China attracted more asset financing in clean-energy technology in the second quarter than Europe and the U.S. combined, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.
Financing of wind turbines, solar panels and low-carbon technology in China climbed 72 percent to $11.5 billion compared with the year-earlier quarter, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in an e-mailed statement. U.S. investments in clean energy rose to $4.9 billion while in Europe it fell to $4.5 billion.
“China continues its extraordinary surge and Europe has suffered a setback according to our figures for asset finance in the second quarter,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of New Energy Finance. “Where investors are placing their bets is changing rapidly.”
China’s $586 billion stimulus program, implemented last year and still being spent, and economic growth boosted industrial output and energy demand. The world’s most populous nation installed 14 gigawatts of new wind power last year, more than any other country.
General Electric, in partnership with four prominent venture capital firms, announced a $200 million competition for clean-energy innovation funds on Tuesday.
The program, called the Ecomagnination Challenge, is aimed at fostering ideas that will help speed up the development of the so-called “smart grid” “” that is, what energy experts say is a much-needed digital upgrade to the nation’s aging and largely analog electric system.
In announcing the program, G.E.’s chief executive, Jeff Immelt, said the company was hoping to make resources available to those with the most innovative ideas for improving energy creation and distribution in the United States “” and ultimately around the globe.
“We know how to make things, we know how to sell things, we know how to service things,” Mr. Immelt said during a panel discussion in San Francisco on Tuesday morning. “We have a big brand, so let’s go.”
More and more companies are making noteworthy efforts to minimize damage to the environment from their activities, according to a report on business and biodiversity issued on Tuesday.
The report said that Wal-Mart, for example, had sought to eliminate “excess product packaging,” reducing its disposal expenses while increasing its customer numbers and business revenues. The mining company Rio Tinto has made progress by starting offset projects in Madagascar, Australia and North America, news-media materials accompanying the report said. The energy company BC Hydro was singled out for a policy of “no net incremental ecological impact,” and Coca-Cola aims to become “water neutral” by 2020, the materials said.
The study is part of a series titled The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, a joint initiative by industrialized nations and the United Nations Environment Program intended to draw attention to the global economic benefits of fostering biodiversity. The group plans to present a synthesis report in October at a meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan.
A pledge by rich nations in Copenhagen to provide as much as $100 billion a year of climate-related aid to developing countries by 2020 may depend in part on the generosity of private donors and other non-governmental sources.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that his panel of advisers “” seeking ways to fulfill a U.N. climate summit’s pledge in the Danish capital last December “” was considering private sources to deliver some of the aid promised to help developing countries deal with rising sea levels, drought and other effects of rising temperatures.
The panel chaired by prime ministers Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Jens Stoltenberg of Norway have been meeting this week to devise ways to set up a $30 billion annual fund by 2012 that would increase to $100 billion a year by 2020. The panel also includes billionaire George Soros, White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers, the president of Guyana and ministers from Britain, France, Mexico, Singapore and South Africa.
“The challenges will be great,” Ban told reporters. “They have to first of all identify the sources of resource “” whether it comes from public funding or private funding. I suspect that to generate $100 billion, both private and public funds would be necessary.” He did not specify, however, what sort of private funds might be sought “” individual, corporate or other sources. Ban’s advisory panel on climate financing said it plans to submit a final report in October on how to set up the fund.
Nepali government has sent invitation to 51 mountainous countries for a meeting on climate change scheduled for October 4-5 in capital Kathmandu. According to Wednesday’s The Himalayan Times daily report, the cabinet on June 23 decided to host a ministerial-level meeting in Nepal. Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had announced the meeting at the Copenhagen summit on climate change held in December 2009. Countries having mountains over 4,000 meters high are included in this group.
According to a source at the Ministry of Environment, there were a few rounds of talks with donor agencies working on climate change issues and they have shown interest in supporting the initiative. International Center for Integrated Mountain Development is technically assisting the ministry. This is the largest meeting ever in history taking place on the government’s initiative.
Pete Libra is frustrated. The 40-year-old cod fisherman sees lots of fish in the ocean, and he wants to catch more. Fishing authorities see fewer, and want him to catch less. “I’m not a scientist. But I see the fish,” said Libra. His is the voice of many of the fishermen in Gloucester, the heart of a once-great fishing industry that powered fledgling America and underwrote New England’s economy.
Many fishermen here feel threatened by a sweeping new set of fishing limits imposed this spring by authorities trying to rebuild fish stocks they say are depleted by overfishing and facing pressures that include climate change. Federal fishing regulators have traditionally reacted to falling stocks by putting additional curbs on fishing. But that approach may not work in the face of larger environmental changes such as global warming.
The chief fishing grounds for Massachusetts watermen are Gulf of Maine and the Georges Bank, the most westward of the famous Atlantic fishing banks off the North American coast. They are among the most famous and historically productive fishing grounds in the world; their collapse in the mid-1990s was equally historic, and the debate over how to manage the depleted stocks while nursing them back to health has been hotly contested ever since.
To hear Athol Klieve tell it, a key to reducing Australia’s enormous carbon emissions is to make a cow more like this country’s iconic animal “” the kangaroo.
Both animals are herbivores, and both eat grass that is fermented before entering their main stomachs. But while cattle belch enormous amounts of methane to digest the food, kangaroos release virtually none “” they burp only harmless acids that can be turned into vinegar.
Sure, Mr. Klieve, an expert on bovine stomachs, has fiddled around with the ruminants’ diet to make them less gassy. But on a tour of the new $28 million Center for Advanced Animal Science here, Mr. Klieve grew animated when he talked of leading a team of microbiologists and genetic researchers to make cattle guts behave like kangaroos’.
“Feed additives can lead to incremental decreases in methane,” Mr. Klieve said, standing inside a nearly complete high-tech chamber where cattle will be brought in to have their methane burps measured precisely. “But we’re trying to do other things that might give us a quantum leap, and that’s why we’re looking at kangaroos.”