1.1. India envoy: ‘Not enough progress towards a climate deal’
6 May 2009, EurActiv
Despite the need to come up with a global climate deal by the end of the year in Copenhagen, diplomats involved in the negotiations are not making enough progress, India’s special envoy on climate change, Shyam Saran, told EurActiv in an exclusive interview.
"It would be wrong to say that we did not make any progress. But we achieved much less than what we should have achieved by this time if we wanted to have an ambitious package in Copenhagen," said Saran.
According to the Indian envoy, there is still too much of a ‘wait and see’ attitude towards the US and the legislation being pursued in the US Congress. The issue of comparability of efforts among industrialised countries is an important consideration, said Saran.
As for developing countries, they "need to have a clear indication of what developed countries intend to do in terms of emissions reductions," said the Indian official, rebuffing the argument that emerging economies should also abide by legally-binding emissions targets.
Since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommended sticking to a 25 to 40% target for emissions reductions by 2020, "we suggest keeping the target at 40% rather than at the low end of the spectrum. That would be ambitious," Saran said, urging developed countries to define clear and bold targets.
A major concern for developing countries, the Indian envoy noted, is the adequacy of financial resources that can be made available within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to support both mitigating and adapting impacts of climate change.
"We are doing much more within the limit of our resources than, I am afraid, many developed countries are doing within the capabilities they possess," he said, stressing that India was already spending over 2% of its GDP on adaptation and that figures were likely to go up significantly, diverting funding away from social development.
Thus Saran argued that the outcome of Copenhagen must be based on equal burden-sharing, and must incorporate the economic and social development imperatives of developing countries.
Over the last decade, India has delivered 8-9% growth, with an energy growth of only 3.5-3.7%. "That is already a deviation from what would be an arithmetical check," said Saran. But he noted that funding schemes and technology transfer should be scaled up to allow developing countries to continue their development.
"We are adopting very ambitious plan in India for the development of renewable resources, but our ability to scale this up and therefore have a larger renewable component in our energy by 2020 would depend on the global climate change regime we have," Saran concluded.
2.1. Greenpeace comment on the European Parliament adoption of the EU economic recovery package
6 May 2009, Greenpeace
The European Parliament has today formally adopted a €5 billion European economic recovery package, with €3.98 billion going to energy projects.
Frauke Thies, Greenpeace EU energy policy campaigner, said:
“The EU talks about creating green jobs and stimulating green recovery, but the truth is it has earmarked twice as much funding for fossil fuel projects than for renewables, and nothing for efficiency. The coal industry will get €1 billion for carbon capture and storage, an expensive and unproven technology.
“This stimulus package is turned on its head. The Parliament only made cosmetic changes to the initial proposal and has done very little to signal a shift away from our dependency on fossil fuels.”
2.2. Further emissions fall predicted this year
6 May 2009, EurActiv
The ongoing economic recession is set to reduce EU carbon dioxide emissions more dramatically than expected in 2009, but carbon prices are expected to continue to rise, according to a Deutsche Bank report published yesterday (5 May).
The bank’s analysts now estimate that EU industrial installations will emit 1.97million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 this year, revising its previous figures down by 50 Mt. This would be a 150 Mt fall from 2008 levels.
The analysts said that the steel and cement sectors would be particularly affected by the difficult financial conditions in 2009, and would see their emissions fall "significantly".
"With all the other industrial sectors also likely to suffer varying degrees of declining output, we think that an overall reduction of 150Mt is more consistent with the 3%-4% decline in 2009 eurozone and UK GDP now widely forecast," the bank’s researchers said.
Deutsche Bank predicts that there will be a 92Mt surplus of EU allowances (EUAs) over the second trading period, between 2008 and 2012.
Despite this, the analysts expect the prices of EU allocations (EUAs) to rise over the course of the year, as power utilities start buying allowances ahead of 2013, when the revised EU emissions trading scheme enters into force. In the third trading period, power plants in the EU 15 are expected to buy all their emissions allowances at auctions.
"We think that generators and/or speculators could start to buy EUAs opportunistically ahead of mid-2010 in anticipation of a tighter market by the middle to end of next year," the analysts said. This should create more demand for allowances towards the end of the second trading phase (2008-2012), as it is unlikely that auctioning for post-2013 allowances will start before late 2011, they argued.
As Germany’s RWE and other Western European energy giants start to "forward sell electricity into 2013," Deutsche Bank predicts that the price of EUAs will climb to €16-18 per tonne over the next 12 months.
The EU’s preliminary emissions data for 2008 shows that Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain had the biggest shortages of emissions allowances. According to Deutsche Bank, these countries had taken on tough emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, and their industrial sector had to shoulder a "disproportionate share of the burden" to meet the targets.
The data shows that despite the economic downturn, EU companies still pumped more tonnes of CO2 into atmosphere than the number of issued allowances (EurActiv 07/04/09) The bank said the deficit was driven heavily by the power sector, while other industrial installations still had allowances to sell by the end of the year.
Power generators are in a markedly different position from other industries, as they are free from international competition and can thus easily pass on the price of carbon to customers, the analysts argued. Allocations were cut "dramatically" in phase two, they said.
Moreover, Germany and the UK reduced the power sector’s free allocations by choosing to auction some of their EUAs, the report revealed.
Power utilities are expected to do most of the allowance buying in the years to come, it further concludes.
3.1. Global climate deal needed to halt soaring coal production
5 May 2009, EurActiv
More of the world’s electricity was generated from coal last year, reveals a new industry report, pointing at the futility of unilateral EU moves to cut down CO2 emissions.
The 2008 market report of EURACOAL, the industry association representing the European coal industry, shows that global hard coal production increased by at least 200 million tonnes (Mt) last year, most of which was mined in China. Higher energy prices and technological advances make it even more profitable to use already abundant coal resources, the report published this week said.
The EU contrasts markedly with the rest of the world as it is the only region where coal production is decreasing, according to EURACOAL.
A EURACOAL representative told EurActiv that one reason European production was down compared to 2007 was the fact that EU regulations governing state aid for the coal industry were set to expire in 2010, forcing some plants to close down.
Over the past decade, European coal consumption has declined slightly. But EU production has fallen by 35% in EU 25 and by 50% in the EU 15. The result is a 40% upsurge in coal imports in just ten years.
According to the European Commission, over €80 billion of state aid for the coal industry was approved over the decade 1994 to 2005. The Commission is currently engaged in discussions to decide upon the post-2010 legislative framework, which could see the coal industry treated according to standard state-aid rules.
Unilateral EU action ‘useless’
Another major reason for the EU decrease is the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which obliges some 10,000 energy-intensive plants to buy and sell permits to emit CO2 (see EurActiv LinksDossier), EURACOAL said. The revision of the scheme for the third trading period, which starts in 2012, widened the scope of the applicable industries and capped EU industrial emissions at 21% below 2005 levels by 2020, in order to reduce emissions more quickly.
As coal emits approximately twice as much CO2 as natural gas, cap-and-trade regimes are expected to favour the use of gas in electricity generation in the long term (EurActiv 04/04/09). In the UK, EURACOAL observed a switch from coal to gas in 2008, with both indigenous coal production and imports decreasing.
EURACOAL pointed out, however, that the world’s largest coal reserves are situated in the US, China and Russia, which are all increasing their production. It will thus be essential for these countries to participate in the post-Kyoto global climate deal to be agreed in December if any serious emissions cuts are to be expected, it argued.
The association added that unilateral efforts to cut emissions by other countries would be "useless".
"I think Europe will start to look around to see that all over the world, coal production is increasing, while we are decreasing," a EURACOAL representative told EurActiv. "I think there might be a change, because we can’t continue to decrease production. We need the coal produced in Europe," she added.
Emissions trading on the global agenda
Nevertheless, cap-and-trade systems are now in the pipeline around the world as part of the international climate efforts, alarming the steel industry, which relies heavily on coal inputs.
The EURACOAL report shows that the steel industry has already been affected by the economic downturn. Global steel production was down 22.8% in the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.
The prospect of regulating emissions via a trading scheme has also alarmed coal-producing states in the American Midwest, following the emergence of initial plans for a cap-and-trade system in that country.
Last week, 19 US Congressmen from steel-producing areas addressed a letter to the House leadership, calling for free allowances for the steel industry. They argued that a cap-and-trade system should not put further burdens on an industry that has already been affected disproportionately by the recession.
It is thus likely that any future US scheme will grant exemptions from full auctioning of permits to industries at risk of delocating to other regions with no carbon trading commitments, following the EU’s example (EurActiv 12/12/08). This could give the coal-fired power stations some breathing space.
Nevertheless, it will be of utmost importance to get China on board for emission cuts, considering that the country produces the vast majority of its electricity from coal.
3.2. Biofuels Get a Boost
6 May 2009, Reuters
The Obama administration established a Biofuels Interagency Working Group this week in a move that carries implications for the industry on several fronts, including regulatory and research and development.
The Biofuels Interagency Working Group, comprised of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Agriculture, will develop a biofuel market development program, coordinate biofuel infrastructure policies, study biofuel lifecycle and help existing biofuel producers secure credit and refinancing.
Meanwhile, the DOE will spend $786.5 million in stimulus funds on demonstration projects and research to accelerate the adoption of next-generation biofuels.
For example, the agency will dole out $480 million on 10 to 20 pilot-scale and demonstration-scale projects, with a ceiling of $25 million and $50 million, respectively. Another $176.5 million shall be used to increase funding for two or more commercial-scale biorefinery projects that previously received government assistance.
The DOE biomass program also will dedicate $130 million toward research into ethanol, algal biofuels and biofuel sustainability research.
On the policy side, the EPA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Under the Energy Independence and Security Act, the EPA must outline its strategy for increasing the amount of renewable fuels to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
The proposal breaks down renewable fuels into four categories: cellulosic biofuels, biomass-derived diesel, advanced biofuels, and total renewable fuel. The fuels must produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels, but there is great debate within the biofuel industry about how these lifecycle assessments should be calculated.
Environmental groups claim first-generation corn-based ethanol has negative environmental impacts that result in more greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional oil, including emissions produced by indirect land use changes as land is cleared to plant biofuel crops. The debate has raged in California, which recently enacted the country’s first low-carbon fuel standard. The new rule includes indirect land use change factors when calculating the carbon intensity of ethanol used in the state.
4.1. Programme Manager – Clean Freight
Note: This is a re-advertisement, previous applicants for this position are asked not to apply again
T&E, Europe’s principal environmental organisation on transport issues, seeks a highly motivated, dynamic and results-driven team member to lead T&E’s work on sustainable freight transport. The position requires the ability to understand complex economic, scientific and political issues combined with strategic thinking, political-savvy and highly-developed networking, advocacy and communications skills.
We offer the chance to help shape policies with huge implications for people and the environment as well as a competitive salary and benefits package.
Candidates should be able to show that they have the ability to:
* develop and run multi-year campaigns from scratch and with limited supervision
* research complex policy issues and commission studies and reports
* advocate T&E’s position to policy makers, the media, and our international network
* build up a network of NGO, academic, industry and government contacts
* work across two or more policy areas, giving support to colleagues wherever necessary
And should meet the following criteria:
* Highly motivated, with at least five years relevant professional experience preferably with a background in transport or environmental economics.
* Ability to quickly synthesise technical, economic, industrial and political issues;
* Confidence to engage and influence policymakers, industry representatives and other stakeholders at the highest level;
* Excellent communication and presentation skills;
* Fluent written and spoken English; Must speak at least one other EU language fluently;
* Excellent interpersonal and team-working skills, flexibility, and reliability;
* Willingness to travel;
The post is full-time, based in Brussels and subject to a six-month trial period.
To apply, please send a letter of motivation and a CV to [email protected].
The letter of motivation should clearly demonstrate why you want the job and how your skills and experience are relevant to the job requirements detailed above.
Closing date for applications: 13 May 2009
Expected start date: as soon as possible
T&E is an equal opportunities employer.
4.2. POLICY OFFICER on EU energy efficiency policies.
Please find the job ad below and attached.
Please also circulate within your networks and to interested candidates.
*Interested candidates should send a clear motivation letter with their C.V.
to [email protected] by Monday 18 May.*
5.1. Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis: Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program
More at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/420d09001.pdf
6.1. The Bonn Climate Change Talks – June 2009
1 – 12 June 2009, Bonn, Germany
The thirtieth sessions of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies – SBSTA and SBI, sixth session of the AWG-LCA and the eighth session of the AWG-KP will take place from Monday 1 June till Friday 12 June 2009 in Maritim, Bonn.
Agendas and more information on the meetings: http://unfccc.int/meetings/sb30/items/4842.php
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected].