China wants to guide a new green revolution

After years of indiscriminate pollution to increase its growth now China is ready to guide a new green revolution.

While China has decided to partially change its policy, the United States, that had come to Durban to isolate Europe, are now likely to end up isolated.

Despite the Obama promises during his presidential campaign, Usa remain hostile to any binding agreement on climate change.

While remaining the main polluter world, China is also the world’s largest manufacturer of photovoltaic and wind energy leader.

China will install 180 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar power capacity by 2020, equal to the capacity built by the rest of the world over the past 40 years.

China, which will account for one third of global energy demand growth between 2009 and 2035, currently has a wind power capacity of 42 GW and a solar power capacity of 1 GW.

Last year Beijing government  has invested in clean energy technologies to £50 billion dollars against £17 billion of the U.S..

China is interested in the green market and wants to push the green economy not just for economic reasons.

In fact its capital city is  besieged by desert and its water sources are at risk, because of climate chaos caused by the greenhouse emissions.

Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s chief negotiator in Durban,  has been presented in Durba a picture of the changing situation.

China has improved its energy efficiency by 19% by 2005 (reducing emissions of 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide) and has scheduled a further improvement of 40 to 45 percent by 2020.

The country will invest £290 billion over the next 5 years to develop a low carbon manufactures and will produce 1 million electric cars by 2015.

DURBAN SUMMIT

Those are really encouraging promises but, as everybody know, the Durban summit has been a failure.

No agreement has been found. Once again the divisions were to strong.

But, at least,  the Durban Summit has provided the clearest signal yet to green businesses and investors that the transition to a low carbon economy will not be derailed, and has also given them a deadline of four years to deliver the clean technologies that will make the completion of an ambitious legally binding climate change treaty so attractive that no one will lose sleep about signing up.

Even if , since 2008, renewable energy market has attracted more private capital investments then the fossil fuels  one, oil and carbon lobby still are too strong.

The only chance for a drastic change is a new balance in the energy market.

Only when renewable energy will be worthy in  terms of money they will bit the fossil fuels.

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Durban summit 2011

Today is the last day of the Durban conference, where the destiny of the new climate guidelines will be write.

To follow the conference live you can visit The Guardian online.

At the moment there is a protest.

“Climate Justice”. “Action now”. “Do not kill Africa.” “Stop climate change.” A few hours before the end of the meeting, the corridors of the building where the conference takes place in Durban  have been invaded by a hundred representatives of small islands and African countries, the climate indignados. They ask for a decision seemingly simple, even obvious: follow the directions of the international scientific community.

But when specific interests such as those of oil and coal lobby, even what seems easy and right could change. And that is exactly what is happening in Durban. A decision will be made during the night, but it is clear that the indication of climatologists (cut drastically and rapidly emissions of greenhouse gases) is not heard by governments that pollute more.

Wrap annual conference: Caroline Spelman talks about waste

This is my report from inside the conference.

“British business could save around £23 billion a year by improving the way they use energy, materials and water” said the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman.

Speaking at the annual WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) conference the Spelman pointed out that developing our energy system is not anymore only an environmental issue.

After praising WRAP for cutting millions of tones of household food waste since 2006, she explained the necessity for the manufacturers to change their way of producing and using energy.

For Mrs. Spelman “good resource management will help rebalance the economy and put it on a more sustainable footing”.

With the financial crisis and the risk of recession companies need more than ever to save money and cut the cost of their business.

Saving energy is not he only measure on the agenda. The waste sector is a “bright star”, she continued, of economic growth with a projected three to four per cent increase a year.

According to Spelman, local Governments have the responsibility to engage local people in reducing and converting the sources of energy because business could not sustain all the cost of economic recovery.

The local Governments support must also have a surveillance function because even in the waste industry, police have recorded some very disturbing issues that risk ruining this new sustainable trade.

“I’m sure all of you have heard about the increasing problem of metal theft. A problem that is disrupting travel. Putting power supplies and communication systems at risk. And that even affected Remembrance Sunday last weekend, through the outrageous theft of memorial plaques” said Spelman.

“It is important that across Government we act decisively. We must make sure that there’s no hiding place for anyone involved in this illegal trade. So I’ve got a message for metal thieves – they can expect a knock at the door”.

To fight this illegal trade the Government has increased the penalty and these criminals can now face a heavy fine, a possible criminal prosecution, and ultimately jail.

The Secretary assured the commitment to stamp out illegal trade and help the legitimate companies with the Green Economy Road map that was launched in August. Its publication has helped us develop a dialogue between Government, business and society.

Then Spelman concluded by saying that “this is a dialogue that will enable us to meet our ambitions for a thriving green economy. An economy that creates the right conditions needed to transform it from one of waste and inefficiency to a more sustainable model and one that demonstrates green growth. A model that creates the right conditions for innovation and entrepreneurs to flourish. Allowing the market for waste materials to grow. Creating opportunities for collection, recycling, reprocessing and recovery of more waste”.

Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists.

by Steve Rhodes

Typically celebrated the Friday after American Thanksgiving in North America and the following day internationally, in 2011 the dates are November 25 and 26 respectively.

It was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine, based in Canada.

If you are stressed for the Christmas presents this protest it just what you need! Lock up your wallets and purses, cut up your credit cards and dump the love of your life – shopping.

The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Mexico in September 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called “Black Friday”, which is one of the ten busiest shopping days in the United States. Outside North America and Israel, Buy Nothing Day is the following Saturday. Adbusters was denied advertising time by almost all major television networks except for CNN, which was the only one to air their ads. Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.

Saturday November 24th 2012 will be the next Buy Nothing Day (UK). It’s a day where you challenge yourself, your family and friends to switch off from shopping and tune into life. The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from shopping and anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!

Everything we buy has an impact on the environment, Buy Nothing Day highlights the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism. The developed countries – only 20% of the world population are consuming over 80% of the earth’s natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage, and an unfair distribution of wealth.

World’s biggest dam will leave Africa in the dark

South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo agree to build the biggest hydropower in the world. At double the size of China’s Three Gorges Dam, the 40 GW Grand Inga hydropower project will be the world’s largest by a wide margin. It will increase Africa’s electricity generating capacity by one-third.

This could be a great opportunity to develop sustainability  and fair market in Africa, but it risk to become again just a new wasted occasion.

The capacity of the project is equivalent to the total installed generation capacity in South Africa, the continent’s biggest producer of electricity.

The project is ambitious because the Congo River, which creates the Inga Falls, drops almost a hundred metres and flows at an enormous speed of 43 cubic metres per second.

The new power grid comes with the promises of a fair distribution of the energy and a new plan of sustainability: “It will enhance energy access to clean and efficient energy across the continent and contribute significantly towards a low carbon economy and economic development,” declared South African President Jacob Zuma.

The Grand Inga hydropower project will be part of a greater vision to develop a power grid across Africa that will spur the continent’s industrial economic development.

The African Continent is endowed with enormous hydropower potential that needs to be harnessed. Despite this huge potential which is enough to meet all the electricity needs of the continent, only a small fraction has been exploited. This could be due to the major technical, financial and environmental challenges that need to be overcome for the development of this resource base.

Until now, the power of the Inga Falls has been largely unused, with the two existing hydroelectric dams, Inga I and Inga II, operating at a low output of mere a 1,775MW. The main reason of this underutilisation is money.

In Fact the construction of Grand Inga ‒ with completion aimed at 2025 ‒ comes with a huge price tag of 80 billion dollars (£51 billion), and connection of Inga to a continent-wide electricity grid will cost at least an additional 10 billion dollars (£6.4 billion).

These are not sums South Africa and the DRC are able to bankroll alone, but help is reported to be near.

The globe’s top development financiers, World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank as well as a number of private, foreign energy companies are all keen to contribute large sums to the Inga project.

In return, they expect to gain vast economic benefits from this mega-project – and are likely to take away attention from the development needs of Africa’s poor majority.

Despite the development-focused marketing hype surrounding the project, the Congolese government and investors have made no plans to open the grid for public use, said Charlotte Johnson a researcher of the Institute for Democracy in Africa.

Instead, it is marketed as a commercial product. And foreign investors will always be able to pay more, instantly removing the poor from the consumer competition.

“Local power grids are not included in the budget. African communities living in darkness are not the intended beneficiaries of Grand Inga, and the 500 million people who have been promised electricity will remain in the dark,”  she added.

After the signing of the agreement, Zuma and Kabila, the Congolese President, ordered the start of negotiations for a treaty over the next six months, which will put into effect the agreement by detailing time frames and implementation stages for the dam construction.

Once completed, the state-owned utility companies of both countries will manage the generated electricity. From there it will be sold to the highest bidders. Africa’s still unconnected poor will certainly not be among those.

“To achieve energy access for all, Africa must maximise clean energy options, emphasise energy efficiency and work with developed countries and development institutions to quickly and effectively channel a more substantial share of climate financing,” concluded Johnson.

Marine Solars Cells

Innovated by London-based industrial design professional Phil Pauley, marine solar cells – abbreviated as MSC – can be used to generate effective solar and wave energy.

They looks like blue bubble and they float in the see, but they are more that a futuristic art masterpiece.

In fact MSC could use both the energy of the sun and of the waves. Thanks to their shell shape they could reach 20% more energy of the normal solar panel and they can also exploit the energy of the water reflection.

The solar-wave plant responds to the global need for large-scale renewable energy capture and has huge implications for offshore energy generation and local marine conservation.

“These hybrid marine generators would be an effective way of capturing more energy per square metre. The design means they could be largely constructed from recycled materials too,” said Pauley.

According to the innovator, this would result in more marine area being covered and in-turn a much higher rate of energy being generated. Along with this benefit, Phil Pauley also talks about extensive employment generation through the installation of the marine solar cells in the high seas and the feasibility and flexibility in terms of the materials used to build the marine solar cells.

The marine solar cells are riding on an enormous amount of prognostication both by its inventor and by the experts in its field of application. It can be hoped that the predictions surrounding the gadget materialise and that generation of renewable energy reaches to a new level unlike any before.

EDF found guilty of spying on Greenpeace

The French courts convicted EDF, the French nuclear giant of spying on  French Greenpeace office.

“So it turns out we’re not paranoid then” is Greenpeace comment on its site.
EDF was hacking the computers of the green organisation, putting viruses into its networks and compiling dossiers of the activists in Britain.

“We’re not over the top when we say the nuclear industry can’t be trusted and their underhand methods of trying to see off their opponents make them incompatible with democracy” continued Greenpeace Uk.

In 2006, EDF hired a private detective agency called Kargus Consultants, run by a former member of the French secret services, to work out what Greenpeace France was planning. The agency hacked the computer of Yannick Jadot, Greenpeace’s then campaigns director, taking 1,400 documents from his computer.

Last week the French Judge, Isabelle Prévost-Desprez pronounced a verdict of guilty in the trial of French state owned energy giant EDF, which was accused of industrial scale espionage against Greenpeace. She sentenced EDF executive Pierre-Paul François to three years imprisonment, with 30 months suspended and Pascal Durieux three years imprisonment, two years suspended and a 10,000 Euro fine for commissioning the spying operation.

The judge also handed down a guilty verdict in the case of Thierry Lorho, the head of Kargus, the company employed by EDF to hack into the computers of Greenpeace. He has been sentenced to three years in jail, with two suspended and a 4,000 Euro fine.

EDF has been fined 1.5 million Euros and ordered to pay half a million Euros in damages to Greenpeace.

Adélaide Colin, Greenpeace France communications director, said: “The fine against EDF, and the damages awarded to Greenpeace send a strong signal to the nuclear industry that no one is above the law.”

EDF France refused to comment on the trial results.

 

Illegal fishing

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) fishing is a serious global problem that contributes to overfishing, creates unfair competition, and impedes sustainable fisheries.

Next time you are going to eat sushi think of what you have in your plate. With the growing demand for fresh fish more and more speacies risk to be destroyed especially salmon and tuna. Now even if you are eating “European fish” you can not be sure that product was fished following the internationl rules.

Greenpeace have recently funded out that Spain is the country in Europe that has the biggest illegal fishing trade even if the country receives European money.

IUU fishing respects neither national boundaries nor international attempts to manage fishing on the high seas.

It puts incredible pressure on fish stocks and significantly distorts global markets.

Worth between US$10 -23.5 billion per year, it also presents a major loss of income to coastal countries and coummunities. This is especially the case for some of the world’s poorest countries, which depend on fishing for food, livelihoods and revenues.

The poachers are also killing tens of thousands of marine animals as bycatch and destroying delicate habitats through their unregulated use of damaging, and sometimes illegal, fishing practices.

On Greenpeace site is possible to sign a petition against the illegal fishing in Spain and on WWF site it is possible to support their fisheries and marine conservation work.

If you want to be sure of buying sustainable seafood you have to search Marine Stewardship Council​ (MSC) ecolabel.

On http://www.fishonline.org/ is possible to check all the species of UK seafood.  By using this site, you can find out which fish come from well-managed sources and/or are caught using methods that minimise damage to marine wildlife and habitats.

Sainsbury’s new sustainability plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The company will double the amount of British food and will use more fairly traded products. With this new plan the supermarket company wants to increase the sale of fairly traded products to £1bn. Sainsbury, which has 21 million customers and almost 1,000 stores, said it was the most ambitious and far-reaching program ever announced in the industry, as it set out 20 targets covering its products, community work and employees.

Sainsbury is just an other example of the new market strategies. More and more big companies are trying to become more eco friendly, is a good way to cut the cost (trading national goods is more cheaper), help local economies and  support a healthy diet.  The main idea beyond this the campaign is  “live well for less.”