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Climate Action 2010-2011


SPECIAL FEATURE | EPM Group The EPM Group: Leading Colombia on climate change The EPM Group, (Empresas Públicas de Medellín) comprises of 12 state-owned companies, with the participation of a further eight, based in the municipality of Medellín in Colombia. The Group applies the highest international quality and environment standards to the key services it provides across Colombia, including: electricity, natural gas distribution, water and sanitation, and telecommunications. The EPM group is the largest company in Colombia after oil company Ecopetrol. Among Colombian companies, the EPM Group is a pioneer in climate change mitigation. It is a clean energy leader, generating 80 per cent of its energy from hydropower. The Group adheres to strict environmental guidelines and procedures in its operations. | 28 | The Group applies the highest international quality and environment standards to the key services it provides across Colombia. EPM members have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across their businesses: Mitigation: EPM pioneered the development of clean energy projects in Colombia using the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Among them is Jepírachi, Colombia’s first wind power project (19.5 MW), in very northern province of La Guajira. This pilot project began generating electricity in 2004 and also supports a social programme for the local indigenous Wayúu communities. Other renewable energy projects include, La Vuelta (the Spin) and La Herradura, (the Horseshoe), two hydroelectric power plants in the Antioquia province. Adaptation: EPM has a wide-ranging project portfolio to be registered either in the formal greenhouse gas emissions markets or voluntary market, or to obtain other types of clean emissions certificates. These projects include: the Bello Water Treatment Plant, the fuel substitution programme with natural gas (for public transportation and industrial use), a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) project, and the modernisation of the company’s headquarters. The EPM Group is currently defining a baseline for its own GHG emissions in all the companies of the Group, using the GHG Protocol (boundaries 1 and 2), to assess its carbon footprint. For EPM members, it is vital to analyse the longterm impacts of climate change on water availability in the basins where their energy and water operations are located. As a result, EPM is currently working with the Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies Institute of Colombia (IDEAM), to study the climate change effects on two pilot basins. Also, in association with The Nature Conservancy, it is leading an initiative to bring together public and private investors to structure a Water Fund (a conservation trust fund) to preserve the Rio grande and la Fe basins. For more information, visit: The EPM Sustainability Report: Balances/2010/Informe_Sostenibilidad_2010.pdf

Policy and Governance Nightschool of Barefoot College in Tilonia/Rajasthan using solar powered batteries. Woman cleaning solar panels. © Marcus Franken/Greenpeace Mother Earth, can you kickstart an Energy [R]evolution? The quest for a global renewable energy future Lalita Ramdas Founding Member of Greenpeace India The threat of climate change is demanding nothing short of a revolution in our energy systems. With India as an example, Lalita Ramdas, current chair of the Greenpeace International Board, looks at the process of transformation towards a renewable energy system in the country and argues that nuclear energy – the Indian government’s choice for future energy provision – is the wrong option. She outlines the roadblocks ahead in achieving a clean, sustainable energy future for India and asks what the people can do to further an Energy [R]evolution. The world has arrived at a dangerous place – climate change caused by the relentless build-up of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere could lead to disruption in our ecosystems with devastating consequences. If this planet and those who inhabit it are to be saved, we need an energy evolution, but one that happens rapidly. We need what we at Greenpeace are calling an Energy [R]evolution – a radical shift in the way the world produces, distributes, and ultimately consumes, energy. Dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have to be made – especially by the developed nations but also in several emerging economies like China, Brazil and India. Whether in South Africa, from where I have just returned, or in India, where I live, for example, the challenge is clear. While there is a buzz around climate change and its impact on our environment and lives, when it comes to discussing the tough decisions, the tendency is to use the TINA principle: There Is No Alternative. But there is! An Energy [R]evolution is possible and based on the following principles we can show this as a ‘win win’ scenario – a win for people and for the planet: • Implement renewable solutions, where possible through decentralised systems; • Respect the natural limits of the environment; • Phase out dirty, unsustainable energy sources; • Create greater equity in the use of resources; • Decouple economic growth from the consumption of fossil fuels. The Energy [R]evolution scenario – developed by Greenpeace in conjunction with more than 30 scientists and engineers worldwide – envisions a transition from dirty, deadly energy, such as coal and nuclear, towards renewable energy. It will empower local communities to produce, monitor and profit from their own energy use and help supply energy to the 2 billion people around the world who have little or no access to reliable energy services. In the process it will radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions helping to avert climate chaos. India’s energy options in 2010 Let us take a look at India and what can be achieved. While India is experiencing an impressive growth rate, challenging inequalities continue to deprive very large numbers of access to basic amenities, especially energy | 29 |