News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Poverty is worst kind of environmental disaster and it "needs to be eradicated immediately"-India Environment Minister will inform UN climate jet setters in Peru-AFP

12/5/14, "India says won’t sacrifice growth at climate talks," AFP, via brecorder.com, by Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui, New Delhi

"India will not sign any deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions at UN climate talks that threatens its growth or undermines its fight against poverty, the environment minister said Friday.

Speaking ahead of his departure to a key round of talks in the Peruvian capital, Prakash Javadekar said he was heading into the negotiations with "an open mind" but warned the Indian delegation would not "shy away" from tough debate.

"Any agreement...will be by consensus," Javadekar told reporters in New Delhi. "Our growth cannot be compromised."

The minister branded poverty as the worst kind of environmental disaster which "needs to be eradicated immediately", adding that no one should dispute the right of the poorest members of society to have access to energy.

"Poor people have aspirations we must fulfill them, we must give them energy access," he said.

"The developing countries' need for inclusive growth, sustainable development, poverty eradication, and energy access to all must be recognised as fundamental," he added.

Negotiators from 195 countries are gathering in Lima for talks which end on December 12, hoping to agree on a draft agreement to address climate change that will be adopted in Paris next December.

Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have already set an outside target of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.

China, the United States and Europe have also unveiled emissions pledges.

Energy-starved India is seen as one of the major obstacles to a deal as it is heavily dependent on coal-fired power plants and millions suffer regular power cuts.

Alarming levels of pollution in the Indian capital over the last few weeks have raised fresh questions about the new right-wing government's commitment to battle climate change.

But Javadekar said "climate change is a subject that concerns all of us" and that India had already set itself targets to increase its use of solar power.

"We will tell the world in Lima with confidence about the steps we have already taken" to combat global warming, the minister added." via Climate Depot

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Air pollution and CO2 emissions are distinct issues the more pressing of which is pollution, Reuters:

11/13/14, "COLUMN-For China, pollution and climate change are not the same problem: Kemp," Reuters, John Kemp, Market Analyst, opinion

"Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in China, according to official statistics. Every time China hosts a major international event the government has to take extraordinary measures to clean up the air and avoid suffocating its prominent guests in a dangerous choking smog.

On social media, residents ask why the government can clean up for foreigners but can't provide a healthy environment for ordinary citizens who live and work in the city.

Beijing ordered a special anti-smog campaign for China's coming out party at the 2008 Olympic Games and again for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this week, closing factories and ordering traffic restrictions.

But most of the time, the city's air is terrible. Beijing had 85 bad air days in 2012, equivalent to almost three whole months, when air pollution failed to meet even the government's fairly lax Grade II standard for airborne particles as well as sulphur and nitrogen compounds.

In a ranking of China's 31 provincial-level capital cities, Beijing had the second-worst air quality in the country in 2012. Only Lanzhou, home to several heavy industries and the capital of Gansu province, in central northern China, was more polluted (link.reuters.com/wyr43w).

Pollution is literally killing the inhabitants of China's most polluted cities. During the 1990s, life expectancy in the more polluted northern cities in the north was on average five years lower than in less polluted cities of the south, according to researchers ("Evidence on the impact of sustained exposure to air pollution on life expectancy", 2013).

Climate campaigners blame the problem on China's inefficient coal-fired power plants and argue that the solution is to replace them with cleaner burning natural gas power stations as well as zero-emission sources of electricity such as wind, solar, hydro and nuclear.

Conflating air pollution with global warming is a useful tactic for getting action because it suggests action to prevent the long-term threat of climate change would also yield tangible health benefits in the short term.

But the pollution problem is more complicated. The causes of air pollution are not the same as climate change. China's leaders tend to see them as distinct issues and reducing air pollution is a far more pressing political problem.

HUAI RIVER POLICY

Pollution is worse in northern China than the south. Provincial capitals located to the north of the Huaihe River, which forms the traditional boundary between northern and southern China, generally have far worse pollution than those south of the river.

Northern cities such as Beijing (85), Tianjin (61) and Jinan (42) had far more days with severe air pollution in 2012 than southern metropolises Chongqing (26), Shanghai (23) and Guangzhou (6), according to the National Bureau of Statistics ("China Statistical Yearbook 2013").

Northern China relies much more heavily on coal-fired power generation than the southern half of the country, which has more abundant hydropower. Nonetheless, difference in coal's share of electricity output alone cannot account for the enormous gap in air quality.

Power producers are not the only big source of pollution. During the era of central planning, between 1950 and 1980, China's Communist Party leaders provided free district heating for residents in the colder northern half of China.

Due to budgetary limitations, free heating only extended as far south as the Huaihe River and the Qinling Mountains, which as well as the traditional boundary is roughly as far south as the freezing weather extends, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ("Winter heating or clean air: unintended impacts of China's Huai River policy", 2009).

Most of the district heating systems, which are still in use today, employ old, inefficient coal-fired boilers to produce steam and hot water. They have few pollution controls and spew soot and mercury as well as sulphur and nitrogen compounds into the urban air.

Northern China also contains most of the most country's energy-intensive industries. Plants are often located in the heart of urban areas. Most have their own coal-fired boilers to generate heat, steam and power rather than taking power from the electricity grid.

Almost all power plants have been fitted with baghouses and scrubbers to capture fly ash and sulphur and nitrogen oxides. District heating and industrial boilers are fitted with much more primitive controls and in many cases none at all.

ON-GRID ELECTRICITY

Cutting the air pollution in northern cities means first and foremost tackling district heating and industrial boilers. In some cases, district heating and industrial systems could be retrofitted with pollution controls or converted to cleaner burning gas.

Natural gas produces half the greenhouse emissions of coal and releases virtually no pollutants such as mercury, sulphur and soot.

In other cases, it might make more sense to switch to electricity from the grid -- even if much of it is still generated by burning coal in central power plants.

Unsurprisingly, State Grid, the giant transmission operator and power producer for most of the country, has been enthusiastically advocating an electrification strategy.

State Grid has an obvious financial interest but the basic idea is sound. Other countries, including Britain, have also adopted electrification as part of their climate strategies.

The difference is that Britain's strategy comes in two parts: (1) electrification of the energy system and (2) decarbonisation of electricity production.

So gas-fired central heating and gasoline-filled cars would be replaced by electric heat pumps and plug-in electric vehicles, while at the same time coal-fired power plants would be replaced with wind farms and nuclear power stations.

In China, however, electrification might not be accompanied by decarbonisation, or at least not to anything like the same extent.

CLEAN(ER) GRID POWER

China has invested heavily in zero-emission generation, including wind and solar farms. State Grid, as the world's biggest power system operator, has pioneered the sort of advanced technologies like long-distance ultra-high voltage transmission and giant batteries which will be essential to operating a clean energy system.

However, the majority of grid power will continue to come from coal for the next few decades. In the joint announcement on climate change, issued by the United States and China on Wednesday, China pledged to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030. That still means 80 percent of energy consumption will come from fossil fuels, and, in China, that means mostly coal.

China's leaders could go a long way to solving the urban pollution problem by banning coal-fired district heating and industrial boilers without pollution abatement systems and requiring users to switch to grid power, natural gas, or mandating them to retrofit (expensive) pollution controls.

Electrification would probably also reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions -- especially if new coal plants are built to ultra-supercritical standards and the country keeps adding wind farms and nuclear power plants.

But while it would dramatically improve air quality it would not cut greenhouse emissions to anywhere near the extent climate campaigners are hoping. (Editing by David Evans)"

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Image from 1/27/14, "China’s Growing Coal Use Is World’s Growing Problem," ClimateCentral.org, Eric Larson

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Added: Bribery is rampant in China energy dealings. A China coal official had $33 million in cash stashed in one of his apartments. 13,000 China officials have been sentenced for bribery so far in 2014.

10/31/14, "Corrupt coal official had 200 million yuan [$33 million US] in cash stashed at home, prosecutors say," South China Morning Post, Andrea Chen

"Investigators have found more than 200 million yuan (HK$252 million) [$33 million US] in local and foreign currency at the home of an energy official – a record haul of corrupt cash since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, prosecutors said on Friday. 

It confirms media reports from earlier this year that Wei Pengyuan, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission’s (NDRC) coal department, had been put under investigation amid the sweeping crackdown on  

corruption in the country’s energy sector.

Wei was found to have bought several apartments and used one of them to store the huge pile of cash, according to media reports. Investigators had to use16 cash-counting machines to record the haul, and four of the machines broke down under the excessive workload, Caixin, a mainland financial magazine, reported.
“It marks the largest amount of money in cash we have seized from a corrupt official during a single operation since 1949”, said Xu Jinhui, an official from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate who oversees the handing of graft cases....

Wei was one of 11 officials facing trial on bribery charges laid down by the NDRC, the powerful economic policy planning agency, Xu said. Six of the corrupt officials had accepted more 60 million yuan in bribes each.


Other sacked officials from the commission include its former deputy chief Liu Tienan, who stood trial for having allegedly taken 36 million yuan in bribes.

“They are in charge of both policy making and the approval of development projects. In other words,

they decide how much profit an enterprise can make,” Xu said.

As the price of coal surges, the NDRC’s coal department that issues licences for mines 

becomes a high-risk area for corruption
.
The top procuratorate had played a more active role in the country’s anti-corruption drive this year, Xu added. It has charged 35,633 officials with bribery in the first nine months this year, a 5.6 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. Eight in 10 cases involve bribes of more than 50,000 yuan or embezzlement of over 100,000 yuan.

The procuratorate has also joined the hunt for corrupt officials who have fled abroad, which has seen 502 of them tracked down between January and September."

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China coal official took $33 million in bribes, BBC:

10/31/14, "China corruption: Record cash find in official's home," BBC

"Anti-corruption investigators in China have confirmed the reported seizure of the equivalent of $33m in cash at an official's home in May - the biggest such haul to date.

More than 200m yuan (£20m) [$33 million US] were found and four out of 16 counting machines broke whilst measuring the notes, a prosecutor said.

Senior energy official Wei Pengyuan is under investigation for corruption. President Xi Jinping has promised to tackle corruption in China.

The massive haul, first reported in the Chinese press in May, was confirmed at a news conference by top anti-bribery prosecutor Xu Jinhui.

Mr Wei, who is the deputy chief of the National Energy Administration's coal department, was put under investigation in May for allegedly accepting bribes following the discovery of the hidden cash.

China has sentenced more than 13,000 officials found guilty of corruption and bribery in the first nine months of 2014 alone.

President Xi warned that his campaign against corruption would target both "tigers" and "flies", indicating that no-one, even senior party members, was exempt from the crackdown.

Since he came to power, some of China's biggest political heavyweights, including the vice-chairman of China's parliament and the former security chief have been targeted by the anti-corruption campaign.

Experts have even suggested that the proportionately high number of suicides among party officials is down to the pressure from the battle against corruption."
Image above from BBC 

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Comment: By now most know the "climate" issue isn't about climate. It's about formalizing perpetual transfer of US taxpayer wages to UN parasites, European monarchs, billionaires, equatorial dictators, and other thugs. It can't possibly be about CO2. If US CO2 went to zero they'd say fine, but the important thing is to sign a global treaty. US politicians enabled all of it.






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