Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dutch saltwater potatoes offer hope for world's hungry

Yahoo – AFP, Maude Brulard, 29 April 2015

A worker sorts potatoes before packaging them at the Salty Potato Farm, 
in Den Horn, Netherlands (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)

Den Hoorn (Netherlands) (AFP) - A small field on an island off the Netherlands' northern coast promises one answer to the problem of how to feed the world's ever-growing population: potatoes and other crops that grow in saltwater.

Every day, swathes of farmland somewhere in the world become unusable because of salty soil, but farmers on windswept Texel are finding solutions using traditional methods.

The team headed by farmer Mark van Rijsselberghe has planted around 30 types of potato and their approach is simple: anything that dies in the saline environment is abandoned, and anything that lives "we try to follow up on," said Van Rijsselberghe. "It's faster."

Dutch farmer Mark van Rijsselberghe, 
who launched the Salty Potato Farm
(AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)
The experiments do not just target potatoes, but also look at how other crops grow in saltwater, including carrots, strawberries, onions and lettuce.

The plants are irrigated using pumps that manage water down to the drop, so the plant and soil salinity can be accurately measured and the effect of "sweet" rainwater taken into account.

Van Rijsselberghe, 60, started the "Salty Potato Farm" around 10 years ago in the hope of helping the world's malnourished.

The team, supported by Amsterdam University, uses neither genetically modified organisms nor laboratories in their quest for food that grows in salty environments.

With more than 5,000 varieties, the potato is the world's fourth most popular food crop, according to the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Plants whose ancestors grew near or on the sea, but have moved inland with human populations, are likely still to have the necessary genes.

"It could be a hundred, it could be 1,000 years ago, they still are capable of coping with saline surroundings," said Van Rijsselberghe.

Food security

A worker sorts potatoes before packaging 
them at the Salty Potato Farm in Den Horn,
 in the Netherlands (AFP Photo/
Emmanuel Dunand)
While today much research is focused on improving the yield of crops, the Dutch team has taken the opposite approach: trying to grow crops on land previously considered unusable.

The bespectacled farmer jokes that in a country where much of the land lies below sea level, "we are so afraid of the sea that until 10 years ago we didn't dare to do anything with sea water and growing plants".

The world loses around 2,000 hectares (just under 5,000 acres) of agricultural land a day to salt-induced degradation in 75 countries, caused by bad or absent irrigation, according to the UN's Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

The problem today affects an area the size of France -- about 62 million hectares or 20 percent of the world's irrigated lands, up from 45 million hectares in the early 1990s.

Solutions to make the land cultivable once more are too expensive for most of the areas, including the basin of the Yellow River in China, the Euphrates in Syria and Iraq or the Indus Valley in Pakistan.

A testing field used by the Salty Potato
 Farm project to experiment with crops 
(AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)
The Team on Texel has already sent thousands of its potatoes to Pakistan where they were "successful", said Van Rijsselberghe, who will send more plants next year.

These "salt" potatoes could transform the lives of thousands of farmers in affected regions and, in the long term, those of around 250 million people who live on salt-afflicted soil.

The potato was introduced to Europe from Peru in the 16th century and became popular because of its ability to feed people during the continent's frequent famines.

However, over-reliance on the crop was potentially disastrous, with a blight leading to the devastating 19th-century Irish potato famine.

Today, about 800 million people in the world are under-nourished, according to the FAO, with salt degradation threatening 10 percent of the global cereal crop.

Sweet taste not price

The potatoes grown here taste sweeter than those grown on normal land, because the plant produces more sugars to compensate for the salty environment.

Packaged pototoes at the Salty Potato
Farm (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)
The salt absorbed by the plant stays in the leaves, not in the flesh.

But the price of the potatoes is for now prohibitive, with one kilo (around two pounds) selling for five euros (just over $5), compared to less than a euro for the same amount of "normal" potatoes.

"We grow around 30,000 kilos per hectare, a farmer with good conditions around 60,000 kilos," said Robin Konijn, the farm's financial director.

Countries ranging from Egypt to Bangladesh and India have already asked for advice on planting their own salt-proof crops.

The team is also soon to start trying to cultivate potatoes in the salty wetlands of the Camargue in the south of France -- the so-called "Miss Mignon" (French for "Miss Cutie Pie").

Sunday, April 26, 2015

China, Kenya launch solar technology transfer center   2015-04-25

NAIROBI, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Kenyan investors on Friday launched a technology transfer and training center to promote assembling of solar lighting systems so as to meet a huge demand for green energy sources in the East African nation.

Executives said the China-Kenya Solid State Lighting Technology Transfer Center, based in an industrial park near the capital Nairobi, will spur growth of a homegrown solar industry in the country.

"Our partnership with a Chinese firm will facilitate the establishment of a local assembly plant for solar products. The new center will expose Kenyan technicians to the latest solar solutions," said Maina Maringa, Director with Sunyale Africa Limited, which launched the center in partnership with a Beijing- based company.

Established 2014, Sunyale Africa is a leading player in the nascent solar technology market in Kenya. Both Chinese and Kenyan investors have stakes in the company that supplies affordable and high quality solar lighting systems to households, schools, hospitals and business premises.

"The Chinese are really helping us in terms of technology and information sharing. We think after some time doing this, we can gain a lot," said Robert Kipkorir, an engineer and one of eight trainees currently at the newly-launched center.

"If I earn the chance and capital, I would like start something for myself. With the knowledge I've gained from here, I would be able to do things of my own in this field," he added.

Newton Mhae, another trainee, said the technology is updated at the center, which can prepare them to learn the new machinery as well as develop new skills.

"I am going to use the technology I learned here to impart the community, especially on the solar panels," said Mhae.

Chinese investors are optimistic about the growth of renewable energy sector in Kenya thanks to a friendly policy and regulatory environment.

Dang Song, CEO of Sunyale Africa, said the nascent solar industry in Kenya has potential for growth given its foreign direct investments and availability of skilled workforce.

"We import solar products and assemble them in a factory outside Nairobi. Our partnership with Kenyan investors has made it possible to train local technicians on assembling solar lighting systems," Dang said, adding that the center will enable Kenya to realize green aspirations in line with vision 2030 blue print.

"There is a huge market for solar solutions in rural areas and urban slums. The new center will help meet this demand through assembling of state-of-the-art solar lighting systems for households and institutions," he said.

Maringa told Xinhua Sunyale Africa has a strong presence in seven Kenyan counties where solar energy has transformed livelihoods.

"Our goal is to fill renewable energy gap in the country through supply of cheap but durable solar solutions. Government incentives that include waiver on import duty for solar panels has made this possible," said the director.

He revealed that demand for large scale solar lighting systems among small factories has spiked recently in Kenya, and Sunyale Africa has adopted social entrepreneurship model to promote access to solar energy among the rural and urban poor.

"We are keen on the east African market where demand for solar products is on the rise," said Maringa, adding that they also plan at advanced stage to venture into neighboring countries.

Editor: xuxin

Friday, April 24, 2015

Government to Kick-Start $56b in ‘Green’ Investments

Jakarta Globe, Tabita Diela, Apr 23, 2015

Photovoltaics on the eastern islands of Sumba are being used for electricity
generation. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)

Jakarta. Indonesia will hold a global renewable energy summit next week, marking the launch of the country’s initiative to attract $56 billion in investment in environmentally friendly power generation over the next five years.

The “Tropic Landscape Summit 2015,” next Monday and Tuesday, will bring together government representatives and investors in the renewable energy industry from Australia, Switzerland, China, France, the United States, Britain and Singapore.

“Indonesians will account for 3.5 percent of the world population in 2025, but our fossil fuel reserves are much less than our needs,” Sudirman Said, the minister for energy and mineral resources, said at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday.

“If we rely only on fossil fuels, we will run out when the time comes. We don’t have any choice other than to shift to renewable energy,” he said. GA

Related Articles:

In Mataram Declaration, Belated Recognition of Indigenous Rights

Jakarta Globe, Kennial Caroline Laia,  Apr 23, 2015

The government is finally getting serious about recognizing Indigenous
groups’ forest rights. (Antara Photo/Ahmad Subaidi)

Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara. Proponents of the rights of indigenous groups have hailed a pledge by the Indonesian government to do more to recognize their stewardship of forests, seen as crucial in efforts to stave off deforestation.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar made the so-called Mataram Declaration last weekend in a belated response to a May 2013 Constitutional Court ruling relinquishing the state’s default claims to forested areas settled and used by indigenous groups.

“Long before this, civil society organizations and local communities were struggling for the recognition and protection of customary land,” said Abetnego Tarigan, the executive director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, or Walhi. “Now the government has shown good faith, and we really appreciate it.”

He said the central and local governments often violated indigenous people’s land rights because the latter lacked title deeds to their land. In many cases, he noted, the people were disenfranchised of their rights, and their land given over to logging, plantation or mining operators.

“There are a few policies that regulate the rights of local communities to the land, such as the 2012 law on customary forests, but they don’t cover the recognition of people’s customary territory, so we need another framework to guarantee it,” Abetnego said. “This declaration should really be a form of political will for all stakeholders to push the recognition and protection of customary forests managed by the people.”

Civic-centered development

At the signing of the declaration on Saturday in Mataram, in West Nusa Tenggara province, Siti said the government and other stakeholders were committed to expediting the process to craft policies that improved the welfare and protection of local communities and conserved the environment.

“These policies are really important,” she said. “President Joko Widodo’s government has indicated that the citizenship concept is a democratic one, in which we seek to bring welfare to the people.”

She said the government was making efforts to involve people, especially indigenous groups, in environmental protection.

“Here, our development must be civic-centered,” Siti said. “This issue has been echoed by the people and environmental organizations, and now the government is listening.”

Under Joko’s 2015-2019 National Mid-Term Development Plan, the administration plans to designate 12.5 million hectares of land for “social forestry,” in which indigenous groups and local communities will commit to sustainable forestry practices, and nine million hectares for agriculture.

“These [social] forests can be developed as community forests, village forests and customary forests,” Siti said, adding that the agricultural land, to be staked out from former logging concessions, would go primarily to subsistence farmers.

Collaborative effort

Siti said it was important for all stakeholders — the central government, regional administrations, civil society organizations and local communities — to work closely together.

“The policy is ready to go, but we can’t do it alone. We need help from other stakeholders to cooperate. For example, I hope the Home Affairs Ministry will help us identify indigenous communities and their problems to ensure that all land is distributed rightly and fairly,” she said.

“We also need civil society organizations to work with the people on mediation, community building and others. Access to welfare for all Indonesians is our responsibility.”

Zudan Arif Fakrulloh, an adviser to the Home Affairs Ministry, said the institution was open to cooperating with the other stakeholders.

“But the identification process isn’t easy. There are a few requirements to meet before we can definitively say that a given community is an indigenous one,” he said. “The process must be really selective. And this is the task of regional leaders.”

Zudan said that for a forest community to qualify, it would have to show some kind of environmentally sustainable practice in its interactions with the forest.

“Here we need experts and help from civil society organizations,” he said.

People first

Siti said the new policy, unlike previous ones, prioritized the role of people in economic development through the exploitation of forests and other natural resources.

“I believe the system will be no longer like the past, when government didn’t put the people at the front of its development plans. Now, we must use dialogue in our approach to developing the economy of this country,” Siti said.

West East Nusa’s Deputy Governor Muhammad Amin welcomed the declaration, but said further talks on the issue were still needed between the central government and regional administrations.

“We realize there hasn’t been a regional policy that recognizes the territorial rights of indigenous people. However, with this declaration, we hope that the people will receive greater consideration in the policy-making process,” he said. “Should the synergy run smoothly, we may be able to achieve an environment-oriented development framework.”

Yansen T.P., the head of Malinau district in North Kalimantan, who was among the more than 30 regional heads attending the Mataram Declaration, said an increasing number of regions across the country were beginning to prioritize land rights protections when crafting new policies.

“We’ve been done a lot for several years now to show our support for our environment,” he said. “We have vast areas of natural resources and considerable local wisdom. The forest we have is the forest we must hold on to. We understand that people depend on the forest and they will try to maintain it. But to do that, we in the regional government have to provide them with legal certainty.”

Yansen said he hoped that future investments would “take the side of the people.”

“We don’t need to exploit all of our natural resources right away. We have to think about our children, grandchildren and our future generations,” he said. “Hopefully the central government’s policy will accelerate the recognition of indigenous people’s right to the forest.”

Test cases

Adi Rozal, the head of Kerinci district in Sumatra’s Jambi province, said his administration had designated 12 swaths of forest as customary forests.

“Now we’re waiting for coordination from the central government to issue a policy that fully mandates the forests for use by the local community,” he said.

Mathius Awoitauw, the head of Jayapura district in Papua province, agreed that while the central government had a key role to play, it was local governments that would serve as the test cases for various frameworks on the issue.

“All we need to do to establish nationwide synergy is to hold regular dialogues to test how capable regional governments and people are in managing their forests. In addition, there should be a regulation that truly guarantees the rights of each region to map its own customary forests,” he said.

In prioritizing the rights of forest-dwelling communities, the government has switched from an earlier paradigm that served large corporations, said Chalil Muhammad, the chairman of the Association for Community and Ecology-Based Law Reform, or Perkumpulan HuMa.

“There’s a need to create a scheme to build rights coordination between the central government, regional governments and the people in an effort to prevent forests from rampant exploitation,” he said. “These stakeholders need to change their mind-set. We need to increase human resource capacity and fix existing forestry policies.”

Edited by Hayat Indriyatno

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Experts call for China-US cooperation on renewable energy

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-04-21

A solar farm in Hubei province. (File photo/Xinhua)

As a new study on China's renewable energy by 2050 was released here Monday, experts called for more cooperation between China and the United States to pursue the development of renewable energy.

By 2050, renewable energy could meet more than 60% of China's energy demand, according to the report "China 2050 High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario and Roadmap Study," which was completed by the Energy Research Institute of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China in cooperation with other institutes.

"We hope our study can influence the (Chinese) government's 13th five-year plan and 2030 energy strategy. That's very important," said Wang Zhongying, deputy director general of the Energy Research Institute at the launch of the report.

Experts said to realize the ambitious goal of renewable energy development, China needs the cooperation of the United States, which could provide "a really good future" for the world.

"For this target we need to work together, especially the US and China," said Li Junfeng, director general of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation under the NDRC, given the fact that the two countries are the world's two largest economies with huge population and big energy market as well as large renewable energy market.

"Thirty years ago, when I traveled to the US, I learned a lot from the US," said Li, adding that if China and the US can solve their energy problems by 2050 through working together, it will set "a good example" for other countries to follow.

"It's very exciting to see the study of China. I am eager to see the details of it. It's tremendous hard work but it really opens up enormous opportunities," said Samuel Baldwin, chief science officer of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the US Energy Department.

Chinese enterprises and scholars now have "frequent exchanges and cooperation" with their US counterparts on renewable energy, Wang told Xinhua.

The Chinese version of this study was published in Beijing on April 16.

Monday, April 20, 2015

World's mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak of 42m tonnes

The biggest per-capita tallies were in countries known for green awareness, such as Norway and Denmark, with Britain fifth and US ninth on the UN report’s list

The Guardian, AFP, Sunday 19 April 2015

A fridge dump in Manchester. Almost two-thirds of global e-waste was made
up of discarded kitchen and laundry devices. Photograph: Phil Noble/PA

A record amount of electrical and electronic waste was discarded around the world in 2014, with the biggest per-capita tallies in countries that pride themselves on environmental consciousness, a report said.

Last year, 41.8m tonnes of so-called e-waste – mostly fridges, washing machines and other domestic appliances at the end of their life – was dumped, the UN report said.

That’s the equivalent of 1.15m heavy trucks, forming a line 23,000km (14,300 miles) long, according to the report, compiled by the United Nations University, the UN’s educational and research branch.

Less than one-sixth of all e-waste was properly recycled, it said.

In 2013, the e-waste total was 39.8m tonnes – and on present trends, the 50-million-tonne mark could be reached in 2018.

Topping the list for per-capita waste last year was Norway, with 28.4kg (62.5lbs) per inhabitant.

It was followed by Switzerland (26.3kg), Iceland (26.1kg), Denmark (24.0kg), Britain (23.5kg), the Netherlands (23.4kg), Sweden (22.3kg), France (22.2kg) and the United States and Austria (22.1kg).

The region with the lowest amount of e-waste per inhabitant was Africa, with 1.7kg per person. It generated a total of 1.9m tonnes of waste.

In volume terms, the most waste was generated in the United States and China, which together accounted for 32% of the world’s total, followed by Japan, Germany and India.

Waste that could have been recovered and recycled was worth $52bn, including 300 tonnes of gold – equal to 11% of the world’s gold production in 2013.

But it also included 2.2m tonnes of harmful lead compounds, as well as mercury, cadmium and chromium, and 4,400 tonnes of ozone-harming chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases.

“Worldwide, e-waste constitutes a valuable ‘urban mine’ – a large potential reservoir of recyclable materials,” UN under secretary-general David Malone said.

“At the same time, the hazardous content of e-waste constitutes a ‘toxic mine’ that must be managed with extreme care.”

Almost 60% of e-waste by weight came from large and small kitchen, bathroom and laundry appliances.

Seven percent was generated by discarded mobile phones, calculators, personal computers and printers.

Related Articles:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

GMO wheat not allowed in Taiwan: FDA

Want China Times, CNA 2015-04-18

A farmer harvests wheat at a farm in Hsinchu, March 29. (File photo/Chen Yu-hsien)

Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration on Friday dismissed concerns of genetically modified wheat grown in the United States entering Taiwan's market, saying Taiwan bans imports of such wheat.

Taiwan allows genetically modified soybeans and corn but does not allow imports of genetically modified wheat, said Lee Wan-chen, a section chief at the FDA.

During a recent check on packaged food products, the FDA did not find any genetically modified wheat on the local market, Lee added.

The statement was made as bakeries and wheat mills face doubts from local customers that wheat from the US might be genetically modified and are receiving requests to purchase wheat from Japan and Canada.

Concerns about US wheat first arose in 2013 when GMO wheat tested by US seed company Monsanto without approval from US regulators contaminated a regular wheat farm in Oregon, prompting Japan to suspend some wheat imports.

The US Wheat Associates' Taiwan office dismissed the suspicions, saying the US does not produce genetically modified wheat.

The US Department of Africulture has worked to remove any genetically engineered wheat that remained at the site of Monsanto's experiment, which is no longer used by the company, said Ron Lu, head of the association's Taiwan office.

It has also conducted a check on wheat products in the country and found that none of them had been contaminated by Monsanto's genetically engineered wheat, Lu said.

In addition, all US-grown wheat sold to Taiwan comes with certificates verifying that it is non-GMO, he said.

US-sourced wheat accounts for 80% of Taiwan's total wheat imports. Another 18% of its wheat imports come from Australia and the remaining 2% comes from Canada.

Related Article:

China's struggle for water security

Yahoo – AFP, April 18, 2015

China's struggle for water security

Daegu (South Korea) (AFP) - Way back in 1999, before he became China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao warned that water scarcity posed one of the greatest threats to the "survival of the nation".

Sixteen years later, that threat looms ever larger, casting a forbidding shadow over China's energy and food security and demanding urgent solutions with significant regional, and even global, consequences.

The mounting pressure on China's scarce, unequally distributed and often highly polluted water supply was highlighted in a report released at the World Water Forum this week in Daegu, South Korea.

Published by the Hong Kong-based NGO, China Water Risk (CWR), it underlined the complexity of the challenge facing China as it seeks to juggle inextricably linked and often competing concerns over water, energy supply and climate change.

"There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to China's water-energy-climate nexus," the report said.

"More importantly, China's energy choices do not only impact global climate change, but affect water availability for Asia," it said, warning of the danger of future "water wars" given China's upstream control over Asia's mightiest rivers.

The Qinghai-Tibetan plateau is essentially the world's largest water tank and the origin of some of Asia's most extensive river systems including the Indus, Brahmaputra and Mekong.

The most significant link in the nexus the report describes is the fact that 93 percent of China's power generation is water-reliant.

"Chinese officials are starting to say water security comes first," the report's author Debra Tan told AFP in Daegu. "Because without it, there is no energy security and, of course, no food security."

Kung Pao potato

Agriculture accounts for between 65 and 70 percent of China's water use and vast amounts are wasted by inefficient irrigation.

This is especially true in northern regions that, despite being some of the most arid in the country, are the production focus for water-hungry crops like corn and wheat.

"They even grow corn in Inner Mongolia, which is incredibly dry," said Li Lifeng, director of the WWF International Freshwater Programme.

"I recently talked to a farmer there who had been growing corn for just three years," Li said in Daegu. "His well started off three metres (10 feet) deep, but now it already goes down 50 metres."

Efforts to change the crop mix have included a recent campaign to promote the harvesting of potatoes, which require far less water.

Given the traditional taste preference for rice and wheat, the state broadcaster CCTV has tried to prod things along by publishing recipes on its Weibo account, including one for Kung Pao potato.

Northern China's thirst for water -- the coal industry is centred there as well -- extends to its rapidly growing and increasingly affluent urban populations.

The need to meet the rising demand from these cities resulted in one of the world's most ambitious engineering projects, with an overall estimated cost of more than $80 billion.

The central phase of the massive South-North Diversion Project opened in December, as water began flowing to Beijing through more than 1,200 kilometres (745 miles) of channels and pipes -- the distance from London to Madrid.

But experts stress that China cannot simply engineer its way out of its water crisis with headline mega-projects that will never be big enough to keep pace with increasing demand.

'Good water after bad'

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal in January warned that large-scale water transfers would actually exacerbate problems in the long-run.

"China needs to shift its focus to water demand management instead of a supply-oriented approach," said the study's co-author, Dabo Guan, a professor at the University of East Anglia.

"The current transfer programme is pouring good water after bad: the problems of water-stressed regions aren't being alleviated and the provinces sharing their water are suffering greatly," Guan said.

Years of declining rainfall in southern China means it now regularly sees droughts of its own.

China is in fact implementing an extremely ambitious water management strategy, albeit one that risks being undermined by inter-departmental rivalries, corruption and incentives that favour economic development over sustainable resource use.

In 2011, it issued its "three red lines" policy establishing strict limits on water quantity usage, efficiency and quality, while this year a new Environment Law came into force with harsh fines for polluters.

State media reported last year that 60 percent of China's groundwater and more than half its major freshwater lakes were polluted.

"Before, there wasn't much of a stick for punishing wastage and polluting," said CWR's Tan. "Now there are strict standards and a very big stick."

Having experimented with charging urban residents for water in order to encourage conservation, the government is reportedly set to roll out a tiered pricing system for residential users in all cities and some towns nationwide later this year.

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…  4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much.


We've told you that one of the greatest natural resources of the planet, which is going to shift and change and be mysterious to you, is fresh water. It's going to be the next gold, dear ones. So, we have also given you some hints and examples and again we plead: Even before the potentials of running out of it, learn how to desalinate water in real time without heat. It's there, it's doable, and some already have it in the lab. This will create inexpensive fresh water for the planet. 

There is a change of attitude that is starting to occur. Slowly you're starting to see it and the only thing getting in the way of it are those companies with the big money who currently have the old system. That's starting to change as well. For the big money always wants to invest in what it knows is coming next, but it wants to create what is coming next within the framework of what it has "on the shelf." What is on the shelf is oil, coal, dams, and non-renewable resource usage. It hasn't changed much in the last 100 years, has it? Now you will see a change of free choice. You're going to see decisions made in the boardrooms that would have curled the toes of those two generations ago. Now "the worst thing they could do" might become "the best thing they could do." That, dear ones, is a change of free choice concept. When the thinkers of tomorrow see options that were never options before, that is a shift. That was number four. ….”

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Japan court blocks restarting of two nuclear reactors

Yahoo – AFP, April 14, 2015

Japan court blocks restarting of two nuclear reactors

Tokyo (AFP) - A Japanese court on Tuesday issued a landmark injunction against the restarting of two atomic reactors, after the country's nuclear watchdog had given the green light to switch them back on.

The district court in the central prefecture of Fukui made the temporary order in response to a bid by local residents to halt the restart of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Takahama nuclear power plant, a court official said.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) last December approved the restarting of the reactors, saying they met tougher safety standards introduced after Japan's tsunami-sparked nuclear disaster at Fukushima in 2011.

But "the safety of the reactors hasn't been secured", the court ruled, saying the watchdog's new standards were "lacking rationality", according to public broadcaster NHK.

Plant operator Kansai Electric Power described the injunction as "extremely regrettable and utterly unacceptable" and said it would appeal against the decision.

A lawyer representing the plaintiffs called the ruling a "perfect victory".

"This is the best decision that we could have expected," he told supporters outside the courthouse.

Two other reactors at Takahama also remain offline.

A separate court ruling on the restart of two other reactors in southern Japan is expected later this month.

Pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has backed an industry push to return to nuclear -- which once supplied more than one quarter of Japan's electricity -- as a plunging yen sent the country's energy import bill soaring.

But Japan has seen a groundswell of public opposition to the technology since Fukushima, where reactors went into meltdown after a tsunami swamped their cooling systems -- setting off the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Japan's entire stable of nuclear power stations was gradually switched off following the disaster, while tens of thousands of people were evacuated due to concerns about radiation exposure.

Many are still unable to return to their homes and scientists have warned that some areas around the plant may remain uninhabitable for decades or more.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Sumba Renewable Energy: A Bright Future Where the Lights Don’t Go Out

Jakarta Globe, Basten Gokkon,  Apr 10, 2015

Photovoltaics on the eastern islands of Sumba are being used for electricity
generation. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)

Waingapu, Sumba. Five years ago, Dorkas Manuhuluk, a Sumbanese headmistress, would ask her staff to ride a bike for 45 minutes to a neighboring village just to make copies of question sheets for her students.

“It’d be free if we used our own motorcycle, but we don’t own one. We’d call an ojek [motorcycle taxi] which costs Rp 50,000 ($3.80) for one trip,” said Dorkas, who currently heads Praimarada Elementary School in Umamanu village, one-and -a-half hours’ drive southwest of Waingapu — the biggest city in East Sumba district, East Nusa Tenggara.

Markus Karepi Muama, a teacher at Praimarada, said sixth graders would light kerosene lamps as they stayed overnight at the school, studying for an upcoming national examination.

“For a whole month ahead of national exam, we teach and repeat as much material as possible with the students every evening,” said Markus.

Meanwhile, farmers in East Sumba  district’s two neighboring villages — Rakawatu and Kondamara, located some 70 kilometers west of Waingapu — would often stop growing and harvesting paddies during an unusually long dry season on the island.

“During the dry season, we would pump the water from a nearby spring,” said Made Raspita, one of the farmers.

“For a long while, we would use diesel as fuel for the water pump generator, regardless its skyhigh price,” he added.

Affected by the hot, dry air from the deserts of Northern Australia, Sumba — one of the southernmost islands in the archipelago — does not receive nearly as much rainfall as the islands to the north.

November to March is the rainy season for Sumba, while the sun shines on the island during the rest of the year. This means farmers consume massive amount of diesel to run the water pump generator to help the irrigation system.

Electricity shortage

In 2010, researchers from two international nongovernmental organizations, Hivos and Winrock, released a study that found less than 25 percent of Sumba’s 686,000 residents have access to electricity at home.

Researchers also discovered the electricity used by the locals in Sumba was heavily sourced from non-renewable energy, such as diesel and kerosene, which is shipped in from outside the island, resulting in higher operational costs.

State electric utility PLN has cited Sumba’s relatively sparse population as the reason the firm remains reluctant to install a more robust electrical grid to electrify the island’s remote villages.

“It costs about Rp 300 million per kilometer of electrical extension grid.”

“It’s too costly for us considering the small amount of people that will use the electricity,” Khairullah, area manager of PLN in Sumba, told The Jakarta Globe on Tuesday.

When the Jakarta Globe visited Praimarada Elementary School on Monday, the nearest electricity pole to the school was some five kilometers away — one that also looked questionably functional.

Meanwhile, the last standing electricity pole on the road leading to Rakawatu and Kondamara was about 40 minutes away from the two villages.

Since March 2011, PLN has instead provided remote villages across the archipelago with energy-saving lamps, known locally as Sehen, which are sources of artificial light that reduce the amount of electricity drawn from the local grid, since they are connected to a solar panel.

These lamps can stay lit for about six hours.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Joint research from the two NGOs found that Sumba is rich in renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, water and biomass.

Hivos and Winrock then chose Sumba as the island to launch it’s ambitious project — for the island’s entire population to gain access to electricity generated from renewable energy by 2025.

The project called “Sumba Iconic Island” was launched in 2010 with the full support of Indonesia’s Energy Ministry and the PLN in Sumba.

Drawing global attention. In May 2013, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed $1 million to support the technical side of the project.

The Norwegian Embassy in Indonesia then joined in October 2013, funding 600,000 euros ($644,000) for the program.

“This program strives for humanity sovereignty. And energy is important for people,” Stig Traavik, Norway’s ambassador to Indonesia, told the Jakarta Globe when asked why the embassy decided to partake in the project.

“Norway as a nation that cares about the environment, clean energy and resources of the future, this is a program where it all comes together — including poverty reduction. This is an illustration of what we would like to continue doing,” he added.

Fruitful and promising result

Four years after the program was launched, some areas of Sumba have experienced the same, abundant benefits from power plants that operate on renewable energy.

In April last year, a 1.5 kilowatt-hour (kWh)  solar panel was installed at Praimarada Elementary School, providing full electricity for the school’s administrative and teaching activities.

“If we want to make copies of something, we can just print it out now with our own printer. We’re spending much less money this way,” said Dorkas.

“If we receive study books late from the distributor, we can ask for the softcopy and print them out.”

“When we’re doing the preparation activity ahead of the national exam, students can now learn under sufficient lighting and we’ve stopped using kerosene lamps,” Markus added.

Across the island

Residents at other villages also said they have had a great results since power plants run with renewable energy sources were built and began operating at their villages a couple of years ago.

“The power generator can provide electricity for the whole village,” said Umbu Tamu, leader of a small management team for a biomass power plant at Rakawatu, which has capacity of 50 kilovolt-amperes.

“We’ve stopped using diesel since the water pump generator is now running on solar energy.”

“The generator can water our paddy and vegetable field,” Made said, referring to a solar panel installation set up two years ago for supplement the village’s water pump generator. It can supply up to 80,000 liters of water.

During a visit to several project sites in East Sumba district earlier this week, Energy Minister Sudirman Said and Norwegian Ambassador Stig praised the successes of the villages.

“One of Jokowi’s management programs is how to reach energy sovereignty. I think this is one of the ways that can and will expedite energy sovereignty in the country,” Sudirman told the Jakarta Globe.

“I see a great potential in Sumba. I think it would be inspiring, not only for the population here but also for Indonesia if Sumba is able to reach this goal of becoming 100 percent on renewable energy,” said Stig.

Whose responsibility?

Modern technology needs proper and periodical maintenance, which can require a massive amount of budget.

These power plants, however, are considered an off-grid electricity system, meaning it is not part of any electrical grids that are operated and monitored by the PLN.

“The PLN can only do maintenance for the on-grid system. But, we would be more than happy if there’s a regulation that lets us do maintenance for the off-grid as well,” said Khairullah.

As of now, the villages and school appoint one person from a small committee to do regular monitoring of the power plants.

The electricity has become a source of income for the villages as it is sold off to the public.

For instance, Praimarada Elementary School charges anyone from neighboring villages who wishes to use electricity for personal purposes, Rp 1,000 per use.

“People mostly come to charge their mobile phone,” Markus said.

“The money that we collect is entered into a book, and when the equipment needs service, we can use the bulk that we have.”

Praimarada’s solar panel operates on six batteries that can last for up to five years at a cost of Rp 2 million each, according to Sandra

Winarsa, program officer for sustainable energy at Hivos Regional Office Southeast Asia.

A similar fee-collecting system has also been adopted in the village of Rakawatu, where households that own television sets are charged Rp 50,000 per month and those who only use the electricity for lighting pay Rp 35,000 monthly, Tamu said.

“The monthly fee is not that much. But, that’s how much we can contribute from our income,” Tamu added.

“We don’t receive any funding from outside to help operational expenses. If the government could help us with the maintenance cost, then that would be great.”

Sudirman said the people could request funds from the regional government should they need to fix or replace parts of the power plants.

“If the residents need a huge amount of funds for maintenance, they can ask the regional government through the DAK [specific allocation fund] program.”

“It is permitted by the ministry to use the funds to substitute old units,” the energy minister told the Jakarta Globe.

Sudirman added that he would evaluate the energy subsidy in the state budget to also help people who generate electricity from renewable-energy based power plants.

“It is our homework and this is something that needs to be reviewed so that energy subsidy can be fair and even for everyone,” he said.

“The subsidy could be also by providing seed funds to help set up the power plants.”

Where’s next after Sumba?

Sudirman said he would form a special committee to help the ministry frame a nationwide blueprint for power plants that operate on renewable energy.

“The committee will also help push [Sumba] to expedite its target — if possible by 2020 — in becoming an example of an island in Indonesia that completely uses renewable energy,” Sudirman said.

“There is not yet a developed industry [in Indonesia] for renewable energy.”

“It will be soon enough we require more equipment [to support renewable energy].”

“It is then important to educate the people that renewable energy is our future,” he added.

Sudirman also believed Sumba could be a living example for other areas across the country, saying that the next government must put forward the interest of renewable energy in the country above all else.

“Do not mix politics with energy development. Political interests do not last forever, but energy development does and it takes a long time. It also requires a technical approach,” he said.

“There are many other areas in the country similar to Sumba. Should the renewable energy goal be achieved, it will be an easy example to duplicate in other areas.”

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