Sunday, February 27, 2011

Air Pollution Alerts - February 27th, 2011

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on February 20th, 2011)

Foot Prints, February 25th, 2011
The Real Cost of Coal? $523,303,948,403 and counting.

The Daily Sun, February 25th, 2011
Take immediate steps to check air pollution in Dhaka.

The Guardian, February 25th, 2011
What is the carbon cycle?

Autoblog Green, February 24th, 2011
Smog in Beijing exceeds measurable levels.

Press Information Bureau, February 24th, 2011
Dense fog Hours at Delhi Airport.

Times of India, February 24th, 2011

Internal air pollution more harmful.

Inhabitat, February 24th, 2011
Researchers Reveal That Air Pollution Causes More Heart Attacks Than Cocaine.

The New York Times, February 24th, 2011
Which Nations Are Most Vulnerable to Climate Change? The Daunting Politics of Choosing.

Vietnam News, February 23rd, 2011
Polluting brick kilns continue to operate despite official ban.

CSR Asia, February 23rd, 2011
Asian Green City Index – some food for thoughts on Hong Kong’s urban development.

Online PR Media, February 23rd, 2011
Partnership Cooks Up New Solution To Poverty And Climate Change.

West Cape News, February 23rd, 2011
Revealed: the cost of electricity from coal.

Wisconsin News, February 23rd, 2011
Using satellites to enhance air quality understanding.

China Daily, February 22nd, 2011
HKU experts blast govt air quality plans.

BBC, February 22nd, 2011
Benefit to cutting 'black carbon'.

The Standard, February 22nd, 2011
Deaths warning as study calls pollution targets too tolerant.

Times of India, February 22nd, 2011
Pollutants in air can cause diabetes too.

MG News, February 21st, 2011
Hong Kong air pollution claims 1,860 lives a year.

The Saudi News, February 21st, 2011
Public transport network must be strengthened.

New York Times, February 21st, 2011
‘Dirty’ Energy Dwarfs Clean in China and India.

China Daily, February 18th, 2011
Living green.

China Daily, February 15th, 2011
Chinese cities are 'worst' for CO2.

Global Times, February 14th, 2011
New energy vehicle production plant established in Chongqing.

Ministry of Environment Protection, China, February 14th, 2011
MEP Made Public 2010 Report on Environmental Quality of China.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Innovations in Auto-Rickshaws: Mobile Phone Charging

New segment starting today..
From Mr. Lalloobhoy Battliwala

Ever looking to help off-grid people charge their mobile phones and radio/MP3 players, I asked a rickshaw driver today what they do for charging phones, since they are out 8-10 hours at a time.

He said TVS (an Indian manufacturer) had CNG rickshaws with mobile phone charging sockets. I confirmed with the news item below. (Bajaj doesn't have this yet. Nor do most cars; some have USB ports.)

I wonder what it would take to switch 3 wheelers to a hybrid (diesel/battery) engine with a solar PV roof (the foldable sheet kind).

Since the capital cost would be higher and running expense lower, short-distance trips will have to pay a higher fare. A nice metering problem.

TVS Motor rolls out CNG equipped TVS King ZS Auto Rickshaw

After the successful launch of TVS King, TVS Motor rolls out TVS King ZS, an all new 200 CC four stroke CNG autorickshaw priced at Rs. 1.24 lakhs (ex-showroom New Delhi).

TVS King ZS will be green, environmental friendly designed specially to conform to the emission norms for New Delhi & NCR. TVS King ZS will be India’s First 200 CC, Four Stroke electric start CNG autorickshaw equipped with factory fitted CNG Gas kit.

TVS King ZS has been designed to give great driving pleasure to drivers and passengers alike and makes the vehicle safe. The 200 cc engine develops high torque at low engine revolutions resulting in less frequent gear shifts reducing the driver fatigue from day-long drive. It will be a comfortable drive for both the driver and passengers with ample headroom & legroom, ergonomically designed seats, car-like suspension, smooth and vibration free engine.

The new TVS King ZS with twin headlamps, similar to the ones used in cars. Not only that, the bigger and brighter rear tail lamps ensures a safe night driving. The dashboard makes the interior more attractive with a car-like structure with low oil pressure and fuel indicators, mobile phone charging socket, dual tone high quality seats, and an integrated bumper.

TVS King ZS comes with standard accessories including water bottle holder, magazine holder, attractive gas kit cover for CNG cylinder and optional accessories such as stylish wheel covers, floor mats, FM radio and an idol stand.

The company will offer all TVS King owners a one year free tailor made Personal Accident and Health Care insurance Policy.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Air Pollution Alerts - February 20th, 2011

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on February 13th, 2011)

DEFRA, February, 2011
UK approach to air pollution.

McKinsey Quarterly, February, 2011
The fast lane to the adoption of electric cars.

Science Daily, February 19th, 2011
Climate Projections Show Human Health Impacts Possible Within 30 Years.

The Daily Star, February 19th, 2011
Cross-border Pollution - A growing international problem.

UN News Center, February 18th, 2011
Kenya kicks off UN-backed effort to reduce vehicle emissions across East Africa.

Mongolia Web, February 18th, 2011
People in special zones to pay less for electricity at night.

UB Post, February 18th, 2011
Anti Air Pollution Campaign to Launch in March.

San Francisco Chronicle, February 18th, 2011
GOP budget attacks Clean Air Act and its benefits.

The Business Insider, February 17th, 2011
Here's The Real Challenge For China's Economy That No One Is Focusing On.

The Economist, February 17th, 2011
Climate Change in Black and White., February 17th, 2011
Glory promises new view of perplexing particles.

Khaleej Times, February 17th, 2011
Curbing soot could slow climate change.

Science Daily, February 17th, 2011
Turning Forests Into Fuel: Promise and Limits of Biomass Energy in Northeastern U.S.

Science Daily, February 17th, 2011
Ozone Layer’s Future Linked Strongly to Changes in Climate.

The Economist, February 17th, 2011
Climate Change - Piecemeal Possibilities.

Mongolia Corporate Services, February 16th, 2011
New law seeks to make Ulaanbaatar smoke free in 2014.

Green Prophet, February 15th, 2011
New Natural Gas Pipeline Offers Promise of Cleaner Air in Northern Israel.

Science Daily, February 15th, 2011
Worldwide Sulfur Emissions Rose Between 2000-2005, After Decade Of Decline.

The Mongolian News, February 15th, 2011
S. Lodoisamba: Coal gas should be introduced to ger area as soon as possible.

The Economic Times, February 15th, 2011
Major Indian metros ranked below average.

UB Post, February 15th, 2011
No Mineral Exploration License Issuance Till April 30.

The office of the President of Mongolia, Public Relations & Communications Division, February 15th, 2011
Actions to Reduce Air Pollution to Begin in March.

Manila Bulletin, February 15th, 2011
Study supports use of LPG by jeepneys.

India PR Wire, February 15th, 2011
Kolkata benefits from a relatively low level of water consumption.

National Geographic, February 15th, 2011
Protecting Health and the Planet With Clean Cookstoves.

Sify, February 15th, 2011
Bangalore City has lowest CO2 emissions.

Thanh Nein News, February 14th, 2011
Hanoi ranked below average in environmental protection.

The Smart Planet, February 14th, 2011
Asia’s greenest city: Singapore.

The Daily Star, February 14th, 2011
Restrict supply of CNG to all cars in Dhaka.

NPR, February 12th, 2011
The 'Triumph Of The City' May Be Greener.

The Economic Times, February 8th, 2011
Govt study ignores SUVs' contribution to air pollution.

Express Buzz, February 8th, 2011
No clean air to breathe in Bangalore.

The Hindu, February 7th, 2011
India, Norway for joint polar research.

All Things Pakistan, January 28th, 2011
Battling the Smog, Fog and Haze in Lahore.

Xinhua Net, January 28th, 2011
China to take measures to ensure energy supplies in 2011.

China Tibet Online, January 27th, 2011
Lhasa residents satisfied with local air quality.

Pune Mirror, January 20th, 2011
Pune wins silver for pollution.

The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2011
Traffic pollution: By 2030 twin cities will be in a mess if we don’t say ‘bus’.

The International News, January 7th, 2011
Fog forces closure of three power plants in Lahore.

The International News, January 6th, 2011
Karachi city loses ADB funding for mass transit project.

The International News, January 4th, 2011
Fog, cold envelop most of Punjab.

The Daily Times, January 4th, 2011
Benazir Shaheed CNG Bus Project in Karachi.

The International News, January 3rd, 2011
Pollution monitoring system faces financial problems.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Stricter Regulations for Pollution Control in Ulaanbaatar

A Note from the Office of the President of Mongolia on air pollution control in Ulaanbaatar.


In conjunction with the Parliament’s approval of the Law to Reduce Air Pollution in the Capital City, initiated by the President, Chief of Staff of the President of Mongolia Mr. D. Battulga, Senior Advisor to the President Mr. P. Tsagaan and the President’s Advisor on Ecology and Environment Mr. E. Zorigt held a press conference today at the Citizens’ Hall.

Chief of Staff Mr. Battulga began with explaining the circumstances which necessitated the Law. “President of Mongolia has held a number of meetings with senior officials and visited the most polluted sites in and in the neighborhood of the capital city Ulaanbaatar past January.

National Security Council discussed air pollution in the capital city at its session and concluded that it had reached a crisis level. Following these meetings, the President instructed to draft a law to reduce air pollution. The draft was developed, discussed as the relevant Standing Committees of the Parliament and approved at the general session of the Parliament last Thursday. Now the law is made, actions are to follow. We had had government resolutions, decisions of the Citizens’ Representatives’ Meeting of the Capital city and various programs adopted by the Parliament, but there was no law to regulate comprehensively this very serious issue.

According to the law, the ger district electricity transmission and distribution networks are to be improved. Solutions are found in the application of wind, solar (renewable) energy, use of appropriate stoves meeting technical criteria and standards and other eco-friendly schemes. These solutions will enable us to reduce by 50% the price of the night-time use of electricity. Also new technologies, any new initiatives and incentives to reduce air pollution shall be encouraged.

Officials who breach the Law shall be held accountable under the Law on Public Service. Officials who twice fail to undertake the duties prescribed by the Law shall be dismissed from the official post. These are the principal features of the Law.

The Law intends to yield concrete tangible results in the winter of 2011-2012. The Government is entrusted with substantial duties. The Law stipulates the establishment, by President’s decree, of a National Committee to provide for coordination, consistency and monitoring of air pollution reduction efforts.

The structure and composition of the National Committee is being developed by the Office of the President in close consultation with the civil society. Solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy equipment, stoves meeting technical standards, insulation materials, electric and gas heaters shall be exempted from customs duties and VAT. This will be resolved by amending pertinent Government resolutions. A law to exempt individuals and households who, with the view to reduce pollution, acquired standard stoves, house/ger insulation and warming materials from income tax is being drafted. Business entities which donate funds to efforts to reduce air pollution shall be exempt from corporate income tax by a certain degree. This is how the law will be implemented”.

“When will the fifth powerstation be built? Air pollution seems to come in vogue only in winter; can the National Committee be not oblivious of the subject in summer? When will the electricity prices cut to zero? Are there any standards for insulation of houses and gers? When will Mongolia get rid of air pollution at all, is it 2014? Will there be any tax benefits for domestic businesses which produce smoke-free stoves?” – were the questions of interest of journalists.

The Government was instructed to begin working on the fifth power station project within this year. It was also instructed to resolve the issue with the construction of the 6th powerstation. The price of electricity is indeed an exigency. The actual work to reduce air pollution is to start in March. The National Committee is to seek out ways how to reduce air pollution from every stove and chimney in the city.

Electricity prices will not be cut to zero, no question about this, however, we are talking about creating certain mechanisms to allow reducing the tariffs by 50% for night-time use of electricity. The introduction to the Law draft envisaged the year 2014 be the year of elimination of air pollution, this is our aim, the target we have to achieve.

By March 15th, the Government is to have developed the needed budget for 2011 for air pollution reduction and have submitted to the Parliament. We do not have standards for housing insulation. No stove standards either. They need to be developed immediately. Certain tax benefits will be offered to national companies which produce smoke-free stoves” – said Mr. Battulga.

Every citizen, every organization, bears a responsibility to contribute to the efforts to reduce air pollution. Through doors, windows and flooring 50% of the heat is lost. The Law provides to setting the standards for insulation. Deductions will be made from electricity bills of the households who meet insulation standards. Those who purchase new housing will eventually have to be interested not in the price of a square meter, but of the costs of heating of a square of meter of the new house – added Senior Advisor P. Tsagaan.

The draft of the National Committee structure and composition is practically ready. It will have 5 staff members. We studied the practices in other countries. This Committee will coordinate the work and ensure implementation of air pollution programs and projects – said Mr. E. Zorigt, Advisor the President on Ecology and Environment.

Sulfur Emissions on Rise (Science Daily)

Link to the article

ScienceDaily (Feb. 15, 2011) — A new analysis of sulfur emissions appearing in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics shows that after declining for a decade, worldwide emissions rose again in 2000 due largely to international shipping and a growing Chinese economy. An accurate read on sulfur emissions will help researchers predict future changes in climate and determine present day effects on the atmosphere, health and the environment.

"Sulfur dioxide is an important component of the atmosphere. It changes the radiative balance of the earth by influencing the amount of the sun's energy that warms the globe. We need to understand how much sulfur dioxide is emitted, and when and where it is emitted. This study will help us do that," said lead author Steven Smith of the Joint Global Change Research Institute in College Park, Md., a collaboration between the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., and the University of Maryland. Unlike similar studies, the new analysis also provides an estimate of how accurate this study's emissions tally is. Referred to as "uncertainty," the accuracy estimate arises from difficulties inherent in tracking sulfur. This study estimates that actual emissions for recent decades lie within 10 percent of the average global emissions reported by Smith and his colleagues. Regional values could potentially be off by a much higher degree -- up to 30 percent in China, for example. "The regional uncertainty can be moderately high, but the global numbers are much more accurate," Smith said. "Understanding the uncertainty will help us determine how sensitive the earth's atmosphere and land are to changes in sulfur content."

Surreptitious Sulfur

The Industrial Age ushered in widespread combustion activities that spew sulfur into the atmosphere. Sulfur dioxide has the potential to acidify rain, soil and lakes, and it can counteract some of the warming effect of carbon dioxide, making it an important component of the environment to understand. Sulfur's climate role is complicated. In the air, it can form tiny particles called aerosols, creating new ones or building up old ones. Aerosol particles help form cloud drops, potentially changing rainfall amounts as well as affecting the acidity of the raindrops. Both clouds and the aerosols themselves reflect sunlight, reducing the amount of energy absorbed by the planet.

To determine how much sulfur has been emitted between the approximate beginning of the Industrial Age, 1850, and 2005, Smith and colleagues analyzed data about sulfur-emitting activities such as coal burning, copper smelting, or the use of petroleum. The data came from more than 140 countries and went back as far as the 1800s, when publications even at that time tallied how much coal and copper were produced.

The team collected the datasets, evaluated the quality of the records and plotted the data over time, breaking them down by region, source -- such as coal or oil burning -- and economic use such as heating or cooking, power production, and others. The team estimated emissions data both by calculating sulfur release based on how much was contained in sources as well as from actual data on emissions collected from modern power plants. In the United States, government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy collect such data.

Sulfur's Story

The factors that determine total emissions are the amount of fuel consumed, its sulfur content, and any pollution controls employed. The team found that manmade sources of sulfur emissions eclipsed natural sources by 1870, two decades after the start date of this analysis. By the year 2000, however, refineries were removing half the sulfur from crude oil, reducing emissions, the researchers estimated.

Since 1980, the fraction of sulfur coming from petroleum -- 50 percent -- and coal -- 30 percent -- has remained constant. In a reflection of desires for cleaner fuels, emissions as a fraction of fuel consumption began decreasing around 1970, due to shifting to lower sulfur fuel sources, different end uses, and emissions controls. Total global emissions rose dramatically from 1850 to the 1960s, plateaued and then decreased after 1990, and then started rising again in 2000. Although the contribution from major emitters of the past -- North America and Europe -- has been declining since the 1970s, sulfur emissions are rising in much of the rest of the world. Especially noteworthy is China with its phenomenal growth. By 2005, China's share of sulfur emissions came in at 28 percent of the global total, up from about 2 percent in 1950.

The international shipping industry generally uses a lower quality, higher sulfur content fuel than other transportation modes, and emissions from this activity have been growing in importance. They now constitute 10 percent of the global total. Although rising during the study's time frame, a recent international agreement referred to as MARPOL promises to dramatically reduce these emissions in future years. "Emissions from international shipping have not gone unnoticed," said Smith.

Up and Coming

Although there is no central repository or process to keep this kind of information up-to-date, Smith reports that this data is being used by other researchers from climate modelers to social scientists. An earlier version of the data has already been used in models that are exploring possible futures of global climate, results that will be used in the next assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In addition, Smith is curious to see recent emissions data from China, the largest sulfur emitter in the world. "The most recent numbers in this study are from 2005, six years ago," said Smith. "Since this data was collected, China's emissions-control efforts have gotten much stronger. In China, the government is well aware of the impacts of sulfur emissions on health and ecosystems, and they've started to control them."

This work was supported by the US Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Air Pollution Alerts - February 13th, 2011

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on February 6th, 2011)

Green Prophet, February 12th, 2011
Egyptian Strikes Clear The Air – Temporarily.

UB Post, February 11th, 2011
Mere Cash for Cashmere.

The City Fix, February 11th, 2011
Taxi Takeover of BRT, Smoggy Euro Cities, BusTime for New York.

The Canadian Press, February 11th, 2011
Pollution Controls Used During China Olympics Could Save Lives If Continued.

Science Daily, February 11th, 2011
Arctic Climate Variation Under Ancient Greenhouse Conditions.

Science Daily, February 11th, 2011
Research to Explore Low Carbon Technologies in Performance Cars.

The Hindu, February 10th, 2011
Press Information Bureau, February 10th, 2011
India Moves Ahead With Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity.

Science Daily, February 9th, 2011
Challenges for Biofuels: New Life Cycle Assessment Report.

Hindustan Times, February 9th, 2011
CSE lambasts govt's air pollution report.

Times of India, February 9th, 2011
In India, domestic car sales up 26%, bikes 15% in January, 2011.

Straits Times, February 9th, 2011
Fireworks blamed for pollution in China.

The Telegraph, February 9th, 2011
UB Post, February 8th, 2011
Coal Stoves Coat Mongolian Capital in Smog.

Khaleej Times, February 8th, 2011
The giant leap that takes the city a long distance.

Eureka Alerts, February 8th, 2011
Pollution controls used during China Olympics could save lives if continued.

Earth Justice, February 8th, 2011
Health, Economy Benefit From Limits On Power Plant Air Pollution.

The Guardian, February 8th, 2011
The UK must own up to the full scale of its emissions problem.

Scientific American, February 8th, 2011
Environmental Enforcer: How Effective Has the EPA Been in Its First 40 Years?

The City Fix, February 7th, 2011
High Rates of Per Capita Emissions in Global Cities, Especially Among Affluent.

English East Day, February 7th, 2011
Fireworks blamed for increase in fires.

Arab News, February 7th, 2011
A breath of fresh air.

The Gulf Today, February 7th, 2011
42% air pollution in Dubai caused by vehicles.

Jamaica Observer, February 7th, 2011
Dozens trained to measure industrial emission.

Zawya, February 6th, 2011
Second "Car-Free Day" on 9th Feb in Dubai Municipality.

France 24, February 6th, 2011
Coal stoves coat Mongolian capital in smog.

The NY Times, February 4th, 2011
California Law to Curb Greenhouse Gases Faces a Legal Hurdle.

Scientific American, February 4th, 2011
Landscapes of Extraction: Industrial Impacts Mar the Planet.

The NY Times, January 28th, 2011
Once Popular, Car Pools Go the Way of Hitchhiking.

The NY Times, January 13th, 2011
An Artful Environmental Impact Statement.

The NY Times, January 12th, 2011
Weather Monitoring Company Turns to Greenhouse Gases.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Domestic LPG is Blamed for Pollution in Delhi

In November, 2010, following the Better Air Quality conference in Singapore, I posted a note "Is LPG bad for air quality in India" based on the presentations and posters displayed during the conference. The Center for Science and Environment released a review report for the source apportionment study, which blames the LPG as the main problem for the air quality in cities and downplays the role of transport sector (for direct and indirect emissions). Read the full report by CSE. Below is a video clip on CNN-IBN from the press release event by Ms. Anumita Roychowdhury @ CSE.

Excess the full report here - the summary report for the six cities particulate pollution source apportionment studies from Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

in India, Car Sales up 26% and Motorcycles up 17% in January, 2011

A report from SIAM, published in Times of India, February 9th, 2011


Domestic passenger car sales jumped by 26.28% to 1,84,332 units in January, 2011, from 1,45,971 units in the same month last year.

According to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Wednesday, motorcycle sales in the country grew by 14.94% during the month to 7,47,818 units from 6,50,633 units in the same month last year.

Total two-wheeler sales in January increased by 17.55% to 9,80,752 units from 8,34,343 units in January, 2010.

Sales of commercial vehicles jumped by 12.58% to 60,753 units from 53,963 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.

Total sales of vehicles across categories registered a growth of 18.69% to 13,22,979 units in January as against 11,14,692 units in the same month last year, it added.

Diesel Generators Power 60% of Cell-Phone Towers in India !!

Link to the article on February 9th, 2011 in Mail Today India.


Diesel- guzzling cell phone towers are green demons
By Mail Today Science Bureau in New Delhi

THE much- celebrated mobile phone boom is taking a heavy toll on the country’s environment. As much as 200 crore litres of diesel are burnt and thousands of tonnes of carbon emitted every year to power mobile telephony towers spread all over the country to keep you connected.

Waking up to this environmentally unfriendly side of the phone industry, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has initiated a consultation process to help the sector go green. Telecom towers and base stations form the backbone of any network.

India has around 3.1 lakh towers, of which 70 percent are located in rural areas where gridconnected electricity is not available. As a result, 60 percent of the towers are powered by diesel generators which produce a total of 5.3 million litres of carbon dioxide every year. The total carbon emission is estimated to be around 5 million tonnes due to diesel consumption and 8 million tonnes due to power grid connected towers.

Telecom companies spend about ` 300 crore every month on diesel. Towers and related equipment such as base stations and backhaul equipment account for the bulk of the power consumption for any telecom operator.

The tower sites consume 65 percent energy, while the core network accounts for 21 percent. The use of renewable sources of energy such as solar and biomass, better network planning and sharing of infrastructure by different operators could substantially reduce the carbon footprint of the industry, TRAI has suggested in a consultation paper.

The move from diesel to solar and other alternate sources of energy will result in a reduction of 5 million tonnes of carbon emission as well as a savings of $ 1.4 billion ( ` 6,350 crore) in operating expenses for telecom tower companies, the paper says.

The regulator has suggested a system of carbon credits for the telecom sector. It says moving to renewable energy sources could generate millions of carbon credits that could offset operational costs on the towers.

However, environment action group Greenpeace feels that the approach suggested by the telecom regulator is flawed. “ In the absence of emission assessments and standards, the promotion of false solutions like carbon credit and offsetting is designed to retard the sector’s inclination to undertake measures to mitigate emissions,” said Mrinmoy Chattaraj of Greenpeace. Before initiating a carbon credit policy, telecom companies should be made to declare their greenhouse gas emissions.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Air Pollution Alerts - February 6th, 2011

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on January 30th, 2011)

Down to Earth, February, 2011
Will future cities be friendly?

Financial Express, February 6th, 2011
Unplanned urbanisation mounting pressure on utility, transport services.

Bangkok Post, February 5th, 2011
Air quality in Bangkok is a disgrace.

Indian Express, February 5th, 2011
Increase bus fleet to solve traffic problem.

The Guardian, February 4th, 2011
How better time travel will improve climate modelling?

The Guardian, February 4th, 2011
China to impose green tax on heavy polluters.

The Grist, February 4th, 2011
How to get to 100 percent renewables globally by 2050.

Wall Street Journal, February 4th, 2011
Coal Foes Play China Card.

The Press Enterprise, February 4th, 2011
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Smog agency will issue pollution permits.

The Guardian, February 4th, 2011
China plots course for green growth amid a boom built on dirty industry.

CNBC, February 4th, 2011
The Rise of China's 2nd and 3rd Tier Cities.

The Guardian, February 3rd, 2011
China: the year in environment - in pictures.

TIME, February 3rd, 2011
Taming Shanghai's Sprawl.

Los Angeles, February 3rd, 2011
L.A. air officials to vote on pollution trading.

The City Fix, February 2nd, 2011
What Are Best Practices in Transit Branding, Marketing and Communications?

The City Fix, February 2nd, 2011
TT2011: Global Perspectives on Sustainable Transport and Urban Development.

Climate-L, February 3rd, 2011
ADB President Calls for Investment in Climate-Friendly Technologies.

EuroAlert, February 3rd, 2011
EU research contributes to improve urban mobility.

Oceana, February 3rd, 2011
Shipping Emissions: What Oceana Does.

Science Daily, February 3rd, 2011
Current Use of Biodiesel No More Harmful Than Regular Diesel.

Science Daily, February 3rd, 2011
Analyzing Long-Term Impacts of Biofuel on the Land.

Science Daily, February 2nd, 2011
How Humans Are Changing the World.

Science Daily, February 2nd, 2011
Field Study of Smoggy Inversions to End.

Science Daily, February 2nd, 2011
Air-Conditioned Greenhouse Uses Alternative Energy.

Science Daily, February 2nd, 2011
Arctic Mercury Mystery: Meterological Conditions in the Spring and Summer to Blame?

Bangkok Post, February 2nd, 2011
Benzene poses a major threat.

The Guardian, February 2nd, 2011
Beijing celebrates Chinese new year with blue skies ahead – and above.

Environmental Technology, February 2nd, 2011
India and Middle East Air Quality Monitoring.

World Trade News, February 2nd, 2011
Making Green the Goal.

Los Angeles Times, February 2nd, 2011
Disputed power plant for San Joaquin Valley clears hurdle.

Center for American Progress, February 2nd, 2011
US EPA and Greenhouse Gases 101 - Why the Agency Needs to Be Allowed to Reduce Carbon Pollution.

Current Intelligence, February 1st, 2011
Indian Steel: There May Well Be Blood.

Reuters, February 1st, 2011
Controversy over Burning Trash for Power, and Carbon Credits, in India.

MAD Corporate Services, February 1st, 2011

The Hill, February 1st, 2011
Scientists ask Congress to put aside politics, take 'fresh look' at climate data.

Reuters, February 1st, 2011
China plans to spend big on nuclear power, high-speed rail.

China Economic Review, February 1st, 2011
Wind energy sector strong in China.

Science Daily, February 1st, 2011
Clean Streets and Intact Road Surfaces Help to Keep the Air Clean.

Forbes, February 1st, 2011
The Truth About Risks, Benefits of the Smart Grid.

Silicon India, February 1st, 2011
Clean Energy at the Bottom of the Pyramid.

MAD Corporate Services, February 1st, 2011

Raw coal is banned to burn in Mongolian ger districts.

Mongabay News, February 1st, 2011
Cell phone cameras help monitor atmospheric black carbon.

The Hindu, February 1st, 2011
Public transport system: Chennai has miles to go.

Times of India, January 31st, 2011
A dust blanket cover, Gurgaon is lost in the haze.

TIME, January 31st, 2011
Building a Country by Switching On the Lights.

Times of India, January 31st, 2011
Air quality monitoring station to start from Feb 2 in Varnasi.

People's Daily China, January 30th, 2011
China's energy demand to rise at lower rate in 2011.

Pasadena Star News, January 29th, 2011
Some business leaders worry Panama Canal expansion could threaten jobs in Valley, region.

Mail Online, January 29th, 2011
In China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale.
DNA India, January 28th, 2011
CEPT workshop to conclude today on GAINS.

Times of India, January 28th, 2011
Deregulation: Solving diesel conundrum.

Economic Times, January 27th, 2011
India to unveil emissions trading scheme.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Clean Streets and Intact Road Surfaces Help to Keep the Air Clean

Science Daily (Feb. 1, 2011)


Road traffic is one of the main sources of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, above all when the weather situation favors the creation of winter smog. Vehicle tailpipe emissions are responsible for just less than half of the fine particles, however. The majority of this pollutant is produced by mechanical wear and resuspension of dust due to air turbulence from passing vehicles, as a study by atmospheric specialists from Empa and PSI has shown.

Winter smog and fine particulates

The quality of our air has significantly improved over the past decades. However, the high level of pollutants in the air during episodes of winter smog remains a problem. Favorable conditions for winter smog episodes occur during so-called temperature inversions. In these typically windless high-pressure zones, a layer of warm air lies above cold air near to the ground with no mixing between the two. The fine particle matter released by combustion processes, and mechanical wear, and that thrown up again swirling air can no longer move into the higher layers of the atmosphere, with the result that the concentration at ground level increases.

Fine particles from road wear and turbulence

In towns, wear debris from vehicle brakes, tires, and the road surface itself, as well as the resuspension of "normal" dust, are responsible for more than half the fine particle emissions due to road traffic. Scientists from Empa's Air Pollution & Environmental Technology Laboratory had already shown this in an earlier research project. What remained unclear, though, was how much the individual processes contributed to the total emissions, since road surface wear debris and road dust have similar chemical compositions, consisting primarily of mineral particles with diameters between 2.5 and 10 micrometers. The researchers therefore first had to find a way of assigning emissions to their sources.

In solving this problem, the interdisciplinary nature of Empa's activities proved to be a trump card. Working together with the Road Engineering / Sealing Components Laboratory, the atmospheric specialists developed a new measuring method using Empa's Traffic Load Simulator. This machine is normally used to investigate the time-accelerated resistance to wear of road surfaces under extreme load conditions.

Road wear: the quality of the surface is decisive

The results of a recently completed project, which was financially supported by the Swiss Federal Offices for Roads (FEDRO) and for the Environment (FOEN), show that in urban areas wear debris from vehicle brakes contributes about 20% of the fine particle emissions from road traffic because of the stop and go nature of traffic flow. Particulate matter due to tire wear, on the other hand, was hardly significant.

In this situation the state of repair of the road plays a decisive role. If the road surface is intact, then emissions due to direct road wear remain at low levels. Damaged roads surfaces, on the other hand, can result in quite high fine particle emission levels. As far as the resuspension of fine particulate matter due to air turbulence is concerned, the level is determined primarily by how dirty the road surface is -- if it is dirty, then this becomes the dominating factor. And finally, the characteristics of the road surface also have an influence on fine particle emissions. With the porous road surfaces which are often used today (because they reduce noise and have favorable properties in rainy conditions) the quantity of resuspended particle matter was significantly less than that encountered on compact road surfaces. Whether this is also true when porous surfaces age and their pores may become blocked remains an open question.

What this means is that keeping roads as clean as possible and in good repair makes a significant contribution to reducing the problem of fine particulate emissions.

Urban Sprawl in China - in Picture

CNBC on "The Rise of China's 2nd and 3rd Tier Cities" on February 4th, 2011.

Image published in the Guardian on February 3rd, "China: The year in environment - in pictures" caught my eye..

Already number one for carbon emissions, China earned another environmentally dubious accolade in July when it was declared the world’s biggest power consumer. Part of the reason is the spectacular urbanisation seen in this night-time satellite image of the country’s north-east, where the illuminated cities of Beijing (population 12 million) and Tianjin (7 million) form giant man-made stars. China's use of coal, oil, wind and other sources of power more than doubled in the past decade, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2009, it reached the equivalent of 2.26bn tonnes of oil, creeping past the US, which had been the world's biggest energy user since records

Coal trucks snarl up National Highway 207 in north China's Hebei province at the height of what became known as the “world’s worst traffic jam”. Lasting 11 days and stretching more than 60 miles, the congestion forced drivers to sleep in their cabs for several nights as they made progress at the rate of half a mile a day. The primary cause was road works on an exceptionally busy stretch of road between China’s coal heartland of Inner Mongolia and the ports and power plants of Shandong and Tianjin. Rising demand for energy has increased the number of trucks on this transport bottleneck. Congestion and traffic pollution are growing problems on China’s roads as car ownership surges. Beijing is among the worst affected cities. The number of vehicles in the city has increased from 1m to 4m in the past 12 years