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Policymakers have settled on 'emissions trading' as their favorite global-warming fix. But it isn't working. March 12, 2007 issue - Global warming isn't the only debate that may be over. Governments and policymakers around the world also seem to have settled on a solution. "A responsible approach to solving this crisis," Al Gore said recently at New York University's Law School, would be "to authorize the trading of emissions ... globally." Emissions trading, also called carbon trading, is being expanded in the European Union and Japan. And in many places where it's yet to take hold, like Sacramento, Sydney and Beijing, politicians are embracing it. Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank and Europe's foremost political expert on global warming, predicts that the value of carbon credits in circulation, now about $28 billion, will climb to $40 billion by 2010. This should be great news for the environment, but many experts have their doubts. The notion that emissions trading is going to make a significant dent in global warming is deeply flawed, they say. Current emissions-trading schemes have proved to be little more than a shell game, allowing polluters in the developed world to shift the burden of making cuts onto factories in the developing world.
Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, governments around the world have paid plenty of lip service to renewable energies such as wind and solar power. But only a few governments have been able to engineer policies that have begun to bring alternative energies into wider use. Renewable fuels provided 18% of the world’s total electricity supply in 2004, according to figures from the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based intergovernmental organization. Almost all of that, though, came from hydropower, a source with limited growth potential because of geographic constraints. The use of wind and solar power is growing, but they still generated only 1% of global electricity production in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available.
China is expected to overtake Germany and the United States to become the world's largest wind power producer by 2020, a report forecast. The 2006 Annual Report on China's New Energy Industry says that the 10th Five-Year Plan (2000-2005) period saw a rapid development of wind power industry, with the installed capacity rose by 30 percent on an annual average, rising from 350,000 kw in 2000 to 1.26 million kw in 2005, ranking 7th in the world.
HIGASHIDORI, Aomori Prefecture–The industry ministry Wednesday said it is trying to determine what caused a 68-meter-high wind turbine to collapse earlier this week since strong winds apparently were not blowing at the time. The incident at the Iwaya Wind Farm in the Iwaya district of Higashidori in this northern prefecture is thought to have occurred late Monday, according to officials of Eurus Energy Holdings Corp., which manages the wind farm. While no one was injured, the incident resulted in temporary power outages to homes in the area because power lines were severed.
ASAHIKAWA, Hokkaido–Wind turbines that grace the terrain of this northern region may soon be painted fire-engine red and lit up at night: not for aesthetic reasons, but to stop low-flying birds from crashing into the whirling blades. With reports of rare bird species being killed off by wind turbines in Hokkaido and elsewhere, companies that operate them are scrambling to find effective yet economically viable methods to make the units more environmentally friendly.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to work with US conglomerate General Electric on nuclear and wind power generation ventures, a newspaper said on Saturday. Under the plan, the two firms will jointly bid for a $300-million project to boost capacity by 20 per cent at the 1.36-million-kilowatt Laguna Verde nuclear plant in Mexico, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.
China Datang Corp. has won the right from the Shanghai government to build China’s first offshore wind farm..... The project will be located near Donghai Bridge, in the southeast of Shanghai. It is scheduled to be completed before 2010, and will have a capacity of 100 megawatts, enough to power 200,000 households in Shanghai.
As part of international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the government is considering whether to introduce higher mandatory targets for renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, for the country’s utilities in fiscal 2011-14. The obligatory use of new sources of energy is in line with the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) program outlined in the Special Measures Law Concerning the Use of New Energy by Electric Utilities–known as the RPS Law–which came into effect in fiscal 2003. The law obliges utilities to rely on five kinds of renewable energy–wind, low-head microhydraulic, biomass, solar and geothermal power–for more than 1.35 percent of their electricity by fiscal 2010, or 12.2 billion kilowatt-hours of what they sell nationwide. But, given the technical challenges to achieving the target quickly, power companies have been given a transitional allowance to gradually meet the target by fiscal 2010, beginning from 0.39 percent in fiscal 2003. The mandatory level for fiscal 2006 is 0.52 percent.
Wind turbines that can operate through cyclones and earthquakes are increasingly being installed on small, isolated islands that seek improved energy independence, a wind power producer said on Friday. France's fifth largest wind power producer Aerowatt this week launched a 3.85 megawatt-wind farm on the small cyclone-prone French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, enough to provide power to 12,000 inhabitants out of a total of 700,000. "This is the first wind farm installed on Reunion," Jerome Billerey, head of the company, told Reuters. But installing wind turbines on remote islands can often be complex due to poor logistics, limited port infrastructure and the hurdle of regular cyclones.
A fund to promote green energy such as wind and solar power is losing contributors because of waning public interest. The electricity industry set up the fund in October 2000 to subsidize the expansion of costly renewable energy.
Indigenous peoples from the Amazon to Asia said on Wednesday that U.N.-backed clean energy projects meant to combat global warming were aggravating threats to their livelihoods. They said hydropower projects or plantations of fast-growing trees, prompted by a billion-dollar scheme under the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol for limiting the planet’s dependence on fossil fuels, were damaging nature. “We are not only victims of climate change, we are now victims of the carbon market,” Jocelyn Therese, a spokesman for indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin, told a news conference on the fringes of U.N. talks on global warming. “Efforts that are supposed to…retard climate change are having an equally disastrous effect,” said Ana Pinto, representing indigenous peoples in India.
A U.N. conference working to fix long-term rules to fight global warming beyond 2012 "as soon as possible" was split on Tuesday over whether that meant an accord should be struck in 2008, 2009 or even 2010. Industrial investors, weighing options ranging from coal-fired power plants to wind energy, are frustrated at the possibility of years of uncertainty about rules for fossil fuel emissions upon which carbon markets depend.
On the occasion of the 5th World Wind Energy Conference taking place from 6-8 November 2006 in New Delhi/India, the International Association for Wind Engineering IAWE and the World Wind Energy Association WWEA signed today a Memorandum of Agreement on closer cooperation and coordination.
Japan can produce more than 10 percent of electricity consumed in the country by building a massive offshore wind power facility off the Kanto region of eastern Japan, researchers told Jiji Press on Thursday. In a joint study by the University of Tokyo and Tokyo Electric Power Co., the researchers concluded that Japan can produce an annual 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity through such a facility, offering a key alternative to fossil fuels.
Wind driven power plants are growing in number in South Korea. The nation’s largest wind power plant has just begun operations, and South Korean scientists are starting produce mid- and large-sized wind-generating power facilities using homegrown technology. But there has been an obstacle in the spread of wind power: the price, which stands at twice that of thermal, or fuel-burning, power generation.
Largest wind-driven power plant opened in Gangwon, South Korea
An unfavorable wind is starting to blow against wind power generation in Japan. Wind power is often referred to as an environment-friendly energy source that emits no carbon dioxide. Consequently generators are being built in many parts of Japan. However, a small but growing number of people, especially intellectuals, are voicing opposition to the construction of wind turbines.................
Green consumers and businesses who want to neutralise their carbon emissions face being ripped off by unscrupulous operators who exploit the growing market in carbon offset schemes, a Guardian investigation has revealed. The surge in interest in such schemes, which invest millions of pounds in forestry and clean energy projects in the developing world, has created a lucrative market in carbon, which is unregulated and subject to little scrutiny. Campaigners and analysts say independent standards are urgently needed to protect consumers and to ensure the promised carbon savings are delivered. Francis Sullivan, a carbon offset expert who led attempts by banking group HSBC to neutralise its emissions, said: “There will be individuals and companies out there who think they’re doing the right thing but they’re not. I am sure that people are buying offsets in this unregulated market that are not credible. I am sure there are people buying nothing more than hot air.”
Carbon offset schemes are designed to neutralise the effects of the carbon dioxide our activities produce by investing in projects that cut emissions elsewhere. They work through the rapidly growing trade in carbon credits, each worth the equivalent of a tonne of carbon. Offset companies typically buy carbon credits from projects that plant trees or encourage a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. They sell credits to individuals and companies who want to go "carbon neutral". Some climate experts say offsets are dangerous because they dissuade people from changing their behaviour.
Wind power may still have an image as something of a plaything of environmentalists more concerned with clean energy than saving money. But it is quickly emerging as a serious alternative not just in affluent areas of the world, but in fast-growing countries such as India and China that are avidly seeking new energy sources. And leading the charge here in west-central India and elsewhere is an unlikely champion, Suzlon Energy, a homegrown Indian company.