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    Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria. The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary). Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet. BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.

    Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment. Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.

    Finnish engineering firm Pöyry Oyj has been awarded contracts by San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. to provide services for the first bioethanol plant in the Philippines. The aggregate contract value is EUR 10 million. The plant is to be build in the Province of San Carlos on the north-eastern tip of Negros Island. The plant is expected to deliver 120,000 liters/day of bioethanol and 4 MW of excess power to the grid. Kauppalehti Online - Feb. 15, 2007.

    In order to reduce fuel costs, a Mukono-based flower farm which exports to Europe, is building its own biodiesel plant, based on using Jatropha curcas seeds. It estimates the fuel will cut production costs by up to 20%. New Vision (Kampala, Uganda) - Feb. 12, 2007.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to use 10% biodiesel in its fleet of public buses. The world's largest city is served by the Toei Bus System, which is used by some 570,000 people daily. Digital World Tokyo - Feb. 12, 2007.

    Fearing lack of electricity supply in South Africa and a price tag on CO2, WSP Group SA is investing in a biomass power plant that will replace coal in the Letaba Citrus juicing plant which is located in Tzaneen. Mining Weekly - Feb. 8, 2007.

    In what it calls an important addition to its global R&D capabilities, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to build a new bioenergy research center in Hamburg, Germany. World Grain - Feb. 5, 2007.

    EthaBlog's Henrique Oliveira interviews leading Brazilian biofuels consultant Marcelo Coelho who offers insights into the (foreign) investment dynamics in the sector, the history of Brazilian ethanol and the relationship between oil price trends and biofuels. EthaBlog - Feb. 2, 2007.

    The government of Taiwan has announced its renewable energy target: 12% of all energy should come from renewables by 2020. The plan is expected to revitalise Taiwan's agricultural sector and to boost its nascent biomass industry. China Post - Feb. 2, 2007.

    Production at Cantarell, the world's second biggest oil field, declined by 500,000 barrels or 25% last year. This virtual collapse is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos. Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2007.

    Dubai-based and AIM listed Teejori Ltd. has entered into an agreement to invest €6 million to acquire a 16.7% interest in Bekon, which developed two proprietary technologies enabling dry-fermentation of biomass. Both technologies allow it to design, establish and operate biogas plants in a highly efficient way. Dry-Fermentation offers significant advantages to the existing widely used wet fermentation process of converting biomass to biogas. Ame Info - Jan. 22, 2007.

    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to build a biofuel production plant in the tribal belt of Banswara, Rajasthan, India. The petroleum company has acquired 20,000 hectares of low value land in the district, which it plans to commit to growing jatropha and other biofuel crops. The company's chairman said HPCL was also looking for similar wasteland in the state of Chhattisgarh. Zee News - Jan. 15, 2007.

    The Zimbabwean national police begins planting jatropha for a pilot project that must result in a daily production of 1000 liters of biodiesel. The Herald (Harare), Via AllAfrica - Jan. 12, 2007.

    In order to meet its Kyoto obligations and to cut dependence on oil, Japan has started importing biofuels from Brazil and elsewhere. And even though the country has limited local bioenergy potential, its Agriculture Ministry will begin a search for natural resources, including farm products and their residues, that can be used to make biofuels in Japan. To this end, studies will be conducted at 900 locations nationwide over a three-year period. The Japan Times - Jan. 12, 2007.

    Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched an arrogant attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their attitudes to global warming, calling the Stern Review 'dubious'. The remarks illustrate the yawning gap between opinions on climate change among Europeans and Americans, but they also strengthen the view that announcements by US car makers and legislators about the development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing. Today, the EU announced its comprehensive energy policy for the 21st century, with climate change at the center of it. BBC News - Jan. 10, 2007.

    The new Canadian government is investing $840,000 into BioMatera Inc. a biotech company that develops industrial biopolymers (such as PHA) that have wide-scale applications in the plastics, farmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Plant-based biopolymers such as PHA are biodegradable and renewable. Government of Canada - Jan. 9, 2007.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

China releases first-ever report on climate change

At the close of 2006, the warmest year in China since 1951, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the China Meteorological Administration, and the Chinese Academy of Science released the country’s first-ever National Assessment Report on Climate Change. The assessment, begun four years ago and written in collaboration with nine other government departments, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the State Environmental Protection Administration, concludes that rising greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities are causing severe global climate change and that China must play an active role in tackling the negative impacts of this change on the global environment.

The report predicts that the average temperature in China will rise 1.3 to 2.1 degrees Celsius by 2020 and 2.3 to 3.3 degrees Celsius by 2050. Meanwhile, the country’s annual average rainfall is projected to increase 2–3 percent by 2020 and 5–7 percent by 2050. This increase in precipitation is not expected to protect northern China against deepening water shortages, however, because warming temperatures will likely lead to greater evaporation, the study says.

Extreme events, natural disasters and threats to food security
As Science and Technology Daily reports, the assessment also forecasts that extreme weather events and natural disasters will occur more frequently as a result of climate change, reports. Speaking about the findings, Qin Dahe, the director of China Meteorological Administration, noted that in 2006, severe natural disasters caused 2,704 deaths as well as economic losses of 212 billion yuan (US$27 billion) in China. Noteworthy events included the destructive once in a 100 years typhoon in Zhejiang Province in August as well as the worst droughts to hit Chongqing municipality and Sichuan Province in 50 years:
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While climate change poses threats to China’s diverse ecosystems and to its water, forest, coastal, and other natural resources, the most direct and greatest threat is to the food security of this country of more than 1.3 billion people. The report predicts that both crop distribution and production will be affected by the changes in temperature and precipitation, with the output of major crops such as wheat, rice, and corn falling by up to 37 percent in the second half of the century if no effective measures are taken in the next 20 to 50 years to address climate change impacts, according to Xinhua News.

Solutions and strategies
As the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide after the United States—and likely the world's largest emitter of the gas by 2010—China finds itself with a growing obligation to cut its mounting emissions of greenhouse gases, driven by the country’s roaring economic growth. The Chinese government considers a positive response to climate change as a new driving force for promoting green technology innovation and energy conservation. Policies and measures to address global climate change discussed in the report—including enhanced monitoring of environmental change and countermeasures, the adoption of energy-saving technologies, and the embrace of renewable energy, clean coal, and carbon dioxide capture and storage—are of great significance at all levels of government, serving as an important reference for both development plans and overall decision-making.

More information:

The Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, homepage.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences, homepage.
Xinhuanet: Climate changes to hammer China hard.


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