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1.1. EU Must Do More To Fight Climate Change, Dimas Says
25 October 2005 , Reuters
By Jeff Mason: The European Union must do more to fight climate change and meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol international environmental treaty, the bloc's environment commissioner said on Monday. "In terms of meeting our Kyoto target, the latest data show that greenhouse gas emissions from the EU-25 are 5.5 percent below their level in 1990. That is the good news," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said. "But between 2002 and 2003 emissions increased by 1.5 percent. With current measures, the EU is estimated to achieve an overall reduction of 4.1 percent by 2008-2012, as such a good result -- but not enough. More work is clearly needed." He spoke at the launch of the next phase of the European Climate Change Programme, measures to fight climate change after 2012 when the first period covered by Kyoto runs out. The Kyoto target for the EU-15, or the "old" member states before the bloc expanded to 25 last year, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2012. EU President Britain also said more work was needed. "It is clear that emissions are not being reduced as quickly as we want. Urgent action is needed in all sectors at both national and EU level to deal with this," said British Minister of State for Climate Change and Environment Elliot Morely. The first climate change programme, launched in 2000, set out 42 measures to cut back on the gasses that warm the globe, including required energy efficiency standards for new buildings and the EU's flagship emissions trading scheme. The second programme will focus on further initiatives such as reducing emissions from the transport sector and working on technology like carbon capture and storage, Dimas said. Carbon dioxide is the gas mainly blamed for global warming. Global negotiations on a strategy to reduce global warming post 2012 take place in Montreal later this year, and Dimas repeated his call for the world's largest polluter, the United States , to do more to address the issue. "The United States should decide to face the problem," he told reporters. "Otherwise they give pretext to other countries to hide behind the United States and not move." President George W. Bush pulled the United States out of Kyoto in 2001, calling it too costly and unfair because it omits developing nations from the first round of cuts until 2012.
1.2. EU’s second climate change programme to put onus on technology
24 October 2005 , EurActiv
In Short: Encouraging innovation and investment in clean technologies will form the major part of the second European Climate Change Programme (ECCP II) to be launched today (24 October). Background: The Commission will be launching the second European Climate Change Programme (ECCP II) at a stakeholder conference in Brussels on Monday (24 October). ECCP II follows on from the first European Climate Change Programme of March 2000, which won both plaudits and criticism with the EU trading scheme for CO2 emissions by big industrial plants. Issues: The new programme will define future EU policies to mitigate climate change as well as to adapt to its consequences since at least part of it is considered to be unavoidable. "The recent extreme weather events around the world are consistent with scientific findings about the effects of our changing climate," said EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. "It is high time that we start preparing new measures to limit climate change." The Commission said it wanted the new programme to provide "a strong push for innovation" in climate-friendly technologies and for "the inclusion of all emitting sectors, such as aviation, shipping and road transport" in mitigation efforts. The EU emissions trading scheme will continue to be a major instrument to reduce global warming.
1.3. Europe looks to adapt to climate change
24 October 2005 , http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/24/eu_climate_change/
By Lucy Sherriff: European authorities are launching a new programme to investigate ways that the continent can reduce its greenhouse emissions, and adapt to the effects of climate change. The second European Climate Change Programme kicks off today at a conference in Brussels . One of the main aims will be to advocate for a "meaningful global climate change regime" post 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said that recent extreme weather events around the world "are consistent with scientific findings about the effects of our changing climate". He said it was high time new measures for combating climate change were developed, to bring emissions below the targets set in the Kyoto protocol. The programme is set to focus on "new cost-effective measures and technologies that will allow the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions", the Commission said in a press release. Areas of particular interest will include passenger road transport and aviation. The programme will also have working groups examining the field of geological carbon capture and storage, and on how Europe might adapt to the effects of climate change that cannot be avoided. The emphasis on developing new technologies to reduce emissions, rather than imposing restrictions on homes and businesses is broadly in line with the US ' publicly stated views on the subject. The UK 's minister for climate change and the environment, Elliot Morely, will also be speaking at the conference. Morely said (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000102&sid=aEjbn_EDKdMs&refer=uk) in late September that he favours investment in so-called clean fossil fuels over a return to nuclear power.
1.4. Further action needed to cut emissions across Europe , Moreley tells European Commission Conference
24 October 2005 , DEFRA
Climate Change and Environment Minister Elliot Morley urged EU member states to take greater action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While accepting that some progress had been made in recent years, Mr Morley said it was clear that more work was needed if the EU was to meet its targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to eight per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Speaking at the launch of the Commission's second European Climate Change Programme in Brussels , Mr Morley said measures, such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the directives promoting bio-fuels, energy efficiency in buildings and electricity from renewable energy sources, were steps in the right direction. But, he added, more needed to be done: "It is clear that emissions are not being reduced as quickly as we want. Urgent action is needed in all sectors at both national and EU level to deal with this, and I am pleased to help kick-start the review of the European Climate Change Programme." Highlighting the UK's commitment to climate change during its EU Presidency this year - which have included Summits with China, India and Russia - Mr Morley said the UK was working in many fields to reduce emissions. Carbon Capture and Storage - As part of the EU-China partnership, a new initiative on near Zero Emissions Coal with carbon capture and storage has been agreed, which addresses the challenge of tackling increasing greenhouse gas emissions from coal. Adaptation - The impacts of climate change on agriculture and the role that farming can play in cutting emissions was a key issue during the UK 's agriculture and environment ministerial informal meeting in London in September. Aviation - The UK has warmly welcomed the Commission's announcement that its supports the inclusion of aviation emissions in the EU ETS and looks forward to the Aviation Working Group's report in April 2006. Transport - Support for the Commission's CARS 21 group, which has stressed the importance of taking an integrated approach in tackling carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector, The group is looking at green technology, driver behaviour and road infrastructure - all crucial to reverse the trend of increasing emissions in this sector. Renewable Energy - Promotion of discussion by all member states and the Commission to drive forward the European Renewable Energy agenda. Energy Efficiency - The Energy Services Directive, which we hope to agree by the end of the Presidency, will deliver energy efficiency savings across the Community, while the Commission's Green Paper on energy efficiency, published at the end of June, should set a blueprint for a EU-wide strategy to 2020. The UK and the Commission are also co-hosting an Energy Efficiency Conference to consider the future role of energy efficiency both in Europe and internationally. Technology - The need to develop new, lower-carbon technologies with the accompanying infrastructure - in particular with regards to the emerging economies - is vital to reduce emissions. "These subjects - all under discussion at today's working groups - form the core of the European Climate Change Programme. In each working group, we must engage constructively and work together to ensure the future success of the European Climate Change Programme. "Today's conference allow us to take stock of the current situation and it offers us the opportunity to demonstrate to others that the EU take this problem very seriously," he said.
1.5. EU has power to freeze climate change
24 October 2005 , WWF International
The European Union can cut a third of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 through energy efficiency and renewable energies, as well as with a strong emissions trading system, says WWF. A new report — Target 2020: Policies and Measures to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions in the EU — presented today by the global conservation organization highlights the concrete steps that the EU should take to cut CO2 emissions by 33 per cent by 2020, even with a moratorium on nuclear energy. On the day the European Commission launches the next phase of the European Climate Change Programme, WWF stresses that a climate-friendlier Europe will bring the EU huge benefits, including less dependency on foreign sources of energy, cost savings for all sectors of the economy, reduced health costs due to lower pollution, and more job opportunities in the field of renewable energies and energy conservation. "Achieving this goal is not about available technologies, it is about making strong and determined decisions," says Oliver Rapf, Head of the WWF European Climate and Energy Unit. "With ambitious policies, a strong emission trading system and mandatory targets for energy efficiency and renewable energies, Europe will become an efficient, secure and environmentally safe place to live and to do business." The report shows that by 2020 the EU’s energy demand could be reduced by 20 per cent without reducing living standards or damaging the economy. Without immediate action energy demand will grow up to 1.46 per cent per year, while it could decrease by 0.4 per cent per year if concrete policies are adopted. Private households alone could save a fifth of their energy demands through better insulation, more efficient heating and cooling systems, and by using more energy-efficient appliances. The power sector could reduce its CO2 emission by more than half, with more investment made in renewable energies, combined heat and power generation and consumer energy conservation. Renewable energy sources, such as biomass (organic waste, wood and biogas), wind and sustainable hydro, have the potential to grow from today’s 1.8 per cent per year to 6.10 per cent. Greenhouse gas emissions non-related to energy consumption can also be reduced by 33 per cent, mainly in the agricultural and waste sectors. WWF calls on the EU to adopt a comprehensive climate policy strategy with a strong emissions trading system at its heart, supported by directives that promote mandatory targets for energy efficiency as well as legal and fiscal support to renewable energies. An ecological finance reform should also be implemented to remove direct and indirect subsidies for unsustainable energy. "The EU must take the lead and grasp the technical, political and economic opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions by one third by 2020," added Oliver Rapf. "This will work towards global efforts to keep the world’s average temperature less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels and will help the EU to renew and intensify its leadership in international climate change negotiations." Notes: The report "Freezing climate change" has been developed for WWF by the Wuppertal Institute ( Germany ), www.wupperinst.org. The report compares a "business as usual" scenario, that assumes existing policies will continue without specific emphasis on climate and energy, with a "target 2020" scenario, which considers the potential to increase energy efficiency and market penetration of renewable energies. This scenario also assumes a fuel switch to less carbon-intensive fossil fuels and a moratorium on new nuclear power plants and compliance with ongoing nuclear phase-out.
1.6. Parliament steps back from fight on f-gases
26 October 2005 , ENDS daily
The European parliament has opted to avoid a serious fight with EU states over fluorinated greenhouse gases. In a second reading vote on Wednesday, the assembly rejected calls for a draft regulation to bear down much harder on uses of f-gases as well as emissions. Eliminating one big flashpoint, the parliament ignored its own legal service and dismissed a proposal for the regulation to be placed entirely on an environment legal base. The council of ministers' decision to place clauses on labelling and specific use bans on an internal market legal base therefore stands. This will reduce the scope for individual member states to impose stricter national controls, On the other hand the parliament did try to hold onto the spirit of greater national autonomy through two amendments passed to the regulation's recitals. One specifically states that the law "should not prevent member states from maintaining or introducing stricter protective measures". Parliament declined to endorse another flashpoint amendment, which stated that f-gases "shall only be used where other safe, technically feasible and environmentally acceptable alternatives do not exist." F-gas manufacturers had launched intense protests against such a change (ED 21/10/05 &ref=19673> ). The parliament rejected a series of proposals to extend the regulation's limited number of specific use bans. These included calls to prohibit of HFCs in aerosols and in virtually all domestic, commercial and industrial refrigeration, of all f-gases in stationary air conditioning and most foams, and of sulphur hexafluoride in all applications except switchgear. Among the 20 or so amendments passed by the assembly, MEPs demanded clearer labelling requirements for f-gas containing equipment. They also voted to require member states to facilitate cross-border transport of recovered f-gases for destruction or reclamation. And they converted to a requirement an option for the European commission to propose by 31 December 2007 new containment requirements for f-gases in non-mobile air conditioning and mobile refrigeration. During the same voting session, MEPs passed only one amendment to a related directive on f-gases in automotive air conditioning. The legislation's phase-out schedule for HFCs therefore remains as agreed by ministers. The parliament's single change to the council's common position will permit member states to promote car air conditioning using low global warming potential gases.
ENERGY AND EMISSIONS
2.1. Britain hosts energy summit while failing to meet its emission targets
1 November 2005 , http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article323794.ece
By Andy McSmith: Energy ministers from across the world gather in London today to begin the latest chapter in the increasingly urgent international battle against climate change. Their talks open against a background of growing concern about the visible effects of man-made global warming, such as the disappearance of 40 per cent of Arctic sea ice, and the potential impact of rapid growth in China , India and other fast-developing economies. Tony Blair, who invited the ministers to the summit, is expected to address them today. The new dialogue was kickstarted at July's summit of the world's richest nations in Gleneagles , Scotland , where Mr Blair pushed climate change to the top of the agenda - then disappointed many by appearing to concede too much to the United States , the biggest producer of greenhouse gases. The US has refused to sign the Kyoto agreement on climate change. Britain itself is on course to badly miss its stated target of a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2010. Labour's efforts have partly run aground because of government policies that, over the past eight years, have made transport cheaper by private car than by public means. "The sad fact is that, despite government commitments to tackle climate change, carbon dioxide emissions are rising," Tony Juniper, the director of the campaign group Friends of the Earth, said yesterday. "Annual targets and independent scrutiny of government attempts to meet them are needed to help get things back on track. Indeed, these are the very measures outlined in the Climate Change Bill, which is before Parliament. We call on all parties to support this Bill." Today's talks will concentrate on clean technology - one solution to global warming that can count on US support. The European Union has already held separate talks with China on new technologies that potentially could meet China's vastly expanding energy needs without increasing the volume of carbon pumped into the atmosphere. The Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, hailed the conference yesterday as a "terrific opportunity" to achieve a new agreement on technology. "It is imperative that we find new ways to co-operate and develop a shared understanding of how the world can respond to climate change. There is no greater challenge facing the world," she said. The conference, co-chaired by Mrs Beckett and the Trade and Industry Secretary, Alan Johnson, involves all seven of the world's richest countries, plus Russia . The five "emerging" nations, China , India , Brazil , Mexico and South Africa , are also represented, along with seven other major players in the world economy - Indonesia , Australia , Spain , Poland , Nigeria and South Korea . The International Energy Agency and the World Bank will also take part. Downing Street stressed that the conference was not meant to cut across the larger summit being convened by the United Nations in Montreal , from 27 November to 10 December. This will discuss, for the first time, action on climate change beyond 2012, when the Kyoto protocol expires. Climate change is one of the few major political issues to produce almost total agreement between the political parties in Britain . The Tories, once thought to be less "green" than the other two main parties, are now as keen on bringing down carbon emissions as Labour. Writing for The Independent today, David Cameron, the Tory leadership candidate, has seized the iniative. He insists that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind. But the politicians are running ahead of British public opinion, according to a new poll by Populus, for the Stockholm Network, which will make uncomfortable reading for campaigners. Nearly a third of the 1,003 adults polled - 29 per cent - ranked climate change as less important than terrorism, Third World debt and diseases such as Aids. Three out of five - 60 per cent - said "the UK has other, more important domestic issues", and more than a third - 35 per cent - believe the problem is being exaggerated by pressure groups. Yet almost 90 per cent had made some contribution towards combating the problem, such as having their home insulated. The authors, Helen Disney and Dan Lewis of the Stockholm Network, said: "Britons think protecting the environment is important - but is it as important to them as mortgage rates, crime and policing, health and education? The answer is a resounding 'no'. Britons don't believe the environment should be at the top of the priority list of policy-makers, but they don't want it to be just an add-on extra either." The drive to keep down carbon emissions has led the Government to look seriously at building new nuclear power stations. A document recently published by Mrs Beckett's department said nuclear power was "consistent with the objectives of sustainable development". But this provoked an angry response yesterday from the chairman of the all-party parliamentary committee on climate change, Colin Challen. He wrote to Mrs Beckett saying that, if a decision has been made to build more nuclear power stations, "the Government should say so, rather than taking us down a garden path - then we can have an honest debate, and not one which is about mollifying public opinion." The most important step since the Kyoto protocol. What's the real point of today's climate change meeting in London ? The brutally simple answer: to get China on board in the fight against global warming. The meeting, promoted personally by Tony Blair, has sprung from the great issue which remains unaddressed by the Kyoto protocol: what's to be done about China , India and the other big developing nations? For in the decades to come these countries with their huge and rapidly expanding economies will emit colossal amounts of CO2 - China will overtake the US as the biggest carbon emitter by 2025 - yet at the moment they are not required to set any targets to limit their emissions, as the industrialised countries are, under the treaty. What can be done by Britain and her allies to get China and the others on board? The obvious answer is to encourage China and other developing nations to grow, but to grow in a way that does not damage the climate. In practice this means ensuring that the 500 huge coal-fired power stations which the Chinese are going to build between now and 2030 are fitted with the CO2-reduction technology which is just being developed in the West. Known as carbon capture and storage (CCS), this involves trapping the CO2 coming from power station chimneys, liquefying it, and storing it permanently deep underground. It might sound fanciful, but it is already being done successfully by the Norwegians under the North Sea . But how is this technology, and others that are coming on stream, to be transferred to China , and indeed India , Brazil and Indonesia ? Who is to pay for it, and how? Is it aid? Is it trade? The meeting is taking an initial look at these very broad issues. How important is the meeting? Some would take the view that it represents the most important step forward since the Kyoto protocol itself was signed in 1997. Climate change cannot be dealt with properly without the co-operation of the whole world; and the issue of what to do about the future carbon emissions from the developing world is at last being addressed. It is fair to say it is a signal success for Mr Blair and his vision of what could be achieved by putting climate at the top of the agenda for Britain 's presidency of the G8. But hasn't Mr Blair been coming under fire on climate change recently? He has been by far the most outspoken world figure on the issue of global warming, and with his pronouncements since 2000 he has built up a tremendous momentum of expectation as the natural leader of the climate change struggle. But two developments have tarnished his image. First, Britain's own CO2 emissions, which fell sharply during the 1990s as coal-fired power stations were replaced by gas-fired power stations (which emit less carbon) have been growing again, partly because electricity generators have been switching back to coal as gas prices have risen, and partly because of the remorseless rise in CO2 from motor vehicles and aircraft. There is a feeling among environmentalists that Britain has lost its grip on emissions and on our front page today we suggest the sort of radical action Mr Blair might consider to show he has got his grip back. Second, in comments in New York at the end of September, Mr Blair seemed to have lost faith in the importance of cutting back emissions - which ultimately will require sacrifices from the people, never an easy thing for politicians to ask for - and instead to be placing his faith merely in technological developments, such as a big increase in nuclear power. He even spoke of after Kyoto - implying that when the present target period of the treaty comes to an end in 2012, there will not be another one. So will there be a further development of the Kyoto protocol, with new targets for all countries after 2012, including China and India ? The first, very preliminary negotiations about this will take place in Montreal in early December. Britain and other Kyoto ratifiers are committed under article 3.9 of the treaty to initiating a process for considering what will happen in a further commitment period. At least it's a start.
2.2. Talks opened on climate change
This week's meeting follows on from the July G8 summit in Gleneagles. Energy and environment ministers from 20 nations are holding talks in London on tackling climate change. The talks' focus will be on curbing climate change through technology, not binding international agreements. Opening the meeting, UK environment secretary Margaret Beckett said the timetable on climate change was being dictated by nature, not politics. The two-day meeting brings the G8 group of industrialised countries alongside developing world nations. "Technology is essential to make the transition to a low-carbon economy and targets...have a vital role to play in driving forward that progress," Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett told delegates. "There is more evidence that the oceans are warming, that a long-term reduction in arctic ice cover is accelerating and that the strength of hurricanes has increased in the last 30 years," she said. The discussions follow the climate agreement drawn up at July's G8 summit in Gleneagles, which emphasised the importance of climate-friendly technologies such as clean coal, nuclear power and renewables. "We face a timetable that is driven by nature, science and by the predicted effect of climate change on our world, not by our own negotiating processes," Mrs Beckett added. End of Kyoto ? At the weekend, Prime Minister Tony Blair called in a newspaper article for a new international consensus on tackling climate change built around "sound, rational science". While describing the United Nations as the "only forum in which formal negotiations on future international commitments take place", he has in recent weeks downplayed the impact of the Kyoto Protocol. Mr Blair has expressed doubts that there will ever be another treaty which sets mandatory, binding targets on greenhouse gas emissions. Major developing countries such as India and China are also known to be sceptical about a "child-of-Kyoto" deal. The European Union has been leading discussions with both on transferring clean technology as an alternative way to bring emissions down. Essential targets: Many opposition politicians and environmental groups are critical of this approach, saying that mandatory targets are the best way forward. Nuclear power - on the agenda as a climate-friendly technology: "Mr Blair cannot claim to take the environment seriously unless he secures an agreement from the G8 that mandatory national targets are essential to progress," said Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker. "It is all very well for the government to trumpet the merits of technology in reducing carbon emissions, but it simply isn't enough; we need robust, measurable targets, not just vague aspirations." The so-called G20 discussions, hosted by Defra and the DTI - the UK government's environment and industry departments - are one element in what Mr Blair called a "potentially crucial week in the fight against climate change". UK government agencies will also present details of a number of technological approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Later this week, more than 40 governments will take part alongside business leaders in other London negotiations aimed at improving energy efficiency.
2.3. Call for G8 action on energy efficiency
1 November 2005 , Friends of the Earth Press Release
The UK Government must ensure that G8 countries reach international agreement on reducing the growing demand for energy said Friends of the Earth, as G8 energy ministers meet in London today (Tuesday 1st November). The environmental campaign group wants the UK Government to push the G8 to provide financial, technical and policy assistance to developing countries to help them reduce growth in energy demand through energy efficiency policies. This would enable them to reduce their emissions growth without harming development goals. The UK Government, as President of both the EU and the G8, is also co-hosting an International Conference on energy efficiency on 2-3 November 2005 in London . Margaret Beckett and Malcolm Wicks will be attending, as well as European Commissioner on Energy Andris Piebalgs. Friends of the Earth’s Director Tony Juniper said: “Blair and Bush say new technologies will help to meet the climate change challenge. But there are existing technologies that we could be using now which would cut fossil fuel demand, while also producing economic benefits and tackling climate change. More needs to be done to promote these quick wins. “But it is crucial that ministers meeting in London also use this dialogue as a stepping stone to the UN negotiations in Montreal and work towards real targets with proper funding. Warm words and woolly commitments are not enough. Climate change is threatening the lives of millions. We must see real progress on the development of sustainable energy.” Friends of the Earth wants G8 countries to agree to start phasing out energy inefficient technologies, such as incandescent light bulbs and to reduce the power needed for electrical products on standby settings. They should also provide help to poorer countries to do the same. Ministers meet in Montreal this December for the first meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. An agreement this week on promoting efficiency technologies to developing countries would be an important stepping stone to take forward these negotiations. Friends of the Earth said a commitment from the G8 would enable developing countries to develop a low carbon economy without harming their development goals. Reducing demand growth in countries like China will also help to reduce demand pressure on fossil fuels, which is partly responsible for high oil prices. The environmental campaign group added that it was crucial for the UK Government to also take action at home to cut carbon dioxide emissions and to support European Union efforts in this direction. Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to introduce a legal framework for annual cuts in carbon dioxide emissions as part of the Big Ask Campaign (See www.thebigask.com). But Friends of the Earth warned that the G8 initiative must not undermine the Kyoto Protocol process, which provides an international mandate for tackling climate change. Friends of the Earth also criticised the potential role envisaged for the World Bank in the G8 initiative as new research from Friends of the Earth US reveals that the World Bank is failing to meet existing targets for increasing finance for renewable energy projects.
2.4. Indonesia Gears Up amid Global Green Fuel Rush
26 October 2005 , Reuters
Indonesia , the world's second-largest palm oil producer, is preparing a biofuel scheme for the next five years, a minister said on Tuesday. The Indonesian Agriculture Ministry has been studying a biofuel programme and plans to open plantations of jatropha and palm in the future, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono told Reuters in an interview. "We will back up the development of biofuel. Now we are in the process of preparing the plan for five years," he said. Biofuels are taking on renewed global importance as countries seek to cut hazardous emissions. Palm oil's emergence in the market comes decades after the introduction of ethanol, made from sugarcane, and other additives. "In the future we are thinking about having some kind of rule, for example, 10 or 20 percent mix between biofuel and other oil to be used, for example, for cars," Apriyantono said. With soaring crude oil prices, Indonesia imports between 12 to 14 million barrels of oil products a month. It expects to produce 13.6 million tonnes of palm oil this year, more than 9 million tonnes which are exported. On October 1 the government raised fuel prices sharply for the second time this year to reduce oil subsidies hurting the budget and rupiah currency. Oil subsidies cost around 89.2 trillion rupiah ($8.9 billion) in 2005. Indonesia aims to boost crop area under palm plantations to 8 million hectares in the next three years from the current 5 million. One ambitious idea is to open up the world's biggest palm oil plantation, covering an area of 1.8 million hectares in Kalimantan along the border with Malaysia on Borneo island. The government is also trying to lure foreign capital into Indonesia , where in the first nine months of the year foreign direct investment approvals rose 28 percent to $10.70 billion. "Actually, I must say that it is still a dream. We are trying to attract investors, especially from China ," he said. "There is some advancement, but not in reality yet." One challenge is the altitude of the land. Industry officials say most fruitful plantations sit at altitudes below 400 metres, while most of the land in question is higher than 1,000 metres. "But, you also must understand that this border area is not always flat. Some area is mountainous so we cannot do palm oil plantation in this type of area," he said. Apriyantono added that the government would also not cultivate crops in protected forests in the area. That possibility has sparked concerns from environmentalists, but they are also critical of the idea in general. Borneo island is home to more than 210 mammal species, including ecological wonders like the pygmy elephant and orang-utan, whose long-term survival is already in doubt. Apriyantono said the presence of plantations could actually help prevent illegal logging in the remote area, as well as improve the economic well-being of people there and make the border more secure. He said the government was also keen to open jatophra plantations on otherwise non-productive land in Indonesia , but has not yet chosen specific areas on Indonesia 's sprawling archipelago. Story by Karima Anjani and Jerry Norton.
3.1. Climate Change Linked to Rise in Malaria, Asthma
2 November 2005 , Planet Ark
Climate change may promote the spread of deadly diseases like malaria and asthma in both rich and poor countries by increasing the range of parasitic insects and whipping up dust from storms, a new report says. As climates warm, malaria is becoming more common in the traditionally cool mountains of Africa , Asia and Latin America where 10 percent of the world's people live, said Dr. Paul Epstein, the lead author of "Climate Change Futures." "Colonizers escaped (to mountainous areas) to avoid the swamps that bred malaria. Those areas are no longer safe," Epstein told reporters upon presenting the study, noting that malaria cases have quadrupled in the past 10 years and kill 3,000 African babies a day. Epstein, of the Harvard Medical School , wrote the report in collaboration with reinsurer Swiss Re and the United Nations Development Program. The report warned that "malaria could suddenly swell in developed nations, especially in those areas now bordering the margins of current transmission." Scientists believe greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) released by cars and utilities burning fossil fuels, lead to climate change by trapping the sun's heat in the atmosphere. That can lead to rising seas that may cause flooding and stronger storms. Rising temperatures increase the range of the mosquitoes and ticks that carry maladies like malaria, West Nile virus and Lyme disease, the study said. Cases of asthma, which is worsened by particulates in the air, can increase from greater amounts of CO2, the report said. Plants high in pollen and some soil fungi grow better with higher levels of the gas. Wicked winds: In addition, climate change's stronger winds increase the amount of dust in the air from expanding deserts, which compound the effects of air pollutants and smog from the burning of fossil fuels as well as the risks to asthma sufferers, it said. That could increase the $18 billion that asthma and allergies cost the US health care system each year, according to the report, which lists suggestions large companies could take to reduce their liabilities from greenhouse gas emissions. Last month, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit from eight states and New York City against five of the largest US utilities claiming that their emissions were a public nuisance and would cause property harm. The case is on appeal. The authors of the study hope to bring their findings to corporate boards to reduce climate risks and liabilities. Companies can lessen risks by joining markets that trade greenhouse gases and by broadening their energy palate from coal and oil to alternatives such as wind and solar power, and possibly, nuclear and hydrogen power, Epstein said. US President George W. Bush dropped out of Kyoto Protocol on climate change early in his first term. The agreement created a carbon dioxide market in Europe that allows companies that chose not to cut their greenhouse gases to buy credits from companies that have. The United Nations will hold climate talks later this month in Montreal in which countries including the United States will discuss how to proceed with the Kyoto Protocol. Story by Timothy Gardner.
3.2. Europe study shows climate risks
27 October 2005 , BBC News
By Paul Rincon: If you live in Europe you are a lucky toad, but maybe not as lucky as I would have thought before doing this assessment - Dagmar Schroeter, Harvard University . Mediterranean and mountain regions of Europe will be hardest hit by the changes set to affect the continent's natural resources this century. That is the conclusion of a Europe-wide assessment that highlights the threat posed by climate change. The Mediterranean will be at increased risk of forest fires, water shortages, loss of agricultural land and from its tree species shifting northward. The study, by an international team, appears in the journal Science. The assessment set out to forecast the impact of climate change, shifting land use and socio-economic factors on Europe during the 21st Century. It simulated the effects of changes in soil fertility and water availability as the climate changes and humans respond, for example, by modifying land use patterns or moving to new areas. Water shortages: Of all European regions, the Mediterranean was most vulnerable to the global-scale changes projected to occur during the course of this century. Many of the effects on this region are related to increased temperatures and reduced rainfall. "If you have an increase in droughts, you get an increased risk of forest fires and changing suitability for crops. You will also see decreases in water per capita for the people living there," said lead author Dagmar Schroeter of Harvard University . Mountain regions also appear vulnerable because of a rise in the elevation of snow cover and changes in river run-off. "In winter, precipitation will fall as rain instead of snow. The whole regime of peak flow times changes and you get an increased probability of flooding in winter and spring," Dr Schroeter told the BBC News website. "You will get less water in summer because the water which was stored in the snow cover is no longer there." Such changes would significantly impact both the skiing and hydroelectric industries, Dr Schroeter said. Time to adapt: The report did identify some positive effects. These include forest expansion due to a reduced demand on land from agriculture. Farmers in northern Europe could also begin to exploit crops usually grown in the Mediterranean . Forests act as a "carbon sink" absorbing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But by the latter half of the century, rising temperatures due to climate change will balance this positive effect. "By mid-century, it will probably become so hot that the soils will, instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, start releasing carbon dioxide - they will become an additional source of greenhouse gas emissions," explained Dr Schroeter. The Harvard researcher says other parts of the world will fare much worse than Europe in the face of climate change and other global trends. "If you live in Europe you are a lucky toad, but maybe not as lucky as I would have thought before doing this assessment. I was surprised by some of the very negative impacts of climate change," she said. The researchers conclude that the involvement of policy-makers is required if European states are to develop effective strategies to cope with the changes. Story at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/4381960.stm.
3.3. Climate change 'could ruin drive to eradicate poverty'
24 October 2005 , The Independent
By Steve Connor: Britain 's most senior independent scientist has warned that global warming threatens to ruin the international initiative to lift Africa out of poverty. Lord May of Oxford, the president of the Royal Society, said the cost of dealing with the adverse effects of climate change could soak up all the aid to African countries. In an open letter to G8 environment ministers who are to meet in London on 1 November, Lord May warns that the Gleneagles agreement on aid and debt relief to Africa could amount to nothing. "As long as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise, there is the very real prospect that the increase in aid agreed at Gleneagles will be entirely consumed by the mounting cost of dealing with the added burden of adverse effects of climate change in Africa," Lord May said. "In effect, the Gleneagles communiqué gave hope to Africa with one hand, through a promise of more aid but took that hope away with the other hand through its failure to address adequately the threat of climate change," he said. At the Gleneagles summit in July, G8 leaders agreed on a package of measures to help to lift Africa out of poverty but kept that separate from an action plan on climate change. "But the action plan on climate change fell far short of a strategy to stop the rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere," he added. At the Gleneagles summit, President George Bush, an arch-sceptic of global warming, did not want climate change to be connected with aid to Africa and managed to separate it from the joint communiqué. However, Lord May, a former chief scientific adviser to the Government, warned that there is mounting scientific evidence to show that global warming is the biggest single threat to the world today - especially developing countries. The latest study, published today ,reveals for instance that the rise in man-made greenhouse gases may already be responsible for an increase in drought conditions and risk of famine in eastern Africa . Lord May cites the results of research by James Verdin of the US Geological Survey who found that rainfall has decreased steadily since 1996 in Ethiopia and neighbouring countries which coincides with a corresponding increase in surface-water temperatures in the southern Indian Ocean . "The researchers point out that this reduction in rainfall is adversely affecting the growth of crops and increasing the number of people who require food aid," Lord May said. "This finding has particular resonance, coming as it does 20 years after a severe famine in Ethiopia attracted worldwide attention through Live Aid and other events that pricked the collective conscience of richer developed countries," he added. "In short, the scientific evidence now presents a more compelling case than ever before for tackling the threat from climate change by stopping the rise of greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere." Richer countries have a responsibility to do something about climate change by stabilising the rise in greenhouse gas emissions that they are primarily responsible for, he said. "Therefore, if the increase in aid and other measures outlined in the Gleneagles action plan on Africa are to create the maximum benefit, they must be accompanied by effective action on climate change by stopping the inexorable rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere," Lord May said. A major failing in the communiqué was that it did not acknowledge the importance of securing an agreement on stabilising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Lord May warns G8 environment ministers that without a definition of target concentrations of greenhouse gases, discussions about national emissions targets are nothing more than an academic dispute. The letter can be found at http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=3834.
4.1. Short courses on energy and environment
The Department of Technology and Sustainable Development (former TDG) of the University of Twente will organise two short courses in 2006 in collaboration with some other institutes: Formulating Successful Project Proposals for Energy, Environment and Climate Change - 1 May - 2 June 2006 ; Energy Management and Cleaner Production in Small and Medium Scale Industries - 23 October - 24 November 2006 . With our courses we hope to fulfil a part of the need, which exists for capacity building. In order to apply for the course fill in the online application form, both courses are listed for Nuffic support, for more information please visit our website at: http://www.bbt.utwente.nl/leerstoelen.nl, you can find all the information you need under chair information -> education. You can also visit the Nuffic website for information: http://www.nuffic.nl/nfp. Registration is open.
5.1. Target 2020: Policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the EU
The European Union can cut a third of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 through energy efficiency and renewable energies, as well as through a strong emissions trading system. A new report: Target 2020: Policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the EU developed by the Wuppertal Institute in Germany , highlights the concrete steps that the EU should take to cut CO2 emissions by 33 per cent by 2020, even with a moratorium on nuclear energy. Download the full report and the summary from http://www.panda.org/climate/EUtarget2020.
5.2. 'CDM and JI in Charts' upgraded to Ver. 4.1.
'CDM and JI in Charts' is a booklet with a good reputation for providing a plain and easy-to-understand description of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and other Kyoto Mechanisms. This version reflects the results of the 21st meeting of the CDM Executive Board meeting in a timely manner before COP/MoP1. It is published by IGES as part of the Integrated Capacity Strengthening for the CDM/JI (ICS-CDM/JI) Programme under the Ministry of the Environment, Japan . To download: http://www.iges.or.jp/en/cdm/report01.html.
5.3. EEA Briefing 2/2005 - How much biomass can Europe use without harming the environment?
Extending biomass use to produce energy (bioenergy) will both help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the European renewable energy targets. However, biomass production may create additional environmental pressures, such as on biodiversity, soil and water resources. The European Environment Agency is currently assessing how much biomass can be used for energy generation without causing such additional pressures. Preliminary results suggest that there is sufficient biomass potential in the EU-25 to support ambitious renewable energy targets in an environmentally responsible way. Achieving maximum gains and minimising the potential threat of bioenergy production requires careful planning from EU to local level. Socio-economic aspects or an assessment of the policies and measures needed to mobilise this potential are not specifically addressed here and would need further consideration, alongside logistical and cost issues. Download at: http://reports.eea.eu.int/briefing_2005_2/en.
5.4. Multi-gas emissions pathways to meet climate targets
A new study on multi-gas emissions pathways has been accepted by the Journal 'Climatic Change' for publication. A free software tool to generate emissions pathways that meet specific climate targets (like 2°C, 400ppm CO2 equivalence etc.) is accompanying this study. Paper: Meinshausen, M., Hare, B., Wigley, T.M.L., van Vuuren, D., den Elzen, M.G.J. and Swart, R.: in press, 'Multi-gas emission pathways to meet climate targets', Climatic Change, pp.44. Download the paper here: http://www.up.umnw.ethz.ch/~mmalte/simcap/publications/Meinshausen_etal_Multigas_pathways_rf.pdf. Data & software: Download the manual & EQW-software tool here: http://www.simcap.org -> go to 'Models'. Download default EQW emission pathways for stabilization of radiative forcing and CO2 concentrations here: http://www.simcap.org -> go to 'Data'. Abstract: So far, climate change mitigation pathways focus mostly on CO2 and a limited number of climate targets. Comprehensive studies of emission implications have been hindered by the absence of a flexible method to generate multi-gas emissions pathways, user-definable in shape and the climate target. The presented method ‘Equal Quantile Walk’ (EQW) is intended to fill this gap, building upon and complementing existing multi-gas emission scenarios. The EQW method generates new mitigation pathways by ‘walking along equal quantile paths’ of the emission distributions derived from existing multi-gas IPCC baseline and stabilization scenarios. Considered emissions include those of CO2 and all other major radiative forcing agents (greenhouse gases, ozone precursors and sulphur aerosols). Sample EQW pathways are derived for stabilization at 350ppm to 750ppm CO2 concentrations and compared to WRE profiles. Furthermore, the ability of the method to analyze emission implications in a probabilistic multi-gas framework is demonstrated. The risk of overshooting a 2°C climate target is derived by using different sets of EQW radiative forcing peaking pathways. If the risk shall not be increased above 30%, it seems necessary to peak CO2 equivalence concentrations around 475ppm and return to lower levels after peaking (below 400ppm). EQW emissions pathways can be applied in studies relating to Article 2 of the UNFCCC, for the analysis of climate impacts, adaptation and emission control implications associated with certain climate targets. EQW data and software are available at http://www.simcap.org.
5.5. Climate vulnerability in Cuba : The role of social networks
A new Working paper from CICERO takes a closer look at recent economic and social developments in Cuba , and how these affect patterns of vulnerability. Faced with the ongoing processes of climate change and economic globalization, Cuban households are carefully trying to sustain livelihood. Findings suggest that social networks are important as means of accessing coping strategies. Their access is on the other hand not equally distributed. Reference: Sygna, Linda, 2005. Climate vulnerability in Cuba : The role of social networks. Details and download: http://www.cicero.uio.no/publications/detail.asp?publication_id=3789&lang=en.
5.6. CDM – Wind manual
The UNEP Risoe Centre, in collaboration with the Wind Department at Risoe National Laboratory, has produced a new capacity building manual on wind energy and CDM. The document targets wind energy project developers in developing countries and provides guidance on how to develop a wind energy project under the CDM. The manual could be downloaded from www.cd4cdm.org.
5.7. Input from Environmental NGOs at the start of the next round of the European climate change program (ECCP)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A conference on the 24 October 2005 was held to launch a new phase of the ECCP with subsequent stakeholder working groups set up for some issues/areas. CAN-E and other NGOs sent a letter to Commissioner Dimas and other Commissioners to voice priorities and concerns for the next phase of the program. At the conference, a position paper outlining the details of some of the shortcomings that need to be addressed was submitted. Position paper can be downloaded at: http://www.climnet.org/pubs/200510ECCP_position%20paper.pdf.