High Five! Yes, its time to wish ourselves and our readers happy birthday. Five years old. That’s how long this newsletter has been winging its way into your inboxes. It all started in the first week of March 2008. It was a weekly e-newsletter then and while there were less of you loyal followers in the early days, but most of you have stayed with us as we’ve grown in size, content and variety. Now coming out every two weeks – or twice a month – we’ve reached our 186th issue and have exceeded 2500 mark of regular readers. We have also delivered more than 2500 articles in that time – many of them at least since issue 75 are still archives on our ABC Carbon website. Demographically, you are all over the place. A larger percentage of our readers are in Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, but we also reach out to followers in the United Kingdom, South Africa, the US, Canada and most countries in Asia. Plenty to read this time and to celebrate a milestone. We haven’t won the battle or the war but we have at least we have continued to fight the good fight. To show – hopefully – that the pen is mightier than the sword. And the war of words – climate change communication – is winning more supporters for action than ever. – Ken Hickson
Archive for the ‘Express 186’ Category
“In the face of the threat of an unsustainable future, the grassroots nature of the Earth Hour movement and the can-do attitude of its participants to mobilize action, are the tipping points helping to deliver real environmental outcomes, both big and small”, says Andy Ridley, CEO and co-founder of Earth Hour, which takes pace around the world on 23 March. He is one of the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders. Read More
From Singapore, where Earth Hour now has its Global Headquarters:
Earth Hour, the world’s largest movement for the planet, has launched its 2013 campaign on the back of record environmental outcomes it achieved in 2012.
Andy Ridley, CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour, spoke at the media launch of the environmental campaign in Singapore today. Earth Hour 2013 will take place on Saturday, March 23 at 8:30PM.
“Earth Hour has always been more than a lights off campaign, and we are now seeing some extraordinary environmental outcomes on the way to achieving our long-term vision,” Ridley said.
“Last December, the Russian parliament passed a long-awaited law to protect the country’s seas from oil pollution, after the voices of 120,000 Russians were presented to the government during our I Will If You Will campaign for Earth Hour 2012,” he said.
Following on from the massive success of its 120,000-strong signature petition, WWF’s Earth Hour in Russia has launched its 2013 campaign aiming to secure more than 100,000 signatures from Russian citizens to petition for amendments to the current forest legislation. If successful, it will return a ban on industrial logging in an area of land equal to twice the size of France, with protective forests equalling almost 18% of all forest territory in the country.
In Africa, the first Earth Hour Forest has begun in the nation of Uganda, an important first step in the fight against the 6,000 hectares of deforestation that occurs in the country every month. WWF Uganda identified close to 2,700 hectares of degraded land, and set a goal to fill it with at least 500,000 indigenous trees as part of their Earth Hour 2013 campaign.
In Botswana, former President Mr Festus Mogae has made a four-year commitment to plant one million indigenous trees as part of his I Will If You Will challenge, starting with 100,000 in a severely degraded area in Southern Botswana called Goodhope.
Across Latin America, preparations for ‘La Hora Del Planeta’ are well underway with Argentinian Earth Hour organisers and WWF affiliate Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina, mobilizing thousands of participants to help champion the passing of a Senate bill to make Banco Burwood the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the country.
If the pending Senate bill is passed, the 3.4 million-hectare MPA will raise the level of protection of Argentina’s Exclusive Economic Zone* from 1% to 4%.
After recently moving its headquarters to Singapore, the Earth Hour Global office is now amidst some of the fastest growing Earth Hour movements around the world, who are using the rising influence of Asia to expand their actions.
The ‘Ini Aksiku! Mana Aksimu?’ campaign (localised Indonesian version of I Will If You Will) has led to a revolutionary use of Twitter to mobilise 30 cities across Indonesia to take ongoing action beyond the hour.
“What Earth Hour has done in Indonesia, through ‘Ini Aksiku! Mana Aksimu?’, has led to thousands of people taking actions now, that they weren’t doing before. And this is just the start,” said Verena Puspawardani, Campaign Coordinator of the Climate & Energy Program at WWF Indonesia.
In the USA, nearly 35,000 Girls Scouts took part in Earth Hour last year through the Save Energy Project, and installed 132,141 energy efficient light bulbs across the country. The impact is a staggering 75,392,654 pounds of CO2 emissions eliminated, equivalent to the CO2 sequestration from planting 7,286 acres of trees per year*.
“These outcomes both evidence the power of our collective action and the potential for future outcomes for the environment, generated by hundreds of millions of people coming together as part of the Earth Hour movement,” Ridley said.
The importance of the grassroots element of inspiration of Earth Hour is evident in the case of two volunteers in Libya, Mohammed Nattah and Muhammad Bugashata, who with the help of Libya’s scout groups have successfully created the first environmental movement in their country post civil war.
“I wanted to join in 2011 but that wasn’t an option because my city went through a lot that year – the war and everything,” said Nattah.
Ridley believes that in the face of the threat of an unsustainable future, the grassroots nature of the Earth Hour movement and the can-do attitude of its participants to mobilize action, are the tipping points helping to deliver real environmental outcomes, both big and small.
“People from all walks of life, from all nations around the world, are the lifeblood of the Earth Hour interconnected global community. They have proven time and time again that if you believe in something strongly enough, you can achieve amazing things. These stories aren’t unique, this is happening all over the world,” he said.
Since 2007 when 2.2 million people took part in the first Earth Hour in Sydney, Australia, Earth Hour has massively expanded to over 7,000 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories with hundreds of millions of participants across seven continents.
In 2013, Earth Hour is not merely an annual event, but is a continuous movement driving real actions to change the world we live in.
Earth Hour 2013 will take place at 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Saturday 23 March
* An exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a sea-zone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources.
*Data provided by Girl Scouts Forever Green – Save Energy, developed in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency and Earth Hour http://www.girlscouts.org/gsforevergreen/Earth-Hour.asp
See the Earth Hour 2013 Official Video at www.ehour.me/2013ViD
Press images from the global media launch can be downloaded at www.ehour.me/WmbuK8
Press images of Earth Hour can be downloaded at www.earthhour.org/media-centre/images
Downloadable video footage of the global event will be available in four B-rolls for media, covering major regions at http://www.earthhour.org/media-centre/videos
To join the global community head to:
Earth Hour www.earthhour.org
About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global environmental initiative in partnership with WWF. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 23, 2013 at 8:30 PM to show their support for environmentally sustainable action. In 2013, Earth Hour’s I Will If You Will concept invites individuals and organisations to challenge others to an ongoing environmental commitment beyond the hour. Earth Hour began in one city in 2007 and by 2012 involved hundreds of millions of people in 152 countries across every continent, receiving reports as ‘the world’s largest campaign for the planet’.
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
About Andy Ridley
Andy is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Earth Hour, the world’s largest global environmental movement, which initiated in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as a campaign for action on climate change.
Earth Hour has swept the globe and brought together hundreds of millions of people. In 2011, more than 5200 cities and towns took part in 135 countries across every continent, reaching over 1.8 billion people.
In 2012 Earth Hour took the global community beyond the hour by committing to ongoing actions for the planet after they switch off the lights. Extending beyond climate change, Earth Hour has launched a campaign called I Will If You Will, which utilises a dynamic YouTube platform to unite the global community and dare the world to save the planet.
Born in Norwich, England, Andy moved to Sydney in 2002, becoming an Australian citizen in 2009. Prior to settling in Australia, Andy left Norwich – via an honours degree in Modern Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University – for the bright lights of London, where he headed up the special projects team for the Prince’s Trust, working on a number of UK charity campaigns including the very successful ‘Party in the Park’.
An avid scuba diver, Andy was drawn to Australia by the promise of some of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs and marine wildlife sanctuaries. Landing the role as Communications Director with WWF Australia, he worked on major conservation campaigns to protect the Great Barrier Reef, Southern Ocean and Coral Sea, pristine marine wilderness areas threatened by the effects of global warming.
In 2004, inspired by the idea of a campaign to engage everyday people and businesses in the climate change debate through a simple action, Andy initiated a think tank between Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media, forming a partnership to deliver a ‘lights out’ campaign, which would later become known as Earth Hour.
Andy’s vision came to fruition on 31 March 2007, when over two million people and two thousand businesses in Sydney switched off their lights for the inaugural Earth Hour. By 27 March 2010 the open-source nature of the Earth Hour message had swept the globe, with hundreds of millions of people in over 4,500 cities and towns across 128 countries and territories on every continent contributing to the world’s greatest ever voluntary action.
In addition to individual support, Earth Hour garnered the backing of businesses, including Google, Blackberry, HSBC, IKEA, Nickelodeon, PwC and many other multinationals. Earth Hour also attracted support from governments at all levels and high profile global ambassadors including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In the space of three short years, Andy’s inspiration, led by WWF in partnership with Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media, had gone from a one-city initiative to a global phenomenon.
Earth Hour has been supported by hundreds of media support worldwide including international outlets such as TIME Magazine, CNN and the Discovery Channel to help spread Earth Hour’s message of hope and action for a better, healthier world to a global audience.s
Earth Hour has also been lauded for its ingenuity, vision and reach, receiving MTV’s Good Karma Award, The Gold Banksia Award (Australia’s premier environmental honour) and the Cannes Titanium Lion, amongst a host of international accolades.
As one of Tourism Australia’s ‘Friends of Australia’, Andy was recently asked to become an ambassador for the Great Barrier Reef’s inclusion in the list of New7Wonders of the world. A fitting title for a natural wonder whose plight helped inspire the inaugural Earth Hour; a movement that now transcends all barriers of race, culture, religion, society, generation and geography to protect and celebrate the one thing that unites all of humanity – the planet.
The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative by the United Nations to provide modern energy supplies to everyone will, besides eradicating poverty, have a significant impact in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and ETH Zurich. However, in order to hit the global target of below 2°C temperature rise, other measures such as increasing energy efficiency is required. Read more
New Study: ‘World Can End Poverty and Limit Warming’
By Alex Kirby in Climate News Network (3 March 2013):
LONDON — Eradicating poverty by making modern energy supplies available to everyone is not only compatible with measures to slow climate change, a new study says. It is a necessary condition for it.
But the authors say the plan to provide sustainable energy worldwide will not by itself be enough to keep the global average temperature rise below the widely accepted international target level of 2°C (3.6°F). While the plan can help measures to tackle climate change, it cannot achieve that by itself.
The plan, the U.N.’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4All), if it proves successful, could make a significant contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, according to the analysis from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and ETH Zurich.
The study, published in Nature Climate Change, shows that reaching the three energy-related goals of SE4All would cut greenhouse gas emissions and is achievable.
“Achievement of the three objectives would provide an important entry point into stringent climate protection”, says Joeri Rogelj, ETH Zurich researcher and IIASA-affiliated scientist, who led the study.
It found that the short-term goals, due to be reached by 2030, would help achieve long-term climate targets. But to ensure stringent climate objectives were reached, SE4ALL would need to be matched by other measures, the researchers say.
SE4All ‘Necessary — But Not Sufficient’
SE4All’s objectives include providing universal access to modern energy, doubling the share of renewable energy globally, and doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency — all by 2030.
While the objectives do not explicitly address climate change, sustainable energy is accepted as vital for cutting greenhouse gas emissions: 80 percent of CO2 from human activities comes from the global energy system, including transport, buildings, industry, and electricity, heat, and fuel production.
“Doing energy right will promote the Millennium Development Goals and at the same time kick-start the transition to a lower-carbon economy”, says IIASA researcher David McCollum, who also worked on the study. “But the U.N.’s objectives must be complemented by a global agreement on controlling greenhouse gas emissions.”
SE4All has global goals, but the researchers say action at regional and national levels will be essential to achieving them. IIASA’s energy program leader Keywan Riahi, a co-author of the study, says: “The next step for this initiative is already under way, with a large number of national plans that underpin the global objectives.”
They analyzed the likelihood of the world limiting global warming to target levels if each or all of the SE4All objectives were achieved. Using a broad range of scenarios, they found that if all the objectives are met, the likelihood of keeping temperature rise below 2°C (3.6°F) will be more than 66 percent.
If only the renewable energy goal is met, chances of staying below 2°C (3.6°F) will range from 40 to 90 percent, they say, while achieving just the energy efficiency goal will improve the chances to between 60 and 90 percent.
But the researchers warn that this result depends strongly on what future economic growth is assumed. They say the likelihood of reaching climate targets within the scenarios depend on a range of other factors, including energy demand growth, economic growth, and technological innovation.
The study also found that providing universal energy access by 2030 will not hinder long-term climate goals, thanks to the marked gains in energy efficiency that will result. “Sustainable development and poverty eradication can go hand in hand with mitigating climate risks,” says Rogelj.
He told the Climate News Network: “To ensure effective climate change mitigation, a global treaty on greenhouse gases should enforce a cap on global emissions which limits emissions from all sources.
“With such a cap SE4ALL can help to limit emissions from the energy sector, but other measures will have to tackle those from other sources like deforestation, or other gases, like methane from agriculture and waste, or facilitate an even quicker decarbonization of the energy sector, like carbon-capture and storage.”
The new work also quantified the potential costs of reaching the SE4All objectives, which would amount to increasing energy investment by between 0.1 and 0.7 percent of global GDP. The authors’ estimates account for the substantial savings in energy use and reduced fossil energy investment that would result from promoting more sustainable energy technologies and lifestyles.
Alex Kirby, a former BBC environment correspondent, is a founding journalist of Climate News Network. Climate News Network is a news service led by four veteran British environmental reporters and broadcasters. It delivers news and commentary about climate change for free to media outlets worldwide.
Last October, the Pacific island archipelago of Tokelau became the first nation in the world to be 100% renewably-powered. Far from being meek victims of rising sea levels, the people of Tokelau have taken the proactive step to end their contribution to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the people that will make the difference in the fight against climate change, as environmental advocates in Australia step up their engagement with local communities to build a better future for all. Read more
My name is Mikaele Maiava. I’m writing from the Pacific Island archipelago of Tokelau to ask you to join with us in action as we take on the fossil fuel industry.
Last October, Tokelau turned off the last of its diesel generators. In their place, we switched on our solar plants, making Tokelau the first country in the world to become 100% renewably-powered.
I woke up before sunrise that day, excited about the history Tokelau was making. My whole village made its way to the site of over 100 solar panels — we could see the many hours of hard labor that had gone into this project. As we counted down to the switch, I could feel future generations smiling at us and thanking us. Our children’s future suddenly looked brighter because we had the vision (and perseverance) necessary to get off fossil fuels and switch to 100% renewable energy.
You might wonder why we bothered. Aren’t we doomed to lose our islands from sea-level rise? I don’t blame you for thinking that if you did. So often the global media victimises the Pacific Islands and portrays us as helplessly succumbing to climate change and rising seas. But the global media know nothing of who we really are, or how it feels to live on these paradise islands we call home. They don’t know that as Pacific Islanders, we are warriors, and that the land we live on is part of us.
We know that the longer the fossil fuel industry gets its way, the worse climate change will be, and the more sea-level rise will threaten our islands. But giving up on our home is not an option. We are not drowning.
We are fighting.
That’s why on March 2nd, Pacific Islanders across 15 diverse nations will be mobilising at prominent locations to perform our unique war challenges, songs, and dances. We’ll be laying down a challenge to the fossil fuel industry. It is their coal and oil and gas vs. our future. They cannot both coexist. And it is our future that has to win.
In this moment, and in the years to come, we need you to walk beside us. Because we live far away from the mines and power plants that threaten our future, we need the world’s solidarity. Click here to stand with us during this weekend of Pacific Warrior climate action!
We want to show the world that people from countries and cultures everywhere are standing with us — the Pacific Warriors — in the fight against climate change.
350.org is building a global movement to solve the climate crisis. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for email alerts. You can help power our work by getting involved locally, sharing your story, and donating here.
By Graeme Taylor (22 January 2013):
Connecting the dots to local climate impacts is a key to community engagement
Notwithstanding Australia’s record-smashing heatwave, the impacts of climate change are often perceived to be distant in time and space.
Most Australians do not yet understand the scale and urgency of what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls the climate emergency—the most serious threat facing humanity. The reasons are many, including the poor performance of much of the media, and the complacency of political and business leaders. The most broadly disseminated view is that climate change is a distant and very long-term problem; an international problem (and therefore too big and complex for you or me to influence); and something that can and will be eventually managed with adaptation and new technologies.
Our challenge is to find ways to overcome these myths, mobilise communities, and then build a national movement for a paradigm shift in Australian climate politics.
One key path to catalyse this process is to help local communities understand how climate and health and livelihood issues are intertwined, and why the current global climate change trajectory menaces their futures.
Such an approach could see Australian environmental and climate action advocates focus on helping communities that have already experienced serious climate change damage understand the critical threats they face in the coming decades. These campaigns will work with residents to develop clear, powerful narratives capable of mobilising their communities in support of emergency action. The success of these local initiatives will help lay the foundations of a wider, national movement.
The campaigns should focus on high profile issues — such as dying coral reefs, coastal inundation, extreme heat, bushfires and droughts as a threat to both health and livelihood — and the communities that these issues will affect first and foremost: exemplar communities that are in the unfortunate position of “canaries in coal mines”. A priority is selecting communities and regions that are iconic in nature, that are vulnerable to climate change; and where there is a close relationship between regional environmental and economic damage. Exemplars could include:
Cairns and neighbouring communities and the Great Barrier Reef. Half the reef has died since 1985 and most of the rest will disappear in the next 30 years. Have residents been fully informed of the threat and its causes? Have they been asked: Is the loss of the GBR acceptable to you? How will this affect the economy of the region? How will this affect you personally? Will your community and way of life survive? Are governments aware of this? Should they take immediate action to save the GBR? What do you think the community should do? (This approach is being used to some extent in campaigns against the expansion of the Queensland coal export industry.)
Communities that are at particular risk of bush fires increasing in frequency and intensity. This campaign could focus first on building awareness among emergency personnel (such as volunteer fire fighters) of projected weather changes over the next 40 years — increasing heat, dryness and wind — and ask them questions such as: How will a constantly worsening climate affect your quality of life and your work and work safety? Are these changes acceptable to you, your children and your communities? Will your community and way of life survive? Are your political representatives and government officials aware of this? What will you do to help stop global warming?
Urban communities and workers at particular risk from global warming and heat waves. This campaign could focus first on building awareness among emergency personnel (ambulance, fire, police and hospital staff) and vulnerable groups such as the elderly of the threat to both health and the quality of life of projected weather changes over the next 40 years. How will constantly rising temperatures and increasingly extreme weather affect public health, the quality of life of your community, and your work? At what point will your city become unliveable during summer months? Are these changes acceptable to you, your children and your communities? Are your political representatives and government officials aware of this? What will you do to help stop global warming?
Agricultural communities particularly at risk from increasing bush fires, droughts, extreme heat and diminishing access to irrigation. This campaign could focus first on building awareness among farmers of the threat to both their incomes and the quality of life of projected weather changes over the next 40 years. They could be asked questions such as: How will constantly rising temperatures and increasingly extreme weather affect your production, increase your risks and costs, and negatively impact both your work and the quality of life of your community? At what point will farming become unviable? Are these changes acceptable to you, your children and your communities? Are your political representatives and government officials aware of this? What will you do to help stop global warming?
Dr Graeme Taylor is the coordinator of BEST Futures (www.bestfutures.org) and the author of Evolution’s Edge: The Coming Collapse and Transformation of Our World, which won the 2009 IPPY Gold Medal for the book “most likely to save the planet”.
Security threats in the future may not come in the form of invaders and missiles, but in droughts and rising sea levels, according to a new report by a Harvard researcher. Climate change-caused environmental havoc can have ripple effects on food, water, energy, infrastructure, economic and political security, with repercussions on national security. This has been demonstrated in the drug war in Mexico sparked by drought and political instability. Read more
Weather warning: Study examines climate change as a national security issue
Lake County News Reports (23 February 2013):
A Harvard researcher is pointing toward a new reason to worry about the effects of climate change — national security.
A new report co-authored by Michael McElroy, the Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies, and D. James Baker, a former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, connects global climate change, extreme weather, and national security.
During the next decade, the report concludes, climate change could have wide-reaching effects on everything from food, water, and energy supplies to critical infrastructure and economic security.
The study was conducted with funds provided by the Central Intelligence Agency. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the CIA or the U.S. Government.
“Over the last century, the trend has been toward urbanization – to concentrate people in smaller areas,” McElroy said. “We’ve built an infrastructure – whether it’s where we build our homes or where we put our roads and bridges – that fits with that trend. If the weather pattern suddenly changes in a serious way, it could create very large problems. Bridges may be in the wrong place, or sea walls may not be high enough.”
Possible effects on critical infrastructure, however, only scratch the surface of the security concerns.
On an international scale, the report points to recent events, such as flooding in Pakistan and sustained drought in eastern Africa, that may be tied to changing weather patterns.
How the United States responds to such disasters – whether by delivering humanitarian aid or through technical support – could affect security.
“By recognizing the immediacy of these risks, the U.S. Can enhance its own security and help other countries do a better job of preparing for and coping with near-term climate extremes,” Baker said.
The report suggests that climate changes could even have long-reaching political effects.
It’s possible, McElroy said, that climate changes may have contributed to the uprisings of the Arab Spring by causing a rise in food prices, or that the extended drought in northern Mexico has contributed to political instability and a rise in drug trafficking in the region.
“We don’t have definitive answers, but our report raises these questions, because what we are saying is that these conditions are likely to be more normal than they were in the past,” McElroy said. “There are also questions related to sea-level rise. The conventional wisdom is that sea level is rising by a small amount, but observations show it’s rising about twice as fast as the models suggested. Could it actually go up by a large amount in a short period? I don’t think you can rule that out.”
Other potential effects, McElroy said, are tied to changes in an atmospheric circulation pattern called the Hadley circulation, in which warm tropical air rises, resulting in tropical rains.
As the air moves to higher latitudes, it descends, causing the now-dry air to heat up. Regions where the hot, dry air returns to the surface are typically dominated by desert.
The problem, he said, is that evidence shows those arid regions are expanding.
“The observational data suggest that the Hadley circulation has expanded by several degrees in latitude,” McElroy said. “That’s a big deal, because if you shift where deserts are by just a few degrees, you’re talking about moving the southwestern desert into the grain-producing region of the country, or moving the Sahara into southern Europe.”
The report is the result of the authors’ involvement with Medea, a group of scientists who support the U.S. Government by examining declassified national security data useful for scientific inquiry.
In recent decades, the group has worked with officials in the United States and Russia to declassify data on climatic conditions in the Arctic and thousands of spy satellite images. Those images have been used to study ancient settlement patterns in the Middle East and changes in Arctic ice.
“I would be reluctant to say that our report is the last word on short-term climate change,” McElroy said.
“Climate change is a moving target,” McElroy continued. “We’ve done an honest, useful assessment of the state of play today, but we will need more information and more hard work to get it right. One of the recommendations in our report is the need for a serious investment in measurement and observation. It’s really important to keep doing that, otherwise we’re going to be flying blind.”
To read the full report, visit http://environment.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/climate_extremes_report_2012-12-04.pdf
Shri Shakti Alternative Energy of India and River Gen Mini Hydro project in Indonesia were seen as two clean energy projects with the greatest potential at a funding conference in Singapore last month, but altogether ten projects were presented to potential investors, all very promising to contribute significantly to greenhouse gas reductions in Asia. Read More
On 22 February, ten clean energy projects that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Asia by nearly 1.1 million tonnes CO2 e p.a. year, were presented to investors in Singapore at the CTI PFAN Asia FORUM for CLEAN ENERGY FINANCING (AFCEF-3).
While all won recognition and the opportunity to seen as potential targets for investors, two were selected by the judges as the best of the best. They were Shri Shakti Alternative Energy of India – www.ssael.co.in - and River Gen Mini Hydro project in Indonesia.
More than 100 financiers, clean energy experts and representatives of financial institutions from across Asia and overseas participated in the Forum. The meeting was organized by the Climate Technology Initiative’s Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI PFAN), a global multilateral initiative dedicated to connecting clean energy businesses with financing and “bridging the gap” between clean energy project developers and investors.
“By matching project developers from around the region with investors, this forum helps make projects happen and increases the flow of investment into developing clean energy markets in Asia” said Peter Storey (CTI PFAN Global Coordinator).
The projects showcased at the Forum, with a total aggregate investment value in excess of USD 297 million, included bio fuels, solar, biogas, waste to energy initiatives developed by entrepreneurs and companies from India, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
“What is so exciting about the CTI PFAN programme is that it is not about process, but instead is facilitating the implementation of real projects, having not only economic returns, but social and environmental benefits as well” said CTI PFAN Manager, Elmer Holt.
CTI PFAN screens business plans, selects the most economically viable and environmentally beneficial projects, and provides multiple rounds of coaching and guidance before projects are presented to investors. CTI PFAN is now working on more than 164 clean energy projects across Asia, Africa and Latin America. Globally, CTI PFAN has raised over USD 432 million dollars of investment for clean energy spread over 38 projects.
From the 10 showcased projects, a panel of independent judges selected RiverGen, mini-hydro projects in Indonesia, and Shri Shakti Alternative Energy Pvt. Ltd., a solar park project in India as the joint winners of the CTI PFAN Clean Energy Financing Awards. For investors, AFCEF-3 was a great opportunity to access a select group of clean energy projects with high profit potential, verified environmental and development benefits, which are ready for investment. It also provided a unique networking forum for Asia’s clean energy entrepreneurs.
Nagaraja Rao, Regional Coordinator-AFCEF3, said “CTI PFAN is providing a vital link between investors and project developers and this forum is ideally tailored to creating deal flow for clean energy investors in Asia”.
“The key to a successful realization of this growth lies in the bankability of these projects that demonstrate the high quality investment potential due to their scalability and the dilution of risks. These are the kinds of projects that have been handpicked and coached for the AFCEF-3. Singapore is proud to have established itself as Asia’s financial hub and thus a great location for financing platforms such as AFCEF- 3”said the Chairman of SEAS, Mr. Edwin Khew.
AFCEF-3 is sponsored by the Climate Technology Initiative (CTI) and its Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI PFAN), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Energy for All Program of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Center for Environmental Technology Transfer (ICETT) and is co-organized by the Dawn Consulting, Clean Energy Solutions International (CSI), PPL International, Economic Development Board of Singapore, the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) and ReEx Capital Asia.
CTI PFAN is a multilateral, public-private partnership initiated by CTI in cooperation with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Expert Group on Technology Transfer.
CTI PFAN Pilot Programme for Financing Adaptation related Climate Change Projects
Developing countries will experience some of the worst impacts of climate change and given the constraints on the availability of public sector resources, it is generally accepted that significant private sector financing will be required to play a role in addressing many of the challenges of adaptation.
CTI PFAN’s Pilot Programme for Financing Adaptation related Climate Change Projects seeks to identify promising projects which have the capability of raising private sector financing. Selected projects will be offered free professional advice on project development and structuring and will be connected with investment through CTI PFAN’s global investment networks. The best projects will also be showcased at an Investor Forum to be held later in 2013.
CTI PFAN seeks project proposals that are financially and technically viable, environmentally beneficial, socially responsible and meet the CTI PFAN adaptation criteria:
Adaptation related projects are those that help reduce the vulnerability of human and natural systems to the current and future impacts of climate change and climate-related risks, increasing or maintaining adaptive capacity and resilience in the targeted regions and countries through investment for project implementation.
There are no sectorial exclusions but projects in the following sectors will be targeted for selection:
• Agriculture & Agri-business
• Water and Sanitation
• Urban Adaptation
• Micro-finance and Micro-Insurance
• Energy & Access to Energy (Climate Proofing of Energy Generation & Supply)
• Forestry & Eco-system Services
• Adaptation Products & Services
Eligible projects include proposals by:
• Companies, Individuals or Legal Persons
• Public Private Partnerships
• Municipalities, Local Authorities & Government Agencies
Only business opportunities that require total (initial) capital in excess of US$1 million (or currency equivalent) will be considered. Applications from projects in all Sub-Saharan African countries will be consideredwith priority being given to projects from Mozambique,South Africa,Kenya, Uganda,Ghana and Senegal.
Up to 20 projects will be selected to participate in the Pilot Programme. Project selection is expected to occur by end of June 2013. Projects will be evaluated and selected according to the following criteria:
Submission of Application
Applications consist of a completed application form together with a Project Proposal Document and a Project Data Sheet and must be submitted by midnight (CAT) Tuesday 30 April 2013 to CTI PFAN Adaptation Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About CTI PFAN & the Organisers
The CTI PFAN Pilot Programme for Financing Adaptation Related Projects is sponsored by the Climate Technology Initiative (CTI)and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with support from the InternationalCenter for Environmental Technology Transfer (ICETT).
In climate change mitigation, CTI PFAN has successfully raised over USD 438 million of private sector investment and financing for 38 projects, representing over 321 MW of clean generation capacity and 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 e reduction pa. The Pilot Programme for Financing Adaptation related projects is designed to transfer the CTI PFAN methodology for mitigation projects and accelerate the deployment of private sector finance for climate change adaptation projects.
How to engage customers old and new, and induce behavioural changes? Gamify it! The use of games to motivate consumers, through rankings, achievements and rewards, to change their way of approaching environmental stewardship is on the rise by startups and corporate alliances. The social component of gamification is the key component to inducing behavioural changes, and has proven to bring real and significant results in advancing sustainability. Read more
Why companies are fueling the rise of green gaming
By Ashok Kamal for GreenBiz.com (21 February 2013):
Who said going green had to be boring?
Maybe the same people who believe games are just entertainment.
Both myths are being shattered by the growing phenomenon of green gamification, the use of games to make sustainability fun and rewarding. This growth is being accelerated by forces ranging from the government’s Green Button promotion of energy usage data to the digital generation’s strong desire for smartphone apps that allow them to manage resource consumption.
Much as Nike+ Fuelband is turning exercise from a chore into a cool activity, a suite of green web and mobile apps are transforming the way people approach environmental stewardship. From startups such as Leafully to corporate alliances that increase energy efficiency, gamification is emerging as a powerful weapon to advance sustainability.
In isolation, recycling a bottle or turning off the lights may not sound exciting to the average person. Jogging was seen as a burden to many outside the fitness enthusiast community before the emergence of gamified apps. But whether you’re working out or conserving water, actions become rewarding when they are measurable, engaging and shared.
Social comparison — the relative performance compared to peers — is a powerful motivator for achievement. Not only are people driven to gain status and recognition by social sharing, but there is also positive peer pressure to avoid being a laggard. Do you want to be the house on the block with the worst recycling rate?
The Zynga of green gamification is Opower, which is a software player that processes big household energy data into a gamified interface that helps people reduce their power consumption and utility bills. The company partners with utilities to analyze data in more than 50 million homes and it closed out 2012 by saving users an estimated 2 terawatt hours of energy, or $200 million.
Greenbean Recycle is a Boston-based startup changing the attitude and behaviors about recycling on the campuses of some of the nation’s best colleges, including MIT, Harvard and Tufts. Greenbean’s game mechanics, such as intercollegiate challenges and recycling lotteries, have resulted in up to a 40 percent increase of the recycling rate. Moreover, Greenbean is cracking the code of one of recycling’s main hurdles: how to get people to recycle nondeposit bottles that don’t pay a redemption value. By posting leaderboards and rewarding the top recyclers, Greenbean’s collection is 30 percent nondeposit materials that would normally be destined for overcrowded landfills.
Other new green gaming companies that raised millions of dollars in venture funding include My Energy and Practically Green, which both use the social web to calculate environmental footprint metrics and reward users for their performance.
Even historically static sectors, such as academia, nonprofit and small business, are embracing innovation through green gamification. Ocean explorer and activist Philippe Cousteau, in conjunction with Jeffrey Plank at the University of Virginia, developed a massively multiplayer online game to simulate the impacts of human activity on the health of Chesapeake Bay (which is the largest estuary in the U.S.). Players of the UVA Bay Game take on the role of key stakeholders — ranging from fisherman to regulators — to learn systems-thinking and collaboration.
Cousteau, Plank and I spoke on a 2012 SXSW panel with Intel’s Carrie Freeman, who asserted that corporations can leverage the UVA Bay Game model to solve business challenges such as balancing company versus community water needs. The UVA Bay Game developers recently announced a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to launch a new version of the simulation focused on a major Texas watershed.
While small business owners are often pressed for time and money, thousands across the country have joined the Green Business Bureau, which offers a gamified online sustainability tool that helps assess, manage and report on a library of 400-plus green initiatives. One GBB member, NewMarket International, shaved $60,000 of its annual budget by following the adaptive survey’s recommendations and reducing packaging waste, among other green achievements. GBB’s technology also powers green business certification for nonprofit Green America and Intuit’s small business supplier network.
The main reason people play green games is that they are fun. A more sustainable world is the convenient — and welcome — byproduct.
Ashok Kamal is co-founder and CEO of Bennu, which is a leader in green social media marketing. Bennu’s sustainability solutions increase enterprise value by aligning clients’ business objectives with consumer demand and environmental resources.
The amount of heat-trapping CO2 in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new US federal figures show. In 2009, President Obama pledged to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. On Monday, he announced the appointment of two seasoned officials who could fulfill that pledge – but only if the President himself helps them navigate the formidable political obstacles ahead. Both believe global warming is one of humanity’s most pressing challenges. Read More
2012 Rise In CO2 Levels Second-Highest In 54 Years
By Seth Borenstein in Huffington Post (5 March 2013):
WASHINGTON — The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show.
Scientists say the rise in CO2 reflects the world’s economy revving up and burning more fossil fuels, especially in China.
Carbon dioxide levels jumped by 2.67 parts per million since 2011 to total just under 395 parts per million, says Pieter Tans, who leads the greenhouse gas measurement team for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
That’s the second highest rise in carbon emissions since record-keeping began in 1959. The measurements are taken from air samples captured away from civilization near a volcano in Mauna Loa, Hawaii.
More coal-burning power plants, especially in the developing world, are the main reason emissions keep going up – even as they have declined in the U.S. and other places, in part through conservation and cleaner energy.
At the same time, plants and the world’s oceans which normally absorb some carbon dioxide, last year took in less than they do on average, says John Reilly, co-director of Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Plant and ocean absorption of carbon varies naturally year to year.
But, Tans tells The Associated Press the major factor is ever-rising fossil fuel burning: “It’s just a testament to human influence being dominant.”
Only 1998 had a bigger annual increase in carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas from human activity. That year, 2.93 parts per million of CO2 was added. From 2000 to 2010, the world averaged a yearly rise of just under 2 parts per million. Levels rose by less than 1 part per million in the 1960s.
In 2009, the world’s nations agreed on a voluntary goal of limiting global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over pre-industrial temperature levels. Since the mid-1800s temperatures haven already risen about 1.5 degrees. Current pollution trends translate to another 2.5 to 4.5 degrees of warming within the next several decades, Reilly says.
“The prospects of keeping climate change below that (2-degree goal) are fading away,” Tans says.
Scientists track carbon pollution both by monitoring what comes out of factories and what winds up in the atmosphere. Both are rising at rates faster than worst-case scenarios that climate scientists used in their most recent international projections, according to Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann.
That means harmful effects of climate change will happen sooner, Mann says.
Two Enlistees in the Climate Wars
New York Times (5 March 2013):
In 2009, President Obama pledged to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. Thanks to several factors, the country is halfway there. On Monday, Mr. Obama announced the appointment of two seasoned officials who could fulfill that pledge — but only if the president himself helps them navigate the formidable political obstacles ahead.
Mr. Obama nominated Gina McCarthy, an experienced clean air regulator, to run the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ernest Moniz, an M.I.T. physicist and strong advocate of natural gas and nuclear power, to run the Energy Department. Both believe global warming is one of humanity’s most pressing challenges. Both have deep experience — Ms. McCarthy as an assistant administrator at the E.P.A. and an adviser to Republican governors in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Mr. Moniz as an under secretary of energy in the Clinton administration.
Both will be required to use their regulatory authority creatively and aggressively. There is zero chance that Congress will enact the “bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change” that Mr. Obama called for in his State of the Union address. This means that his second-term agenda on climate change will run through Ms. McCarthy’s and Mr. Moniz’s agencies, and will depend almost entirely on executive actions that do not require Congressional approval. Here are three strategies that could make a big dent in carbon emissions.
¶Invoke the E.P.A.’s authority under the Clean Air Act to limit pollution from stationary sources, chiefly fossil-fuel power plants that account for almost 40 percent of the country’s carbon emissions. The agency has already proposed strict standards requiring new power plants to capture their emissions, an untested technology. The bigger problem is what to do with existing plants, which provide a big chunk of the nation’s electricity and which cannot be shut down quickly or by fiat. Devising a gradual phaseout will require ingenuity and persistence in the face of what are sure to be strong legal and political challenges from industry.
¶Make natural gas safer. Thanks to hydraulic fracturing, the country is now awash in natural gas. One major reason for the unexpected decline in national carbon emissions is that many power plants have switched from coal to natural gas, which emits only half as much carbon dioxide. But there is a downside: drilling for and transporting natural gas can produce methane leaks, and methane is a potent greenhouse gas that can cancel out whatever carbon advantage gas has over coal. Much tougher restrictions must be imposed throughout the system, including on thousands of miles of pipelines.
¶Improve energy efficiency across the board. One of the success stories of the last 30 years has been the increase in energy efficiency in appliances, new commercial buildings, and cars and light trucks. But there is plenty of room for improvement. The task of designing ever-stricter standards will fall largely to Mr. Moniz.
There is obviously more: finding new refrigerants to replace climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons, investing not only in familiar renewable energy sources like wind and solar power but also in basic research, next-generation nuclear plants and experimental technologies that could smooth the path to a low-carbon economy.
Little of this will happen without a good deal of push-back from industry and its Congressional allies. From start to finish line, Ms. McCarthy and Mr. Moniz will need the president at their back.
Victoria Harbour and Barangaroo South, two of Australia’s largest urban regeneration projects, have been officially recognised by the C40 Cities Climate Positive Development Program for their strategies and tactics on the pathway to achieve climate positive outcomes. This achievement represents the spirit of collaboration, determination and goodwill between the C40, Lend Lease, Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Places Victoria, and the City of Melbourne to target low carbon outcomes in these projects. Read more
Australian city regeneration projects lead way for next generation of green development
C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Recognises Victoria Harbour and Barangaroo South
6 March 2013:
Victoria Harbour and Barangaroo South, two of Australia’s largest urban regeneration projects, have been officially recognised by the C40 Cities Climate Positive Development Program for their strategies and tactics on the pathway to achieve climate positive outcomes. This achievement represents the spirit of collaboration, determination and goodwill between the C40, Lend Lease, Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Places Victoria, and the City of Melbourne to target low carbon outcomes in these projects.
With the recognition from C40 and the Climate Positive Roadmap Review Committee, Lend Lease’s Victoria Harbour and Barangaroo South projects take their place as leaders of the next generation of green development across the globe, committed to working to create communities that operate with a net zero increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting cities to adapt to the challenges that climate change and rapid urbanisation introduce.
“Lend Lease is proud to be playing a leading role on two of Australia’s most progressive urban regeneration projects; leading the way for C40 and the Climate Positive Development Program globally,” said Lend Lease Chief Operating Officer Dan Labbad. “These projects serve as a new international benchmark for the C40 Cities network, as well as our own development pipeline, creating a legacy based on partnerships between the private sector, state and local government.”
By successfully demonstrating possibilities and identifying critical collaborations between developers and their state and city government counterparts, these projects are creating a case for joint planning and development that improves the local environment, creates jobs, and enhances quality of life.
“As a network of the world’s megacities committed to taking climate actions, C40 harnesses the expertise from its membership to provide solutions to the most vexing problems facing cities,” said Dr. Rohit Aggarwala, Special Advisor to the C40 Chair, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “The enormous opportunity and accomplishment that Lend Lease’s Victoria Harbour and Barangaroo projects have made as part of their participation in the Climate Positive Development Program are an example of what can be achieved and the impact we can have.
As a result, the cities in the network can benefit from their experiences and successes and hopefully emulate them locally as they continue to tackle the challenges presented by global climate change.”
Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle, Chair of the C40 Sustainable Urban Development Network, said, “Victoria Harbour will become an exemplar for cities, developers and governments to work together to create strong, sustainable communities.”
The C40 Sustainable Urban Development Network launched in Melbourne in March 2012, bringing together the world’s leading experts on sustainability from 17 cities in order to develop a blueprint for sustainable communities. The two day workshop showcased the progress at Victoria Harbour in Docklands, a landmark sustainable precinct in Australia.
“As chair of the C40 Sustainable Urban Development Network I am delighted with the achievements at Victoria Harbour. The City of Melbourne, Lend Lease and C40 partnership has delivered real results that will not only benefit Melbourne but cities around the world,” the Lord Mayor said.
The Climate Positive Development Programme was created to meet the pressing challenges of rapid urbanisation and climate change. It supports large scale urban projects that will demonstrate how cities can grow in ways that are ‘climate positive,’ i.e., taking action to reduce their net operational greenhouse gas emissions to below zero.
For further information, please contact:
Christian Sealey Mike Marinello
Media Relations Director of Communications
Lend Lease C40
(m) +61467 767 592 (e) email@example.com
About Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour has been labelled the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Melbourne’s Docklands, the largest and most prestigious waterfront development being undertaken in Australia. A key part of Melbourne’s Docklands regeneration site in the CBD, Victoria Harbour brings together a community which includes residents, businesses and recreational users of the waterfront precinct. Victoria Harbour also boasts the highest concentration of green buildings in Australia.
About Barangaroo South
Barangaroo is a $6bn urban transformation of the western edge of Sydney’s central business district and will provide extraordinary benefits for Sydney, NSW and Australia. Lend Lease is responsible for Barangaroo South – the southern 7.5 hectares of the site which is destined to become the greenest and most advanced financial district and the first large scale, carbon neutral precinct in Australia. With a mix of uses, including commercial, residential, retail and dining along with a new landmark hotel, on completion it will be home to around 1,200 residents, 23,000 office workers and more than 2.9 hectares of public space.
About Lend Lease
Lend Lease is a leading and international property and infrastructure group, with a focus on core markets in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and with circa 18,000 employees, Lend Lease’s capabilities span the property value chain and include development management; investment management; project management & construction and asset & property management. Our expertise covers multiple sectors including commercial, residential, retail, retirement and infrastructure. We create innovative and sustainable property solutions, forging partnerships and delivering maximum benefits to clients, investors and communities. Sustainability has always been an integral part of our culture and through design and investment in new technologies, we are delivering the next generation of sustainable property solutions. Safety is our number one priority and Lend Lease is committed to operating Incident & Injury Free wherever we have a presence.
About The Climate Positive Development Program
The Climate Positive Development Program is a network of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative Cities Program (CCI) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). C40 is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related policies and programs locally that will help address climate change globally. C40 works in an aligned partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) Cities program, which was started by the William J. Clinton Foundation. CCI Cities became the delivery partner of C40 in 2006. The closer alliance between the two organizations — announced in the spring of 2011 — brings significant resources and infrastructure that will enhance and accelerate their historic activities and positions the combined effort as one of the pre-eminent climate action organizations in the world. To learn more please visit http://www.c40.org/
Climate Positive Roadmap Review Committee
Every Climate Positive project has a unique profile, given their distinct economic, political, and climate challenges, yet each is striving for the ambitious goal of lowering their operational GHG emissions below zero. Development Partners accepted into the Program are expected to pursue the integrated planning of energy efficient buildings, low carbon transportation solutions, and waste and water management systems at the district scale.
In order to get beyond carbon neutral and achieve a Climate Positive outcome, Development Partners shall sequester emissions on-site and abate emissions from surrounding communities. There are many different paths to the Climate Positive outcome of net-negative operational GHG emissions; each project will use a different set of strategies and technologies according to its local opportunities, guided by the Climate Positive Development Framework, which lays out the four stages of the Climate Positive journey.
One of the core tenets of the Climate Positive Development Program is the tiered levels of recognition that projects receive as they strive to achieve a Climate Positive outcome, a by-product of the focus to drive outcomes and results in helping create models for how cities can grow in ways that are low carbon and economically viable. The Program’s recognition platform reinforces the notion of this being a journey toward a Climate Positive outcome, and serves the dual needs of providing established opportunities to validate that projects are proceeding on an appropriate path to achieve a Climate Positive outcome; and providing the opportunity to publicly recognize that projects are on track.
The first phase of recognition, where a project is declared to be a “Climate Positive Candidate” is associated with being accepted in to the program. The second phase of recognition is provided upon approval of a project’s submission of the strategies and tactics that will result in a climate positive outcome, and shall be comprised of a) their Climate Positive Roadmap; b) a Measurement and Verification Plan; c) Evidence of Commitment and Partnership; and d) a Timeline of Milestones.
The Roadmap Review Committee is a small group of volunteers who are supporting the Climate Positive Development Program by providing expert reviews of Climate Positive Development Project’s roadmaps. The role of this group is to ensure that the Project teams have adequately documented and submitted viable strategies and proposals as called for in the Climate Positive Development Program Framework. This volunteer group provides an independent review of the deliverables in order to ensure that all of the proposed strategies to achieve a Climate Positive Outcome are reasonable for their project, and each Climate Positive project is reviewed by a subset of this committee.
Eco-friendly public transport is the next frontier in sustainable development, especially in developing nations. Electrical jeepneys, or ejeepneys, which run on batteries, are starting to take over the streets of the Philippines resulting in lower greenhouse gas and pollutants emissions, thanks to the work of ejeepney and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities. These two concerns are the main drivers in the hunt for alternatively fuelled public transport systems, though more government support through financial incentives will be required to expedite the process. Read more
Philippines pioneer eco-friendly public transport in SE Asia
English.news.cn (19 April 2012):
MANILA, April 19 (Xinhua) — The Philippines recently launched the first franchise of electric public utility vehicles — a move seen to pioneer the Southeast Asian region’s shift to a more eco- friendly public transport system.
Starting March 1, a 20-vehicle fleet of electrical jeepneys, or ejeepneys, the “green” version of a popular vehicle originally made from American military jeeps left over from the Second World War.
The ejeepney, which runs via a set of electric-charged batteries, is now plying the streets of the business district of Makati and charging a minimum fare of eight pesos (0.19 U.S. dollar) per commuter.
Diesel-powered jeepney remains the popular public vehicle in the country, but proponents believe that this is just the beginning of a more sustainable form of transport in the Philippines and in the region too.
There is no doubt that the Philippines is leading Southeast Asia in terms of developing sustainable transport options, particularly electricity-powered alternatives, for public utility vehicles, said Red Constantino, director of policy think-tank Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC).
Fast growing Southeast Asian economies may have created more opportunities for its citizens, but rising prosperity came at a cost. Rapid urbanization has led to massive use of motor vehicles, contributing to air pollution and endangering public health. This, combined with threat of climate change, pushed stakeholders in the region to look for ways to develop public transport system that will reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.
This includes looking for alternatives to fossil fuel-dependent vehicles. Singapore has developed and deployed one hydrogen- powered public bus. An inventor in Thailand has devised a solar- powered tuk tuk — Bangkok’s iconic three-wheeled vehicle.
In the Philippines, sustainable public transport starts with ejeepney. Constantino said that for ejeepney proponents like him, ejeepney is about making the “transport solutions of tomorrow available to working Filipinos first.”
“The jeepney is a cultural icon that can capture the imagination of the public. If one can change the jeepney — if we can improve it and yet retain its distinct place in our culture — everything else is possible,” he said.
But more than that, Constantino said it’s important to prove that ejeepney is a viable business.
“The real test is not just technical viability but commercial feasibility,” he said.
After all, the technology behind ejeepney is nothing new. Years before ejeepneys came to the Philippines, the electric-powered tranvia or cable cars roamed Manila’s streets in the pre-War era.
But Constantino said that the only way for green solutions and technology to be mainstreamed and adapted is for it to help “create business models that work for everyone.”
This is a new investment agenda, he said, adding that it will generate green jobs while at the same time yield profit for businessmen who go into ejeepney production and operation.
Yuri Sarmiento, chief executive officer of franchise holder Ejeepney Transport Corp. said his investment in the ejeepney, is both an advocacy and a business decision.
“We are ready to help grow green enterprises. We can tap new revenue streams such as battery leasing operations, electronic ticketing and scaled-up replacement programs aimed at converting public and private fossil-fueled vehicles into environment- friendly transport,” Sarmiento said.
Editor: Lu Hui
USA: E-vehicle backers call for incentives
THE GOVERNMENT must catch up with electric vehicle developments by lifting the tax burden on investments in the green transport sector, industry leaders yesterday said.
Government policies and programs, said speakers at a conference organized by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), are also key to spurring consumers and public transport operators to convert from fossil fuel-powered vehicles, which in turn will cut down carbon emissions.
“The government is two steps behind in helping the electric vehicles sector … What we need from the government is a serious partnership,” said Yuri P. Sarmiento, E-Jeepney Transport Corp. CEO.
He cited the lack of support infrastructure, inadequate policies, manufacturing constraints, and low social acceptance as barriers to the growth of the alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) sector.
The government, Mr. Sarmiento said, can help by supporting a bill designed to give incentives to both electric vehicle makers and owners.
“We are not asking for the government to subsidize the cost of the electric vehicles,” he said.
Senate Bill 2856 is seen to bring down the cost of electric jeepneys, for example, by at least 20% by offering nine-year excise tax and duty exemptions to AFV assemblers and parts producers as well as importers of completely built AFVs.