May 27, 2008

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Inside CARMA









Sichuan, China


The power sector in China’s Sichuan province has been hobbled by the recent 7.9 magnitude earthquake and is operating at 76% of pre-earthquake levels. Officials are concerned about damage to dams and hydro power plants, as well as the destruction of China’s largest turbine producer. A Washington University researcher speculates that coal power may become more attractive post-quake, as safety concerns and reconstruction could jeopardize expansion of the hydro sector, which accounts for nearly 20% of China’s generating capacity.


 


May 27, 2008


Dear Friends,


I recently spent a day with Al Gore and dozens of colleagues at the Climate Change Solutions Summit, near Gore's home in Nashville, Tennessee. I was struck by the contrast with a meeting I attended not long ago at the World Bank, where I gave a keynote on the Bank's energy policy and its implications for climate change. My talks at both events were similar—focusing on using the Clean Technology Fund to promote cost-competitive renewable power—but the reactions were strikingly different. The contrast, which I describe in Climate Change in Nashville: A Gathering Storm for the World Bank?, led me to wonder how the Bank will fare if there is a Democratic victory in November, or even a Republican one that leads to a more responsible energy policy.


Many of you signed up for this newsletter after visiting CARMA.org, our repository of emissions estimates for 50,000 power plants around the world. For those who want to know more about how CARMA works, Kevin Ummel and I have published Calculating CARMA: Global Estimation of CO2 Emissions from the Power Sector. This working paper describes the CARMA methodology and presents an assessment of its strengths and weaknesses, as well as some tests of its accuracy across countries and at different geographical scales. While CARMA performs well, it is not perfect, and any power plant or company that has verified emissions information that is different from the CARMA estimate is welcome to send it to us for inclusion in the database. As always, below is a selection of important articles on climate and development from the past two weeks. My thanks to Robin Kraft for his help in preparing this letter.


Best Wishes,


David Wheeler
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development


News:


Not Much Help for the Polar Bear (New York Times)


Turning coal dust into carbon credits (Times of India )


The end of coal? (Star-Tribune)


A smarter, greener grid (Fortune Magazine)


Big investors seek stricter climate laws (Reuters)


Why investors worship Old King Coal (Los Angeles Times)


Coal plants ordered to reduce emissions (Toronto Star)


Plans for new coal plants under fire (The Guardian)