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Cleantech news you might have missed: 28 Jan. 2009

newspapersWhat was happening in the world of cleantech yesterday? Following are some of the headlines you might have missed:

  • It’s on again, it’s off again. After initially granting its OK to the project, the German government has ordered a halt to an ocean fertilisation experiment in the Southern Ocean, the Deutsche Welle reports. Scientists aboard Polarstern, a German research vessel, had planned to seed the waters near Antarctica with 20 tons of iron sulphate in hopes of setting off a bloom of phytoplankton that could absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and eventually sequester it at the sea bottom.
  • Tokyo Electric Power plans to build a 10-megawatt solar plant just west of Japan’s megacity, according to an article yesterday in PC World. The plant (no pricetag named yet) is expected to begin operating in 2011.
  • How bad can things keep getting for the ethanol market? Reuters reports that ethanol production capacity in the US contracted by a full 5 percent since late October, with the number of refineries also dropping — from 181 to 175 — in that time.
  • The US has named Todd Stern as its first-ever Special Envoy for Climate Change; as such, Stern (good name, that) will be the US’s chief climate negotiator and top advisor on international climate policy and strategy. “Containing climate change will require nothing less than transforming the global economy from a high-carbon to a low-carbon energy base,” Stern said during a ceremony at the State Department yesterday. “But done right, this can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and become a driver for economic growth in the 21st century.” Stern is a former assistant to President Bill Clinton and a senior fellow at American Progress.
  • EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas yesterday sent an open letter to US President Barack Obama urging him to make good on his commitment to vigorously tackle climate change. Noting that Europe has so far been at the lead of many efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Dimas wrote, “Europe is only a small part of the problem and our emissions are some 14% of the global total. We will only be successful if others are encouraged to follow the low carbon route and it is clear that no global solution will be possible without the full and active support of the US.”
  • Green technology strategies saved the US Postal Service more than $2.25 million (US) last year, the agency reports. The Postal Service has implemented a number of initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint, including server consolidation and virtualisation, replacement of old computers and electronics with more energy-efficient devices, an organisation-wide recycling programme and a switch to back-and-front printing.

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