IFCE Weekly Environment/Energy News (Oct 15-Oct. 22, 2010)
October 15th, 2010
China ranks fourth as global energy investment hot spot: study
China is ranked fourth out of 10 countries as a hot spot for energy investments,
and improvements to challenges like intellectual property protection and ability to
confirm to Western standards and clearer national policies would help boost its
investment attractiveness, according to a study by consultancy EC Harris.
"China's fourth position reflects the slow implementation of legislation and
financial incentives to support foreign investments," Paul Stapleton, head of
Energy at EC Harris, said Thursday. The research compared 10 nations across factors
including government policies and incentives, business environment and growth
predictions in gross domestic product, foreign direct investments and electricity
China ranked fourth, behind the US, France and Germany, on policies and investment
climate related to fossil fuel and renewables, while it was ranked sixth on policies and
investment climate related to nuclear energy.
China's greatest appeal to investors in all energy segments is the sheer size of the
country's energy needs which provide opportunities of scale in each segment, EC Harris
"Nonetheless, investors must contend with a risky operating environment, patchy
legislation implementation and few financial incentives outside of the renewable
segment," Stapleton said.
According to the consultant, China has the opportunity to lead the world in renewable
energy investments due to its growth potential. China is the world's largest investor in
renewable projects having invested an estimated $120 billion-160 billion between 2007
and 2010, but clearer policies like carbon emissions targets would help to create a better
"We are waiting to see the new five-year plan from China, which may shed some light
on its future plans," Stapleton said.
October 16th, 2010
China-Asean Forum to explore electricity
potentials at CAEXPO
The third China-Asean Electric Power Cooperation and Development Forum & the China-Asean
Electric Power Economic Cooperation Seminar will be held during the upcoming 7th China-
Asean Expo (CAEXPO) in October, which will bring the latest market intelligence and business
opportunities for participating enterprises.
The forum is co-sponsored by the China Electricity Council International and China Council for
the Promotion of International Trade Electric Power Industry Office as well as the CAEXPO
Targeting a "win-win electric power cooperation in the context of China-Asean economic
integration", which is the theme of this year, the forum will invite, from China and Asean
countries, officials of competent government departments of electricity and energy, leaders and
representatives of relevant trade associations and enterprises.
The participating government officials will illustrate the policies and measures to promote
cooperation amongst electric power and energy enterprises within the CAFTA; investment
promotion of organisations while professional service agencies will introduce the investment
climate and investment opportunities of their countries, as well as policies, laws and regulations
on different sectors; programmes on new technology exchange, new project promotions and
market analysis and comparison will also be arranged.
The forum will thus provide a good chance for electricity players to have in-depth discussion on
international electricity cooperation.
The forum receives full support from Chinese and Asean political and business communities.
Relevant government officials from China and 10 Asean countries will join the forum through
invitation and will be joined by the Chinese electricity investment agencies, electricity operators,
equipment suppliers, manufacturers of electricity sets, trading companies, contractors of
electricity facilities, general contractors, and organisations for relevant financial, investment, legal
and consultation services.
EU and US
Protesters block road to oil refinery
Saturday 16 October 2010 16.26 BST
Twelve female protesters today handcuffed themselves to lorries parked
deliberately to block the main road to an oil refinery as part of a mass protest
against climate change.
Demonstrators drove the vehicles to the Coryton oil refinery in Essex in an attempt
to stop traffic getting to and from the site which they accuse of exacerbating global
warming, said a spokesman for the Crude Awakening demonstration.
The group estimated that 500 protesters were blocking the road to the UK's busiest
oil depot near Stanford-le-Hope and at least 50 oil tankers had been prevented from
entering or leaving the site.
Campaigners, some wearing fancy dress, had set up another blockade obstructing
the entrance to Shell Haven Oils site further down The Manorway, a spokeswoman
The demonstration, which is being supported by a number of action groups including
Camp for Climate Action and Plane Stupid, is part of a global week of action against
the fossil fuel industry.
A spokeswoman for Essex police said officers were at the protest.
October 17th, 2010
China Pushes ahead with Painstaking
Efforts toward Deeper Emissions Cuts
2010-10-17 19:12:52 Xinhua Web Editor: Han
With a growing multitude of smokestacks dismantled and polluting factories closed, China is scaling
up its often painful efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and boost energy efficiency.
The Chinese government is currently deliberating the 12th Five-Year Plan for China's development
from 2011-2015, a critical period for the country to meet its target set last year to reduce carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions per GDP unit by 40-45 percent by 2020 from the level of 2005.
"It's not easy to achieve it," Barbara Finamore, a senior member of the U.S.-based environmental
group National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said earlier this month in the Chinese city of
Tianjin on the sidelines of the latest round of UN climate change talks.
China has successfully slowed down its CO2 emissions growth in the past five years, but without
continued efforts to improve energy efficiency and diversify its energy structure, it would only be able
to reduce carbon intensity by 37 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level, added Finamore, director of
the NRDC's China program.
Striking a similar tone, Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said
China's development in the next five years will be crucial for meeting the challenges in energy and
Their cautious comments resonated with those of many Chinese experts and officials who note that
after picking the low-hanging fruit in the initial stage, emission-cutting efforts will become inceasingly
difficult in later phases.
In order to deploy the green technologies needed to achieve substantial improvements, China needs
to make an additional investment of 1.9 trillion to 3.4 trillion yuan (285.7 billion to 511.3 billion U.S.
dollars) in the 12th Five Year Plan period, up from the 1.5 trillion yuan (225.6 billion dollars) during
the previous five years, according to a report released by McKinsey & Company, a global
Further complicating the picture is the fact that China, the largest developing country in the world, is
in the middle of rapid industrialization and urbanization, and also faces a host of other challenging
tasks -- from developing the economy to eliminating poverty to improving people's livelihoods.
EU and US
Financing Dearth Holds Solar Back in U.S.
October 17, 2010
For the U.S. solar sector to move up from rooftop add-on technology to the
scale of fossil fuel power plants, the country needs to build large plants
covering hundreds of acres. Each can cost as much as $1 billion, a huge
sum for the nascent industry to finance, even with U.S. government
U.S. solar sales are on track to reach about one gigwatt this year, equivalent
to one nuclear reactor. While solar panel makers and project developers
are optimistic that the country could become the world leader by the
middle of the next decade, the U.S. industry remains far behind some of its
counterparts, especially that of Germany.
The U.S. government has two programs to help the industry: a cash grant
that pays 30 percent of project costs for plants under construction by Dec.
31, and a loan guarantee program that covers as much as 80 percent of
project costs. Applicants to the loan guarantee program have complained
that the process is too lengthy and murky, leading to just a handful of
projects’ winning approval.
Experts say it is unlikely that all the proposed projects will be built, in part
because of high financing costs. Bankers generally prefer smaller, less risky
projects and shorter-term loans than the 20-year terms solar plants
typically need. Even if big banks are willing to get involved, their lending
rates run about 8 percent, roughly double the government rate.
The erosion of another key financing tool, the tax equity market, during the
banking crisis also dried up a significant pool of capital for projects.
October 18th, 2010
China unveils ambitious plan to protect
wildlife at UN talks
Foreign supporters say the move will put the country at the forefront of global efforts to
reverse habitat and species decline
China has unveiled its most ambitious conservation plan in a generation, ahead of the
opening today of a crucial UN biodiversity conference.
Foreign supporters say the move will put China at the forefront of global efforts to
reverse habitat and species decline.
But critics have warned that the good intentions, as with many of the proposals that will
arise at the UN meeting in Nagoya, Japan, are likely to be outweighed by economic
interests. They also allege the plans are so domestically focused they will do little to halt
the over-consumption and illegal trade of scarce species.
China's biodiversity action plan designates 35 priority conservation areas, covering 23%
of the country; it promises state funds for protection; and sets a target of controlling
biodiversity loss by 2020.
Sichuan, has been the first province to put the plan into action. It has set aside about
930m yuan (£87m) and identified five ecological protection areas: one links to existing
giant panda reserves, another restores an area damaged by industry, two conserve semi-
tropical flora and fauna, and another offsets the impact of dams. The national plan, which
builds on China's existing 2,500 nature reserves, has been praised by foreign
China Cuts to Save Energy
By Michael Lelyveld
Chinese officials are voicing confidence that the country will meet its energy-saving
target by the end of the year despite some questionable measures for achieving the goal.
Reports of blackouts and shutdowns in several provinces are part of the mixed reviews
for the government's five-year campaign to cut energy waste by 20 percent compared
On Oct. 8, Industry and Information Technology Minister Li Yizhong predicted China
would meet its efficiency target with efforts in the fourth quarter, the official Xinhua
news agency said.
But Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission
(NDRC), told Bloomberg News that six or seven provinces have been "carrying out
wrongdoings" like arbitrary power outages to meet their assigned limits.
On Oct. 12, The Wall Street Journal reported that one city in Hebei province has been
cutting power to hospitals and shutting off traffic lights that are not powered by solar
The central government has ordered a halt to the practices, but analysts say the reports
have raised doubts about the last-minute conservation push.
"Regardless of whether the government makes its target or not, they are to be
congratulated on these efforts," said Philip Andrews-Speed, a China energy expert at
Scotland's University of Dundee.
"But these recent short-term actions of turning off traffic lights and closing down
buildings undermine the whole credibility of the government in this respect," he said.
China Stresses Further Expansion of
2010-10-18 19:38:41 Xinhua Web Editor: Han
China will continue the policy of boosting domestic demand to maintain stable and rapid economic
development, the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said in a
communique released Monday after its fifth plenary session.
"China will strive to foster a growth pattern that is jointly driven by consumption, investment and
exports with the improvement of investment structures and establishment of a long-term mechanism
to expand domestic consumption," said the document.
The four-day plenum discussed and approved a proposal for formulating the 12th five-year program
for national economic and social development, a roadmap for the development of the country in the
next five years.
The communique said the government would balance the development of urban and rural regions by
boosting rural modernization, strengthening public services and infrastructure construction in rural
areas, and increasing farmers' incomes.
The country would also push forward urbanization in a positive and sound manner and achieve
balanced development between regions, said the communique.
In the next five years, the government would continue the transformation and upgrading of the
manufacturing sector and accelerate the growth of the service sector, while developing strategic
emerging industries, it said.
A modern energy industry, a comprehensive transport system, an information-based economy and
the marine economy would be among the priorities, it said.
China Low-Carbon Incentives Are Almost
Triple Those in U.S., Study Finds
By Catherine Airlie and Alex Morales - Oct 18, 2010 10:00 AM ET
China had three wind turbine makers in the top 10 worldwide last year
in terms of sales by megawatts: Xinjiang Goldwind Science &
Technology Co., Dongfang Electric Corp. and Sinovel Wind Co.
according to Danish researcher BTM Consult ApS.
China’s incentives to encourage low- carbon generation such as solar
and wind power are almost triple those in the U.S., according to the
Measures to spur renewable energy, as well as taxes on dirtier forms of
generation such as burning coal placed China above the U.S., Japan, Australia
and South Korea in a six- country study and below only the U.K., according to the
report, prepared for the Sydney-based institute by London-based analysts at
China, the biggest emitter, said last year it aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions
per unit of gross domestic product by 40 percent to 45 percent from 2005
through 2020, when its target is to get 15 percent of its energy from renewable
sources. The U.S and other countries are losing out to China in developing clean
energy, Erwin Jackson, deputy chief executive officer of the Australian institute,
said in a telephone interview.
“China is leading and taking responsibility,” Jackson said. “If you look at it,
they’re doing it because it’s in their economic interests.”
EU and US
UK government approves eight sites for new
nuclear power stations
Monday 18 October 2010 15.31 BST
The government today gave the green light to eight new reactors, in a move that will
see the UK push forward with the most ambitious fleet of new nuclear power stations
As predicted by the Guardian yesterday, the coalition also confirmed that it
is dropping support for controversial plans to build a huge tidal barrage across the
The backing for a new generation of nuclear power stations marks a significant
political compromise by the climate and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, after the
Liberal Democrats had campaigned against new nuclear in the general election. The
Conservatives, however, had backed new nuclear power stations.
Today's announcement by the Department of Energy and Climate Change will see
nuclear power plants operating at eight sites within the next decade: Bradwell, Essex;
Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South
Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk and Wylfa, Anglesey. All are
in the vicinity of existing nuclear power plants.
But the coalition has stressed that new reactors will have to be built without public
money. The coalition's revised draft national policy statements on energy published
today show that half the new energy capacity built in the UK by 2025 is expected to
come from renewable sources of energy – the majority of which is likely to be wind.
The first EU-Armenia Sub-committee meeting on energy,
nuclear safety, transport and environment
The first EU-Armenia Sub-committee meeting
on energy, nuclear safety, transport and
environment will take place in Yerevan on 19
October. The establishment of this new
subcommittee is a sign of the increasingly
closer relations between the EU and Armenia.
The subcommittee will discuss recent
developments in the field of energy in Armenia
and the EU, regional energy cooperation, and
nuclear safety and security issues, including
steps towards the decommissioning of the
Medzamor nuclear power plant. The subcommittee will also review latest developments in the
transport sector, developments in Armenia’s environmental policy and governance, as well as
climate change and civil protection issues.
The European Union has provided continuous support to Armenia in the fields of energy, nuclear
safety, transport and environment. Efforts have included rehabilitation measures and ensuring
minimum safety standards for Medzamor with more than €59 million of assistance, renewable
energy projects, as well as regional energy cooperation assistance through the INOGATE
programme and the "Baku Initiative".
In the field of transport, Armenia benefits from the TRACECA programme (Trans-European
Corridor Europe Caucasus and Asia) since 1993. The EU has also actively promoted regional
cooperation on environmental issues, notably through the establishment of the Regional
Environmental Center for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus), as well as more recent regional
projects on climate change and civil protection.
October 19th, 2010
Chinese, Turkish Scholars Discuss Bilateral
ANKARA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Turkish scholars gathered at a
political forum in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Monday to discuss their
economic ties, cooperation in the Middle East and coordination within the
Group of 20 (G20).
Wang Zhongwei, deputy director of China's State Council Information Office
which sponsors the forum, said China and Turkey, both G20 members and
emerging economies, share interests in such major issues as reforming
international financial system and tackling climate change.
"We should further coordinate and cooperate in those issues. That's in the
interests of the two countries' people and benefits regional and world peace
and stability," Wang said in an opening speech.
Fatih Ceylan, deputy undersecretariat of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said
China and Turkey hold similar views on many regional and international
issues and have great potential for better cooperation.
As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Turkey has worked
together with China very well in issues related to Afghanistan, the
Palestinians and Iran, he said.
Zhang Yuyan, a scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
suggested China and Turkey uphold the principle of " common but
differentiated responsibility" on climate change and strive to increase the
representation and voice of developing countries in international institutions.
Pointing the finger the wrong way
Dale Jiajun Wen
October 19, 2010
America’s largest union has persuaded Obama to investigate China’s
cleantech subsidies – a protectionist move that will only hinder green
progress and foster climate scepticism, writes Dale Jiajun Wen.
―If China is blamed no matter what it does on climate, what better evidence is there to
convince people that climate change is merely a western conspiracy to constrain the
growth of developing countries?‖
On September 9, the biggest union in the United States, United Steelworkers, filed a
5,800-page petition under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, alleging that the Chinese
government has violated international trade laws by providing hundreds of billions of
dollars in illegal subsidies to its green-technology producers and exporters.
The organisation asked the US government to initiate an investigation and bring this case
before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – and on Friday last week (15 October),
Barack Obama’s administration obliged, announcing the launch of a probe into the
A US union complaining that China is not joining the race to the bottom? This sounds
shocking. It is true that China is investing more in renewable energy than the United
States. According to a report by US-based non-profit The Pew Charitable Trusts, in 2009
China ploughed US$34.6 billion (231 billion yuan) into clean energy, while the United
States only invested US$18.6 billion (124 billion yuan), 0.39% and 0.13% of their GDPs
respectively. But isn't significant investment in fossil-fuel alternatives what every country
needs to do in order to reduce greenhouse-gas emission as well as to generate green jobs?
In this regard, Spain, which pumped 0.74% of GDP into clean energy in 2009, and the
United Kingdom (0.51%) are also in the front ranks.
On September 22, a panel of experts including those from United Steelworkers and
BlueGreen Alliance (a labour-environment alliance initiated by United Steelworkers and
the Sierra Club) gave a joint briefing in Washington DC entitled ―Leveling the Playing
Field – Clean Energy Subsidies in China: A Briefing on the United Steelworkers’ Section
301 Petition‖. One cannot resist asking: do we truly need such a ―level playing field‖,
where everybody talks about the necessity for renewables and low-carbon development,
but doesn’t act on it? Why can’t United Steelworkers ask the Obama administration to
support green jobs with real deeds instead of empty words? Instead, they attack China for
doing the right thing, the thing the US government should itself be doing.
China, Indonesia Look to Expand
2010-10-19 15:52:26 Xinhua Web Editor: Han
China wants to expand its energy cooperation with Indonesia, particularly in the clean and recyclable
energy sectors, to address energy security and climate change, a Chinese top energy official said in
Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), made the remarks at the fourth
Indonesia-China Energy Forum on the sidelines of the seventh China-ASEAN Expo, which opened
Tuesday in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
More than 200 government officials and energy industry representatives from China and Indonesia
participated in the forum, co-sponsored by China's NEA and the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and
In his speech at the forum, Zhang said China and Indonesia have cooperated well in the energy
sector in recent years.
Indonesia serves as the second largest source of China's coal imports. In 2009, China imported 35.4
million tonnes of coal from Indonesia, which also supplies 3 million tonnes of liquified natural gas
(LNG) every year to east China's Fujian Province, according to Zhang.
Over the years China has invested in developing Indonesia's hydro power projects, oil-gas fields and
China a surprise leader in clean energy: study
SYDNEY — The world's top polluter, China, is a surprise leader in clean energy efforts,
a study showed Tuesday, outstripping the United States and Japan and leaving Australia
lagging far behind.
The Vivid Economics report, commissioned by Australia's Climate Institute thinktank,
showed China was second only to Britain in the value of its incentives to cut pollution
from electricity generation.
Britain's efforts were estimated at 29.30 US dollars per tonne of carbon to China's 14.20
US dollars, with the United States clocking 5.10, Japan 3.10, Australia 1.70 and just 70
US cents for South Korea.
The six countries account for just under half of all global emissions.
"The Chinese leadership have made a strategic decision that they missed out on the last
two industrial revolutions and they don't want to miss out on the third one," said Erwin
Jackson, director of the Climate Institute, of China's "surprising" dominance.
"They are now commanding the largest market share of clean energy investment at a
global level as a result," Jackson told AFP.
China's investment in clean energy topped 35 billion US dollars in 2009 compared with
11 billion in Britain and 18 billion in the United States, and Jackson said it was set to
increase tenfold over the next decade.
October 20th, 2010
Solar Power, Game-Changing Key to the Energy Future
By Suzanne Maxx
LOS ANGELES, California, October 20, 2010 (ENS) - Solar Power International 2010
realized its name and reached critical mass last week, due to the booming global solar
industry and the efforts of presenting organizations Solar Electric Power Association and
the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The annual solar conference and expo took place for the first time in Los Angeles with
over 1,000 exhibitors and about 30,000 attendees at the Convention Center, including
strong contingents from China; India, South Korea, Japan, Spain and Germany.
In a spectrum of languages, the buzz at the show was that solar is poised to become the
fastest growing energy market in the world.
Motivational speeches, a panel of solar CEOs, the rainbow flash and glitter of solar
technologies on the exhibition floor, the Hollywood-style Solar Block Party, and
SolarWorld's fashion show all kept the crowds excited about solar energy.
A few game changers were launched here. The first-ever utility-scale solar project on
federal land in Nevada was approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and the first
National Solar Jobs Census from the Solar Foundation was launched with a new website
Growth of Chinese Wind Power Outpacing Coal 1,000 to 1
Competing claims about China’s energy is widely disparate in the US media, depending
on whether you get your facts from the right wing rags like the WSJ, or from the actual
data the industries involved publish, so I think it is instructive to compare them, to put the
plans for wind next to the plans for coal in context.
Currently China gets 70% of its power from coal, much higher than the US. Year-to-date,
coal-fired plants contributed 45.6% of the power generated in the United States (EIA:
By 2015, China’s 1.4 billion people will get 933 Gigawatts of their power from coal, by
building an additional 300 Gigawatts of coal-fired power units and putting 290 GW of
coal-fired units into operation. The right seizes on this: ―We can’t do anything about
climate because China is building a coal plant a week!‖
Yet coal will actually go down as a percentage of China’s power from 70% to 67% by
2015. How can adding more coal plants reduce the percentage of coal on the grid?
Because the ramp-up in all the renewable power in China is much faster. It is gathering
steam to the point where it impacts the percentage of coal on the grid.
By 2020, wind power in China will have increased by between 500% and 1,000%.
Total wind installed was 26 Gigawatts at the end of 2009. The most conservative estimate
of how much China plans to ramp that up to, is to get at least 150 Gigawatts of wind on
the grid by 2020: a five-fold or 500% increase. (China Wind Power Outlook 2010 report)
A moderate estimate, assuming business as usual, by the Global Wind Energy Council,
based on current incentives and laws in place, projects that China will have 230
Gigawatts of wind on the grid by 2020 (GWEC).
So, while coal dominates China’s grid now, by 2020, it won’t.
Hedge Funds Short Plaza Accord
Deal With China: William Pesek
By William Pesek - Oct 20, 2010 3:00 PM ET
Of all the things Timothy Geithner expected when becoming U.S. Treasury
secretary, examining a periodic table probably wasn’t one of them.
Obsessing over the chemical elements is exactly what Geithner and his staff will
be doing in the months ahead. The New York Times reports China is quietly
halting shipments of crucial minerals to the U.S. and Europe, after doing the
same to Japan, and it’s a big deal for politicians and investors alike.
The news trumped China’s surprise decision to raise interest rates this week. It’s
a sign that economic cooperation is becoming a quaint concept as China’s clout
increases. It’s also the latest reminder that anyone betting on a Plaza Accord- like
currency deal next month is dreaming.
China’s policies on the yuan and rare earths are more connected than meets the
eye, and both contain the same message for the developed world: Stop whining
and get on with Plan B.
Hedge-fund managers are shorting the Group of 20’s chances of getting China to
boost the yuan. At a conference hosted by Bloomberg Link in Hong Kong this
week, I didn’t meet a single hedge-fund manager who expects big news out of the
G-20 meeting in Seoul next month. Nor did I meet any who thought China would
reconsider its evolving policy of rationing out the raw materials vital to
everything from hybrid cars to laptops to wind turbines to weapons to iPhones.
Chinese find development has big downside
Fast-paced industrial growth comes with more pollution, corruption
John W. Schoen
CHENGDU, China — At a small desk tucked in the corner of a Bank of
Communications branch office in central Chengdu, a broker for Huaxi Securities
is helping her customers navigate the burgeoning Chinese stock market.
Zai Shasha's customers are moving some of their new wealth into companies
that are profiting from the rapid growth that has transformed cities such as this
one from a sleepy provincial capital into a bustling regional hub. That rapid
development and the resulting prosperity have been good for Zai’s customers
and her standard of living.
But Zai confessed she had ―some sorrows‖ about Chengdu’s rapid
―The traffic is bad,‖ she said. ―And the air is becoming terrible.‖
Vehicle emissions are now the biggest source of air pollution in China's big cities. The number of cars and trucks on the road is
expected to more than double by 2020.
The haze that hangs over this city, and many others in China, is among the most
visible of stresses created by breakneck development. Just 1 percent of the
country’s 560 million urban residents breathe air considered safe by the
European Union, according to a 2007 report by the World Bank.
Explosive economic growth and rapid urbanization have brought other problems,
as well, for hundreds of millions of Chinese moving to the cities looking for a
better way of life.
An online survey last year by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, found
that corruption topped the list of respondents’ concerns. Other key issues
included the wealth gap, access to education, democracy and health-care
BRIEFING - ASIA ENVIRONMENT - OCT
Posted on: Wed, 20 Oct 2010 01:07:07 EDT
An executive briefing on the Environment for Oct 20, 2010, prepared by Asia Pulse
(http://www.asiapulse.com), the real-time, Asia-based wire with exclusive news,
commercial intelligence and business opportunities.
AUTO GIANT GM PLANS TO INTRODUCE FUTURE WAY OF DRIVING, LIFE
SHANGHAI - General Motors Co. revealed Wednesday its plan to develop new emission-
free vehicles that it said could completely change the landscape of the global automobile
industry, as well as the way people drive or even live in the future.
At the heart of the plan is a new concept car, the EN-V or Electric Network Vehicle, currently
showcased at a joint pavilion of GM and its strategic Chinese partner, Shanghai Automotive
Industry Corporation, at the Shanghai World Expo.
CHINA'S NEA TO DEFINE DEV'T TARGETS OF NEW ENERGY INDUSTRIES
BEIJING - China's National Energy Administration will further define the development targets
of new energy industries in the new energy industry development plan which is being
formulated, said an NEA official Monday.
The preliminary plan is to expand China's installed capacity of hydraulic power to 380 million
kw, wind power to 150 million kw, nuclear power to 70-80 million kw, biomass power to 30
million kw and PV solar power to 20 million kw by 2020, revealed Deng Kui, deputy director
NEA's Comprehensive Business Department in the Sino-EU New Energy Technology and
FRANCE'S ALSTOM TO FOCUS ON CHINA'S GREEN SECTOR: CEO
BEIJING - French industrial group Alstom is increasing its focus on clean energy industries in
China to expand in the world's fastest growing market, the company said on Monday.
The company, which has three major business units - power generation, power transmission
and rail transport - will continue to take an active part in green energy sectors in the country
such as hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and solar power, Patrick Kron, chairman
and chief executive officer (CEO) of Alstom, told a press conference.
EU and US
Water Scarcity a Bond Risk, Study Warns
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
October 20, 2010
The municipal bonds that help finance a major portion of the nation’s
water supply may be riskier than investors realize because their credit
ratings do not adequately reflect the growing risks of water shortages and
legal battles over water supplies, according to a new study.
As a result, investors may see their bonds drop in value when these risks
become apparent, and water and electric utilities may find it more
expensive to raise money to cope with supply problems, the study warned.
Looking at significant water bond issuers across the southern part of the
country, the report concluded that Wall Street’s rating agencies had given
similar ratings to utilities with secure sources of water and to those whose
water sources were dwindling or were threatened by legal battles with
Among the seven cities and agencies examined in the report, Los Angeles
and Atlanta were identified as the ones whose water systems faced the
greatest risk in the years ahead. Consequently, the study warned,
“investors are blindly placing bets on which utilities are positioned to
manage these growing risks.”
Municipal bonds are not subject to federal rules that require public
corporations to disclose their vulnerability to climate change, but issuers
nevertheless must make sure that the information they give investors is
accurate and current, said Lynnette Kelly Hotchkiss, executive director of
the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, which regulates the dealers,
underwriters and advisers in the municipal bond market.
October 21st, 2010
EU and US
Louisiana Builds Barriers Even as Oil Disperses
October 21, 2010
Three months after BP capped its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico, the
state of Louisiana is still building a chain of sand berms off its coast to
block and capture oil even as federal officials and many scientists argue
that the effort will prove pointless.
Since early June, a series of low-lying islands stretching about 10 miles
have been constructed several miles from the coastline by hundreds of
workers with sand dredged from gulf waters.
Gov. Bobby Jindal made the sand berms a signature element of his
response to the oil spill last spring, exhorting federal officials to approve
the project, and BP to foot the bill. So far the oil company has disbursed
$240 million of a promised $360 million to the state.
Yet many scientists say the remaining oil from the spill, the largest in
United States history, is far too dispersed to be blocked or captured by
large sand structures.
Some scientists and federal officials suggest that the remaining money
allocated for the berms might be better spent on other coastal restoration
projects, a move that BP says it would support.
But state officials are unswayed.
Biodiversity summit must tackle destructive
impacts of food production
Thursday 21 October 2010 12.38 BST
Governments from around the world will arrive in Nagoya, Japan next week for the
high-level ministerial segment of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
meeting. Their task is daunting. Even the modest target set in 2002 of reducing the
rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 has proved beyond the reach of current strategies.
But rather than wringing their hands over the tide of species loss that has swept the
planet, delegates should turn their attention to the root cause of the problem: the
ways in which we meet our need for food.
What does food supply have to do with conserving species? Everything. It is a
leading factor in the five principal pressures causing biodiversity loss (habitat change,
overexploitation, pollution, invasive species and climate change).
While producing food relies on harvesting nature's bounty, food production often
degrades the very ecosystems it depends on.
Delegates at the conference face a paradox. Dramatic increases in food production
over the past 50 years have supported significant improvements in human wellbeing,
but at the same time have diminished Earth's diversity and capacity to provide
ecosystem services (including fish, food, freshwater, pollination, and water
Adding to the challenge, population growth and rising per capita incomes are
expected to double the demand for food in the next 40 years, according to the UN's
food and agriculture chief, Jacques Diouf. To devise a successful new strategy to
preserve the diversity of life on Earth, the CBD needs to take a quantum leap in its
partnership with food producers, to change how the world achieves food security,
before ecosystems reach critical tipping points in the face of ever growing demands
for food and a changing climate.
Climate change threatens emerging
superpowers, warns report
Thursday 21 October 2010 10.47 BST
Some of the "big economies of the future" are the most vulnerable to the effects
of climate change, according to a new study published today.
UK consultancy Maplecroft identified Bangladesh and India as the two countries
facing the greatest risks to their populations, ecosystems and business
environments after ranking 170 countries based on their exposure to climate-related
natural disasters and their social, economic and political ability to adapt to a
According to Maplecroft, the countries facing the greatest risks are characterised by
high levels of poverty, dense populations, exposure to climate-related events and
reliance on flood- and drought-prone agricultural land.
Other Asian countries attracting high levels of foreign investment such as the
Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan were also classified as facing 'extreme risk' from
climate change, while industrial giants China, Brazil and Japan are listed as 'high
Some states were not listed because of a lack of data, including North Korea and
small island states such as the Maldives that are vulnerable to rising sea l evels.
Wealthy European nations made up the majority of low risk countries, with Norway,
Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark deemed to face the lowest risk of
However, Russia, USA, Germany, France and the UK were all rated as 'medium risk'
America's potential vulnerability to climate change was also highlighted by new
research from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), which
suggested it was among many heavily populated countries facing a growing threat of
severe and prolonged drought in the coming decades.
Eurostar to operate newer, greener fleet by
Thursday 21 October 2010 09.24 BST
High speed rail transportation has been gaining some attention in Europe over the
last two weeks after an announcement in France that the Channel Tunnel could
soon be going green.
The announcement that the Channel Tunnel high speed rail cars might be going
green came from Eurostar, the company that is responsible for virtually all
passenger rail traffic through the Channel Tunnel and for lines connecting England,
France, and Belgium. Eurostar has decided to invest over one billion dollars for the
acquisition of ten new green trains and for the refurbishment of their entire existing
stock in order to create a fleet that operates with lowered carbon emissions and with
greener systems as a whole. Eurostar is also doing this as a means of providing a
low carbon alternative to flights connecting the countries Eurostar rails already
The high speed rail contract that Eurostar has drafted has been handed over to
German based engineering company Siemens AG in order to acquire ten of the
company's e3202 models.
Though Eurostar has planned to begin using the new high speed rail fleet in 2014,
France has decided to try and block the move citing safety concerns. According to
the French transportation minister Dominique Bussereau, the new e3202 train cars
do not meet certain safety standards. Some critics of France's announcement say
that it may be a result of Eurostar choosing the German based Siemens over the
French based Alstom for the new contract, taking away a considerable amount of
October 22nd, 2010
Chinese CDM Fund to Have $1.5
Billion for Clean-Energy Projects by
By Bloomberg News - Oct 22, 2010 2:58 AM ET
China CDM Fund, the government body that invests money from carbon
credits, will almost double its available cash for renewable energy
projects to 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in 2012, the vice director of the
The fund, which manages 6 billion yuan currently, will add as much as 3
billion yuan a year through 2012, Jiao Xiaoping, deputy director general
of China CDM Fund, said in an interview in Shanghai yesterday. The
money is mainly raised from the cash Chinese companies earn from
selling certified emission reduction credits (CERs), Jiao said.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the 1997 Kyoto
protocol allows companies in industrialized countries to buy carbon
credits from developing nations in order to comply with requirements to
reduce emissions. Chinese companies have sold 229 million metric tons
of CERs under the UN-backed CDM mechanism since 2005, or half of
the total, Jiao said.
The fund has been approved by the government to be used for low-
carbon research and planning, equity investment, preferential loans to
energy-saving and renewable projects, according to Jiao.
China has pledged to cut its output of carbon dioxide per unit of gross
domestic product by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. It has
reduced energy intensity by 15.6 percent since 2006 to 2009 and the
government has said it may be difficult to meet the 20 percent reduction
five-year target by the end of this year.
EU and US
Obama, Gates, and Gore come out against
Friday 22 October 2010 10.36 BST
As a new poll showed that nearly half of likely California voters now oppose
Proposition 23, the ballot measure that would suspend the state's global warming
law, heavy hitters from President Obama to Al Gore and Bill Gates came out against
the initiative on Wednesday.
With the president on a West Coast campaign swing, a White House spokesperson
told the Los Angeles Times that Obama "is opposed to Prop. 23," calling the ballot
measure backed by two Texas oil companies "a veiled attempt by corporate polluters
to block progress towards a clean energy economy."
Gore, meanwhile, issued a statement saying, "The fight for America's clean energy
future is taking place right now, and it's come to California. This is a fight we simply
cannot afford to lose."
Gates weighed in with a $700,000 contribution to the No on 23 campaign on
As of Wednesday, the No forces had raised a total of more than $28 million,
compared to the Yes campaign's $9.1 million. Prop 23 would suspend California's
global warming law, known as AB 32, until the state unemployment rate drops to 5.5
percent for four consecutive quarters, which has happened only three times in the
past four decades.
A September survey by the Public Policy of California found voters in the state
evenly split over Prop 23. PPIC's new survey finds that 48 percent of likely voters
now oppose Prop 23, while 37 percent support the measure. Don't pop that
champagne yet, though. Fifteen percent of California voters are still undecided.
Hand-reared endangered spiders released
into the wild
Friday 22 October 2010
Thousands of endangered spiders have been released into a Suffolk nature reserve
this week as part of a conservation scheme to stem their decline in the UK.
The ecologist Helen Smith, working with the government body Natural England, has
hand-reared the 3,000 baby fen raft spiders in her own kitchen. She said: "They are
all lined up in individual test tubes and I've had to personally feed them flies since
the spring – which you can imagine is very, very time consuming for that number of
The fen raft spiders are one of only two British spiders that are fully protected by law.
The spiders are named after their ability to float on water in the fens and wetlands
where they live – thanks to their hairy legs.
The baby spiders (or spiderlings) are cross-breeds whose parents come from two
tiny populations that remain in Sussex and Suffolk. As a result the new population
will have greater genetic diversity than either parent population.
A programme of reintroduction has been underway for the last five years and the
release of the fen raft spiders into the wild, supported by the BBC Wildlife Fund,
marks the culmination of this work.
But Smith said many of the spiderlings would not make it to adulthood. "They are
delicate beings and face a lot of threats in the wetlands. But it won't be till next
summer when we know how many survived so I'll have to hold my breath through