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Independent Professional: Experienced educator and management consultant for engineering educational institutions, researcher, trainer, technical consultant on sustainable technologies, related to cement manufacturing and characterisation, using industrial and agricultural wastes in cement and concrete, durability of concrete and fuel cell power.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Climate negotiating position of the world's top emitters

The following are the negotiating positions of the world's top five greenhouse gas emitters with regard to the new U.N. pact for combating climate change to be agreed in Copenhagen in December 2009:

CHINA (GHG Emissions: 6.8 billion t/a, 5.5 t per capita)

The "carbon intensity" goal is the first measurable curb on national emissions for China. China would try to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 15 percent by 2020. China wants developed nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to give far more aid and green technologies to developing nations.

UNITED STATES (6.4 billion t/a, 21.2 t per capita)

US President Barack Obama wants to cut U.S. emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. For 2020, that means a 14 percent cut from 2007 levels.

The bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2009 would require large companies, inluding utilities, oil refiners and others, to cut emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 perrcent by 2050, from 2005 levels. The US feels we cannot meet the challenge unless all the largest emitters of greenhouse gas pollution act together.

EUROPEAN UNION (5.03 billion tonnes, 10.2 tonnes per capita)

The EU leaders agreed in December 2008 to cut emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by 30 percent if other developed nations follow suit.

They agreed that developing nations will need about 100 billion euros ($146.8 billion) a year by 2020 to help them curb emissions and adapt to changes such as floods or heatwaves. As an advance payment, they suggest 5-7 billion a year between 2010 and 2012.

The EU wants developing nations to curb the rise of their emissions by 15 to 30 percent below a trajectory of "business as usual" by 2020.

RUSSIA (1.7 billion t/a, 11.9 t per capita)

Russia's emissions would be around 10 to 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. That means a rise from now -- emissions were 34 percent below 1990 levels in 2007.

Russia would reject any new climate pact that imposed restrictions on Russia but did not bind other big polluters such as the United States or China.

INDIA (1.4 billion t/a, 1.2 t per capita)

India is prepared to quantify the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it could cut with domestic actions to fight climate change, but will not accept internationally binding targets. India has said its per capita emissions will never rise to match those of developed nations.

Like China, India wants developed nations to cut emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020, saying they are most responsible for emissions since the Industrial Revolution.

JAPAN (1.4 billion t/a, 11.0 t per capita)

The New Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama wants to cut Japan's emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Japan is prepared to offer more financial and technical assistance than in the past, in accordance with the progress of the international negotiations.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Carbon nanotubes: How safe ?

Carbon nanotubes are increasingly being used in everyday products such as sporting equipment, biomedical devices and aeroplanes. They also have promising applications in fuel cells. The questions remain as to how safe these nanotubes really are.

The main factor in nanotube toxicity are the metal contaminants that remain from manufacture, which are typically one to ten per cent by weight, say Martin Pumera and Yuji Miyahara at the National Institute for Materials Science, Ibaraki, Japan. The carbon nanotubes are often viewed as homogenous materials, which is incorrect. They often contain impurities which are not even listed by the manufacturers. The pair have used an electrochemical (biomarker) method to assess the effect metals have on nanotube toxicity. They say that their method is quicker and cheaper than laborious and expensive biomedical tests and could be more useful for initial assessments of carbon nanotube toxicity.

They found that just 100 ppm of iron was needed to dominate the reduction ability and therefore the toxicity. Pumera says this is very disturbing, as this value is significantly lower than the detection limits of the methods routinely used to assess nanotube purity. There is an imperative need for well-characterised and reproducible standardised carbon nanotube properties.

What amount of metallic impurities in carbon nanotubes is small enough not to dominate their redox properties?

Martin Pumera and Yuji Miyahara, Nanoscale, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hundred most promosing global clean trechnology companies

The Guardian and Cleantech Group recently announced the Global Cleantech 100. This is the first ever list of this scale highlighting the most promising private clean technology companies around the world. The Global Cleantech 100 recognizes companies at the forefront of cleantech innovation offering solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. The final list represents the collective opinion of hundreds of leading experts from cleantech innovation and venture capital companies in EMEA, North America, India and China, combined with the specific input of an expert panel of 35, drawn from well-respected organizations such as Altira Group, Crossover Advisors, Deloitte, Emerald Technology Ventures, Google, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, New York Stock Exchange, NGEN Partners, Nth Power, New Enterprise Associates, Sterling Communications, Tsing Capital and Vantage Point Venture Partners.

The panel decided on companies that are currently regarded as having the potential and likelihood to achieve high growth and high market impact. Their thoughts were then combined with insights from the Cleantech Network™, the de facto industry association of international clean technology investors, entrepreneurs, large corporations and other industry insiders. Some 3,500 companies were nominated/considered.

Gene therapy for colour blindness

Researchers have used gene therapy to restore colour vision in two adult monkeys that have been unable to distinguish between red and green hues since birth — raising the hope of curing colour blindness and other visual disorders in humans.

About 1 in 12 men lack either the red- or the green-sensitive photoreceptor proteins that are normally present in the colour-sensing cells or cones of the retina and so have red–green colour blindness. If we can target gene expression specifically to cones, in humans, then this has a tremendous implication.

Three human gene therapy trials are currently under way for loss of sight due to serious degeneration of the retina. These phase I safety studies injected a similar type of virus vector (but carrying a different gene) behind the retina as in the monkeys, and people treated have shown no serious adverse effects more than a year after, with some participants reporting marked improvements in vision


(1) Mancuso, K.
et al. Nature advanced online publication, doi:10.1038/nature08401 (2009).

(2) Cideciyan, A. V.
et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 361, 725-727 (2009).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Facebook UN Sustainable Development Group

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United Nations Sustainable Development
A group on Sustainable Development for sharing information on policy debates, publications and new initiatives, as well as on the latest sustainable development related issues and events.

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2 UN Plaza
New York, NY

This is an open group. Anyone can join and invite others to join.