CLIMATE

1.1. EU Backtracks on Climate Finance for Developing Countries
10 September 2009, WWF
Brussels, Belgium – The European Commission’s Communication¹ on climate finance, published today, had the opportunity to help break through an important deadlock on the road to a UN Copenhagen agreement. Although containing several positive elements, the Communication minimises the apparent need for European public financing of developing countries.
WWF calculates total public financing need of about €110 billion annually in the 2013-2017 period, of which Europe’s share would be about €35 billion. Despite stating that there is around €100 billion in financing needed by 2020, the Commission envisions the EU paying as low as €2 billion of this amount – remarkably little – or up to €15 billion.
“There is an impressive sleight of hand needed to arrive at these figures,” said Jason Anderson, WWF’s head of European climate policy. Developing countries are meant to take on much of the reduction effort themselves, with most of the remaining amount covered by private capital. Even though these are assumed all to be lower-cost efforts, Europe has long failed to achieve such cuts itself.
In a particularly impressive feat of financial jujitsu, the difference between the price of an offset credit and the cost to produce it – profit for the developers – is assumed to be fully captured and reinvested in emissions reductions by developing countries, cutting the amount of funding needed from Europe.
“Europe hasn’t found a way to ensure Member States will use revenues from its own emissions trading system for clean energy investment. So it takes quite some nerve to assume that developing countries would manage to do much more than we’ve agreed, and let us get the benefit of their having done so,” said Anderson.
The Commission has kept the door open to some good ideas however, such as raising money from the aviation and maritime sectors. It also matched the call for developing countries to describe how they plan to use financial assistance with a promise to publish an EU long-term strategy by 2011. Unfortunately it does not recognise the option of auctioning emissions allowances to countries as proposed by Norway, which is one of the best chances to raise funding that doesn’t depend on unreliable promises.
Movement on climate finance is crucial in the international negotiations leading up to Copenhagen, offering an opportunity to create clarity and momentum. It is hoped that the optimistic assumptions in Europe’s favour are not seen by others as unwillingness to live up to its obligations.
While we welcome that the EU has presented concrete numbers, and tries to explain how it derived them, the methodology is flawed and the amounts are totally insufficient. WWF will expect much bolder European leadership if it plans to reach a deal in Copenhagen.
Link: http://www.panda.org/what_we_do/how_we_work/policy/wwf_europe_environment/news/?173721/EU-Backtracks-on-Climate-Finance-for-Developing-Countries

1.2. Miliband calls for EU ‘environmental union’ on climate
10 September 2009, EurActiv
In an exclusive commentary for EurActiv, UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband calls on EU leaders to show more ambition in their efforts to close a new UN-sponsored climate treaty this December and suggests that EU countries embark on a new "environmental union".
According to the UK foreign secretary, the global community’s efforts to reach a post-Kyoto climate deal in Copenhagen at the end of the year are in danger.
"The greatest danger of all is that amidst the competing priorities of economic recovery, Afghanistan and nuclear non-proliferation we fail to see the problem until it is too late," writes Miliband.
Miliband’s statement came after reports that the EU is to offer a modest sum of 15 billion euros a year to help poorer countries cope with the effects of climate change (EurActiv 09/11/09).
"The EU thrives on big projects: peace and reconciliation after the Second World War, the single market, the euro and enlargement. The next big project for the EU – the environmental union – is to be the catalyst for a world beyond carbon," says Miliband.
The UK foreign secretary reckons that if developing nations know that rich countries are prepared to shoulder their responsibility, they will step up to the mark.
"We need to generate trust and momentum in the run-up to Copenhagen […] We need more game-changing interventions in the next three months," he adds, calling for a finance offer of 100 billion dollars annually by 2020 to enable poorer countries to begin the transition to low-carbon development and adaptation.
To gather momentum for his ideas, the UK foreign secretary is currently touring a number of European capitals to up the ante in the Copenhagen debate.
He says the deal is "not just desirable, but an imperative for national security and sustained economic recovery over the medium term, on a par with the fight against terrorism".
In Miliband’s view, climate change will result in mass migration, drought, and water shortages causing tension and conflict within and between nations. "Global warming may not be on the UN Security Council Agenda now, but it will be in future if we do not wean ourselves off carbon," he says.
The biggest obstacle to a deal in Copenhagen is a fair distribution of responsibility between developing and developed nations, writes Miliband. "Climate change is not a zero-sum game and we should not adopt zero-sum tactics. If we wait until the negotiations in Copenhagen to reveal our hand in order to squeeze the best deal out of other countries, the deal will either not happen or be insufficiently ambitious," he reckons.
Link: http://www.euractiv.com/en/climate-change/miliband-calls-eu-environmental-union-climate/article-185312

1.3. Commission unveils first climate aid blueprint
11 September 2009, EurActiv
The EU could offer 2-15 billion euros a year to help developing countries fight climate change and adapt to its predicted devastating consequences, the European Commission said yesterday (10 September).
"The EU is moving and we hope other developed countries will follow," Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas stated, presenting a blueprint for scaling up international finance in support of developing countries.
The move represented an attempt to unblock stalled negotiations over a global treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, due to be agreed at the end of the year in Copenhagen.
The Commission estimates that developing countries’ overall financing needs will hit €100 billion a year by 2020, if an ambitious agreement is reached in Copenhagen. The EU executive foresees that between €22-50 billion will come from the international public sector.
Emissions reductions in core sectors – industry, energy, agriculture and deforestation – would require €10-€20 billion, according to the Commission’s proposal. Adaptation would take up €10-24bn, while €1-3bn is foreseen both for boosting capacity building and research respectively.
Moreover, the EU executive earmarked €5-7 billion to "fast-track" the implementation of the new climate deal between 2010 and 2012 ahead of its entry into force. The proposal also recommends that the EU commit to providing at least €500 million and up to €2.1 billion a year, starting from next year.
The EU’s methodology for determining how much of the burden each developed country should offer hinges on its ability to pay, measured by GDP, and its responsibility for emissions. Depending on the weight of each factor, this would set the EU’s contribution at somewhere between 10% and 30% of the total.
The EU is keen to factor in responsibility for emissions, as this would lower its bill compared to a GDP-only calculation. Where the EU would end up in the wide range of €2-15 billion depends on how the weighting is decided in Copenhagen.
Moreover, the Commission suggests that countries with lower climate ambitions should shoulder a larger financial burden (EurActiv 08/09/09).
Three sources of finance
In addition to international public finance, the EU expects developing countries to take on a sizeable portion of the burden.
The Commission blueprint suggests that around 20-40% of the total should be covered by public and private funding from the developing countries themselves. Poor countries should fund in particular low-cost energy efficiency measures, which pay for themselves through lower energy bills, it says.
A third source of funding foreseen in the plan is the international carbon market. This would raise around 40% of resources and lessen the need for international public finance as it becomes more ambitious, it says.
Climate victim of politics?
Dimas fended off accusations that the proposal had been scaled down after pressure from member states, as earlier drafts showed that the EU had been prepared to pay €13-€24 billion per year (EurActiv 09/09/09).
As a result of the EU’s emissions trading scheme, European companies are the biggest source of funding for emissions reduction projects in developing countries through the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), he pointed out.
Environmentalists, however, were quick to note that the sums fall far short of an ambitious commitment. They have called on the EU to provide at least €35 billion annually on top of existing development aid.
Burden-sharing among EU countries
According to the Commission, existing international burden-sharing principles would be used to calculate the contribution of each EU member state. But it underlined that specific circumstances in individual member states would be taken into account.
According to Dimas, one such circumstance could be where an EU country has to buy a lot of emission permits due to its reliance on coal, despite having a higher GDP.
The EU is set for a heated debate on the matter, as countries such as Poland have insisted that internal burden-sharing is a prerequisite for an EU funding proposal in Copenhagen.
But Dimas stressed that internal arrangements could be found after Copenhagen. He referred to the climate and energy package negotiated last year as an example of how this could be done.
Funding climate aid via the EU budget?
The Commission’s preferred means of financing the EU contribution would be via the EU budget, a method which would give the European Parliament a say in the process. Other options include the creation of a common ‘Climate Fund’ outside of the budget or direct contributions from member states, it said.
The EU executive sees revenue from the bloc’s emissions trading scheme as an obvious source of funding. It estimates that a robust market could deliver €38 billion annually by 2020. But so far only a vague agreement that 50% of the revenue "should" be used for climate monies has been struck.
The paper will be discussed by EU leaders at their October summit, and it is now up to the member states to decide whether to take up the EU executive’s recommendations.
Link: http://www.euractiv.com/en/climate-change/commission-unveils-climate-aid-blueprint/article-185348

1.4. EU cuts funding plan for post-Kyoto climate deal
9 September 2009, EurActiv
The European Union has scaled back plans to give billions of euros to poor countries to persuade them to help battle climate change, putting pressure on developing nations to raise their own contributions to a post-Kyoto agreement later this year.
Funding from rich nations to the developing world has emerged as the main stumbling block to progress in climate negotiations ahead of international talks in Copenhagen in December.
Ethiopia warned last week that Africa would veto any deal at Copenhagen that was not generous enough.
The 27-country EU is trying to find unity on its contribution to break the impasse. The bloc indicated last week that it might pay 13-24 billion euros annually to the developing world by 2020 to help with a total bill of around 100 billion euros (EurActiv 08/09/09).
But that contribution was lowered earlier this week to 2-15 billion euros, according to a draft European Commission report obtained by Reuters on Tuesday. The numbers are due to be finalised by Thursday and could change again before then.
"We welcome the fact they’ve put concrete numbers on the table but the figures are too low," said Greenpeace campaigner Joris den Blanken. "There’s no time for such political games," he added. "We only have three weeks left of active negotiations."
Much of the reduction in funding came after the EU changed its view of how emissions reductions from industry and power stations should be funded in the developing world.
Around 80-90% of those emissions cuts would be made via improvements in energy efficiency, which would pay for themselves and should therefore be financed by local businesses, the Commission report said.
But den Blanken disagreed, pointing to the EU’s own slow progress in stimulating investment in energy efficiency at home. "The fact is these measures cost money at the start and don’t pay back instantly," he added.
The EU has been keen to prove to developing nations that it is sincere in its pledges of finance and recently suggested "fast-start financing" from 2010 as early proof it is ready to help.
Rich nations should mobilise 5-7 billion euros a year from 2010, and the EU could provide up to 2.1 billion euros of that, the report said.
It has also sought to ease the pressure on taxpayers in rich countries by suggesting that shipping and aviation could be tapped as a major source of funds for tackling climate change.
Shipping and aviation could be taxed via a levy on fuel or in carbon markets, with revenues from both sectors as high as 25 billion euros a year in 2020, if their emissions were capped at 30% below 2005 levels, it added.
Copenhagen talks in danger of failure
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said there was a real risk that talks in Denmark in December to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol will fail as politicians focus on the economic downturn rather than the longer-term threat of climate change.
"There is a real danger that the talks scheduled for December will not reach a positive outcome and there is an equal danger that in the run up to Copenhagen people don’t wake up to the danger of failure until it’s too late," he told a news conference.
"There is no question that developed countries bear responsibility for the climate change that is already happening and that is going to happen for some decades hence," said Ed Miliband, Britain’s energy and climate change minister, who spoke at the news conference alongside his brother David.
"But the other truth at the heart of these negotiations is that 90% of the growth in emissions will come from developing countries.
"Developing countries need to be part of the solution as well. Not emissions cuts at the moment, but they need to show how they will slow the growth of their emissions by 2020 in advance of cuts in emissions later."
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said the world should provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to help the poorest countries deal with the consequences of climate change.
Link: http://www.euractiv.com/en/climate-change/eu-cuts-funding-plan-post-kyoto-climate-deal/article-185253

1.5. INTERVIEW-Climate deal should not drive jobs offshore -U.N.
10 September 2009, Reuters
DALIAN, Sept 10 (Reuters) – The world must devise a climate change treaty that will allow all countries to contribute to cutting emissions and not drive companies and jobs to other nations, the U.N.’s top climate official said on Thursday.
Negotiations on a new global accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are set to conclude in the Danish capital Copenhagen in December, but officials are struggling to come up with a division of responsibilities that will satisfy all sides.
The United States is committed to reducing its own carbon dioxide (CO2) output, but many legislators are worried that an emissions trading scheme will give a competitive edge to Chinese industries.
"There’s a huge concern on the part of employers and labour unions in the United States that an agreement that distorts economic relations is going to have a damaging effect on the United States economy," said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"The challenge is to craft a way forward in Copenhagen, to craft an agreement which does not result in economic activity shifting from one country to another. That doesn’t make sense at the end of the day," he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Dalian.
Tariffs, or more accurately known as border adjustment measures to take account of the carbon content of imported goods such as steel and petrochemical products, were not the answer, de Boer said.
Such measures have been proposed by the United States to try to equalise the carbon content of energy-intensive manufactured goods from nations that don’t have emissions caps.
"I personally don’t find it very constructive that when we haven’t even arrived in Copenhagen yet to try to reach an agreement, to already threaten what will happen if the agreement fails in Copenhagen."
CHINA’S FEARS
China, as a developing country, is not obliged to make mandatory CO2 cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.
Beijing fears industrialised nations will derail Chinese economic growth either by forcing it to take on tough carbon emission targets, or by imposing so-called "carbon tariffs".
Opponents believe the United States should only commit to mandatory emissions cuts if China does so too, but de Boer said they needed to "get real" on climate change.
"We know that the bulk of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are there because of industrialised countries and that’s why industrialised countries have to take responsibility and act first."
And far from hitching a free ride, China has already made its own efforts.
"China is setting targets already. It is setting targets for industrial energy efficiency, for renewable energy, for buildings efficiency, for sustainable cities. China is already doing a lot and China is building on that going into the future."
He also said a system had to be created in which the U.N. carbon offset regime known as the Clean Development Mechanism can be scaled up significantly.
The CDM allows developed countries to meet their carbon reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol by investing in clean energy projects in the developing world, which are then granted tradable "certified emission reductions" by the United Nations.
The European Union has proposed an alternative system where credits are awarded to entire industries for exceeding mandatory targets.
"The situation we are in at the moment under the Kyoto Protocol is that only project-based activities are eligible for crediting and we clearly need to expand on that."
But suspicion has prevailed, he said, with China worried that the West has sought to impose mandatory cuts by stealth.
"What has happened in the international debate, unfortunately, is that developing countries have seen the discussion on sectoral approaches as a way of trying to trick them into bringing a portion of their economy under a quantified target," he said.
Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSSP375725

ENERGY

2.1. ‘Catastrophic’ energy crisis looming
11 September 2009, T&E
The urgency of promoting the right biofuels has been highlighted by a report from Greenpeace and a warning from the International Energy Agency.
The IEA’s chief economist Fatih Birol says the world is heading for a catastrophic energy crisis because most of the world’s major oil fields have passed their peak production, but the public and many governments appear to be unaware that oil is running out far faster than previously predicted.
A number of companies are investing in projects to make oil from tar sands, a controversial process because of high climate-changing emissions from production. But a report from Greenpeace says such projects are increasingly risky in economic terms because they rely for their viability on a price of oil that is unlikely to persist.
Link: http://www.transportenvironment.org/News/2009/9/Catastrophic-energy-crisis-looming/

2.2. Widely differing views on land use threaten effectiveness of biofuels
11 September 2009, T&E
The concept of indirect land-use change (ILUC) caused by biofuel production looks like playing a complicated role in the EU’s rules relating to the use of biofuels across Europe.
An informal consultation by the Commission on how member states and some non-EU countries view ILUC provided widely differing views on how to address ILUC when calculating emissions from biofuels. ILUC refers to the wider impact on use of land caused when other land is used for growing biofuel crops, while other agricultural production is displaced. Assessing its impact is important to ensure biofuels really do reduce carbon emissions and do not indirectly increase them.
Some countries (notably Denmark, the Netherlands and Great Britain) want to include a strong ILUC factor in the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels specified in the EU renewable energy directive, while other countries (including Austrian and Spain) say there is insufficient scientific evidence on the impact of different types of biofuels on ILUC.
The latest contribution to scientific evidence about biofuels has again called for caution in which forms of biofuel production are encouraged.
An article in Science magazine by researchers from five American universities looks at what it calls ‘the food, energy and environment trilemma’. It says biofuels can be produced in large quantities and can have multiple benefits, but only if they come from feedstocks produced with low life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions, as well as minimal competition with food production.
Link: http://www.transportenvironment.org/News/2009/9/Widely-differing-views-on-land-use-threaten-effectiveness-of-biofuels/

2.3. China, U.S. to dominate solar market
10 September 2009, Reuters
The United States and China are in a head-to-head race to become the world’s top market for solar power, and panel makers are wasting no time making plans to cash in on the growth promise of both markets despite the global recession.
At the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit this week, Chinese and U.S. solar companies including Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd, SunPower Corp, Trina Solar Ltd and BrightSource Energy Inc laid out plans to capture their share of what is expected to be explosive demand for solar-generated electricity in the world’s biggest and third biggest economies.
The U.S. and China lag far behind Europe in demand for solar power, but are expected to vault ahead in the next few years as both nation’s work to curb their emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
This year, Washington and Beijing have both rolled out programs aimed at stimulating their fledgling solar power industries and boosting growth in their economies. Together, they are expected to drive the building of at least 5 gigawatts (GW) of solar installations between 2009 and 2011, according to a recent report by investment firm CLSA.
Thanks to strong government incentives, Germany is the world’s biggest solar market and is expected to remain so until 2013, when the United States will become its equal. China will be slightly behind, according to research firm Lux Research.
In China, recently-enacted subsidies for utility-scale solar power projects has prompted a host of plans for solar power plants, including the announcement this week of the first major foray by a U.S. company into the Chinese solar sector by Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar Inc.
That announcement, said several U.S. companies, opens the door for other non-Chinese companies to compete in that nation’s solar market.
"It clearly makes us more bullish on China," said Tom Werner, chief executive of San Jose, California-based SunPower, which already produces some of its high-efficiency solar panels in China. "We hope that that will result in us being able to penetrate that market as well."
BrightSource Energy Chief Executive Officer John Woolard also said the First Solar deal showed the Chinese were serious about solar, adding that his company was moving "slowly and deliberately" to find a partner in China. It expects to announce a Chinese partner, and one in India, in about a year, Woolard said.
NO MASSIVE THREAT
First Solar’s announcement also could quell complaints from some European solar companies that Beijing’s support for its solar manufacturers was giving Chinese companies an unfair trade advantage over European and U.S. companies vying for market share in the global sector.
"If you announce that we have such a huge need for solar panels that we are even going to put First Solar panels into China, all of a sudden we’ve gone from this massive threat to maybe we saw it the wrong way around," said Stephan Dolezalek, managing director of Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm VantagePoint Venture Partners.
"Maybe we should see the size of the Chinese market as this enormous upside potential, and maybe all of solar should be seeing it much more positively."
In the United States, economic stimulus funds aimed at filling the funding gap left by the financial crisis have been slow to materialize this year.
Nevertheless, companies like Suntech and SunPower expect government funds to boost the market next year, with Suntech saying the U.S. solar market could triple in 2010 from about 350 megawatts this year.
"We do think the U.S. could be a very very strong market," Suntech Chief Strategy Officer Steven Chan told the Summit, adding that the Obama administration’s loan guarantees and grants for solar "set the stage for a great 2010."
China’s top solar company, Suntech, is setting up its first manufacturing plant in the United States and has narrowed the potential locations to Phoenix and various cities in Texas, said Chief Strategy Officer Steven Chan. It plans to start production at the 50 MW plant in the second half of 2010.
SunPower, also said it would start producing solar panels in its home country next year to be closer to major solar markets like California.
"In terms of megawatts it will represent a meaningful amount of our panel production, say up to a quarter of our total panel production," Werner said.
Even smaller Chinese companies are wading their way into the U.S. market.
Trina Solar, a solar panel maker based in Changzhou, China, is actively seeking partnerships with project developers in the United States so it can take part in what is already a competitive race to rack up contracts for big solar projects.
"Honestly, we lag behind," Trina Chief Financial Officer Terry Wang said.
"First Solar and SunPower got a good start because they are located in the U.S. We are not bidding (on projects) yet. We would like to do it."
Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-GreenBusiness/idUSTRE58A0BL20090911?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=11617

2.4. Greens urge resource efficiency boost
9 September 2009, EurActiv
Europe needs political courage to put resource productivity at the forefront of its post-Lisbon Strategy vision as China and the US are becoming the "big movers" in the ecological modernisation of the global economy, the Greens said yesterday (8 September).
Europe needs a clear political line and targets to pursue a combination of resource productivity, energy efficiency and renewable energies, said Green MEP Claude Turmes, presenting a new study on how successful the diverse economic crisis-driven stimulus packages have been in promoting low-carbon growth.
The study by the German Wuppertal Institute argues that Europe risks losing global leadership to its market competitors in clean technologies as a result of smaller green spending. It concludes that the Green New Deal – a buzzword for policies that are to tackle the economic crisis while promoting a shift to sustainable production – is up for grabs if the EU shifts its thinking from saving on labour costs to making the most of its resources.
The amount of resources used by European industry costs double the amount of labour, Philipp Schepelmann, lead author of the study, pointed out. "If you want to achieve the target of Lisbon Strategy to become the most competitive economy in the world, you have to increase resource efficiency rather than throw people out," he argued.
But the Greens argued that the EU lacks the leadership and political vision to integrate its economic and environmental agendas. They are pinning their hopes on the incoming Spanish EU Presidency, which is already preparing the Spring summit at which the revision of the Lisbon agenda will come up again.
While European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has picked up all of the right vocabulary, his actions have not convinced, Rebecca Harms, president of the Greens/EFA Group, argued.
"We don’t think Mr Barroso would be the person the Greens would trust with the Green New Deal," she said.
Spain urged to take political lead
Turmes pointed out that Spain will be in for a tough task to correct the mistake that the Barroso-Verheugen Commission made in downgrading the environment in the Lisbon Treaty relaunch, focusing on "short-sighted indicators".
He said that although the current Swedish Presidency had done a good job, promoting its signature concept of ‘eco-efficiency’, this risked being nothing but "nice talk" as important legislation on cutting the energy used by buildings and energy labelling was dragging on.
Moreover, Turmes called for political courage to make better use of EU structural funds to give Eastern and Central European regions tools to benefit from the trinity of research, innovation and smart investment to correct structural inefficiencies.
The Wuppertal study identifies a large gap between EU member states which use resources most efficiently and those – mainly Eastern European ones – that lag behind. If the worst performer Bulgaria were to learn from the UK, which is the top of the class, it could cut its resource use to 1/17, it shows.
In order to promote learning from best practices, the Greens are proposing to establish a European Resource Efficiency Agency. The main function would be to coordinate the work of similar national agencies, raising awareness in member states of the crucial component of a competitive economy, they foresee.
Whether the agency would stand on its own right or be integrated under the framework of the European Environment Agency would have to be decided by the Commission and member states, Turmes said.
Link: http://www.euractiv.com/en/climate-change/greens-urge-resource-efficiency-boost/article-185249

EMISSIONS

3.1. Commission drive to limit CO2 from vans
11 September 2009, T&E
The Commission is expected to act this month to close a gap in EU legislation by limiting carbon dioxide emissions from road transport. It is putting the final touches to proposals to tighten environmental standards for vans and light trucks, but the car makers’ lobby is fighting to get the proposals weakened, while environmental groups fear that some large cars could be reclassified as small trucks to allow the makers to be less strict about emissions.
According to reports in the Financial Times newspaper, the draft standard for 2013 will be 175 g/km, with a long-term target of 135 g/km also part of the plans. A package of fines for vehicle makers who exceed the agreed limits is part of the legislation, but the proposed level of fines is not known.
The European car makers’ umbrella organisation Acea has attacked the proposals, saying they are ‘an unbelievable thing to suggest during such a deep crisis in the industry’.
Acea’s campaign against the standards continues the lobbying role it played over car CO2 standards – where the 120 g/km limit, originally set for 2005 and then put back to 2012, was weakened to effectively 137 g/km by 2015 – and carried on when the environment commissioner Stavros Dimas first suggested tightening van standards earlier this year.
In January, Dimas suggested the 175 g/km limit should apply to light commercial vehicles by 2012. However the current draft proposals are reported to recommend 175g by mid-2013.
In a letter published in the European Voice newspaper, T&E director Jos Dings said the car industry’s attacks were ‘getting old’. ‘It is the same tune that carmakers have been singing since environmental standards were first proposed for cars in the early 1990s, usually accompanied by the words “too costly”.
‘But these arguments sound increasingly hollow. Emissions from some diesel cars have plunged by 25% in the past two years, comparing equivalent models. But the advertised prices have not risen. So either the cost estimates are exaggerated or carmakers are selling some of their most popular models at a big loss.
‘Vans are, from a technological point of view, just large cars, indeed some “cars” are literally just vans with seats in the back. Adding technology to reduce emissions can be done quickly, nothing like the seven years the car makers say.’
Within the transport sector freight has increased significantly in recent years with the largest growth occurring in the least energy efficient transport modes: road and air freight. Vans now represent 13% of light vehicle (car and van) sales in Europe, but the share is increasing rapidly. Sales of light vehicles have increased by 50% over the last decade.
[mini story (box?)] The Swedish government wants to tax cars and vans the same way based on their CO2 emissions. It has taxed cars on their CO2 since 2005, and will add vans from 2011. The government envisages a basic tax of €35, and will then add around €2 for every gram of CO2 above 120 g/km (it also has a multiplier for diesel-powered cars and vans).
Link: http://www.transportenvironment.org/News/2009/9/Commission-drive-to-limit-CO2-from-vans/

CONFERENCES

4.1. Energy efficient heating and cooling of buildings – Will EU policies deliver appropriate
savings?

14th of October 2009 from 9.30 – 17.30, European Parliament, Brussels
Hosted by Members of the European Parliament
Anni Podimata, Fiona Hall, Claude Turmes and Dr. Peter Liese
If the European Union wants to meet its 2020 climate and energy targets in a sustainable and cost-effective way it has to make a real turn toward saving energy. The EU made a commitment to reduce energy use by 20% in 2020, but is far off track to achieve this target: policies will need to be strengthened. One quarter of energy in Europe is used for heating and cooling buildings, and around one third of this energy is unnecessarily wasted due to poor performing products.
More at: http://www.coolproducts.eu/cool_blog_archive_Save_the_date_Coolproducts_conference,_14_October_in_the_European_Parliament_57.aspx

4.2. Resumed ninth session of the AWG-KP and resumed seventh session of the AWG-LCA
2-6 November 2009
Barcelona Convention Centre
More: http://unfccc.int/meetings/items/2654.php#1

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