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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

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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