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Metal Casting Technologies : December 2006
METAL Casting Technologies December 2006 24 ENVIRONMENTAL FEATURE he regular vacuum cleaner hum, and the 'knock-knock' of its long metal handle against the chairs, is now all that remains of the cacophony and din that filled the halls of the November 6-17 UN Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) in Nairobi, Kenya. Grave disquiet was heard among the 5000- plus international community attendees for the decision by UNCCC conference delegates to depart at conference end, after having failed to set a deadline for implementation of new global targets to control CO2 emissions, at the end of the first implementation phase of 2008- 2012. The great momentum following the historic 2005 ratification of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol by Russia, the 55th industrialised country signatory, had clearly faltered. The Protocol, which legally binds 35 industrialised countries to cut their CO2 emissions to around 5% of their 1990 levels of greenhouse gases (GHG), and which now covers 165 countries and over 55% of global GHG emissions, has not been ratified by Australia or the US. Australia - in 2005, the world's largest emitter per capita-and the US felt the targets too stringent and would seriously harm their economies. The US in particular felt that the industrialising economies should also be legally bound. Industrialising economies, such as China and India are exempt, though they have ratified the Protocol. India has argued that the problem is essentially one caused by the industrialised countries, and that any change for India must not come at the expense of trying to feed its masses of poverty stricken. Currently, China and India are the world's second and sixth largest emitters, respectively, with China expected to become the world's largest by 2030. Combined, China and India emission rates will surpass that of the US, the world's biggest, by 21% by 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). In respect of CO2 emissions, the foundry industry within Asia has been a particular problem. In the past decade, China and India have been attempting to tackle the problems of their respective foundry industries, which are large users of coal [and coke], and greatly contribute to CO2 emissions. With the help of international aid and development agencies, China and India have sought to improve the situation, all the while maintaining a keen balance between development and environmental imperatives. And although much of their attention has focused on GHG emissions, they have also attempted to manage other environmental problems caused by their foundry industries. Then, how well have they been doing? COMPARISONS STUDY Overarching much of the two countries' foundry emissions projects has been the work of the Asian Regional Research Programme in Energy, Environment and China and India emission rates will surpass US by 2010 -- foundry CO2 emissions a big problem By Elius Levin T Courtesy of GEF Casting by manual labourers.