Healthy growth of renewable energy

By Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Director, Institute of Science in Society

renewable-energyDespite the severe downturn of the global economy in 2009, renewable energy continued its meteoric rise. At the end of 2009, fully one quarter of global power capacity (1230 GW) is renewable, delivering 18% of global electricity supply, according to the report issued by the Renewable Energy Network for the 21 Century (REN21). This is more than three times the global nuclear generating capacity and about 38% the capacity of fossil fuel-burning power plants worldwide. Renewable energy is “hitting a tipping point”, said Christopher Flavin of Worldwatch Institute, one of the seven authors of the report, “There is now good reason to be optimistic.”

Rethink plan to release GM mosquitoes

THE Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is shocked to note the statement by the Minister of Health, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, as reported by the media yesterday, that field testing for genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes has been approved by the National Biosafety Board.

This, despite the globally acknowledged fact that anything that is genetically modified, plant or animal, is not stable.

Abolish subsidies for sustainable water supply and water wastage reduction

water-wastageCAP is against any water supply subsidies that are being given to consumers in Penang and Malaysia if we are to become a water-efficient nation.  We are appalled to learn that the domestic water subsidy in Penang had reached the level of RM41 million last year.

Without appreciating the true value of water, consumers will not use water wisely. Cheap water is not the solution.  If water is too cheap, people will continue to wash their cars everyday, leave the tap running and water their gardens unnecessarily.  This has been proven in Penang.

Nuclear plants move offshore

By Karl Grossman

Russia has embarked on a scheme to build floating nuclear power plants to be moored off its coasts — especially off northern and eastern Russia — and sold to nations around the world.

“Absolutely safe,” Sergei Kiriyenko, director-general of Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation, told Reuters as the barge that is to serve as the base for the first floating plant was launched recently in St. Petersburg.

However, David Lochbaum, senior safety engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), describes an accident at a floating nuclear power plant as “worse” than at a land-based plant.