Newsletter.September 5, 2018

#Climate Policy

The inter-sessional starts amidst heavy rains and floods in Bangkok

Amidst heavy rain and floods, Bangkok began the preparatory UN climate conference to set rules on reducing greenhouse emissions and providing aid to vulnerable countries. 10 million residents of the city are affected and per World Bank, nearly 40% of Bangkok will be inundated by 2030.

At the meet governments will try to reduce differences and agree on a coherent Paris rule book that can serve as the basis for COP24 Poland talks in December. Negotiators will identify compromise options, translate them into legal language, and finally generate a negotiating text.

National strategy launched to add forest cover under Paris Accord

India has launched REDD+ – a national strategy to increase forest cover in a time-bound manner – under Paris agreement. India has pledged to add carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through forest cover by 2030. REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is an important tool to fulfill the country’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) which have been submitted to the UNFCCC.

Commitments made by non-state actors will further reduce India’s CO2 emissions: Report

A new Yale study says international cooperative initiatives could reduce emissions by eight to 13% (280-490 MtCO2e/year) in India more than what will be achieved through current national policies. “By 2030, global greenhouse gas emissions could be 1.5 to 2.2 GtCO2e/year lower if existing sub-national commitments are fully implemented, compared to what would be achieved through current national policies.”

California votes for 100% clean energy by 2045

California passed a bill pledging 100% clean energy by 2045, as it battles its worst wildfires. The Assembly voted 45-32. California will become the second U.S. state after Hawaii and the largest economy on earth to commit to getting 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources in 27 years.

French environment minister quits, Macron “must step up”

French president Emmanuel Macron’s green reputation took a hit when his environment minister, frustrated by political isolation, resigned on live radio. Campaigners say, amid heat waves and droughts, Europe is aching for real climate leadership. “It’s time Macron stepped up on climate action, and use his influence to ensure Europe delivers on commitments made under the Paris Agreement.”

The climate fight’s next turning point

The Global Climate Action Summit – one of the largest international gatherings on climate change – will be held in San Francisco, to take climate ambition “to next level.” Scientists say global CO2 emissions must reach a turning point in 2020, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and “progress must be accelerated.”

SEPTEMBER 8, 2018 — GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION

On September 8, campaigners are planning thousands of rallies around the world to demand local leaders commit to building a fossil free world “that puts people and justice before profits.”


#Climate Science

Broken Hill plagued by emus as they head into town in search of food, water

As Australian drought worsens, hundreds of Emus have taken over the small mining town of Broken Hill in western New South Wales. The large birds can be seen eating gardens plants and gate-crashing football matches in search of food and water.

Kerala floods: Extreme rain, massive deforestation

Climate change has delivered a chilling reminder: Kerala saw 42% more rain than would be expected. Similar levels were seen during Hurricane Harvey when over 1,500mm of rain fell on Houston during one storm. Kerala’s monster monsoon (488 deaths) has raised a deluge of questionsLarge-scale deforestation over the past 40 years has left the state with only 17-18% forest cover.

CO2 emissions reducing global human nutrition

50 million people in India — the largest number anywhere in the world — could face zinc, iron and protein deficiency due to dipping crop quality as CO2 levels rise. The Harvard study says CO2 will surpass 550 ppm in the next 30-80 years, reducing protein, iron and zinc contents by 3-17%. Meanwhile, Asia’s meat and seafood demand may rise by 78% by 2050, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and antibiotics used in foods.

Won’t offer credibility to climate change deniers

Prominent thinkers pledged not to take part in debates over whether climate change is “real”. “If ‘balance’ means giving voice to those who deny the reality of human-triggered climate change, we will not take part in the debate,” say 60 leading politicians and academics.


#Climate Change

India ravaged by heavy rains, floods and landslides, 1,400 lives lost since January

Hello, CarbonCopy readers!

This week the crucial UN climate meet opens in Bangkok with countries attempting to draft a binding rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement ahead of the December 2018 deadline. Adhering to the Agreement is becoming critical as climate change unleashes devastating floods in Kerala, prolonged drought in Australia and blazing wildfires in California. However there’s some positive news as well with the state voting to go 100% renewables-powered by 2045, while India has approved $77mn in subsidies for faster adoption of EVs.

GROUND REPORT

Nearly 1,400 lives have been lost and several million people displaced across 10 states as climate change-driven heavy monsoon rains unleash floods and landslides across India. Kerala, Assam, Odisha, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are the worst hit, with Kerala alone reporting 488 casualties. The deluge has also destroyed crops over a combined area of over 188,000 hectares, and disturbing reports are now emerging on casualties in Kerala caused by rat fever – a waterborne disease that spreads faster in flood-ravaged regions.


#Air Pollution

Outdoor air pollution could shorten your life

A Texas University study says outdoor air pollution shortens an average Indian’s life by over 1.5 years. Scientists have said if PM 2.5 concentrations worldwide were limited to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) air quality guideline concentration of 10 μg per square cubic metre, the global life expectancy would be on average 0.59 year longer.

Air Pollution Can Cause Cognitive Impairment In Brains Of The Elderly

A Beijing and Yale university survey involving about 50,000 people found a link between poor air quality and a decline in cognitive tests. “Pollution can affect a person’s ability to think in both verbal and math tests. However, the damage is more pronounced in older men.”

Green court: Singrauli industries will be shut if they pollute

The green court has appointed a panel headed by a former judge to submit an action plan to ensure industry compliance in dealing with air and water pollution in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts of MP and UP respectively. The industries “would be closed immediately if they fail to comply”. Despite a December 2017 NGT order, neither the industries nor the authorities have taken steps to check pollution.

Delhi to install new sensors to track air quality

Ahead of deadly winter smog, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has decided to install around 47 air pollution monitoring sensors by September-end. The sensors will track PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2 and CO levels. Delhi is among the 14 Indian cities that figured in WHO list of 20 most polluted cities in the world in 2016. The latest study by Central Pollution Control Boardsays Delhi has fared well on air pollution in the first half of 2018, but it may not be so in the second half.


#Renewables

EU ends trade controls on Chinese solar panels

The European Union will end restrictions on the sale of solar panels from China which “would lead to a flood of cheap imports.” The Commission said it was in the best interests of the EU, given the bloc’s aim of increasing supply of renewable energy. Some companies were considering moving court.

1.58 rupees/KWh for rooftop solar recorded in Madhya Pradesh auction

Developers bid 1.58 rupees per KWh, lowest-ever in the country, to sell power from rooftop solar projects on government and private buildings in Madhya Pradesh. The projects will service municipal and police buildings, colleges, industrial training and polytechnic institutions, as well as some private entities.

Solar installations down 52% Q1 2018

Mercom study says solar installations fell by 52% to 1,599 MW during the second quarter of 2018, “due to uncertainties around trade cases and module price fluctuations”. Installations were down nearly 21% in comparison to 2,025 MW installed in the corresponding quarter of 2017.

Tug of war over Tariff: Solar manufacturing tender size reduced

To control tariffs, Centre reduced the capacity of the manufacturing tender from 5 GW to 3 GW. The tender has been cut to counter developers quoting higher tariffs citing manufacturing cost. Solar developers say the government is forcing them to enter manufacturing.

Reports suggest the Centre may cap solar tariffs at ₹ 2.5 and ₹ 2.68 per unit for domestic, and imported solar cells and modules, respectively: far lower than the reverse bidding tariffs. Analysts say recent cancellations of tenders over tariffs “have set a bad precedent”.

Govt. sets schedule for state solar tenders

Centre has set a schedule for state companies and official agencies to float solar tenders to space out large projects and prevent distortion of the market. Chasing 100GW of solar by 2022, the government plans to invite bids for 30,000 MW each in the current and next financial years. This will ensure a steady pipeline of projects through the year instead of inviting too many bids at once and on the entire value chain.

Malaysia takes India to WTO over safeguard duty

Malaysia moved WTO over India’s decision to impose import duty on solar cells. India has temporarily postponed safeguard duty of up to 25% on solar cells imports from China and Malaysia. Malaysia said it has a substantial interest as an exporter of the product.


#Electric Mobility

Government Approves ₹55 Billion subsidies for EVs

Centre approved ₹55 billion ($0.78 billion) subsidy under the second phase of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles FAME program. FAME II will back all types of EVs for 5 years but not hybrids. BNEF study says subsidy will center on public transport and “fleet operations”.

NITI MOVEs to chalk out electric mobility plan

Centre’s leading think tank NITI Aayog has assured of “a comprehensive zero-emission electric mobility policy” ahead of its global mobility summit on Sep 7: Over 1,200 participants include government and industry leaders, academia, and civil society organisations. “The idea is to bring India on the frontline of digitally-shared, zero-emission mobility.” Strong policy push will be crucial to build the critical mass needed to bring about change.

Delhi’s Electric car push, EV policy

Delhi government is set to give 100% road tax exemption to EV buyers, that’s around Rs 70,000 on purchase of Rs 10 lakh electric. Delhi will give incentives to replace old vehicle and charging stations across the city. The “comprehensive electric vehicle policy will be made public very soon.”

Electric Vehicles “will come suddenly”, California EV sales up 6%

Last year over 10 countries, including India, announced plans to ditch fossil fuel cars for EVs. Experts say we may be years away from true EV adoption, but we are definitely getting closer. “Consumer choice matters, need cost-competitive models…there’s incredible number of models coming in early-to-mid 2020s”. EVs were 6.2% of all vehicle sales in California in first half of 2018. Consumers buy a million EVs every six months.

NTPC, GAIL charging station ventures

Providing much needed EV infrastructure, state power firm NTPC commissioned its first EV charging station in Visakhapatnam to switch to electric mobility.

Meanwhile, GAIL India, country’s largest gas company, plans to set up EV charging stations at CNG dispensing stations. GAIL said its “pan-India gas network is deep-pocketed and has the capability of setting up charging infrastructure at a faster pace.”

Maharashtra to switch to electric buses

Maharashtra plans to switch from CNG and diesel to EVs. The initial plan is to transform MSRTC buses that will run from Pune-Mumbai, Mumbai-Nashik and Pune-Nashik; these will be manufactured by domestic automobile companies. Across the Atlantic, Brazilian beer maker Ambev plans to add 1,600 Volkswagen electric trucks to its fleet, making it the largest fleet of its kind in Brazil.

Can Electric Cars Make China This Century’s Detroit?

China EVs and plug-in hybrids sale rose by about half in 2017, while electric-only sales roughly doubled. For the first time, electric-only global car sales exceeded 1 million; China accounted for over half and is targeting 7 million by 2025. Meanwhile, cumulative passenger EV sales set to hit 4 million this weekCan EVs make China a global motor hub? Vehicle sales there outstripped the U.S. by 68% in 2017.


#Fossil Fuels

Tata and Adani Power likely to buyout two major stressed assets

Two major coal-fired stressed assets – Pragyaraj Power’s 1,980MW super-critical plant in Uttar Pradesh and GMR Infrastructure’s 1,370MW plant in Chhattisgarh – are very close to be bought out by Resurgent Power (a Tata Power-ICICI Ventures tie-up) and Adani Power, respectively. Resurgent has already received an LOI from Pragyaraj for 75.01% equity in the project.

The plants reportedly have viable fuel supply linkages and power tariffs, and the acquisitions may be one of the few to result from the restructuring of the nearly $10.5bn mess of stranded power assets.

Hike in tariffs proposed for Essar, Adani and Tata stressed assets in Gujarat

A hike in tariffs seems imminent for power from Tata, Essar and Adani Power’s coal-fired stressed assets in Gujarat – as they may be allowed to pass-through the increased cost of imported coal to their customers. The resolution plan however directly contradicts the Supreme Court’s 2017 ban on any tariff hikes for the plants and must be approved by the state’s chief minister and the cabinet.

24 stressed assets likely to face liquidation, banks request for more time to resolve NPAs

24 coal and gas-fired stressed assets are very likely to face liquidation after failing to attract any bids for buyouts. The debt-ridden projects have no reliable fuel supply linkages or power off-takers at viable tariffs.

Meanwhile State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) have sought additional time (beyond August 27) to resolve debt issues for 9,500MW of stressed assets that may be operationally viable. The Allahabad High Court and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) though remain defiant on granting extensions – believing that government policies were also responsible for the heavy losses now likely to ensue for the projects’ lenders.

Major setback for climate campaigners as Norway’s pension fund may remain invested in oil & gas

The Norwegian government may have handed climate campaigners a major setback after concluding that the risks from fluctuating oil prices were too low for the nation’s $1trillion pension fund to divest its fossil fuel holdings.

The recommendation has already boosted several oil & gas stocks but has been strongly criticized for its apparent ignorance of fossil fuels’ climate impacts. The fund was advised by the country’s central bank to divest from fossil fuel holdings to shield against an anticipated global fall in consumption.