An employee walking along a thermal pipe at the Kamojang geothermal
power plant near Garut, West Java, on March 18. State utility provider
 Perusahaan Listrik Negara is targeting an additional 135 megawatts of
electricity from three new geothermal plants. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)
 

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: 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.)
"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.) - (Text version)

“.. Nuclear Power Revealed

So let me tell you what else they did. They just showed you what's wrong with nuclear power. "Safe to the maximum," they said. "Our devices are strong and cannot fail." But they did. They are no match for Gaia.

It seems that for more than 20 years, every single time we sit in the chair and speak of electric power, we tell you that hundreds of thousands of tons of push/pull energy on a regular schedule is available to you. It is moon-driven, forever. It can make all of the electricity for all of the cities on your planet, no matter how much you use. There's no environmental impact at all. Use the power of the tides, the oceans, the waves in clever ways. Use them in a bigger way than any designer has ever put together yet, to power your cities. The largest cities on your planet are on the coasts, and that's where the power source is. Hydro is the answer. It's not dangerous. You've ignored it because it seems harder to engineer and it's not in a controlled environment. Yet, you've chosen to build one of the most complex and dangerous steam engines on Earth - nuclear power.

We also have indicated that all you have to do is dig down deep enough and the planet will give you heat. It's right below the surface, not too far away all the time. You'll have a Gaia steam engine that way, too. There's no danger at all and you don't have to dig that far. All you have to do is heat fluid, and there are some fluids that boil far faster than water. So we say it again and again. Maybe this will show you what's wrong with what you've been doing, and this will turn the attitudes of your science to create something so beautiful and so powerful for your grandchildren. Why do you think you were given the moon? Now you know.

This benevolent Universe gave you an astral body that allows the waters in your ocean to push and pull and push on the most regular schedule of anything you know of. Yet there you sit enjoying just looking at it instead of using it. It could be enormous, free energy forever, ready to be converted when you design the methods of capturing it. It's time. …”

Saturday, April 23, 2022

China axes 15 coal plants abroad after Xi pledge, but loopholes remain: study

Yahoo – AFP, April 22, 2022 

China has vowed to become carbon-neutral by 2060, but its emissions pledges do not
cover fossil-fuel investments abroad (AFP/JOHANNES EISELE) (JOHANNES EISELE)
 

More than a dozen Chinese coal power projects overseas were cancelled after a ban last year on funding such plants, but loopholes could allow 18 others to still go ahead, according to a study published Friday. 

China is the world's biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases driving global warming. It has vowed to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and become carbon-neutral by 2060, but these do not include its fossil-fuel investments abroad. 

It is also the largest public funder of overseas coal plants, and was planning to build 67 in more than a dozen countries when President Xi Jinping announced a ban on financing "new projects" in September. 

Since then, Chinese developers have cancelled 15 overseas coal projects as funding dried up and host countries demanded greener alternatives, a study by the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said. 

The cancelled projects would have generated 12.8 gigawatts of electricity -- or the total power generation capacity in Singapore, the think tank added. 

But a lack of clear rules has allowed Chinese developers to continue to build new coal power projects, it warned. 

"The key concern is that China will continue to fund or build new coal projects to power industrial parks under the Belt and Road Initiative," said Isabella Suarez, a researcher at CREA, referring to Xi's $1 trillion global infrastructure push. 

"The loophole is that because the industrial parks have been years in the making, additional coal on these projects would not be considered new, even if... tenders are happening after the pledge to ban coal funding." 

Deadly impact 

China's top economic planner issued vague guidelines in March, telling developers to "proceed cautiously" on coal plants that were in the final stages of planning. 

These could potentially stop Chinese funding for 32 planned coal plants and prompt the "reexamination" of 36 others that are under way, according to the CREA report. 

However, "about 18 coal projects (in the pipeline) that can generate 19.2 Gigawatts of power have already secured financing and permits... and could still go ahead," Suarez said. 

AFP has sought comment on the report from the National Development and Reform Commission, China's economic planner. 

Most of these projects are in Indonesia, where China is investing billions to mine nickel and other minerals needed to build electric vehicles, according to data from the Global Energy Monitor. 

Vietnam and Bangladesh have in recent months requested China to build gas projects instead of the agreed coal projects, according to government notices. 

The deadly impact of climate change -- from extreme heatwaves to more intense superstorms -- is already being felt across the world. 

Experts say emissions must be halved within a decade to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit) or ideally to 1.5C as stated in the Paris climate accord. 

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Bridge collapses in Pittsburgh just before Biden speech

Yahoo – AFP, Sebastian Smith, Fri, January 28, 2022

A Pittsburgh bridge collapsed hours before the arrival of US President
Joe Biden to discuss infrastructure (AFP}

A bridge collapse Friday in Pittsburgh provided a symbolic backdrop for President Joe Biden's trip to the city to tout his $1 trillion infrastructure plan -- and try rebuilding his own crumbling approval ratings. 

Pittsburgh's public safety authorities tweeted that three people were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after the road bridge buckled into a snowy ravine. 

The otherwise minor accident immediately caught national attention because Biden was set to touch down in the industrial city shortly for a speech promoting his efforts to reset the post-pandemic US economy, including through the historic infrastructure spending splurge. 

Biden "has been told of the bridge collapse in Pittsburgh," Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted, and will "proceed with (the) trip planned for today and will stay in touch with officials on the ground about additional assistance we can provide." 

While in Pittsburgh, located in the political battleground state of Pennsylvania, Biden was to tour Mill 19. The former mill dates back to 1943 and once churned out more than a million tons of metal a year. 

Today, the site is being held up as a symbol of what the White House calls Biden's "vision to rebuild America's economy for the 21st century." Home to Carnegie Mellon University's Manufacturing Futures Institute (MFI), Mill 19 focuses on high-tech research and development. 

"The president will talk about how his bipartisan infrastructure law is already strengthening in our supply chains and critical infrastructure -- our roads, bridges, ports, airports and more -- giving us an edge in producing more in America and exporting it to the world," a White House official said. 

Biden's political woes 

For Pittsburgh's mayor, Ed Gainey, the Biden visit was welcome -- a chance to home in on the kinds of problems plaguing post-industrial cities across the country, where bridges, highways, water pipes and other basic infrastructure typically dates back multiple decades. 

"This is critical that we get this funding and we're glad to have the president coming today," he told CNN.

 

In a tough first year in office, the infrastructure bill, passed with rare cross-party Republican support, was one of Biden's biggest successes. For years, presidents had failed to get Congress to revamp the sector, with Donald Trump's repeated promises of "infrastructure week" turning into a running Washington joke. 

But Biden has faced heavy setbacks on other priorities, most recently his attempt to get new voting rights guarantees through Congress. He is also embroiled in the standoff with Russia over Ukraine. 

Despite signs of a roaring economic comeback from the Covid-19 shutdown, the recovery is proving uneven and inflation is eating into wage increases. 

As he kicks off his second year, Biden's approval ratings have slipped to around 40 percent, making him as unpopular as Trump. And things risk getting worse, with Republicans potentially poised to take over Congress in the November midterms. 

Reflecting Biden's currently dim political star power, two important Democrats from Pennsylvania -- Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Attorney General Josh Shapiro -- were pointedly keeping away from the presidential visit, citing scheduling conflicts. 

However, Biden has said he hopes trips like this will help relaunch his momentum, heading into the midterms. 

"I'm going to get out of this place more often," he said during a press conference last week at the White House. "I'm going to go out and talk to the public."

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

“Coming Discoveries” – (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll)

Kryon.com, August 25, 2021 

Live Kryon Channelling. Healing Wednesday livestream 

Lee Carroll
Greetings, dear ones, I am Kryon of Magnetic Service 

This is the fourth channel of the month regarding change. The past three weeks, we’ve discussed several attributes of change that are beginning to happen on this planet. The changes are mostly consciousness, and we have given you some examples which show that many of these were expected, and they coordinate with the messages of the indigenous. They revolve around the cycle of our time, the precession of the equinox, and the 2012 shift. 

So, here you sit in a time of expected change, and the first thing that happens is COVID. You have to ask, “Is it related?” And we’ve given the answer now many times. Indeed (it is related)! More than related, it is the catalyst to what follows next. This virus has almost stopped the normal operational attributes of this planet, and I told you that this is like stopping a large factory so that it can retool. 

We have discussed the metaphor of a factory that cannot stop. After some time, it starts to be dysfunctional, and those operating it start a process of greed and lack of integrity. It becomes so bad that it becomes badly inefficient, yet, nobody can stop it. It’s too big. However, COVID stopped it! This gives a space, does it not? It’s a space that no one expected, given in order to see the inefficiencies of the factory (the systems of Earth). It’s a time to retool and clearly see the dark things that have grown in the dark corners where you never were able to look before. It’s a chance to see more light than ever and identify those who are keeping you from seeing it. 

Dear ones, that’s just the beginning of what we discussed. We’ve given you some messages of change in the past and said, “watch for this,” or “look for that.” These things are coming. There are some things coming that would surprise you, that are truly sensational and filled with great things, and when I tell you about some of these things, you may ask, “How soon, Kryon, how soon?” Every single one of these things that I’m going to give you now actually already exists. They already exist in some form or are being developed. Let me be clear: Some of these things lay on humanity, waiting for the aha experience. “Kryon, what are you talking about?” 

Inventions are Given when They are Needed 

Let me go back and revisit some messages you may have heard before: Major inventions that have changed the culture of this planet often seem to happen all at once, all over the globe, almost like they were delivered to consciousness all at once from somewhere else. 

Seldom do you have just one individual with an idea that then changes the planet. That may be the story they tell you in history, but these profound inventions and discoveries usually happen simultaneously, and the first individual to manifest it is the one who gets the credit. 

Electricity: Some of the inventions that manifest themselves on the planet seem odd in their timing. You might look back and ask, “Why did it take so long? How is this possible?” If you start looking at the facts, the discovery of electricity is one. How long has this energy been obvious to mankind in so many ways? Whether it’s static (electricity), like the sparks you make when you move your feet on certain substances, or whether it’s lightning in the sky … why did it take until only a couple of hundred years ago for it really to be looked at, or the question asked: “I wonder if this is energy we could use?” As to who actually invented it, you knew it was Michael Faraday, right (or did you get another story)? And – that it wasn’t actually electricity – but rather, electromagnetic induction (magnetics)? 

Flight is another one. The Chinese have been flying kites and have known about wind currents for 3,000 years. Why weren’t there men in the sky, using kites and updrafts with the profound understanding that humanity already had of these things? What took so long? Even today, you see those who leap off mountain tops without powered flight – with a kite strapped to them. Where was that? It should have been intuitive and should have occurred a thousand years ago. You had watched the birds, you flew kites, yet, for thousands of years, nobody did it. Does this make sense? It took until the Wright brothers gave it to you using powered engines. That wasn’t that long ago, dear ones, and they only beat the French with their famous first flight by two weeks! Do you see what I’m saying? This invention was “delivered to the Field” when it was ready – and all over the Earth at the same time. 

Inventions that change the Earth profoundly in this way happen when it’s time. You may disagree. You may say, “Oh, we can think of these things any time we want.” This is not true or many inventions that were completely “there and ready and intuitive” would have happened even sooner than they did. 

There are some things coming that are already here, dear ones, in certain ways. They are already in the Field, waiting to be plucked out. I want to tell you about them. Some have heard this before. 

The Best Coming Inventions Will Not Be High Technology 

Don’t be surprised if the most advanced discoveries that you’re going to make, which are going to change this planet profoundly, have nothing to do with artificial intelligence or massive amounts of computing. You might say, it’s “back to basics” because some of the best inventions will be using patterns and basic physics that were always there, but which you just haven’t thought of yet. 

“Kryon, what are you talking about?” 

THE END OF BATTERIES – AND THE GRID 

Let me talk about the magnetic energy wheel. It might be two, or even three wheels, but there is a simple pattern, an array of magnets that, when placed correctly, can keep a wheel spinning – forever. 

Using the simple push/pull energy of small or large magnets together in a specific array, you can keep this wheel going forever. You’re aware, are you not, that natural magnets are very powerful, and they push and they pull with a great deal of force, with no rest or refresh time, and no side effects, and no fuel. This is a huge secret! Why have you not seen this before? Put them together in an array where they will push and pull against each other and spin whatever size wheel you wish – until the end of time! All you have to do is oil the bearings occasionally. Have you thought of that? Dear ones, listen: If you can make something spin, you can connect it to an electric generator. Electricity, in any quantity, forever! 

I want you to think of what this means. Imagine: No batteries. “Kryon, what are you talking about. You’ve got to have batteries.” Dear ones, that statement is soooo yesterday! Imagine your favorite device. A phone, perhaps? What if, instead of a battery, it had a tiny, miniature, spinning magnetic motor that powered the device in real-time – forever! Not only are there no batteries in the future, but no charging anything. Every electronic thing you have has its own tiny, spinning generator built-in. 

“Kryon, how big can this wheel be?” Well, let’s think: Everything I have said can be enlarged. So, instead of a battery in an electric car, there is a larger spinning electric engine underneath, always supplying electricity to what we will now call super capacitance (something we have only briefly discussed). You will always have enough electricity to go for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles without ever stopping. And even while you sleep, electricity is still being generated to the “super cap.” It never stops. 

“Kryon, I still don’t understand how all this is going to change the entire planet.” 

Dear ones, I’m talking about individual power for every single building that exists on the planet – without being connected to any grid. NO WIRES AND NO OUTSIDE SOURCE. No weather pattern will ever shut down a city again or cause those to die because they can’t get electricity – because it’s right outside in a little spinning motor that never stops and always is running, to power whatever is needed. Magnetics is the answer. It’s free, instant, and mobile electricity for all. 

Every continent on this planet could have as much electricity as they wanted or needed to instantly power villages, hospitals, communications, teaching through the internet, and more. The internet would work, no matter what. Can you imagine when everybody could talk to everybody? Cultures and continents would start healing themselves and would finally start to be educated. 

All of this can happen from one undiscovered pattern – a magnetic array. Putting those magnets together so they will push and pull in a way that they will spin forever, can be customizable to any size – miniaturized or massive. They can power ships and cars – and they go forever. There is no resource that is easier and safer to use to power this planet than magnetics. No natural resources are burned, no pollution, and entirely safe. 

Kryon – This Can’t Work 

“Kryon: If I had this invention, there are forces out there who would never let it be developed. I would be afraid to have it! The power companies of the planet will buy it and pocket it because they want to sell what they’ve got. They will never let this happen.” 

Let’s stop for a moment. Dear ones, this is not your father’s world. What have I told you about change for the past 30 years? DO NOT POSTULATE THE FUTURE ON WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST. The shift is changing the consciousness of the planet. 

Right now, the power companies all over your land are in trouble. Fossil fuel is in trouble, if you haven’t noticed. Nuclear power, the former Holy Grail of power, has shown itself clearly to be exceptionally dangerous! Every one of the accepted mass power generation systems is failing. 

I will tell you that the power companies of this land (USA), even if they are using steam or wind or sunlight, are all anxious for this invention! It’s simple, efficient, no huge investment needed, and (ready?) THEY will then be the ones to manufacture and sell the units, improving them and finding more and more uses to free all of you from any kind of power grid. So I’m telling you, it’s a new world, and those in the “power business” will be the first to want to use this. 

The Highest and Most Powerful Force of Humanity 

Let me give you my favorite one: There are things that this body of yours does, which has only to do with consciousness, nothing else. In the last twenty years, there has been a revelation of proof. Consciousness is energy. It can alter physics. 

This realization was not always thought to be the case. In the past, consciousness was something esoteric, not well definable, and it didn’t belong in physics. Now it does. There is now a slow awareness that consciousness absolutely must be considered energy. 

Think: If consciousness is energy, then, like all other physical energies, there must be rules or axioms. It becomes predictive science. When you start to figure that out and you understand what those are, you will have some profound answers to some of the greatest mysteries of health: The energy of consciousness is the reason for the placebo effect! Someone takes a sugar-coated pill, and they are told that the pill is going to create a cure – and then it does! What is the process? How is that possible? 

Someone takes a homeopathic tincture, a chemistry that is too small to create a chemical reaction. Yet, it cures! What is happening? How does that work? The answer is the energy and the physics of consciousness combined with something called mirror neurons: What the body sees and expects, it often creates by itself. Perhaps, you see someone else eating a meal and you salivate. That’s consciousness over chemistry, dear ones. 

Have you ever wondered if mirror neurons could play a powerful and larger part in a coming system of healing? What if you could convince your body that it was healing? Mirror neurons can’t tell the difference between what you believe or what is happening chemically. Therefore, consciousness instructs the body to heal itself, and it does! Now you understand how spontaneous remission may work. When you convince the body that a healing is occurring, it believes it so completely that it heals itself. This will be a new healing process. It will be the best of any that ever existed – using the energy of consciousness in new, measurable, scientific ways. 

No artificial intelligence – no super hi-tech advancements 

Instead, this becomes the revelation of what you as Humans have always had. Powerful! 

I want you to ponder these changes because they are in the Field. Do you think when science discovered that consciousness is energy, they just left that alone? No. They wanted to find out more about what it is. The first thing they realized is that they are dealing with a multidimensional energy. Indeed, science may not think immediately about the self-healing potentials that exist, but eventually, they will 

How long will it take? That’s up to you. How many of you believe these things? For the belief itself, you might say, is a transmitter of reality, because when you believe something, you can make it happen. 

Changes are coming to this planet, dear ones, and I have told you this. We continue to tell you about the ones that will enhance humanity, and there will come a time when the last thing you will ever want to do to each other is to kill one another. There is precedent for this in other places that I have talked about, so I have seen it. I have seen it. 

I am Kryon, in love with humanity. 

And so it is 

KRYON

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Montenegro learns true cost of China-backed $1 bn road to nowhere

Yahoo – AFP, Olivera Nikolic, May 27, 2021 

Chinese wprkers have spent six years carving tunnels through solid rock and
raising concrete pillars above gorges and canyons in Montenegro, but the road
in effect goes nowhere


Two sleek new roads vanish into mountain tunnels high above a sleepy Montenegrin village, the unlikely endpoint of a billion-dollar project bankrolled by China that is threatening to derail the tiny country's economy.
 

The government has already burnt through $944 million in Chinese loans to complete the first stretch of road, just 41 kilometres (25 miles), making it among the world's most expensive pieces of tarmac. 

Chinese workers have spent six years carving tunnels through solid rock and raising concrete pillars above gorges and canyons, but the road in effect goes nowhere. 

Almost 130 kilometres still needs to be built at a likely cost of at least one billion euros ($1.2 billion). 

"The construction looks impressive, but we must not stop at this," says 67-year-old Dragan who retired to the village of Matesevo. 

"It's like buying an expensive car and just leaving it parked in the garage." 

Critics question how the rest of the road will be paid for and highlight environmental damage caused by the construction along with corruption allegations over the awarding of work contacts. 

But locals are inclined to talk up the positives. 

"This story has some good sides for us villagers. Some managed to sell their land and leave, which was impossible before," said one villager, whose two-storey home now sits metres from gargantuan concrete pillars propping up the four-lane highway. 

"I manage to sell some vegetables and chickens to the workers," added the man who did not want to be named, reflecting also that dirt mounds from the construction site stop the river from flooding. 

If Montenegro cannot pay its debt to China, it faces arbitration in Beijing and could
be forced to give up control of key infrastructure, according to the contract.

'Big trouble' 

The section linking Matesevo to a town near the capital Podgorica -- the most difficult part to build -- is set to open in November. 

But the road is meant to connect the Adriatic port of Bar in the south with the Serbian border in the north, with the intention that the Serbians will then extend it to their capital, Belgrade. 

It is unclear where the money will come from or how Montenegro -- a country with a GDP of 4.9 billion euros -- will repay its existing debt to China. 

If Montenegro cannot pay, it faces arbitration in Beijing and could be forced to give up control of key infrastructure, according to a copy of the contract seen by AFP. 

China has been widely criticised for saddling small countries with unmanageable debt as part of its global Belt and Road Initiative. 

Critics worry that it will use financial leverage to boost its political power, in what they dub "debt-trap diplomacy". 

But Chinese officials have strenuously denied any ulterior motive to the investment in Montenegro and the wider region. 

"This cooperation is mutually beneficial and win-win," said China's Montenegrin embassy in a statement last month. 

"If someone puts negative labels on China's investment, it is not only unfair to China, but also disrespectful to the countries of the western Balkans." 

With Montenegro's first repayment due in July, it could become the first European country to put those claims to the test. 

"If we do not find sources of funding to build on, then we are in big trouble," Infrastructure Minister Mladen Bojanic told AFP, saying he was committed to finishing the road. 

Critics question how the road will be paid for and highlight environmental damage caused
by the construction along with corruption allegations over the awarding of work contacts.


'Out of public eye'
 

Bojanic is now trying to get help from the European Union to rescue a project he bitterly opposed when he was in opposition, labelling it risky and reckless. 

Risky, reckless and, according to campaigners, corrupt. 

More than one-third of local subcontractors chosen to work on the project had links to the former ruling socialists of President Milo Djukanovic. 

There were no public tenders and the relationship between payments received and the work carried out was not clear, according to anti-corruption watchdog MANS. 

"Decisions on construction were wrongly made out of the public eye, and that is something we will now have to pay for," said the group's Dejan Milovac. 

The government has promised to investigate any corruption claims. 

Further questions have been asked about the environmental impact after the construction work ruined a UNESCO-protected stretch of river near Matesevo, the Chinese firm agreeing to fund work to undo the damage. 

The construction work ruined a UNESCO-protected stretch of river near Matesevo
Montenegro. The Chinese firm agreed to fund work to undo the damage

Tolls not enough 

Problems with the project were not unforeseen -- experts queued up a decade ago to tell the government that it was not viable. 

They warned that any benefits to commerce and tourism on the Adriatic, or development for poorer northern regions, would never outweigh the costs. 

The current government has admitted revenue from tolls will not even cover the road's annual maintenance, estimated at 77 million euros ($94 million). 

"It would take at least 22-25,000 vehicles a day for the highway to pay off," civil engineer Ivan Kekovic told AFP, roughly four times the number he could envisage on the busiest stretch. 

Even this gloomy assessment may be optimistic if all Montenegrins do their sums like Zeljko Rajkovic, a 55-year-old teacher in Kolasin, close to Matesevo. 

He weighs up the benefits of heading to Podgorica on the new road: 30 minutes travel time rather than 90 minutes on the old road, improved safety. 

Then he considers the downsides: tolls each way, extra fuel consumption. 

"I'll only use the new road if there's a big storm or an emergency," he concludes.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Japan to limit financing of overseas coal power plants

Yahoo – AFP, Natsuko FUKUE, July 9, 2020

Protesters wearing masks of world leaders including Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe demonstrated against climate change and coal during the G20 summit in
Osaka in June 2019 (AFP Photo/Pak YIU)

Japan said Thursday it would tighten rules for investment in foreign coal-fired power stations on environmental grounds, but stopped short of ending government funding for projects.

The move comes with the world's third-largest economy under fire for financing projects to build coal plants at home and abroad -- notably in Southeast Asia.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told reporters the government "has decided to tighten" the rules for supporting investment.

Countries seeking investment would be required to change their "behaviour" towards decarbonisation, Kajiyama said, but added that the new policy was not about cutting back funding.

"There are developing nations in the world that can only choose coal as an energy source," he said.

Further details were not immediately available.

The government currently provides funding to Japanese companies if their projects meet certain criteria -- such as when a foreign country has no options but to choose coal due to economic reasons.

Major decision

The Global Energy Monitor watchdog said last year that Japan accounted for over US$4.8 billion in financing for coal power plants abroad -- particularly in Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Kimiko Hirata, international director of the environmental NGO Kiko Network, said the new investment decision was a "major decision."

"The coal-fired power stations were the pillar of infrastructure exports for Japan," she told AFP.

But Greenpeace criticised the decision as falling short, saying it showed "no clear policy".

Last week, the government promised to study ways of phasing out older, more polluting coal-fired power stations by 2030, following reports it plans to mothball around 100 ageing plants.

Japan has some 140 coal-fired power stations, providing nearly one-third of the nation's total electricity generation, and second only to LNG-fired plants.

But there are more than a dozen projects underway to build more plants -- despite efforts to phase them out in many other parts of the world.

The appetite for coal-fired plants increased significantly after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident following the 2011 tsunami.

Japan wants nearly a quarter of its energy needs to be met by renewable sources -- including wind and solar -- by 2030, a figure critics describe as unambitious based on current levels of around 17 percent.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

‘Waffle’ emergency shelter design wins prize for Delft students

DutchNews, June 20, 2020 - By Senay Boztas 

Image: Delft University of Technology

Students at Delft University of Technology have won first prize in an architecture competition for an emergency shelter that can be folded away and transported on just one truck. 

Aleksandra Wróbel, Agnieszka Witaszek and Kamil Owczarek designed the foldable emergency shelter to be made from prefabricated cut plywood, with an adaptable structure that can easily be put up and pulled down again, according to a university press release. The wall construction – which also acts as shelving – is described as ‘waffle-like’. 

Their design has won the Kaira Looro Architecture Competition. It also includes a storage room, tank for collecting and filtering rainwater and composting toilet that uses wood shavings. 

The three students received a prize of €5,000 and internship at Kengo Kuma & Associates in Japan. ‘Winning this competition might even become a base for us to start our own practice,’ said Wróbel. ‘This competition has focused our minds to a human-centred approach.’

Monday, March 9, 2020

Meet Thailand's secret weapon in climate change battle

Yahoo – AFP, Dene-Hern CHEN, March 8, 2020

Architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom made her name showing how the effects of 
climate change can be mitigated by ensuring the issue is at the heart of city 
planning (AFP Photo/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA)

Bangkok's future hangs in the balance.

Rising sea levels, unchecked development, groundwater extraction, and rapid urban population growth has left millions vulnerable to natural disasters -- scientists warn the city itself may not survive the century.

New analysis by the Nestpick 2050 Climate Change City Index says the Thai capital could be hardest hit by global warming.

And while it is not alone facing such a threat -- Venice, New Orleans, and Jakarta are predicted to be underwater by 2100 -- it does have a secret weapon in its battle to negate the impact of a hotter planet: renowned architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom who preaches mindful development over mindless construction.

"We are talking life and death in this situation," says the 39-year-old who is hoping to bring Bangkok back from the brink, as scientists warn extreme weather -- flooding and droughts -- could ravage the city, leaving as much as 40 percent submerged in the next decade.

Kotchakorn says: "I don't want to face it with fear. At this moment we have a chance to make change... We have to do it right now to show the coming generations that this is possible. It is not about sitting and waiting and doing the same thing."

No one can accuse the Harvard graduate of resting on her laurels: She made her name showing how the effects of climate change can be mitigated by ensuring the issue is at the heart of city planning.

Kotchakorn rails against Bangkok's unchecked development (AFP Photo/Lillian
SUWANRUMPHA)

She and her firm Landprocess created the internationally acclaimed Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park, an 11-acre (4 hectares) space in central Bangkok, which tilts downward at a three-degree angle, allowing rainwater to flow through the flanking grass and wetlands.

Water that's not absorbed by the plants runs down to a pond at the base of the park, where it can be stored and filtered for use during dry spells or released gradually. In cases of severe flooding, the park can hold up to a million gallons of water.

Global rising star

Kotchakorn rails against Bangkok's unchecked development -- more than 10 million live in the metropolis packed with skyscrapers, factories, malls and hotels -- warning that an "addiction to growth" at all costs is jeopardising its ability to thrive.

"We think about how we're going to have more growth in our annual development... What if we shift the orientation from growth to really consider our actions on the environment, listen to the land more," she says.

"It doesn't mean I am against development but I want it to be very meaningful, very mindful, and at the right pace -- so we don't actually kill our future."

Today her ideas have been embraced at home, and abroad -- she gave an acclaimed TED talk in 2018, and last year TIME Magazine included her in its "100 Next" list of global rising stars.

Convincing clients, authorities, and other businesses to see the big environmental 
picture has not been easy in a mega-city obsessed with economic targets and 
expansion (AFP Photo/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA)

But convincing clients, authorities, and other businesses to see the big environmental picture has not been easy in a mega-city obsessed with economic targets and expansion.

Driving change as a woman in a patriarchal society has been an additional challenge, but Kotchakorn insists there is "power" in being different, particularly in an industry dominated by older men offering only "conventional ways of thinking".

Many of her ideas were initially dismissed, but she held firm, explaining: "I feel that was based on their fear. But it's not my fear."

"Women offer different kinds of judgement, different kinds of attitude towards problems... We have to bring that diversity to the table and create better decisions," she adds.

Things must change

A turning point came in 2011, when Thailand endured its worst floods in half a century, which left more than 800 dead nationwide with hundreds of thousands displaced. Bangkok, built on once-marshy land and surrounded by natural waterways, was hard hit.

Then came the World Bank warning that 40 percent of it would be inundated by 2030.

It was clear then things needed to change, says Voraakhom, who grew up in the capital and says air quality has deteriorated rapidly, as has food quality and security because of the heavy use of pesticides.

Hailing her late mother as her inspiration, and her 11-year-old daughter as her 
motivation, Kotchakorn hopes her work will solve problems for generations to 
come (AFP Photo/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA)

In 2018, she created Asia's largest rooftop farm, which mimics the region's famed rice terraces where run-off travels down layers of crops, conserving both water and soil. Winding around the 22,400 square-metre (241,000 square-foot) rooftop is a jogging path and a lawn.

Later this year she will unveil plans to transform a vast, unused bridge crossing the Chao Phraya river into a park with bicycle lanes, bringing more green space to a place with precious little of it.

"If you just do a normal building, it's just going to be the same. It's just another building. But if you create (something new), you actually could touch and change their way of living, their way of eating, their way of understanding of sustainability."

Kotchakorn has even greater ambitions for the city she grew up in -- she wants to "reclaim" the more than 1,000 canals that snake through Bangkok that are currently used for sewage.

"Canals have so much life, so much potential to be public green space and a skeleton of the whole city," she explains.

Hailing her late mother as her inspiration, and her 11-year-old daughter as her motivation, she hopes her work will solve problems for generations to come.

She says: "Being a mother is really helping to push me to create hope and solutions for the next generation. You see that the things you build will last after your life."

Saturday, March 7, 2020

For a rainy day: Amsterdam plans to make new buildings catch rainwater

DutchNews, March 6, 2020 - By Senay Boztas 

A green roof bus stop. Photo: Mobilane

New build projects in Amsterdam would be forced to capture the first 60mm of rainfall thanks to proposals currently under public consultation. 

The city, which today launches a ‘roadmap’ charting its way to becoming climate neutral, is also concerned about how the built environment absorbs ever-increasing rainfall. 

A proposal, submitted in February, suggests that new builds will be obliged to ‘capture and process rainwater on their own ground, because the climate is changing and in the future ever heavier showers may fall.’ 

The obligation to capture and reuse rainwater – in features such as green roofs, water butts, and ‘grey water’ based sanitary facilities – is intended to help protect streets, cellars, houses and buildings from water damage. 

New builds would be obliged to soak up the first 60mm of rainfall and only then ‘gradually’ release it into city drainage system over 60 hours. 

Daniel Goedbloed, head of the water-management programme Amsterdam Rainproof, said that if the new rules are adopted, they would make a huge difference to the Dutch capital’s capacity to absorb water. 

‘The idea is that all new builds, including those which don’t need to apply for planning permission, can deal with up to 60ml of water on their own plot of land,’ he told DutchNews.nl. ‘You could install a “blue roof” that acts like a temporary lake and then slowly drains water, or a “blue-green” roof with sedum plants and the ability to hold some water. 

Rainwater harvesting systems can also be good, although they need to have water ready for the next use rather than draining it all away.’ 

Costs 

The rule for these systems is that they must catch 90ml of water and drain away 30% of this in 60 hours, he said. Smart rainwater harvesting systems and so-called ‘polder’ roofing would be exempt, and developments which don’t need planning permission would have slightly lower requirements. 

The costs would have to be borne by developers, although it is expected that on its own land, Amsterdam city council would offer a reduced ground rate for developers with rainwater harvesting measures in their plans. 

The public consultation period runs until the end of April and the rain harvesting measure is expected to go to a council vote before the summer. Meanwhile, local rules in areas such as Oud-West already mean that owners can only tile 50% of their gardens in order to let rainwater soak into the ground. 

The attention to rain is part of a drive to future-proof Amsterdam against climate change. The city’s plans to go climate neutral by 2030 – by better insulating homes and removing domestic gas – will reportedly cost ‘billions’ in investment. 

Head of sustainability Marieke van Doorninck on Friday compared the future-proofing plans in Amsterdam to the level of change during the Industrial Revolution, and a report by CE Delft confirmed that the city may be able to reduce its emissions by 48% in 2030, compared with 1990. 

Nika Haspels, a spokeswoman for Amsterdam city council, said that the rainwater proposals fall under this environmental drive. ‘This is part of the climate adaptation strategy,’ she said. ‘We have to do something: if you don’t ensure the rain is captured, then soon you are going to have a problem.’