February 2010

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This page includes information on News and Events in February 2010. (News and events are archived here at the end of the month.)

Events

News

  • Smoke from home fuels tied to emphysema, 25 February 2010 by Reuters: "People who burn wood or other biofuels for heat or cooking may have a heightened risk of emphysema and related lung conditions, a new study suggests."
    • "Biomass refers to biological materials that can be burned for energy, including wood, crops and animal dung. They are major sources of energy in the developing world, and are thought to be used for cooking and heating in half of homes worldwide."
    • "These latest findings strengthen the evidence that exposure to biomass smoke is a risk factor for [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)]".[2]
  • (U.K.'s largest power station) Drax suspends plan to replace coal with greener fuel, 19 February 2010 by Times Online: "Britain’s biggest power station has suspended its plan to replace coal with greener fuel, leaving the Government little chance of meeting its target for renewable energy."
    • "The power station, which is the country’s largest single source of CO2, has invested £80 million in a processing unit for wood, straw and other plant-based fuels, known as biomass."
    • "Drax is also one of dozens of companies delaying investments in new biomass power stations because of uncertainty over the Government’s policy on long-term subsidies. Hundreds of farmers growing biomass crops may now struggle to sell their produce."
    • "Drax’s decision will make it almost impossible for the Government to meet its commitment to increase the proportion of electricity from renewable sources from 5.5 per cent to 30 per cent by 2020."
    • "The Renewable Energy Association said that plans for more than 50 biomass projects, totalling £13 billion of investment, had been suspended because of uncertainty over policy."[3]
  • British Airways to buy jet fuel from city waste, 16 February 2010 by Reuters: "British Airways will start sourcing a small portion of its jet fuel from municipal waste from 2014, under a deal with U.S.-based biofuel company Solena Group."
  • Indonesia may open more forests to palm oil, 16 February 2010 by The Malaysian Insider: "As Indonesia looks for ways to meet its ambitious emissions-reduction targets, the Ministry of Forestry yesterday said it plans to issue a new regulation that would allow commercial forestry companies to plant crops such as palm oil in new concession areas."
    • "The regulation would stipulate that at least 49 per cent of forest concessions in question be used for planting commercial forests, while up to 21 percent could be planted in crops. The remaining 30 percent would be set aside for conservation and the use of local communities."
    • "A similar regulation was issued in 1999 but was withdrawn after many forestry companies planted more of their land in palm oil than permitted."[5]
  • Palm oil plantations could be classified as forests, 8 February 2010 by The Ecologist: "European Commission guidance would allow biofuels to be labelled as sustainable even if forests have been destroyed to make way for the palm oil plantations."
    • "According to a leaked document from the European Commission, reclassifying palm plantations as forested land could be justified and allow it to meet sustainability criteria."
    • According to the document, this would mean "'for example, that a change from forest to oil palm plantation would not per se constitute a breach of the criterion.'"
    • "Friends of the Earth said the plans, if accepted, would allow rainforest to be destroyed to make way for palm plantations and the resulting biofuel to still be classified as sustainable."
    • "The EU is due to publish a report on greenhouse gas emissions from biofuel production in March 2010."[7]
  • White House Clears Rules on Indirect GHG Emissions From Biofuels, 2 February 2010 by Greenwire/New York Times: "The White House has completed its review of controversial U.S. EPA regulations aimed at curbing renewable fuels' greenhouse gas emissions."
    • "The Office of Management and Budget signed off on the rule yesterday..., clearing EPA to finalize the long-delayed implementation of the renewable fuels standard that Congress included in the 2007 energy bill."
    • "The standard requires EPA to assess the "lifecycle" emissions of biofuels -- weighing the emissions from growing crops, producing fuels made from them, and distributing and using the fuels."
    • "The draft regulations EPA proposed last year sparked outrage from biofuels advocates and farm-state lawmakers who maintained the agency was unfair to ethanol."
    • "The EPA proposal measures emissions from "indirect" land-use changes associated with biofuels -- such as land that is deforested in other countries because of increased crop growth in the United States. The agency concluded, depending on the time frames modeled, that traditional corn ethanol could have a slightly larger emissions footprint than gasoline when land-use changes are factored in."[9]
  • Global deal on climate change in 2010 'all but impossible', 1 February 2010 by The Guardian: "A global deal to tackle climate change is all but impossible in 2010, leaving the scale and pace of action to slow global warming in coming decades uncertain, according to senior figures across the world involved in the negotiations."
    • "'The forces trying to tackle climate change are in disarray, wandering in small groups around the battlefield like a beaten army,' said a senior British diplomat."
    • "Many of those contacted say only a legally binding deal setting "top-down" global limits on emissions can ultimately avoid the worst impacts of rising temperatures. But a global deal at the next major climate summit in Mexico is impossible, says the former deputy prime minister John Prescott".[10]



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