Tag-Archive for » GHG «

quarta-feira, janeiro 27th, 2010 | Author: admin

A new, widely anticipated Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) should be issued by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “very soon,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said Tuesday. “(EPA is) working very hard to finalize the [new rule] as soon as possible,” Jackson said. The rule is now at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for an interagency review.
Biofuels makers have been waiting for the rules, which are designed to implement a 2007 law that mandated an ever-increasing amount of biofuels be added to transportation fuel. This year, 12.95 billion gallons of renewable fuel must be part of the supply, up almost 17% from last year. Of that total, almost one billion gallons must come from advanced biofuels.
The EPA has been working to determine what biofuels count as advanced. To qualify, each type of advanced biofuel must produce greenhouse-gas emissions that are at least 50% lower than the emissions associated with ordinary gasoline. The question is how to measure emissions, since the EPA must look across the entire life cycle from the time a seed is planted to the time a fuel is burned.  As part of that, the EPA must account for the potential impact of clearing land that absorbs greenhouse gases to make room for crops that absorb less of the gases.
The agency’s ultimate decision will also determine what types of new biofuel plants may break ground.
By law, new biofuel plants must produce fuels with greenhouse-gas emissions that are at least 20% lower that emissions associated with traditional gasoline.
Another question involves the future of corn-based ethanol. When the EPA proposed rules in May 2009, the agency outlined two different scenarios. One scenario largely favored the ethanol industry, and another would prohibit all but one corn-ethanol-production process. At issue is whether the EPA determines that ethanol producers are able to find ways to operate more efficiently–such as through the use of enzymes or other processes.
Oil companies have their own concerns. ConocoPhillips (COP) told the White House recently that the system for ensuring that marketers comply with the standards wasn’t workable. The company also opposed an EPA proposal that would allow biodiesel to qualify. The biodiesel industry is fighting back. The National Biodiesel Board has complained that companies aren’t buying biodiesel in mandated volumes because of the EPA’s delay in issuing rules.

Sugarcane blog

domingo, dezembro 27th, 2009 | Author: admin

Here’s some more good news about our renewable energy future. Another nation has reduced greenhouse gas emissions, while not taking an economic hit. Canada’s top 10 industrial greenhouse gas emitters reduced their emissions by 9% in a year, while the economy grew in the meantime by 0.5%.

Syncrude Canada alone accounted for a startling 18% reduction, among the top ten, by simply investing in efficiency technologies to reduce the heat required to extract oil. The US Department of Energy this year demonstrated a similar technology to the oil industry here. Ormat co-produces electrical power on oil-fields by tapping into the waste heat fluids to produce a temporary man-made “geothermal” power.

This is further indication of a historical trend showing that cutting greenhouse gas emissions doesn’t have to damage economies. While Canada did no worse than before while switching to more renewable energy – some economies that adopt more renewable energy are actually thriving:

Europe’s results, for example, as tallied by the greenhouse gas registry at the European Comission show that Europe is on track to not just meet but to exceed its Kyoto goals to get 8% reductions below 1990 levels by 2012. The first fifteen signatories (EU-15) will meet and exceed their 8% target and 10 of the remaining 12 member states will meet and exceed their 6% target below 1990 levels by 2012.

Total EU-27 emissions are now estimated to be 13.6% lower than the base year level 1990, yet Europe’s economy grew 44% from 1990 to 2007.

A New Energy Finance study has some interesting insight into Europe’s success. Within just five years of the introduction of its greenhouse gas emissions-trading system; the cost of greenhouse gases is now a factor in investment decisions within the fossil industry.Dirtier energy plants are beginning to be closed down, and replaced with cleaner energy sources. ”By 2020 the European generating fleet will be materially cleaner than it is today,” said Guy Turner, the research firm’s director of carbon market research.

And China is now investing $9 billion every month on clean energy. It is about to host a tradeshow in the largest solar powered building on the planet. China initially invested $30 billion in renewable energy last year… and its economy had rebounded at 8% by mid 2009. Since this is happening even as exports drop sharply to a recession hit world, one can only assume that internal renewable energy infrastructure is accounting for some of this growth.

CleanTechnica, Susan Kraemer

quinta-feira, dezembro 24th, 2009 | Author: admin

The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF), representing the 17 largest economies, launched a Global Partnership at the COP 15 in Copenhagen to spur development and deployment of low-carbon technologies in response to the dangers of climate change.
Italy and Brazil, considering their experience as Chair and Co-chair of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), offered to lead the preparation of the Bioenergy Technology Action Plan, in consultation with MEF Partners.
As an initial step, MEF countries have developed ten Technology Action Plans (TAPs), focused on areas such as advanced vehicles, carbon capture, energy efficiency, smart grids and renewable energy sources such as bioenergy. In all, these TAPs address roughly 80% of the energy-related global CO2 abatement potential identified by the International Energy Agency. Each of the TAPs contains potential actions for national leaders to consider, including the mitigation potential of the technology, barriers and best practice strategies to overcome them, and a menu of potential government actions to move towards best practice policies as appropriate to their respective national circumstances and priorities.
The report focuses on issues such as reliable feedstock supply infrastructure, improved conversion technologies and effective distribution and delivery of products. It also outlines barriers to bioenergy development such as high production costs, process integration and flexibility, feedstock availability and logistics, technology access and capacity, investment, trade barriers, institutional barriers, standards and sustainability compliance costs.
“Biofuels can potentially compete with conventional energy in terms of price and can enhance air quality in large cities while helping to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases,” the report states. “In addition, bioenergy can contribute to energy security and bring new economic development to agro-industry in tropical countries.”

The action plan identifies three main opportunities of accelerating the development and deployment of bioenergy:

Firstly, supporting innovation by
•    identifying or fostering the establishment of international regional centres of excellence in bioenergy R&D and innovation networks that connect researchers and industry along the whole bioenergy value chain
•    undertaking joint demonstration projects in ligno-cellulosic biofuels, integrated food and energy systems and other innovative bioenergy technologies or practices, including business models

Secondly, accelerating deployment by
•    identifying the principles, conditions and institutional frameworks that will best facilitate the deployment of technologies for sustainable bioenergy
•    establishing or enhancing frameworks for co-operative action to help shift from traditional to modern bioenergy
•    undertaking joint technology transfer projects in proven bioenergy technologies

And, thirdly, facilitating information flows by
•    considering membership of GBEP
•    facilitating regional hubs and the sharing of information

For its part, Italy has said it is profoundly committed to the actions identified by the MEF and firmly believes GBEP is the key framework for ensuring implementation of clean technologies for sustainable bioenergy and achieving reductions in related GHG emissions.

Global Bioenergy Partnership - GBEP

quinta-feira, dezembro 24th, 2009 | Author: admin

Small scale biogas plants have been around for 150 years. For farms and food companies producing liquid waste, anaerobic digestion (AD) offers an ideal solution for generating renewable fuel for combined heat and power (CHP) boilers to power their own facilities, and perhaps look at selling any additional power to the national grid to benefit from government subsidies.
Producing biogas through anaerobic digestion has proved so popular that a total of 8,900 biogas plants are destined to be built this year, using manure, food waste or municipal waste to generate 2,700 megawatts (MW) of electricity worldwide. Biogas is produced naturally in oxygen-free conditions at landfill sites over a number of years. Plants simply accelerate the digestion process through the addition of a specific amount of bacteria, constant stirring and temperature control. The gases produced are the same (50-60% methane and 35-40% carbon dioxide) but the yields can be larger and cleaner.
In the medium term biogas can be produced from anaerobic digestion of energy crops and in the long term it can be produced from the gasification of dry lignocellulosic biomass using dedicated biogas plants to produce large amount of renewable power. To produce biogas from lignocellulosic biomass it must be gasified giving a syngas mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Prior to entering the gasifier solid feedstocks are ground into small particles, while liquids and gases are fed directly. A controlled amounts of oxygen and steam then enters the gasifier, where temperatures reach 760 – 1537oC. The heat and pressure break apart the chemical bonds of the feedstock forming syngas.
The trace levels of impurities are then cleaned up prior to use in power applications. At a biogas plant such as Canada-based StormFisher’s the feedstock is mixed up in the primary digester in a low energy process at 37?C. The heat comes from the process itself. It is stirred and then stored for 22 days in a continuous process. The AD process produces electricity and heat. The former goes to the grid, and the process heat is used to dry the pellet, and the effluent (digestate) is turned into organic fertiliser.

Biofuels International

quinta-feira, dezembro 24th, 2009 | Author: admin

Canada’s forest industry has been hit hard by the recession. Now increasing efforts could resurrect the industry as it branches out to renewable energy.
Dimethyl ether, or DME is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide that can be produced from biomass, natural gas or coal. DME has the potential to replace diesel fuel because it produces 95% fewer greenhouse gases, no soot, low levels of nitrogen oxide and no sulphur dioxide.
Calgary-based GV Energy is proposing to build a biorefinery to produce DME in Terrace, British Columbia. It will use wood fibre collected from the forests around Terrace. It signed a tentative agreement with Terrace in November in which the city set aside a 100-hectare site in an industrial park for the biorefinery, which is to use up to 3,000 m3 of wood fibre a day. The process would turn the fibre into a gas to make methanol, which would then be converted into DME.

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sábado, dezembro 12th, 2009 | Author: admin

Na COP15, em Copenhague, representantes do governo brasileiro negociavam na sexta-feira 11/12/2009, o mecanismo REDD - Redução de Emissões por Desmatamento e Degradação Florestal - que poderá permitir ao País ganhar US$ 1,5 bi por ano salvando florestas.
A floresta em pé nunca valeu tanto. Cada hectare conservado de mata nativa pode significar menos gases causadores do efeito estufa (GEE) lançados na atmosfera. O mecanismo REDD funciona por meio da remuneração de emissões evitadas de carbono. O objetivo é recompensar países que coíbam o desmatamento.
O Brasil tem tudo para ser a bola da vez, até porque quase dois anos antes da COP15 lanou o Fundo Amazônia, com a meta de preservar a maior floresta tropical do planeta, cuja queima responde por 1,5% dos GEEs emitidos no planeta todo ano.

Curioso contraste

No mesmo dia 11 de dezembro de 2009, reportagem do jornal Folha de São Paulo revelava a anistia que o presidente Lula decidiu oferecer aos desmatadores.  “Além de adiar até 2012 a punição de desmatadores, o presidente Lula decidiu suspender a cobrança de multas aplicadas aos proprietários rurais que respeitarem o limite de corte de vegetação nativa em suas terras”, informa reportagem de Marta Salomon na Folha de S. Paulo.
A anistia faz parte do programa Mais Ambiente, resposta de Lula à pressão dos ruralistas. O valor da anistia é estimado em R$ 10 bilhões, similar à despesa, por ano, do Bolsa Família.
As punições deveriam ter entrado em vigor no ano passado, mas até junho de 2011 não haverá nenhuma punição. A partir daí, irregularidades serão notificadas e, depois, cobradas na forma de multa.  O decreto presidencial que determina a anistia seria publicado na edição de 11.12.2009 do “Diário Oficial da União”.
O ministro Carlos Minc (Meio Ambiente) reagiu à anistia aos produtores multados. “Se for isso, vou pedir para mudar, o acordo não era esse, isso vai ter de ser corrigido.”

País pode ganhar US$ 1,5 bi por ano salvando florestas
-
O Estado de S.Paulo, 11.12.2009

Tesouro perderá R$ 10 bilhões com anistia a desmatador
- Folha de S.Paulo, 11.12.2009

sábado, dezembro 12th, 2009 | Author: admin

This week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an “endangerment finding” with regard to greenhouse gases. Essentially, the EPA is saying that these gases - a major cause of global warming - are a threat to public health, and it will be taking steps to regulate emissions. (The EPA is the U.S. agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment.)

How did this come about?
In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling that greenhouse gases are pollutants and can be regulated by the EPA under the 1970 Clean Air Act. The Bush administration, which was in office at the time, did not act on this finding. However, on Monday, December 7, the EPA issued an “endangerment finding” on greenhouse gases.

What does “endangerment finding” mean?
Once the EPA decides that a pollutant endangers public health, the agency is “authorized and obligated to take reasonable efforts” to reduce emissions under the Clean Air Act. In the near term, the EPA is expected to introduce new regulations on auto emissions. Later, it is expected to target other sources of emissions, such as power plants and oil refineries.

Does the decision have any political ramifications?
By acting under its existing authorities rather than waiting for Congress to pass new emissions requirements, the EPA made clear its determination to reduce global warming pollution. Given the challenges of passing environmental legislation through Congress in the near term, the endangerment finding puts the regulatory process in motion as a backup and as a spur to action. Still, most businesses would prefer Congress to act.

How does this announcement affect the U.S.’s role in Copenhagen?
In the words of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, it “means that we arrive at the climate talks in Copenhagen with a clear demonstration of our commitment to facing this global challenge … In taking action now and recognizing this threat, we join the hundreds of other countries, thousands of leading scientists, tens of thousands of innovators, entrepreneurs and private companies, millions of Americans, and billions of global citizens who have seen the overwhelming evidence and called for action on climate change.”

UN Foundation

terça-feira, dezembro 08th, 2009 | Author: admin

Europeans could help cut climate warming emissions to much safer levels for just 2 euros ($3) each per day, but they would also have to cut back on driving and meat eating, a report said. Other long-term changes would include using the train instead of flying for journeys of under 1,000 km, said the report by the Stockholm Environment Institute, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE).
The study targets a European cut in climate-warming emissions such as carbon dioxide to 40 percent below 1990 levels over the next decade.

“It’s not just about investment, it’s also about lifestyle changes,” said FOEE campaigner Sonja Meister. “This report shows one pathway that would see air travel in the EU cut by 10 percent by 2020 and travel in private cars by 4 percent.”

“Travel by rail would rise by 9 percent, and meat consumption would be reduced by about 60 percent,” she added.

The European Union has pledged to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for climate change, to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

It also says it will cut by nearly a third if other rich nations agree to follow suit at COP15 in Copenhagen.

But many scientists say much deeper cuts are needed from rich nations to keep the climate temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius.

Poorer countries say industrialized nations caused the climate problem in the first place and should cut emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels.

That could be achieved in Europe for a cost of 2 trillion euros, or around 2 percent of cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) over the next decade, said the report.

“Put another way, this cost would be the equivalent of temporarily holding GDP constant for about one year before resuming normal growth,” it added.

The cost equates to about 2 euros per European per day, but that does not take account of the positive impact of job creation and reduced spending on hydrocarbon imports.

True to FOEE’s politics, the assessment excludes the use of nuclear energy or carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that would allow European power suppliers to keep on burning coal. It also rules out most carbon offsetting.

Instead, it assumes Europeans will accept higher taxes and make major lifestyle changes — something politicians have not yet dared demand.

Climate Progress

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terça-feira, dezembro 08th, 2009 | Author: admin

Um artigo recém publicado pelos pesquisadores do Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (Cena) e da Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (Esalq) da Universidade de São Paulo (USP) apresenta um perfil dos impactos da pecuária no Brasil e reforça o papel do setor na emissões do território brasileiro. Segundo o estudo, que poderá auxiliar na tomada de decisões políticas, principalmente durante a COP 15, é preciso dar mais atenção à pecuária e pensar em soluções para uma ocupação racional e sustentável das áreas agrícolas disponíveis no país.
O estudo intitulado Emissões de gases do efeito estufa do Brasil: Importância da agricultura e pastagem foi liderado pelo professor Carlos Clemente Cerri e publicado na revista científica Scientia Agricola, da Esalq. A revisão apresenta cálculos feitos com base em cinco fontes de emissão - energia, processos industriais, agricultura, mudança de uso da terra e resíduos, bem como de suas subfontes, além de oferecer um quadro inédito de emissões do Brasil.
Segundo informações da Esalq , o artigo substitui os cálculos apresentados em 2004 que traziam dados relativos ao período de 1990 a 1994. Neste documento foi relatado que o país é um dos maiores emissores de gases do efeito estufa (GEE) do mundo e isto ocorre, em grande parte, por causa do desmatamento, principalmente da Amazônia, para dar lugar à agricultura e pecuária.

O atraso na republicação do estudo vai contra a determinação da Convenção Quadro das Nações Unidas sobre Mudanças Climáticas, realizada no Rio de Janeiro, em 1992. Além de firmar uma redução da emissão de GEE para a atmosfera, o acordo estabelecia a realização de inventários periódicos sobre o assunto.

“Os dados do primeiro inventário são relativos a 1994, e é o que prevalece até hoje. Já são passados 15 anos. Como participei de parte do primeiro relatório, montei minha equipe e atualizamos esses dados até 2005, utilizando a mesma metodologia do inventário anterior. Assim, calculamos as emissões a cada cinco anos, ou seja, 1990, 1995, 2000 e 2005″, comentou Cerri.

Embora considerado por aqueles que já tiveram acesso ao trabalho como um novo inventário, os autores salientam que este artigo não deve ser considerado um documento oficial da Comunicação Nacional, apesar de ele poder auxiliar na tomada de decisões políticas na ausência de um documento oficial.

Mais tóxicos que o gás carbônico

Cerri explica que todo o processo de digestão do gado gera gases altamente tóxicos. “Tudo isso parece folclórico, mas é importante, porque
o metano e o óxido nitroso são gases que têm alto potencial para aquecer a atmosfera terrestre vinte e trezentas vezes mais do que o gás carbônico. Assim, nosso estudo aponta maneiras de se trabalhar com uma pecuária mais tecnificada para melhor aproveitamento das áreas atuais sob pastagens e, em consequência, reduzir as emissões pelo setor”, explica Cerri.

De acordo com o pesquisador, quando os três gases do efeito estufa foram convertidos em uma única unidade denominada de “equivalente em CO2″, percebeu-se que a taxa de emissão de gases do desmatamento aumentou 8,1% entre 1994 e 2005, enquanto que a taxa produzida pela fermentação dos ruminantes teve aumento de 13%. E a preocupação não pára por aí: “hoje, a ocupação média no Brasil é de 0,9 cabeças por hectare. O Brasil precisa, nos próximos dez anos, de 20 milhões de hectares para acomodar as expectativas de expansão na produção de alimentos, fibras e biocombustíveis para suprir as necessidades internas e exportar”, diz o pesquisador.

“Precisamos produzir mais soja, milho, arroz, trigo, algodão, cana-de-açúcar e oleaginosas para biocombustível; mais reflorestamento com silvicultura com eucalipto, pinus e outras essências e isso dá, mais ou menos, 20 milhões de hectares e nós não podemos desmatar. O grande desafio é proceder essa expansão sem novos desmatamentos e isso é perfeitamente possível adotando um planejamento estratégico adequado nas áreas já ocupadas pela agricultura e pecuária”, afirma.

Para isso, o pesquisador indica utilizar as tecnologias existentes no país, trabalhar na recuperação de pastagens degradadas, no melhoramento genético e na adoção da integração lavoura-pecuária, reduzindo tempo e espaço e aumentando a produtividade. “Isso faz com que o tempo de vida do animal seja reduzido. Ao invés de permanecer três anos e meio no campo, é possível reduzir o tempo para o abate com mesmo peso, porém com menor emissão de gases responsáveis pelo aquecimento global”, conclui.

Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz - www.esalq.usp.br

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sexta-feira, dezembro 04th, 2009 | Author: admin

The international Methane to Markets (M2M) Partnership is publishing its first comprehensive report detailing the achievements of its 31 partner governments. Methane capture and use projects supported by the partnership since its creation in 2004 are currently reducing emissions by more than 27.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually – equivalent to the annual emissions from 5 million passenger vehicles.
The M2M Partnership reduces greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the cost-effective, near-term recovery and use of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, while providing clean energy to markets around the world.
“The Methane to Markets Partnership is a true success story in the fight against climate change and the transition to a clean energy economy” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and current chair of the Methane to Markets steering committee. “Methane to Markets is helping countries mitigate climate change, develop new sources of clean energy, and protect their local environments.”
Through the partnership, member countries and nearly 900 private sector entities, financial institutions, non-governmental agencies, and other organizations have collaborated on more than 170 methane capture and use projects and activities.
The partnership has also held more than 80 events in 23 countries, generated $84 million in direct funding, and leveraged more than $350 million in private financing for capacity building and project development.
The M2M Partnership is sponsoring an international expo March 2-5, 2010 in New Delhi, India. The expo will showcase current projects; opportunities for potential project partners and financiers; technical, policy and financial issues; and the latest technologies and services related to methane recovery and use.

U.S. E.P.A.