Archive for the ‘Express 156’ Category

Sun Shines for Bigger Solar Future & Arab Spring Boosts Sahara’s Desertec

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Sun Shines for Bigger Solar Future & Arab Spring Boosts Sahara’s Desertec

Renewable energy guru Professor Joachim Luther advances  that solar is the clear leader in the renewable
energy race, predicting it could be the majority energy source for the world by
2100, providing more than 65% of all energy, leaving fossil fuels languishing
at no more than 20%. Recharge News reports that the Arab Spring could be the
best thing to happen to the planned big scale Desertec solar in the Sahara.

Singapore, 24 November 2011

Solar Rises to the Top of the Renewable Fuel Gauge

Ken Hickson reports on “Meeting Our Future Energy Needs:
What Role Will Renewables and Energy Efficiency Play? organised by Institute of
South East Asian Studies, Energy Studies Institute, Innovation Norway and
Norwegian Embassy in Singapore.

It was billed as an event to get people thinking and acting.
And with the line-up of experts from around the world, it certainly did that.

The organisers acknowledged: “Renewable energy will play an
increasingly important part of the global energy mix in the years to come.
However, additional efforts are needed to make these forms of energy more
commercially competitive. Such efforts may include technological advances, regulatory
efforts, financial mechanisms and public-private partnerships.

Featuring renewable energy and energy efficiency expertise
from industry and academe, this seminar certainly looked at current and
developing thrusts in renewable energy production and use, energy efficiency
and new ways to reduce future carbon emissions.

While energy efficiency and all renewables had a good share
of time and space at the half day event, it was solar which rose to the top of
the renewable pile, thanks to an insightful overview by none other than global
solar guru Professor Joachim Luther named by Time Magazine in 2008 as a “hero
of the environment”.

Singapore is fortunate to have him now as the CEO of the
Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS). He is also a visiting
Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, at the
National University of Singapore. He was a member of the International Panel of
Experts (IPE) on Sustainability of the Built Environment for the Building and
Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) in 2008 and of the Steering Committee
on Environmental Sustainability (CES) of Singapore’s Housing and Development
Board (HDB).

For someone who is grounded in nuclear physics – Professor
Luther holds a PhD degree in atomic physics from the University of Hannover,
Germany and was professor of applied physics at the University of Oldenburg in
the 1974 to 1993 – he has moved totally away from the nuclear option, in the
same way the Government of his homeland has.

Germany is now the among the biggest users of solar energy
from photovoltaic (PV)  panels in the
world, largely due to leadership from the Government, advances in research and
development in solar in the country and due to a the incentives of a feed in
tariff for homeowners and business who install solar.

Professor Luther sees incredible growth in production of
solar PV energy and adoption of solar. More than anything, this will be helped
by price. He foresees the price of conventional electricity going up and solar
electricity coming down. Studies done in Singapore show that by 2020 the cost
per kWh of electricity (largely produced from gas) could be 5% higher from a
2011 base, while solar PV sourced electricity could be between 7% and 13% less
per kWh.

Where does the cost reduction come from? According to the

  • Higher efficiency of energy conversion
  • Less material consumption
  • Low-cost materials
  • Optimised manufacture, mass production
  • Optimised module technologies
  • Optimised grid integration (smart grids)
  • New concepts of photovoltaic energy conversion

While he concentrated in his talk on solar PV, he also sees
tremendous opportunity for large scale solar thermal plants to help meet future
renewable energy demand.

He uses a colourful graph produced in 2003 by the German
Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) which dramatically shows a predominant
role for solar – PV and thermal – in the future. In fact, by 2050 solar appears
as the largest chunk in the renewable energy mix, which makes up close to 50%
of energy from all sources.

But from the projections to 2100, the predominant colour in
the graph is yellow (for solar PV and thermal) making up more than 65% of all
energy, with other renewables amounting to 15%, while the fossil fuels are
yesterday’s energy, reduced to around 20% of the total.

At the time, 2003, when the WBGU report entitled  “Towards Sustainable Energy Systems” – came
out, it clearly said: “Over the long term, the rising primary energy
requirement can only be met through vigorous utilization of solar energy – this
holds by far the largest sustainable potential. To tap this potential in time,
installed capacity will need to grow ten-fold every decade – now and over the
long term. The proportion of renewable energies in the global energy mix should
be raised from its current level of 12.7 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020, with
the long-term goal of more than 50 per cent by 2050.”

As you would expect for a seasoned solar expert, Professor
Luther clearly supports that view and uses the graph to illustrate the role
that solar can play in the future. Not as an “also-ran” among a mix of existing
and potential renewable energy technologies, but as the clear leader in the
field, by far the predominant clean energy of the future.



Recharge News:  18
November 2011

Backers of the €400bn ($550bn) Desertec solar project are
growing increasingly bullish over its prospects, with the political landscape
across the Middle East and North Africa shifting towards more democratic

As the Arab Spring consolidates, the vision of building
concentrating solar power plants across North Africa’s deserts to supply
electricity to the region, as well as Europe, is gaining credibility. It has
struck just the right note at the right time in many quarters.

Fast progress is being made in Morocco, the starting point
for the ambitious project. Agreements have been reached ­between the Desertec
Industrial Initiative and the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy to start
building a 150MW array that will later be expanded to 500MW. Construction is
due to start next year.

In the long term, Morocco will be a key first “reference
point” for the overall Desertec vision. The country’s existing transmission
interconnection with Spain, established many years ago, already allows energy
to be exported to Europe.

It is hoped the success of the Morocco-Spain link can be
built on, with additional projects planned in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, where
discussions and framework studies have ­begun. Egypt, which connects the North
African Sahara with the ­Middle East, will play a crucial role in the years

With Libya set to embark on a massive post-conflict
reconstruction effort, it is hoped that projects such as Desertec could
contribute to rebuilding its war-torn economy and provide much-needed jobs.

A product of the Desertec Foundation, a global network of
governments, companies and think-tanks, the project has corporate backers from
the energy, technology and construction sectors, as well as banks and a

Many big challenges lie ahead — not least from cash-strapped
Greece, which is promoting its Helios project to export solar electricity to
Germany, claiming that this is more politically and economically feasible than

However, the Arab Spring offers a real chance for Europe and
North Africa to develop stronger political, economic and social ties. What
better way to represent the dawning of a new relationship than by moving ahead
with a visionary project to bring clean energy to Europe.

Expectations surrounding the forthcoming climate change
summit in Durban are low, but it may be possible to make progress on issues
such as the establishment of an international Green Climate Fund, which was
agreed in Copenhagen in 2009.

The fund has proved hugely contentious, with governments
from developing and developed countries alike split over its size, and how the
cash will be raised and distributed.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed for a
concerted effort in South Africa to establish the $100bn-per-year fund, warning
that an empty shell is not sufficient, and that even in the current economic
climate, the world cannot afford delays.

Although UN climate
chief Christiana Figueres is playing down the likelihood of a successor
agreement to Kyoto being agreed at Durban, Ban has been much more upbeat —
suggesting a compromise might still be possible.

Fears are growing that failure to agree a new deal could see
the Kyoto Protocol lapse, removing binding emissions targets from many
countries and the regulatory regime that supports an international carbon
market. Governments must come to Durban willing to compromise to stop that


Asia Businesses Could Save 20 – 40% with Energy Efficiency Investments

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Asia Businesses Could Save 20 – 40% with Energy Efficiency Investments

Asia’s best bet for reducing energy demand and carbon
emissions – energy efficiency – receives only a fraction of the investment
needed. Energy efficiency topped the rankings as the most cost-effective
measure to tackle climate and energy security in Asia, yet investments in this
sector are not nearly enough, said the United States Agency for International
Development’s Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA).

Jenny Marusiak in (25 November 2011):

Asia’s best bet for reducing energy demand and carbon
emissions – energy efficiency – receives only a fraction of the investment

Energy efficiency topped the rankings as the most
cost-effective measure to tackle climate and energy security in Asia, yet
investments in this sector are not nearly enough, said an international
development agency on Wednesday.

The United States Agency for International Development’s
Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA) has launched a report which
found that of 152 possible actions to push Asia towards a low-carbon energy
supply, the top six were energy efficiency-related.

Yet, the Asian countries studied are coming up with only a
small fraction of the necessary investment in energy efficiency, noted the
report authors.

“There is a large disconnect between the potential of energy
efficiency and its actual implementation,” they wrote.

Called Energy Trends in Developing Asia: Priorities for a
Low-Carbon Future, the report compared the current and projected energy demands
with the clean energy investment outlook of developing Asia’s highest energy
consumers, including China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and
Vietnam. It also studied data for the Asean nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos,
Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar.

It then assessed the potential for different clean energy
initiatives including increasing renewable energy sources, carbon, capture and
storage (CCS) options and energy efficiency actions, for reducing overall
carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

By analysing the costs and effectiveness of low-carbon
measures, the report authors aimed to provide Asia’s policy-makers, businesses,
academics and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with the necessary data to
prioritise investment in a cleaner, more secure energy supply.

Investment in renewable energy has been steadily ramping up.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said that power from renewable
energy sources is growing fastest in developing Asian countries, led by China
and India.

Yet, even with the
rapid growth in renewable energy investement, the EIA predicts that by 2035
electricity from renewable energy – most of which will be hydropower – will
only make up 20 per cent of the region’s overall power supply.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in its World
Energy Outlook 2010 that energy efficiency would have to provide the bulk of
the world’s future carbon dioxide (C02) emissions reductions through 2030. To
avoid a global temperature rise of more than two degrees Celsius, the world
would need to increase energy efficiency to make up 57 per cent of its overall
emissions reductions.

“There is a lack of capacity in the region to plan, design,
and finance energy efficiency on a scale commensurate with the urgency of the
risks posed by energy insecurity and climate change,” wrote the report’s

China alone has identified US$43 billion in yearly
investments that will be needed if it is going to meet its energy savings

Much of the region’s needed investment could come from the
private sector if it can take advantage of the potential savings, say experts.

The USAID/RDMA report found that the six most cost-effective
energy efficiency investments were in lighting, residential appliances and
equipment, residential building efficiency, commercial building efficiency,
motor-systems efficiency, and in more efficient passenger vehicles.

Earlier this month, a study published by global consultancy
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the European Chamber of Commerce
(Eurocham) found that in Southeast Asia alone, energy efficiency investments
such as these could save US$15 billion to US$43 billion in energy costs and
result in a 12 to 30 per cent decrease in energy consumption by the year 2020.

The same study found that, for the most part, the private
sector was failing to tap into that potential market.

Global sustainability
expert Dr Martin Blake, who is executive director of The GreenAsia Group
consultancy, told Eco-Business in a phone interview that the key to generating
investment from the private sector was to focus on the business case for energy

“Bringing carbon into the argument only creates confusion,”
he said.

Dr Blake added that energy savings was one of the greatest
opportunities facing companies today, and that most businesses could save from
20 to 40 per cent after recouping energy efficiency investments.

“Once they realise that, the carbon emissions reductions
will follow,” he said.

The biggest opportunities for increasing energy efficiency
are in Asia’s growing cities,where energy demand is rapidly expanding for
buildings, industries and transport, according to the USAID/RDMA report.

In China, for example, the daily operations of residential
and commercial buildings consume about a quarter of China’s total energy use –
this is more than its iron, steel and cement industries combined.

Asia’s cities will contain more than half of the world’s
urban population by 2030.

According to the report, the combination of rapid
urbanisation and growing per capita incomes, which raise people’s consumption
levels, are driving a massive increase in the region’s energy demand.

Currently, developing countries within Asia consume only 28
per cent of global energy supplies, despite being home to nearly 50 per cent of
the world’s population.

China, Asia’s largest consumer, uses 17 per cent of the
total global output of energy. On average, the largest six Asian countries
studied in the report consume about one tenth of the energy of the United
States on a per capita basis.

But, the report notes, power generation in Southeast Asia,
China and India is expected to double from 2008 to 2030.

Electricity from coal, which emits the most CO2 per unit of
energy of all the fossil fuels, will grow by 77 per cent. Nuclear power will
grow by a multiple of twelve; over 30 new nuclear power plants are planned for
the region.

Electricity from natural gas will triple, and power from
biomass is set to increase by 50 times, while hydroelectric power will increase
by 44 per cent.

Of the major electricity sources, only crude oil is
projected to decrease – by 15 per cent – but its use as a fuel for
transportation will increase dramatically.

USAID/RDMA predicts that the region’s growing energy
consumption will result in a 55 per cent increase in CO2 emissions from the six
focus countries within the next 20 years – mostly from India and China, which
together contribute 91 per cent of developing Asia’s energy-related emissions.

The study further found that the region’s rising energy
demands are causing a growing reliance on fossil fuel imports, and thereby
increasing threats to the energy security of developing Asian nations.

Oil imports into Asia have increased by 140 per cent in the
past decade, and the amount of oil demand met by imports is projected by the
IEA to increase from 55 per cent in 2009 to 85 per cent in 2030.

The percentage of natural gas imports to Asia is also
predicted to rise dramatically. In 2008, Asia exported more gas than it
imported. By 2030, the region will have to import 30 per cent of its natural
gas supplies.

USAID/RDMA’s study was a project of its recently completed
Environmental Cooperation-Asia Clean Development and Climate Program (ECO-Asia


To Business: Change Habits to Meet the Sustainability Challenge

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

To Business: Change Habits to Meet the Sustainability Challenge

Sustainability needs to be ‘part of the business model’,
says Unilever CEO Paul Polman and businesses need to promote sustainability in
order to fill the commitment gap from governments that fail to deliver. This
and other reports on the business of sustainability as reported by the grapevine
magazine, incuding Sainbury’s and the University of Exeters new One Plant MBA.


Sustainability needs to be ‘part of the business model’,
says Unilever CEO

Businesses need to promote sustainability in order to fill
the commitment gap from governments that fail to deliver, says Paul Polman,
Unilever’s chief executive.

Unilever has launched its ‘Five Levers for Change’
guidelines, which provide advice on how to change habits to meet the
sustainability challenge.

Mr Polman explained that, despite the current economic
instability, now is the “moment to get a different type of growth” by making
sustainability “a part of the business model”.


To coincide with a public debate on mainstreaming
sustainable living, Unilever has today published the behaviour change model its
marketers use to encourage sustainable changes in consumer living habits: ‘Five
Levers for Change’.

Based on Unilever’s long history of research and insights
into consumer behaviour, the tool is based on a set of key principles, which,
if applied consistently to behaviour change interventions, increases the
likelihood of having an effective and lasting impact. Unilever is sharing the
model in the hope that others will find it helpful and use it to inspire people
to turn their concerns about sustainability into positive actions.

The model outlines five techniques to apply when looking to
encourage new behaviours based on five key insights.  The ‘Five Levers for Change’ are:

  1. Make it understood. Sometimes people don’t know
    about a behaviour and why they should do it. This Lever raises awareness and
    encourages acceptance.
  2. Make it easy. People are likely to take action
    if it’s easy, but not if it requires extra effort.  This Lever establishes convenience and
  3. Make it desirable. The new behaviour needs to
    fit with how people like to think of themselves, and how they like others to
    think of them.  This Lever is about self
    and society.
  4. Make it rewarding. New behaviours need to
    articulate the tangible benefits that people care about.  This Lever demonstrates the proof and payoff.
  5. Make it a habit.
    Once consumers have changed, it is important to create a strategy to
    help hold the behaviour in place over time. This Lever is about reinforcing and

“We have been working hard to distil those critical areas of
behaviour change insight that we all need to use to engage consumers,” said
Unilever CEO Paul Polman. “We are publishing our approach because we think that
there are wider benefits from sharing our work with others.”

“A huge part of our environmental impacts come from how
people use our products; two thirds of the greenhouse gas impacts across the
lifecycle and about half of our water footprint is associated with consumer
use. So inspiring consumers to adopt new sustainable products and behaviours is
fundamental to achieving the goals set out in the Unilever Sustainability
Living Plan,” added Polman.

‘Five Levers for Change’ is published in a booklet which
also contains a series of personal perspectives on sustainable living by
leading experts on sustainability and behaviour change from around the world,
including Forum for the Future Founder Jonathon Porritt, Akatu Institute for
Conscious Consumption President Helio Mattar, and behaviour change specialist
Val Curtis from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.



Global companies pledge support for new University of Exeter
One Planet MBA

A raft of major corporations have announced their support
for the new One Planet MBA programme, exclusively offered at the University of
Exeter Business School in collaboration with WWF.

Companies including Canon, Coca Cola, the Cooperative Group,
IBM, IKEA, Lafarge, Lloyds TSB, Nokia, Sony, Atos and Thomson Reuters are
backing scholarships for MBA students. They are also providing guest speakers
for the programme and offering students the opportunity to work with them on
projects as part of their MBA.

Professor Malcolm Kirkup, Director of the One Planet MBA
commented, ‘We’ve been overwhelmed by the level of interest and support
received from the corporate community. These particular companies are
demonstrating real leadership on sustainability and it is great to have them on
board. We are delighted they have already recognised the value of the programme
and the quality of our students. These scholarships will ensure that we
continue to attract high quality cohorts of students from a diverse range of

The One Planet MBA has recently been highlighted as ‘good
practice’ at the 2011 Principles of Management Education Summit in Brussels.
More details can be found on the PRME Summit website.


Sainsbury’s also unveiled a £1billion plan to bring the
agenda to the foreground of their business practice, creating 50,000 jobs in
the process.

The planet is under strain and the choices we make about the
products we buy have never been more important. The global population is rising
at a time when natural resources are decreasing. As such, there is increasing
pressure on the global food system. The earth’s capacity to provide food is
threatened by climate change, water scarcity and unsustainable farming
practices. We need to find ways to make land more productive and to protect the
biodiversity on which all food production ultimately depends. That means
building resilient supply chains to ensure long term security of sustainable

The 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan comes at exactly the right
time for Sainsbury’s. One only has to pick up the daily newspapers to see the
challenges facing our society, economy and planet to understand why.

Following consultation with NGOs and other stakeholders,
we’ve set ourselves 20 ambitious goals, which will help our customers make more
nutritious, sustainable and ethical purchasing decisions week in, week out, on
a journey to 2020. We want to transform the marketplace for greener, fairer and
healthier products. We want to help shift our customers’ everyday behaviour in
favour of sustainability but still provide the value and quality that they have
come to expect.

20 by 20 is our roadmap towards making this vision a
reality, and through our scale and these commitments, we can make a positive
difference throughout the value chain.

For example, Deforestation is responsible for around 20 per
cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (UNEP).

It causes irreversible damage to the natural habitat of many
species vital for sustaining life on earth. Unsustainable logging practices and
the destruction of forests for farming threaten to remove the earth’s natural
breathing system. The challenge is not only to stop this damage but also help
to restore forest cover.

By 2020, our own brand products won’t contribute to global


Flying into Cloud: Will EU’s Emission Scheme Get Off the Ground?

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Flying into Cloud: Will EU’s Emission Scheme Get Off the Ground?

A new European Union (EU) scheme gets
introduced from 1 January 2012 which will punish airlines for polluting the
skies. Airlines object as it could lead to higher airfares for passengers and
fewer direct flights to Europe. The EU has refused to compromise so far, setting
the stage for a showdown. British Airways said the airline intends to comply
with the scheme, but the nightmare scenario would be a tit-for-tat seizure of
planes across countries.

By Feng Zengkun  in Straits Times (24 Noveber 2011):

A BREATH of fresh air could
become more expensive from next year for anyone visiting Europe. But for
Singaporean travellers, an air ticket to the continent could come at an even
higher price, given the longer distance.

This is because a new fee will
kick in on Jan 1 to punish airlines for polluting the skies. Airlines have been
coy about it, but analysts said the extra cost could well be passed on to

Only flights that use European
Union (EU) airports are affected. On a Singapore-Jakarta-Frankfurt flight, for
example, only the Jakarta-Frankfurt leg will be counted.

Keeping airlines in check

FROM Jan 1, a new European Union
(EU) scheme will punish airlines for polluting the skies. This could lead to
higher airfares for passengers and fewer direct flights to Euro

When it was introduced: 2007

When it takes effect: Jan 1, 2012

How long it will last: Until
2020, but could be extended after that time

What is affected: All flights
that take off or land at EU airports

How much it is expected to cost
airlines: US$18 billion (S$23 billion) over the eight years, although the EU
disputes this.

How it works:

•Airlines calculate their total
pollution each year by multiplying the fuel used on affected flights by a
carbon dioxide emissions factor.

•They submit the figures to the
EU, which independently verifies them.

•Each airline is given an annual
free emissions ‘allowance’. They will have to pay if they exceed this

•To do this, they have to buy
‘carbon credits’ from other airlines which have not exceeded the cap; airlines
can ‘bank’ unused credits.

•They can also buy these credits
from other industries; the EU scheme has already been rolled out to other
sectors such as the paper industry.

•If the airlines fail to pay the
owed fees, they will be fined €100 (S$175) for each tonne of carbon dioxide on
top of what they owe.

•The scheme is administered by
different EU states, which have additional penalties for continued
non-compliance. These include banning airlines from entering EU airspace or
seizing their planes.

The fuel used on these flights is
multiplied by a standard carbon dioxide emissions factor to calculate the total

The EU will monitor airlines’
emissions each year between next year and 2020. The scheme could be extended
after that time.

While each airline will be
allowed to emit some carbon dioxide for free each year, they will have to buy
‘carbon credits’ from other airlines or industries to pay off the pollution if
they exceed the allowance.

Since the scheme was announced by
the EU in 2007 as part of a larger green plan, it has been heavily opposed by
the aviation industry.

The International Air Transport
Association (IATA) estimated that the scheme will cost airlines US$18 billion
(S$23 billion) over the next eight years, but the EU disputes this.

An IATA spokesman told The
Straits Times that the industry is already being battered by rising fuel costs,
which have increased by 60 per cent since last year.

In a bid to counter the EU
scheme, airlines set its own target to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2050,
compared to 2005. But EU lawmakers were not persuaded.

The industry now emits 2 per cent
of all carbon dioxide. But in Europe alone, the number of flights is expected
to treble in the next four decades, to around 25 million flights per year in

Lufthansa, Europe’s largest
airline, said it will have to pay up to €300 million (S$528 million) next year
under the scheme, a third of its profits for last year.

The free emissions allowance will
also be lowered by three percentage points in 2013, which means airlines will
have to pay more between 2013 and 2020.

Flights from Asia to Europe will
be affected more because of the longer distance; Singapore Airlines (SIA)
declined to provide a dollar figure but said 9,000 of its flights will be
affected each year.

Cabins without toilets?

WITH the new fees being
inevitable, passengers could end up absorbing them, said Mr Paul Ng, global
head of aviation at law firm Stephenson Harwood.

Airlines such as British Airways,
Lufthansa and SIA told The Straits Times they have not ruled out doing that.
But at the same time, airlines have been on a drive to find ways to cut
emissions to avoid paying the fees.

One way is to offer fewer direct
flights. A Singapore-London flight, for example, could be broken up into two
separate flights with a stopover just outside the EU.

This would reduce the amount of
fuel that falls under the scheme, since only the shorter, latter leg would be

But Mr Ng said such actions
carried risks.

‘No one wants to be the first to
inconvenience passengers or charge higher prices. Passengers would just go to
another airline,’ he said.

Mr Ng added that airlines cannot
collude to charge higher prices together as this is illegal.

Another way is to cut short-haul
flights if other transportation methods are available.

Lufthansa cut its
Frankfurt-Cologne flight in 2007 because there was a faster high-speed train
route. It now operates a carriage on the train

This will mean that Singaporeans
travelling abroad may find fewer short-haul flights within the EU in the future

Mr Ng Chin Hwee, SIA’s executive
vice-president for human resources and operations, said airlines can also
reduce the fuel used by making the planes lighter.

The airline is currently
conducting a trial on electronic magazines and newspapers, which are installed
on its in-flight entertainment systems.

The paper versions can weigh up
to 1,000kg on flights, according to trade magazine Enviro Aero. It also
estimated that a plane could save 34,000 litres of fuel a year by reducing the
weight of each passenger seat by 1kg.

Mr Jonathan Galaviz, chief
economist at Galaviz and Company, which does consultations for airlines, said
the industry is also looking into lighter food carts and seats.

He said airlines could consider
lowering baggage limits, ‘but there has to be a balance between customer
satisfaction and airline profitability’.

In an extreme example of
cost-cutting, Ryanair last month announced that it would remove two out of
three toilets on its planes to add more seats. While the additional seats may
not make the plane lighter, it will earn the airline more money.

Planes powered by biofuel

BUT these short-term measures may
not be enough.

The potentially hefty price tag
has led some airlines to look into other, more long-term measures, such as
changing their fleet of planes.

Newer planes such as the Airbus
A-380 and Boeing-787 Dreamliner transport more people and use up to 20 per cent
less fuel per passenger compared to older models, but each plane takes years to

Many airlines, including Lufthansa,
Continental, Qantas and SIA, are also investing in biofuels, which are not
counted under the scheme.

These are fuels made from plants
such as jatropha and canola seeds. But some are controversial because
environmentalists say forests could be razed to make way for them, harming the
planet even more than conventional fuel.

In July, Lufthansa started
testing a jet fuel made up of 50 per cent biofuel on a flight between Frankfurt
and Hamburg. The findings will be ready only in a few years.

Dr Alexander Zschocke,
Lufthansa’s senior manager for biofuels, added that alternative fuels are still
too expensive to help airlines in the next few years.

‘They now cost two to three times
more than conventional fuel, which would wipe out any savings under the scheme,’
he said.

Other airlines told The Straits
Times that more can be done to shorten flight routes between countries.

Mr Petteri Kostermaa, Finnair’s
sales director for Singapore and South-east Asia, said: ‘Right now, many flight
routes zigzag due to restrictions imposed by air traffic control. This is not

Even changing the planes’ noses
to reduce wind resistance and inventing smoother paint – both being researched
now – would shave precious tonnes off the airlines’ fuel use.

Nightmare scenario

BUT the greatest and most
immediate threat to passengers and airlines is what will happen if airlines do
not pay the fee.

The scheme includes clauses to
revoke airlines’ operating licences in the EU and to seize their planes if they
do not pay owed fees. This would cause chaos for airlines and passengers.

The United States last month
voted to ban its airlines from paying the fee. It said the EU scheme was

The Air Transport Association of
America is also suing the EU in the European Court of Justice over the scheme,
saying it violates international aviation law. A ruling is expected by the end
of the year or early next year.

Several Chinese airlines plan to
bring a similar suit by year end.

But the EU has refused to
compromise so far, setting the stage for a showdown.

Mr Jonathan Counsell, head of
British Airways’ environment department, said the airline intends to comply
with the scheme, but the nightmare scenario would be a tit-for-tat seizure of
planes across countries.

‘We all hope that a compromise
can be reached. But there’s not much time left,’ he told The Straits Times.


Last word…. Media is the Message: Sustainability in the News

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Last word…. Media is the Message: Sustainability in the News

If we continue to live unsustainably, we will by definition
fail to sustain our societies – our, societies will crumble. There is growing
irrefutable evidence of this creeping fact all around us. Everyone, especially
the young, needs to be educated about this simple fact. About what the problems
are and how we can deal with them and what we may expect if we fail to deal
with them.

A role for the media? Certainly says Brisbane’s Dr Geoffrey
Chia, who leads Doctors and Scientists for Sustainability and Social Justice
(D3sj), who would ike to see a TV channel dedicated entirely to sustainability

Then there’s the Media Alliance at the Asia
Television Forum at Marina Bay Sands  in
Singapore on 7 December, looking at Corporate Social Responsibilty and Climate
Change, where “Media and Multi-Sector Partnerships in Achieving Positive Social
Change”. Ken Hickson and Martin Blake will be among those taking part along
with media bosses and represenatves from the UN and Asian Development Bank.
Read More

Media leaders Forum at the Asia Television Forum at Marina
Bay Sands  in Singapore on 7 December,
looking at Corporate Social Responsibilty and Climate Change, where “Media and
Multi-Sector Partnerships in Achieving Positive Social Change”.

The Media Leaders’ Forum will discuss the role and
responsibility of media companies in affecting positive social action and
behaviour change on the critical issues relating to climate change.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), Dr Noeleen
Heyzer, will deliver a keynote address, followed by a panel discussion of
senior media, advertising and development community representatives who will
discuss the use of media relationships and tools for advocacy, awareness and behaviour
change in accomplishing companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR)

The Media Leaders’ Forum will explore how partnerships with
international development and donor agencies and private-sector companies with
strong CSR initiatives can affect public engagement on issues relating to
climate change. It will encourage invited media heads to support broad and
extended campaigns to raise awareness and achieve behaviour change on climate
change by providing advertising inventory, entertaining program content and
editorial space to explain the issues.


11.00 am –           Opening
remarks:  David Astley, Executive
Chairman, The Media Alliance

11:05 am –           Keynote
Address:  UN Under-Secretary-General and
Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific (UN-ESCAP), Dr Noeleen Heyzer

11:25 am –           Introductory
presentations by panelists:

Robert Van Zwieten, Director of Capital Markets and
Financial Sectors Division, Private Sector Operations Department, Asian
Development Bank, Manila

Martin Blake, Executive Director, The GreenAsia Group,
Singapore, and Executive Chairman, Carbon Zero Solutions Ltd, London

Dan Gibson, Managing Director, Ogilvy & Mather,

Thepchai Yong, Managing Director, Thai Public Broadcasting
Service, Bangkok

Ken Hickson, Author of ‘The ABC of Carbon’ and Governor of
WWF Australia

Arya Gunawan Usis, Advisor for Communication and
Information, UNESCO

12.10 pm –          Panel
discussion and input from invited media leaders

Moderator:  Sharanjit Leyl, BBC World

12.50 pm –          Summary
and closing remarks:

1.00 pm –             VIP
luncheon for panelists and invited media leaders

TV Channel

From  Dr Geoffrey
Chia, Brisbane, Australia, who leads Doctors and Scientists for Sustainability
and Social Justice (D3sj):

An idea whose time has come: A 24 hour ABC TV channel
dedicated entirely to sustainability issues

When Ted Turner came up with the idea of a 24 hour news
channel, people at the time derided it as crazy and unworkable. But it proved a
resounding success. It was the naysayers who had to eat humble pie. CNN’s success
bred a whole host of imitators and now we regard, say, BBC 24 hour News as just
one of many such channels. Furthermore this idea spawned the mushrooming of
many other specialty channels such as the history channel, national geographic
channel, even the weather (!) channel.

There are now a profusion of individual sustainability
programs and documentaries available, but they are widely scattered about in
time and place. Such programs, gathered together, can easily fill several 24
hour dedicated channels. Let us in Australia start with just one sustainability

Why? Because if we continue to live unsustainably, we will
by definition fail to sustain our societies – our, societies will crumble.
There is growing irrefutable evidence of this creeping fact all around us.
Everyone, especially the young, needs to be educated about this simple fact.
About what the problems are and how we can deal with them and what we may
expect if we fail to deal with them.

How? It should be funded from the public purse with no
commercial advertising. There will be few other projects more worthwhile, more
cost effective and more important, the best bang for the taxpayers buck. There
is absolutely no doubt that the pursuit of sustainability is in the public
interest, hence this channel should be a free to air public broadcasting

Who? Those who select programming should choose material on
the basis of scientific validity, on the basis of whether the assertions made
have the backing of evidence and reason.

BBC Horizon documentaries related to sustainability would be
ideal material. This does not preclude an entertaining approach (such as
channel ten’s Scope program, one of the few commercially produced science based
programs). There will be no place for lunatic ideas or for deceit perpetrated
by sources such as the Marshall institute (who are the original tobaccocancer deniers
and global warming deniers) or the “Institute of Public Affairs”, an
industry funded pseudo thinktank which promotes commercial interests under a
bogus banner.

The chief scientist of Australia should be on the board of
our ABC sustainability channel, perhaps chair the board. This board should
mainly consist of experts in specific fields related to sustainability:
conservation biology, climate science, resource depletion, steady state sustainable
economics etc. Only those actively publishing / researching / teaching in their
fields should be allowed on the board. Industry funded trojan-horse
“scientists” such as those from the IPA must be screened for and actively
excluded. Other board members should include those who work towards social
justice initiatives and selected community leaders, because sustainability
issues are intimately tied in with social justice measures.

When? The sooner the better. Yesterday.


1. We should start a letter writing and email petition
campaign for an ABC sustainability TV channel. Swamp the government with strong
demands for this channel: an antidote to the mindless, voyeuristic, consumeristic,
gossipy drivel we see on the commercial “buy, buy, buy” channels.
Write to your local MP, to your federal representative, to the Prime Minister.
If you personally know any ABC executives, speak to them about it, write to
them about it. If you don’t have time, simply copy this letter and add your signature
endorsing it.

2. ABC3 at present is not a 24 hour channel, it is off air
much of the time. This free airtime should be filled with sustainability programming
right now. It does not matter if good programs happen to be aired at 3am,
sensible viewers will select and record their preferences anyway for later
viewing. There will be no concerns about filling a children’s TV channel with
sustainability programs because firstly they are G rated programs and secondly
the young audience are the most important audience to address in any case.

If they by accident happen to view a program on renewable
energy instead of Sponge Bob Squarepants, so much the better. The biggest
mistake we can make is to underestimate the potential intelligence and wisdom
of the youngest members of our community. The greatest task we can undertake is
to nurture their intelligence and wisdom. These children can then engage their
parents in discussion and teach the adults a thing or two.

3. As momentum picks up, transfer the sustainability
programs from ABC3 to a dedicated 24 hour ABC sustainability channel.

4. Other (sensible) countries of the world will then follow
suit when they realise what a good idea this is.

Our ABC can then take credit for being the pioneer.

Let’s get on with it! Please support this initiative. Please
send this note out to everyone else in the sustainability network nationwide.
Thanks for your attention.

Geoffrey Chia, October 2011

Doctors and Scientists for Sustainability and Social Justice
(D3sj) Our group invites participation from all members of the public who agree
with these medical and scientific principles: that we should use evidence,
reason and fairness as the principal means to address the issues facing
society, in order to achieve the greatest amount of good for the greatest
number of people on a long term basis.

We are located in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Next meeting December 7, 2011.