1.1. EU considers billions for poor before climate talks
25 July 2009, Reuters
Rich countries should immediately mobilize billions of dollars in development aid to the poorest nations to win their trust in the run-up to global climate talks in Copenhagen, a draft EU report says.
OECD countries should also fulfill their existing commitments on overseas aid, which would more than double those aid flows to poor nations to around $280 billion annually by 2015, it added.
The recommendations are made in a draft report by the European Commission and Sweden, which holds the EU’s six-month presidency and has convened ministers in a Swedish mountain resort to prepare for climate talks in Copenhagen in December.
"We stand ready to deliver the upfront financing and we have the mandate needed," Andreas Carlgren, Sweden’s Environment Minister, told a news briefing.
Prospects of a deal in Copenhagen have been boosted by fresh engagement by China and the United States.
But the EU is worried an agreement might not be reached because of a gap in trust between poor countries and the rich, industrialized states they blame for causing climate change in the first place.
The report said clarifying and increasing the global contribution to "adaptation funding" between now and 2012 could contribute to trust-building with least developed countries.
"A specific EU commitment is desirable before Copenhagen," said the report, which will be finalized in coming weeks. Rich countries should immediately mobilize $1-2 billion to assist vulnerable, low-income countries, it added.
British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said he thought there was a role for short-term actions in the run-up to Copenhagen as a way to build confidence, but that it should in no way substitute efforts to secure longer-term financing.
"It’s not a substitute for the bigger prize," he told journalists at the end of meetings with his European counterparts.
"Unless we come out of Copenhagen with a long-term financing arrangement, we’re not going to get the steps we need from developing countries and we’re not going to be able to say that this is the kind of agreement we need."
Germany’s State Secretary for the Environment Matthias Machnig said delegates had discussed upfront financing for research projects for developing countries.
"For me it is crucial that the money is there for projects as of 2013. There is a debate to do something from 2010 to 2013," he told reporters.
Jean-Louis Borloo, the French ecology minister, told Reuters Friday rich nations would need to scale up their commitments, implying that poor nations would need around $200 billion annually by 2020.
"It’s an absolute disgrace to leave Africa in the greatest insecurity," he added. The Swedish report singled out Africa for help in developing renewable energy.
And it said OECD countries should live up to existing commitments of 0.7 percent of national income for overseas aid, compared to an average of 0.3 percent currently.
"In absolute terms, this would mean moving from around $120 billion in 2008 to around $280 billion by 2015," it added.
Any funds to help poor nations deal with climate change should come on top of current aid payments, said the report.
But Oxfam International said climate funds should come on top of the $280 billion commitments, rather than the $120 billion that is actually paid.
"The big flows of money after Copenhagen, should be on top of that 0.7 percent," said Oxfam climate campaigner Tim Gore. "We mustn’t divert funds that would otherwise be spent on schools and hospitals."
1.2. Africa needs funds to fight climate change
30 Luly 2009, The New Vision
AFRICAN countries have identified climate change as an issue of concern. During the Bonn talks recently, world leaders called for the need for national climate mitigation actions.
National mitigation plans have not been defined because developing countries are different. However, mitigation plans will include actions like reducing greenhouse emissions, degradation and deforestation.
In an African minister�s environment meet in Nairobi in May, the ministers agreed to mainstream climate change adaptation measures into national and regional plans.
The ministers urged the international community to increase support to Africa to help the continent cope with climate change.
Developing countries have limited funds to develop strategies to mitigate climate change. In addition, Africa has insufficient technology to handle climate change.
Yet before negotiating for climate funds, developing countries are required to develop greenhouse gas inventories and national adaptation plans. All these exercises demand time and money, but offer little direct benefit to the country�s population.
The good news is an African climate policy centre is being established to offer platform for multi-actor cooperation. This will help Africa deal with climate change effectively.
However, for Africa to benefit from the centre which monitors climate, it should broaden its climate change portfolio and empower countries to respond to climate challenges.
The climate centre should also assist developing countries achieve sustainable development. But due to an unpredictable climate system, there is need for adaptation measures. The unpredictable climate systems can increase the concentration of greenhouse gases and skyrocket global temperatures.
The question is, what option do African countries have? Africa hardly has climate change adaptation plans because it has low levels of technology and is infested with poverty, disease and hunger, problems which need an urgent solution.
Therefore, to deal with the challenge of climate, Africa needs scaled-up finance, technology and capacity building.
1.3. Heat on Australia-Pacific climate change talks
31 July 2009, ABC
Australia’s commitment to an emissions target is important to international negotiations leading up to the Copenhagen climate talks, says the head of the United Nations (UN) climate agency.
The UN’s Yvo de Boer, on his way to Australia to meet Pacific leaders at their annual forum meeting in Cairns next week, says it would benefit Pacific countries to work with Australia in negotiating a global climate deal.
"The Pacific Island countries are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – most likely to be impacted by sea level rise, saltwater intrusion and changes to their climate as a result of global warming," he said.
"I think it’s in the direct geopolitical interests of Australia to ensure that we craft a response to climate change that addresses the concerns of your Pacific Island partners."
But environmentalists say Australia and New Zealand are a long way from matching what the Pacific nations want in terms of carbon emission reductions and money to help them develop without relying on fossil fuels.
Greenpeace climate campaigner Trish Harrup says the Pacific Island countries are clear about what they want.
"The survival of small island states to be set as a benchmark for a global agreement and that rich countries cut their emissions by 40 per cent," she said.
"That the rich countries put billions of dollars on the table to help with the adaptation, and share their intimate tool property and technology knowledge so that countries in the Pacific can develop cleanly."
None of those positions, as yet, are supported by Australia or New Zealand.
The joint statement that emerges from the Pacific leaders meeting will be the result of intense negotiations between the diplomats.
On an international scale, Mr De Boer says he is confident that the Copenhagen summit will yield a substantial deal, but says developed nations need to show how they are going to pay for it.
His hopes for Copenhagen outcomes are specific.
"We need ambitious emission reduction targets from industrialised countries, showing that they’re willing to lead the way," he said.
"Secondly, we cannot have a meaningful response to climate change without also the engagement of major developing countries like China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
"My third benchmark is significant international financial support that will allow developing countries, both with investments to limit the growth of their emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change."
But Mr De Boer says he wants to make sure Pacific nations’ voices are heard in the global debate, and Australia’s role as a big coal exporter should not stop it from negotiating the global climate agreement with Pacific nations.
"Oil is running out I think in the next 30 to 50 years perhaps," he said.
"We have enough coal on our planet to keep burning it for the next 600 to 800 years so clearly coal is going to be an essential part of the energy mix going into the future.
"But we can only have it be an important part of the energy mix if we can use it much more cleanly than we are doing at the moment and that implies clean coal technology, carbon capture and storage and technologies like that."
2.1. U.S. ready to issue grants for renewable energy
31 July 2009, Reuters
The U.S. government on Friday said it is now accepting applications for some $3 billion in government grants to boost development of renewable energy projects around the country.
The money, from the economic stimulus package, will provide direct payments to companies in lieu of tax credits to support an estimated 5,000 biomass, solar, wind and other renewable energy production facilities. Projects must begin construction this year or in 2010 to get the grants.
The Treasury and Energy Departments announced the funding guidelines earlier this month. Each project is expected to receive an average of $600,000, but there is no cap on how much a company can get or a limit on the total funds that will be available.
"This program will play a major role in encouraging private sector capital to invest in clean energy development, creating new jobs that can’t be outsourced," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.
"It is an investment that will continue to help our economy grow and ensure advancement in clean and renewable energy development," he added.
President Barack Obama has promoted development of clean energy as a way to jump start the lagging economy. He has pledged to double renewable energy production in three years.
Previously energy companies could file for a tax credit to cover a portion of the costs of a renewable energy project. Under the new program, companies would forgo the tax credits in favor of an immediate reimbursement of 30 percent of certain project expenses, making funds available quickly.
The government plans to have checks deposited into a company’s bank account within 60 days after receiving an eligible application.
3.1. France set for uphill battle on carbon tax
29 July 2009, EurActiv
France should aim to introduce a tax on carbon dioxide emissions by 2010 to help fight global climate change, a panel advising the government said on 28 July. The plan has already drawn fire from intensive fuel users such as farmers and fishermen.
Faced with resistance, the government pledged to offset any tax with cuts elsewhere, while the head of the panel indicated the scheme might have to be delayed.
"Carbon dioxide emissions are a threat to life on the planet […] Among the many necessary responses, a significant tax on carbon dioxide emissions is one of the most pertinent and efficient," the panel concluded.
France is aiming to divide its greenhouse gas emissions by four by 2050.
The report is expected to provide the basis for legislation, due to be debated after parliament’s summer break. It will face intense discussion as details are thrashed out.
"This is the beginning of a wider process of reflection and consultation," Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said after the report was presented.
While most politicians agree emissions must be cut to fight global warming, a key part of the debate is on how to compensate poorer households, workers in certain sectors and those who need to drive because they work at night or live in rural areas.
"This contribution will be strictly offset by a cut in other contributions, so that the purchasing power of households and the competitiveness of companies will be ensured," Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo and Lagarde said in a statement, reiterating an earlier pledge.
But the idea of such compensation has attracted criticism from budget watchers who point to France’s growing debt burden, which has already been exacerbated by the economic crisis.
The extra cost would vary according to the size of households and their location. The report said a couple with children living in the country could pay about 303 euros a year extra, while a single parent family in a big city might pay only 78 euros a year extra.
The levy would bring between 8-9 billion euros into state coffers, divided roughly equally between households and businesses, the report said, although the level of the tax will be one of the key points under discussion.
Borloo said the final result could be no more than 2-4 billion euros and business daily Les Echos said the levy could be set at just 15 euros per tonne instead of 32 by the time it is approved.
Given the scheme’s complexity, former Socialist Prime Minister Michel Rocard, who chaired the panel, said he did not know if it would in fact be ready in 2010.
"The best would be for it to be ready in 2010 but it’s true that all these details […] are complicated," he told French radio earlier on Tuesday.
The opposition Socialists supported the proposal but said companies should be prevented from passing the costs on to households, and that people living in areas where they had to use cars should not be disproportionately punished.
Business associations, on the other hand, worry that the tax may hurt their competitiveness.
"The carbon tax should not be an umpteenth tax used for filling up the state coffers," small business union CGPME said in a statement.
Sweden, which holds the rotating European Union presidency, will soon present an EU-wide carbon tax plan. Sweden, Denmark and Norway already have carbon taxes in place and China has been studying the idea.
3.2. ETS timing doesn’t matter: UN agency
31 Luly 2009, The Age
It won’t matter if Australia doesn’t have its emissions trading scheme finalised by December’s Copenhagen climate change talks, the head of the UN’s climate change agency says.
Other nations will only care that the federal government has made a commitment to reduce emissions targets ahead of the summit, Yvo de Boer says.
Mr de Boer is to fly to Cairns for next week’s Pacific Islands forum, where he’ll urge Australia’s neighbours to make their voices heard on the climate talks.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has taken a very strong and constructive position on climate change, as has Climate Minister Penny Wong and the federal opposition, he said.
"I think everybody is very happy with what Australia is doing," he told ABC radio.
But when asked whether it mattered if Australia arrived at Copenhagen in December with a scheme in place, he replied: "Quite honestly no."
"What people care about in the international negotiations is the commitment that a government makes to take on a certain target."
The domestic policies that are put in place to deliver that target were seen largely as domestic issues, he said.
However it was important for governments to enter international negotiations knowing it has "political and public backing" on its position.
Like Australia, the United States is also currently debating its own cap and trade climate change legislation.
Mr de Boer said he would be "very happy" post-Copenhagen if industrialised nations committed to ambitious targets and that countries like China, India, Brazil and South Africa were to agree to cutting emissions.
Developing nations should also be provided with international financial support so cutting emissions doesn’t hamper their economic growth, he said.
3.3. Carbon tariffs falling out of favour as trade war looms
28 July 2009, EurActiv
A majority of European countries are reluctant to pick up on current debates in France and the United States about carbon tariffs designed to fend off competition from countries which have not committed to reducing emissions, for fear of triggering a green trade war.
So far, France has been the only member state to openly rally for the introduction of border measures to secure the competitiveness of European industry against emerging economies. It put the measure on the table in 2008 when the EU was immersed in discussions on a revision of its emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).
Since agreement was reached on the revised directive in December 2008, carbon tariffs largely disappeared from debates until the US floated the idea in a draft climate bill. In the EU, meanwhile, France is having difficulty finding allies to rally around the cause.
As EU environment ministers met informally last week to discuss Europe’s position for international negotiations, the Swedish EU Presidency warned that hints of protective measures would block progress towards a global deal, which it said was already too slow.
"The threat of taxes to harm developing countries would seriously make negotiations more difficult," said Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren.
German State Secretary Matthias Machnig reportedly echoed Swedish views that carbon tariffs would send the wrong message ahead of December’s UN climate conference in Copenhagen, calling them "a new form of eco-imperialism".
Moreover, carbon-related border taxes could potentially conflict with WTO rules, which aim to provide for free competition (EurActiv 01/07/09).
The EU is dealing with competitiveness issues by granting free emisssion permits to industries which it deems vulnerable to relocating in areas with less stringent environmental laws, dubbed ‘carbon leakage’ (EurActiv 26/05/09).
The prevailing view among member states and the European Commission is that these internal measures should be the first-aid solution, while border adjustments would come as a last resort.
US border adjustment proposal under attack
The US House of Representatives inserted a provision in its draft climate bill that allows the country to impose a ‘border adjustment’ after 2020 on certain products from countries which do not limit their global warming emissions. The move was seen as a pre-emptive measure to tackle American firms’ loss of competitiveness in the face of cheaper products flooding from countries without a carbon premium.
But President Barack Obama spoke strongly against such measures after the House had passed the bill.
"At a time when the economy worldwide is still deep in recession and we’ve seen a significant drop in global trade, I think we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals," he said in an interview.
Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also criticised the draft legislation, warning that it would allow developing countries to tax US exports in return.
"The United States has always stood for a free market system […] Legislation to move away from that principle is clearly counterproductive," he told the Associated Press.
China and India immediately interpreted the pending legislation as an offensive against their industries. The US admnistration is attempting to allay their fears during the two-day UN-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue ending today (28 July).
US climate envoy Todd Stern and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have frequently held talks with their Chinese and Indian counterparts to persuade them to take on commitments to slash their emissions. The prevailing logic here is that the more ambitious the measures that the two countries sign up to, the lower the likelihood of their having to face border measures in Western export markets.
4.1. Swedes prepare for extra EU summit in September
30 Luly 2009, European Voice
National government leaders to meet in Brussels in mid-September.
The Swedish government is preparing to hold an extra summit of national government leaders in Brussels in mid-September.
Sweden, which holds the presidency of the EU, wants the member states to agree on a common position for the G20 summit, which will be held in Pittsburgh on 24-25 September. The Swedes are preparing to schedule a dinner-meeting of heads of state or government on or near 16 September.
A final decision on whether to go ahead with the summit is not expected before mid-August, but EU diplomats said the meeting was “likely” to take place.
A spokesman for Anders Borg, Sweden’s finance minister, said: “The presidency is in a state of readiness to call for an extra informal meeting of the European Council in Brussels in September.” He said that whether there would be an extra meeting would depend on the agenda for the G20 summit.
The G20 summit will primarily discuss progress in restoring confidence in financial markets and setting up new structures for their supervision. The meeting will discuss whether and how to scale back economic stimulus packages and monetary easing once the global economy starts to recover. The Swedish presidency has already scheduled an extra meeting for the EU’s finance ministers, who will meet for an informal lunch on 2 September to prepare the G20 summit. G20 finance ministers are to meet in London on 4-5 September to prepare for the Pittsburgh meeting.
If the Swedes do convene an extra summit, they will be following the pattern established for the G20 summits in Washington, DC, in November 2008 and in London in April this year. Those were preceded by formal European Councils in Brussels to co-ordinate the EU’s position, but an informal summit would not have formal decision-making power.
One of Sweden’s aims is to ensure that leaders from EU member states who are not attending the G20 meetings are fully informed about the agenda for the G20 meeting and that they approve the common EU position that the presidency intends to put forward. The London summit was attended by leaders from 22 of the world’s leading developed and developing economies. From the EU, the leaders of France, the UK, Italy and Germany, took part, as members of the G8, as well as the prime ministers of Spain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The latter held the presidency of the EU at the time. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso also attended.
Diplomats said that the G20 summit could also be an important opportunity to discuss climate change ahead of the UN-backed negotiations in December in Copenhagen, where a new global deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions is supposed to be struck. The G20 will be attended by China, India and Brazil – important developing countries that will be crucial players in Copenhagen.
If an additional EU summit does take place, then other international developments, such as financing Ukraine’s purchase of gas from Russia and the situation in Iran, might yet be added to the agenda.
The meeting comes at an important time in the EU’s calendar. On 15 September, the European Parliament is expected to vote on whether to give José Manuel Barroso a second term as Commission president, although Socialist and Green MEPs want the decision delayed until October. On 18 September, the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house, is set to approve new legislation on how the national parliament is consulted on EU decisions if the Lisbon treaty comes into force. On 2 October, Ireland will hold its second referendum on the Lisbon treaty.
The presidency has scheduled its mid-term European Council for 29-30 October. Swedish ministers have said that they want to use that meeting to decide on appointments to new EU posts created by the treaty, including a full-time president of European Council and a high representative for foreign and security policy.
5.1. VACANCY FOR AN ‘OFFICE MANAGER’ AT CAN-EUROPE
Based in Brussels, full-time, available to start at the earliest possibility
Deadline for applications: 30th August 2009
More at: http://www.climnet.org/CAN-E_Vacancy_O.HR2009.pdf
6.1. 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
6.2. Sectoral Crediting Mechanisms Post-2012
Implications for the carbon markets
» Phasing Out of the CDM?
» Opportunities and Risks for CDM market participants
Amsterdam, Thursday 1 October, 2009
More at: http://www.pointcarbon.com/polopoly_fs/1.1167940!Sectoral%20Crediting%20Mechanisms%20workshop.pdf
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