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Asian Coal Boom: Climate Threat or Mirage?

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Reports of a ‘coal boom’ in Asian Tiger economies are wide of the mark, report concludes

Claims that Asia is on the verge of a huge expansion in coal burning for electricity generation are incorrect, says a new report.

The report, Asia’s Tigers: Reconciling coal, climate and energy demand, argues that the Asian Tiger economies with the world’s four biggest coal power project pipelines, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, are likely to build far less than half of their current planned coal plants.

The four ‘Asian Tigers’ have 1,824 plants either in planning or under construction – more than two-thirds of the world total. But the report concludes that the number actually built in the next five years will fall far short of 1,000 plants, and is likely to lie in the region of around 500.

In addition, the proportion of time for which coal plants in both India and China are actually being used is falling, so increasing capacity does not necessarily mean increasing coal-related emissions. In China, coal burning is falling even as new plants come online.

The report’s author Gerard Wynn, consultant at GWG Energy, said: “These findings suggest that claims of an Asian coal boom that will derail climate change pledges made at the recent Paris summit are wide of the mark.

“In fact, the evidence suggests that the shift away from the dirtiest fossil fuels in favour of cleaner forms of energy is happening much faster than anyone could have expected.

“The report’s assessment of new capacity that will be built may even be an over-estimate once the Paris Agreement comes into effect, as it will further restrict financing for new coal projects.”

The report identifies a number of factors that are likely to constrain the number of coal plants built:

  • Worldwide, from 2010-2015, shelved or cancelled coal power proposals out-numbered completed power plants by two to one. For India, the ratio was four to one, with 390 GW cancelled since 2010 compared with 98 GW completed;
  • Both India and China have built more plants than they need, leading to plants being used for less and less of the time, which in turns reduces profitability. In China, the utilisation rate fell from 60% in 2011 to below 50% last year; and overall coal burning fell last year, even as coal-fired capacity expanded. For India, the load factor has fallen from a peak in 2008 of above 78%, to below 65% last year, and this trend in falling utilisation rates is likely to continue. This reduces the economic case for new build;
  • Concern over air pollution in the four Asian nations, especially China and India, are prompting governments to enact curbs on coal use, including India’s carbon tax on coal;
  • Policy shifts in these countries will further constrain coal-fired power generation. For example, China’s domestic targets unveiled in the run-up to the Paris summit imply the building of an additional 800-1,000GW of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero-emission generation capacity by 2030;
  • The successful conclusion of the Paris climate summit last December is expected to accelerate existing investments in energy efficiency and low-carbon generation, and also restrict available financing for global coal projects. The Paris Agreement confirms that $100bn per year will be available for developing nations, much of which will assist them to enact their full climate and clean energy pledges. Vietnam announced that as a result of the agreement it is reviewing its coal expansion plans.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “This report belies the notion that coal will be forever King in Asia, further undermining the already spurious argument that there’s no point in countries such as the UK reducing carbon emissions because cuts will be obliterated by China and India’s coal burning.

“It’s worth noting too that money is moving away from coal, with the world’s largest private company Peabody hovering on the edge of bankruptcy and investors such as JPMorgan Chase and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund pulling out of coal.

“Asian countries will build new some new coal-fired power stations, but lack of finance, air pollution, the growth of low-cost renewables, the Paris factor – all suggest that the total will be far less than the headline figures imply.”

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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