CLIMATE

1.1. China says new global climate deal still far away
8 May 2010, Reuters
China ‘s top climate negotiator said on Saturday although progress had been made in negotiations for a new accord to combat global warming, there was still some distance to go before a binding deal could be secured.
At a conference of ministers and environmental organizations in Beijing, Xie Zhenhua, also vice-chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, said all sides needed to "strengthen trust" and "deepen cooperation" in order to achieve positive results at the next global climate change meeting in Cancun, Mexico at the end of this year.
"Climate change negotiations have already made gradual progress, but there is still a relatively long way to go to reach a legally binding agreement," Xie said.
He said many developed countries had already committed to reducing emissions after last year’s United Nations summit in the Danish capital of Copenhagen but the key issue was still "converting political will into concrete action."
Negotiators from 194 nations will gather in Cancun at the end of the year to try to build on the Copenhagen accord signed last December with the ultimate aim still a legally-binding treaty that will set the tempo for global CO2 cuts over the next decade.
The main stumbling block has remained the issue of "common but differentiated responsibilities," a principle enshrined in the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol to recognize the fact that industrialized countries have been responsible for the bulk of the greenhouse emissions blamed for rising global temperatures.
Developing nations have not been obliged to set binding emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol, and critics — particularly in the United States — claim it gives countries like China a free ride and competitive advantage in world trade.
The first phase of Kyoto is set to expire at the end of 2012, and many have expressed doubt about the prospects of a new deal, especially after the efforts to secure a full and binding agreement at Copenhagen ended in failure.
REALISM
Ministers at the conference said lessons needed to be learned from Copenhagen before a new international accord could be reached by the end of next year, and the key issue was toning down expectations.
"What we are looking for is not a repetition of the same old mistake of putting everything together and expecting a full and comprehensive negotiated result, but actually something that is the only way you can proceed in these negotiations — which is by incremental progress," said Tim Groser, New Zealand’s minister in charge of climate change talks.
Michael Church, environment minister of Grenada, which represents the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), an association of nations vulnerable to rising sea levels, hurricanes and prolonged drought, also called for a more pragmatic approach — but he suggested there was now too much pessimism as a result of last year’s Copenhagen summit.
"What we need to do is to set ourselves some realistic goals and work toward satisfying those goals," he said on the sidelines of the conference. "Cancun is not the end of the world because already we have started talking about continuing negotiations the following year."
"In some quarters, you get the sentiment being expressed that there will be no deal — it is like reaching a conclusion before you’ve started."
Groser said a more low-key approach to the negotiations was already yielding results.
"We now have a more politically mature atmosphere, and that is more likely to lead to progress than the razzle-dazzle, showbiz approach (of Copenhagen)," he said.
"Surrounding the delegates with film stars and 40,000 protesters was not conducive to progress."
Smaller nations like Grenada said the Copenhagen talks were scuppered when their bigger counterparts tried to "hijack the whole process" by imposing their own deal, but Church said attitudes had now changed noticeably, and the old conflict between developed and developing nations had eased.
"I have just come from the Petersburg dialogue (in Bonn, Germany) and I believe we have all learnt something from Copenhagen. I think if there is one positive thing that came out of Copenhagen it is emphasizing the need for trust.
"I sensed a different spirit — a greater willingness to compromise," he said.
Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6471A920100508

1.2. South African heads race for UN climate chief
7 May 2010, Planet Ark
South Africa ‘s minister of tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk is front-runner to replace Yvo de Boer as UN climate chief, sources familiar with the selection process told Reuters on Thursday.
The run-off is between developing country candidates, reflecting their rising status in stalled UN climate talks to agree a successor to the existing Kyoto Protocol. De Boer, of the Netherlands, steps down on July 1 after almost four years.
An interview panel had selected a final shortlist of van Schalkwyk and Costa Rica’s Christiana Figueres, one source said, adding van Schalkwyk had the support of key countries. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would make the final decision.
A Western diplomat based in New York agreed those two were the favored candidates.
"The front runner is Marthinus," said a third source, also on condition of anonymity.
"The positive arguments are that he is a minister and so can talk to ministers, and has been a governor of a state so knows how to manage. You need a politician to deal with politicians."
Van Schalkwyk was premier of Western Cape Province from 2002 to 2004. Figueres has been a member of the Costa Rican climate negotiating team since 1995. Her father, Jose Figueres Ferrer, was president of Costa Rica three times.
TALKS STALEMATE
UN climate talks ended in an impasse in Copenhagen in December, producing only a non-binding accord that reflected a rich-poor rift over shouldering responsibility for action.
Industrialized countries point to rapid growth in carbon emissions in emerging economies and want to share the burden of carbon cuts which was carried by rich countries under the 2008-2012 Kyoto Protocol, a treaty the United States never ratified.
China has leapfrogged the United States as the world’s top carbon emitter, but remains far poorer in per capita income and is focused on creating jobs and generating affordable energy.
"It’s an important juncture and I hope this appointment makes a difference," said Andrei Marcu, head of regulatory and policy affairs at oil trading firm Mercuria.
South Africa has proposed some of the most ambitious carbon curbs among developing countries, saying that with the right aid its emissions could decline from about 2035.
Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim praised van Schalkwyk. "He is a very strong candidate, as he was the South African minister of the environment (before taking his present post), but there are other strong candidates," he told Reuters.
"It’s very likely that Secretary-General Ban will appoint someone from a developing nation. That would mean a move from Europe to the developing nations and I think that’s very sound." De Boer announced in February he would step down, saying a new era of diplomacy was starting after the Copenhagen summit fell short of agreeing a new treaty.
Link: http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/57902

1.3. Climate forum paves way to Cancun meet
7 May 2010, ChinaDaily
China will use a three-day meeting on climate change as a platform for public diplomacy to show the world its sincerity in reducing carbon emissions.
The event will also serve to strengthen climate change talks and help the Cancun conference – scheduled for the end of the year – achieve a legally-binding document, a top policy advisor has said.
From Friday, about 20 climate change and environmental ministers from such countries as Denmark, Germany and Mexico will join 600 officials, experts and entrepreneurs worldwide at a high-level climate change forum in Beijing.
"As the host, we aim to create a platform for key players worldwide to exchange thoughts and positions," said Zheng Xinli, executive president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), an influential think tank headed by former vice-premier Zeng Peiyan.
"We hope these efforts will help the Cancun conference achieve a substantial result."
Beijing considers the latest event an opportunity to build trust with both industrialized and developing countries on the bumpy road to Cancun. Some Western media and politicians labeled Beijing a "hijacker" of the Copenhagen climate change summit last December, which China said was unreasonable.
"Apart from governmental negotiations, we need to utilize various pragmatic and flexible approaches to unite developing countries and help industrial nations understand our collective appeal," Zheng told China Daily.
Based on the lessons from previous negotiations, the event is a signal that China will try hard to make its voice heard not only at the negotiating table with other governments, but also at other occasions of pubic diplomacy, Zheng said.
The event is being held prior to the UN’s mid-year climate change negotiations in Bonn next month.
Premier Wen Jiabao, who this week pledged that the government would use "iron-handed" measures to realize its green targets, is scheduled to meet the foreign environment and climate ministers and opinion leaders on Friday afternoon.
Vice-Premier Li Keqiang will make clear China’s consistent position on climate change on Saturday morning at the opening ceremony of the forum.
Zheng said for China and other developing countries, the biggest danger ahead is that some developed countries plan to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, which requires industrial nations to accept internationally-binding carbon reduction responsibility.
"We, along with other developing countries, urgently demand that industrialized countries continue to implement the Kyoto Protocol after 2012 and take on binding responsibility for carbon cuts," said Zheng, a policy advisor to China’s highest leadership for years.
"The Kyoto Protocol is the basis for fruitful Cancun negotiations."
China is expected to use "harsher measures" in the coming 5-10 years in an effort to realize the goal of cutting carbon intensity by 40-45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, said Zheng.
The goal, announced by Wen prior to the Copenhagen summit, was set after the country moved closer to realize the target of reducing energy intensity per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent from 2006 to 2010.
"The new target is ambitious and faces mounting challenges ahead," said Zheng. "But China will keep its promises."
Link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2010-05/07/content_9819385.htm

1.4. White House says time right for climate bill
7 May2010, Reuters
The White House said on Friday the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico showed the need for climate change and energy legislation, dismissing calls from a Republican backer of the bill to hold off.
Democratic Senator John Kerry and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman said they will unveil the legislation battling global warming on Wednesday, although passage looks increasingly doubtful without Republican support.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the oil spill showed drilling alone would not solve U.S. energy problems and that higher summer fuel prices will heighten consumers’ views that the country must move more aggressively into alternatives.
"I think the president would believe that now more than ever is the time to act," he said.
But the legislation keenly awaited in foreign capitals suffered another setback on Friday when Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said it should be temporarily shelved while officials investigate the deep-water oil spill caused by a drilling rig explosion off Louisiana.
Graham, who last year agreed to collaborate on climate change legislation only if it contained steps to expand offshore oil drilling, said the "catastrophic" spill creates new challenges "not envisioned in our original discussions."
As a result, Graham said, "I believe it would be wise to pause the process and reassess where we stand." Otherwise, there will not be enough Senate votes to pass the bill, he said.
But Kerry and Lieberman said they would go ahead with their bill anyway. The three senators had been working together for months on a climate change bill.
In a joint statement, Kerry and Lieberman said, "We’ve continued to work with the Senate leadership and the White House and we believe we’ve made new progress on the path to 60 votes" needed to pass a bill. The events of recent weeks, they said, referring to the oil spill, "have given everyone … a heightened understanding" of the need to address energy and environmental problems.
But their work has clearly been affected by stiffening opposition in Congress to new offshore oil drilling following the spill that began two weeks ago that started when the rig exploded and sank, killing 11 workers and rupturing underwater oil well lines.
GRAHAM’S SUPPORT
Graham’s support of a compromise bill was seen as essential to the measure’s prospects in the Senate this year, where some Republican support is necessary.
Kerry has been leading the fight in the Senate to pass legislation setting a 2020 deadline for achieving a 17 percent cut, from 2005 levels, in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
The pollution reductions would come in part through government incentives to encourage the use of cleaner alternative fuels, such as wind and solar power, to slowly replace dirty-burning oil and coal.
Many power utilities with big investments in low carbon nuclear power, natural gas, or wind and solar power hope to benefit from a comprehensive crackdown on greenhouse gases.
The Utilities FPL Group, Duke Energy and Exelon lobbied for the climate bill under the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. General Electric, a manufacturer of wind turbines and clean coal and natural gas systems for power plants, had also lobbied for the bill.
But with the new political problems related to voting for expanded oil drilling, the entire climate change effort, which already suffered from weak support, is being jeopardized.
Emily Figdor, a director at Environment America, a green group, told Reuters it was "disappointing to see that Graham is not going to play as central as a role as we might have thought" as he could have mustered more Republican support.
But she added that the oil spill, which could become the largest in U.S. history, "underscores the importance of taking action right away. We remain hopeful that our country will start to look at the root causes of the problem and work to put a comprehensive solution in place."
Green groups also hope the Environmental Protection Agency, which President Barack Obama has been pushing to move on emissions, will soon regulate power plants that burn coal, which emits more carbon dioxide than any other fuel.
Representatives from about 100 companies met on Friday with staff from the offices of Lieberman and Kerry at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They were concerned whether the bill would go far enough to protect them against EPA and state regulations, and lawsuits over environmental issues.
Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6454P920100507

1.5. Small Islands Urge Action at UN Oceans Meet
7 May 2010, IPS
Faced with rising sea levels, dying coral reefs and decreasing fish stocks, small island developing states (SIDS) are feeling the effects of ocean decline, and they want wealthier countries to do more to ensure the survival of the world’s seas and other waterways.
"We are seeing the threat that fisheries will collapse, the threat of tourism-collapse and the loss of biodiversity," said Rolph Payet, special advisor to the President of the Seychelles.
"Some people think that this is just a simple matter to be brushed aside, and to continue with business as usual, emitting greenhouse gases (GhGs) as usual,” Payet said. "The data shows us that we should be worried, and we should be acting. In fact we should have acted yesterday," he said.
His comments came at the fifth Global Oceans Conference taking place here at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The May 3-7 meeting has brought together 823 delegates from 80 countries, including many developing nations.
As participants discussed ways to preserve marine biodiversity and improve management of the oceans, small islands reiterated calls they made at last year’s Copenhagen climate change summit for greater cuts in carbon emissions.
Such cuts are necessary to reduce or stabilise rising temperatures and to halt ocean acidification which scientists say is detrimental to marine life. According to statistics from the environmental group Greenpeace, the oceans have absorbed some 70 percent of the "human-created carbon overload" to date, altering the chemical balance of sea water and making it less alkaline, or more "acidic".
"The situation sends shivers up my spine because not many people know the consequences of ocean acidification," said Payet. "It reaches way down and will affect our children’s children."
He said that the Seychelles, an archipelago of more than 100 islands, was also being affected by warmer oceans and rising sea levels, which would cause displacement of people and other social problems. Poor countries, he said, were ill-equipped to deal with these problems.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), comprising 42 members and observers, are responsible for only about 0.3 percent of all GhG emissions, but they bear the brunt of the impact on the environment, including the rising sea levels caused by melting ice in the Arctic.
So far, more than 100 states have called for carbon emission cuts that would limit the rise in average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but most developed countries wish the limit to be kept to 2 degrees.
"We need aggressive mitigation action," said Leon Charles, a representative of Grenada and a lead negotiator for AOSIS. "We need to mount advocacy campaigns and use the power of public opinion."
Even with the current pledges to reduce emissions, science "cannot exclude" a 2-meter rise in sea level from ice sheet losses over the next century, according to Dr. William Hare, of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
The institute has predicted increases in the intensity of tropical cyclones, "widespread mortality" of coral reefs and acidification by carbon dioxide concentration, all of which means bad news for island states.
"The concerns and perspectives of small islands need to be taken into consideration more," Donna Spencer, a spokesperson for the UN-funded, St. Lucia-based Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management project (IWCAM), told IPS.
"We’re very vulnerable to climate change, and everything that affects the oceans affects us," she said.
But it is not only sea-related problems that small island states have to deal with. The growing scarcity of freshwater is also a major concern for many. Since late last year, several Caribbean countries have been experiencing severe drought, with limited water for cooking, sanitation and agriculture. The dry spell also affected tourism, with water having to be trucked to hotels for instance, Spencer said.
In addition, ground water stocks are being depleted in some areas, and wells (or aquifers) are falling prey to encroaching seawater.
The problem is one reason that IWCAM and other groups have pushed for freshwater and saltwater issues to be linked at the Global Oceans Conference.
"There really was a divide – with fresh water people over here and saltwater people over there, but we now need to join forces and work together," Ania Grobicki, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Global Water Patnership, told IPS.
She said that about one billion people were facing scarcity of freshwater and that small island states would be among those most affected.
"But people have an amazing ability to adapt, and you can work wonders if you get the political will," Grobicki said.
Link: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51349

ENERGY

2.1. China’s Energy Use Threatens Goals on Warming
6 May 2010, NY Times
Even as China has set ambitious goals for itself in clean-energy production and reduction of global warming gases, the country’s surging demand for power from oil and coal has led to the largest six-month increase in the tonnage of human generated greenhouse gases ever by a single country. China ’s leaders are so concerned about rising energy use and declining energy efficiency that the cabinet held a special meeting this week to discuss the problem, according to a statement Thursday from the ministry of industry and information technology. Coal-fired electricity and oil sales each climbed 24 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, on the heels of similar increases in the fourth quarter Premier W h en Jiabao promised tougher policies to enforce energy conservation, including a ban on government approval of any new projects by companies that failed to eliminate inefficient capacity, the ministry said. Mr. Wen also said that China had to find a way to meet the target in its current five-year plan of a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency.
“We can never break our pledge, stagger our resolution or weaken our efforts, no matter how difficult it is,” Mr. Wen said. Western experts say it will be hard to meet the target, but that China’s leaders seem determined.
“No country of this size has seen energy demand grow this fast before in absolute terms, and those who are most concerned about this are the Chinese themselves,” said Jonathan Sinton, the China program manager at the International Energy Agency in Paris.
China has been the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases each year since 2006, leading the United States by an ever-widening margin. A failure by China to meet its own energy efficiency targets would be a big setback for international efforts to limit such emissions.
Such a failure would also be a potential diplomatic embarrassment for the Chinese government, which promised the world just before the Copenhagen climate summit meeting in December that it would improve energy efficiency.
The issue has major economic implications for China and for global energy markets. The nation’s ravenous appetite for fossil fuels is driven by China’s shifting economic base — away from light export industries like garment and shoe production and toward energy-intensive heavy industries like steel and cement manufacturing for cars and construction for the domestic market.
Almost all urban households in China now have a washing machine, a refrigerator and an air-conditioner, according to government statistics. Rural ownership of appliances is now soaring as well because of new government subsidies for their purchase since late 2008.
Car ownership is rising rapidly in the cities, while bicycle ownership is actually falling in rural areas as more families buy motorcycles and light trucks.
General Motors announced on Thursday that its sales in China rose 41 percent in April from a year earlier, virtually all of the vehicles made in China because of high import taxes.
Zhou Xi’an, a National Energy Administration official, said in a statement last month that fossil fuel consumption was likely to increase further in the second quarter of this year because of rising car ownership, diesel use in the increasingly mechanized agricultural sector and extra jet fuel consumption for travelers to the Shanghai Expo.
The shift in the composition of China’s economic output is overwhelming the effects of China’s rapid expansion of renewable energy and its existing energy conservation program, energy experts said. The increase in oil and coal-fired electricity consumption in the first quarter was twice as fast as economic growth of about 12 percent for that period, a sign that rising energy consumption is not just the result of a rebounding economy but also of changes in the mix of industrial activity. The shift in activity is partly because of China’s economic stimulus program, which has resulted in a surge in public works construction that requires a lot of steel and cement.
Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, which many scientists describe as the biggest man-made contributor to global warming.
President Hu Jintao pledged in November that by 2020 the Chinese government would slow its growth in greenhouse gases by sharply improving energy efficiency. Mr. Wen went to the Copenhagen climate meeting three weeks later and opposed any international monitoring of China’s energy efficiency effort or binding limits on China’s overall energy consumption.
China ’s current five-year plan, from 2006 to 2010, already sets an efficiency target that the country may now be less likely to meet.
The plan calls for the energy needed for each unit of economic output to decline by 20 percent in 2010 compared to 2005.
For a while, China seemed to be on track toward that goal. According to the ministry of industry and information technology, energy efficiency actually improved by more than 14 percent from 2005 to 2009.
But it deteriorated by 3.2 percent in the first quarter, the ministry said on Thursday.
Mr. Wen said that this deterioration would make it “particularly difficult” for China to meet the 20 percent target.
Without big policy changes, like raising fuel taxes, “they can’t possibly make it,” said Julie Beatty, principal energy economist at Wood Mackenzie, a big energy consulting firm based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Mr. Hu promised last November that China would improve the energy efficiency of its economy by 40 to 45 percent by 2020. The ministry statement on Thursday did not mention whether Mr. Hu’s promise might still be achievable.
Complicating energy efficiency calculations is the fact that China’s National Bureau of Statistics has begun a comprehensive revision of all of the country’s energy statistics for the last 10 years, restating them with more of the details commonly available in other countries’ data. Western experts also expect the revision to show that China has been using even more energy and releasing even more greenhouse gases than previously thought.
Revising the data now runs the risk that other countries will distrust the results and demand greater international monitoring of any future pledges by China. If the National Bureau of Statistics revises up the 2005 data more than recent data, for example, then China might appear to have met its target at the end of this year for a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency.
China ’s recent embrace of renewable energy has done little so far to slow the rise in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
Wind energy effectively doubled in this year’s first quarter compared with a year earlier, as China has emerged as the world’s largest manufacturer and installer of wind turbines. But wind still accounts for just 2 percent of China’s electricity capacity — and only 1 percent of actual output, because the wind does not blow all the time.
Meanwhile, fuel-intensive heavy industry output rose 22 percent in the first quarter in China from a year earlier, while light industry increased 14 percent.
Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations research unit, said in an e-mail message that he believed China was serious about addressing its emissions.
“There is a growing realization within Chinese society that major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would be of overall benefit to China,” he wrote after learning of the latest Chinese energy statistics. “This is important not only for global reasons, because China is now responsible for the highest emissions of greenhouse gases, but also because its per capita emissions are increasing at a rapid rate.”
To some extent, China’s energy consumption now might actually help limit its global warming emissions in the future.
China , for example, used 200 million tons of cement in building rail lines last year, while the entire American economy only used 93 million tons, said David Fridley, a China energy specialist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Although production of that cement raised energy use and emissions of global warming gases, it also expanded a rail system that is among the most energy-efficient in the world.
China currently moves only 55 percent of its coal by rail, for example, which is down from 80 percent a decade ago, as many coal users have been forced by inadequate rail capacity to haul coal in trucks instead. The trucks burn 10 or more times as much fuel per mile to haul a ton of coal, Mr. Fridley said.
But now, with new high-speed passenger lines leaving more room on older lines to haul coal and other freight, the percentages could begin shifting away from energy-inefficient trucking, he said.
Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/business/energy-environment/07energy.html?pagewanted=2&sq=climate%20change&st=nyt&scp=5

2.2. Lufthansa to use biofuel on flights by 2012
9 May 2010, Reuters
Lufthansa is set to become one of the world’s first airlines to mix biofuel with traditional kerosene on commercial flights as carriers seek ways to cut soaring fuel costs, its chief executive said.
The German flag carrier will start running its engines on some flights on a mix of biofuel and kerosene within two years, Wolfgang Mayrhuber told reporters on the sidelines of an event late on Saturday.
A spokesman for Lufthansa added the airline will likely decide on a more precise schedule by the end of this year.
Aircraft account for an estimated 2-4 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which scientists say could cause global temperatures to rise, triggering widespread disease, famine, flooding and drought.
Experts say global aviation emissions could reach 2.4 billion tonnes in 2050, which would be 15-20 percent of all CO2 permitted under a global agreement and a nearly four-fold increase on current levels.
Lufthansa rival KLM, part of Franco-Dutch Air France, last year became the first airline to test biofuel in a passenger airplane, filling one of four engines on a Boeing 747 with biofuel for a 1.5 hour test flight.
The carrier has said it aims to make commercial flights which use biofuel from 2011.
U.S.-based Continental Airlines, the U.S. airline that is set to create the world’s largest carrier by merging with United Airlines parent UAL, had already used a mix of biologically derived fuel and jet fuel on a test flight.
Mayrhuber said Lufthansa had no plans to run individual test flights at this point. Instead, the carrier would wait until it could start using biofuel regularly on some routes to gather reliable data over a longer period of time.
In the long run, the use of biofuel is expected to save airlines money.
"First, we are hoping to get some resource security, and second, we hope that we will have some advantages in our costs for emissions trading," Mayrhuber said at the event, which celebrates 50 years of Boeing planes at Lufthansa.
The European Union is set to extend its Emissions Trading System (ETS) to airlines from 2012, and the less traditional kerosene airlines use every year, the fewer certificates they have to buy permitting them to pollute the air.
Lufthansa has estimated its annual costs from the ETS at 150-350 million euros ($201-470 million) once airlines join the scheme.
Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64819V20100509

EMISSIONS

3.1. EU industry warns of danger in 30 percent emissions cut
7 May 2010, Reuters
The economic crisis might well have made it cheaper for European industry to deepen cuts to climate-warming emissions, but it has also left companies too weak to face the challenge, industry groups said on Friday.
Environmentalists accused industry of lying about the cost, saying many sectors had reaped huge windfall profits from Europe’s efforts to clamp down on carbon emissions through its carbon market, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Europe ‘s climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, looks set to announce in coming weeks that extending cuts in carbon dioxide levels to 30 percent below 1990 quantities would be about a third cheaper than before the crisis.
The current plan is a 20 percent cut by 2020.
"The additional total costs for the EU to step up from 20 percent to 30 percent are estimated to be around 33 billion euros ($44.3 billion) in 2020, or 0.2 percent of GDP," said a draft of Hedegaard’s impact assessment seen by Reuters.
One reason the costs would be lower is a decline in the price of buying ETS permits to emit carbon dioxide.
Industry bodies for steel, refining, glass, paper, cement, ceramics and chemicals said the burden of heavier carbon caps would still increase their disadvantage versus competitors in less regulated regions.
"Currently ‘low’ market prices of carbon reflect the collapse in consumer demand, the slowdown of economic activity of manufacturing industries and the consequent reduction in emissions," they said in a joint statement.
"However, EU industries’ exposure to competing economies without carbon constraints has by no means decreased and must not be further increased by additional, unilateral policies."
The groups said the only safe way to tackle climate change was a global agreement, such as the United Nations deal governments will be working on in Cancun, Mexico this year.
Sonja Meister of Friends of the Earth Europe said that because of the recession, Europe was on track to hit its 20 percent goal without further investment in the green economy.
"It would almost be business-as-usual," she said. "The situation has totally changed because of the recession. It’s definitely time to move forward unilaterally.
"For many of these sectors, they are earning large windfall profits from the system … from surplus emissions rights," she added. "They are not being open about that."
Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6463VW20100507

3.2. India wants spotlight on per capita emissions
6 May 2010, Indian Express
Ahead of the next round of climate talks in Germany in June, India is trying to bring the emphasis back on per capita emissions, something that was rather muted in the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change conference last year.
New Delhi has stressed that the long-term goal of keeping the global rise in temperature to within 2 degree Celsius, which India also agrees to, “must be preceded by a paradigm for equitable sharing of carbon space based on per capita accumulative emissions”.
“Global atmospheric resource is the common property of all mankind and each human being has an equal entitlement to use of this resource on the basis of per capita accumulative convergence of emissions,” New Delhi has said in its submission to the working group that is finalising the long-term actions that need to be taken to tackle climate change.
Per capita emissions, as enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has been at the heart of India’s argument in the climate debate. However, the Copenhagen Accord, which India had helped finalise, only mentioned ‘equity’ and was vague on whether this equity had to be ensured through per capita.
Link: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/india-wants-spotlight-on-per-capita-emissions/615777/

PUBLICATIONS

4.1. How climate change will impact our ability
More at: http://www.climnet.org/component/docman/doc_download/1650-article-how-climate-change-impacts-our-ability-to-achieve-the-millennium-development-goals-42010.html

EVENTS

5.1. Announcement International Conference and Filmfestival
"Towards a new justice tryptich: Development, Climate, Opportunity"
5th June 2010, Bonn
Conference
The Copenhagen summit revealed that no climate stabilization can be achieved without answering the underlying justice and equity dimension. However, the different understandings of justice and burden/effort sharing between countries as well as within civil society largely spurred the post-Copenhagen shame game. While there is a common but differentiated responsibility for the cause of the problem – and its future aggravation – urgency and cooperative spirit might be more constructive drivers than finger-pointing.
Changing the development pathway that brought us to the climate crisis is a bold undertaking that includes a revolution in infrastructure, energy supplies, energy efficiency and consumer lifestyles around the globe. Yet, those that are marginalized in today’s world economy are likely to be excluded from this future surge in economic opportunities as well. The central notion of climate justice is therefore to design a pathway to a renewable energy future in a way, in which also the most vulnerable will be able to follow.
This conference, to be seen as a follow-up of last year’s "Development and Climate Day" (www.germanwatch.org/klima/dcd09e.htm), seeks to discuss the multiple dimension of climate justice and equity, particularly with a view to exploring the potential of the fair "opportunity sharing" dimension in the race to the low-carbon future, a dimension which has been neglected so far. Negotiators, NGOs, scientists and other experts from developed and developing countries will be brought together to advance the debate on climate equity. In order to explore the opportunities and risks of new cooperation to achieve such fair opportunity sharing, we want to use the example of the Desertec initiative.
Thus, the conference aims to openly discuss aspects of the justice triptych – Development, Climate, Opportunity – from different perspectives, but with a view to looking for common ground, which has the potential to create new dynamics and partnerships instead of a mere North-South divide.
Filmfestival:
A parallel filmfestival will present short films (up to 10 min) linked to climate justice and other media programmes. Applications for films can be send in by 20 May 2010 .
Venue: Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn ( http://www.stifterverband.info/ueber_den_stifterverband/standorte_adressen/anfahrt_bonn/index.html) Date: 5th June 2010, 9 to 18
Participation and registration
Participation is free of charge, but registration is welcomed for planning reasons.
More information is available at:
http://www.germanwatch.org/klima/dcd2010
Contact: [email protected]
Organised by Germanwatch in cooperation with International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Bread for the World, German Church Development Service (EED), Heinrich-Boell-Foundation, and other partners.
The conference is part of Germanwatch projects funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Commission.

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