1.1. Climate change: Failure is not an option
19 December 2009, Greenpeace
The following is a letter from Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, to our supporters at the conclusion of negotiations by heads of state at the Copenhagen climate summit.
Like tens of millions of people around the world who have been working so long and so hard for a fair, ambitious and legally binding (FAB) treaty to come out of the Copenhagen climate summit, I held on to my hope until the very end. My hope our leaders would stop talking and start acting. That they would agree a treaty to avert the threat of climate catastrophe.
My hope has been dashed. Despite a mandate from citizens around the world, and over 120 world leaders attending the Summit, the bickering continued. Our leaders did not lead, they did not act. The summit has failed to produce anything that could be called a FAB deal.
The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a chance to change the world. To seize the day, and put us on a path way to peace and prosperity. To embark on a path of climate justice. In doing so, they could have banished the spectre of catastrophic climate change.
In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through.
Trust went missing
A lack of trust between developed and developing countries played a large role in preventing any real progress. Leaders from industrialised countries have had plenty of time to commit to ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions and to find the billions of dollars needed to help developing countries both adapt to and mitigate climate change.
Developing countries showed a willingness throughout the year to take on their share of the effort. Developed countries failed to move far enough. Bringing up the rear has been the US. It must take the lion’s share of the blame.
Beating climate change
Climate scientists around the world tell us we have to ensure global emissions peak by 2015 in order to avoid average global temperature rising more than 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
To achieve this, industrialised countries as a group – which have the greatest historic responsibility for the problem – must make the largest emission cuts. They also need to provide at least USD 140 billion a year to help developing countries get onto a clean energy pathway, to protect tropical forests, and to adapt to those climate change impacts that are unfortunately now inevitable.
Any agreement must be enshrined in a legally binding treaty. This is the job the politicians did not do in Copenhagen.
Make them finish what they started
It is now our job – yours and mine – to make sure our ‘leaders’ see sense, get back to work get the job done!
Greenpeace, like many other groups around the world, will continue to peacefully pressure our leaders to do what must be done to save human lives and protect species which cannot speak for themselves.
More and more people are recognising the urgency of climate change. We believe there is an historic inevitability of forcing nations to act. The question is, whether we can force them to take the necessary action soon enough.
The final rub
In a cruel irony I have just learned that the three Greenpeace activists who, posing as world leaders, entered the Danish Palace for the State Dinner on Thursday night to unfurl a banner calling for a real climate deal are to spend the next three weeks in jail.
They will be away from their families over Christmas and the New Year. The real leaders, who attempted to get real action are now in jail, while the alleged ‘leaders’ got clean away, and are fleeing the Copenhagen climate crime scene in private jets and 747s.
1.2. Paralysed EU unable to make a difference in Copenhagen
19 December 2009, Greenpeace
The greenwashed declaration made by world leaders in the dying hours of the Copenhagen climate conference today was aided by the EU’s reluctance to use its political muscle in the negotiations, said Greenpeace. Negotiations under the UN have all but failed today and have been unable to deliver an agreement that even comes close to what is needed to keep climate change in check.
Commenting on the outcome of the summit, Greenpeace International Executive director Kumi Naidoo said: “The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through. We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest crisis facing humanity is a leadership crisis.”
"Climate science says we have only a few years left to halt the rise in emissions before making the kind of rapid reductions that would give us the best chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. We cannot change that science, so instead we will have to change the politics – and we may well have to change the politicians.”
"This is not over, people everywhere demanded a real deal before the Summit began and they are still demanding it. We can still save hundreds of millions of people from the devastation of a warming world, but it has just become a whole lot harder.”
Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken said: “Copenhagen was the biggest political meeting the planet has ever seen and the EU decided to take a back seat. The EU may claim it has political weight, but it has failed to lean on either the US or China by showing greater ambition on emission reductions.”
“The EU’s current ‘I’ll show you if you show me’ attitude is not what gave us the Kyoto agreement and brought the US to the climate negotiations. Europe needs to come out of the hole it is hiding in and start acting like a power bloc again. It must increase its emission reduction target or we will be staring climate catastrophe in the face. The shame of Copenhagen must swiftly be replaced by the resolve to achieve a meaningful deal by the middle of next year.”
A series of empty promises on emission reductions and financial aid to fight climate change in developing countries will set the world on course for at least a 3C increase in temperature that threatens the very existence of our civilisation.
1.3. Climate deal won’t cap warming, big gaps
18 December 2009, Reuters
A climate deal among world leaders including President Barack Obama puts off many tough decisions until 2010 and sets the planet on track to overshoot goals for limiting global warming.
Obama spoke of "the beginning of a new era of international action" but many other leaders said it was "imperfect," "not sufficient" and at best a "modest success" if it gets formally adopted by all 193 nations in Copenhagen on Saturday.
Problems faced by China and the United States — the world’s top emitters — stood in the way of a stronger deal for the world’s first pact to combat climate change since the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
In big advances, the deal adds a promise of $100 billion a year to help developing nations from 2020 and promotes the use of forests to soak up carbon dioxide. But it is unclear where the cash will come from.
European leaders fell in reluctantly after Obama announced the deal with China, India, South Africa and Brazil. It was drafted by 28 nations ranging from OPEC oil produces to small island states.
A drawback is that the deal is not legally binding — a key demand of many developing nations. The text instead suggests an end-2010 deadline for transforming it into a legal text that had long been expected in Copenhagen.
The deal sets a goal for limiting a rise in world temperatures to "below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times but does not set out measures for achieving the target, such as firm near-term cuts in emissions.
"It clearly falls well short of what the public around the world was expecting," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It’s clearly not enough to keep temperatures on a track below 2 degrees."
A U.N. study leaked this week showed that current pledges by all nations would put the world on track for a 3 Celsius warming, beyond what many nations view as a "dangerous" threshold for droughts, floods, sandstorms and rising seas.
Mention in some past drafts of a goal of halving world emissions by 2050 below 1990 levels, for instance, was dropped. China and India insist that rich nations must first set far tougher goals for cutting their own greenhouse gas emissions.
And developed nations failed to give an average number for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 — many scientists say they need to cut by between 25 and 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid the worst of climate change.
Instead, all countries would have to submit plans for fighting global warming by the end of January 2010 to the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat.
The pact sums up pledges by major economies for curbing emissions so far — the looming deadline of Copenhagen spurred nations including China, the United States, Russia and India to promise targets.
But no nations promised deeper cuts during the December 7-18 conference as part of a drive to shift the world economy away from fossil fuels toward renewable energies such as wind and solar power.
The deal proposes deadlines of the end of 2010 for a new "legally binding" instruments.
Jake Schmidt, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that the talks were complicated by China’s drive to assert a new, more powerful, role for itself in the world.
"Part of the dysfunction is that China is feeling its way into a new, more powerful role," he said.
Obama pushed through the pact while he faces problems at home. His goal of cutting U.S. emissions by 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 is stalled in the U.S. Senate.
And the deal is unclear on many points. It says developed nations should provide $30 billion in aid to help the poor from 2010-12 and then raise aid to $100 billion a year from 2020.
But it does not say where the money will come from, saying it will be a variety of sources, including public and private. That means that developed nations might try to tap carbon markets for almost all the cash and plan little in public funds.
1.4. Kyoto pact in the balance in UN climate endgame
18 December 2009, EurActiv
President Barack Obama arrives in Copenhagen today (18 December) for the final day of the UN climate conference on a positive note, after the US pledged to contribute to international climate aid. EurActiv reports from the Danish capital.
On Thursday (17 December), US State Secretary Hilary Clinton said the US would contribute to a fund of $100 billion a year (€69.8 billion) until 2020 to help poorer countries tackle climate change and adopt cleaner energy.
But she insisted the aid would be tied to the imposition of monitoring, reporting and verification requirements on China and other large developing countries regarding their emissions curbs. China has resisted such calls, saying they violate its sovereignty.
A draft declaration for the Copenhagen summit committed rich countries to donating $100 billion dollars annually by 2020 in climate aid for the developing world, Reuters reported. It also said global temperature rises must not exceed two degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, the European Union and Japan have already committed 10 and 15 billion dollars respectively to a so-called ‘fast-start’ funding to aid the developing world in the period 2010-2012(EurActiv 11/12/09).
Pressure on US and China
Commenting on the US pledge, Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren welcomed the move but said the job was not done yet. "We will need other steps to make sure that we can create the needed political momentum," he stressed, arguing that the US and China – the world’s two biggest polluters – need to come up with legally-binding commitments to reduce their emissions.
"It is about them. If the US and China are not prepared to deliver legally-binding commitments, half of the Earth’s emissions will not be covered by a legal agreement. Without them we cannot solve the climate problem," Carlgren said.
José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said on Thursday (17 December) that he expected the United States would raise its offer to cut climate-warming emissions. "I really expect them to announce something more," Barroso told reporters. "President Obama is not coming just to reiterate what is in their draft legislation."
Barroso had called for some "flexibility" in the EU’s position, suggesting that the Union could improve its offer by committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020 and 30% by 2030.
The EU has unilaterally committed to cutting its emissions by 20% on 1990 levels by 2020. The bloc said it would raise this target to 30% "if other developed parts of the world make the same kind of contribution" and developing nations such as China commit to emissions reductions "beyond business as usual".
Keeping Kyoto alive
In Copenhagen, world leaders will decide whether to keep the 1997 Kyoto Protocol or build a new international treaty.
Ricardo Lagos, a former president of Chile and special advisor on climate change to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the 1997 Kyoto pact held the key to the Copenhagen talks.
"If we want an agreement, we need to find a way to keep Kyoto alive," he told EurActiv.
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which entered into force in 2005, commits its 183 signatories to reducing their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% by 2012 from 1990 levels.
But developing nations, led by China, warned against attempts to kill the treaty, which was never ratified by the United States, the key emitter of the industrialised world. They are insisting on maintaining a "two-track" outcome, of which Kyoto is an essential part (EurActiv 17/12/09).
Last year, it became clear that the principles of the Kyoto Protocol and the responsibilities it sets for developed and developing countries could not be changed, stressed Lagos, arguing that no deal is possible without getting major emitters such as the United States and China on board.
"The European Union and Japan have come up with ambitious programmes. It is clear that Kyoto is going to remain," he said.
Nevertheless, things have changed since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, admitted Lagos. "You did not have the G20 ten years ago. China and India are part of the G20 and they should share part of the responsibility now. The question is how, without violating the principles of the Kyoto Protocol," he added, underlining that the historic responsibilities of industrialised countries should be maintained.
Making Chinese pledges legally-binding
The question now, Lagos said, is how to make voluntary emissions reduction pledges by the developing world legally binding over time.
For two weeks, envoys from 193 countries meeting in Copenhagen have been trying to find common ground on the remaining stumbling blocks before a post-Kyoto agreement can be secured. But they have failed because of divisions over how much financial aid to give to poor nations and whether China and India should have their promises to cut carbon measured and verified by international auditors.
"I think the only way is to allow them to make commitments on a voluntary basis under the ‘Nationally-appropriate Mitigation Actions’, the so-called NAMAs," Lagos said, stressing however that those plans could later become legally-binding, making commitments made by developing countries comparable to those made by their developed counterparts.
"If a substantial number of mitigation actions are proposed by rapidly emerging economies and middle-income countries, it is possible that these [could] become binding," he said, explaining that this may happen once the collective plans have reached a sufficient level of emissions.
China ‘s action plan to boost energy efficiency and increase the share of renewables in its energy mix by 15% is one proposal that could be put on the table. Even the US, which did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, could be allowed to make voluntary pledges, said the former Chilean president.
"If you consider that the actual legislation being considered in the US Congress may be a NAMA then it would become legally binding if others make similar proposals," Lagos added.
A lot of rapidly emerging economies and middle-income countries do not qualify for foreign aid, including Brazil, Chile, Peru and Columbia, he said. Under current plans, climate aid and technology transfer would be allowed only under the condition that mitigation plans financed by external sources are subject to a verification mechanism from the international community.
US money comes with strings attached
This was also the message delivered yesterday by US State Secretary Hillary Clinton, who promised the US would help raise $100 billion annually by 2020 to assist poor countries in coping with climate change as long as countries allow international scrutiny over how the money is spent.
China and India are opposed to this, saying it violates their sovereignty. But the US is pressuring the two major emitters to accept binding commitments that are open to international inspection and verification.
"There must be a will for transparency. If there isn’t, the possibility of reaching an agreement is dead. We have said this repeatedly," Clinton said.
At the same time, Clinton repeated the US position that China cannot hide behind its status as a developing nation. China, Clinton said, is the world’s biggest CO2 emitter and will one day become the world’s largest economy, justifying calls for clear and verifiable targets for greenhouse gas reductions.
Clinton , however, has remained vague on fast-start money aimed at helping developing countries until 2012. US envoy Todd Stern said America would accept its fair share if an agreement is reached.
Free ride for African countries
Answering a question on what would be acceptable for African countries, Lagos stressed that they are neither considered rapidly emerging nor middle-income countries and all of them qualify for foreign aid.
"All that means that African countries will have a free ride," he said.
US arrives late at the party
The UN special envoy accepted US President Barack Obama’s decision to arrive late at the party, noting that the country had changed its position on climate change completely. But it still is in a transitional period.
"Obama says he can’t achieve ambitious targets by 2020, but he is confident that he will catch up by 2030 and be on an equal footing with the European Union," the former Chilean president said, stressing that developing countries are also in a transitional phase. "But everyone knows that after 2020, we will all need to tackle emissions."
Confident that a deal will be reached at the closure of the conference today (18 December), Lagos and his colleague Festus Mogae, a former president of Botswana and also a UN special envoy for climate change, told EurActiv that world leaders cannot return to their own countries empty-handed. "If they want to have something, I think they have to give something," said Lagos.
1.5. EU ‘disappointed’ by Chinese, US climate pledges
18 December 2009, EurActiv
"I believe in miracles and a miracle can still happen," said Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Friday (18 December), the final day of the Copenhagen summit.
His optimism, however, was not echoed by José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, who declared "it is now obvious that we will not get all we had hoped for".
World leaders tried in the morning to unblock deadlocked negotiations on drawing up a political agreement on a roadmap to finalise a legally-binding international climate treaty in 2010.
Negotiators worked through the night to produce a draft text calling on rich nations to contribute $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor nations tackle climate change and to limit warming to two degrees Celsius.
But the all-night meeting broke up in the morning without a deal on the central element of a climate deal: the timing and degree of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
A three-page text obtained by the Guardian suggests that the level of agreement reached so far is extremely weak.
The text, drafted by a select group of 28 leaders – including UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown – in the final hours of the negotiations, proposes extending negotiations for another year until the next scheduled UN meeting on climate change in Mexico City in December 2010.
According to the draft, countries "ought" to limit global warming to 2°C, the level above which scientists say climate change would have catastrophic consequences.
It does not give specific targets for emissions cuts or a peak year for global emissions, but says only that "deep cuts" are required and that emissions should peak "as soon as possible".
"There are deep differences in opinion and views on how we should solve this. We’ll try our best, until the last minutes of this conference," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who holds the EU’s six-month rotating presidency.
‘Fast-start’ financing on track
Speaking during the morning session, Barroso revealed that negotiations are on track to deliver short-term and long-term financial commitments to help developing countries fight global warming.
Following pledges by the EU, the US and Japan, the fast-start financing will amount to 30 billion dollars for the period 2010-2012. As for long-term funding, countries spelt out a goal of mobilising jointly 100 billion dollars a year by 2020, making this conditional upon "meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation".
Addressing world leaders, US President Barack Obama repeatedly said that mitigation, transparency and financing is a clear formula "that embraces the principle of common but differentiated responses and respective capabilities".
Monitoring, reporting and verification
One of the stumbling blocks remains the need for a monitoring, reporting and verification mechanism. Although rich nations favour such a system, many developing countries, including China, fear that that it would be too intrusive and would breach national sovereignty.
"The question is whether we will move forward together or split apart," Obama stressed.
In their interventions, many countries conceded that regardless of the agreement that emerges in Copenhagen, they will embark on ambitious. voluntary plans to cut emissions unilaterally.
Chinese, Indian pledges
"We are very vulnerable [to climate change] said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"We have agreed a voluntary target of 20% by 2020 on 2005 levels. Regardless on the outcome of the conference, we will deliver this target," Singh said
Similar pledges were made by China, Brazil and Columbia. "This is a voluntary action China has taken in the light of its national circumstances," Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said.
"We have not attached any condition to the target, nor have we linked it to the target of any other country. We will honour our word with real action," Wen said. "Whatever outcome this conference may produce, we will be fully committed to achieving and even exceeding the target."
EU disappointed by US, Chinese pledges
However, the statements by the United States and China disappointed the EU. "As the biggest polluters of the Earth’s atmosphere these two states have a crucial responsibility for global climate protection," said Jo Leinen, head of the European Parliament’s delegation in Copenhagen.
"The poorest part of the world’s population – in particular the inhabitants of small island nations and of many developing countries, would, in case of a failure of the climate conference, fall victim to the power games of the two big powers," Leinen said.
"Without the liability of a climate protection accord, neither ambitious reduction targets nor comprehensive financial support will be agreed upon. This would lead to enormous suffering for the part of the world that has the least responsibility for climate change," he added.
Outside Copenhagen’s Bella Centre, where world leaders are meeting today, NGOs have been protesting in freezing temperatures. Disheartened by the lack of progress, they said the climate justice movement will grow in strength.
At the end of their final meeting in Copenhagen, climate justice activists declared that while the talks are in disarray, demonstrators have successfully moved towards building a strong international movement for climate justice.
1.6. CLIMATE ANTI-CLIMAX IN COPENHAGEN
18 December 2009, FOEE
Commenting on the failure of rich country governments to secure a strong and fair UN agreement to tackle climate change in Copenhagen, Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"Politicians cannot call this ‘outcome’ a success when in fact nothing meaningful has been agreed. Negotiations must now become even more intense to reach a just and effective climate agreement.
"The European Union and other rich countries have stood motionless when giant strides forward are required given the scale and urgency of the climate crisis facing the world.
"The world now needs a bold dramatic shift in political will from the European Union and other developed nations responsible for causing the climate crisis.
"With the eyes of the world on Copenhagen, Europe had the chance to commit to stronger action against climate change and break the deadlock, but EU leaders backed out of offering higher emissions reductions targets and adequate funds for developing countries.
"European and other developed countries must commit to at least 40% emissions reductions by 2020 without offsetting, and supply the money developing countries desperately need to deal with climate change. Failure to do so is shameful."
Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, stated: "Copenhagen has been an abject failure. Justice has not been done. By delaying action, rich countries have condemned millions of the world’s poorest people to hunger, suffering and loss of life as climate change accelerates. The blame for this disastrous outcome is squarely on the developed nations.
"We are disgusted by the failure of rich countries to commit to the emissions reductions they know are needed, especially the US, which is the world’s largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases.
"The only real leadership at the conference has come from the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who’ve come together to demand strong action to prevent climate catastrophe. Their voices are loud and growing – and Friends of the Earth International will continue to be part of the fight for climate justice."
1.7. THE ANGRY MERMAID WINNER IS…
15 December 2009, FOEE
The winner of the Angry Mermaid Award 2009, announced by award-winning writer and journalist Naomi Klein at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen today is the biotech giant Monsanto with 37% of the total vote .
Oil giant Shell took second place (18%) in the Award for lobbying to sabotage effective action on climate change, followed by the American Petroleum Institute (14%).
Ten thousand people voted in the Angry Mermaid Award, named after the iconic Copenhagen mermaid who is angry about corporate lobbying on climate change.
Eight candidates were put forward for public vote at www.angrymermaid.org and individuals at the Klimaforum were also invited to vote .
Agriculture giant Monsanto was nominated for promoting its genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution to climate change and pushing for its crops to be used as biofuels. The expansion of GM soy in Latin America is contributing to major deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) of which Monsanto is a member, is helping to promote the company’s cause by allowing GM soy to be labelled as "responsible". Monsanto also wants GM soy to be funded under the Clean Development Mechanism .
Speaking for the award organisers, Paul de Clerk from Friends of the Earth International said: "Monsanto has attracted thousands of votes from individuals who are outraged that such an environmentally-damaging form of agriculture should be put forward to tackle climate change.
"Big business must not be allowed to sabotage action against climate change by promoting their vested interests. All the candidates for the Angry Mermaid Award have lobbied to protect their own profits and prevent effective action to tackle climate change. Governments need to stop listening to them and choose real solutions to the climate crisis."
The Angry Mermaid is organised by Attac Denmark, Corporate Europe Observatory, Focus on the Global South, Friends of the Earth International, Oil Change International and Spinwatch.
2.1. Europe’s wind companies snap up U.S. stimulus cash
18 December 2009, Reuters
European companies have scooped up the majority of U.S. stimulus money set aside for wind power projects, drawing on their expertise and global reach to tap into Washington’s effort to grow the base of renewable energy sources.
While those government funds have generated U.S. jobs and provided a lifeline to the green energy industry during the financial crisis, the cash flows show European companies remain crucial to U.S. goals to advance the renewable power sector.
The U.S. Treasury Department has helped fund some 150 renewable energy projects from a portion of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and has given out grants worth more than $1.5 billion to wind projects.
More than two-thirds of that money, or $1.06 billion, has gone to projects developed by European-based companies.
Iberdrola Renewables, a unit of Spanish power company Iberdrola SA, has been the top grant recipient, receiving $483.8 million, followed by Horizon Wind Energy, owned by Portuguese EDP Renewables, which has won $229.8 million.
Other European wind companies to receive grants include Spanish Acciona, which got $67.9 million, and NaturEner USA, LLC, part of Grupo NaturEner, S.A. and a subsidiary of Belgian group Sapec, which banked $62.3 million.
The top U.S. wind power generator, NextEra, a unit of FPL Group, owner of Florida utility FPL, has received about $130 million under the Recovery Act, and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has gotten $93.4 million.
Industry experts said the European-based companies had benefited from their own governments’ policies over the past decade, enabling them to make deeper commitments to the business than their U.S. counterparts.
"It shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of the wind companies are based in Europe now because over the last decade Europe’s policies have been stronger," said Rob Gramlich, senior vice president for public policy at the American Wind Association.
The Recovery Act grants replaced a tax credit that became virtually useless last year because it depended on banks to provide financing for new projects through tax equity markets.
Following the financial crisis that wiped out Lehman Brothers and forced banks to pull back from project lending in 2008, wind developers had few options to raise cash.
That tilted the playing field toward companies with large balance sheets, said Gabriel Alonso, CEO of EDP’s Horizon Wind Energy, the third-largest wind company in the United States.
Both Iberdrola and Horizon said they hire U.S. workers to develop and build their projects. The success of the program has given then renewed confidence to grow their wind generation in the United States rather than in other countries.
EDP had considered moving funds out of the Horizon unit to Europe or South America, Alonso said, but the passage of the Recovery Act "completely changed the landscape."
"Not only did we keep all the capital we were planning to invest — more than $1 billion — we even brought some turbines from Europe" to the U.S., and lifted spending to $1.5 billion, he said.
EDP, the fourth-largest wind generator globally, generates about 45 percent of its revenues from its U.S. Horizon unit, he said, and the company is now looking at projects it can begin building by the end of 2010 and have operating by the end of 2012, both requirements of the Recovery Act.
"We are committed to reinvesting all the money we get from the grant program back into the United States," Alonso said.
"The point of the Recovery Act was to put Americans to work building projects, and that’s exactly what it’s doing," Gramlich said.
The industry built 5,800 megawatts in the first nine months of 2009, but is not likely to reach the record 8,000 MW built last year. Still, the growth is far better than many had expected earlier this year.
While the bulk of Recovery Act money has gone to bigger players, some smaller U.S. developers have benefited, such as First Wind, EverPower Renewables and the Cannon Power Group.
For San Diego, California-based Cannon, which received $19.4 million to expand its Windy Point/Windy Flats project to up to 500 MW, the money has been hugely important, said President Gary Hardke.
The company has been developing renewable projects since 1979, and although it lacks the balance sheet of the major power companies, it has built more than 4,000 MW of projects.
"We have to work harder and be more agile," Hardke said, adding the company expected to get another $151 million from the Recovery Act as early as next month for another project.
2.2. Carbon capture to win EU funding before renewables
18 December 2009, EurActiv
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects will likely be first to benefit from funding out of the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS), with support for renewables to follow later, a draft European Commission proposal suggests.
The draft text, sent to member states last week, sets out the rules on allocating the 300 million allowances that were set aside from the ‘new entrants reserve’ of the EU ETS to CCS (see EurActiv LinksDossier) and renewable projects.
At a carbon price of €20 a tonne, the revenue would amount to about €6 billion, the EU executive estimates.
The draft proposes to award the allowances through two rounds of calls for proposals. This would "allow, on the one hand, for mature projects to receive financing already in the first round, and on the other hand, to provide for a possibility to adjust any technical or geographical imbalance in the second round," the text reads.
The Commission seems to take "mature projects" to mean CCS at this point. Its impact assessment accompanying the draft decision argues that in the case of renewables, it would be "preferable" to wait until the second call to allow for a "maximum number of technologies to come to maturity".
The EU executive refers to comments by several member states that the funds for the second round should be substantial in order to stretch to funding technologies, particularly renewables, which will not be in a position to take advantage of the first call.
However, the draft stresses that there should be a balance between CCS and renewable energy projects. It lists the technologies eligible to receive funding for at least one project in order to ensure that only technologies that are not yet commercially viable but ready for large-scale demonstration qualify.
Germany has been advocating opening up all renewable categories to proposals, instead of limiting the projects to a closed list of technologies.
Although the renewables industry feels that many important technologies are missing from the list, it said that the topics defined give developers a more cost-efficient means of securing funding. This will avoid hit-and-miss proposals whereby developers would have to explain why their project is innovative and risk rejection, they argued.
To ensure even geographical coverage, the Commission chose an approach whereby each member state is allowed to host a maximum of two projects. The draft states that the second round of proposals can be used to adjust any technical or geographical imbalances.
The draft text requires member states to co-finance the projects by matching the EU ETS investment. They should therefore have the opportunity to decide which projects they will support in their territory, the Commission says, while reserving its right to make the final selection.
Countries will send their proposals to the European Investment Bank (EIB), which assesses the financial and technical viability of the projects before making recommendations to the Commission.
Member states are scheduled to vote on the text in February.
3.1. EU carbon steady, awaits Copenhagen outcome
18 December 2009, Reuters
European Union carbon emissions futures steadied on Friday, as investors awaited an outcome from a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen.
EU Allowances for Dec-10 delivery edged up 2 cents or 0.15 percent to 13.63 euros ($19.61) a tonne at 1549 GMT, with volume at just over 3,000 lots. EUAs traded between 13.55 and 13.88 euros a tonne on Friday.
"There is some lack of direction. It’s been up, then down all day, reacting to bits of news out of the summit," said an emissions trader.
EUAs fell 4.5 percent on Thursday as lack of progress toward sealing a new climate deal in Copenhagen triggered a sell-off. Prices failed to regain lost ground on Friday as world leaders tried to rescue a global climate agreement but China and the United States failed to come up with new proposals.
Traders predicted further falls if a solid deal is not thrashed out.
"I’d like to think EUAs could stay above 13 euros," another trader said.
For more market views on the potential impact of negative newsflow from Copenagen, click on [ID:nLDE5BG0ST]
"If leaders don’t get anything meaningful done the market will get hit, yes. Can they risk that though?" said a third trader.
The United Nations has asked world leaders to plan to stay overnight in Copenhagen because of deadlock at the summit meant to end on Friday, European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said. [ID:nLDE5BH1MH]
That means any impact on the market will be felt on Monday, traders said. Others said the weekend break might make market reaction less severe.
"The closure of the conference on a Friday afternoon so close to Christmas will no doubt mute the impact of any final outcome on financial markets," said Meg Brown, analyst at Citigroup.
Certified emissions reductions were up 8 cents or 0.68 percent at 11.82 euros a tonne.
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