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    The Africa Power & Electricity Congress and Exhibition, to take place from 16 - 20 April 2007, in the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa, will focus on bioenergy and biofuels. The Statesman - April 7, 2007.

    Petrobras and Petroecuador have signed a joint performance MOU for a technical, economic and legal viability study to develop joint projects in biofuel production and distribution in Ecuador. The project includes possible joint Petroecuador and Petrobras investments, in addition to qualifying the Ecuadorian staff that is directly involved in biofuel-related activities with the exchange of professionals and technical training. PetroBras - April 5, 2007.

    The Société de Transport de Montréal is to buy 8 biodiesel-electric hybrid buses that will use 20% less fuel and cut 330 tons of GHG emissions per annum. Courrier Ahuntsic - April 3, 2007.

    Thailand mandates B2, a mixture of 2% biodiesel and 98% diesel. According to Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand, the mandate comes into effect by April next year. Bangkok Post - April 3, 2007.

    In what is described as a defeat for the Bush administration, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled [*.pdf] today that environmental officials have the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming. By a 5-4 vote, the nation's highest court told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its refusal to regulate carbon dioxide and other emissions from new cars and trucks that contribute to climate change. Reuters - April 2, 2007.

    Goldman Sachs estimates that, in the absence of current trade barriers, Latin America could supply all the ethanol required in the US and Europe at a cost of $45 per barrel – just over half the cost of US-made ethanol. EuroToday - April 2, 2007.

    The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative signed a long-term purchase power agreement last week with Green Energy Team, LLC. The 20-year agreement enables KIUC to purchase power from Green Energy's proposed 6.4 megawatt biomass-to-energy facility, which will use agricultural waste to generate power. Honolulu Advertiser - April 2, 2007.

    The market trend to heavier, more powerful hybrids is eroding the fuel consumption advantage of hybrid technology, according to a study done by researchers at the University of British Columbia. GreenCarCongress - March 30, 2007.

    Hungarian privately-owned bio-ethanol project firm Mabio is planning to complete an €80-85 million ethanol plant in Southeast Hungary's Csabacsud by end-2008. Onet/Interfax - March 29, 2007.

    Energy and engineering group Abengoa announces it has applied for planning permission to build a bioethanol plant in north-east England with a capacity of about 400,000 tonnes a year. Reuters - March 29, 2007.

    The second European Summer School on Renewable Motor Fuels will be held in Warsaw, Poland, from 29 to 31 August 2007. The goal of the event is to disseminate the knowledge generated within the EU-funded RENEW (Renewable Fuels for Advanced Powertrains) project and present it to the European academic audience and stakeholders. Topics on the agenda include generation of synthetic gas from biomass and gas cleaning; transport fuel synthesis from synthetic gas; biofuel use in different motors; biomass potentials, supply and logistics, and technology, cost and life-cycle assessment of BtL pathways. Cordis News - March 27, 2007.

    Green Swedes want even more renewables, according to a study from Gothenburg University. Support for hydroelectricity and biofuels has increased, whereas three-quarters of people want Sweden to concentrate more on wind and solar too. Swedes still back the nuclear phase-out plans. The country is Europe's largest ethanol user. It imports 75% of the biofuel from Brazil. Sveriges Radio International - March 27, 2007.

    Fiat will launch its Brazilian-built flex-fuel Uno in South Africa later this year. The flex-fuel Uno, which can run on gasoline, ethanol or any combination of the two fuels, was displayed at the Durban Auto Show, and is set to become popular as South Africa enters the ethanol era. Automotive World - March 27, 2007.

    Siemens Power Generation (PG) is to supply two steam turbine gensets to a biomass-fired plant in Três Lagoas, 600 kilometers northwest of São Paulo. The order, valued at €22 million, was placed by the Brazilian company Pöyry Empreendimentos, part of VCP (Votorantim Celulose e Papel), one of the biggest cellulose producers in the Americas. PRDomain - March 25, 2007.

    Asia’s demand for oil will nearly double over the next 25 years and will account for 85% of the increased demand in 2007, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) officials forecast yesterday at a Bangkok-hosted energy conference. Daily Times - March 24, 2007.

    Portugal's government expects total investment in biomass energy will reach €500 million in 2012, when its target of 250MW capacity is reached. By that date, biomass will reduce 700,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. By 2010, biomass will represent 5% of the country's energy production. Forbes - March 22, 2007.

    The Scottish Executive has announced a biomass action plan for Scotland, through which dozens of green energy projects across the region are set to benefit from an additional £3 million of funding. The plan includes greater use of the forestry and agriculture sectors, together with grant support to encourage greater use of biomass products. Energy Business Review Online - March 21, 2007.

    The U.S. Dep't of Agriculture's Forest Service has selected 26 small businesses and community groups to receive US$6.2 million in grants from for the development of innovative uses for woody biomass. American Agriculturalist - March 21, 2007.

    Three universities, a government laboratory, and several companies are joining forces in Colorado to create what organizers hope will be a major player in the emerging field of converting biomass into fuels and other products. The Colorado Center for Biorefining & Biofuels, or C2B2, combines the biofuels and biorefining expertise of the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines, and the Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Founding corporate members include Dow Chemical, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell. C&EN - March 20, 2007.

    The city of Rome has announced plans to run its public bus fleet on a fuel mix of 20 per cent biodiesel. The city council has signed an accord that would see its 2800 buses switch to the blended fuel in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution. A trial of 200 buses, if successful, would see the entire fleet running on the biofuel mix by the end of 2008. Estimates put the annual emission savings at 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. CarbonPositive - March 19, 2007.

    CODON (Dutch Biotech Study Association) organises a symposium on the 'Biobased Economy' in Wageningen, Netherlands, home of one of Europe's largest agricultural universities. In a biobased economy, chemistry companies and other non-food enterprises primarily use renewable materials and biomass as their resources, instead of petroleum. The Netherlands has the ambition to have 30% of all used materials biobased, by 2030. FoodHolland - March 19, 2007.

    Energy giants BP and China National Petroleum Corp, the PRC's biggest oil producer, are among the companies that are in talks with Guangxi Xintiande Energy Co about buying a stake in the southern China ethanol producer to expand output. Xintiande Energy currently produces ethanol from cassava. ChinaDaily - March 16, 2007.

    Researchers at eTEC Business Development Ltd., a biofuels research company based in Vienna, Austria, have devised mobile facilities that successfully convert the biodiesel by-product glycerin into electricity. The facilities, according to researchers, will provide substantial economic growth for biodiesel plants while turning glycerin into productive renewable energy. Biodiesel Magazine - March 16, 2007.

    Ethanol Africa, which plans to build eight biofuel plants in the maize belt, has secured funding of €83/US$110 million (825 million Rand) for the first facility in Bothaville, its principal shareholder announced. Business Report - March 16, 2007.

    A joint venture between Energias de Portugal SGPS and Altri SGPS will be awarded licences to build five 100 MW biomass power stations in Portugal's eastern Castelo Branco region. EDP's EDP Bioelectrica unit and Altri's Celulose de Caima plan to fuel the power stations with forestry waste material. Total investment on the programme is projected at €250/US$333 million with 800 jobs being created. Forbes - March 16, 2007.

    Indian bioprocess engineering firm Praj wins €11/US$14.5 million contract for the construction of the wheat and beet based bio-ethanol plant for Biowanze SA in Belgium, a subsidiary of CropEnergies AG (a Sudzucker Group Company). The plant has an ethanol production capacity of 300,000 tons per year. IndiaPRWire - March 15, 2007.

    Shimadzu Scientific Instruments announced the availability of its new white paper, “Overview of Biofuels and the Analytical Processes Used in their Manufacture.” The paper is available for free download at the company’s website. The paper offers an overview of the rapidly expanding global biofuel market with specific focus on ethanol and biodiesel used in auto transportation. It provides context for these products within the fuel market and explains raw materials and manufacturing. Most important, the paper describes the analytical processes and equipment used for QA testing of raw materials, in-process materials, and end products. BusinessWire - March 15, 2007.

    Côte d'Ivoire's agriculture minister Amadou Gon has visited the biofuels section of the Salon de l'Agriculture in Paris, one of the largest fairs of its kind. According to his communication office, the minister is looking into drafting a plan for the introduction of biofuels in the West African country. AllAfrica [*French] - March 13, 2007.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: current and future impacts of climate change on human and natural environments

Earlier this year, Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the evidence showing that humans are responsible for global warming. As part of the Fourth Assessment report on climate change (AR4), Working Group II has now released its contribution which analyses the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of the vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptability) to climate change of, and the negative and positive consequences for, ecological systems, socio-economic sectors and human health.

The report released today is the Summary for Policy Makers [*.pdf], which was approved by politicians and the scientific community after a week of intense negotiations in Brussels. The Summary sets out the key policy-relevant findings, based on assessments of current scientific understanding of impacts of climate change on natural, managed and human systems, the capacity of these systems to adapt and their vulnerability. It builds upon past IPCC assessments and incorporates new knowledge gained since the Third Assessment.

Many of the findings are highly relevant to the future of biofuels and bioenergy production (such as expected impacts on agricultural productivity, effects of land use change, and the carbon storage capacity of ecosystems). One general observation on the human dimension of climate change stands out: the poor in the developing world will suffer most as their societies are least able to adapt.

The following is a selection of these key findings regarding projected impacts, as well as some findings on vulnerability and adaptation, in each system, sector and region for the range of (unmitigated) climate changes projected by the IPCC over this century judged to be relevant for people and the environment. The impacts frequently reflect projected changes in precipitation and other climate variables in addition to temperature, sea level and concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The magnitude and timing of impacts will vary with the amount and timing of climate change and, in some cases, the capacity to adapt.

From the Summary, we highlight only the following findings:
  • a general overview of future impacts of climate change on: fresh water resources, on ecosystems and biodiversity, on the production of food, fibre and forest products, on coastal systems and low-lying areas, on industry, settlement and society, on human health
  • impacts on 'developing countries' (in Africa, Asia and Latin America)
  • estimates of the magnitudes of impacts for a range of possible increases in global average temperature
  • estimates of the magnitudes of impacts caused by altered frequencies and intensities of extreme weather, climate, and sea level events
  • an overview of the current state of knowledge about responding to climate change
Note that the statements made here are categorised according to the level of confidence with which they can be expected to reflect accurate projections ('Very high confidence', 'High confidence', 'Medium confidence').

General overview of future impacts

Fresh water resources and their management

Estimates of the magnitudes of impacts of increased temperatures on fresh water resources and their management (click to enlarge)

By mid-century, annual average river runoff and water availability are projected to increase by 10-40% at high latitudes and in some wet tropical areas, and decrease by 10-30% over some dry regions at mid-latitudes and in the dry tropics, some of which are presently water stressed areas. In some places and in particular seasons, changes differ from these annual figures. ('high'):
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Drought-affected areas will likely increase in extent. Heavy precipitation events, which are very likely to increase in frequency, will augment flood risk. ('high')

Adaptation procedures and risk management practices for the water sector are being developed in some countries and regions that have recognised projected hydrological changes with related uncertainties. ('very high')

In the course of the century, water supplies stored in glaciers and snow cover are projected to decline, reducing water availability in regions supplied by meltwater from major mountain ranges, where more than one-sixth of the world population currently lives. ('high')


Estimates of the magnitudes of impacts of increased temperatures on ecosystems (click to enlarge)

The resilience of many ecosystems is likely to be exceeded this century by an unprecedented combination of climate change, associated disturbances (e.g., flooding, drought, wildfire, insects, ocean acidification), and other global change drivers (e.g., land use change, pollution, over-exploitation of resources). ('high')

Over the course of this century net carbon uptake by terrestrial ecosystems is likely to peak before midcentury and then weaken or even reverse11, thus amplifying climate change. ('high')

Approximately 20-30% of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5-2.5oC. ('medium')

For increases in global average temperature exceeding 1.5-2.5°C and in concomitant atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, there are projected to be major changes in ecosystem structure and function, species’ ecological interactions, and species’ geographic ranges, with predominantly negative consequences for biodiversity, and ecosystem goods and services e.g., water and food supply. ('high')

The progressive acidification of oceans due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is expected to have negative impacts on marine shell forming organisms (e.g., corals) and their dependent species. ('medium')

Food, fibre and forest products

Estimates of the magnitudes of impacts of increased temperatures on the production of food, fiber and forest products (click to enlarge)

Crop productivity is projected to increase slightly at mid to high latitudes for local mean temperature increases of up to 1-3°C depending on the crop, and then decrease beyond that in some regions. ('medium')

At lower latitudes, especially seasonally dry and tropical regions, crop productivity is projected to decrease for even small local temperature increases (1-2°C), which would increase risk of hunger. ('medium')

Globally, the potential for food production is projected to increase with increases in local average temperature over a range of 1-3°C, but above this it is projected to decrease. ('medium')

Adaptations such as altered cultivars and planting times allow low and mid- to high latitude cereal yields to be maintained at or above baseline yields for modest warming. ('medium')

Increases in the frequency of droughts and floods are projected to affect local production negatively, especially in subsistence sectors at low latitudes. ('high')

Globally, commercial timber productivity rises modestly with climate change in the short- to medium-term, with large regional variability around the global trend. ('medium')

Regional changes in the distribution and production of particular fish species are expected due to continued warming, with adverse effects projected for aquaculture and fisheries. ('high')

Coastal systems and low-lying areas

Estimates of the magnitudes of impacts of increased temperatures on coastal systems and low-lying areas (click to enlarge)
Coasts are projected to be exposed to increasing risks, including coastal erosion, due to climate change and sea-level rise and the effect will be exacerbated by increasing human-induced pressures on coastal areas. ('very high')

Corals are vulnerable to thermal stress and have low adaptive capacity. Increases in sea surface temperature of about 1 to 3°C are projected to result in more frequent coral bleaching events and widespread mortality, unless there is thermal adaptation or acclimatisation by corals. ('very high')

Coastal wetlands including salt marshes and mangroves are projected to be negatively affected by sea-level rise especially where they are constrained on their landward side, or starved of sediment. ('very high')

Many millions more people are projected to be flooded every year due to sea-level rise by the 2080s. Those densely-populated and low-lying areas where adaptive capacity is relatively low, and which already face other challenges such as tropical storms or local coastal subsidence, are especially at risk. The numbers affected will be largest in the mega-deltas of Asia and Africa while small islands are especially vulnerable. ('very high')

Adaptation for coastal regions will be more challenging in developing countries than developed countries due to constraints on adaptive capacity. ('high')

Industry, Settlement and Society

Costs and benefits of climate change for industry, settlement, and society will vary widely by location and scale. In the aggregate, however, net effects will tend to be more negative the larger the change in climate. ('high')

The most vulnerable industries, settlements and societies are generally those in coastal and river flood plains, those whose economies are closely linked with climate-sensitive resources, and those in areas prone to extreme weather events, especially where rapid urbanisation is occurring. ('high')

Poor communities can be especially vulnerable, in particular those concentrated in high-risk areas. They tend to have more limited adaptive capacities, and are more dependent on climate-sensitive resources such as local water and food supplies. ('high')

Where extreme weather events become more intense and/or more frequent, the economic and social costs of those events will increase, and these increases will be substantial in the areas most directly affected. Climate change impacts spread from directly impacted areas and sectors to other areas and sectors through extensive and complex linkages. ('high')


Estimates of the magnitudes of impacts of increased temperatures on health (click to enlarge)
Projected climate change-related exposures are likely to affect the health status of millions of people, particularly those with low adaptive capacity, through:

• increases in malnutrition and consequent disorders, with implications for child growth and development;
• increased deaths, disease and injury due to heat waves, floods, storms, fires and droughts;
• the increased burden of diarrhoeal disease;
• the increased frequency of cardio-respiratory diseases due to higher concentrations of ground level ozone related to climate change; and,
• the altered spatial distribution of some infectious disease vectors. ('high')

Climate change is expected to have some mixed effects, such as the decrease or increase of the range and transmission potential of malaria in Africa. ('high')

Studies in temperate areas have shown that climate change is projected to bring some benefits, such as fewer deaths from cold exposure. Overall it is expected that these benefits will be outweighed by the negative health effects of rising temperatures world-wide, especially in developing countries. ('high')

The balance of positive and negative health impacts will vary from one location to another, and will alter over time as temperatures continue to rise. Critically important will be factors that directly shape the health of populations such as education, health care, public health prevention and infrastructure and economic development. ('very high')

Impact in the Global South

By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to an increase of water stress due to climate change. If coupled with increased demand, this will adversely affect livelihoods and exacerbate water-related problems. ('high')

Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries and regions is projected to be severely compromised by climate variability and change.

The area suitable for agriculture, the length of growing seasons and yield potential, particularly along the margins of semi-arid and arid areas, are expected to decrease.

This would further adversely affect food security and exacerbate malnutrition in the continent. In some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50% by 2020. ('high')

Local food supplies are projected to be negatively affected by decreasing fisheries resources in large lakes due to rising water temperatures, which may be exacerbated by continued over-fishing. ('high')

Towards the end of the 21st century, projected sea-level rise will affect low-lying coastal areas with large populations. The cost of adaptation could amount to at least 5-10% of GDP. Mangroves and coral reefs are projected to be further degraded, with additional consequences for fisheries and tourism. ('high')

New studies confirm that Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change because of multiple stresses and low adaptive capacity. Some adaptation to current climate variability is taking place, however, this may be insufficient for future changes in climate. ('high')

Glacier melt in the Himalayas is projected to increase flooding, rock avalanches from destabilised slopes, and affect water resources within the next two to three decades. This will be followed by decreased river flows as the glaciers recede. ('medium')

Freshwater availability in Central, South, East and Southeast Asia particularly in large river basins is projected to decrease due to climate change which, along with population growth and increasing demand arising from higher standards of living, could adversely affect more than a billion people by the 2050s. ('high')

Coastal areas, especially heavily-populated mega-delta regions in South, East and Southeast Asia, will be at greatest risk due to increased flooding from the sea and in some mega-deltas flooding from the rivers. ('high')

Climate change is projected to impinge on sustainable development of most developing countries of Asia as it compounds the pressures on natural resources and the environment associated with rapid urbanisation, industrialisation, and economic development. ('high')

It is projected that crop yields could increase up to 20% in East and Southeast Asia while it could decrease up to 30% in Central and South Asia by the mid-21st century. Taken together and considering the influence of rapid population growth and urbanization, the risk of hunger is projected to remain very high in several developing countries. ('medium')

Endemic morbidity and mortality due to diarrhoeal disease primarily associated with floods and droughts are expected to rise in East, South and Southeast Asia due to projected changes in hydrological cycle associated with global warming. Increases in coastal water temperature would exacerbate the abundance and/or toxicity of cholera in South Asia. ('high')

Latin America
By mid-century, increases in temperature and associated decreases in soil water are projected to lead to gradual replacement of tropical forest by savanna in eastern Amazonia. Semi-arid vegetation will tend to be replaced by arid-land vegetation. There is a risk of significant biodiversity loss through species extinction in many areas of tropical Latin America. ('high')

In drier areas, climate change is expected to lead to salinisation and desertification of agricultural land. Productivity of some important crops are projected to decrease and livestock productivity to decline, with adverse consequences for food security. In temperate zones soybean yields are projected to increase. ('high')

Sea-level rise is projected to cause increased risk of flooding in low-lying areas. ('high')

Increases in sea surface temperature due to climate change are projected to have adverse effects on Mesoamerican coral reefs, and cause shifts in the location of south-east Pacific fish stocks. ('high')

Changes in precipitation patterns and the disappearance of glaciers are projected to significantly affect water availability for human consumption, agriculture and energy generation. ('high')

Some countries have made efforts to adapt, particularly through conservation of key ecosystems, early warning systems, risk management in agriculture, strategies for flood drought and coastal management, and disease surveillance systems. However, the effectiveness of these efforts is outweighed by: lack of basic information, observation and monitoring systems; lack of capacity building and appropriate political, institutional and technological frameworks; low income; and settlements in vulnerable areas, among others. ('high')

Emissions scenarios
In order to understand some of the terminology used in the sections, we present a quick overview of the emission scenarios contained in the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES). These SRES are illustrative marker scenarios for the 2000–2100 period and model experiments with greenhouse gases and aerosol concentrations held constant after year 2000 or 2100.

The Emission Scenarios of the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES)

A1. The A1 storyline and scenario family describes a future world of very rapid economic growth, global population that peaks in mid-century and declines thereafter, and the rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies. Major underlying themes are convergence among regions, capacity building and increased cultural and social interactions, with a substantial reduction in regional differences in per capita income. The A1 scenario family develops into three groups that describe alternative directions of technological change in the energy system. The three A1 groups are distinguished by their technological emphasis: fossil intensive (A1FI), non-fossil energy sources (A1T), or a balance across all sources (A1B) (where balanced is defined as not relying too heavily on one particular energy source, on the assumption that similar improvement rates apply to all energy supply and end use technologies).

A2. The A2 storyline and scenario family describes a very heterogeneous world. The underlying theme is self reliance and preservation of local identities. Fertility patterns across regions converge very slowly, which results in continuously increasing population. Economic development is primarily regionally oriented and per capita economic growth and technological change more fragmented and slower than other storylines.

B1. The B1 storyline and scenario family describes a convergent world with the same global population, that peaks in mid-century and declines thereafter, as in the A1 storyline, but with rapid change in economic structures toward a service and information economy, with reductions in material intensity and the introduction of clean and resource efficient technologies. The emphasis is on global solutions to economic, social and environmental sustainability, including improved equity, but without additional climate initiatives.

B2. The B2 storyline and scenario family describes a world in which the emphasis is on local solutions to economic, social and environmental sustainability. It is a world with continuously increasing global population, at a rate lower than A2, intermediate levels of economic development, and less rapid and more diverse technological change than in the B1 and A1 storylines. While the scenario is also oriented towards environmental protection and social equity, it focuses on local and regional levels.

An illustrative scenario was chosen for each of the six scenario groups A1B, A1FI, A1T, A2, B1 and B2. All should be considered equally sound.

The SRES scenarios do not include additional climate initiatives, which means that no scenarios are included that explicitly assume implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or the emissions targets of the Kyoto Protocol.

Estimates of the magnitudes of impacts (of increased temperatures)

Since the IPCC Third Assessment, many additional studies, particularly in regions that previously had been little researched, have enabled a more systematic understanding of how the timing and magnitude of impacts may be affected by changes in climate and sea level associated with differing amounts and rates of change in global average temperature.

Examples of this new information are presented in the following table. Entries have been selected which are judged to be relevant for people and the environment and for which there is high confidence in the assessment. All entries of impact are drawn from chapters of the Assessment, where more detailed information is available.

Depending on circumstances, some of these impacts could be associated with ‘key vulnerabilities’, based on a number of criteria in the literature (magnitude, timing, persistence/reversibility, the potential for adaptation, distributional aspects, likelihood and “importance” of the impacts). Assessment of potential key vulnerabilities is intended to provide information on rates and levels of climate change to help decisionmakers make appropriate responses to the risks of climate change.

The ‘reasons for concern’ identified in the Third Assessment remain a viable framework for considering key vulnerabilities. Recent research has updated some of the findings from the Third Assessment. They are presented in the following Table 1(click to enlarge):

Illustrative examples of global impacts projected for climate changes (and sea-level and atmospheric carbon dioxide where relevant) associated with different amounts of increase in global average surface temperature in the 21st century. The black lines link impacts, dotted arrows indicate impacts continuing with increasing temperature. Entries are placed so that the left hand side of text indicates approximate onset of a given impact. Quantitative entries for water scarcity and flooding represent the additional impacts of climate change relative to the conditions projected across the range of SRES scenarios A1FI, A2, B1 and B2. Adaptation to climate change is not included in these estimations. All entries are from published studies recorded in the chapters of the Assessment. Sources are given in the right hand column of the Table. Confidence levels for all statements are high.

Estimates of the magnitudes of impacts (of altered extreme weather, climate and sea level events)
Since the IPCC Third Assessment, confidence has increased that some weather events and extremes will become more frequent, more widespread and/or more intense during the 21st century; and more is known about the potential effects of such changes. A selection of these is presented in Table 2 (click to enlarge):

Examples of possible impacts of climate change due to changes in extreme weather and climate events, based on projections to the mid to late 21st century. These do not take into account any changes or developments in adaptive capacity. Examples of all entries are to be found in chapters in the full Assessment (see source at top of columns). The first two columns of this table are taken directly from the Working Group I SPM (Table SPM-2). The likelihood estimates in Column 2 relate to the phenomena listed in Column 1. The direction of trend and likelihood of phenomena are for IPCC SRES projections of climate change.

Current knowledge about responding to climate change

Some adaptation is occurring now, to observed and projected future climate change, but on a limited basis
There is growing evidence since the IPCC Third Assessment of human activity to adapt to observed and anticipated climate change. For example, climate change is considered in the design of infrastructure projects such as coastal defence in the Maldives and The Netherlands, and the Confederation Bridge in Canada.

Other examples include prevention of glacial lake outburst flooding in Nepal, and policies and strategies such as water management in Australia and government responses to heat waves in, for example, some European countries.

Adaptation will be necessary to address impacts resulting from the warming which is already unavoidable due to past emissions
Past emissions are estimated to involve some unavoidable warming (about a further 0.6°C by the end of the century) even if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations remain at 2000 levels (see Working Group I Fourth Assessment). There are some impacts for which adaptation is the only available and appropriate response. An indication of these impacts can be seen in table 1.

A wide array of adaptation options is available, but more extensive adaptation than is currently occurring is required to reduce vulnerability to future climate change.
There are barriers, limits and costs, but these are not fully understood. Impacts are expected to increase with increases in global average temperature, as indicated in Table 1.

Although many early impacts of climate change can be effectively addressed through adaptation, the options for successful adaptation diminish and the associated costs increase with increasing climate change. At present we do not have a clear picture of the limits to adaptation, or the cost, partly because effective adaptation measures are highly dependent on specific, geographical and climate risk factors as well as institutional, political and financial constraints.

The array of potential adaptive responses available to human societies is very large, ranging from purely technological (e.g., sea defences), through behavioural (e.g., altered food and recreational choices) to managerial (e.g., altered farm practices), to policy (e.g., planning regulations).

While most technologies and strategies are known and developed in some countries, the assessed literature does not indicate how effective various options are to fully reduce risks, particularly at higher levels of warming and related impacts, and for vulnerable groups. In addition, there are formidable environmental, economic, informational, social, attitudinal and behavioural barriers to implementation of adaptation. For developing countries, availability of resources and building adaptive capacity are particularly important.

However, adaptation alone is not expected to cope with all the projected effects of climate change, and especially not over the long run as most impacts increase in magnitude Table 1.

Vulnerability to climate change can be exacerbated by the presence of other
Non-climate stresses can increase vulnerability to climate change by reducing resilience and can also reduce adaptive capacity because of resource deployment to competing needs. For example, current stresses on some coral reefs include marine pollution and chemical runoff from agriculture as well as increases in water temperature and ocean acidification. Vulnerable regions face multiple stresses that affect their exposure and sensitivity as well as their capacity to adapt. These stresses arise from, for example, current climate hazards, poverty and unequal access to resources, food insecurity, trends in economic globalisation, conflict, and incidence of disease such as HIV/AIDS.

Adaptation measures are seldom undertaken in response to climate change alone but can be integrated within, for example, water resource management, coastal defence, and disaster planning.

Future vulnerability depends not only on climate change but also on development
An important advance since the IPCC Third Assessment has been the completion of impacts studies for a range of different development pathways taking into account not only projected climate change but also projected social and economic changes. Most have been based on characterisations of population and income level drawn from the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES).

These studies show that the projected impacts of climate change can vary greatly due to the development pathway assumed. For example, there may be large differences in regional population, income and technological development under alternative scenarios, which are often a strong determinant of the level of vulnerability to climate change.

To illustrate, in a number of recent studies of global impacts of climate change on food supply, risk of coastal flooding and water scarcity, the projected number of people affected is considerably greater under the A2-type scenario of development (characterised by relatively low per capita income and large population growth) than under other SRES futures.

This difference is largely explained, not by differences in changes of climate, but by differences in vulnerability. This difference is largely explained, not by
differences in changes of climate, but by differences in vulnerability. Sustainable development15can reduce vulnerability to climate change, and climate change could impede nations’ abilities to achieve sustainable development pathways.

Sustainable development can reduce vulnerability to climate change by enhancing adaptive capacity and increasing resilience. At present, however, few plans for promoting sustainability have explicitly included either adapting to climate change impacts, or promoting adaptive capacity.

On the other hand, it is very likely that climate change can slow the pace of progress toward sustainable development either directly through increased exposure to adverse impact or indirectly through erosion of the capacity to adapt. This point is clearly demonstrated in the sections of the sectoral and regional chapters of this report that discuss implications for sustainable development.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are one measure of progress towards sustainable development.
Over the next half-century, climate change could impede achievement of the MDGs.
Many impacts can be avoided, reduced or delayed by mitigation. A small number of impact assessments have now been completed for scenarios in which future atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are stabilised. Although these studies do not take full account of uncertainties in projected climate under stabilisation, they nevertheless provide indications of damages avoided or vulnerabilities and risks reduced for different amounts of emissions reduction.

A portfolio of adaptation and mitigation measures can diminish the risks associated with climate change. Even the most stringent mitigation efforts cannot avoid further impacts of climate change in the next few decades, which makes adaptation essential, particularly in addressing near-term impacts. Unmitigated climate change would, in the long term, be likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt.

This suggests the value of a portfolio or mix of strategies that includes mitigation, adaptation, technological development (to enhance both adaptation and mitigation) and research (on climate science, impacts, adaptation and mitigation). Such portfolios could combine policies with incentive-based approaches, and actions at all levels from the individual citizen through to national governments and international organizations.

One way of increasing adaptive capacity is by introducing consideration of climate change impacts in development planning, for example, by:
• including adaptation measures in land-use planning and infrastructure design;
• including measures to reduce vulnerability in existing disaster risk reduction strategies.

Impacts of climate change will vary regionally but, aggregated and discounted to the present, they are very likely to impose net annual costs which will increase over time as global temperatures increase.

This Assessment makes it clear that the impacts of future climate change will be mixed across regions. For increases in global mean temperature of less than 1 to 3oC above 1990 levels, some impacts are projected to produce benefits in some places and some sectors, and produce costs in other places and other sectors . It is, however, projected that some low latitude and polar regions will experience net costs even for small increases in temperature. It is very likely that all regions will experience either declines in net benefits or increases in net costs for increases in temperature greater than about 2 to 3°C. These observations re-confirm evidence reported in the Third Assessment that, while developing countries are expected to experience larger percentage losses, global mean losses could be 1-5% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 4oC of warming.

Many estimates of aggregate net economic costs of damages from climate change across the globe (i.e., the social cost of carbon (SCC), expressed in terms of future net benefits and costs that are discounted to the present) are now available.

Peer-reviewed estimates of the social cost of carbon for 2005 have an average value of US$43 per tonne of carbon (tC) (i.e., US$12 per tonne of carbon dioxide) but the range around this mean is large. For example, in a survey of 100 estimates, the values ran from US$-10 per tonne of carbon (US$-3 per tonne of carbon dioxide) up to US$350/tC (US$130 per tonne of carbon dioxide).

The large ranges of SCC are due in the large part to differences in assumptions regarding climate sensitivity, response lags, the treatment of risk and equity, economic and non-economic impacts, the inclusion of potentially catastrophic losses and discount rates. It is very likely that globally aggregated figures underestimate the damage costs because they cannot include many non-quantifiable impacts. Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.

It is virtually certain that aggregate estimates of costs mask significant differences in impacts across sectors, regions, countries, and populations. In some locations and amongst some groups of people with high exposure, high sensitivity, and/or low adaptive capacity, net costs will be significantly larger than the global

Working Group II paints a grim picture of the impacts of climate change on humanity as a whole. All people on all continents are likely to be affected in one way or another. The poor in the Global South are set to suffer most because their states will not easily find the means to adapt.

From this Summary we retain the observations that agricultural productivity might be affected positively (yield increases by up to 20%) in East and Southeast Asia while it could decrease by up to 30% in Central and South Asia by the mid-21st century.

Sadly, the Summary remains vague about the exact impact on agricultural poverty in the Sahel - an issue that largely determines the bioenergy production potential in the Sahel. It only says that 'particularly along the margins of semi-arid and arid areas' in Africa, the yield potential and the length of growing seasons is expected to decrease. Sadly, there is no detailed information on which semi-arid areas are the object of the statement (it can be either the Sahelian region or the Southern arid zone, or both). Previous studies indicated that for the Southern arid zone, yields would indeed decrease, but that the Sahel would see increases in precipitation and agricultural productivity. We will have to await the final report to get more details.

The projections on agricultural productivity, on ecosystems and biodiversity in Latin America are grim: by mid-century, increases in temperature and associated decreases in soil water are projected to lead to gradual replacement of tropical forest by savanna in eastern Amazonia. Semi-arid vegetation will tend to be replaced by arid-land vegetation. There is a risk of significant biodiversity loss through species extinction in many areas of tropical Latin America.

In drier areas in Latin-America, climate change is expected to lead to salinisation and desertification of agricultural land. Productivity of some important crops are projected to decrease and livestock productivity to decline, with adverse consequences for food security. In temperate zones soybean yields are projected to increase.

Working Group III will now begin its work on writing the report that analyses mitigation options. It is expected to be accepted, negotiated and approved between April 30 and May 03.

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Carbon capture experiment begins in Germany

Testing officially began in Jaenschwalde in eastern Germany of a system to capture carbon dioxide at power stations, with the Swedish owner, Vattenfall Europe, saying it expects the technology to be practical by 2015. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is seen as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of large power stations that use fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Vattenfall's experiment is the first attempt in the world to generate power from lignite, or brown coal, with no carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The carbon separation technology used by Vattenfal is based on oxyfuel combustion. Other companies are working on similar technologies for use with hard coal. The result of applying CCS to fossil fuels is an almost carbon-neutral energy system.

Different aspects of CCS need further study though. Scientists have warned against risks like CO2 leakage from the geological formations in which the carbon is supposed to be stored for decades and centuries. However, there is a safer way forward: utilising biofuels with CCS.

Biofuels are already carbon-neutral from the start. By capturing and storing their carbon, the energy system becomes radically carbon-negative. According to some researchers, such systems - called 'Bio-Energy with Carbon Storage' (BECS) - can take us back to pre-industrial CO2 levels by mid-century. BECS effectively takes CO2 out of the carbon cycle; it cleans up our emissions from the past. BECS is a concept that can mitigate climate change radically. Based on the use of competitive biofuels - biomass or biogas - it relies on fuels that can be physically traded on a global market.

We think policy makers should look at and promote BECS today in order to make CCS safer. The reason is obvious: in a worst-case scenario – the failure of storage and CO2 leakage – the carbon dioxide that would be released would not result in a net increase in emissions (since the CO2 was part of the carbon-neutral biomass in the first place). If leakage were to occur with carbon dioxide originating from fossil fuels, the contrary would be the case. In short, starting CCS trials with biomass is the safest way forward.

Oxyfuel combustion
The largest cost hurdle for CCS to become commercially viable is the phase of capturing the carbon from the fuel. Three basic techniques exist: capturing the carbon before the fuel is burned (pre-combustion capture), after it is combusted (post-combustion capture) or during its power generation (oxyfuel combustion). Vattenfall's pilot system uses the latter technique. In oxyfuel combustion the lignite is burned in oxygen instead of air. This produces a flue gas consisting only carbon dioxide and water vapour, which is cooled and condensed. The result is an almost pure carbon dioxide stream that can be transported to the sequestration site and stored. The technique is promising, but the initial air separation step demands a lot of energy:
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Carbon capture energy costs and technology costs are much lower with biogas in a BECS sytem. The carbon fraction present in anaerobically fermented biogas is high, making pre-combustion separation easier (earlier post).

Vattenfall's Chief executive Klaus Rauscher said the oxyfuel technology would next be used at a pilot plant, a bigger, €60 million (US$80 million) system to be commissioned in May next year at Schwarze Pumpe, near the Polish border. He said the Swedish-owned company would ultimately convert all its power stations to oxyfuel technology. "We aim to turn lignite into power in a climate-friendly way," he said in Jaenschwalde.

Scientists from the German University of Cottbus are jointly working on the tests with Vattenfall engineers. After the test and the pilot systems, Vattenfall would commission a 300 megawatt demonstration system between 2012 and 2015 (image, click to enlarge), Rauscher said, with the first economic CO2-free lignite plant likely to go into operation by 2020.

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India launches nationwide 5% ethanol blend

The Chief Minister of India's Andhra Pradesh state, Dr. YSR Reddy, formally announced the nationwide launch of E5 Blending Programme in Hyderabad. Shri Murli Deora, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas presided over the function which was also attended by several dignitaries including Union Minister of Urban Development Shri S. Jaipal Reddy and Minister State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dinsha Patel, among others. At the same occasion, a new CNG project aimed at making natural gas available as an automotive fuel was kickstarted.

This initiative is part of the government's commitment to put in place policies to enhance the country's energy security. The launch of the programme marks a significant step in the direction of utilizing alternative renewable and environment friendly sources of energy like ethanol, to supplement the hydro-carbon resources of the country.

The E5 Programme of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is primarily based on indigenously produced ethanol from sugarcane molasses which besides augmenting fuel availability in the country, also helps sugarcane growing farmers with better returns. Earlier this week, India's sugar industry announced it could already offer around 1 billion liters of sugarcane derived ethanol to the oil companies who will blend it (earlier post).

To implement the programme nationwide, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had earlier notified 20 States and 4 Union Territories to implement E5 Programme with effect from November 1, 2006, leaving aside Jammu and Kashmir, North East Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep where ethanol cannot be made available for logistical reasons. So far, tenders to procure Ethanol from indigenous producers have been finalized in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The state of Andhra Pradesh has been covered first time. E5 is being supplied in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamilnadu. It is expected that E5 supplies would commence in Bihar and Jharkhand shortly:
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On this occasion, Andhra Pradesh's Chief Minister also laid foundation stone of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Saroor Nagar (Hyderabad) Mega Station of Bhagyanagar Gas Limited (BGL), a joint venture of HPCL and GAIL. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is a clean and eco-friendly fuel being promoted by Government of India, as an alternative fuel for vehicles. CNG is ideal for use by public transport vehicles in major cities and towns.

In Europe, biogas is mixed into the natural gas grid, and enters CNG fleets. This makes for one of the cleanest automotive fuels available. When used as an auto fuel, CNG brings several benefits which include a reduction in vehicle emissions and pollutants like sulphur, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, benzene, and requiring lower engine maintenance as well as contributing to improved engine life. It also reduces vehicular noise levels.

The City Gas Distribution (CGD) network of BGL would also help supply Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in the city of Hyderabad making available to the residents a highly convenient, cheaper and safer cooking fuel right in their kitchens at a mere turn of the cooking-stove knob.

This endeavour is part of the ambitious target set by Shri Murli Deora for oil industry to connect 20 million households in various cities and towns across different States with the PNG cooking fuel supply. This also requires spreading gas pipeline network in different parts of the country so that the upcoming augmentation of gas availability could be distributed through a well developed gas pipeline grid.

The groundwork for this has been completed with the formulation of Policy on Development of Gas Pipeline and City Gas Distribution projects, enactment of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) Act in April 2006,and the process of constituting PNGR Board being at an advance stage.

It may be recalled that acceleration in exploration and production activities off the Andhra Pradesh coast has resulted in large gas discoveries both by public sector and private companies in the recent past. This will not only give a boost to supply of gas for industries and City Gas Distribution projects in Andhra Pradesh but also in several other parts of the country as gas availability is slated to double from the current level of about 95 million metric standard cubic meters per day (MMSCMD) in coming few years.

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