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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

The Desert Southwest USA Is Burping Methane Like Nobody’s Business

Over the next decade or so, our collective climatic future will be won or lost based on how aggressively the world decides to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Increasingly, the greenhouse gas that could provide humanity’s biggest bang for its climate change tackling buck isn’t carbon dioxide—it’s methane. For the first time, a team of scientists have observed the effects of natural gas extraction—which is 95-98 percent methane—from space.

Using satellite data, a study published Thursday finds a surprising methane hotspot: New Mexico’s San Juan Basin, an area that some believe is primed for its own oil and gas boom just like the one a few years ago in the Bakken formation of western North Dakota.

“It’s the largest signal we saw in the continental United States,” said lead author Eric Kort, a professor at the University of Michigan. I reached Kort by phone Thursday.

Methane has a shorter residence time in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, but once it’s up there, it’s a doozy. Pound for pound, methane is 20 times more effectiveat trapping the sun’s heat as carbon dioxide.

Since 2007, global methane emissions have steadily increased, but scientists aren’t sure exactly why. They’ve narrowed down the possible main sources to burps from a warming Arctic, an uptick in emissions from tropical wetlands, and human agriculture and fossil fuel extraction. The recent rise overlaps with the American boom in fracking in places like North Dakota, but also to an increase in Arctic temperatures.

Along with co-authors from NASA and the Department of Energy, Kort analyzed seven years of methane concentrations from the space-based high-resolution (and impressively named) SCanning Imaging Absorption SpectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY), which is accurate enough to track anomalies back to their source regions.

satellite-methane-signal-averages
This weird methane blip has been linked to fossil fuel extraction in New Mexico.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan

The San Juan Basin blip that Kort’s team found showed up during the entire seven-year dataset, and in all seasons—evidence that its source was likely unnatural. Intrigued by this finding, the authors decided to explore further.

In 2012, using ground-based measurements, they were able to track the anomaly back to an unconventional technique called coalbed methane extraction that’s been practiced for decades in the region.

However, in order to justify the anomalous atmospheric concentrations they were detecting, Kort’s team calculated the amount of methane emanating from these sites must be enormous: 590,000 tons per year, or about 10 percent of the EPA’s estimate of total U.S. emissions from natural gas production, and about three-and-a-half times higher than previous estimates in this region.

For perspective, Kort’s analysis shows the San Juan Basin may already be producing methane emissions roughly equivalent to the entire oil, gas, and coal industry in the United Kingdom. Said Kort, “it is a pretty impressive number from such a small spatial region.”

Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced an offensive on methane that relies primarily on voluntary compliance by the agriculture and energy industries. However, in September, the Department of Energy paved the way for increased natural gas exports at port facilities on the Gulf Coast, an example of the administration’s on-again-off-again commitment to making hard choices in favor of climate stability.

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Global methane concentrations are on the rise again in recent years, thanks—perhaps—to America’s fossil fuel renaissance.

Image: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

Kort’s not done examining the San Juan Basin. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is supporting his research team to conduct an aerial survey of the region in an attempt to further track down individual point sources of methane.

 

Source: http://www.slate.com/

Minimum CO2 price of $32 needed to curb warming, study shows

Paris (AFP) – A global carbon price of at least $32 (24 euros) per tonne is needed by 2015 to apply an effective brake on global warming — almost five times today’s European market rate, a study said Monday.

Co-authored by British economist Nicholas Stern, an authority on the costs of climate change, the report reviewed a widely-used model for assessing risk and found it led to a “gross underassessment” of danger.

Emissions spew out of a large stack at the coal fired Morgantown Generating Station, on May 29, 2014 in Newburg, Maryland © Getty/AFP Mark Wilson

Emissions spew out of a large stack at the coal fired Morgantown Generating Station, on May 29, 2014 in Newburg, Maryland
© Getty/AFP Mark Wilson

This beefs up the case for strong cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, helped by a carbon price “in the range of $32-103 per tonne of CO2 (tCO2) in 2015″, said the study carried by The Economic Journal.

“Within two decades, the carbon price should rise in real terms to $82-260/tCO2,” it added.

Such a price should limit the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to 425-500 particles per million, the level required to contain global warming to 1.5-2.0 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), said the report.

The study was co-authored by Stern’s colleague, Simon Dietz, at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

It was released a day after the close of UN talks in Bonn on concluding a deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The pact is expected to be signed in Paris in December 2015.

In April, the UN’s expert Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the world can still limit global warming to relatively safe levels, provided annual emissions are cut by 40-70 percent by 2050.

The panel listed a global carbon price as one option for tackling the challenge. It warned temperatures could rise by up to 4.8 Celsius this century and sea levels by 26-82 centimetres (10-32 inches) on present emissions trends.

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have also this year called for the introduction of a universal price on carbon — the most common greenhouse gas blamed for climate change.

For the moment, carbon prices are determined by national or regional systems — either as a tax on emissions or as a cap-and-trade scheme that allows companies to sell unused allotments.

The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the most ambitious cap-and-trade system in the world, has seen prices drop drastically from a peak of about 30 euros per tonne eight years ago to $7.7 (5.7 euros) today — partly due to countries issuing too many allowances.

The Stern-Dietz report said the standard DICE model used to calculate economic risks from climate change, also by studies included in the IPCC’s latest report, used unrealistic values and underestimated the potential damage.

The updated model, “strengthens the case for strong cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases,” Dietz said in a statement.

© AFP

Source: Magazine GoodPlanet Info