Posts Tagged ‘US’

The planet breathes a huge sigh of relief today

December 11, 2011

UN climate talks agree a legal pact on Global warming

Amid all the dooms-dayers, the UN climate change talks in Durban (South Africa) agreed a pact this morning that for the first time would force all the biggest polluters to take action to slow the pace of global changing.

Conference of the Parties Plenary

Conference of the Parties Plenary

 

The deal follows years of failed attempts to impose legally-binding, international cuts on emerging giants, such as China and India.

The developed world had already accepted formal targets under a first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out at the end of next year, although the United States had never ratified its commitment.

After days of emotional debate, the chairwoman of the United Nations climate talks urged delegates to approve four packages, which have legal force.

“We came here with plan A, and we have concluded this meeting with plan A to save one planet for the future of our children and our grandchildren to come,” South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said.

“We have made history,” she said, bringing the hammer down on more than two weeks of sometimes fractious talks in the South African port of Durban, the longest in two decades of UN climate talks.

The deal was welcomed by Brazil, one of the globe’s emerging economic powers.

“I am relieved we have what we came here to get. We have a robust outcome, an excellent text about a new phase in the international fight against climate change. It clearly points to action,” said Brazil’s climate envoy Luiz Alberto Figueiredo.

The Durban talks had been due to wrap up on Friday, but dragged into a second extra day on Sunday because of disputes over how to phrase the legal commitment.

The European Union pushed for strong wording and the three biggest emitters the United States, China and India resisted.

“We’ve had very intense discussions, we were not happy with reopening the text, but in the spirit of flexibility and accommodation shown by all, we have shown our flexibility, we have agreed to the words you just mentioned and we agree to adopt it,” India’s Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said.

But environmentalists and small island states, which fear they literally could sink under the rising sea levels caused by climate change, have said it is still not strong enough.

Source: The Daily Star

While it is literally only a matter of a couple of hours or so since the negotiations have ended with this new agreement, and the full agreement details understood and interpreted, this has to be a very, very good day to see all the countries of the world step up.

What do you think?

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Sustainable development – Renewable energy and clean-tech jobs

December 10, 2011

Changes in renewable energy markets, investments, industries, and policies have been so rapid in recent years that perceptions of the status of renewable energy can lag years behind the reality. This report captures that reality and provides a unique overview of renewable energy worldwide as of early 2011.

Renewables 2011 Global Status Report

In several countries, renewables represent a rapidly growing share of total energy supply, including heat and transport. For example:

  • In the United States, renewable energy accounted for about 10.9% of domestic primary energy production (compared with nuclear’s 11.3%), an increase of 5.6% relative to 2009.
  • China added an estimated 29 GW of grid-connected renewable capacity, for a total of 263 GW, an increase of 12% compared with 2009. Renewables accounted for about 26% of China’s total installed electric capacity, 18% of generation, and more than 9% of final energy consumption in 2010.
  • China now leads in several indicators of market growth: in 2010, it was the top installer of wind turbines and solar thermal systems and was the top hydropower producer. India is fifth worldwide in total existing wind power capacity and is rapidly expanding many forms of rural renewables such as biogas and solar PV. Brazil produces virtually all of the world’s sugar-derived ethanol and has been adding new hydropower, biomass, and wind power plants, as well as solar heating systems.
  • Germany met 11% of its total final energy consumption with renewable sources, which accounted for 16.8% of electricity consumption, 9.8% of heat production (mostly from biomass), and 5.8% of transport fuel consumption. Wind power accounted for nearly 36% of renewable generation, followed by biomass, hydropower, and solar photovoltaics (PV).

Clean energy investment storms to new record in 2010

New investment in clean energy reached $243bn last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics:

  • Investment in small-scale, distributed generation projects surged by 91% last year to $59.6bn, with the dominant element rooftop and other small-scale solar projects, notably in Germany but also in the US, the Czech Republic, Italy and elsewhere.
  • Investment in China was up 30% to $51.1bn in 2010, by far the largest figure for any country. In 2009 Asia and Oceania overtook the Americas, and in 2010 it narrowed the gap further on Europe, Middle East and Africa as the leading region of the world for clean energy investment.
  • Offshore wind finance had another good year in 2010, led by a $1.7bn package to fund the next, 295MW phases of the Thornton Bank offshore wind farm off the coast of Belgium, and a $1bn deal to finance the Borkum West II project in German waters.
  • Research and development spending on clean energy technologies by companies and governments grew to a record level in 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data. Within this, the main constituent was government R&D, which reached $21bn, up from $15.8bn in 2009, while corporate R&D recovered from 2009’s recession-hit figure of $12.8bn, to reach $14.4bn, giving a total for global clean energy R&D of $35.5bn.
Total new investment 2004 to 2010

Total new investment 2004 to 2010

Read more here from Bloomberg New Energy Finance …

Clean-tech jobs

One of the forces propelling renewable energy policies and development is the potential to create new industries and generate new jobs. Jobs from renewables number in the hundreds of thousands in several countries. Globally, there are more than 3.5 million direct jobs in renewable energy industries, about half of them in the biofuels industry, with additional indirect jobs well beyond this figure.

Click here to read the full Renewables 2011 Global Status Report.

The evidence is clear – isn’t it?

 

Tell us what do you think?

 

 


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