1.1. US House Takes Step Forward on Climate Bill; Vote Looks Tight
26 June 2009, Nadaq
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The Democratic party on Friday took a step forward in its efforts to pass a climate-change bill through the U.S. House of Representatives, with a late-night meeting to set the rules under which the measure would be debated.
The House Rules Committee met at 2:50 a.m. EDT and agreed that a debate would occur on the floor later Friday for at least three hours. That penultimate step had been delayed for hours as senior leaders met to work out details following a struggle to line up enough votes.
The final step is a vote on Friday, with the legislative day set to begin at 9 a.m. EDT. Some 218 votes are needed to pass the bill. Democrats hold 256 seats, but a number of the party's ranks have said they will vote "no" out of concern over the effect on their regions.
The climate and energy bill represents an important item on the agenda of U.S. President Barack Obama. If passed, it would transform the way the nation uses energy by capping greenhouse-gas emissions while creating a market to buy and sell the right to emit such gases.
Democrats had struggled to line up votes for the measure, which would raise energy prices by limiting the emissions from power plants, oil refiners, and other sources. Supporters say that overall energy bills would stay down because of other mechanisms - such as tax breaks and policies to use energy more efficiently - intended to offset the effects of higher rates.
Obama himself reportedly dropped by to personally encourage support for the legislation. A group of Democratic lawmakers were invited to Rahm Emanuel's office on Thursday, and in the middle some perceived to be undecided on the climate-change vote were tapped on the shoulder by an aide and summoned to meet with Obama, according to a Democratic lawmaker familiar with the matter.
Among those in the group: Reps. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, Yvette Clark, D-N.Y., Steve Kagan, D-Wis., Ron Klein, D-Fla., Baron Hill, D-Ind., Tim Walz, D-Minn., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. At least one of those lawmakers - Walz - is currently listed as a "yes" vote on the bill.
1.2. Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband's blueprint for global warming deal
26 June 2009, Guardian.co.uk
Gordon Brown will tomorrow outline Britain's blueprint for a new international deal on global warming, which world leaders are pushing to be agreed at December's critical UN talks in Copenhagen. In a speech at London Zoo, the prime minister is expected to call on all developed countries, including Britain and the US, to show greater ambition in the fight against climate change.
The new agreement is intended to replace the Kyoto protocol in setting national limits on carbon pollution, and is billed by green campaigners as the last chance to save the planet from severe and dangerous levels of warming.
Brown and Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, will publish details in the government's Road to Copenhagen document, which Miliband said was aimed at revitalising public interest in the issue.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Miliband said: "People are still not sufficiently aware of the scale of the problem this could create for them and future generations in Britain.
"People believe climate change is happening in the UK, most people don't think it's a plot or something made up, but most people don't seem to think it will happen in their area."
He said Britain, which will negotiate the new treaty as part of the EU bloc, was pushing for the new deal to force emissions from developed nations to reach a peak by 2015.
Global greenhouse gas output should peak and begin to decline by 2020, to "irreversibly break" the trend of rising emissions.
Scientists have warned that global emissions need to peak in the next few years, and then significantly shrink, to avoid dangerous rises in temperature and changes to the climate.
Miliband said: "We're talking about reversing 150 to 200 years of the growth of carbon emissions. It's difficult, there are many obstacles in the way, but it's doable with the right political will."
The UK wants the deal to include commitments in three areas – emissions cuts by developed countries, reductions by developing countries compared with what they would emit without an agreement, and finance for climate change measures.
He said various countries, including the US, Japan and the EU, had already made offers of commitments they would sign up to, while China and other developing countries wanted a deal. But he said there needed to be "greater ambition from all countries" since the world could not afford to fail on the issue.
Miliband said his department has established a "Copenhagen war room" and ministers from across Whitehall are being instructed to raise the issue on all overseas visits.
A pamphlet explaining the risks posed by climate change and the importance of a Copenhagen deal is being sent to nearly 20,000 organisations across the UK – including libraries, schools, health centres and GP surgeries, as well as Citizens Advice centres and local authorities.
Miliband said: "There's a real danger of defeatism in this debate, a danger people think 'nothing can be done, it's inevitable, let's just hide under the bedclothes'."
He said leaders needed to be in the "business of optimism" and that he was genuinely optimistic about the efforts to tackle climate change.
The announcement comes the day after new data showed the growth of global carbon dioxide emissions fell by half in 2008 as a result of the recession, high oil prices and an increase in renewable energy. In addition, the figures show that, for the first time, carbon dioxide emissions from the developing world account for more than half of the global total.
The analysis, by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, shows that the rise in the world's emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production in 2008 was just 1.7%, compared with 3.3% in 2007.
The slowdown in emissions growth was caused primarily by a 0.6% fall in the consumption of oil – the first decline in global oil use since 1992. This trend was uneven around the world. In China, oil use continued to rise, but at only 3%, down from an average of 8% since 2001. In the US, oil consumption fell by a massive 7%.
By contrast, global coal use continued to creep up and the rise in the consumption of natural gas remained unchanged.
Increasing renewable energy capacity and improving energy efficiency in many countries also contributed to the reduced rise in carbon dioxide emissions. NEAA's Jos Olivier said: "The impact of energy and climate policy is hard to distinguish from those of fuel prices and the recession, but policies encouraging renewable electricity generation will have helped avoid around 500m tonnes of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power stations."
It remains to be seen how the rate of emissions will change in 2009. If the recession continues to bite through the year, global emissions could flatten off entirely.
Meanwhile, policymakers are likely to be particularly struck by the revelation that, in 2008, the developing world accounted for 50.3% of carbon dioxide emissions, exceeding developed nations and international travel combined for the first time. This fact will provide ammunition for those arguing in favour of binding emissions targets for all nations, not just industrialised ones.
Furthermore, the data does not take into account the carbon dioxide released by deforestation, which accounts for almost 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions and takes place overwhelmingly in the developing world.
1.3. Environment ministers need stronger Copenhagen strategy
25 June 2009, Greenpeace
Brussels, Belgium — Today, environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg will rubber-stamp a Euratom Directive on Nuclear Safety. The law was meant to improve nuclear safety in Europe by setting EU-wide standards. However, the directive mainly refers to weak principles from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which all EU countries are already bound to as signatories of the Convention on Nuclear Safety.
Attempts to improve the independence of nuclear regulators have also been watered down. There is no provision in the directive to guarantee the accountability of nuclear regulators.
“There is nothing new in this law to improve nuclear safety in Europe. We are still faced with a nuclear industry that sees safety as an obstacle, rather than a paramount necessity,” said Jan Haverkamp, EU nuclear energy expert for Greenpeace.
Greenpeace calls on the EU to base its safety rules on the principles of best available technology and best regulatory practice.
COPENHAGEN CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY
European environment ministers are also discussing the priorities of the Swedish EU Presidency for the next round of international climate negotiations ahead of the global climate conference in Copenhagen in December. Greenpeace urges the incoming Swedish presidency to start building strong alliances on climate change with ambitious developing countries and to challenge less ambitious countries such as the U.S. and Japan.
“Environment ministers meeting today should ensure that the Swedish Presidency makes it a priority to enable developing countries to implement green measures by providing adequate financing. Only immediate upfront funding for climate measures can break the deadlock in climate negotiations,” said Joris den Blanken, EU climate and energy policy director for Greenpeace.
Without the backing of other rich countries, the EU is reluctant to commit financial support to enable developing countries to implement green measures. The forthcoming G8 meeting in Italy will be the first opportunity for European countries to build alliances in the industrialised world on the climate financing issue.
1.4. Scotland's climate bill sets a precedent for Europe
22 June 2009, FOEE
Brussels, 24 June– Friends of the Earth Europe has warmly welcomed the groundbreaking Climate Change Bill passed in Scotland today.
Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) today voted for a target to reduce greenhouse gases by 42 per cent by 2020 – the most ambitious statutory target in the world.
The vote followed an overwhelming display of support for early action to cut emissions from scientists, Scottish celebrities and campaigners who travelled to the Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, to lobby their MSPs.
Friends of the Earth Europe's climate campaign coordinator, Sonja Meister said: “With this law Scotland is leading the world in the fight to tackle dangerous climate change. The emission cuts now required by law in Scotland are the first in the world to be in line with what science tells us is needed.
“The EU should now follow Scotland’s lead and set equally ambitious targets to help get the international climate negotiations on the right path.”
The Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, Duncan McLaren said: “Scotland played a leading role in the Industrial Revolution, and now we can play a leading role in the transition to a low carbon economy with new green jobs for the next generation.
“Climate justice and climate science tell us we urgently need to make emission cuts of at least 42 per cent by 2020. The technology exists to deliver them. The Scottish Government must now exercise the political will to make it so.”
Scotland's Climate Change Bill comes in the same week that the Hungarian parliament took a major step towards the realisation of a climate law. On Monday evening Hungarian MPs adopted a resolution on the preparations of a climate law initiated by the Friends of the Earth Hungary and the Hungarian National Council for Sustainable Development.
Around Europe, Friends of the Earth groups are asking governments to commit to annual cuts in climate changing emissions as part of the European Big Ask. Friends of the Earth's Europe-wide climate campaign aims to get governments and the European Union to commit to legally binding annual cuts in emissions to fight climate change. The Big Ask calls on the European Union to commit to at least 40 per cent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions within Europe by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2050.
2.1. Sweden seeks to steer EU onto energy-efficient path[
25 June 2009, EurActiv
Sweden plans to step up Europe's energy-efficiency legislation as it takes over the rotating six-month EU presidency at the beginning of July.
Sweden will be well-placed to push its vision on energy efficiency as it takes the EU helm in the midst of the revision of the EU's energy efficiency action plan. The Commission launched a public consultation on 8 June and plans to present a new plan in November.
Sweden has themed its economic and environmental strategy as a "transition into an eco-efficient economy".
Tapping into the EU's large energy-savings potential forms an important part of the switch to a new economic model. Sweden is thus pledging to push ahead with energy-efficiency legislation even in the absence of a political agreement between EU ministers.
Forging a comprehensive action plan
According to Swedish government sources, the presidency will initiate discussions on the plan at the informal energy and environment ministers' meeting in Sweden on 23-25 July. It hopes to present the Commission's blueprint, if ready in November, at the December Energy Council.
Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson said her country would adopt a "systemic perspective" to the plan. The incoming presidency will look beyond energy-efficiency standards for individual appliances to the whole energy chain, from production to end use.
"Things like CHP (combined heat and power; see EurActiv LinksDossier) with highly-efficient district heating and well-insulated houses would make an efficient system as a whole," a Swedish government official told EurActiv. Sweden is home to the best insulated homes in Europe, and has a long tradition of district heating from renewable sources.
The action plan aims to achieve the EU's goal of saving 20% more energy in 2020. But unlike the EU's other 2020 targets (slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and raising the share of renewables in the bloc's energy mix to 20%), the energy-efficiency target is not binding.
Nevertheless, many are looking to the Swedish Presidency to push for legal commitments. In its consultation document for the recast of the energy efficiency action plan, the Commission opened a debate on the issue, saying that binding energy efficiency targets could be considered as part of the mid-term revision.
Early agreement on key legislation in sight
Sweden plans to reach an agreement with the Parliament before the year's end on key energy-efficiency proposals mapped out in the Commission's Second Strategic Energy Review in November 2008, and wants to move even without a common position in the Council.
"Our aim is to reach agreement before the common position, as we did with the Renewables Directive," a Swedish government official told EurActiv. She said the presidency would engage in talks with MEPs in October and November, with the aim of reaching an agreement before a meeting of energy ministers on 7 December.
The Parliament has adopted first-reading positions on recasting the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), extending energy labelling to cover all energy-related products, and labelling tyres. But member states have expressed doubt about some of the MEPs' amendments (EurActiv 15/06/09).
The incoming presidency is set for hard bargaining on the buildings directive. MEPs' call for all new buildings to produce at least as much energy on site as they use by 2019 is viewed as unrealistic by member states, which are worried that the directive will prove expensive and administratively burdensome to implement.
The Swedish official said the Council talks had so far barely even touched on the issue of zero-energy buildings. "There is no position emerging," she stated.
Sweden will also have to unravel a political impasse on the energy labelling of appliances so that the Commission can go ahead and adopt new labels. The Parliament effectively blocked the process in May when it refused to endorse a new open-ended energy label for televisions (EurActiv 07/05/09).
Member states are still divided between the Parliament's position that the energy label should remain within the closed A-G scale, and the Commission's proposal to add new 'A' categories to avoid upgrading the thresholds for different classes.
Environmental and consumer organisations have sided with the Parliament on the issue, and are now looking to the Swedish Presidency to break the deadlock.
Ambitious national climate agenda
Sweden set itself an ambitious national agenda when it presented its "integrated climate and energy policy" in March. The government pledged to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in sectors that do not participate in the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS; see EurActiv LinksDossier) by 2020, with the aim of becoming completely carbon neutral by mid-century.
To become 20% more energy-efficient by 2020 in line with the non-binding EU target, the Swedish government said it would invest around €27.3 million annually between 2010 and 2020 in implementing energy-efficiency measures.
Priority is given to initiatives that better inform households and businesses of opportunities to save both money and energy. Among other things, the government plans to introduce requirements for electricity and hot water metering in new and renovated buildings, and boost investment in technology in order to facilitate the introduction to the market of energy-efficient technologies.
2.2. Commission acts to ensure effective and competitive energy market across Europe
23 June 2009, Europa PR Rapid
The Commission has taken firm action today against 25 Member States who prevent European consumers benefiting from the advantages of a competitive and open Energy Market by not complying with EU legislation. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom will be receiving letters of formal notice for not complying with applicable gas and electricity regulations. The Commission has also sent letters of formal notice to Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Lithuania for maintaining a system of regulated prices in violation of the EU directives on electricity and gas.
Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, stressed that "In this time of economic and financial crisis, it is simply unacceptable that the European consumers and companies suffer the burden of an ill-functioning energy market. The Commission is determined to take all necessary action to ensure that European consumers can benefit from real choice, better prices, and enhanced security of supply that only an open and competitive market can provide".
The action taken by the Commission today addresses violations of different provisions of the existing community legislation on electricity and gas, the so called Second Package of 2003. The Commission has focused in particular on provisions which guarantee fair competition in the interest of consumers.
In this context, key violations identified by the Commission concern:
*the lack of information provided by electricity and gas transmission system operators, obstructing effective access of supply companies to networks;
*the inadequacy of network capacity allocation systems to optimise network use for electricity and gas transmission in Member states;
*the lack of coordination and cooperation across borders by electricity transmission system operators and national authorities, which is necessary in order to better allocate network capacity on cross-border interconnections so that use of the existing electricity grid is optimised on a regional and European basis instead of on a national basis;
*the inadequate efforts by gas transmission system operators to make maximum capacity available in order to optimise opportunities for market entrance and competition. This concerns in particular short-term capacity that is otherwise left unused, and capacity in the other direction than in which the gas physically flows (backhaul capacity);
*the lack of effective enforcement action by the competent authorities in Member States in case of violations of the EU regulations, including the absence of effective systems of penalties at national level;
*the persistence of regulated prices, especially for the benefit of large customers, putting obstacles in the way of new market entrants;
*the absence of adequate dispute settlement procedures for consumers at national level; it is a fundamental premise of the Electricity and Gas Directives that all citizens who enjoy the benefits of the internal market should also be able to enjoy high levels of consumer protection. However, a lack of transparent, simple and inexpensive procedures for dealing with their complaints can lead to consumers' reluctance to participate in the internal market. There are clear obligations in the Electricity and Gas Directives to ensure that such procedures are in place and provide real alternative options for consumers.
The regulations on the internal market in electricity and gas are essential for a genuine, competitive energy market in Europe. The EU legislation must be properly applied to enable the markets to operate and to ensure that they are integrated effectively. The Commission has made the completion of the internal market of electricity and gas one of the priority areas of its strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy. In the Commission’s view, the sustainable, competitive and secure supply of energy will not be possible without open, competitive energy markets that enable European companies to compete Europe-wide. The creation of an integrated European energy market will be a key factor in improving the security of supply and in boosting competitiveness in the EU. This is directly serving the interests of European consumers.
3.1. Update on Commission lobby register: Only 24% of Brussels lobby organisations registered
22 June 2009, Greenpeace
Brussels, Belgium — Following an EU press briefing earlier today marking the first anniversary of the launch of European Commission lobby register, the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) has published updated figures that underline the failure of the Commission's voluntary approach. The ALTER-EU report shows that while overall entries have slowly increased, to-date only 24% of Brussels-based lobbyists have signed up, with many disclosing flawed and misleading data.
On 4 June, ALTER-EU published a detailed report highlighting the flawed information contained in the register and putting forward concrete proposals that should be taken into account as the Commission prepares to present a review of the register next month.
The main findings of ALTER-EU’s updated assessment of the register are:
* the total number of registrations is now 1604, of which only 625 have offices in Brussels;
* less than 24% of Brussels-based lobby organisations and firms have registered so far (based on the European Parliament’s estimate of 2,600 lobby groups with offices in Brussels in 2000);
* the European Public Affairs Directory lists 165 consultancies in Brussels. Only 25 of these are on the Commission’s register, putting the compliance rate for this crucial category at a meagre 15%;
* of the 330 companies listed in the European Public Affairs Directory, only 86 feature in the Commission's register (26%).
The new figures confirm the conclusions of the ALTER-EU study published earlier this month. The study also shows that:
* think-tanks and law firms are boycotting the register;
* unclear financial disclosure requirements allow lobby groups to disguise the size of their lobbying effort, making it impossible to determine who the biggest spenders really are and what policies they are trying to influence;
* the lack of clear guidelines also means that the register is increasingly cluttered by associations that play no role in lobbying the EU.
ALTER-EU calls on the Commissions to:
* develop a mandatory system to replace the current voluntary one in 2010;
* close loopholes on financial disclosure and provide clear and broad definitions of what constitutes lobbying;
* provide transparency on the identity of lobbyists (names of individual lobbyists must be listed);
* punish non-compliance and disclosure of misleading information;
* end exemptions for sectors such as competition policy.
4.1. CLIMATE JUSTICE AND ENERGY PROGRAMME INTERN
Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) is seeking a:
CLIMATE JUSTICE AND ENERGY PROGRAMME INTERN
for four months
Full time and working in the Brussels office, with occasional travel in Europe. Start date: 1 September 2009
This is a unique opportunity to work alongside our Climate and Energy team to help influence the EU in taking up its responsibility to fight climate change, and to help bring people’s voices to decision-makers.
We are looking for an energetic and enthusiastic person to join the international FoEE team on a short term basis. The position is based in Brussels, full time, and runs from September until December 2009. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about campaigning in a green NGO working at the European level in Brussels – part of a vibrant European and international network.
Climate change can be stopped. Jointly with national groups in 18 countries we are running the “Big Ask” campaign demanding that Europe cuts its emissions by 40% in 2020 and 100% in 2050 within Europe, year by year, and provides its fair share of finances for helping developing countries tackle climate change. Together with Friends of the Earth International we are now preparing for the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. We are planning a huge mobilisation in Copenhagen and national actions and mobilisations in the months before.
FoEE campaigns for sustainable and just societies and for the protection of the environment. It unites more than 31 national organisations with thousands of local groups and is part of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International.
More at: http://www.foeeurope.org/job/climate_justice_intern_June09.html
4.2. HEAD of OPERATIONS
Friends of the Earth Europe is seeking a: HEAD of OPERATIONS
Full time and working in the FoEE office in Brussels
Friends of the Earth campaigns for sustainable and just societies and for the protection of the environment. It unites more than 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups and is part of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International. Please see www.foeeurope.org for more information.
This is an excellent opportunity to be part of a green NGO working at the European level in Brussels. Reporting to the Director, you will be working in a highly respected and growing campaigning organisation, as part of a vibrant European network.
More at: http://www.foeeurope.org/job/head_of_operations_June09.html
5.1. Yellow card! 2009 Swedish EU Presidency checklist
The boots are on and the referee is about to blow the whistle: the Swedish Presidency is almost underway. But before the game has even started, Greenpeace has ranked the Swedish government for its performance in the lead up to this crucial moment. We have judged the country’s readiness to undertake the tasks at hand in the most important environmental issues on the EU agenda during the second half of 2009. We also rank the Swedish government’s track record at home for the same topics.
The Swedish Presidency gets a yellow card for playing dangerously in a number of areas, including climate policy, fisheries policy and policies on chemicals. It gets a red card for its attitude towards genetically modified organisms. Overall, the Swedish government gets a yellow card and a warning: for a successful Presidency, Sweden must push harder on the environmental flank.
Download it at: http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/eu-unit/press-centre/policy-papers-briefings/swedish-presidency-checklist-09-06-25.pdf
6.1. EU to help China bury CO2 emissions
25 June 2009, EurActiv
The European Commission will today (24 June) present plans to spend €60 million of EU money on a carbon capture and storage project in China and other emerging economies, asking member states to chip in too.
A draft communication, seen by EurActiv, spells out plans to raise between €300 and €550 million of public financing, depending on the used combustion technology, to build a near zero-emissions coal plant.
The Commission says it has earmarked €60 million from the EU's Environment and Natural Resources Thematic Programme for clean coal cooperation between 2009 and 2013 to finance the Chinese project. A small proportion of this, around €3 million this year, will be used for cooperation with other emerging economies.
The draft document states that up to an additional €50 million could be made available for the design and construction of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration plant in China, if there is "continued political support from China and satisfactory progress with the NZEC project".
The Commission is proposing to establish a public-private partnership in the form of a "special purpose vehicle". This mechanism would enable public and private funding to be combined, while ensuring that public donors can set out policy objectives, the EU executive argues.
Focus on China
The Commission explained that it was targeting China for clean coal technology development due to the country's heavy reliance on coal and the advanced stage of existing cooperation.
The Commission argues that there is an urgent need for technologies like CCS in China, which gets 70% of its energy from coal. In 2007 alone, China built the equivalent of one 500MW coal-fired power plant every two-and-a-half days, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Moreover, the EU and China made a political commitment back in 2005 to develop and demonstrate near-zero emissions coal technology in both regions by 2020.
Cooperation is set to enter a second phase next year, moving from initial research to determining the site's location and the combustion and capture technologies to be used, as well as the transport and storage concepts. For the next two years, the Commission plans to develop a financing model in consultation with the European Investment Bank (IEB) in order to have the plant up and running well before the 2020 deadline.
CCS in the global climate agreement
The EU intends to push CCS in international negotiations due to culminate in December with the adoption of a global climate treaty. It wants to see the technology eligible for financing both during the remainder of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, and beyond that date under the new regime.
The Commission paper suggests putting in place a sectoral mechanism as an alternative to the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which provides carbon credits for companies undertaking emission-reduction projects abroad.
The scheme would only generate credits once the sector performs better than an agreed benchmark, giving companies an incentive to go the extra mile to finance CCS, the Commission believes.
The EU executive sees the CCS demonstration project in China as a model for other technology collaboration between industrialised and developing countries in the framework of a post-2012 climate change agreement.
However, environmentalists in particular have raised the alarm over funding clean coal, saying it could jeopardise sustainable development in emerging economies in the longer term.
"We believe that instead of supporting China further in the development of real solutions, which would be renewables and efficiency, the Commission is now putting EU taxpayers' money into technologies that promote the further use of coal, which is not only the most polluting energy source, but is also conserving the outdated energy model," said Frauke Thies, Greenpeace's renewables policy campaigner.
She argued that the EU would have a hard time convincing the Chinese government to take up CCS on a large scale because it is difficult to control and comes with a high price tag and efficiency losses.
"It seems a more reasonable and convincing strategy to support China's investment in renewables, most of which are already cheaper than CCS," Thies stated.
6.2. EXCLUSIVE-Major economies consider halving world CO2
25 June 2009, Reuters
OSLO, June 25 (Reuters) - Major economies including the United States and China are considering setting a goal of halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 when they hold a summit in Italy next month, a draft document showed.
The text also says the 17-member Major Economies Forum (MEF) will seek to double public investments in low-carbon technology by 2015 and boost funding from both public and private sources as well as from carbon markets to fight global warming.
The draft was put forward by the United States and Mexico at talks in Mexico this week, without reaching accord before a MEF summit on July 9. U.S. President Barack Obama launched the MEF to help towards a new U.N. climate pact due in December.
"We support an aspirational global goal of reducing global emissions by 50 percent by 2050, with developed countries reducing emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050," according to the draft text, obtained by Reuters and dated June 22.
Last year, industrialised nations in the Group of Eight agreed at a summit in Japan to a "vision" of halving world greenhouse gases by 2050 to help avert ever more droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.
Developing countries including China, India and Brazil did not adopt that 2050 goal in Japan, arguing that the rich first have to set tough 2020 cuts for themselves. The MEF summit will be on the sidelines of this year's G8 summit in Italy.
The two-page draft declaration does not set clear goals but says that developed countries, including the United States, the European Union and Japan, would "undertake robust aggregate and individual mid-term reductions in the 2020 timeframe".
Developing nations such as China and India say that the rich should cut emissions by "at least 40 percent" below 1990 levels by 2020 -- a target developed nations say is out of reach when they are trying to stimulate recession-hit economies.
And the text says developing nations would take actions by 2020 to ensure a "significant deviation from business as usual" to slow rising emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels.
The text also stops short of setting a peak year for global emissions. "The peaking of global and national emissions should take place as soon as possible, recognising that the timeframe for peaking will be longer in developing countries," it said.
The 17 MEF members account for 80 percent of global emissions so any agreement among them would go a long way to defining a new U.N. climate treaty due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.
The text also says that the nations will set up a global partnership aiming to double public sector investments in research and development of low-carbon technologies by 2015.
The partnership would seek to remove barriers and create incentives to promote technologies "such as energy efficiency; solar energy; smart grids; carbon capture, use and storage; advanced vehicles; and bio-energy".
The text also says that funds to combat climate change "will need to be substantially scaled up to address climate change." It suggests a "fast start" funding, perhaps of $400 million, to help developing nations.
The text also goes some way to acknowleding a goal of the EU and many developing nations to limit global rises in temperatures to no more than 2 Celsius above 1990 levels. That goal has not been adopted by the United States.
The text mentions that leaders are "aware of the broad scientific view that the increase in global average temperatures above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees C".
6.3. Germany agrees scaled-down CO2 capture law
22 June 2009, EurActiv
Germany's grand coalition government has reportedly agreed to a scaled-down draft law on carbon dioxide storage after conservatives objected to some of the measures.
"We've reached an agreement," a coalition source said to Reuters on Friday (9 June), referring to the carbon capture and storage (CCS) law.
But sources said the agreement only allows for individual test sites rather than allowing a more comprehensive framework for CCS across Germany.
The breakthrough was reached in a meeting of parliamentary floor leaders from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats - Volker Kauder and Peter Struck respectively - and Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel. On Wednesday, the conservatives said they planned to delay voting on the draft law on CCS amid concerns about it.
The CCS law would pave the way for further developing technology aimed at cutting pollution from coal-burning power plants, by holding CO2 indefinitely in underground storage facilities.
The coalition has spent months wrangling over rules to regulate the efforts of utilities such as E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall Europe to test and install the technology early enough for large-scale commercial use after 2020.
Speedy progress of the law is needed to allow these firms to meet timetables for pilot plants ahead of full commercial production planned for 2020, and to ensure that CO2 taken from the plants can be piped into suitable stores by that date.
Germany derives 50% of its power from coal but without CCS will not be able to keep this up in coming years, as stringent EU laws aimed at discouraging CO2 emissions set rising financial penalties on conventional coal burning.
Meanwhile, Germany's coal importers group VDKI, based in the port of Hamburg but close to the Rhein-Ruhr region's heavy industries which it serves, is worried about the sustainability of coal burning amid public criticism of the carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution it causes.
"We argue against this with the plans for higher energy efficiency rates at coal-fired power units and the hoped-for success in capturing and storing CO2 at power stations [in a tested, but not proven, process called CCS]," chairman of VDKI, Erich Schmitz said in a conference last week.
German imports of hard coal from India, China and Indonesia are likely to fall 22% this year compared with 2008 to a total 37.3 million tonnes, the importers group VDKI said.
If new building and CCS efforts were combined and successful, German coal generators may cut CO2 emissions to 96 million tonnes a year by 2015 versus 111 million in 2008, Schmitz said.
Germany uses hard coal for 20-25% of its annual power generation, depending on demand and rival fuels. It mined 18.5 million tonnes of hard coal equivalent units last year but this may fall to 13-14 million tonnes in 2009 under long-term phase-out plans, according to the VDIK.
Lignite, a cheaply mined domestic brown coal, continues to hold a stable share of another quarter of power supply.
6.4. CO2 missing from new EU pollution law
25 June 2009, WWF
Brussels / Luxembourg - Today European environment ministers provisionally agreed on a new law to limit industrial pollution that does not include the world’s most important pollutant, carbon dioxide, denounces WWF.
The EU Environment Council reached a common position on the new Industrial Emissions Directive. The draft law overhauls the framework for controlling pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust from thousands of industrial installations across Europe, combining and strengthening seven earlier pieces of legislation.
WWF is calling for carbon dioxide standards to be added to the proposal, in order to respond adequately to the increasing scale and urgency of the global climate crisis. Such a move could cut Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions by around a quarter over the next two decades. But EU ministers failed on this occasion to seize the opportunity.
“Environment ministers skipped aimlessly past what is an obvious game-changing move. In the face of increasingly stark warnings from scientists, Europe has missed a straight-forward opportunity, using a proven regulatory tool, to plan the phase-out of dirty coal-fired power stations,” said Mark Johnston, Coordinator for Power Plant CO2 Standards at WWF.
“Such a move, which is still possible later this year, would inject a huge confidence boost into the slow-moving global negotiations.”
Emission performance standards have been used successfully by European law-makers for more than two decades, leading to dramatic environmental improvements on issues like acid rain and smog.
According to WWF, CO2 standards should apply to the largest category of power plants - approximately 400-500 installations - which account alone for around 25% of Europe’s total emissions. Compared to other sectors, electricity has the greatest potential to decarbonise rapidly.
Such standards would mean, for example, that no new coal-fired power plants could be built without carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and that existing plants must use CCS by a given year, e.g. 2025, or close down. As an alternative, electricity companies could expand renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes.
In Europe around 50 conventional large coal-fired power stations are currently being proposed with no guarantee of carbon sequestration. If all are built, Europe will find it impossible to achieve its mid- and longer-term climate targets.
In 2007, the EU agreed to cut by 30% CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, linked to the Copenhagen agreement. Yet the EU institutions are failing to say specifically what mix of policies will be used to deliver the target domestically, as the 2008 climate package only delivers 20% and allows for a lot of offsets.
The lack of clarity regarding Europe’s Copenhagen implementation, including further emissions cuts between 2020 and 2050, is holding up investments in low-carbon technologies while allow high-carbon investments, such as new coal-fired power stations, to proceed unhindered.
The draft law will now have to go through second reading, and will be discussed by the European Parliament and Council during the run-up to and after the Copenhagen climate summit.
7.1. Resumed ninth session of the AWG-KP and resumed seventh session of the AWG-LCA
2-6 November 2009
Barcelona Convention Centre
FIRA GRAN VIA
Carrer del Foc 47
08038 Barcelona, Spain
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