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Japan Quake Aftermath - Inside The Evacuation Zone
    Apr. 16, 2011 - Futaba, Japan - A street lies buckled and broken by the Mar. 11 earthquake in Futaba-machi, a town less than two miles from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The Japanese government has expanded evacuation areas and urged people living in two villages to move out in
a month's time due to the level of radiation from the ongoing crisis.
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ZUMA
FEATURE of the Day
Ethiopia's Ambitious Goal To Go Green
    Mekelle - One of the poorest countries in the world is nevertheless setting big goals for itself and looking to richer countries for help. A 10-year, $70 billion plan aims to produce clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Kindeya Redaie has no electricity in his house, but he bought two steers with the money the state gave him in exchange for the right to put a wind turbine on his land.On the Tigray region plateau, in northern Ethiopia, 70-meter-high masts - 84 of them - stand amid a landscape where the dry and stony soil is still turned over with a plow. The Ashegoda Wind Farm, built by the French companies Vergnet and Alstom, is a 'clean' development in one of the world's poorest nations.

Like the vast majority of Ethiopians, Redaie must still settle for charcoal and 'cow wood' (dried cowpat) when he wants to cook his meals or have warm water. The power produced by the Ashegoda complex, which runs along underground cables before reaching the national network's high voltage lines, is still too expensive for him.

All over, construction sites have emerged to build solutions without fossil fuels - which are for now expensively imported - and to provide a place for wind and solar energies, which are less vulnerable than hydroelectricity to repeated drought. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, under construction on the Blue Nile River and a source of tension with the country's Egyptian and Sudanese neighbors, nevertheless promises to be one of Africa's most powerful hydroelectric monsters. Government officials contributed to its funding, which will be covered by national reserves.

The country is trying to create 'a green economy that will hold up to the climate,' which requires the involvement of every sector responsible or vulnerable to climate change. That means energy, of course, but also agriculture, transport, industry and construction. 'Climate change is a strategic issue for Ethiopia,' the preamble to this project statement says. 'It can annihilate our development, exacerbate social tension, destabilize the Horn of Africa by stirring up the competition for the access to water.'

For several years, the Gibe III Damn, being built in the Omo valley, has been the target of a virulent campaign by Survival International and International Rivers. 'The government is certain it's right, and we know what it can cost to contradict it,' says an ecologist activist who, fearing retribution, wishes to remain anonymous.

The temperatures in Ethiopia could rise by 1.2 degrees C by the end of the next decade, authorities warn. 'Climate modification is already causing significant migrations,' warns Satishkumar Belliethathan, a member of the young Ethiopian Panel on Climate Change. 'Farmers in the lowlands are seeing their pasturelands decreasing.' This group, inspired by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will provide the government with the remaining scientific data it needs to stick to its strategy despite the criticism it faces.

Today, it manages a part of the international aid through a fund based in New York, trains officials for climate negotiations, and sends others to train in renewable energies in Kenya or in India. In December, during the World Climate Summit in Lima, the countries of France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark joined Norway and the United Kingdom in promising to become generous backers.

'Our plan is to invest $7.5 billion per year by 2025,' says Ghrmawit Hailé, indicating a cabinet filled with projects awaiting funds. Far from Ashegoda and its promises, the pollution and chaotic urbanism of Addis Ababa are a constant reminder that the future is still unwritten. But if Ethiopia's gamble pays off, the carbon footprint of its 100 million people will be the same as the Netherlands' today by 2030.

Text Credit:Laurence Caramel/Le Monde
Credit Image: Lijing/Xinhua/ZUMA Wire
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