on how to share the burden for deep emissions cuts, and how such cuts should be verified.

Much of the focus is on China and the US, now the world's top two emitters of greenhouse gases. China insists the US and other developed countries should make more dramatic cuts and do more in funding and transferring technology to poorer countries for green energy efforts.

The US wants China and some other developing nations to bear more of the burden for cuts, and wants a mechanism for verifying such cuts – something Beijing has resisted.

And they're closely watching the attitude of China, the world's largest greenhouse-gas emitter, as it hosts the conference for the first time in the 20-year history of United Nations global climate change talks.

Observers say there's no sign either side is prepared to budge much from those positions. From China's point of view, said Greenpeace China's Yang, the US is doing little domestically – climate change legislation is stalled in the US Congress – and isn't offering much at the negotiating table, either.

"China can't get any of the technology or climate finance it wants, so it feels like there's very little the US can offer," she said. "It's one reason why negotiations have really stalled."

Some progress

Still, the view from Tianjin isn't all bleak. Of $30 billion pledged by developed nations in Copenhagen to help developing countries fight climate change, $28 billion is already lined up. Observers are optimistic the rest will be in place by Cancun, though there's skepticism that some of the funding is merely previously-committed money repackaged as "green" aid.

Yang said negotiators also appear to be closing in on a deal on fighting deforestation.

There are also signs that China is getting more serious about climate change, both domestically and on the global stage. The US and China have begun cooperating on clean energy research, and China is retooling coal plants in an effort to ease pollution.

In Copenhagen, where China took much of the blame for the breakdown in talks, Beijing learned that it has new-found responsibilities as a major world player, said Yang.

"China came to understand that given the scale of the country, there's simply no way it can hide – you're either the leader or you will be blamed," Yang said. "By hosting this meeting, it sends a strong signal that China is thinking about how to play a more proactive role on the international stage."

Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said in a phone interview that China has a strong domestic motivation to curb emissions, especially from its coal plants, which still supply 80 percent of its electricity, according to the World Resources Institute.

Greenpeace China has estimated that there are more than 1,400 coal-fired power plants in China producing over 375 million tons of coal ash a year.

"We understand that if we don't change our current way of inefficient growth model, then China will sooner or later face a very severe energy security challenge," said Ma. "Our current way of growth also generates a massive amount of pollution, which we cannot afford."

Ma noted that China is now the world's leading investor in renewable energy, but said "it's not enough." He said better enforcement was needed to rein in emissions and curb construction of new coal-powered plants, and that the Chinese public needed to be better informed about "the true environmental and social cost of coal mining and coal burning."

Alternatives to a deal

Ma said many obstacles remained for a global deal, including America's failure to take a "proactive" stance on the issue. US greenhouse-gas emissions increased 16 percent from 1990 to 2006, according to a 2007 study by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

Given such challenges, he said the world should explore alternatives to an elusive UN-backed global deal, which might not even prove effective. Worldwide emissions have ballooned 25 percent since the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, according to a World Bank report last year.

One avenue some environmental groups are exploring, Ma said, was corporate carbon disclosure projects, which could allow consumers to apply economic pressure on big polluting businesses to cut carbon emissions throughout their supply chains. "That could serve as a kind of feasible alternative if we can't reach an intergovernmental agreement," said Ma.

China surpassed the US as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2007, and each country now produces about 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the World Resources Institute.

But China's per-person emissions are only about a quarter that of the US 70 percent of China's energy demand comes from the industrial sector, while private consumption accounts for most of the energy demand in the US, according to the Institute. Private energy demand is expected to skyrocket in China in the coming years as the middle class swells and car sales boom.

China is a major investor in hydro, wind, nuclear, solar, and other renewable power sources, and aims for 15 percent of its energy needs to come from such sources by 2020. The US has no such national goal, though some states like California have set their own targets.

China and other developing countries have pledged to curb the growth of their carbon emissions, rather than promise absolute cuts. Those targets "should be understood in the context of the development stage in China," where 150 million people still live in poverty, Stanley So, manager of Oxfam Hong Kong's Economic Justice Campaign, wrote in an e-mail.

China's per-person GDP is $3,700, compared to more than $46,000 in the US.

"It is a compromise between development and the climate change challenge," Mr. So said, of China's target. Used tags: , ,

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Alternative energy and related video search+watch+upload+share

Monday 28 January 2019 at 03:31 am Just in case anyone hasn't seen this yet, it is a great resource for everyone who is interested in alternative energy, green tech, diy and related how-to.
Search-watch 1000's of videos - Upload your own -Start your own channel and share-discuss your projects. Sign up now.

http://gp.alternate-energy.net/ more

Raging wildfires: Climate changes to blame for record season?

Saturday 16 July 2011 at 06:07 am Raging wildfires: Climate changes to blame for record season?

By Pete Spotts

The images are stark: soot-grimed firefighters steering bulldozers or wielding shovels to clear underbrush; curtains of orange flame tracing the contours of summits; aircraft dumping chemicals to slow a fire's progress.

Between Jan. 1 and early July of 2011, slightly more than 38,000 wildfires charred the landscape in the United States at a record pace. So far this year, wildfires have consumed just under 4.9 million acres of forest and grassland, a cumulative expanse the size of New Jersey.

That's 1 million more acres than fires consumed during the same period in 2006, which saw a record 9.9 million acres burned for the entire year.

Beyond the numbers, this year's fires may provide the first large-scale tests of the effectiveness of projects undertaken over the past decade to help forests survive wildfires, several specialists say.

The West's forests are adapted to deal with certain types of wildfires, researchers note. But since the mid-1980s, they add, some of these forests have experienced an increasing number of fires to which they are not well adapted.

Many researchers trace this shift in part to climate change. more

Hybrid Moves Into Housing

Sunday 22 May 2011 at 01:14 am Hybrid Moves Into Housing

By Brenda Krueger Huffman

(Chicago) – Recycling - Check. Conserving energy - Check. Hybrid car - Next car, check. Hybrid home system - What? Yes, it’s here. Hybrid has seamlessly, successfully moved into housing.

Safety Power, Inc. was initially started to provide homes with back up power. The company quickly grew to include renewable energy options and advising commercial and industrial clients with electrical conservation. Recently the company has come full circle and began marketing a new more capable type of renewable energy system for homes.

The award winning firm was voted one of the “Top 5 Sustainable Product Companies in Illinois” and continues to grow its residential client base in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Safety Power also serves larger firms on the national level.

Robert Brazzale, President of Safety Power, a master electrician turned entrepreneur, began Safety Power in 2007. An avid member of Local First Chicago, Rob believes in assisting sustaining local economies with green collar jobs and belongs to many green orientated groups in Chicago and around the country. more

Are electric car makers missing the trick?

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 11:12 am Are electric car makers missing the trick?

by Martin Ott

I believe that electric car makers may be driving us all down the road that may result in the same sort of technology failures that we have seen in the past.
I'm not referring to the Sinclair scooter here but cast your mind back to the débâcle of Betamax v VHS home recording systems. The eventual winner was the technically inferior VHS but the battle was not resolved until innumerable consumers had paid out for worthless Betamax systems. Back in the 70's a similar conflict occurred over audio systems when America fell in love with the 8 track tape system that moved magnetic tape in a loop over the player head at a high speed resulting in a better sound. The world market finally dictated that the audio cassette was the way to go but not until millions of consumers had been lumbered with home and in-car systems that went down the technological cul de sac. more

Wind Turbine Manufacturer Acknowledges SGS´s Contribution towards Successful Project Completion

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:57 am by Suresh Varma

The Theni Wind Farm project was developed by CLP India Pvt. Ltd., one of the major wind farm project developers in India. Located in the south western part of Tamilnadu, a southern state of the country, the facility consists of 60 Vestas V82 geared wind turbines. As recognition of its contribution towards the successful execution of this wind power project SGS received Vestas award.

Each turbine at the wind farm has a capacity of 1.65 MW IEC Class IIB machine with a blade diameter of 82 m. After a six-month long completion period, the Theni Wind Farm was officially opened in May, 2010.

Acting as contract engineer during project execution, SGS was responsible for ensuring that all activities were carried out at the site by the contractor in line with the final agreement. In doing so, SGS supervised the quality of construction works, the fulfillment of the technical parameters and kept the project within the scheduled time and contracted price. more

E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:37 am E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

by Power Plus Communications

Mannheim - Power Plus Communications AG (PPC), the leading provider of Broadband Powerline Communication systems (BPL) for smart grids has taken on a key role within an E.ON smart grid project to facilitate an extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution.

E.ON Westfalen Weser AG is currently trialing smart grid technology within its network of 1.3 million inhabitants and PPC's proven medium voltage BPL solution has connected substations in the project using the existing power grid.

Using BPL technology, standard compliant and IP-based data transfer rates of 5-30 Mbit/s can easily be achieved via the medium voltage cable itself. Within E.ON’s smart grid project, PPC's medium voltage technology facilitated the extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution. The Cisco smart grid Router and Switches used in the project are highly compatible with BPL networks, providing a real cost advantage over fiber optic networks – which can be much more expensive where cables are not pre-existing.

By combining their technology at Westfalen Weser, PPC and Cisco have ensured the evolution of fast and efficient smart grids which are controlled on an IP basis. This increases the reliability of the power grid, fulfills regulations and drives down costs. At the same time this modern smart grids communications technology makes it possible to effectively integrate renewable energy into the grid. more

MIT Infrastructure "Life Cycle" Study is Progress Both Left & Right Can Embrace - Part 2, Fiscal Responsibility

Saturday 19 February 2011 at 09:02 am By Brenda Krueger Huffman

Chicago – Perhaps moving to the center is where we all need to be politically on the environment and effective spending compatibility. Not all green technology is crazy, and not all business profit or government expenditure is evil.

Even if you do not believe in man caused climate change, we can all agree leaving a cleaner planet and a more fiscally responsible government for the next generation is preferable to not doing so.

Perhaps green technology can be cost effective, and government fiscal responsibility may realistically include affordable green initiatives. Honest “life cycle analysis” and “life cycle cost analysis” study considerations should be a political compromise starting point both the left and the right can embrace. more

Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

Thursday 27 January 2011 at 11:05 am Global warming: Impact of receding snow and ice surprises scientists

By Pete Spotts

Washington - A long-term retreat in snow and ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere is weakening the ability of these seasonal cloaks of white to reflect sunlight back into space and cool global climate, according to a study published this week.

Indeed, over the past 30 years, the cooling effect from this so-called cryosphere – essentially areas covered by snow and ice at least part of the year – appears to have weakened at more than twice the pace projected by global climate models, the research team conducting the work estimates.

The study, which appeared online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, represents a first cut at trying to calculate from direct measurements the impact of climate change on the Northern Hemisphere's cryosphere. The study was conducted by a team of federal and university scientists who examined data gathered between 1979 and 2008. more

EPA presents plan on greenhouse gases

Wednesday 05 January 2011 at 10:38 pm By Mark Clayton

Washington - Setting the stage for a New Year battle royal between Congress and the White House over greenhouse gas emissions, the US Environmental Protection Agency Thursday laid out a timetable for the nation's largest carbon emitters – power plants and refineries – to begin curbing those pollutants.

Republicans have said all year that they plan to pull out all the stops to keep the EPA from phasing in greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations beginning in 2011, saying they would damage the energy industry, raise prices, and cost jobs.

Rep. Fred Upton (R) of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has said he opposes the regulations on greenhouse gases and indicated he would lead efforts to revoke EPA regulations in the next Congress. The new regulations, he says, will likely lead to the shut down of coal-fired power plants.

"To protect jobs and fortify our energy security, we should be working to bring more power online, not shutting plants down," Mr. Upton said in a statement. "We are woefully unprepared to meet our nation's growing energy demands, yet this administration's 'none of the above' energy policy will do nothing but cost jobs, make energy more expensive, and increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy."

Environmentalists lauded the EPA's move. more

Supreme Court takes global warming case that targets power companies

Monday 13 December 2010 at 03:21 am By Warren Richey,

Washington - The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a major environmental lawsuit that seeks to force six electric power companies to cap and reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

The lawsuit - filed in 2004 by eight states, the City of New York, and three land trusts - targets what it claims are the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States and among the largest in the world.

It seeks a judicial order declaring that the fossil-fueled power plants are a "public nuisance." It also seeks a judicial order capping the plants' greenhouse gas emissions and requiring the plants to adopt a schedule of reduced emissions in future years. more