ENERGY AMD EMISSIONS
1.1. Europe offers steeper greenhouse gas cuts
4 December 2007, AFP
NUSA DUA, Indonesia — The EU on Tuesday again dangled the prospect of even steeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions across Europe to fight global warming — but only if the rest of the world follows suit.
Trying to spur nations like the United States which have hesitated to make binding commitments on emissions cuts, the bloc urged rich nations to rally together to slash greenhouse gas output by 30 percent by the year 2020.
The wealthy bloc has pledged a 20 percent reduction by then, but reiterated that it would up that commitment to 30 percent if other developed nations agree to do the same under a new worldwide deal to address the problem.
"We are not aiming for a low-carbon economy for the European Union alone — we are aiming for a low-carbon economy for the globe," said Nuno Lacasta, a climate change official of current EU chair Portugal.
"Under a new global climate agreement, for which we hope this Bali conference will agree to launch negotiations, it is actually necessary for developed countries to cut their collective emissions by 30 percent by 2020."
Nearly 190 nations are at the 11-day UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference, looking to take the first steps toward a new pact to succeed the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
The United States — currently the world’s worst polluter and the only industrialised nation not to have ratified Kyoto — has so far rejected mandatory emissions cuts, advocating voluntary targets instead.
Growing economies such as India and China, which are on track to become the major carbon polluters, are also reluctant to commit to binding targets, saying the industrialised world was historically to blame for climate change.
The conference is just the first step in what will be a long process to forge a successor to Kyoto, but UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer said that talks were off to an encouraging start.
He acknowledged that opinions were colliding at the conference, but hailed the establishment Tuesday of a new working group to discuss the timeframes and options for negotiations, which should ideally wrap up before the end of 2009.
De Boer said important decisions had been made over how to transfer technologies aimed at reducing or dealing with climate change from the richest to the poorest nations.
"Developing countries feel that the rich countries have not done enough to transfer technology. It’s very important that this issue is examined," he told AFP.
Poor countries are forecast to suffer most from the effects of global warming, with increased droughts, flooding, hunger and water stress.
Delegates from Bangladesh, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea joined relief agency Oxfam in demanding that rich countries help foot the bill, with costs estimated at 50 billion dollars a year for poor countries to adapt and deal with the catastrophic effects of climate change.
1.2. China, India Urged to Curb Energy Use
3 December 2007, ROBIN McDOWELL – Associated Press
BALI, Indonesia (AP) — Coal-burning power plants belch pollutants into the air in China, contributing to global warming that experts say has destroyed billions of dollars in crops.
In India, melting Himalayan glaciers cause floods, while raising a more daunting long-term prospect: the drying up of life-sustaining rivers.
The two economic giants are becoming increasingly aware of the effects of rising temperatures. But though they are among the biggest contributors to the problem, both say they will not sign any climate change treaty that would slow the pace of their development.
Meanwhile, the United States, which has pumped more carbon into the atmosphere over time than any other country, says it will continue to oppose mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, especially if China and India refuse to budge.
The positions of those three countries are pivotal as delegates from 190 nations begin gathering this week on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali to discuss a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, the climate change agreement that expires in 2012.
The goal of the Dec. 3-14 meeting is to head off a scientific forecast of catastrophic droughts and floods, collapsing ice sheets and vanishing coastlines.
"We need everyone to play the game," said Fatih Birol, chief economist at the Paris-based International Energy Agency. If current trends continue, the U.S., China and India would account for more than half the world’s carbon emissions by 2015, he added. "Without the big three on board we have no chance whatsoever to fix the climate change problem."
The threat appears worse than it did just a few years ago. A major culprit is coal, which because of its low cost is widely used to generate electricity and run factories in China and India, helping lift millions of people out of poverty.
China plans to add more than 200 coal-fired power plants in the next five years and India, more than 150, said Christopher Bergesen, who tracks power plant construction for Platts, a provider of information on energy markets and issues. He cautioned, however, that exact figures are hard to nail down.
With "the big three" seemingly dead set against mandatory emissions reductions, Birol and others say one of the focuses at Bali should be on developing incentives for China, India and other fast-growing countries to use energy more efficiently and invest in cleaner power, from wind to nuclear.
"Developing nations are looking for support," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environmental Program, adding that they want access to state-of-the art equipment to reduce carbon emissions.
What kind of technology is used when new coal plants are constructed is crucial, because they generally last up to six decades.
With climate change taking on a new urgency, the wealthy developed countries may be willing to lend a hand.
"I think we will see increased financial resources being made available bilaterally and multilaterally," Steiner said.
China and India say they are doing what they can to clean up. Beijing is closing down some of its worst polluting factories and power plants. It also has set an ambitious goal of cutting energy consumption per unit of economic output by 20 percent by 2010, a target some experts doubt China will reach.
"China will make its due contribution to emissions reduction and energy conservation, so please rest assured that our word is good," said Xie Zhenhua, who is leading Beijing’s delegation to Bali.
Some delegates will try to convince China and India that certain policy changes would be cost effective, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
As incomes rise, a new middle class is buying air conditioners and refrigerators, which are generally much less energy efficient than in the West.
If China imposed western-level efficiency standards for those appliances alone, "China would save electricity on a yearly basis from 2015 which is equivalent to building the Three Gorges dam," said Birol, referring to China’s huge hydropower project.
Scientists predict that India’s 4,500-mile coastline will be hard-hit by storm surges and rising sea levels that could displace millions of people. A major worry is that shrinking Himalayan glaciers will threaten the great rivers that provide water for vast agriculture regions that feed a sixth of the world’s population.
The government, however, has a difficult balancing act in a country with 400 million people without access to electricity.
"We need to find pragmatic and practical solutions that would include mitigation and adaptation strategies with fair burden sharing," said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will lead his country’s delegation to Bali. "We’re looking for a solution that does not perpetuate poverty in developing countries."
1.3 G8, emerging nations must coordinate on energy: Germany
3 December 2007, AFP
The German presidency of the Group of Eight nations Monday called on industrialised and developing countries to work together on energy policy to reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told his counterparts from the G8 and the five leading emerging countries that coordinated action was the only way a major UN-sponsored climate change conference that started Monday in Bali could produce real results.
"Climate protection is inseparable from energy security," Steinmeier told the ministers, who gathered in Berlin to discuss global warming.
"Today, we want to offer our support to Bali with this conference."
Steinmeier acknowledged deep rifts between the G8 and the developing world on the issue of fighting climate change.
"But we are all in agreement that the negotiations must continue under the auspices of the UN," he said, calling for a "binding agreement" that would commit countries to lowering their carbon emissions.
"Many are sceptical and standing on the sidelines, but I also see among them a political discussion at home that gives me hope that this can change," he said, in a thinly veiled reference to the world’s top polluter, the United States.
"Our objective is to reinforce energy cooperation… for industrialised and emerging countries," he said.
"We need alert systems and coordination mechanisms," Steinmeier said, adding that a strengthening of cross-border institutions such as the Paris-based International Energy Agency would foster this goal.
He also proposed expanding the powers of the International Energy Forum in Riyadh to cover gas markets as well as petrol.
"I hope we can have a debate among ourselves about this subject," he said.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) hopes that its 11-day conference in Indonesia will deliver a roadmap for negotiating cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that will be implemented after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol runs out.
One key sticking point is the kind of commitments large developing countries should make under post-2012 Kyoto.
Leaders of the Group of Eight countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States — agreed at a summit in Germany in June to a non-binding goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and urged major emerging nations to help them achieve the goal.
The Group of Five emerging powers are Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.
2.1. Cameron announces green energy policy
9 December 2007, Green Building Press, UK
Conservative Party leader David Cameron has visited the Greenpeace direct action warehouse to announce a new policy that would see householders receive a guaranteed premium price for any renewable electricity they generate. A new Conservative green paper adopts Greenpeace proposals designed to kick-start a local energy revolution by making the costs of installing technologies such as domestic solar power much more affordable, while ensuring householders who generate clean energy get a higher price for the electricity they feed into the grid.
Greenpeace has led the campaign for the adoption of a ‘decentralised energy’ system where energy is generated cleanly and close to where it’s used, drastically slashing emissions by cutting out waste.
New Conservative polices include: A ‘feed-in tariff’ for domestic green energy. That means a guaranteed elevated price for electricity from clean technology. In Germany, households with installed renewable systems are able to sell electricity back to the grid at a much higher price than the standard market rate.
A reformed planning system making it easier for individuals to install micro-generation systems by making them a form of permitted development. This will mean that owners of these appliances will not have to go through the full planning approval process before installing such equipment.
The green paper promises that further announcements detailing support for large scale renewable schemes such as offshore wind farms, and so-called Combined Heat and Power plants, will follow. A series of announcements will form the Conservatives’ complete clean energy policy. Today’s proposals are the first to be published.
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK said: ‘We’ve been pushing this climate change solution for many years so it’s very exciting to have a major political party take our ideas and adopt them as policy. But we really want to see this as a government priority, no matter who’s in Number Ten.
Ken Livingstone has been aggressively pushing decentralised energy for London, now Cameron has joined in. The question is, where’s Brown? Guaranteed higher prices for clean electricity have kick started the green energy revolution in Europe. It’s high time Britain joined in.’
The Greenpeace warehouse building is powered by solar panels, the kind of technology supported in the new Conservative report. Cameron will be given a tour of the solar array on the Greenpeace roof.
Greenpeace believe Cameron will be lobbied by energy dinosaurs wanting him to drop his green plans but say they are encouraging him to stand his ground and develop his ideas to include:
Massive improvements in energy efficiency to reduce demand – the quickest and cheapest way to cut emissions.
Ambitious decentralised energy programmes – like the one proposed today – that will cut waste from the energy system and slash emissions.
Serious development of large scale renewable energy including wind power(onshore and offshore), wave power, tidal power, solar and sustainably sourced biomass.
Greenpeace has written to Gordon Brown urging his government to embrace the ideas in the organisation’s climate change solutions reports and has invited ministers to see decentralised energy in action.
2.2. ‘Common energy policy needed’
6 December 2007, NW Evening Mail
COPELAND MP Jamie Reed has called for a common international approach towards energy policy in order to combat climate change.
He was speaking during a conference in Ukraine over the weekend.
Mr Reed addressed politicians and policy makers from across Eastern Europe.
The politician said: “I was extremely pleased to have been asked to address such an important event, particularly given my work in Westminster in the fields of energy and environmental policy. Energy policy is an international issue.
“For the UK our policies need to take into account the realities of the actions of Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus, every bit as much as the United States.”
After the conference Mr Reed said following discussions with former advisors to President Clinton, current advisors to President Bush and these latest discussions in Kiev, it is absolutely clear a common international approach towards energy policy, uses and sources is needed.
He said: “Given that Britain is the first, and so far only, country in the world to have published a climate change bill to help combat global warming as part of an international response, many countries are waiting to follow Britain’s lead on our energy policy.
“It is absolutely clear that Britain is leading the world in this debate – but we need to understand just how low the concern is about climate change in developing countries.”
2.3. Here come the Tories to launch their green energy policy
6 December 2007, Greenpeace
David Cameron launches his new policy on green renewable energy
We’re used to having some unusual people descending on our offices, but today’s visit by David Cameron and several other members of the shadow cabinet is the most leftfield (or should that be rightfield?) visitation for some time. But they were here to launch a new policy that uses many of our own demands for renewable energy, a vital component in the struggle to limit the impacts of climate change.
Cameron’s new plan, Power to the People echoes a lot of what we’ve been saying for years about breaking down our old, antiquated national grid and encouraging micro-generation where households and businesses produce their own electricity using renewable sources like wind and solar.
It revolves around the idea of a feed-in tariff, allowing people with solar panels and wind turbines to sell their surplus electricity back to the grid at a guaranteed price. Germany has exactly this kind of system which has encouraged much more investment in renewables than in this country.
The Tories propose using the current grants for micro-generation to fund the feed-in tariff scheme: taking away these grants sounds like a bad thing to do, but the argument is that providing feed-in tariffs instead will kick-start a "consumer-driven, bottom-up" energy revolution, as Cameron described it. He also said that once people are generating their own electricity, it will force changes in behaviour as everyone becomes more aware of where energy comes from and, perhaps more importantly, how it’s used. To be honest, I have to agree.
Even by our standards, inviting the Tories onto our home turf is strange, but the priority here is not political allegiances, it’s to stop climate change and we’ll work with whichever party is prepared to go the distance. It certainly doesn’t mean we agree with all of their policies and we’ll still push them on other issues like nuclear power.
Even though Cameron still won’t completely rule out nuclear power, his comments made it pretty obvious that nuclear power is dead in the water – he said the government are no closer to solving the waste problem and the Tories won’t hand out public subsidies. He also added: "I think there’s an element to the government’s approach that is really quite irresponsible." Which is putting it mildly.
Is this the wind of change? If these policies don’t get knobbled by the big dinosaurs of the energy industry, it could well be although it’s just one piece of the whole solution and of course Cameron isn’t in power. But as he noted, recent evidence shows that the best way to get something into government policy seems to be getting the opposition to announce it first.
3.1. Int’l groups concerned over free trade in climate policies
8 December 2007, www.chinaview.cn
BALI, Indonesia: International groups for development and environment have raised concerns over trade and climate policies as trade ministers on Saturday joined discussions of the ongoing U.N. Climate Change Conference.
Dozens of trade ministers and representatives from international organizations started the Informal Trade Ministers Dialogue on Climate Change Issues here on Saturday. This is the first time that trade ministers have joined an international conference on climate change.
During their two-day meeting over the weekend, the ministers will discuss the possible inter linkages between trade, investment and climate policies.
However, international development agency Oxfam said that the meeting has been seriously compromised by a proposal by the United States and the European Union (EU) that uses the climate crisis to push for their trade liberalization schemes heavily criticized at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The United States and the EU have launched a joint push for freer trade in environmental goods and services through the WTO ahead of the talks, including climate-friendly technologies.
"The U.N. conference on climate change is being used as a pretext to dust off old proposals that haven’t gotten anywhere at the WTO," said Barry Coates, executive director of Oxfam New Zealand in Bali on Saturday.
"A high priority for action on climate change is support of developing countries to access affordable and clean technology and to develop technology that is most appropriate to the challenges they face. But rich countries have done little to honor their commitments," he said. "Rather than taking bold action to provide resources for technology transfer to developing countries, the EU and the U.S. are passing around old wine in new bottles," said Coates.
The proposal would open up developing country markets to goods that are mainly produced in rich countries, according to Oxfam.
"The U.S. and the EU have repeatedly sought market access in developing countries — including for environmental goods and services — but they have steadfastly refused to reform their own unfair trade practices," said Coates.
"This proposal could create the impression that the climate change challenge at the WTO can easily be addressed through promoting trade in a select few goods and services," said Coates.
He called for a new approach from the rich countries in trade negotiations, one that aims to support sound policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and poverty rather than pushing a "mercantilist" approach.
Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth International warned on the eve of the talks that the informal trade talks could seriously threaten the opportunity for a just and sustainable way forward on tackling climate change.
"This informal trade ministerial taking place behind closed doors on the sidelines of climate talks is deeply worrying. What the climate negotiations need is trust and transparency. The World Trade Organization’s anti-poor, anti-environment agenda must be kept out of the U.N. climate process," said Friends of Earth International Chair Meena Raman on Friday.
Technology transfer is not about reducing trade barriers. If the EU and the United States were serious about helping developing countries tackle climate change, they should be radically reducing their own emissions and living up to their obligations by paying their climate debts, said Raman.
The Bali Conference, which opened Monday, is widely expected to make a breakthrough in the form of a roadmap for a future international agreement on enhanced global action to fight climate change in the period after 2012, the year the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires.
3.2. Preserving Tropical Forests Is Key Issue at Talks on Global Warming
9 December 2007, Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, Washington Post Staff Writers
As 12,000 people gathered in Bali
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Bali?tid=informline this week to begin framing a global response to Earth’s warming climate, efforts to close a deal that would slow destruction of tropical forests appear to be the best prospect for a concrete achievement from the historic assemblage.
But the deforestation issue is also Exhibit A for the disputes that have made climate negotiations lengthy and divisive despite widening agreement that global warming is real and largely man-made. While scientific dispute over what causes global warming has ended, the debate over how to address it has just begun.
Deforestation is one of the biggest drivers of the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Each year, tropical forests covering an area at least equal to the size of New York
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/New+York?tid=informline state are destroyed; the carbon dioxide that those trees would have absorbed amounts to 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, about the same as total U.S. emissions.
The bargain is being championed by a dozen of the world’s developing countries at the conference, whose ultimate goal is to map out a two-year path aimed at forging a global system for imposing and enforcing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
But the hoped-for compromise — which would give financial rewards to poor nations that slow or halt the destruction of their forests — could still founder amid divisions over who bears how much responsibility for slowing climate change — and who should pay for it.
Developing countries that profit from logging or expanded farming and construction are seeking incentives and assistance for preserving their forests or slowing the rate of destruction. But many developed countries do not want to pay other nations for actions that are not taken, and they worry that it would be hard to measure the amount of avoided deforestation.
"The problems tend to start when you get down to the small print," said Yvo de Boer http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Yvo+de+Boer?tid=informline , executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/United+Nations+Framework+Convention+on+Climate+Change?tid=informline , the treaty organization that oversees international climate negotiations.
Deforestation aside, much of the focus on the Indonesian island will be on the large print. "If things go wrong in Bali, I think we are in deep trouble," said de Boer.
The goal is to come up with climate accords that would take effect after the expiration in 2012 of the Kyoto Protocol http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Kyoto+Protocol?tid=informline , which was negotiated a decade ago. Under that treaty, a cap-and-tradesystem for limiting and creating a market for emissions is in effect in Europe and has become a multibillion-dollar-a-year business.
"It will be a process to get to a mandate to get a protocol," said Dirk Forrister, a managing director of Natsource LLC, a firm that invests in projects that produce marketable credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
But government officials are also trying to leave Bali with some concrete achievements, and preserving the world’s forests ranks as one of the most likely prospects.
"It’s the area of climate-change negotiations that offers the most promise of cooperation between developing and developed countries, which is why it’s so attractive to people on both sides," said Duncan Marsh, director of international climate policy for the Nature Conservancy , an advocacy group.
There is ample scientific evidence that tropical forests are particularly valuable in curbing climate change. Ken Caldeira, a scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s department of global ecology, has done studies showing that these forests not only store carbon in their trees but also help produce white clouds that reflect sunlight back to space, which has a cooling effect.
In 1997, deforestation was left out of the final Kyoto
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Kyoto?tid=informline accord. Industrialized countries balked at paying countries for avoiding action, and Brazil did not want interference in what it considered a matter of national sovereignty. Later, when Europe implemented its cap-and-trade system, it did not give offset credits for avoided deforestation, which it feared would flood its system with cheap credits. (It did allow credits for planting trees in areas that were deforested before 1990 or where there had been no forest vegetation
for at least 50 years.)
Without financial assistance, persuading poor countries to preserve their forests is not easy. Last week, Everton Vieira Vargas, one of Brazil’s senior delegates to the Bali talks, told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper that his country should not be held to the same standards as developed countries when it comes to greenhouse gases.
"It’s a myopic vision to want to compare the responsibilities of India and China http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/China?tid=informline in emissions with the United States and Europe," Vargas said, adding that it’s "very different" to compare the carbon generated by bringing electricity to Chinese villagers with the carbon emitted by sport-utility vehicles in rich countries.
But Daniel M. Price, Bush’s deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, said in an interview that one of the key tests of any climate agreement will be whether developing countries do their part.
"It can’t just be the developed countries. It’s got to be the developing countries as well," Price said. When it comes to the next round of climate commitments, he added, "A post-2012 framework will simply not be effective if developing countries adopt the view that they need to do nothing."
Even the traditional allies of developing nations say those countries must tackle climate change. "It’s a perfectly understandable point, but to not do anything to improve the greenhouse gas situation is semi-suicidal for everybody," said Thomas E. Lovejoy, president of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment.
Providing financial incentives to "reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation" has emerged as the most likely way of enlisting poor countries in combating climate change. American nongovernmental organizations have helped write proposals for determining historical deforestation baselines that could be measured on a national level. That would avoid the problem of paying a country to stop deforesting one area and then have it do so elsewhere. Credits based on those "savings" could then be sold in cap-and-trade markets in industrialized nations.
Papua New Guinea
is leading the group of tropical-forest nations backing a financial incentive plan. A session at the Bali talks will present 10 years of satellite and ground data to convince negotiators that accurate measurement is possible.
"Eighteen months ago, most people were really skeptical that this would ever be included in the next round," said Glenn T. Prickett, senior vice president for business and U.S. government relations at the advocacy group Conservation International . "Political opinion has really come around."
James L. Connaughton
, who chairs the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the Bush administration was still studying how to steer money to the protection of tropical rain forests. "The concept of paying for avoided deforestation is a good one," he said. "The proponents themselves recognize there are difficulties. It’s a new area, and we want to make sure it is done right."
Robert G. Aisi, who is Papua New Guinea’s U.N.
ambassador, has been pushing for more than two years to address deforestation in the context of a climate accord. He said industrialized nations need to understand that if countries such as his hold off logging their forests, there has to be financial compensation.
"It’s our resource, it’s not yours," he said. "But we understand it’s a resource that can be part of the global public goods."
3.3. Bali Global Warming Success May Depend on China
4 December 2007, U.S. Agreement, by Alex Morales and Kim Chipman
Cobbling a global treaty to slow the planet’s warming may require an unprecedented agreement between the U.S. and China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluters.
Delegates, lawmakers and scientists from 187 countries gathering in
Bali, Indonesia, for the next two weeks aim to set a deadline for replacing the global warming treaty signed 10 years ago in Kyoto, Japan, that expires in 2012. The accord, which prescribes emissions cuts for industrialized nations, didn’t require mandatory reductions for developing countries such as China, and the U.S. refused to sign it.
China and the U.S. each say they want the other to take on binding commitments to limit emissions in order to participate in a new accord. China’s officials says the country needs to expand its economy, while the Bush administration says it is concerned that emissions caps will harm economic competitiveness Both nations will have to make concessions in a new deal, says U.K. Environment Minister Phil Woolas, a Bali participant.
“We need the world’s biggest economy, the U.S., on board,” Woolas says. “A new climate deal must include fair, effective contributions from developing economies such as China.”
The two countries are responsible for about 40 percent of global emissions, according to data compiled by the U. S. Department of Energy. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this year said global emissions must peak by 2015 and drop by half by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of global warming, including rising sea levels and more frequent droughts.
The current treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, binds 36 nations to cut the gases by a combined 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to ratify the Kyoto accord and the treaty doesn’t set goals for China.
“The U.S. and other industrialized nations must accept mandatory caps and acknowledge that poorer nations won’t forego economic growth,” said Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, in a response to e-mailed questions.
“China and other developing countries will have to take on their own binding commitments — not the same form as ours — but perhaps a commitment per unit of GDP growth,” said Kerry, a Congressional delegate.
China has a plan to reduce the amount of energy used to generate each unit of gross domestic product by one-fifth by 2010 from 2005 levels. The world’s most populous nation can’t do as much to control warming as the U.S. or Europe, because it needs to consume energy to generate growth and reduce poverty, Chinese officials say.
China’s Coal Plants
“Developed countries should lead by example in cutting their own emissions and energy use,” the Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesman, Liu Jianchao, said at a press conference in Beijing. “Furthermore, they should transfer technology and financial assistance to developing countries.”
China burns coal to generate 78 percent of the electricity used in the world’s biggest energy-consuming nation after the U.S. Chinese power demand may rise 13.5 percent next year, according to the State Grid Corp. of China.
“We don’t have the motivation or incentives to reduce carbon emissions at coal-fired plants,” said Zhang Shaopeng, Beijing-based spokesman for Datang International Power Generation Co., China’s second-largest power utility by market value. “It’s unrealistic to expect power companies to assume the cost.”
`Crying and Whining’
As China has grown in wealth and influence, its argument that it remains a developing nation sounds hollow, said Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers union. The economy may expand 10.8 percent next year after growing 11.4 percent this year, economists from China’s State Information Center said Dec. 3. China also has the most foreign reserves of any nation.
“I’m sick and tired of China crying and whining,” Gerard said in an interview. “They aren’t a developing country. They’ve got an advanced economy. They are the export capital of the world.”
China’s 20 percent energy intensity target compares with a plan by Bush in 2002 to curb U.S. emissions per unit of GDP by 18 percent by 2012.
The Bush administration rejects mandatory caps on emissions and the carbon credit trading system used by the European Union in favor of developing clean technology, such as equipment that captures power station emissions and pumps them underground.
“What’s the alternative?,” James Connaughton, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a Nov. 21 phone interview. “If we don’t have the technology for producing power from coal with low-carbon emissions we can’t solve the problem, right?”
The key to an agreement is to get “convergence” between those who want to cap emissions and those who prefer to focus on strategies to accomplish the reductions, he said. “I’m hopeful that convergence is actually going to occur” in Bali.
Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the organizer of the Bali talks, says there won’t be a new agreement in place at the end of the two-week meeting. Rather, the task for delegates is to set a negotiation agenda for the next two years, leading up to a new deal in 2009, he says.
“I won’t need to call Father Christmas if Bali delivers all that,” de Boer said in a telephone interview. “The earlier you do the deal, the better.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at [email protected] ; Kim Chipman in Denpasar, Indonesia, at [email protected].
3.4. The country adopts legislation Wednesday to cut emissions 36 percent as delegates hammer out a post-Kyoto treaty.
5 December 2007, Mariah Blake, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
Hamburg, Germany – This week, delegates from more than 180 countries are gathered in Bali for a United Nations-sponsored conference, where they will try to hash out a road map for a post-Kyoto climate treaty. Meanwhile, Germany is forging ahead and adopting what experts here say is the most comprehensive climate-protection package ever enacted worldwide.
Using a raft of measures – many aimed at boosting energy efficiency or cultivating renewable energy sources – the nation plans to reduce heat-trapping gases by 36 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2020.
By adopting the plan Wednesday, Germany aims to influence the negotiations.
"We hope that the example set by our decisions will be followed and that we come together internationally to implement ambitious climate goals," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday in her weekly podcast.
But at home the plan has gotten mixed reviews, particularly from environmental groups and climate scientists who say there are crucial gaps that reflect larger contradictions in the nation’s policies.
Germany has made bold strides in the fight against climate change and is one of only three European nations on track to meet its Kyoto obligations.
Yet it is one of the continent’s heaviest coal users, and its legendary auto industry has mounted stiff resistance against toughening emissions standards for cars.
Focal point of its foreign policy
Since Germany’ Mrs. Merkel became chancellor two years ago, Germany has made global warming a focal point of its foreign policy. It was during the nation’s European Union presidency that member nations pledged last March to cut heat-trapping gasses by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.
On the domestic front, the new climate program is the most far-reaching legislative package on any issue that Germany’s grand coalition government has adopted.
One of the most ambitious elements of the program involves raising the share of power from renewable sources to 25 to 30 percent of the total mix, largely by increasing financial incentives for wind and geothermal power.
Right now, only 5.8 percent of Germany’s energy supply comes from renewable sources, while more than 60 percent comes from fossil fuels.
Other provisions of the plan include:
•raising taxes on gas-guzzling cars
•requiring new buildings, including homes, to be 30 percent more energy efficient
•creating cleaner power stations
•and expanding the nation’s biofuel market.
What’s more, the climate package is expected to save industry and consumers more than $7 billion by 2020, largely by weaning them from costly fossil fuels, according to a government-commissioned study. Germany hopes this will influence the debate in Bali, since in past treaty negotiations, a key sticking point has been fears that setting binding targets for greenhouse gases could hamper economic growth, particularly in developing countries.
But the Ministry of Economics, which has close links to industry, found earlier this year that the draft plan would cost $98 billion, nearly double the official $50 billion tally.
These initiatives have been hailed by Sigmar Gabriel, federal minister for the environment, as a "quantum leap" forward. But while goals of the program enjoy wide support among the German public, the contents have gotten mixed reviews from experts.
Mixed reviews from experts, industry
Environmental groups and climate scientists say there are crucial gaps, particularly when it comes to coal-fired power plants. The plan makes no effort to address Germany’s growing dependency on them, though they’re a major source of heat-trapping gases.
At the moment, at least 20 coal-fired plants are in the works here.
"If all of those plants are actually completed, the measures introduced in the climate plan will have been completely in vain," says Hermann Ott, a policy expert at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
Another criticism is that the plan doesn’t set a blanket speed limit on the autobahn. Environmental groups and EU officials have proposed this as a way of cutting emissions, but the idea has touched off heated debate in a country where driving at top speed is a cherished national pastime.
Industry groups are also skeptical of the new climate plan, which they worry may increase costs, especially for heavy industry.
"The biggest danger is that energy-intensive sectors, like steel, won’t be able to compete on the global market," says Dieter Kreikenbaum, an energy specialist at the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce.
He adds that this could create a ripple effect as other industries that rely on steel – among them Germany’s legendary automakers – are forced to look abroad for materials.
Lobbying groups in Germany managed to loosen certain restrictions since the Ministry of Economics report came out.
Now, Germany’s auto industry, which wields enormous clout, is fighting draft EU emissions regulations. To be unveiled Dec. 19, the new rules would require high-performance cars to reduce per-kilometer emissions by more than half.
Need for post-Kyoto plan by 2009
Most world leaders agree that climate change is an urgent issue, but are divided over how to address it. The EU wants binding targets on emissions, while developing countries argue this approach would stymie growth. The US is pushing for a piecemeal plan, where individual nations set their own goals.
This week, the search for common ground is playing out most visibly in Bali, where delegates have 11 days to forge a blueprint and a timeline for treaty negotiations. The accord will have to be worked out by late 2009 in order for it to take effect when Kyoto expires in 2012.
3.5. ‘We must revisit the polluter-pays norm’
4 December 2007, ,Narayani Ganesh, TNN
YVO de Boer , executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and his team are in the thick of the international conference at Bali, Indonesia, where negotiations to chart a future course of action to deal with the pressing issue of climate change have already begun. Mr de Boer spoke on the issues that could be discussed at Bali.
What is the significance of the Bali meeting?
We’ve had very clear scientific reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that we have to turn the trend of global emissions within the next five to 10 years. If we don’t manage to launch negotiations at Bali to conclude and complete those negotiations by 2009, the future would be bleak. What is the gap between future financial flow requirements to counter climate change and existing resources?
According to the International Energy Agency an investment of $20 trillion over the next 25 years would be necessary to be able to meet the growing world energy demand. The challenge is how to get investors to go with cleaner energy options. May be something can be done through taxes; standards for industrial processes and appliances… You still need money to finance those projects that are not commercially viable on their own. We would need $200 billion per year by 2030 to return emissions to the levels where they were in the year 2000.
But you said at the recent Carbon Forum in Asia that the carbon trading market “could disappear more quickly than it appeared”.
If companies don’t have clarity that there is going to be a long-term climate change regime beyond 2012 then they don’t have incentives to invest in clean development mechanisms (CDMs) because they don’t know that there is going to be an international regime that will reward them for those investments. So it is important that we launch a negotiating process to give the market confidence at the Bali meeting that international climate change policy will continue.
The rich countries are responsible for the carbon dioxide emissions stocks and both rich and poor are creating CO2e flows. Would a Bali mandate take this into account?
It would not be reasonable to ask developing countries to commit to emission reduction targets. But it is important that developing countries avoid the mistakes made by the west by choosing inefficient industrial processing with very high emissions. The challenge is to design a regime where countries in the North would provide finances to the South to go green. India might be willing to commit to have an X per cent of renewables by 2020. Or improve the efficiency of its cement production processes voluntarily, those would be voluntary commitments not to reduce their emissions, but to limit the growth of emissions and then not in a legally binding sense. It depends on what you can do on your own and what you could do extra if international finance resources are provided.
3.6. Bali negotiations so far: solid start BUT improvements needed
10 December 2007, CAN Europe
On Wednesday 12 December the Ministerial-Level segment of the UNFCCC negotiations in Bali will start. This will be a crucial phase to get a proper agreement by Friday. We are seeing positive developments, but they remain extremely fragile, and need to be encouraged and brought to a higher level. Therefore it is extremely important that the statements the EU ministers will make, include the right messages. These are in short:
• that they make an explicit reference to the fact that industrialised countries will continue to take the lead in the fight against climate change;
• that they make explicit reference to the below mentioned 2050 global reduction target and the 2020 target for industrialised countries;
• that they recognise and support the positive developments in the group of developing countries we are seeing in Bali;
• that they can deliver this support by putting in place the much needed technological and financial means on technology transfer, adaptation and the fight against deforestation.
Climate Action Network Europe (CAN-Europe) welcomes the draft proposal on post 2012 that was released on saturday in Bali. It can be seen as a good start for developing a comprehensive international framework for long-term cooperative action beyond 2012, building on the Convention and Kyoto Protocol. But the urgency of the situation requires the decision to be firmer in key areas to demonstrate that the world is really serious about dealing with climate change.
EU ministers can make this happen.
Therefore we ask them to include the following key messages in their speeches.
EU ministers should confirm and stress the need to reach a global agreement on the post 2012 Climate Change agreement by 2009 in order to avoid a gap after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
Industrialised countries have to and will take the lead in the fight against climate change. EU Ministers should include very concrete figures when making their plenary statements in the high-level meeting, and not keep it vague. They should make clear reference to keeping global average temperature rise below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. Global greenhouse gas emissions have to peak and decline within a decade and have to be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Developed countries have to take the lead and commit themselves to a reduction range of at least 25-40% by 2020.
We are observing positive evolutions in the position of big leading countries among the G77 especially in the discussions on post 2012 or or the role of technology in the future roadmap to be charted out here in Bali. EU environment ministers need to recognize and support these positive developments. They can do this by putting in place the much needed technological and financial means, including technology transfer, helping in avoiding deforestation and forest degradation and adaptation.
4.1. The New Dawn of Solar
9 December 2007, MICHAEL MOYER, Green Tech, Nanosolar Powersheet
Imagine a solar panel without the panel. Just a coating, thin as a layer of paint, that takes light and converts it to electricity. From there, you can picture roof shingles with solar cells built inside and window coatings that seem to suck power from the air. Consider solar-powered buildings stretching not just across sunny Southern California, but through China and India and Kenya as well, because even in those countries, going solar will be cheaper than burning coal. That’s the promise of thin-film solar cells: solar power that’s ubiquitous because it’s cheap. The basic technology has been around for decades, but this year, Silicon Valley–based Nanosolar created the manufacturing technology that could make that promise a reality.
The company produces its PowerSheet solar cells with printing-press-style machines that set down a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil, so the panels can be made for about a tenth of what current panels cost and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute. With backing from Google’s founders and $20 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, Nanosolar’s first commercial cells rolled off the presses this year.
Cost has always been one of solar’s biggest problems. Traditional solar cells require silicon, and silicon is an expensive commodity (exacerbated currently by a global silicon shortage). What’s more, says Peter Harrop, chairman of electronics consulting firm IDTechEx, “it has to be put on glass, so it’s heavy, dangerous, expensive to ship and expensive to install because it has to be mounted.” And up to 70 percent of the silicon gets wasted in the manufacturing process. That means even the cheapest solar panels cost about $3 per watt of energy they go on to produce. To compete with coal, that figure has to shrink to just $1 per watt.
Nanosolar’s cells use no silicon, and the company’s manufacturing process allows it to create cells that are as efficient as most commercial cells for as little as 30 cents a watt. “You’re talking about printing rolls of the stuff—printing it on the roofs of 18-wheeler trailers, printing it on garages, printing it wherever you want it,” says Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. “It really is quite a big deal in terms of altering the way we think about solar and in inherently altering the economics of solar.”
In San Jose, Nanosolar has built what will soon be the world’s largest solar-panel manufacturing facility. CEO Martin Roscheisen claims that once full production starts early next year, it will create 430 megawatts’ worth of solar cells a year—more than the combined total of every other solar plant in the U.S. The first 100,000 cells will be shipped to Europe, where a consortium will be building a 1.4-megawatt power plant next year.
Right now, the biggest question for Nanosolar is not if its products can work, but rather if it can make enough of them. California, for instance, recently launched the Million Solar Roofs initiative, which will provide tax breaks and rebates to encourage the installation of 100,000 solar roofs per year, every year, for 10 consecutive years (the state currently has 30,000 solar roofs). The company is ready for the solar boom. “Most important,” Harrop says, “Nanosolar is putting down factories instead of blathering to the press and doing endless experiments. These guys are getting on with it, and that is impressive.” More: nanosolar.com
5.1. United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 13 and CMP 3)
3-11 December 2007, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia.
More info: http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_13/items/4049.php .
5.2. Roundtable on the impact of nuclear liability regimes on the EU energy market
19 December 2007, Lawfirm Kuhbier, Brussels
More info: please write reply to [email protected] , here is also Preliminary programme .
5.3. World Biofuels Markets ’08
12-14 March 2008, at the Brussels Expo in Belgium.
World Biofuels Markets is the premier event for any organisation involved in the rapidly maturing global biofuels markets. With 1300 participants from 58 countries attending in 2007, the World Biofuels Markets Congress is Europe’s largest gathering of biofuels professionals.
This year’s agenda includes over 200 top speakers and is organized into three streams with five workshops. Several networking events are also built into the program, offering participants plenty of time to meet new contacts and visit our 100 exhibitors.
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected].