E – news update 10 March 2008

ENERGY

1.1. Climate change may spark conflict with Russia, EU told
10 March 2008, Guardian.co.uk
European governments have been told to plan for an era of conflict over energy resources, with global warming likely to trigger a dangerous contest between Russia and the west for the vast mineral riches of the Arctic.
A report from the EU’s top two foreign policy officials to the 27 heads of government gathering in Brussels for a summit this week warns that "significant potential conflicts" are likely in the decades ahead as a result of "intensified competition over access to, and control over, energy resources".
The seven-page report, obtained by the Guardian, has been written by Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy supremo, and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the commissioner for external relations. It predicts that global warming will precipitate security issues for Europe, ranging from energy wars to mass migration, failed states and political radicalisation.
The report warns of greater rich-poor and north-south tension because global warming is disproportionately caused by the wealthy north and west while its impact will be most catastrophic in the poor south.
The officials single out the impact of the thawing Arctic and its emergence as a potential flashpoint of rival claims, pointing to the Kremlin’s grab for the Arctic last year when President Vladimir Putin hailed as heroes a team of scientists who planted a Russian flag on the Arctic seabed.
Developments in the Arctic had "potential consequences for international stability and European security interests".
"The rapid melting of the polar ice caps, in particular the Arctic, is opening up new waterways and international trade routes," the report notes. "The increased accessibility of the enormous hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic region is changing the geostrategic dynamics of the region."
The report also stresses the volatility of the regions that hold large mineral deposits and predicts greater destabilisation in central Asia and the Middle East as a result of global warming. The report comes as the issue of energy security begins to loom large on the agenda of western policymakers. A summit of Nato leaders in Bucharest next month will discuss the problem for the first time, while a new manifesto for a radical overhaul of the western alliance moots the possibility of Nato being used "as an instrument of energy security".
"There will be a discussion of these new security risks, including energy," said a senior Nato diplomat. "We will try to find areas where Nato can add value."
The 150-page manifesto for a new Nato, penned by five former chiefs of staff and senior Nato commanders from the US, UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, also points to the likely friction in the Arctic as a result of climate change.
The Arctic thaw has already created "minor tensions" between Russia and Nato member Norway over fishing rights around the Spitsbergen archipelago. "The islands of Spitsbergen … have large deposits of gas and oil that are currently locked under a frozen continental shelf," the document states.
"If global warming were to allow this to become a viable source of energy, a serious conflict could emerge between Russia and Norway." This "potential crisis" would draw in the US, Canada and Denmark "competing for large and viable energy resources and precious raw materials".
With specific reference to Arctic exploration, the EU’s report says: "The scramble for resources will intensify."
But the retired generals complain that the EU is not tackling the issue of "protection of energy resources and their means of transportation. The EU is using soft instruments and this is unlikely to protect energy security".
The Solana report is the first high-level attempt to get the issue on the summit agenda. According to a draft outcome for this week’s EU summit, the 27 prime ministers and presidents will order "appropriate follow-up action" by the end of the year. Solana and Ferrero-Waldner call on the EU to draw up an Arctic policy "based on the evolving geostrategy of the … region, taking into account access to resources and the opening of new trade routes".
Next month’s Nato summit discussion of the alliance’s role in energy security is fuelling speculation that western troops could by deployed as "pipeline police" in places such as the Caucasus. This was dismissed by the Nato diplomat. "Energy security and the security of installations and transportation routes are a national responsibility, not an alliance responsibility," he said. "We should be looking to offer advice and help, rather than putting boots on the ground."
Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/10/eu.climatechange?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront

1.2. EU report warns of conflict with Russia over energy issue
8 March 2008, The Irish Times
A REPORT on security challenges to the EU will bluntly warn the union’s summit next week that Europe could face conflict with Russia over access to energy reserves in the Arctic and a dangerous surge in immigration due to the impact of climate change.
And the report warns that the EU must address the reality that fragile states in Africa, Asia and the Middle East will be much worse off due to severe food and water shortages, which are likely to spark regional conflicts and humanitarian disasters.
The warnings are contained in the report, Climate Change and International Security, from the EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the commission to the EU leaders’ meeting next week in Brussels.
It argues that climate change threatens to "overburden states and regions which are already fragile and conflict prone" and urges a radical rethink of EU policies to better protect its own political and security interests.
The paper warns that competition over water and food supplies will fuel existing conflicts in Africa and intensify political instability in the Middle East where two-thirds of the Arab world rely on water sources outside their borders.
Sea level rises, changes in the monsoon rains and a decrease in melt water from the Himalayas threaten three billion people in south Asia. In North Africa and the Sahel, drought, water scarcity and land overuse could lead to the loss of 75 per cent of arable, rain-fed land. By 2050 five million people in the Nile Delta could be affected by rising sea levels while climate change is already having a major impact on the conflict in and around Darfur, says the report. It warns that by 2020 "there will be millions of ‘environmental’ migrants".
Europe is also already facing challenges to its security and economic interests in the Arctic due to the rapid melting of the polar ice caps. Increased accessibility to the enormous hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic is transforming the geo-strategic dynamics of the region with consequences for Europe’s security interests, the report says.
"The resulting new strategic interests are illustrated by the recent planting of the Russian flag under the North Pole. There is an increasing need to address the growing debate over territorial claims and access to new trade routes by different countries which challenge Europe’s ability to effectively secure its trade and resource interests in the region," the report argues. And it recommends paying special consideration to the EU’s long-term relationship with Russia and the creation of an EU "Arctic policy".
The report concludes that the Law of the Sea may also have to be strengthened to cope with an expected increase in maritime disputes as new sea routes open, coastlines recede and some territories become submerged due to rising sea levels.
It also highlights the need for multilateral institutions such as the G8 and the UN to address the growing security and political risks caused by climate change. This could help to tackle the likely growth in the "politics of resentment", whereby states hurting the most from climate change will resent heavy polluting states. "The potential rift not only divides north and south but there will also be a south-south dimension particularly as the Chinese and Indian share of global emissions rises," it says.
The report also recommends building up EU states’ civil and military capabilities to respond to humanitarian crises, reviewing the EU budget for these efforts, and enhancing the union’s cooperation with fragile countries by providing them with technology transfers and more support.
Link: http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/frontpage/2008/0308/1204843629530.html?via=me

CLIMATE

2.1. New report questions impact of green taxes
7 March 2008, ENDS Europe DAILY
Governments may be turning their backs on green taxes in favour of more closely targeted environmental policies, consultancy KPMG has argued in a new report. Last June the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat reported that environmental tax revenues had fallen to their lowest level in a decade (EED 26/06/07).
This could indicate environmental issues are increasingly being addressed in other ways – for example through regulation or emission trading – report authors say. Or perhaps green taxes have succeeded in changing behaviour, they stress.
Such taxes are often regressive "in that by raising prices they have a greater impact on the poor than on the rich", authors say. The same is not true for tax-relief schemes designed to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour but these are only effective if eco-friendly alternatives indeed exist, they stress.
Green taxes are never simply designed to protect the environment but serve other revenue-raising or social welfare functions as well, authors say. The use of taxation to protect the environment is a "complex undertaking" and should only be considered on the basis of careful analysis and research, they conclude.
* Meanwhile on Wednesday the British parliament’s environmental audit committee called on the government to increase the level of environmental taxation. The committee accused the finance ministry of failing to follow the recommendations of the Stern report on the economics of climate change (EED 06/11/06).
New sources of revenue are urgently required to fund "vital technologies" such as carbon capture and storage, the committee said.
Link: http://www.endseuropedaily.com/articles/index.cfm?action=article&ref=25002

2.2. EU warned of climate-induced polar security threat
6 March 2008, Reuters Africa
BRUSSELS, March 6 (Reuters) – European Union leaders will receive a stark warning next week of potential conflict with Russia over energy resources at the North Pole as global warning melts the ice cap and aggravates international security threats.
A report to the leaders by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the executive European Commission describes climate change as "a threat multiplier", which will exacerbate many existing tensions and heighten instability.
"A further dimension of competition for energy resources lies in potential conflict over resources in Polar regions which will become exploitable as a consequence of global warming," the eight-page report obtained by Reuters said.
"The resulting new strategic interests are illustrated by the recent planting of the Russian flag under the North Pole."
A Russian scientific expedition planted a flag on the ocean floor last summer, staking a symbolic claim to the resource-rich region. President Vladimir Putin decorated the three-man team with "Hero of Russia" medals.
The report said the EU needed to address the growing debate over Arctic territorial claims and access to new trade routes which challenged its ability to secure its trade and resource interests and may put pressure on relations with "key partners".
It suggested the 27-nation bloc develop a specific Arctic policy "based on the evolving geo-strategy of the Arctic region, taking into account … access to resources and the opening of new trade routes".
Rules of international law such as the Law of the Sea might have to be strengthened to cope with new challenges, it said.
The study suggested the EU should do more to focus international attention on security risks related to climate change using the U.N. Security Council, the Group of Eight major industrialised powers and specialist U.N. bodies.
It cited a host of regional examples of the increased prospect of conflict caused by the reduction of arable land, water shortages, dwindling food and fish stocks, increased flooding and prolonged droughts which were already occurring.
The east coasts of China and India, as well as the Caribbean region and Central America faced particularly severe economic damage from sea-level rise and increasing natural disasters.
Loss of territory as coastlines recede and large areas are submerged would magnify disputes over land and maritime borders.
"Europe must expect substantially increased migratory pressure", the report said, as millions of "environmental migrants" flee poverty, poor health and unemployment, risking increased conflicts in transit and destination areas.
Solana and EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said climate change could increase instability in failed or failing states, stoking tensions between ethnic and religious groups and political radicalisation.
Existing tensions over access to water in the Middle East were almost certain to intensify, "leading to further political instability with detrimental implications for Europe’s energy security and other interests," the report said.
It also saw additional potential for conflict in central Asia from an increasing shortage of water, vital for both agriculture and power generation, with an impact on EU strategic and economic interests.
Link: http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL06678095.html

2.3. EU Report Cites Climate Change Threats
8 March 2008, AP
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Climate change will worsen tensions and instability between nations competing for arable land, water and other resources, according to a European Union report.
The report prepared for a meeting of the 27 EU leaders said member nations must lose no time in preparing for the impact of climate change on the security of Western Europe.
The report to the EU leaders — a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press — says climate change will trigger humanitarian crises, political and economic instability, border disputes, ethnic tensions and "environmentally induced" migration of millions of people from Africa and the Middle East to Europe. It urges the EU to put climate change high on the international agenda.
The EU leaders hold their spring summit in Brussels, Belgium on March 13 and 14.
The report drafted by Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign and security affairs chief, says the EU must become much more assertive in reversing global warming, boosting global warming research and increasing international cooperation on climate change.
The report said the EU was well equipped to push others to combat climate change because of its multilateral approach to global politics and its experience in conflict prevention and management.
2.4. EU nations voice objections to climate change plan
4 March 2008, AFP
BRUSSELS (AFP) — Several former Eastern-bloc European Union nations on Monday criticised proposals from the European Union’s executive arm for new measures to slash the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions.
While most ministers and officials representing the 27 EU countries gave broad backing to a package of measures proposed by the European Commission, some warned it could lead to job losses and rising energy costs.
The main split appeared to be between former Soviet-bloc states in eastern and central Europe — traditionally heavy users of coal — and older members.
French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo stressed the need for Europe to show the way in tackling climate change, i to encourage the developing world in particular to follow suit.
"It’s extremely important that there be a political deal" before the key international talks on finding a successor to the Kyoto Protocol begin in Poznan, Poland on December 1-12, he said.
In January, the European Commission set targets for EU member states to slash greenhouse gases, calling on them to boost renewable energy use while also unveiling plans to make industry pay for the right to pollute.
The proposed strategy is supposed to put the European Union on track to meeting a target of cutting the bloc’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.
Under the plans, the use of renewable energies like biomass, wind and solar power will rise to 20 percent of all energy forms. Biofuels will also have to make up 10 percent of fuels used for transport.
In their short submissions in a round-table discussion of the package, many member states argued that their individual circumstances should be better taken into account in setting emissions targets. The plan "would have a negative impact on the living standards of Poles and for the competitiveness and for our businesses," said Polish Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki, warning energy costs could rise by 50-70 percent.
Coal-rich Poland specifically called for the package to afford a bigger role for investments in cleaner ways of extracting energy from fossil fuel.
Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Lithuania and Bulgaria, decried the Commission’s plan to use emission figures from 2005 to work out national targets, rather than 1990, when they had huge emissions from largely coal-fuelled industry.
Their concerns were not shared by older EU members to the west.
EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas argued there was insufficient data available from 1990, when many of these countries were under Soviet influence.
Netherlands Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer recognised as "legitimate" the concerns of some member states, but stressed it was important "not to lose our common goals".
Some countries, such as Poland and Slovakia, warned energy intensive industries could be pushed outside the EU into less regulated nations, taking jobs with them and jeopardising the global emissions reductions.
However, British Environment Minister Hilary Benn rejected this argument.
"We shouldn’t let the threat of carbon leakage undermine what is we are trying to do," he argued, adding that climate change itself posed a greater threat to EU industry.
German Development Minister Mathias Machnig called on member states to work towards the higher agreed goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent from 1990 levels if there was broader international agreement to do so.
The environment ministers later turned their attention to car emissions, highlighting a split between Germany, whose automakers tend to turn out big heavy vehicles, and France and Italy, which produce smaller cars.
Their disagreement is over how to apportion emissions cut targets between carmakers.
Talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol were launched after marathon debates in Bali in December, and are set to culminate in Copenhagen from November 30 to December 11, 2009.
Link: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5grF6FcbvqRcFW8A4cGxtV-DHHHmg

EMISSIONS

3.1. MEP eyes binding requirements on carbon capture
6 March 2008, ENDS Europe DAILY
A proposed EU directive on carbon capture and storage (CCS) should include a mandatory requirement for new coal and gas-fired power stations to be fitted with the technology, according to the European parliament’s rapporteur for the plans.
In January the European commission tabled draft legislation requiring all new combustion plants of over 300 megawatts to be made "CCS ready". But there is no binding requirement to install the technology itself (EED 23/01/08).
British Liberal MEP Chris Davis (EED 05/03/08) told a hearing in the parliament on Wednesday he intends to table an amendment to the commission’s proposals introducing such a requirement. The parliament’s environment committee is due to vote on the plans in June.
Later Mr Davies told ENDS he has not yet decided on a deadline for the mandatory introduction of CCS, but he questioned the commission’s prediction that the technology will not be applied commercially before 2020.
"Why not earlier? The technology is already there, but we need to move it into mass production and look at ways of getting the price down", he said.
The MEP also argues that more needs to be done to secure adequate financing for 12 proposed CCS demonstration plants that the EU aims to build by 2015. "Unless we start to see major funding commitments from EU governments, we need to look at other ways to provide short term financing or longer term investment guarantees for these projects", he argued.
Mr Davies said he would meet colleagues from the parliament’s other political groups in the coming days to try and secure cross-party support for his proposals. "We should aim for a first reading agreement on the legislation before next June’s parliamentary elections, but that will depend on the council’s willingness to negotiate", he concluded.
In their first public debate on the CCS proposals, several EU environment ministers argued that the legal framework should be extended to include chemical as well as geological sequestration of carbon (EED 03/03/08).
Link: www.endseuropedaily.com

3.2. Japan to propose global emissions reduction in 10-20 years+
5 March 2008, Breitbart.com
Japan will propose that the world reduce global greenhouse gas emissions within 10 to 20 years and set sector-by-sector emissions reduction goals to be implemented after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, government sources said Wednesday.
The proposal builds on Japan’s "Cool Earth" initiative and will be submitted at a working-panel meeting of parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change starting in late March in Bangkok, they said.
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda referred to the initiative in his speech at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in late January.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has already emphasized that global emissions should begin dropping within 10 to 20 years to avoid a serious impact on the climate.
The Japanese government is willing to specify the target period for achieving the reduction in a bid to push its earlier proposal for halving global emissions by 2050, the sources said.
Japan made the proposal to halve emissions at last year’s Group of Eight summit and the G-8 leaders agreed to seriously consider the proposal.
The Japanese government hopes to achieve a full G-8 agreement on the long-term goal itself at this year’s G-8 summit that Japan will host in Hokkaido in July.
As a specific method to achieve a global emissions cut, the government will propose a sector-by-sector approach in which emissions reduction goals would be set for eight specific sectors including energy- intensive manufacturers, power generation and agriculture, the sources said.
The goals would be based on feasible diffusion rates for energy-saving systems in these sectors, they said.
The forthcoming Japanese proposal will also call for transferring energy-saving technologies to developing countries to achieve a 30 percent improvement in the world’s energy efficiency and for the provision of aid to developing nations seriously affected by global warming, the sources said.
Link: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8V78SHO2&show_article=1&catnum=0

CONFERENCES

4.1. World Biofuels Markets, 12-14 March 2008, Brussels Expo, Belgium
With 1300 participants from 58 countries attending in 2007, the World Biofuels Markets Congress is Europe’s largest gathering of biofuels professionals. Since its inception in 2006, the congress has grown exponentially to become the must-attend conference for industry experts looking to share best practices and attract new clients.
Link: www.worldbiofuelsmarkets.com

4.2. Bangkok Climate Change Talks 2008 – AWG-LCA 1 and AWG-KP 5
The first session of the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 1) and the first part of the fifth session of the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 5 ) will be held from 31 March to 4 April 2008 in Bangkok, Thailand at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
More at: http://unfccc.int/meetings/intersessional/awg-lca_1_and_awg-kp_5/items/4288.php

4.3. NEW GHG EMISSION TRADING SCHEME IN THE EU. CAN IT DELIVER WHAT IT PROMISES?
International conference on the future of GHG emission trading in the EU
Ljubljana, Slovenia, March 20-21 2008
On January 23 2008 the European Commission presented a set of proposals in support to reach at least 20% reduction of the GHG emissions till 2020 by providing 10% of renewable energy in transport, determining the share of renewable energy of 20% , increasing energy efficiency by 20% and by defining new EU greenhouse gases emission trading scheme ( EU ETS). Until now EU ETS has not fulfilled its promises to deliver effective and efficient reduction of the GHG emissions from the largest emitters thus in on the front line of the Slovene EU Presidency the new ETS should be in the focus of both climate protection and competitiveness of EU economy concerns.
More info at: http://www.se-f.si/en/ETS

4.4. European Patent Forum 2008, 6/7 May 2008, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Inventing a cleaner future: Climate change and the opportunties for IP
The drastic changes in world climate can no longer be ignored and the need to find intelligent solutions to mitigate the effects is obvious. That is why the European Patent Forum 2008 is dedicated to finding answers to the question:
How can the fields of patenting and intellectual property support innovations that benefit the environment and counteract climate change?
More info at: http://www.epo.org/about-us/events/epf2008.html

4.5. CDM EB 38 – Thirty-Eighth meeting of the Executive Board
Bonn, Germany,12 -14 March 2008
The proposed agenda and its annotations for the thirty-eighth meeting of the CDM Executive Board are now available online: http://cdm.unfccc.int/EB/038/index.html

4.6. Special Meeting of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT)
Bonn, Germany, 10 -11 March 2008
The agenda and documents for the meeting are available from the http://ttclear.unfccc.int/ttclear/jsp/index.jsp?mainFrame=../html/EgMeetings.html

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