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Low-carbon development in Dharwad district

In 2015, for the first time, a couple of Climate Parliament MPs committed to support the implementation of low carbon development plans in their constituencies, targeting key goals such as energy, water, agriculture, cooking, etc., which together can steer development onto a low carbon pathway in rural India. In Karnataka, Mr. Arvind Bellad, MLA, Hubli Dharwad West and Mr. Pralhad Joshi, the MP from Dharwad helmed this initiative. Both these network members supported a detailed and comprehensive study for a few chosen villages in Dharwad on developing a Low Carbon Development Roadmap focusing on the energy challenges. Based on the Roadmap, two programs are getting implemented by partners. Mr. Bellad gives us an insight into the project, the current status and the challenges faced.

 

mr.bellad
Mr. Bellad, can you briefly introduce us to the project?
In 2015, Mr. Pralhad Joshi and I supported a comprehensive study in few chosen villages in Dharwad done by SELCO Foundation, in association with Climate Parliament. This study’s main objective was to assess how and what different clean energy technologies can be introduced in these villages to bring about local area development in the constituency. The report was presented to us with recommendations highlighting the prioritized technologies which should be introduced in the villages. Since then, we have sought out and finalized different technology partners who will look into the implementation of the chosen technologies.Our main aim with this project was to assess the key role Legislators can play in promoting low carbon development on ground.
Can you tell us more about low carbon development in rural areas and how it is a mechanism to mitigate climate change?
Low carbon development is all about merging developmental objectives with those of climate change mitigation; a large economy like India – being third largest carbon emitter in the world, the focus now is not only to ensure development but, to support development in a sustainable, low carbon manner. Low carbon agriculture practices, forest conservation, afforestation, renewable energy, energy efficiency etc. are practices which can be worked into the developmental plans of cities, but more importantly, in villages. Our basic developmental needs at the ground level in villages need immediate attention. The idea to amalgamate low carbon technologies into the developmental plan for villages, while exploring various National and State Government schemes for low carbon technologies and utilize them to ensure multiple benefits in rural areas such as basic facilities and amenities – the most important one being reliable and affordable power supply.
What is the current status of the project?

 

Based on the recommendations of the study, smooth implementable options and the financial support we have received, we have finalized two technologies for implementation in the first phase. Household biogas units to replace traditional cooking fuels like firewood, cow dung; this will not only result in lower carbon emissions but will also, improve the health of women involved in cooking. Secondly, with the proposal to implement solar powered digital education systems in schools – the focus on education sector as rural government schools currently lack multimedia content due to lack of adequate technology and power cuts.
Subsequently, in October last year, over a meeting with Climate Parliament and a couple of implementing partners Mr. Joshi proposed we look into a more centralized solar project in two villages of his constituency – Haro belavadi and Kabbinur. Dharwad district as a whole has scope for decentralized solar energy technologies with energy efficiency. The area receives on average 300 sunny days a year with an average solar insolation of 5 kWh/m2/day. SELCO Foundation conducted a feasibility study and the report prepared by them had been shared with a few CSR organizations, we have heard back from ONGC that they are interested to fund the development of solar village for
Haro Belavadi. SELCO Foundation is currently in the process of preparing a detailed feasibility report and is looking for a technology partner to collaborate with for the implementation.
What immediate benefits can you see for the villages?

 

A major proportion of the population still uses fuel wood, crop residue, dung or kerosene for cooking. Considering the proximity of these villages to Hubli Dharwad, we were dismayed to see that the woman still suffered from the effects of indoor air pollution while they had other amenities such as televisions, refrigerators etc. Providing these households with clean cooking fuel is our priority intervention and we are sure to see an improvement in the health and quality of life in the next couple of years. Similarly, most of the villages in Dharwad face the problem of frequent and long power cuts daily, the study showed that on average, single phase power is available for 11.9 hours each day, of which 3 hours of this power is available between 6 pm and 10 pm. It is pertinent that we provide reliable electricity to our villages. As centralized grid extension has not been able to fully address the issue of rural electrification, appropriate renewable energy-based interventions can be implemented – this is where our interest to pursue the development of Haro Belavadi into a solar village stemmed from.
How are you planning to fund these initiatives?

 

Our studies have revealed the total figure of biogas units for a 110 households and solar powered digital educations units to be Rs.30,20,000 – though we do have a provision of government subsidy of Rs. 10,00000 for the biogas units. I have been engaging with the Karnataka Grameen Vikas Bank to partially finance the installed of the solar digital education systems under their CSR projects. Similarly, Mr. Joshi’s office has reached out to many CSR organizations and connected with Mangalore Petroleum Refinery Limited (MRP) to come onboard as partial financial partners for the implementation of the household biogas units. We started out this project with the idea to explore the potential to merge schemes like MPLAD, MLALAD and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana to finance the implementation of the low carbon technologies; we have already submitted our SAGY documents to the government and have accounted for partial financing of the biogas units under the scheme.
SELCO Foundation’s study gave us the estimated total of Rs. 7.2 crores for the development of the two solar villages. Currently, we have ONGC which has agreed to finance the development of Haro Belavadi into a solar village (Rs 3.92 crores). So far, we have been fortunate to connect with the right CSR partners who were keen to collaborate on such projects, but as we intend to showcase low carbon development by Parliamentarians as a replicable model there is a need for us to also integrate these low carbon technologies into our district/area development plans and draw funds from there as well.
What are the key challenges have faced and those you foresee for this project?
In terms of bringing about a low carbon development on the ground, there have been several issues hindering the implementation; one major challenge has been that of obtaining the required finance. It took us a while to identify the right financial sources, the suitable entrepreneurs who run successful viable business models. There is a need to create viable business models for commissioning of such projects. The challenges we foresee in the continuation of this project is the delay in receipt of government incentives and the intricate administrative procedures which could stall progress. Thus, we are already looking into suitable measures to address these – during a district level meeting for Mr. Joshi in January our implementation partner SKG Sangha was present and spoke with the District commissioner, officials from HESCOM – the request for faster deployment of the biogas unit subsidy during the upcoming implementation phase was received positively.
What is the significance of this project – for your district and state? How would you propose to scale up such projects?
With a wide reach in our constituencies and as elected representative, we Legislators are in a unique position to help plug certain gaps – like that of financing and implementation of such projects. With this initiative I see the potential for many more interventions in Dharwad itself. Integrating low carbon strategies into district level planning is a practice we hope to promote by showcasing this study to our district officials. This project has set the ball rolling for us, there are many more such recommendations of the report pertaining to energy efficiency appliances, sustainable agriculture, water management etc, which we will look into. These initiatives also open up a large market for decentralized renewable energy technologies in the state – promoting growth at the local level.
With the learning over the past year under our belt we hope to showcase such initiatives to our fellow colleagues at the Parliament and the Legislative Assembly as well. The Paris targets India has submitted calls for a paradigm shift in the mode of development in the country, I strongly believe we as Legislators can contribute in achieving this by taking up such initiatives to combat climate change. The idea is to replicate these initiatives with alignment to the Government schemes to show massive scaling up of low carbon technologies deployment in the country.

 

Source: Climate Parliament

A Liter of Light, lighting up lives!

Ever thought of what you would normally do to a plastic bottle after drinking out of it? Ever thought of what happens to a bottle, once you throw it away? Or how you could use the bottle in any other way, than disposing it? Well here is one solution that has caught the world’s attention. This revolutionizing, new solar lighting movement is called, ‘Liter of Light’.

A Brazilian mechanic and inventor, Alfredo Moser, invented a unique and simple alternative to illumination, when a power outage affected his workshop. With little materials around him, he used everyday items to build a daylight solution. Inspired by the simplicity of this invention, Illac Diaz, founder of MyShelter Foundation, decided to spread the invention in his energy hungry, cyclonic affected parts of his native country, the Philippines. The ‘Liter of Light’ movement started since then; Opening 53 chapters across nations like India, Philippines, United States, Pakistan, among other, since 2011.

So what is so unique about this solar based solution? How is it different from other solar based solutions out there? Why is it attracting so much attention worldwide? The answer lies in the innovation itself. This unique solution uses minimum resources – a plastic bottle, a little amount of bleach, a small aluminium sheet, resin and basic tools.  This bottle is now ready to be fitted on an aluminium rooftop. On a sunny day, sunlight refracts through the bleached water, illuminating the room below.  It is estimated to have an effect, equivalent to a 50 Watt bulb[1]. All this, at a cost of less than $2[2]! Since the success of Liter of Light’s daylight solution, the foundation has started work on a night light solution as well. The night solution is modular and integrates with the daylight solution using a few LED bulbs and a compact solar panel. Though the cost of the night light solution is presently around $15-20[3], Liter of Light is committed to innovate further, to reduce cost below $10, noting that the minimum cost for a one light bulb system is $10, which is yet marginally high for most regions that fall under extreme poverty.

According to a World Bank[4] report on energy, 1.1 billion people are yet without access to electricity. Globally, an estimated 250 to 500 million households still rely on fuel-based lamps to supply their basic lighting needs. Kerosene being the most predominant fuel. Users of kerosene lamps pay 20-30%[5] of their annual family’s income for the fuel. However a bigger price is paid for their well-being, in the form of injuries from burns, insufficient illumination for education of children, and the significant health impacts from indoor household air pollution (UNEP). An estimated 4.3 million deaths every year from lung cancer, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute lower respiratory disease, and ischaemic heart disease are attributable to HAP emissions[6]. More than three quarters of those deaths (3.31 million) occur in South East Asia and the Western Pacific[7]. Kerosene is also a major emitter of Black Carbon[8], a major contributor to climate change along with the CO2 released from burning of Kerosene[9] . Solar based solutions like the Liter of Light daylight and night lights are helping people to switch to a safer source of light and an inexpensive solution.

Among the regions Liter of Light has penetrated, the most impressive utility of the product are in war-affected, human displaced and catastrophic climatic zones. For instance, the northern belt of Pakistan, Philippines and the east coast of India. Around 35 kilometres southeast of Peshawar, lies one of Pakistan’s largest refugee camps – Jalozai IDP refugee camp. Its home to an estimated 36,000 refugees. Access to basic amenities like electricity, roads and water are very scarce. Maternity wards have very little or no light to run emergency operations. The camp has no lighting along the streets and public washrooms. Vaqas Butt, Founder of ‘Liter of Light – Pakistan’ in collaboration with Pepsi Co Pakistan initiated “Lighting up Lives”. This programme has lit up public restrooms, streets and hospital labor wards. Refugees from the camp express their feeling of having light at night as ‘a blessing’ to their hardship they face.

FotorCreated

Similarly, in the far south East Asia region of the Philippines, a country constantly ravaged by cyclonic storms, Liter of Light installed up to 200,000 daylight and nightlight solutions (pepsico). ‘Liter of Light Bangalore’, recently helped light three hamlets, near coast of Vizag. This included installation of streetlights and hut rooftop night light solutions in areas where electricity had never been reached. A huge impact has been in the employment of rural men and women, to earn a living by maintaining the solution.

Many critics to the Liter of Light movement raise one very important question. How is the use of waste bottles sustainable? What happens to the bottles after its lifespan is over? Use of the bottles for lighting helps in reducing the otherwise disposed bottles which usually land up in landfills and take years to decompose. The estimated lifespan of a Liter of Light bottle and the bleach mixture has been recorded to be around an average of 3 years, though, different regions and different conditions could extend or shorten the time. Liter of Light is considering a plan of action with regard to the disposal of the bottles post its usage stage.

FotorCreated1

Energy for all is going to be the single most important priority for all developed and developing economies in the coming decades. As their economies grow, so does their need for energy. Sustainable energy solutions like renewable energy will be a crucial factor, as economies are looking to curb their impact on the environment as they grow. Sustainable low cost energy solutions like the Liter of Light initiative will play a crucial role in providing energy requirements to regions that would yet need distributed power.

 

 

Joseph Varun

 

[1] “Liter of Light’s solar-powered, DIY lamp made from a plastic …” 2015. 11 Jun. 2015 <http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/liter-of-lights-solarpowered-diy-lamp-made-from-a-plastic-bottle-is-transforming-lives-9993728.html>

[2] “Liter of Light | Global Brands Magazine.” 2014. 11 Jun. 2015 <http://www.globalbrandsmagazine.com/liter-of-light/>

[3] “Bottling Solar Energy for All by Illac Diaz — The G Project.” 2013. 11 Jun. 2015 <http://www.thisisyourplanet.com/ideas/community/412>

[4] “Energy Overview – World Bank.” 2013. 11 Jun. 2015 <http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/energy/overview>

[5] “Solar Power Off the Grid: Energy Access for World’s Poor by …” 2012. 10 Jun. 2015 <http://e360.yale.edu/feature/solar_power_off_the_grid_energy_access_for_worlds_poor/2480/>

[6] “WHO | Household air pollution and health.” 2005. 10 Jun. 2015 <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/>

[7] “Kerosene Lamps are an Important Target for Reducing …” 2014. 10 Jun. 2015 <http://www.unep.org/ccac/Media/PressReleases/KeroseneLampsImportantTargetforReducingPollu/tabid/794525/Default.aspx>

[8]Black carbon (BC) is the most strongly light-absorbing component of particulate matter (PM), and is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and biomass. BC is emitted directly into the atmosphere in the form of fine particles (PM2.5). BC is the most effective form of PM, by mass, at absorbing solar energy: per unit of mass in the atmosphere, BC can absorb a million times more energy than carbon dioxide (CO2). BC is a major component of “soot”, a complex light-absorbing mixture that also contains some organic carbon (OC).

[9] “The kerosene lamp and black carbon – warming the planet …” 2013. 10 Jun. 2015 <http://solar-aid.org/black-carbon-and-the-kerosene-lamp/>

www.trayport.com
Carbon tax to meet climate concerns

India can display bold leadership by imposing a carbon tax on all fossil fuels in proportion to carbon dioxide emissions

Oil prices have plummeted since June 2014 by almost 60 per cent. This has obviously proved to be a bonanza for oil-importing countries like India just as it has seriously hurt oil-producing nations like Russia and Iran. The fall has been unexpected and what has added to the mystery is the behaviour of Saudi Arabia, the traditional “swing producer” in OPEC which has chosen not to cut production in order to boost prices.

The main reason now being adduced for the oil price decline is the re-emergence of the U.S. as a major hydrocarbon producer because of exploitation of its substantial shale deposits. Lower than anticipated demand, especially from countries like China, and anaemic economic growth in Europe have added to the pressure. As to the response of Saudi Arabia, the best guess is that it does not want to lose market share like it did the last time when it cut output to keep prices up. There are, of course, the usual conspiracy theories — that the Americans have put pressure on major OPEC oil producers not to cut output so that Russia could get hurt from falling prices. Another Byzantine view is that Saudi Arabia is not too unhappy with these prices since its arch-rival Iran is getting hurt and because over the medium-term it would discourage the development of new sources of supply that would threaten the Saudi position.

Revisiting an old idea

Whatever be its backdrop, the current oil price scenario offers the right moment for the international community as well as for major carbon emitter nations to revisit an old idea that has been around for quite some time as a way of dealing with the challenge of climate change — and this is a carbon tax. Economists mostly agree that such a carbon tax is the way to go, but it has faced tremendous political resistance, especially in the U.S. A couple of days ago, however, the influential economist Larry Summers, who has been a close adviser to both President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, came out publicly in its favour, pointing out that a tax of $25 per tonne of carbon would add just 25 cents to the price of gasoline. There have been other intellectually weighty voices in the past who have advocated a carbon tax, William Nordhaus being perhaps the most prominent amongst them.

It is the political resistance to any form of taxation (what the late Sukhamoy Chakravarty, the distinguished Indian planner, had called the emerging fiscal sociology) that has led to systems of cap-and-trade being adopted to deal with the emissions problem. The EU has such a system, the Chinese have seven pilots and have announced a national initiative beginning next year, and the Americans too are putting it in place for carbon emissions from power plants. A cap-and-trade system puts a cap on the quantity of emissions (which is flexible) and the “rights” to emit are then traded for a price among classes of consumers. It has considerable appeal since it is “market-based” and it has actually been used very effectively to deal with the consequences of sulphur dioxide emissions from power plants in the U.S. (the “acid rain” problem as it is usually called). The cap-and-trade system does provide incentives for emission levels to decline. On the other hand, a carbon tax is much simpler and straightforward to design and administer since it does not involve fixing emission “quotas” for each emitting industry, which is technically very cumbersome.

“A carbon tax is simple to administer since it does not involve fixing emission ‘quotas’ for each emitting industry, which is technically very cumbersome”

William Nordhaus himself in his classic “The Climate Casino,” after an elaborate analysis of the two approaches, writes: “If I were put on the rack and forced to choose, I would admit that the economic arguments for carbon taxation are compelling, particularly those relating to revenues, volatility, transparency and predictability. So if a country is genuinely unsure, I would recommend it use the carbon tax approach.” Dale Jorgenson, one of the pre-eminent economists of our times, has taken the Nordhaus approach and asked the question: how to make it politically acceptable? In “Double Dividend: Environmental Taxes and Fiscal Reforms in the United States,” Mr. Jorgenson and his colleagues make out a persuasive case for a carbon tax in the U.S., but with a twist: that the revenues be used for a capital tax reduction with other countries free to recycle revenues in the matter they deem fit.

Actually, India has a carbon tax of sorts. It is not called as such but the United Progressive Alliance government’s budget of 2010-11 introduced a cess of Rs. 50 per tonne of both domestically produced and imported coal. Last year, this was doubled. However, the idea of this cess, it must be admitted, was less to curb carbon emissions but more to raise revenues for the National Clean Energy Fund. Of course, the Fund itself could well support carbon mitigation initiatives but its take-off has been slow so far since Finance Ministers see it as a source of mitigating not carbon but the fiscal deficit. The Fund has close to Rs. 15,000 crore already accumulated in it and this will grow rapidly as coal consumption increases. But the important point is that India already has an important half-step, even though its version of a carbon tax is not economy-wide and it is far below the levels that are generally accepted as being desirable (around $20-25 per tonne of carbon).

Mr. Summers’ plea comes with a catch: he wants the U.S. to impose a carbon tax on its own as well as a tax on the carbon tax on its imports, in order to goad other countries to adopt the carbon tax route. Perhaps he has China in mind since it has been estimated that at least a fifth of China’s emissions are because of its export sector. He seems to think that this will be World Trade Organization-compatible. But it will pose a huge threat to the world trading system which has produced tangible benefits for those who have harnessed its potential — like China and India — if it were to be used to meet climate policy objectives.

Requiring a different response

Some years ago, drawing inspiration from no less a person than Lord Keynes himself, the Nobel Laureate James Tobin proposed a tax on short-term currency transactions. This was later expanded to cover all short-term financial transactions and is widely known as the Tobin Tax. But it remains on paper as to which periodic obeisance is paid. The carbon tax is a similar development deity but it is an idea whose time has undoubtedly come given the current and expected oil price situation. In the past, oil prices have declined as they have in recent months; the commitment of countries to make the transition away from fossil fuels has perceptibly wavered. This time around, however, given the climate change imperative, our response has to be dramatically different. A carbon tax imposed on all fossil fuels in proportion to carbon dioxide emissions would signal that transformed thinking. It would generate the needed resources for low-carbon investments in a manner that does not add to the fiscal deficit and provide the impetus to a meaningful global agreement in Paris later this year in December. This could well be India’s moment of bold leadership.

(Jairam Ramesh was Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Environment and Forests, 2009-2011).

Source: The Hindu

Germany’s $132 Billion Green Energy Lead Is Fortified by EON’s Split With Fossil Fuels

Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

A crane operates inside the coal storage hall at the EON AG Staudinger coal-powered power plant in Grosskrotzenburg, Germany.

EON SE (EOAN)’s plan to spin off its fossil-fuel plants marks a watershed moment in Germany’s renewables effort that will likely bolster the country’s already leading position in clean energy.

EON’s announcement is the culmination of a push to wind, solar and other alternative energy forms that the German government began 14 years ago with subsidies to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels for power production. That plan gained added momentum in 2011 with a decision to close the country’s nuclear reactors following the Fukushima accident.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bold move is already beginning to pay off, with Europe’s largest economy for the first time getting more electricity from renewables this year than any other source. About a quarter of Germany’s power now comes from green energy, compared with 6.2 percent in the U.S. and 4.8 percent in France.

“We are in the midst of a giant transformation process of our energy system,” Deputy Environment Minister Jochen Flasbarth told reporters yesterday in Berlin. “Renewables are the increasingly dominant factor in the German energy mix. EON’s decision is a piece of the puzzle.”

The government intends to go further, setting goals to increase the use of alternative energy sources to as much as 45 percent of all power generated by 2035 and boost that figure to 80 percent by 2050. Germany, where the eastern countryside is already dotted with thousands ofwind turbines, plans to do that in part by expanding large-scale offshore wind plants that can produce more reliably because the breeze is steadier at sea.

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Germany this year for the first time got more electricity from renewables than any… Read More

Closing Reactors

Merkel decided after the Fukushima accident in Japan to close the country’s eight oldest nuclear reactors and shutter the remainder by 2022. To reach stricter climate protection targets, Germany tomorrow will unveil details of a plan demanding additional emissions cuts from electricity produced using fossil fuel.

“Germany has some of the most ambitious climate protection targets and is radically rebuilding its energy system,” said Sven Diermeier, an analyst at Independent Research GmbH inFrankfurt who follows EON and rival RWE AG. “And now EON is attempting the most radical rebuilding so far of any large European utility.”

Germany’s push has come at a cost for the country’s utilities, energy-intensive industries and consumers. The influx of renewable power on the grid has undermined wholesale prices and decimated the profitability of coal and gas plants. At the same time, the taxes on electricity that subsidize renewable energy production has led to Germany having the second-highest household power prices in the European Union, according to Eurostat.

Subsidies

German consumers have paid a total of 106 billion euros ($132 billion) through the surcharge on their power bills to finance the clean-energy expansion. The annual cost may peak this year and drop slightly to 22 billion euros in 2015 as the government begins reducing subsidies for the industry.

Despite the expense, the shift has broad public support. A poll earlier this year showed 71 percent of Germans back the decision to close the nuclear reactors and 67 percent think the country isn’t doing enough to move to renewables, according to the Allensbach polling company.

Against this general backdrop, power companies in Germany are increasingly staking their future on green energy. EON after the split in 2016 will concentrate on renewables, distribution and marketing to households and consumers. The spun-off entity will include conventional power generation, global energy trading, exploration and production.

Renewables Focus

“There’s a new world becoming reality that’s driven by customers,” EON Chief Executive Officer Johannes Teyssen said today in Berlin of the plan to split the utility.

Vattenfall AB, owned by the Swedish state, wants to get rid of its German coal operations to focus on renewables, while ENBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG (EBK) last year doubled its asset sales goal to 3 billion euros to free up cash to invest in clean energy. RWE, Europe’s biggest corporate emitter of greenhouse gases, said yesterday it didn’t plan to follow EON’s lead. RWE last year generated more than half of its power in Germany with lignite, the dirtiest fossil fuel.

“Spinning off coal, gas and oil from the core business is a smart strategy for a future-oriented company,” said Patrick Graichen, head of Agora Energiewende. “I’m sure additional utilities will follow suit — not just in Germany, but worldwide.”

Electric Cars

Merkel is also trying to reduce the country’s emissions by pushing Germany’s auto industry to build more electric cars after French, Japanese and American carmakers got off to an early lead. Including vehicles like Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s i3 city car and an electric version of Daimler AG’s Smart two-seater, German auto manufacturers will offer 17 electric-powered models by the end of 2014, and another 12 will be going on sale next year, according to the country’s VDA automotive industry group.

The chancellor today threw her support behind incentives to reach her goal of having 1 million electric cars on German roads by 2020. The country is behind on the effort in part because the government has previously balked at subsidies like those offered in France, where consumers receive as much as 6,300 euros to help cover the higher cost of low-emission vehicles. Electric car sales in Germany last year amounted to about 7,600 vehicles, while in France demand was almost double that at 14,400.

“There’s a lot to do,” Merkel said during a press conference in Berlin. “We see that further subsidies are necessary. We must speak with the German states about that.”

 

Source: Bloomberg

Japan ‘plans carbon offset scheme with India’

Tokyo (AFP) – Japan is set to offer India a carbon offset scheme that would see Tokyo’s environmental technology used by the rising Asian giant to help reduce its emissions, a report said.

The scheme would see Japanese firms earn carbon credits in return for helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the Nikkei newspaper said in its Monday evening edition, adding India was a likely early partner.

Farmworkers prepare a flooded field for rice-growing as the chimneys of the Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant loom the background in Mecheda, around 85 kms south-west of Kolkata, eastern India on July 26, 2011 © AFP/File Dibyangshu Sarkar

Farmworkers prepare a flooded field for rice-growing as the chimneys of the Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant loom the background in Mecheda, around 85 kms south-west of Kolkata, eastern India on July 26, 2011
© AFP/File Dibyangshu Sarkar

The joint crediting mechanism (JCM) would encourage Japanese firms to participate by allowing them to promote technologies such as energy-efficient furnaces and air-conditioning systems, in developing countries with huge market potential such as India.

The Nikkei report comes as Japan struggles to further cut its greenhouse gas emissions, with businesses claiming many factories, vehicles and household appliances are already fitted with energy-efficient technologies.

It also comes as the latest energy white paper showed Japan is increasingly dependent on imported fossil fuels for power generation, with the public still unwilling to allow nuclear reactors to be switched back after the huge 2011 quake-tsunami disaster that crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Under the mooted joint crediting mechanism (JCM), participating firms would be allowed to count the carbon credits as reductions in their own greenhouse gas emissions or could sell them to the government, the Nikkei said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, who will visit Tokyo next month, will agree to speed up talks on the matter, the newspaper reported.

Japan has already signed JCM agreements with 11 developing countries, including Indonesia, Mongolia and Kenya.

Tokyo hopes carbon credits from the scheme could be used to come closer to its target of reducing Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions by 3.8 percent against the 2005 level.

Japan, which had relied on nuclear for over a quarter of its power, jacked up imports of fossil fuels to keep the lights on after the quake-tsunami disaster forced a shutdown of the country’s reactors.

About 88 percent of Japan’s energy came from fossil fuels in the past fiscal year to March, according to the white paper released Tuesday.

© AFP

Source: Magazine Goodplanet Info

EU revives Airline Carbon Tax Proposal

The European Union’s executive branch on Wednesday proposed taxing airlines for emissions made while crossing European airspace, revising a controversial plan the EU had to back down from last year.

Under the new European Commission proposal, airlines using EU airspace could be subject to a tax for air-polluting carbon emissions on the portion of a flight that crosses the European Economic Area (EEA).

“The European Union has reduced greenhouse gas emissions considerably, and all the economic sectors are contributing to these efforts. The aviation sector also has to contribute, as aviation emission are increasing fast — doubling since 1990,” said EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard in a statement.

The new proposal is an amended version of the EU’s ill-fated CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for intercontinental flights, which the EU suspended last year after a flurry of protests from emerging countries, airlines and aircraft builders that raised fears of a trade war.

Under the former scheme, flights through EU airspace, wherever they originated, were required to buy pollution credits to cover 15 percent of their CO2 emissions for the entire flight, wherever it originated.

In the new proposal, the tax would apply only to the part of the flight crossing the EEA — the 28 EU member states plus Norway and Iceland.

The announcement of the amended plan comes after the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreed earlier this month to regulate the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions but gave itself until 2020 to work out the details.

The EU’s new plan would apply from the beginning of 2014 until the ICAO regulations take effect, the European Commission said.

“With this proposal, Europe is taking the responsibility to reduce emissions within its own airspace until the global measure begins,” said Hedegaard.

The plan, which has to receive the backing of the EU’s member states and the European Parliament, risks reigniting the standoff between the EU and countries such as China, India and Russia that do not want the tax imposed on their airlines.

Asked if the proposal risked raising an outcry after the Montreal deal, Hedegaard replied: “Every country that respects the rule of law will recognise that we have the right to take the measures we want in our airspace.”

Flights to and from developing countries that generate less than one percent of global aviation emissions would receive a full exemption. © AFP

 

Source: EU revives Airline Carbon Tax Proposal – © AFP – 17/10/2013

 

Airlines have 3 years to come up with measures to drastically cut emissions

A landmark agreement on climate change was reached at the close of the 38th Assembly of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal.

ICAO’s 191 member states convened in the Canadian city last week.

“Today was a great day for aviation, for the effort against climate change and for global standards and international cooperation,” Tony Tyler, director-general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said after the agreement was reached. “Industry, civil society and governments have worked hard to reach this point and keep aviation at the forefront of industries managing their climate change impact.

“Now we have a strong mandate and a short three-year time frame to sort out the details. Airlines need and want a global MBM [market-based measure]. Without losing any of the momentum built up over these last two weeks, we are eager to get on with the detailed work needed to design the global scheme in time for finalisation at the 2016 assembly.”

The agreement will set in motion discussions on the detailed design elements of a global MBM, including standards for the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions and the type of scheme to be implemented.

In June, IATA’s 240 member airlines representing some 84 per cent of global traffic overwhelmingly passed a resolution asking governments to develop a global mandatory carbon-offsetting scheme. The industry believes that this will be the most effective and efficient MBM to implement.

Tyler praised the European Commission for its important role in this. The EC earlier made persistent efforts on aviation emissions.

IATA members agreed that technology, operations, infrastructure and economic measures made up the four-pillar strategy to address climate change.

The IATA Technology Road Map identifies technologies that could reduce fuel per aircraft by up to 30 per cent. Improved operations can save fuel and carbon-dioxide emissions by up to 6 per cent per year. Meanwhile, governments and infrastructure providers could avoid up to 12 per cent of carbon-dioxide emissions by addressing airport and airspace inefficiencies.

Thanks to technology and improvement in operations, air transport has reduced its fuel use and carbon-dioxide emissions per passenger-kilometre by well over 70 per cent compared with the 1960s. Although traffic increased by as much as 5.3 per cent year on year, total emissions for 2012 increased by only 3 per cent to 689 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, compared with 669 million tonnes in 2011.

According to IATA, air transport accounts for 2 per cent of global man-made carbon-dioxide emissions. Air transport’s contribution has not increased in the past 20 years and is not expected to increase beyond 3 per cent by 2050, the association says.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sets the strategies that total climate-change impact (including radiative forcing from other greenhouse gases) at 3 per cent now should not increase beyond 5 per cent by 2050.

CNG2020 means that aviation’s net carbon-dioxide emissions will not rise beyond 2020 levels even as demand for air transport continues to grow. Aside from ICAO’s endorsement, this vision would become true if governments and fuel firms supported and scaled up the production of sustainable biofuels for aviation.

Governments and providers of air-navigation service need to improve air-traffic management, and live up to their commitments to deliver the Single European Sky in Europe and NextGen in the United States, IATA believes.

At IATA’s annual general meeting in June, its members adopted a resolution providing a set of principles on how governments could integrate a single global market-based measure as part of an overall package of measures to put a cap on net aviation emissions from 2020.

Source: The Nation, 13th October 2013