Egypt Independent: Environment-Main news http://www.egyptindependent.com//enhome_channel/Environment/rss.xml en EU set to allow car emissions into carbon trading market http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2439171 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2014/10/21/484151/02climate-master675.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The European Union is set to make it easier to bring road transport emissions into the carbon trading market, a move that critics say could empower carmakers to push back against more effective curbs on greenhouse gases.</p><p>EU leaders will attempt to agree on energy policy for 2030 when they meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, including an EU-wide cut in greenhouse gas emissions of 40 percent compared with 1990 levels.</p><p>The EU&#39;s Emissions Trading System (ETS), key to efforts to reduce emissions, has so far excluded road transport. It has focused on curbing pollution from heavy industry and the power sector by forcing more than 12,000 power plants, factories and airlines to surrender an allowance for every tonne of CO2 emitted under a gradually decreasing emission cap.</p><p>But a draft of the EU&#39;s 2030 climate and energy package, seen by Reuters, says individual member states can include road transport in the EU ETS if they choose.</p><p>It also calls on the executive European Commission to &quot;further develop instruments and measures for a comprehensive and technology neutral approach for the promotion of emissions reduction and energy efficiency in transport&quot;.</p><p>The phrase &quot;technology neutral&quot; is often used by business to champion using the EU ETS to tackle emissions, rather than sector-specific targets.</p><p>Transport is Europe&#39;s second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the power sector, and is also the fastest-growing one.</p><p>Bringing cars into the ETS could reduce the costs the car industry faces in meeting existing regulation as well as tackling the oversupply on the carbon market which has pushed prices of carbon allowances down to around 6 euros ($7.64) per tonne from more than 30 euros six years ago.</p><p>But the impact on emissions would be negligible, analysts say. A study published this week by consultancy Cambridge Econometrics estimated that bringing road transport into the ETS would curb emissions by 1 percent by 2030 at current ETS prices.</p><p>It also found that to achieve a vehicle emissions goal of 60 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer (g/km) by 2030 -- the logical extension of existing car emissions targets -- carbon prices would need to rise to over 200 euros per tonne, imposing huge costs on heavy industry.</p><p>Climate campaigners say heavy lobbying from business has already ensured a proposed emissions cut of 40 percent will not include a sub-target for transport, whereas the current set of 2020 targets includes a 6 percent cut in road fuel emissions compared with 1990.</p><p>Existing EU law also includes emissions standards to limit carbon dioxide pollution from cars, which extend to 2021 and have attracted stiff resistance, especially from the German luxury car sector, led by brands such as BMW and Daimler.</p><p>Several EU officials said there was no unanimity on bringing road transport into the ETS, so member states were likely to agree on asking the European Commission to look at ways to expand the carbon trading scheme.</p><p>But green campaigners say even the mention of flexibility in achieving targets could give carmakers more stick to persuade lawmakers to drop efforts for any further car specific standards, which they say have had a major impact on reducing vehicle fuel use and cutting pollution.</p><p>&quot;The draft text makes the theoretical possibility of transport in the ETS move closer to reality,&quot; said Greg Archer of environmental group T&amp;E. &quot;It is a dangerous precedent that will undermine reductions in transport emissions while damaging EU growth and jobs.&quot;</p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:54:00 +0000 Reuters 2439171 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/21/484151/02climate-master675.jpg US First Solar to invest in Egypt by next year, executive director says http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2439115 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2013/05/22/5886/sun.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>The US company, First Solar, is looking into operating in Egypt by next year, Middle East Executive Director Ahmed Nada said.</p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">He added that the company is considered one of the largest companies in the world in the field of solar energy and is listed on NASDAQ.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">First Solar is a global leader in photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions with more than eight gigawatts (GW) installed worldwide.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Moreover, Nada said he expects Egypt to become an exporter of solar energy within five years.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Egypt is looking to increase the country&rsquo;s share of new and renewable energy to 20 percent by 2020, according to electricity ministry figures. Wind will likely account for 12 percent, with other renewable energy sources making up the remaining eight percent.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">In April 2014, the Egyptian government announced plans to invest US$1 billion in solar power development in order to increase the share of green energy in the country and to spur job creation.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:59:00 +0000 Egypt Independent 2439115 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2013/05/22/5886/sun.jpg Minister: Egypt receives 3 international offers worth US$5 bn to set up coal power plants http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2439073 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2014/10/21/484151/193375_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The ministry of electricity received three offers from Chinese, American and German companies to generate electricity from coal with a capacity of 3000 MW and investments worth US$5 billion, according to minister of electricity Mohamed Shaker on Tuesday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Egypt soon plans to generate another 13k megawatts from coal,&quot; Shaker added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In April 2014, Egypt&#39;s cabinet approved use of coal for power generation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The country is currently struggling with blackouts, causing the government to cut natural gas supplies to factories, which has prompted cement companies to demand coal use.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt&#39;s natural gas production has been declining for years. Production in January was down 10 percent from January 2013, according to the most recent government figures.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In September 2014, the Egyptian began to allow coal importation despite environmental concerns from the high pollution coal emits.</div><div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>Investment Minister Ashraf Salman recently revealed plans to construct power sites operating on coal during the fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015 in order to meet the country&rsquo;s growing electricity needs.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He asserted that the government is conducting new and renewable energy projects to find the optimal solution to Egypt&rsquo;s electricity problem under growing consumption.</div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:44:00 +0000 Ibrahim Alsahary 2439073 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/21/484151/193375_0.jpg Saturn moon may have 'life-friendly' underground ocean: scientists http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2438963 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2012/01/29/54605/solar-system.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Saturn&rsquo;s battered moon Mimas may have a thin global ocean buried miles beneath its icy surface, raising the prospect of another &quot;life-friendly&quot; habitat in the solar system, scientists said on Thursday.</p><p>An underground ocean is one of two explanations for why the 400-mile (250-km) diameter moon wobbles as it orbits around Saturn, scientists using data from NASA&rsquo;s Cassini spacecraft said. The other possibility is that Mimas has an oblong or rugby ball-shaped core. Follow-up measurements should provide more answers, the scientists said.</p><p>Either way, the findings point to a more complex and intriguing history for a moon best known for a large crater that dominates its surface, making it look like the &quot;Death Star&quot; from the movie &quot;Star Wars.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;If Mimas does have an ocean, this would definitely be another interesting body in the solar system to be added to list of potential &lsquo;life-friendly&rsquo; environments,&quot; Radwan Tajeddine, a research associate in Cornell University&#39;s astronomy department, wrote in an email to Reuters.</p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">&ldquo;The ocean hypothesis sounds unlikely because ... Mimas&rsquo; heavily cratered surface has shown no evidence of liquid water, thermal heating or geological activities,&rdquo; researchers wrote in an article published in this week&rsquo;s issue of the journal Science.</span></p><p>But a closer look at Mimas&rsquo; eccentric orbit provides a clue. Gravitational tugging by Saturn as the moon circles closer and then farther away from the planet could cause enough frictional heating to melt ice and form an ocean.</p><p>&ldquo;This ocean will sustain as long as the orbit is eccentric,&rdquo; Tajeddine, lead author of the article, wrote in the email to Reuters.</p><p>The other idea that Mimas has an elongated core raises a different set of questions about how the moon formed.</p><p>One theory is that Mimas, and possibly sister moons Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea, evolved from a collection of rocky chunks circling close to Saturn. Gravitational forces from Saturn would have sculpted the moon&rsquo;s core into an oblong shape, which was then covered in ice.</p><p>In this scenario, Tajeddine said, the icy shell relaxes and forms a nearly spherical shape while the moon migrates outward. Meanwhile, low temperatures preserve the shape of the oblong core.</p> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Reuters 2438963 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2012/01/29/54605/solar-system.jpg