Building wind power generators at the Tianwei Wind Power plant in Baoding, China
Building wind power generators at the Tianwei Wind Power plant in Baoding, China

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Cleantech going up: Japan, Canada, China binge on greens

Japan is the next hotspot for rooftop solar. Rooftop solar is a huge market, writes Bloomberg’s Chisaki Watanabe, and the Japanese surge in the area marks a move beyond utility scale projects in rich industrial nations that has accounted for much solar industry growth in recent years.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s budget has given Canada’s clean tech industry a boost, with hundreds of millions of US$46bn infrastructure spending going towards energy efficiency, helping communities adapt to climate change, greening buildings and supporting electric vehicle charging.

China has revealed plans to continue boosting wind power capacity (by 22 per cent this year) and new projections from its 13th Five Year Plan suggest that solar capacity will triple by 2020.

Meanwhile a new report has tied coal production to severe water shortages in the north of the country. The Greenpeace-commissioned report indicates that the coal industry worldwide uses water equal to the needs of 1.2bn people.

In other investment news Australian iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest has cited the shift in China’s economy as a reason for moving into renewable energy minerals including lithium, graphite, and copper.

UK’s nuclear option: Hinkley decision in May or contract at risk, HoC investigation

French economy minister Emmanuel Macron says EDF will make the final decision on the Hinkley point nuclear plant in early May. Any later and the company could risk losing the contract, he warned. He did concede that calls to delay until related nuclear projects were sorted out were understandable however.

The Times points to today’s House of Commons energy and climate change committee’s hearings on the plant, with Robert Lea suggesting they are long overdue.

Climate impacts: Hansen study reviewed, funding to escape sea level rise, South Asia risks

The draft study on climate impacts released by Dr James Hansen last year has been reviewed, publicly, with all 60 reviewer’s comments – 20 of which are from climate change deniers – available to view online.

In the final version title of the apocalyptic study has changed, but not that much – and most prominent climate scientists say that the boulder-hurling megawaves referred to in the paper are decades away (well that’s ok then).

For the most part the study  and its reviewers hold that permitting 2C of warming is likely to cause killer storms and the drowning of coastal cities.

And a Native American coastal community already suffering from rising sea levels in Louisiana is being given federal funds to higher ground – one of the first and largest populations to be resettled due to climate change.

Meanwhile a new report warns 1.4bn people living in South Asia faced ‘severe’ natural hazard risks.

In other news

Pigeons: The future of air pollution monitoring 

Wine: France’s best grapes affected by climate change

Hydrogen: Car smashes world records in six-day demonstration around M25