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Resource alarms and responses - Mar 1

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Spain adopts energy saving measures to combat oil price hike

Spain announced Friday a series of energy saving measures, including a lower speed limit and cuts to train ticket prices, in response to the rise in world oil prices due to unrest in the Middle East.

"The goal is to reduce the consumption of oil and gas to reduce our energy bill which has risen in recent days and which we do not forecast will drop," Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told a news conference.

Spain is one of the European Union states most dependent on fossil fuels for its energy needs and the spike in oil prices has added to pressures on inflation and the country's trade deficit.

Under the measures which will come into effect on March 7, the speed limit on Spain's highways will be reduced to 110 kilometres (68 miles) per hour from 120 kph.
(25 February 2011)

China pollution 'threatens growth'

Shirong Chen, BBC Online
The man in charge of protecting China's environment has warned that pollution and the demand for resources threaten to choke economic growth...

His comments came ahead of China's annual session of parliament, which opens on 5 March...

Mr Zhou's comments came in an essay posted on the website on the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

"In China's thousands of years of civilisation, the conflict between humanity and nature has never been as serious as it is today," he wrote.

"The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the deterioration of the environment have become serious bottlenecks constraining economic and social development."

China, he said, would suffer unless issues of air and water pollution were prioritised.

He suggested that his ministry should take on a greater role in tackling greenhouse gas emissions and that new development projects be assessed for their impact on climate change.
(28 February 2011)

Denmark Targets Fossil-Fuel Independence Through Wind, Biogas

Christian Wienberg, Bloomberg
Denmark’s government presented a plan to invest in renewable energy including wind power and biogas as the country seeks independence from oil, gas and coal by 2050.

By 2020, Denmark will more than double its wind power capacity to 42 percent of total energy production, the Copenhagen-based environment ministry said today in an e-mail. The Nordic country also wants to cut energy consumption by 6 percent by that year.

The government will provide subsidies for biogas production, increase bio-based additives to fuel, promote new land-based wind turbines and expand existing offshore ones. It also wants to increase efficiency requirements for energy producers. Both homeowners and companies will pay more for electricity and heating, the ministry said, adding that it doesn’t expect the measures will hurt the country’s competitiveness.
(24 February 2011)
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