Saturday, 27 March 2010

Teco unveils 2MW power-generating wind turbine

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Teco Electric & Machinery, one of the world's largest producers of industrial motors, Tuesday debuted a two-megawatt (MW) power-generating wind turbine, officially marking its entry into the alternative energy field.

“We've received nearly 100 orders,” Teco chairman Liu Chao-kai said during the motor's unveiling ceremony. “Based on the price of NT$100 million per turbine, our orders have exceeded NT$10 billion.”
The orders are expected to give Teco's business a boost, he emphasized, saying NT$10 billion was half of the company's total revenue last year. He further pointed out with the launch of the product, Taiwan has become the eighth nation in the world with the capability to manufacture wind turbines.
Liu noted that Teco's wind turbines are available in permanent magnet synchronous generators or DC permanent-magnet motors.
The company currently produces wind turbines in four manufacturing bases, namely Texas, China's Wuxi and Zhangzhou, and Taiwan's Chungli, Liu said.
“We can reach a maximum annual capacity of 500 units,” he said.
Teco supplies the niche products in cooperation with Formosa Heavy Industries Corp., China Steel Machinery Corp. and Atech Composite Co., Ltd., which specialize in production of gearboxes, large sized die-castings as towers, and wind turbine blades and housings, respectively.
Teco indicated that it has been focused on the wind power business for several years, and will diversify in the segment to include wind turbine manufacturing, maintenance, built-to-order assembly and operation management for wind power stations. The firm will also kick off development of 3.6 and 5-megawatt marine wind turbines, adding that its wind turbines and related products will contribute more to revenues than household appliances in the future.

Fiorina slams California's global warming law

Published: Saturday, Mar. 27, 2010 - 12:00 am

Calling it an "unbelievable job killer," GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina on Friday urged the elimination of California's landmark global warming law.
If AB 32 is not scrapped, Fiorina said, she will back an effort to suspend the law until unemployment in the state drops to 5.5 percent and stays there for one year.
"Suspending it is better than keeping it in place," Fiorina said in a meeting with The Bee Capitol Bureau.
Fiorina said the state law and a federal effort to cap greenhouse emissions would cost trillions in lost economic output.
"It's important that we protect our environment," she said. "It's wonderful that California has such a pristine environment." But she added: "A vibrant economy and making progress on our environment have to be co-equal goals."
She said state and federal policies should be aimed at encouraging innovation, not punishment: "Let's motivate and reward innovation."
And she said the science involved in global warming should be subject to more scrutiny.
"I think we should have the courage always to examine the science," she said.
Steve Maviglio, spokesman for Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, a coalition of industry and environmental groups that supports AB 32, disputed Fiorina's characterization of the law.
"Since Carly Fiorina personally forced tens of thousands of H-P workers to lose their jobs, she knows more about job-killing than most," he said in a statement. "AB 32 is a win-win-win for the economy; it will create tens of thousands of new jobs in the growing clean tech sector, clean up our air, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett-Packard, is one of three Republican candidates – along with former Rep. Tom Campbell and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore – seeking the party's senatorial nomination in June.
The winner of the GOP primary will likely face Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who's seeking a fourth term, in November.
In a wide-ranging interview, Fiorina:
• Said any chief executive officer who comes to Washington to seek federal bailout money should resign immediately, along with the company's board of directors.
"They have failed in their most fundamental fiduciary duty, which is to protect the franchise," she said.
• Called for a go-slow approach on immigration.
She said Congress should take greater steps to protect U.S. borders and make changes to the temporary guest worker program before considering a larger overhaul.
• Said she will oppose the funding of earmarks, or special projects that usually benefit only one congressional district or state.
She said Congress needs to operate with greater transparency and that the earmark process is essentially a way of hiding appropriations in larger spending bills.
• Said she is not endorsing a candidate in California's GOP gubernatorial primary and that she lacks the resources to self-fund her own campaign.
"I'm not Meg Whitman, so we have to raise the money," she said.
• Said Boxer won her previous elections in better economic times and will be more vulnerable this year, when jobs are the biggest issue for the electorate.

Government accused over taking credit after greenhouse gases fall during recession

The Government has been accused of using the economic downturn to gain green plaudits after new figures showed the recession has led to record cuts in greenhouse gases.

By Louise Gray, Environment CorrespondentPublished: 7:30AM GMT 26 Mar 2010

Gordon Brown's Government has been accused of using the economic downturn to gain green plaudits after new figures showed the recession has led to record cuts in greenhouse gases Photo: REUTERS
Since records began in 1990 levels of pollution have been reducing at an annual rate of a few percentage points.
But in 2009 the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases fell by 8.6 per cent, largely due to the contraction in industry caused by the recession.

Joan Ruddock, the Energy and Climate Change minister, said every sector, including homeowners, have contributed to the fall in pollution.
"The significant reduction in emissions would no doubt have been impacted by the recent economic circumstances. However, we should still recognise the good progress we are making towards meeting our targets, and should not underestimate the effort made so far by government, industry, business and homeowners alike," she said.
But Greg Clark, the Tory energy spokesman, said most of the fall was because of the recession.
“It is disappointing that it took the longest and deepest recession since World War II for Labour to achieve any noticeable fall in UK carbon emissions," he said.
“Before Gordon Brown’s recession hit, carbon emissions had fallen by just 1.4 per cent under Labour. Ministers should be embarrassed that their green claims are based on our broken economy.”
Meanwhile, Lord Stern has said the world is on course to keep global temperature rise below 2C (3.6F).
He said the targets submitted by countries in Copenhagen would result in global annual emissions of about 48 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent in 2020, if countries deliver "high intention" reductions.
This would fall short of a "climate responsible" target of 44 billion tonnes, but would still be consistent with a 2C goal if more difficult and costly annual reductions of at least 4 per cent per year could be achieved for the decades after 2020.

Earth Hour 'will not cut carbon emissions'

A climate change campaign to get everyone to switch off their lights will not reduce carbon emissions, according to electricity experts.

Published: 8:00AM GMT 27 Mar 2010

Earth Hour, organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), will see millions of people switch off their lights for an hour this weekend.
But the fall in electricity use for such a short period is unlikely to result in less energy being pumped into the grid, and will therefore not reduce emissions.

Even if power stations are turned off, the upsurge in turning the lights back on one hour later will require power stations that can fire up quickly like oil and coal.
Energy experts said it could therefore result in an increase in carbon emissions "rendering all good intentions useless at a flick of a switch".
But WWF said the campaign was about raising awareness and saving energy in the long term, rather than a short-term fix.
Millions of buildings around the world are expected to go dark at 8.30pm on Saturday including the Sydney Opera House and Big Ben.
WWF Earth Hour is designed to raise awareness of climate change and has been supported by Al Gore and the United Nations.
This year more than 50 million people are expected to take part on every continent in the globe in the biggest Earth Hour since the event began three years ago.
Ross Hayman, of the National Grid, said only a small fall in demand is expected in the UK, meaning the event will not cause less energy to be put into the grid.
However, he warned that even if there is a significant drop and supply is turned off, the reduction in energy will be offset by the surge needed to turn bring energy back onto the grid from firing up coal or gas stations.
"It might not have an effect on overall carbon emissions because we might have to use more carbon intensive power sources to restore supply afterwards," he added.
Mr Hayman said the best thing for climate change would be for people to insulate their homes and get into the habit of turning appliances off at night.
"People ought to focus on general efficiency measures to reduce their energy use overall rather than switch everything off for an hour because that might not have an efficiency effect on the network overall," he said.
James Millar, managing director of the sustainable lighting company Greenled, said when the lights come back on there is "enormous strain thrust upon the national grid".
“Energy companies always retain spare capacity and will continue to produce energy at the same rate throughout the hour-long demonstration which will end up being dumped off the grid with the loss of millions of tonnes of energy due to lack of demand; thereby, rendering all the good intentions of Earth Hour useless – at the flick of a switch,” he added.
But Colin Butfield, Head of Campaigns at WWF, said it was not about saving energy for just an hour but raising awareness.
"Earth Hour is an opportunity for people to show that they care about climate change and want global leaders to take action. Earth Hour is not about saving energy, it’s a positive inspiring event that will show the level of public concern about climate change, and for that reason we will not be measuring energy saved during the hour or reduction in CO2 emissions," he said.

Food for Fort: On ethical tea, fresh yeast and Medjool dates

Will a cuppa taste better if it's Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance? Plus can yeast be frozen, and where can I buy jumbo Medjools?

Matthew Fort
The Guardian, Saturday 27 March 2010
I'm confused by the labelling on tea and coffee. Is it better to buy Fairtrade, where workers get a fair price, or Rainforest Alliance, which I assume means rainforests aren't cut down to grow the product? Does RA mean workers get fair pay, too?Shopping is a nightmare for the ethically minded these days, and it's virtually impossible to square the virtuous circle. For example, so much organic food for sale in the UK is sourced elsewhere; how do we reconcile that with the environmental damage caused by bringing it here? But then, if we don't buy foods from developing countries, are we depriving those farmers of much-needed income? And if we do buy from them, what effect will that have on farmers in the UK? For what it's worth, Fairtrade, says its website, "is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world". The Rainforest Alliance, on the other hand, "works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour". Incidentally, both PG and Tetley have signed up to the Rainforest Alliance, but not to Fairtrade. Basically, you pays your money and takes your choice. Personally, I'll save a human first and a rainforest second. But we should be in a position to do both at once.
Is it possible to buy a fridge-freezer that is 25% fridge and 75% freezer?After days spent peering at websites and brochures, I haven't been able to track down anything close to that split. The only solution I can suggest is to get a small fridge, such as a Whirlpool ARG 581/2, and a larger freezer, such as a Hotpoint FZ150G, and perch one on top of the other. The proportions you want will make it quite a high stack, though.
What's the best way to store live yeast? I've been advised to freeze it, but have had mixed results from using it both frozen and defrosted.That splendid by-product of the brewer's art will last only about two weeks in the fridge, but it will stay active for at least six months in the freezer. It needs to be defrosted before use, then used straight away. If you do freeze it, put it in a plastic container to keep it from being crushed, and don't store it in the freezer too long, or it will turn to a kind of paste, rather than the agreeably crumbly texture it should be.
Can you help in a search for jumbo Medjool dates? I'm obsessive about them, and need a reliable source.There are soft dates, of which Medjool is one; there are semi-dried ones, including Deglet Noir, of which I am fond; and dried ones such as Thoory. Medjool are preferred by those who like their dates sweet and plump, and it's small wonder they're favoured by California growers. Believe it or not, there are US websites devoted just to the Medjool date ( and We don't seem to be quite so well organised over here; Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose all stock them, but not all the time, so you'll have to keep you eyes peeled.
• Got a foodie question for Matthew? Email

Don't hound the climate scientists

One regrettable mistake about glaciers doesn't alter the vast evidence there is of climate change

Rajendra Pachauri, Friday 26 March 2010 17.00 GMT
To dismiss the implications of climate change based on an error about the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are melting is an act of astonishing intellectual legerdemain. Yet this is what some doubters of climate change are claiming. But the reality is that our understanding of climate change is based on a vast and remarkably sound body of science – and is something we distort and trivialise at our peril.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published four comprehensive assessments of climate change and several important special reports since its founding in 1988. The last such document, the fourth assessment report (AR4) from 2007, mobilised 450 scientists from all over the world to write the report. An additional 800 contributing authors gave specialised inputs and about 2,500 expert reviewers provided 90,000 comments.
In this mammoth task, which yielded a finished product of nearly 3,000 pages, there was a regrettable error indicating the Himalayan glaciers were likely to melt by the year 2035. This mistake has been acknowledged by the IPCC. Learning from this error, the IPCC has requested, in tandem with the United Nations' secretary general, an independent review of its procedures and practices by the Inter-Academy Council (IAC). This review was requested in part so that the possibility of similar errors can be eliminated as much as is humanly possible.
It is important, however, to understand that irrespective of the error on Himalayan glaciers and a few other questions about some specific wording in AR4, the major thrust of the report's findings provides overwhelming evidence that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. To quote the report: "Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG (greenhouse gas) concentrations."
As inhabitants of planet Earth, our lives depend on a stable climate, and it is our responsibility to ensure that future generations do not suffer the consequences of climate change. We cannot ignore the fact that the impacts of climate change, which are based on actual observations, are leading to "increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global sea levels", according to AR4.
An increasing number of researchers, and some official investigations by intelligence agencies, now point to the security implications of climate change. If we do not carry out adequate mitigation and adopt related sustainable development practices, global emissions of greenhouse gases will continue to increase, and their continuation at or above current rates will cause further warming and changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that will very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.
Altered frequencies and intensities of extreme weather, together with sea level rise, are expected to have mostly adverse effects on natural and human systems. Even more serious is the finding that human-induced warming could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible. For instance, partial loss of ice sheets on polar land could imply metres of sea level rise, major changes in coastlines and inundation of low-lying areas, with the greatest effects in river deltas and low-lying islands.
Human society has some critical choices. It is to be expected that some of these would pose challenges for some stakeholders and sectors of the economy. But to ignore the IPCC's scientific findings would lead to impacts that impose larger costs than those required today to stabilise the Earth's climate.
Thousands of scientists from across the world have worked diligently and in an objective and transparent manner to provide scientific evidence for action to meet the growing challenge of climate change. To obscure this reality through misplaced emphasis on an error in a nearly 3,000-page, rigorous document would be unfortunate.
Even more unfortunate is the effort of some in positions of power and responsibility to indict dedicated scientists as "climate criminals". I sincerely hope the world is not witnessing a new form of persecution of those who defy conventional ignorance and pay a terrible price for their scientifically valid beliefs.
The IPCC will continue to learn from experience, including criticism of its work. Thankfully, with inputs from thousands of respected scientists, world governments and now the IAC, the panel is in a better position than ever to provide a robust and reliable scientific basis for tackling the growing challenge of climate change.

NatGeo cheapens its brand by linking with vile air freshener

Love the planet? Love the clean smell of Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone? Breathe deep as National Geographic sells its brand down the river

National Geographic says proudly - and with real justification - that it has been "inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888". My memory doesn't stretch back that far, but I can certainly remember as a child growing up in the 1980s receiving my annual subscription to the magazine with true excitement each Christmas. I used to collect all the pull-out maps and pore over those epic photographic essays of far-off deserts, jungles, reefs, tundra, ice caps and cities with genuine wonder. A few years ago I stumbled across the 1969 edition marking the Apollo 11 lunar landing in a charity shop and snapped it up instantly. When I got home, I gazed at it with child-like awe.
So it was with a considerable sense of disappointment and deflation that I saw an ad on TV recently urging me to buy an Ambi Pur plug-in air freshener produced "in association with National Geographic". Surely not, I thought. National Geographic, one of the world's most recognised and respected brands, would never demean itself by agreeing to a marketing tie-up with one of the most pointless consumer items of the modern age – an air freshener that you plug into an electric socket so that it can periodically pump its revolting, synthetic fragrance at you?
I later went online to check that my eyes hadn't deceived, but, no, there it was: a homepage for "World Scents Air Freshener: Ambi Pur's new Range of National Geographic Fragrances – Natural Scents Inspired by the World".
For the last 50 years Ambi Pur has led the way in creating some of the highest quality fragrances, ensuring that nothing but the finest scents find their way into your home. In our quest to bring you authentic scents inspired by the natural world, we've called on the experience of National Geographic. As one of the world's largest non-profit scientific and educational organisations, its mission is to increase global understanding and promote conservation of our planet through exploration, research and educational programmes. For more than a century, National Geographic's explorers have discovered beautiful places, witnessed stunning sights and experienced amazing fragrances. Now Ambi Pur has captured these authentic and natural scents for your home.
Can someone please explain to me how endorsing an electric plug-in air freshener is able to "increase global understanding and promote conservation of our planet through exploration, research and educational programmes"? Maybe the website can explain?
In the 121 years since they were founded, National Geographic's explorations have taken them to every corner of the globe. These travels, with all their sights, sounds and smells, have inspired a dedicated range of authentic natural scents for you to enjoy at home. Nevada Desert Flower, Japan Tatami and Alaska Glacier Bay are made with natural essences and packaged in recyclable materials, are available in plug-in air fresheners, candles and fragrance reeds.
Nope, still not getting it. In fact, now I'm even more enraged. Since when is using the name of a world heritage site and US National Park – namely, Alaska's Glacier Bay – even remotely a good idea when trying to flog such useless tat, especially when you know that it needlessly consumes electricity? Let's recap: glaciers and emissions from power stations are not exactly the best of buddies at the moment, are they?
And how does one go about recreating the scent of Alaska's Glacier Bay? Well, here's the ingredient listing from the website of Sara Lee, Ambi Pur's parent company (not for long it seems as it is being bought, according to the financial press, by another friend of the environment, Proctor & Gamble – if it can hurdle an EU investigation:
Ppg-3 Ethyl Ether, Parfum, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Hydroxycitronellal, Geraniol, Coumarin, Citronellol, Cinnamyl, Alcohol, Limonene, Cinnamal
Mmmmm, I love the smell of Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde in the morning. Don't you? Actually, you may well do as it's a synthetic fragrance that has a smell something akin to Lily of the Valley. But when did you last come across Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde up a glacier in Alaska?
Seriously, National Geographic shouldn't need to cheapen itself and its long-earned reputation like this. This is a car crash of inappropriately aligned brands that could so easily have been avoided.
But perhaps this is the inevitable result when you set off down that slippery slope of commercial tie-ups? Last year, I took a tour around the new National Geographic store in London's Regent Street. It caused me some shivers of concern, but nothing on the scale of this marriage with Ambi Pur. Please consider me the relative looking down at this marriage with thoroughly disapproving eyes.

Beijing to sweeten stench of rubbish crisis with giant deodorant guns

High-pressure fragrance sprays will be installed at Asuwei dump, one of several hundred overflowing landfill sites that are the focus of growing public concern

Beijing is to install 100 deodorant guns at a stinking landfill site on the edge of the city in a bid to dampen complaints about the capital's rubbish crisis.
The giant fragrance sprays will be put in place by May at the Asuwei dump site, one of several hundred tips that are the focus of growing public concerns about sanitation, environmental health and a runaway consumer culture.
Municipal authorities say they will also apply more plastic layers to cover the site in response to furious protests by local residents who have to put up with the stench when the wind blows in their direction.
The high-pressure guns, which can spray dozens of litres of fragrance per minute over a distance of up to 50m, are produced by several Chinese firms and based on German and Italian technology. They are already in use at several landfill sites, but they are merely a temporary fix.
Beijing's waste problem - and China's - is expanding as fast as its economy, at about 8% each year. With millions more people now able to afford Starbucks, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other elements of a western, throwaway lifestyle, the landfill sites and illegal tips that ring the capital are close to overflowing.
According to the local government, the city of 17m people generates 18,000 tonnes of waste every day - 7,000 tonnes more than the capacity of municipal disposal plants.
"All landfill and treatment sites in Beijing will be full in four years. That's how long it takes to build a treatment plant. So we need to act right now to resolve the issue," said Wang Weiping, a waste expert in the city government. "It's necessary to restructure the current disposal system. We cannot rely on landfill anymore. It's a waste of space."
Less than 4% of Beijing's rubbish is recycled – the UK recycles 35% – but is still near the bottom of the EU recycling league. Two per cent of Beijing's rubbish is burned but the rest is dumped in landfill sites, which cover an area of 333,000 sq m. Cities throughout the country face a similar problem.
There are more than 200 legal and illegal sites around Beijing, according to Wang Jiuliang, a photographer who has spent the past year recording and plotting the wastelands using GPS systems and Google Earth.
Together, they form what he calls "Beijing's seventh ring", where the city meets the countryside with smart new ring roads, expensive housing complexes and the detritus of consumer culture.
"People are forced to use these places for dumps and landfills. There is no better place," he says. "China has become a consumer society over the past 10 or 20 years. The authorities are working hard to solve the garbage problem, but it has emerged too quickly."
Environment authorities in cities throughout the country are struggling to keep pace with this burgeoning problem. According to the government, about 20m tonnes of urban garbage went unhandled in 2008.
They want to deal with the waste by burning it. But government plans to build 82 incinerators between 2006 and 2010 have encountered an increasingly hostile "not-in-my-backyard" movement.
According to Chinese media reports, at least six incinerator projects have been put on hold due to public opposition, including Panyu in Guangdong province, Jiangqiao in Shanghai, and Liulitun and Asuwei in Beijing.
The number of rubbish-related public complaints in Beijing increased by 57% last year, according to the Municipal Petition Office. Many residents have safety fears about incineration facilities despite reassurances by the government.
In an attempt to win public confidence, the managers of a new 800m yuan incinerator in Gao'antun set up a giant display screen earlier this month that contains real-time data on emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
But it continues to raise concerns because there are no figures for dioxins - the toxins released during the burning of plastic and other synthetic materials. The plant has had to scale back operations in the face of public opposition.
In the longer term, the government plans massive investment and new legislation to double the capacity of waste disposal facilities, increase the incineration rate to 40% and to cut the growth in the volume of rubbish to zero by 2015 through recycling.
There is a long way to go. Currently, even when waste is separated by schools and companies, it is often just crammed back together by refuse collectors. A Beijing News report last month noted that distribution and disposal plants are not designed to deal with separated waste.
"We just compress, pack and then bury everything directly," said staff from Mentougou district waste transfer station.
Efforts to promote recycling have a long way to go. Public litter bins offer two options - marked recyclable and non-recyclable - but few people are aware of the distinction because there has not been an adequate public education campaign.
"I am willing to take time and money to separate and recycle my rubbish, but there's just no such system here," said Beijing resident Cui Zheng.
Incinerator projects that have been held up by public protests
June 2007 - Liulitun, Beijing
June 2007 - Liulitun, Beijing
Early 2009 - Jiangqiao, Shanghai
September 2009 - Asuwei, Beijing
October 2009 - Wujiang, Jiangsu
November 2009 - Panyu, Guangzhou
December 2009 - Tianjingwa, Nanjing
• Additional reporting by Han Ying