1.1. EU to hold climate change talks
17 October 2005 , BBC news
EU environment ministers are due to meet in Luxembourg to try to agree a joint position on climate change. The talks are a precursor to next month’s UN climate change summit in Canada on launching a global approach to cutting pollution post-2012. The EU is seen as having taken a lead in proposing a new regime of future cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Under the 1997 Kyoto accord, the EU is obliged to reduce CO2 emissions by 8%, from 1990 levels, by 2012. In June, EU leaders endorsed plans to bring the level of emissions down to between 15 and 30% below 1990 rates, by 2020. However, they shelved a plan to bring CO2 to 60-80% by 2050, saying that the issue would be kept "under review". The latest draft proposal envisages reductions between 15-50% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The 25-member bloc is keen to bring the US – which has refused to join the Kyoto protocol – on board in a new climate change pact. Washington has not ratified the protocol, saying it would it would gravely damage its economy. Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/4348502.stm.
1.2. MEPs urge stronger EU climate policies
13 October 2005 , Edie.net
The European parliament’s environment committee has called for a crash programme similar to America ‘s Apollo space programme of the 1960s to curb greenhouse gas emissions. This should include a "transformation" of energy, transport and building systems, the committee agreed in a draft resolution. The resolution will constitute the parliament’s response to European Commission proposals for post-2012 EU climate change policies tabled early this year. The assembly will finalise the resolution next month. All developed countries should aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions 15-30% by 2020 and 60-80% by 2050, the committee agreed. EU leaders adopted the first of these aims as official EU policy in the spring but rejected the second. Europe should become the most energy efficient economy in the world by setting targets to cut energy intensity by 2.5-3% per year, the committee said. Average new car CO2 emissions should be slashed to 80-100 g/km "in the medium term", enforced through an emissions trading system. Other measures demanded in the transport field included EU-wide speed limits, traffic charges and tax incentives. The committee also called for "severe reduction targets" for aviation emissions. A pilot emission trading scheme for the sector should start in the period 2008-12, MEPs said. In the same period, the EU’s industrial CO2 emission trading system should shift to benchmarking or auctioning to allocate allowances. The draft resolution also calls for new legislation to extend the EU’s buildings and transport biofuels directives, and for rules to require all energy investments to apply best available technologies to cut emissions. Regarding a global climate framework for the post-2012 period, the draft resolution calls for a continuation of binding emission targets, plus a global emission trading system and flexible mechanisms.
1.3. Commission to take action on alternative fuels
In Short: Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen said boosting alternative fuels will be "one of the most important issues" that he will address together with environment and energy colleagues. Background: A hearing in the European Parliament on 6 October looked at several aspects of the competitiveness of the EU car industry (EurActiv, 6 Oct. 2005 ). Its main focus was to assess progress made by the CARS 21 high level group set up by the Commission in January to overhaul the EU regulatory framework in the automotive sector. The group will issue recommendations before the end of the year to improve the sector’s performance from the point of view of: economic competitiveness, environment, road safety. Issues: Speaking at a car industry hearing in Parliament on 6 October, Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen said he would move forwards with colleagues in charge of environment and energy to promote alternative fuels. Urged by MEPs to explain what the Commission is doing to lower the EU’s dependency on oil and encourage biofuels, he said: "On alternative fuels […], my colleagues Mr Piebalgs [energy], Mr Dimas [environment] and myself have made joint proposals to have an integrated response." "This is something entirely new, something we’ve never attempted to do before so that we can find answers through a joint political approach with competitiveness, energy and the environment working together" (for more on this, see EurActiv 5 Oct. 2005). "Is it possible to decouple economic growth from energy use – Yes it is! And it is quite important that we do so as a matter of urgency," Verheugen went on. Christopher Jones, a senior aid to Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, said that further action on alternative fuels is likely to build on existing initiatives. "It is not about doing new things, it is about doing them better," Jones told EurActiv. He indicated that a biomass action plan announced earlier this year is to be published before the end of 2005, with the aim of producing 18 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in biofuels by 2010. An update of the EU biofuels directive is also in the pipeline, Jones indicated, although the timing of the proposal is still to be determined. On the competitiveness of the European car industry, Verheugen pointed to the Commission’s better regulation exercise to scrap or amend legislation that goes against the Commission’s priority to create more jobs and growth. But he added growth should not become an end in itself. "We have to achieve growth but it has to be the right kind of growth that has an environmental and social aspect to it," said Verheugen. "If we concentrate on employment and growth and just the Lisbon strategy, we decided that it had to be sustainable development," Verheugen stressed. Latest & next steps: Before end 2005: Commission to publish biomass action plan; Before end 2005: CARS 21 industry group issues recommendations.
1.4. MEPs give F-gas bill a ‘green boost’
In Short: Tough new measures to control and ban greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning are on their way if EU lawmakers follow the opinion of the Parliament’s environment committee. Background: EU environment ministers decided last year to split the draft F-gas bill into two separate legislative proposals (EurActiv, 15 Oct. 2004 ): A directive to phase out HFC-134a from vehicle air conditioning (legal base: internal market – article 95). A regulation for other ‘stationary’ applications such as domestic and commercial fridges and air conditioners (legal base: internal market and environment – article 95 and 175). F-gases (hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs, perfluorocarbons or PFCs and sulphur hexafluoride or SF6) were introduced in the nineties to replace CFCs and HCFCs, blamed for depleting the earth’s ozone layer. However, the Commission estimates their global warming potential to be as much as "23,900 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2)" in the case of SF6. Emissions of F-gases are expected to grow dramatically if no action is taken, "from 65.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 1995 to 98 million tonnes in 2010," according to the Commission. Issues: Member states could be allowed to adopt stricter national legislation to curb emissions of F-gases from fridges and air-conditioners if the Parliament follows the advice of its environment committee which came out on 11 October. In their vote on the report from Avril Doyle MEP ( EPP-ED , Ireland ), MEPs chose to base the regulation for so-called ‘stationary applications’ (fridges, air conditioning, etc.) solely on the environmental provisions of the EU treaty (article 175). This means individual EU nations can adopt stricter legislation to reduce F-gases emissions than required under EU law, thereby potentially opening the way for manufacturers to have to adapt to different legislation as they sell their products across the EU. Under the new version of the text, selective bans on F-gases will apply in the following way: 1 January 2006: HFCs used in aerosols; 1 January 2006: SF6 as a trace gas; 1 January 2008: SF6 in all applications except switchgears; 1 January 2009: all F-gases in composite foams; 1 January 2010: all F-gases in stationary air-conditioning; 1 January 2010: HFCs in commercial and industrial refrigeration. Four years after entry into force: HFCs in household refrigeration. Moreover, MEPs recommended that substitutes to F-gases be used wherever they are available and safe from a technical and environmental point of view. On the separate directive on car’s air conditioning systems, no major changes were introduced. The bill provides for the following: Between 2011 and 2013: phase-out of the use of HFC-134a. By 2017: Every new vehicle will have to use alternatives. Positions: Environment committee rapporteur Avril Doyle MEP ( EPP-ED , Ireland ) said that an environment legal base (article 175) is the only viable solution as the purpose of the draft regulation is to fulfill the EU’s Kyoto targets on climate change. Ms. Doyle was comforted in this opinion by the Parliament’s legal service. Doyle told EurActiv: "The vote on the Regulation underlines the concerns of the Environment Committee about the lack of legal certainty surrounding the Common Position’s dual legal base. It was considered to be a politically expedient compromise by the Council that will not withstand scrutiny in the European Court of Justice. It is clear that the predominant purpose of the Regulation is to contribute towards meeting our Kyoto targets and a quick read of the recitals confirms this beyond any doubt". The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) – an organisation representing refrigeration equipment manufacturers relying on HFCs -, has deplored the vote in the Environment Committee as "a step back for sensible policy making on climate change". EPEE argues that the amendments "will make a range of appliances using F-gases illegal without consideration of their likely negative impact, high costs and consequences". It adds that introducing such bans is "disproportionate and technologically prescriptive". "We urge the European Parliament as a whole to reject the environment committee’s report on F-gases," said EPEE Director General Friedrich Busch. Greenpeace hailed the vote as "a victory in the battle against global warming", saying the Environment Committee improved the bill in two major ways: First, the Committee introduced a phase-out of F-gases in domestic and commercial refrigeration when the Commission had initially proposed a strategy based on improving the containment of f-gases; Second, by re-introducing the environment provisions of the EC Treaty as sole legal base, it allows countries such as Austria and Denmark to continue applying stricter national rules. One year ago, when EU environment ministers voted to split the bill in two, the EU carmakers’ association (ACEA) said the targets were "challenging" but achievable (EurActiv, 15 Oct. 2005 ). Latest & next steps: 26 October 2005 : Parliament vote in Plenary ( Strasbourg ). 2 December 2005 : Environment Council possible political agreement. An economic impact assessment is currently being undertaken by the Commission as part of its ‘better regulation’ initiative but it will not upset the legislative process, the Commission said.
1.5. Fluorinated gases vote a victory for environment
11 October 2005 , Greenpeace European Unit press release
Greenpeace welcomed a major result for climate protection today in the European Parliament environment committee vote on the Fluorinated Gases Regulation , which promises to restrict the use and release of harmful global warming gases. "Until now, the chemicals industry has succeeded in blocking the replacement of these potent greenhouse gases. Today’s decision is a victory in the battle against global warming, and vindicates those progressive countries and companies that have already switched to climate-friendly alternatives," said Mahi Sideridou of Greenpeace. The committee improved the proposed Regulation in two major ways. Firstly, in contrast with the Commission and Council proposals, which focus on containing rather than replacing these powerful greenhouse gases, the Parliament committee has added a phase-out for the use of these substances in domestic and commercial refrigeration, air conditioning, foams (e.g. for insulation) and aerosols. Climate-friendly alternatives to fluorinated gases are widely available for all these applications. The committee also recommended a ban by 2008 on sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), a fluorinated gas which is 23,900 times more potent than carbon dioxide and has a lifetime in the atmosphere of 3,200 years. It can be banned immediately in most applications. Secondly, it allows member states to take measures that go beyond the suggested scope or timeline of the legislation in the interest of the environment and in order to meet Kyoto Protocol targets, by attributing to the Regulation a single legal basis on Environment. (This contrasts with the Council’s suggested split legal basis, which placed certain articles under the Internal Market article of the EC Treaty.) The decision supports Austria and Denmark , which have ambitious national legislation on fluorinated gases, and Sweden , which has similar intentions. On car air-conditioning, the committee failed to improve the weak provisions, which allow for the use of these gases until 2017. For every year that the phase-out of fluorinated gases in cars is delayed, around 40 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent are emitted (equal to Portugal ‘s 1990 carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use). Greenpeace also welcomed the committee’s addition of a labelling requirement to support consumers’ right to know which products contain these gases and the extent of their impact on the climate. "This outcome shows that environmental and business interests can go hand in hand to the benefit of all. It is an example that should be heeded by the full Parliament and by the Council of Environment Ministers," said Sideridou.
1.6. EU launches climate change project in Russia
4 October 2005 , http://www.gateway2russia.com/st/art_285419.php
The European Union is launching a Russian project which aims to build the capacity of the Russian Federation to implement the Kyoto Protocol. The project is estimated at EUR 2 million, the European Commission’s delegation to Russia said today. The principal goal of this project is to help the Russian government implement the Kyoto Protocol under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The main implementing partner for the project is Russia ‘s economy ministry. The Consortium contracted by the European Commission to implement the project is led by ICF Consulting Ltd. (UK), in consortium with the Institute of Global Problems of Energy Efficiency and Ecology ( Russia ), Hogan and Hartson (UK). The project will aim to recommend improvements in Russian monitoring systems and inventory procedures for greenhouse gas emissions; make proposals for the legal basis of the Russian monitoring and reporting systems concerning greenhouse gas emissions, draft proposals for a national greenhouse gas emissions registry, including its design, organisation and legal basis, transfer knowledge to key Russian stakeholders of “best practice” in monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and setting up national registries; make recommendations for a Russian system to carry out projects under the Kyoto Protocol, with national guidelines for their preparation and approval, together with the institutional organisation and appropriate legal provisions of the system, the European Commission’s delegation to Russia said. The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty agreed in 1997 by the parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as a protocol to this Convention. Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries are required to reduce their emissions of six greenhouse gases on average by 5.2percent below the 1990 level during the first “commitment period” from 2008 to 2012. With the Protocol’s entry into force on 16 February 2005 , the commitments entered into by ratifying countries become legally binding. The rules for entry into force require that at least 55 parties to the UNFCCC ratify the Protocol and that those include industrialised countries accounting for at least 55 percent of hydrocarbon emissions in 1990. Russia ’s ratification on 18 November 2004 allowed the 55 percent threshold to be met. Under the Protocol, Russia ’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2008-2012 shall not exceed five times its emissions in 1990. In the estimation of Russia ’s energy ministry and the statistics committee, Russia ’s emissions in 2003 alone made 72 percent of its 1990 emissions. According to international environmental organizations, Russia accounts for 17 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
1.7. EU to launch second climate change programme
4 October 2005 , EurActiv.com
In Short: During a stakeholder conference on 24 October, the Commission will start a new phase of its climate change strategy. The accent of the new programme seems to have shifted to technology. Background: In June 2000, the Commission launched the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) to develop policies to tackle global warming and achieve its Kyoto commitments on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The working groups set up under the umbrella of this first ECCP identified several measures that were later implemented such as the action plan for the ECCP, a proposal for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, a proposal for the regulation of fluorinated gases and, last but not least, the EU’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme. Issues: The second European Climate Change Programme is meant to develop further policies on climate change in close co-operation with stakeholders (industry, NGOs, governments, think tanks). The first conference, which will be held in Brussels on 24 October 2005 , is to gather input for the programme’s future actions. Key areas to be discussed during the conference are: a review of the first ECCP; carbon capture and storage; adaptation policies; inclusion of aviation in climate change policies; energy policies (efficiency and renewables); technology policies. Challenges: the EU’s focus on competitiveness and jobs has led to industry challenging the Union ‘s climate change policies. There are fears that the EU’s global leadership on these issues is putting extra burdens and costs on European industry. Industry seems willing to support new measures only when other economic competitors such as the US and Japan or the new developing Asian economies are ready to shoulder the same burdens; the US approach to tackle global warming by technological solutions instead of Kyoto-like mitigation policies received surprising support when the US signed a Partnership on Clean Development in July (see EurActiv 28 July 2005); recent scientific studies indicate that global warming is speeding up and will be worse than originally believed. A study from the leading Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Hamburg predicts more extreme weather events in the coming years. It also forecasts sea ice in the North Pole region melting completely in the summer; the limits of technological solutions to fight climate change is one of the most difficult questions to answer. A recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) clearly demonstrated that carbon dioxide capture and storage is technically feasible but is still quite expensive and beset with uncertainties. Latest & next steps: Formal talks for a post-Kyoto climate change regime will be officially launched in Montreal at the 11th conference of the parties to the UNFCC (COP-11) from 28 November to 9 December 2005 .
ENERGY AND EMISSIONS
2.1. European Public Banks Accept World Commission on Dams Guidelines
The two biggest public banks in Europe , the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), have announced that they will take into account the international standards for dam-building set by the World Commission on Dams (WCD). The World Bank, however, continues to disregard the recommendations of the WCD, despite being one of the Commission’s two original co-sponsors. “We welcome the decision of the two biggest public banks in Europe to join the growing number of institutions worldwide that take seriously the World Commission on Dams’ recommendations,” says Ann Kathrin Schneider, Policy Analyst for International Rivers Network (IRN). “But we condemn the World Bank’s continued irresponsibility on dams.” The EIB has told IRN that it will “align to” the recommendations of the WCD for any large dams from which it sources carbon credits. The EBRD has told IRN that any large hydro projects from which it sources carbon credits “will have been considered in relation to the WCD criteria and guidelines.” However, neither of the institutions have translated these verbal commitments into binding obligations. The statements are not yet mandatory policies and are not reflected in the environmental policies of the institutions. The World Bank has so far refused to state that they will respect the WCD in developing carbon trading hydro projects. The European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank are planning to increase their roles as brokers of carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). They are establishing an EBRD-EIB Multilateral Carbon Credit Fund and a WB-EIB Carbon Fund for Europe to buy CDM credits. These credits would be used to help European countries meet their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. The EU “Linking Directive” states that carbon credits from large hydropower projects can only enter the EU’s Emission Trading System if they respect the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams. “It is disgraceful that the World Bank seems determined to flaunt European law. The World Bank has to wake up to the fact that applying the standards of the World Commission on Dams will soon be the norm,” says Ann Kathrin Schneider. Notes: An EU directive regulating the admission of CDM credits into the EU’s emissions trading system states: "In the case of hydro–electric power production project activities with a generating capacity exceeding 20MW, Member States shall, when approving such project activities, ensure that relevant international criteria and guidelines, including those contained in the World Commission on Dams year 2000 Final Report, will be respected during the development of such project activities."
2.2. Analysis – On Plate or In Tank? Europe Vegoils in Demand
14 October 2005 , Reuters
Pouring vegetable oil over your salad or into your car’s petrol tank is increasingly becoming a critical choice as Europe ‘s rapidly growing biofuel industry soaks up more and more of available supply. Soaring crude oil prices have turned "green" fuel producers into fierce competitors for European vegetable oils, much of which until recently would likely have been stockpiled. "Food manufacturers are getting nervous about the effect on prices," said Pascal Cogels, Director General of the European vegetable oil producers and processors federation Fediol. A month and a half ago, global crude oil prices exceeded those of soy, palm and rape oil for the first time, making biofuels made of vegetable oils even more attractive in the EU, where tax incentives have already stimulated alternatives. As a result, rape oil — the most popular for the EU’s biodiesel industry — gained about 100 euros a tonne to 620, leaving food producers, such as Anglo-Dutch major Unilever, scrambling to find material to cover their needs for the next 4-5 months, traders and industry officials said. German-based oilseeds newsletter Oil World predicted that an expected boom in EU usage of rape oil for biofuels in 2005/06 would slash consumption in the food sector by 100,000 tonnes. "This has created great concerns in the food industry," the weekly newsletter said. "Several consumers in the food industry have started switching to sun oil and palm oil." EU processors have sold all their rape oil until January and most of it for the beginning of next year. Traders and analysts said imports of rape oil next year and a big European 2005 rapeseed crop meant food needs would be covered in the coming year, even though edible oil users would have to put up with higher prices. Oil World forecast record imports of 200,000 tonnes would cover the gap in the EU’s 2005/06 rape oil needs, 56 percent of which — 3.38 million tonnes — would be used for biodiesel. "Imports, mainly from Canada , would take some steam off the market," a vegetable oil trader at a European trading house said. "But unless crude oil drops below $50 a barrel overnight, which looks impossible, rape oil will stay firm". Filling stations in the Netherlands , for instance, sell diesel made of crude oil at some 1.18 euro per litre, while pure rape oil for converted diesel vehicles is offered at 0.65 euros. Fears about the future: While short-term food needs seem covered, the growing race in Europe to expand biofuel capacity raises the question whether there will be enough vegetable oil in the future and what the economic implications might be. Some analysts say EU policymakers should not only stimulate biofuels but also boost domestic production of energy crops by shifting subsidies from the grains sector, which has seen several years of surpluses, to oilseeds producers. "I wonder whether it is not ironical to see that … we might have to import vegetable oils. This, when in the EU we are massively overproducing cereals, spending huge amounts of money to finance intervention purchases, storage costs and export refunds," Fediol’s Cogels said. Another solution might be to tap the agricultural potential of the EU’s new mostly eastern European members, such as Poland , said Frederic Tuille, biofuels expert at the French association for promotion of renewable energy Observe’ER. The EU has seen an unprecedented rise in biofuel capacity in the past two years as governments promote green fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and crude oil bills. The EU targets a 5.75 percent biofuels share of total fuel consumption by 2010. Projects have mushroomed in some countries, such as the Netherlands , to produce electricity out of vegetable oils. There is a trend to direct usage of refined rape oil, or a mixture of rape and sun oil, in trucks and diesel cars. Some German and French farmers have built crushing facilities to process pure oil and use it as fuel. Analysts say Europe ‘s fears about a potential squeeze on food production are bolstered by the worldwide spread of the "green" fuels rush. "If only the world had listened to (Rudolf) Diesel 100 years ago, we wouldn’t have those puzzles now," one trader said. The German inventor of the diesel engine believed it would be powered by vegetable oils and in 1911/12 predicted they might become as important as petroleum and coal one day. Story by Anna Mudeva.
2.3. Malaysia to Make Biofuel Mandatory by 2008 – Report
7 October 2005 , Reuters
Malaysia, the world’s top palm oil producer, will make a palm oil-based fuel a mandatory additive at petrol pumps by 2008, a newspaper said on Thursday, part of government efforts to cut its diesel subsidy bill. With crude oil prices expected to remain high, Malaysia is seeking to encourage national use of a biofuel that is made from 95 percent diesel and 5 percent processed palm oil. Legislators are expected to pass a law next year to introduce the new product, and give motorists a year to try it out before making it mandatory, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Peter Chin told The Star. "We will enforce it and make everyone comply," the minister was quoted as saying. "There will no longer be unadulterated diesel on sale," he said, referring to the planned switch of diesel to the new blend. The head of the government-run Malaysian Palm Oil Board told Reuters last month that biofuel would be ready at domestic pumps and for export by October 2006. Biofuels are taking on new importance worldwide as the cost of petroleum products rise and as countries seek to cut emissions to meet the UN Kyoto Protocol. Burning the biofuel is considered to be carbon-dioxide neutral and does not require emissions rights. Malaysia , a net exporter of oil and gas, heavily subsidies pump prices of petrol and diesel, putting a serious strain on its budget as the cost of fossil fuels has surged. The government estimates that it will spend 16 billion ringgit ($4.2 billion) on fuel subsidies in 2005, a 34 percent jump from last year. Malaysia consumes up to 190,000 barrels per day (bpd) of diesel and gas oil. It produces less than 14 million tonnes of palm oil a year, of which more than 12 million are exported. Adding 5 percent biofuel to diesel at pumps will help cut 500,000 tonnes of diesel a year, or about 10,000 bpd, officials have said.
2.4. Energy a la Francaise
5 October 2005
By Jean-Francois Cope: For several months now, oil prices have been high and rising. Experts confirm that this upward trend will continue in the long term. The reason is simple: Demand keeps going up while reserves of oil — a finite resource — are not increasing commensurately. The result is all too familiar: At the slightest sign of international tension, prices skyrocket. The world economy is facing not just a simple oil shock, such as those we have seen in the past, but the advent of a new energy situation. All industrialized countries — some faster than others — are becoming aware of this new reality, which strongly impacts their economies. Consumers are complaining about gas prices at the pump. Manufacturers see their production costs rising and fear for their profitability and competitiveness. And political leaders are worried about the repercussions of higher oil prices on economic activity and therefore on growth and jobs. These concerns are shared by France and the U.S. — indeed by all the industrialized countries. As the world’s leading energy consumer, the U.S. was fortunate to have large petroleum and gas reserves on its territory and a specialized energy industry with a world-wide presence. And yet these advantages are not enough to completely satisfy its demand for petroleum products. France , which does not have such fossil fuel reserves, should be more directly exposed to fluctuations in the price per barrel. But as President George W. Bush recently noted, France chose another path to ensure its energy independence: While the U.S. hasn’t built any nuclear plants since the ’70s, France has constructed 58 in that period of time. Today, nuclear energy accounts for 78% of our electricity consumption. The choice of nuclear power dates back to the end of World War II. With insufficient fossil fuel reserves, our country very early on invested in energy alternatives. The two oil crises of the ’70s convinced us to accelerate the construction of facilities to produce safe and economically profitable nuclear energy. That strategy paid off: In 30 years, France ‘s energy independence has risen from 30% to 50%. While turning toward nuclear energy might have seemed unusual 60 years ago, I believe that it was an especially visionary choice. The development of nuclear energy enabled us to meet several objectives: energy independence and security of supply, and competitive, stable energy prices. This nuclear option is also an economic and commercial asset for our country, whose capabilities in this cutting-edge area are world-renowned. In partnership with the French nuclear builder Areva SA and the European energy leader Electricité de France (EDF), we are building a revolutionary, safe and competitive nuclear reactor — the EPR — that will come on line around 2015. This new-generation reactor will allow us to take a fresh step forward in risk prevention as well as in environmental protection, since it will create less waste. In the longer term, the ITER project, which France is hosting in Cadarache, will demonstrate — we all hope — the scientific validity of energy production through atomic fusion. Along with fission energy, fusion energy represents the hope for a clean, abundant source of energy for the future. But let’s be clear: Choosing to go all-nuclear isn’t the only response to rising oil prices. Like nuclear power 30 years ago, renewable energies now constitute the main energy challenge in the coming decades. That is why, at the behest of President Jacques Chirac and under the guidance of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin , France has decided to implement an ambitious strategy to develop renewable energies. Our country is already their leading producer within the European Union. But we want to go further. To succeed, we must invest more in R&D, true to the pioneering spirit that guided us following World War II. What does this mean in concrete terms? France intends to develop all kinds of renewable energies: hydroelectricity and windmills at first, for which we have already established very favorable new regulations; and then renewable heat, in which we plan to make massive investments over a period of several years. And finally clean vehicles, whose research we will finance and whose marketing we will support. For renewable energies will not suffice: Energy economy is the second challenge we must face. Clearly, this national strategy will be effective only if it is part of a European and international framework. That is the position France just defended at the last G-7 summit. In that way, we will be able to build an energy market that is more effective, better regulated and thus less volatile — and less vulnerable to the energy cartels. Sixty years ago, France stood in the vanguard. Today, all industrialized countries must have a similar vision in order to prepare for their children’s future. Mr. Copé is France ‘s budget minister and government spokesman.
2.5. Revealed: Country’s most polluting power companies Consumers urged to ‘pull the plug’ on polluters
3 October 2005 , Friends of the Earth Press Release
Friends of the Earth is urging consumers to start pulling the plug on the country’s polluting nuclear and fossil-fuel power companies. The environment group’s call comes as, for the first time, all power companies are obliged to tell their consumers how polluting their electricity is. As a result of new European-wide rules, from this week, companies supplying electricity have to say how much pollution is generated by coal, gas, nuclear and renewables, and how much carbon dioxide and nuclear waste results from their activities. The figures reveal that Powergen and ScottishPower generate the most carbon dioxide emissions for each unit of electricity supplied while British Gas (Scottish Gas) and EDF Energy generate the most nuclear waste per unit. The data also highlights a number of companies who rely instead on non-polluting renewables such as wind power. Friends of the Earth’s Chief Executive, Duncan McLaren, said: "Consumers wanting clean energy should stop propping up polluting power companies, vote with their purses and switch suppliers. Armed with this information consumers should begin pulling the plug on polluting nuclear and fossil-fueled power stations. Telling power companies why you are switching will help stimulate demand for less-polluting alternatives." The figures also suggest that some companies are attempting to downplay the amounts of nuclear power they really use. Despite the fact that half of Scotland ‘s, and 21% or Britain ‘s, electricity is generated by nuclear, none of the companies admit to using anywhere near these amounts. Duncan McLaren, added: "The fact that the levels of nuclear power the companies admit to supplying customers falls well below the amounts being generated nationally suggests some are being a little economical with the truth. However, this is hardly surprising since it is clearly easier to peddle unpopular nuclear power to industry and business users rather than to the general public. Now that these figures are available it should be easier to spot and then avoid companies foolish enough to try and breath new life into the failed nuclear power industry."
3.1. Don’t Blame Tree Loss For Flooding, Study Says, Climate Patterns Called Driving Force
13 October 2005 , Washington Post Foreign Service
By Ellen Nakashima: Deforestation cannot be blamed for widespread flooding such as the recent massive and deadly inundations in Central America , according to an international research report to be released Thursday. The study, issued by a U.N. agency and the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research, asserts that major floods tend to occur at regular intervals and are driven by major climatic patterns, rather than human activities such as logging. It notes that massive flooding occurred in northern Thailand in 1918 and 1953, when lush forests were abundant. Catastrophic floods covering large areas of land almost always occur after prolonged rainfall saturates the soil and have little to do with the amount of forest cover, according to the report. "The simple explanation for large-scale flooding is that it rains a huge amount and that flooding is part of natural processes,” said David Kaimowitz, director general of the forestry research group, which co-wrote the study with the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization. "There is a tendency to look for culprits when these natural events occur." The report is based on a review of hundreds of published papers and is aimed at reversing policies that criminalize small farmers and loggers because of "the myth of the link," Kaimowitz said. Officials have reported at least 652 deaths and 600 people missing in Guatemala after floods brought on by Hurricane Stan. "The flooding in Central America is a natural process that would have happened, no matter what," Kaimowitz said. "Whether you had deforested, farmed or logged, the amounts of water involved and the severity of these floods is just overwhelming." The conventional wisdom is that forests prevent floods by acting as giant sponges, soaking up water during heavy rainfall and releasing water during the dry season, the study says. In the wake of last week’s floods in Central America , the environmental group Greenpeace International blamed rampant deforestation for worsening the disaster. Greenpeace blasted the report. "I find this denial of a link between deforestation and floods quite dangerous — as dangerous as people who would be saying the only reason for floods is deforestation," Christoph Thies, the group’s forest policy coordinator, said from Hamburg . "There is very, very broad acknowledgment in numerous scientific papers how important forests are in regulating water flow and protecting watersheds. So I think that to question that is not very credible," Thies said. But Kaimowitz said deforestation is a major problem for other reasons. The burning of forests to clear land contributes one-fifth of the carbon emissions that cause climate change, he said. The loss of habitat leads to extinction of plant and animal species. And deforestation does contribute to small-scale flooding. Each year, the world loses forestland that would cover an area roughly the size of Greece , he said.
3.2. World Temperatures Keep Rising With a Hot 2005
13 October 2005 , Washington Post
By Juliet Eilperin: New international climate data show that 2005 is on track to be the hottest year on record, continuing a 25-year trend of rising global temperatures. Climatologists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies calculated the record-breaking global average temperature, which now surpasses 1998’s record by a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, from readings taken at 7,200 weather stations scattered around the world. The new analysis comes as government and independent scientists are reporting other dramatic signs of global warming, such as the record shrinkage of the Arctic sea ice cover and unprecedented high ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico . Late last month, a team of University of Colorado and NASA scientists announced that the Arctic sea ice cap shrank this summer to 200 million square miles, 500,000 square miles less than its average area between 1979 and 2000. And a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determined that sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico were higher in August than at any time since 1890, which may have contributed to the intense hurricanes that struck the region this year. "At this point, people shouldn’t be surprised this is happening," said Goddard atmospheric scientist David Rind, noting that 2002, 2003 and 2004 were among the warmest years on record. Many climatologists, along with policymakers in a number of countries, believe the rapid temperature rise over the past 50 years is heavily driven by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities that have spewed carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" into the atmosphere. A vocal minority of scientists say the warming climate is the result of a natural cycle. Rind compared the warming trend to what happens when a major league baseball team owner spends lavishly on players’ salaries. Pumping heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, he said, produces the same kind of predictable results as boosting a team’s payroll. "When they get into the playoffs, should we be surprised?" he asked. "We’re putting a lot more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and we’re getting a lot higher temperatures." Global temperatures this year are about 1.36 degrees Fahrenheit (0.75 Celsius) above the average between 1950 and 1980, according to the Goddard analysis. Worldwide temperatures in 1998 were 1.28 degrees Fahrenheit (0.71 Celsius) above that 30-year average. The data show that Earth is warming more in the Northern Hemisphere, where the average 2005 temperature was two-tenths of a degree above the 1998 level. Climate experts say such seemingly small shifts are significant because they involve average readings based on measurements taken at thousands of sites. To put it in perspective, the planet’s temperature rose by just 1 to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century. Rind, who said it would probably take a major event such as a massive volcanic eruption to keep this year from setting a record, said that scientists expect worldwide temperatures to rise another degree Fahrenheit between 2000 and 2030, and an additional 2 to 4 degrees by 2100. From that perspective, this year’s higher temperatures are "really small potatoes compared to what’s to come," he said. But one skeptic, state climatologist George Taylor of Oregon , said it is difficult to determine an accurate global average temperature, especially since there are not enough stations recording ocean temperatures. "I just don’t trust it," Taylor said of the new calculation, noting that Goddard’s findings are "mighty preliminary." Several scientists said yesterday that Earth’s rapid warming could become self-perpetuating as the buildup of heat in the air, on land and in the sea accelerates. Ted A. Scambos, the lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder , Colo. , said the shrinkage of sea ice in the Arctic makes it more likely that the region will warm faster, because open water absorbs much more heat from the sun than snow and ice. "Change is really happening in the Arctic . We’re going to see this again and again," Scambos said. He added that, because the Arctic helps keep global temperatures down, any warming there can mean "you’re going to change [the world’s] climate significantly." In response to recent warming in the Arctic , a coalition of environmental groups said it plans to sue the Interior Department to force it to list polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act because the sea ice they depend on is disappearing. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups petitioned for the listing in February, but they say Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton has yet to respond. "The polar bear’s a harbinger of what’s to come. It’s the first animal to be threatened with extinction by climate change, but it won’t be the last," said NRDC attorney Andrew Wexler. He noted that polar bears cannot adapt well to rising temperatures because they are dependent on sea ice for survival. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Chris Tollefson said the agency is analyzing the petition. "We haven’t really reached a conclusion," Tollefson said. The Bush administration has consistently advocated funding for technological research rather than requiring curbs in carbon dioxide emissions, saying that such limits could damage the economy. William O’Keefe, chief executive of the George C. Marshall Institute, which is skeptical of global warming predictions, said policymakers should not rush to impose new rules on industry when it remains unclear whether the current warming worldwide reflects natural climate variability or a human-induced trend. "It still remains very complicated," O’Keefe said. But Rafe Pomerance, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for the environment under President Bill Clinton and who now chairs the bipartisan Climate Policy Center , said a modest system to limit and trade carbon dioxide emissions could help curb global warming. "We need to develop a range of very serious policies and put them in place," Pomerance said.
3.3. Climate change and pollution are killing millions, says study
6 October 2005 , The Guardian
The report "Environment Matters 2005" references below can be found at: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/ENVIRONMENT/0,,contentMDK:20669631~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:244381,00.html. By John Vidal: Poor sanitation to blame, says World Bank report. Economic growth stalled by environmental factors. Almost a fifth of all ill health in poor countries and millions of deaths can be attributed to environmental factors, including climate change and pollution, according to a report from the World Bank. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene as well as indoor and outdoor air pollution are all said to be killing people and preventing economic development. In addition, says the bank, increasing soil pollution, pesticides, hazardous waste and chemicals in food are significantly affecting health and economies. More controversially, the report, released yesterday in New York , links cancers to environmental conditions and says global warming has a major impact on health. "For almost all forms of cancer, the risk of contracting this disease can be reduced if physical environments are safe for human habitation and food items are safe for consumption," says the report. It also cites the spread of malaria and dengue fever as climate change intensifies. Global warming, says the report, is leading to lower yields of some crops and the salination of coastal areas. "In 2000 more than 150,000 premature deaths were attributed to various climate change impacts, according to the World Health Organisation," it says. While tobacco, alcohol and unsafe sex are still the most likely threats to health in developing countries, rapid urbanisation and the spread of slum conditions are now major hazards, says the report. "Some 1.1 billion people lack access to safe water and 2.6 billion lack access to safe sanitation. [This leads to] about 4 billion cases of diarrhoea a year, which cause 1.8 million deaths a year, mostly among children under five," it says. Sanitation, says the bank, which is committed to increasing spending on the environment, is very much "a forgotten problem", with spending on improvements estimated at just $1bn in 2000 – less than 10% of that spent on water. Millions of people who have moved to cities to find work have swapped indoor for outdoor air pollution, suggests the report. Urban air pollution is estimated to cause about 800,000 premature deaths, it says, approaching the number of people affected by indoor air pollution from wood fires in poorly ventilated homes in rural areas. According to the report, which uses WHO statistics, high concentrations of minute particles released by smoky fires are now responsible for over 1.6 million deaths a year. Acute respiratory infection, largely caused by indoor air pollution, it says, was responsible for 36% of all registered infant deaths in Guatemala between 1997 and 2000. The report also says manmade chemicals such as pesticides have an increasing impact on the health of poor people. A survey of child labour in several developing countries, it says, found more than 60% of all working children were exposed to hazardous conditions, and more than 25% of these hazards were due to exposure to chemicals "Without a healthy, productive labour force, we will not have the economic growth that is necessary to ensure a pathway out of poverty. Poor people are the first to suffer from a polluted environment," said Warren Evans, director of the bank’s environment department. The scale of the Boxing Day tsunami led to complete chaos and "misguided goodwill" among the hundreds of humanitarian groups who rushed to Asia to help affected communities, according to a report commissioned by the International Red Cross. More than 400 local, national and international groups went to India , 100 to Sri Lanka and many more to other countries. But the eagerness to help led to some sending or distributing inappropriate aid, others competing to spend vast sums of donated cash, and many duplicating each other’s efforts. Special reports: Special report: climate change . Special report: G8 .
4.1. Stakeholder conference: European Climate Change Programme second phase
A stakeholder conference on the launch of the European Climate Change Programme, second phase (ECCP II) will take place in Brussels , Belgium , on 24 October. The European Climate Change Programme is the Commission’s main instrument to discuss and prepare the further development of the EU’s climate policy. The Commission runs this Programme in close cooperation with a wide range of stakeholders. Commissioner for Environment, Stavros Dimas, will present the Commission’s view on the further development of EU climate policy. In addition, a number of parallel sessions dealing with key areas, such as the ECCP I review, geological carbon capture and storage, adaptation, aviation, passenger road transport, energy efficiency, renewable energy and technology policy will give participants the opportunity to learn and provide input. For further information, please visit: http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/environment/climat/eccp.htm.
4.2. A technical workshop on JI/CDM
The Austrian JI/CDM Programme is organizing a technical workshop on JI/CDM from 27-28 October 2005 in Vienna . It aims to provide interested institutions and project developers with the necessary knowledge to set up a JI/CDM project in general. It will as well inform about project opportunities in various host countries and how to successfully submit a project to the 3rd tender of the Austrian JI/CDM Programme. Target Group: Institutions and Project developers. Time: 28 to 29 October 2005 . Venue: Vienna , Austria . More information is available under: www.ji-cdm-austria.at (Programme, registration form and hotel list).
4.3. ‘Climate Policy 2005 and Beyond: Japanese-German Impulses’
1 November 2005 in Tokyo , as part of the events taking place during the Germany year in Japan 2005/2006. It is co-organised by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (WI) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). At the symposium, the latest reports on the German experiences with ecological tax reform and emissions trading in Germany will be shared. Conference presenters include representatives from the business sector, local governments and NGOs in Germany and Japan . Based on the presentations that focus on innovative methods of implementing green house gas reduction, panelists will discuss the future possibility of cooperation between Germany and Japan in the field of climate policies. Date: Tuesday 1 November 2005 , 9:30-18:00 . Venue: U Thant Conference Hall, United Nations University (UNU). Language: English and Japanese (with simultaneous translation). Presenters: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Green Budget Germany, City of Hanover and Munchen, Kanagawa Prefecture, BP Germany, Hitachi, Ltd, DaimlerChrysler Germany, FoE Europe, University of Kyoto, IGES, and others. Admission free. Registration deadline: Friday 21 October 2005 . For more information: English: http://www.iges.or.jp/en/news/event/event9/event9.html.
4.4. 2nd Annual Methane to Markets Partnership Meeting in Buenos Aires
The Methane to Markets Administrative Support Group is pleased to invite you to attend the 2nd Annual Methane to Markets Partnership Meeting in Buenos Aires on November 2-4, 2005 , hosted by the Secretariat of the Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina. Additional information including the preliminary agenda and on-line registration are available on the Methane to Markets Web site at: http://www.methanetomarkets.org/#steering. The goal of this meeting is to assess the progress of the Partnership’s first year, and for Partners to collaborate with the private sector, and other interested organizations to develop workplans and activities that will facilitate methane capture and use project development for the second year of the Partnership. In addition, the meeting will include a discussion of methane capture and use projects in the agriculture sector (specifically the manure management sector), and a workshop devoted to project finance.
4.5. Frontiers in Forest Information: a centenary conference/workshop
at St Anne’s College, Oxford , 5-7 December 2005. Organised by Oxford University Library Services in conjunction with the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, CAB International and other partners. Book now on www.plantlib.ox.ac.uk/forestry – reduced-price bookings close 31 October. There are many frontiers in sight in today’s information society. Many are not directly related to forests and trees, but will nevertheless define and shape the way we create and use information in future in this subject area, which matters to an increasingly diverse cross-section of society. So in this conference we want to explore, in workshop format, what those frontiers are, how they will impact the way we work, and how we should prepare to cross them. A panel of speakers drawn from both the forestry and wider communities will outline the key frontiers in four thematic areas: global needs for forest-related information; information needed for development; new publishing paradigms; and the impacts of changing technologies. Delegates will add examples from their own experience, in the form of short papers, posters or informal debate; then in group discussions attempt to prioritise those issues which need action by the information community – data providers, publishers, libraries etc. These findings will be synthesised in plenary sessions so by the end of the conference we have a ‘task list’ which the sponsoring organisations can use in future planning – in the case of the Oxford Forest Information Service, giving us a good idea of how to set off on our second century! Book now to secure your place and help us plan a better future – details on www.plantlib.ox.ac.uk/forestry. Interested but can’t make it? Then please get in touch and share with us your ‘frontiers’ so we can include them in the discussion and ensure we are tackling real issues which matter to real people! E-mail the conference secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org, with your comments.
5.1. Joint Implementation Quarterly, October 2005
Foundation JIN has published a new issue of the Joint Implementation Quarterly, October 2005, Vol.11, No. 3. This issue can be downloaded from the Foundation JIN website: http://www.jiqweb.org or via direct link: http://jiq.wiwo.nl/jiq3-05.pdf. Topics: EU Emissions Trading: an Overview; Baseline standardisation in JI Track-I and Green Investment Schemes; EB Meeting and Develoments; Potential for CDM in Cambodia; The Testing Ground Facility: a Progress Report; ENTTRANS: Promoting Sustainable Technologies under the CDM; Discussion platform: Quality and Price of Carbon Credits; Wind Power CDM Project in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia; Asia pro-Eco Programme: a Workshop Report; Belgian Federal JI/CDM Tender Evaluates EoI; The Second Finnish Small-Scale CDM Tender; Approved methodologies, Accredited DOEs; Recent Meetings & Reports; Meeting planner.
5.2. Special Report on Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage
Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change approved the Special Report on Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (SRCCS). The new report, written by over a hundred experts from around the world, provides a wealth of information on how to capture, transport and store CO2, as well as on costs and potential for mitigation of climate change. It also discusses which risks may be expected and whether CCS can be compatible with current legal frameworks. The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was approved in a three-day process involving over a hundred governments. The SPM, as well as a webcast of the press conference and a UNEP press release, are available on www.ipcc.ch. Highlights of the Summary for Policymakers include: CCS has the potential to reduce overall climate change mitigation costs and increase flexibility in achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions; The use of CCS for large-scale power plants (the potential application of major interest) still remains to be implemented; CCS enables the control of the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-based production of electricity or hydrogen, which in the longer term could reduce part of the dispersed CO2 emissions from transport and distributed energy supply systems; Most modelling as assessed in this report suggests that CCS systems begin to deploy at a significant level when CO2 prices begin to reach approximately 25 – 30 US$/tCO2; Available evidence suggests that worldwide, it is likely that there is a technical potential of at least about 2,000 GtCO2 (545 GtC) of storage capacity in geological formations. This is likely sufficient to cover the demand for geological storage over the century; Depending on the type of capture and storage, CCS would add 0.01 – 0.05 US $/kWh to the cost of electricity production. It is expected that the full final text of the report is available on by the beginning of December. A text still subject to copy-editing will be posted on the IPCC website in the coming weeks. The IPCC will hold a side-event on the SRCCS at COP11. Please consult www.ipcc.ch for further information.
5.3. CO2 Price Dynamiscs: The Implications of EU Emissions Trading for the Price of Electricity
The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) has released a new publication called "CO2 Price Dynamiscs: The Implications of EU Emissions Trading for the Price of Electricity". This study analyses the relationship between EU emissions trading and power prices, notably the implications of free allocation of emission allowances for the price of electricity in countries of North-western Europe ( Belgium , France , Germany and the Netherlands ). To study this impact, it uses a variety of analytical approaches, including interviews with stakeholders, empirical and statistical analyses, theoretical explorations, and analyses by means of the COMPETES model. The study shows that a significant part of the costs of freely allocated allowances is passed through to power prices and discusses its implications in terms of higher electricity prices for consumers and profits for producers. It concludes that free allocation of emission allowances is a highly questionable policy option for a variety of reasons and suggests that auctioning might offer a better perspective. For more information on the report, please visit: http://www.ecn.nl/library/reports/2005/c05081.html. The publication can be downloaded as a PDF-file from the ECN website: http://www.ecn.nl/docs/library/report/2005/c05081.pdf.
6.1. Website with relevant information on the Workshop on Emissions Trading was created
Following the IEA/ITEA/EPRI Fifth Workshop on Emissions Trading, a website with relevant information on the Workshop has been created: http://www.iea.org/textbase/work/workshopdetail.asp?WS_ID=213. It contains: Presentations for which we have received posting approval, Country summaries, The agenda, and A short list of participants. This joint event between the IEA, the International Emissions Trading Association and the Electric Power Research Institute took place September 27th and 28th, 2005 at the IEA offices in Paris . It provided an opportunity for government, industry, brokers, finance, and NGO delegates to discuss some of the key issues relating to market developments. The workshop combined presentation of papers on recent research, together with extended discussion sessions on the following subjects: Market news, Emissions trading and compatibility with future international architectures, Industry: their experience with emissions trading, Extending the coverage of domestic systems, Progress on project mechanisms.
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