Egypt Independent: Environment-Main news en Govt mulls custom cuts on imported renewable energy appliances <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div><span style="font-size: 14px;">The&nbsp;</span>Finance Ministry is considering slashing duties from the current 20 percent tax to as low as 2 percent on imported renewable energy appliances as specialists in the industry have complained that government quotations for energy products is discouraging investors.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ater Hannoura, the ministry&rsquo;s official for private sector partnerships, said that a new law is currently in the works to unify custom duties for renewable energy parts for both producers and government companies.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If the government quotation for renewable energy prices proves unfeasible, it will likely be changed since the government&rsquo;s main goal is to offset energy shortage by encouraging investment in energy projects, Hannoura said during a conference on Wednesday by the Solar Energy Development Association (SEDA).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hannoura said in a statement that his ministry is currently involved in negotiations with foreign and local banks to secure finances for energy projects. He noted that the Social Fund for Development alone offered LE5 million for each undertaking.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>During the Wednesday conference, SEDA&rsquo;s chief, Khaled Gasser, said the solar energy production tariff for house use is currently 84 piasters per KW, which he described as unattractive for investors since it means that electricity consumption cost would surpass profits from solar energy production over the next years, therefore discouraging citizens from investing in home solar energy units.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While Hannoura stressed the current quotation was achieved after discussions with associations and businessmen, SEDA member Tawfiq Beshara accused the government of unilaterally setting the price without consulting the Electricity&nbsp;Ministry and junior investors.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:24:00 +0000 Egypt Independent 2441498 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/05/25/5886/electricity_cuts_2.jpg Egypt's Suez Cement to convert two factories to run on coal <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Suez Cement, Egypt&#39;s largest listed cement maker by market value, said on Tuesday it planned to spend 600 million Egyptian pounds ($84 million) in 2015 on equipping two factories to run on coal due to the country&#39;s energy crunch.&nbsp;<br /><br />Egypt is battling its worst energy crisis in decades. Rising consumption and decreasing production have turned it into a net energy importer in recent years and caused regular blackouts.&nbsp;<br /><br />The cabinet approved the industrial use of coal in April and companies are now in the process of fitting their plants to run on imported coal, a move Suez has said should help boost output and reduce costs.&nbsp;<br /><br />The company posted a 40.5 per cent rise in third-quarter profit last month after it managed to pass on higher production costs to consumers.&nbsp;<br /><br />But nine-month profit fell 14.6 per cent on last year, hit by severe energy shortages which forced the company to cut output by 40 per cent so far this year.&nbsp;<br /><br />CEO Bruno Carre said in a statement to the bourse the firm would develop its Helwan and Tora 2 factories &quot;to use coal and residues to compensate for the lack of energy supplies.&quot;&nbsp;<b&nbsp;.. br=""></b&nbsp;..></p><div><br />Suez Cement was one of the companies affected when the government cut natural gas supplies to factories in January and has had to import clinker at higher cost.&nbsp;<br /><br />The government&#39;s move was aimed at preserving natural gas for power generation, to avoid blackouts and public unrest. It led cement companies, including Suez, to renew a demand to use coal for power generation.&nbsp;<br /><br />The company has said it would begin using coal during the next two years while working to diversify its energy mix by adding waste-derived fuel in its factories.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</div> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:48:00 +0000 Reuters 2441418 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/08/13/465291/shutterstock_63102985.jpg Paris climate summit faces tougher job after modest Lima deal <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>A Paris summit in 2015 will face a tougher task to agree a U.N. deal to slow climate change after the hopes of many that cooperation between Washington and Beijing would be a magic key to end global gridlock dissolved in chaotic preparatory talks in Lima.</p><p>At best, Paris may be a chance to reform a sprawling system of annual U.N. talks - more than 11,000 delegates attended the two-week talks in a tent city in Lima - and find ways to boost long-term action to stem rising greenhouse gas emissions.</p><p>After a frantic conclusion two days into overtime on Sunday, about 190 governments agreed only to some modest building blocks of a Paris accord despite high expectations for a positive outcome after the&nbsp;<a href="" title="Full coverage of China">China</a>&nbsp;and the United States, the world&#39;s top two emitters, last month agreed jointly to limit emissions.</p><p>But the political momentum of the deal gave way to the familiar divisions and &quot;red lines&quot; that routinely bog down talks, especially on the question of how to differentiate the responsibilities of rich and poor countries.</p><p>&quot;The U.S.-China announcement hinted at a fundamental shift putting developed and developing countries on a more equal footing. It&#39;s no surprise that in Lima a lot of developing countries pushed back,&quot; said Elliot Diringer of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.</p><p>The United Nations says it is already clear that promises for emissions curbs at a Paris summit in December 2015 will be too weak to get on track for a U.N. goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times.</p><p>&quot;We will have a lot of work to do,&quot; French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said of the task ahead for Paris.</p><p>Still, 2015 holds out a hope of reform for the U.N. system to rein in greenhouse gases blamed for causing heat waves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.</p><p>Paris could mark a shift away from two decades of climate diplomacy toward a more technocratic system that would allow national pledges for action to limit warming to be compared and toughened in coming years.</p><p>Yvo de Boer, a former U.N. climate chief, said one problem was that U.N. negotiators lacked authority. &quot;If the leaders of the Group of 20 got together and said &#39;let&#39;s get this done&#39; the whole thing would be over in 30 minutes,&quot; he told Reuters.</p><p>De Boer, who heads the Global Green Growth Institute, which helps developing nations, noted that annual climate talks have ballooned since 1,000 delegates attended a first meeting in 1994.</p><p>&quot;Paris could be an opportunity to change that, if it identifies the cornerstones of the work that needs to be done. It could make it into a technical process and not a political process,&quot; he said.</p><p>So far, however, the signs even of that are not good.</p><p>Texts agreed in Lima will oblige governments to provide only vague plans for limiting greenhouse gas emissions - the cornerstone of a Paris deal - after China objected to a European Union drive for detailed accounts.</p><p>The outcome of the Lima talks, which attracted delegates ranging from OPEC oil ministers to vegans dressed as chickens, means that a Paris deal is likely to be a mere patchwork of national offers for curbing emissions.</p><p>Adding pressure, this year is set to be the warmest, or among the very hottest, on record, according to the U.N. weather agency.</p><p>Some long-time U.N. climate talk observers said the weak outcome from Lima proves that the U.N. multilateral process is not the best for climate action. Businesses and cities are among those taking action.</p><p>&quot;While negotiators had difficulty in reaching agreement in Lima even on a modest set of outcomes, the U.N. is no longer the only show in town,&quot; said Nathaniel Keohane of the Environmental Defense Fund.</p> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 07:52:00 +0000 Reuters 2441326 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/14/499612/climate_talks.jpg Fingers pointed as climate talks deadlock <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Accusations flew at deadlocked UN climate talks in Lima on Saturday, as the United States warned that failure to compromise could doom the 22-year-old global forum.</p><p>Running deep into an unscheduled 13th day, the negotiations got mired in a row between rich and poor countries over sharing out responsibility for cutting climate-altering greenhouse gases.</p><p>Nearly a full day after the scheduled close of the meeting, the chairs of a working group tasked with formulating a text presented negotiators with a proposed compromise.</p><p>Many rich nations accepted it as a workable blueprint.</p><p>But developing countries kicked it out, saying the document failed to balance action on tackling carbon emissions with help for vulnerable economies.</p><p>US envoy Todd Stern said the stalemate put an envisioned 2015 climate pact at risk, as well as the credibility of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) -- an offshoot of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.</p><p>&quot;All we have achieved so far will be at risk, and all that we hope to achieve will be at risk as well,&quot; Stern told delegates.</p><p>&quot;The success of this COP here in Lima is at stake,&quot; he said, using the jargon for the UNFCCC&#39;s annual Conference of Parties.</p><p>&quot;The success of next year&#39;s COP in Paris is at stake, and I think the future of the UNFCCC as the body to address climate change effectively at the international level is also at stake.&quot;</p><p>Facing division, exhaustion and an increasingly fractious mood, the working group handed the baton of seeking a compromise to conference president Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru&#39;s environment minister.</p><p>&quot;Let us go and work and let us reach a consensus,&quot; he begged negotiators.</p><p>&quot;It is not time for proposals, it is time for solutions. Let us help each other.&quot;</p><p>Negotiators in Lima must agree on a formula for guiding a process next year of declaring national carbon-curbing pledges.</p><p>These will form the backbone of a worldwide accord to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.</p><p>To be sealed in Paris in December 2015 and take effect by 2020, the deal would for the first time bring all 196 UNFCCC members into a single arena for cutting greenhouse gases.</p><p>The Lima talks ran into familiar finger-pointing about which countries should do the heavy lifting.</p><p>Developing nations insist the West must bear a bigger burden for carbon cuts, having started decades earlier to pollute their way to prosperity.</p><p>But rich countries point the finger at developing giants like China and India furiously burning coal to power their rapid growth.</p><p><strong>- Anger over adaptation help -</strong></p><p>Developing countries also want rich countries&#39; pledges to include commitments to financial help and adaptation aid for shoring up their climate defences.</p><p>&quot;Let us not forget millions of poor, because every climate action has a cost,&quot; said Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.</p><p>Malaysia complained that appeals for wording on adaptation help had fallen on deaf ears.</p><p>&quot;What else do you want us to do? To go on bended knee?&quot; its delegate asked.</p><p>And Venezuela objected that there was no reference on the issue of rich-developing country differentiation.</p><p>Campaigners in Lima lashed the proposed compromise, saying it had been watered-down.</p><p>If approved, the proposal would mean &quot;almost no progress would be made at Lima and all the work punted down the road to be fought over next year in Paris,&quot; said Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid.</p><p>Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth said &quot;there would be essentially no outcome for people and the planet. It would be the weakest of weak political statements.&quot;</p><p>Apart from the pledge format, negotiators must also agree in Lima on a workable negotiating outline for the Paris pact, with just months of haggling time left.</p><p>Scientists say the two-degree target is roughly half the warming that can be expected by 2100 on current emissions trends.</p><p>But if warming jumps by four degrees Celsius, they say, the world would be a grim place -- gripped by more severe and frequent, droughts, floods, storms and fast-rising sea levels.</p><p>Emissions must be slashed by 40-70 percent by 2050 from 2010 levels and to near zero or below by 2100 for a good chance of reaching two-degree warming, the UN&#39;s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a report issued this year.</p> Sun, 14 Dec 2014 07:05:00 +0000 AFP 2441269 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/14/499612/climate_talks.jpg