Climate Change Correspondent, Asia, Singapore
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Aug 20, 2010

China renewables to power ahead without CDM – Citi

SINGAPORE, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Green investment in China will forge ahead even without a United Nations carbon offset scheme, eventually shrivelling the country’s dominant role in a programme that has underpinned billions of dollars in investment.

Investors are sidestepping the Clean Development Mechanism in China because of uncertainties over its future, a Citibank carbon executive told Reuters in an interview in Singapore.

Aug 20, 2010

China renewables to power ahead without CDM: report

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Green investment in China will forge ahead even without a United Nations carbon offset scheme, eventually shriveling the country’s dominant role in a program that has underpinned billions of dollars in investment.

Investors are sidestepping the Clean Development Mechanism in China because of uncertainties over its future, a Citibank carbon executive told Reuters in an interview in Singapore.

Aug 19, 2010

Indonesian envoy laments grim U.N. climate talks

SINGAPORE, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Nations face an uphill battle to reach agreement on a tougher climate pact by the end of 2011, a senior Indonesian climate change official said on Thursday, describing progress to date as bleak.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed doubt last week that a major U.N. climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year will yield a pact that binds all major greenhouse gas emitting nations to 2020 reduction targets. [ID:nN09267588]

But Agus Purnomo, the Indonesian president’s special adviser on climate change, said sealing a deal at talks scheduled for South Africa in late 2011 also looked like a real struggle.

"The progress to date is bleak because we still have no convergence on almost every important issue," Purnomo told Reuters in an interview from Jakarta.

"The developed countries are not coming to a decision of significant emissions reductions, so we don’t know in Cancun whether we will be able to come up with a significant outcome."

He also voiced worries about Australia and the United States shelving plans to introduce emissions trading schemes and whether the new Japanese government would be able to convince parliament to pass laws enshrining a 25 percent cut in emissions by 2020 from 1990 levels.

A key concern, too, was the U.N. negotiation process itself, which has stalled over the size of emissions cuts pledged by rich nations, lack of progress on how to verify emissions reductions by poor nations and a general lack of trust.

The negotiations aim to reach agreement on the expansion or replacement of the existing Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase ends in 2012.

The process of reaching such an agreement involving 194 nations has been criticised as too cumbersome, open to manipulation and in need of reform.

It should be focusing on tougher emissions curbs by all big nations, including developing nations such as China, India and Brazil, green groups and negotiators say.

"DESPERATE SITUATION"

Kyoto commits about 40 industrialised nations to emissions targets between 2008-12 and governments and industry need an expanded treaty to set new reduction targets that would give businesses such as utilities certainly on investments.

"If we leave it to the domestic processes of the developed countries, it looks like we’re not going to get an agreement. So we need to come up something more creative to solve this impasse," Purnomo said.

"We are in a rather desperate situation and we need solutions."

The last major talks in Copenhagen ended with a non-binding deal that agreed on limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and fast-start climate funding for poorer nations of $30 billion by 2012 and $100 billion every year from 2020.

Purnomo said there had been not much progress in handing out some of the $30 billion to poorer nations, a key benchmark of progress, negotiators say.

Indonesia, a major emitter through deforestation and fires, has pledged to cut emissions 26 percent from projected levels by 2020, increasing to 41 percent with funding from rich nations to clean up its industries and protect its forests.

Purnomo also worried about losing "climate allies".

Britain, Australia and Japan had been quite progressive, he said, in focusing on making emissions reductions in line with the U.N. climate panel’s recommendations.

The panel recommends rich nations should cut emissions between 25 to 40 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels.

"Now they have changed leaders or at least Australia has an election this weekend. We’re afraid that we’ll lose champions of climate change among the developed countries because of their domestic political processes." (Editing by Nick Macfie)





Aug 17, 2010

Ocean waves can power Australia’s future, scientists say

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Waves crashing on to Australia’s southern shores each year contain enough energy to power the country three times over, scientists said on Tuesday in a study that underscores the scale of Australia’s green energy.

The research, in the latest issue of the journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, comes as the nation is struggling to wean itself of years of using cheap, polluting coal to power the economy and to put a price on carbon emissions.

Aug 17, 2010

Soaring temps cause mass coral killing in Indonesia: study

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A dramatic spike in ocean temperatures off Indonesia’s Aceh province has killed large areas of coral and scientists fear the event could be much larger than first thought and one of the worst in the region’s history.

The coral bleaching — whitening due to heat driving out the algae living within the coral tissues — was first reported in May after a surge in temperatures across the Andaman Sea from the northern tip of Sumatra island to Thailand and Myanmar.

Aug 13, 2010

REDD project design method gets boost from auditors

SINGAPORE, Aug 13 (Reuters) – A carbon accounting technique aimed at saving tropical forests has passed a key hurdle, strengthening chances it could underpin development of a potential multi-billion dollar market for forest carbon offsets.

U.S. firm Terra Global Capital said the method had passed the first of two formal audits the benchmark Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) requires. When fully verified, it could be used in a U.N.-backed carbon-cutting scheme known as reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

"The methodology is expected to be broadly applicable where mosaic patterns of deforestation occur throughout Southeast Asia and Africa," Leslie Durschinger, founder and managing director of Terra Global Capital, said in a statement. Her firm offers finance and advisory services for REDD projects.

REDD aims to give developing countries funds to preserve remaining tracts of forest that soak up huge amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide, but it is still in its infancy.

Its success will rely on rigorous carbon accounting and monitoring to ensure forests remain intact, are rehabilitated and lock away CO2.

Such accounting steps underpin the value of the carbon offsets that will be the currency of REDD projects, with rich governments and companies buying the credits to the benefit of local communities in poorer nations.

Mosaic REDD covers projects to save forests from threats such as logging, fuel wood collection, fires and conversion to farmland.

To succeed, these projects need to be designed to work with local communities and allow carbon reductions to be measured and reported so as to reassure investors.

CAMBODIA PROJECT

Terra Global Capital said the process was designed for its Cambodia REDD project in northwestern Oddar Meanchey province, which involves 13 community forest groups and 58 villages.

The government-backed project aims to protect nearly 70,000 hectares of forest and generate 7.1 million carbon offsets over 30 years. Community forest members in return get legal tenure to the land and at least half the net income from the sale of the credits as well as employment.

Dozens of REDD projects have been started in developing nations, with more than a dozen in Indonesia, where the Australian government has committed at least A$70 million to spread REDD in its northern neighbour.

But to issue valuable offsets, the projects need to meet rigorous standards under the VCS and none have yet issued REDD credits after double VCS validation or approval under the other standard from the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance.

The Washington-based VCS sets tough global standards to make carbon offset programmes credible and transparent to investors.

Wealthy nations, including Norway, the United States and Japan have earmarked billions of dollars to help develop REDD, key among them Norway’s recent $1-billion forest deal with Indonesia. The aim is for REDD to become part of a broader global climate pact from 2013.

An Australian carbon services firm has also signed a deal to certify REDD offsets from a group of tribal leaders on the Indonesian island of Halmahera in the Moluccas.

Shift2Neutral, which last week announced a similar deal with tribal leaders in Sarawak, Malaysia, said it covered certification of credits from 159,000 hectares of forest land owned by a group of 10 villages and involving 163,000 people.

The deal provides for half the proceeds from future carbon offset sales to go to improving livelihoods.

"The logging issue is paramount as the area is under threat and the villages need to have an alternative, plus a major mining group is there and will be held to account to ensure the environment is not jeopardized," Shift2Neutral Chairman Brett Goldsworthy told Reuters. (Editing by Manash Goswami)





Aug 12, 2010

Tata Power plant’s carbon status denial upsets investors

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A U.N. carbon credit scheme’s rejection of a huge coal power plant by Tata Power(TTPW.BO: Quote, Profile, Research) deprives the project of revenue running into hundreds of millions of euros and rings alarm bells for investors developing similar plants.

The incident spotlights a controversial U.N. process that allows valuable carbon offsets to be given to highly efficient coal power stations, a step green groups say erodes the spirit of trying to wean developing nations off polluting fossil fuels.

Aug 12, 2010

Analysis: India plant’s carbon status denial upsets investors

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A U.N. carbon credit scheme’s rejection of a huge Indian coal power plant deprives the project of revenue running into hundreds of millions of euros and rings alarm bells for investors developing similar plants.

The incident spotlights a controversial U.N. process that allows valuable carbon offsets to be given to highly efficient coal power stations, a step green groups say erodes the spirit of trying to wean developing nations off polluting fossil fuels.

Aug 12, 2010

India plant’s carbon status denial upsets investors

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE, Aug 12 (Reuters) – A U.N. carbon
credit scheme’s rejection of a huge Indian coal power plant
deprives the project of revenue running into hundreds of
millions of euros and rings alarm bells for investors
developing similar plants.

The incident spotlights a controversial U.N. process that
allows valuable carbon offsets to be given to highly efficient
coal power stations, a step green groups say erodes the spirit
of trying to wean developing nations off polluting fossil
fuels.

Aug 10, 2010

Pakistan floods shows threat from warmer world: scientists

SINGAPORE/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Floods that have devastated Pakistan could be a sign of the future as climate change brings greater extremes of weather to the region.

While climate scientists say single flooding events can’t be directly blamed on global warming, more intense droughts and floods could be in the forecast for the future.

    • About David

      "I report on climate policy, climate science and the carbon market (CDM, emissions trading) in Asia. I'm based in Singapore. It's a great story in a fast-growing and fast-changing region. I've been writing about climate change since university in Canberra, where I did a life sciences degree, with a communications major on the side. I started writing science articles for newspapers and, soon after completing my studies, joined as a cadet on The Canberra Times. After a few years there, it was off to London and then Hong Kong."
      Joined Reuters:
      1994
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