1.1. EU ministers to back ‘urgent’ climate aid for poor nations
12 March 2010, EurActiv
EU finance ministers meeting on Tuesday (16 March) will call for cash to be mobilised "urgently" to help developing countries tackle climate change, according to a draft statement seen by EurActiv.
Taking stock of the Copenhagen Accord, which has now been backed by more than 90 countries – including China, India and the United States – EU finance ministers seem keen to avoid any further delay in directing climate aid to developing countries.
The EU has committed to contribute EUR 2.4 billion annually over the period 2010-2012 in so-called ‘fast-start’ funding to help developing nations adapt to the unavoidable consequences of climate change. Other developed nations, including the United States and Japan, have promised equivalent sums of money for a total of $30 billion.
"The implications of the Copenhagen Accord for the EU’s positions on climate financing will need to be studied further," read the draft conclusions of the ministers’ meeting.
But the EU does not want to accumulate further delays and will push other parties to promptly announce details on their fast-start contributions.
EU member states are ready to present a preliminary state of play on aid at the next session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, scheduled to take place in Bonn in early June, reads the draft.
The ministers intend to submit EU-coordinated reports on the deployment of climate finance at the Cancun climate conference at the end of the year and want to encourage other developed countries to do the same.
Earlier this week, the European Commission has presented a new full-fledged strategy to further advance negotiations towards a global legally-binding agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012 (EurActiv 10/03/10).
The EU wants to bolster its outreach in order to build confidence that a global deal can be reached and to explore specific, action-oriented decisions that could be taken in Cancun next December.
The EU’s climate chief, Connie Hedegaard, is due to travel to the US and Mexico next week and is expected to host talks later this month in Brussels with Chinese representatives. In April, she is scheduled to visit India, Japan and China.
The Commission strategy outlined that part of the EU’s outreach to the US, Japan and Australia should be working to develop an OECD-wide carbon market by 2015, linking together those countries’ domestic cap-and-trade systems.
EU ministers will reiterate next week the need to develop practical proposals to scale up long-term financing for mitigation and adaptation strategies in developing countries (see ‘Background’).
"The potential of innovative sources of finance and market-based instruments in particular, including carbon markets, as well as leverage private finance through public finance should be taken into account," reads the draft, which underlines the EU’s readiness to support the work of the newly-established UN Advisory Group on climate change financing.
The aim is to develop a cost-effective deployment of increased financial flows towards poor
nations by establishing the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. That process has to be drawn, however, on experiences and lessons learnt from existing funds and international financial institutions, the draft points out.
In recent months, the EU has not been shy in underlying however that climate aid "will not come for free".
Karl Falkenberg, director-general for environment at the European Commission, said last month that the fund would be only available "in the context of an international framework that leads to the reduction of CO2 emissions" (EurActiv 25/02/10).
1.2. EU climate strategy: Commissioner Hedegaard picks up the pieces
9 March 2010, Greenpeace
In one of her first initiatives as European Commissioner for climate, Connie Hedegaard will deliver a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg today urging the EU to develop a more unified and proactive strategy that will help lead to a global climate deal. To coincide with the speech, the Commission will release an official ‘communication’ that looks at what went wrong in Copenhagen and what the EU can do to fix it.
Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken said: “The climate Commissioner still has to prove herself, but her speech could signal a turning point. But to truly regain its climate credibility and encourage green investments and innovations, the EU must upgrade its unconditional emission reduction target to 30%. The existing 20% target is so weak that we could all forget to turn off the heating this summer and still meet it.”
EU environment ministers will meet in Brussels on 15 March to discuss the EU’s international climate strategy. Greenpeace calls on the ministers to:
Ask the Commission to prepare a blueprint for an upgrade of the EU’s unconditional offer to cut greenhouse gas emissions from 20% to 30%. This position should be a first step towards a scientifically sound reduction target of 40% for all industrialised countries under a global climate agreement. Increasing the EU’s emission cut would support green jobs, economic recovery and energy security.
Build alliances with progressive developing nations to increase the pressure on countries blocking the road to a fair, ambitious and binding global climate agreement. As a first concrete step, the EU should implement the agreed fast-track funding to support climate measures in developing countries. Link: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/press-releases2/commission-climate-strategy-09-03-10
1.3. Stern backs $100bn IMF climate fund plan
11 March 2010, Environmental Finance
A climate fund proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 has won support from climate change economics guru Nicholas Stern.
Speaking in Nairobi on Sunday, IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said: “Sustainable growth in developing countries will require large-scale, long-term investments for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Copenhagen Accord suggests that $100 billion a year is needed by 2020, over and above existing aid commitments. This will be difficult to do with the standard approach – a series of ‘pledging conferences’ for decades to come.”
He said that, ultimately, financing will come from “budgetary transfers from developed countries, drawing on scaled-up carbon taxes and expanded carbon trading mechanisms”. However, these revenue sources will take time to be put in place, so an IMF ‘Green Fund’ could “act as a bridge to large-scale carbon-based financing in the medium term”.
In a subsequent interview with wire service AFP, Strauss-Kahn said that the IMF is going to publish a working paper on the Green Fund in the next couple of weeks. However, in the Nairobi speech, he stressed that the IMF would not manage the fund.
Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said: “The ‘Green Fund’ is a creative and constructive idea which shows that the International Monetary Fund recognises clearly the very serious risks that climate change creates for future global economic growth and development.”
Late last year, George Soros, the former hedge fund manager and now billionaire philanthropist, suggested that such a fund tap ‘Special Drawing Rights’, the international reserve assets held by the IMF to supplement its members’ official currency reserves.
However, Soros’ proposal was for a modest $100 billion over 25 years, rather than the $100 billion per year by 2020 apparently on the table from the IMF.
In January, Strauss-Kahn floated the idea of an IMF-led green fund, at the Davos meetings in Switzerland.
2.1. Few EU countries plan to trade renewable energy
12 March 2010, EurActiv
Only five EU member states are planning to buy renewable energy from other countries, while the EU as a whole is on track to exceed its 20% collective target, the European Commission said yesterday (11 March).
Italy will have the biggest shortage of domestically produced renewable energies, the Commission said in a summary of the forecast documents submitted by member states under the renewables directive. The country will have to buy around 1.2 Mtoe from other countries in order to meet its binding target, it stated.
Belgium , Denmark, Luxemburg and Malta were the other EU countries which expected to fall short of their targets with domestic production only.
By contrast, ten member states predict a surplus in 2020, which they could transfer to another member state, the Commission said. This would amount to about 2% of the total renewables required in 2020.
Spain and Germany plan the largest absolute amounts of surplus renewable energy on top of their binding commitments. Consequently, Germany expects to hit 18.7% instead of 18%, and Spain 22.7% instead of 20%.
In consequence, the EU as a whole is set to reach a 20.3% share of renewable energies in 2020, slightly exceeding its 20% target, the Commission said.
"These forecasts show that member states take renewable energy very seriously and are really dedicated to push their domestic production," said Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. "It is an incentive to invest in green technology and the production of renewable energy," he added.
But a Commission spokesperson stressed that the results are "very preliminary", and more details would become available when member states submit their national renewable energy action plans by the end of June. These will have to set out what measures the countries plan to put in place in order to meet their targets and stand the Commission’s scrutiny in terms of their credibility.
In fact, the forecast documents were merely required to estimate the potential demand for renewable energy other than domestic production by 2020 and resulting need for the use of cooperation mechanisms. In the absence of a common template, additional information submitted varies widely between member states.
The renewables directive allows member states to meet their renewable energy targets by a combination of domestic production, statistical transfers of renewable energy from other member states or joint projects with either EU or third countries. Eleven member states said they would consider making use of joint projects, while seven also indicated their interest in statistical transfers.
France , Italy, Spain and Greece said they would be particularly interested in developing renewable energy in third countries in the context of the Mediterranean Solar Plan or in the Western Balkan countries, according to the Commission. Italy for instance intends to bridge the gap between domestic production and its targets by building constructing interconnections with Switzerland, Albania, Montenegro and Tunisia, its document shows.
Some also identified specific technologies that they would like to cooperate on, such as wind for Germany, Estonia and Ireland, hydro for Romania and Bulgaria or biomass for Latvia.
2.2. Green groups sue Commission over withheld biofuels docs
9 March 2010, T&E
On Monday 8 March 2010, a coalition of environmental groups filed a legal action against the European Commission over its refusal to release documents. The documents contain previously undisclosed information on the negative climate impacts of widespread biofuels use in the EU. The lawsuit, brought by ClientEarth, Transport & Environment, the European Environmental Bureau, and BirdLife International, alleges several violations of European laws designed to promote transparency, democracy, and legitimacy in EU policy-making.
"The public’s right to this information is a fundamental principle of European law. That the Commission should choose to deny our rights on such a critical issue as the science underpinning our climate policies is astounding," said Tim Grabiel, Staff Attorney at ClientEarth, the public-interest legal organisation representing the coalition. "It is regrettable that the Commission’s consistent obstructionism compels us to go to court."
The efforts to gain access to this information began on 15 October 2009 – more than 144 days ago. Following intense internal deliberations and multiple extensions, the Commission refused to turn over the documents by the statutory deadline, 9 February 2010. Instead, it informed the coalition of their right to sue. In response, the coalition has taken the rare step of taking the issue to the General Court of the European Union.
"The papers released so far give the strong impression that the Commission is preparing to present the studies’ findings in a way that supports previously taken decisions, rather than assessing the real implications of these decisions and correcting them," said Pieter de Pous, Senior Policy Officer at the EEB.
At issue is the future regulation of biofuels in the European Union. Member States are required to use renewable sources to meet 10% of their transport needs by 2020, which will be met in large part through the increased use of biofuels. A well-known consequence of biofuels production, however, is the conversion of forests and other natural areas into cropland to replace those croplands lost to biofuels production — a phenomenon called indirect land-use change (ILUC) that releases significant greenhouse-gas emissions. The requested documents sought in the ClientEarth v. Commission case reveal the science on those impacts.
Nuša Urbančič, Transport & Environment, says: "Current EU biofuels policy guarantees that Europe will use lots of biofuels, but it doesn’t guarantee reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; in fact it seems likely it will make things worse. The first step to fixing this broken policy must be full transparency about what the true impacts are. That’s why this legal action is so important."
The Commission is currently withholding around 140 documents, according to its own figures.
The coalition’s application will be reviewed by the Registrar of the General Court of the European Union, and later served upon the Commission, after which it will have two months to respond. A hearing date has yet to be set.
"We continue to hope that the Commission will finally opt for full transparency," said Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife International. "Sound climate policies require an open, inclusive and science-driven debate."
James Thornton, lawyer and CEO of ClientEarth, says: "The Commission might not be seeking to hide the truth, but the result of its stance is that crucial information is being withheld until it’s no longer relevant. Its own access laws and work to mitigate climate change are being compromised by its inaction. The Commission’s delaying tactics are totally against the spirit of the law."
2.3. West worries about Russia turning to coal
10 March 2010, EurActiv
European efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions could be undermined by Russian plans to dramatically increase energy production from coal, Western experts said in Brussels yesterday (9 March).
To be able to honour its gas export contracts, Russia has to turn to coal, said Kevin Rosner, senior fellow at the US Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.
Rosner presented his research, entitled ‘Russian coal: Europe’s new energy challenge’ and sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, at a public event hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Several experts and officials took part in the debate, held under Chatham House rules.
Russia has established an image for itself as an oil and gas giant, yet the country has gigantic coal reserves, second only to the USA, the research paper says. Rosner argues that the overarching aim of the analysis is to ensure that when those coal reserves are used, they have the smallest possible impact on the world’s climate.
Other speakers pointed out that coal is produced in 26 Russia regions and its development is seen as a "factor of stability".
"Nobody dares to shut down a coal mine," as one speaker put it.
The Russian coal industry is also less centralised than the oil and gas sector and has to a large extent been privatised.
But Russian coal is of poor quality and its burning into the atmosphere is not a good option, speakers said.
"Russia coal is not competitive for example and has been displaced by Australian and South African coal in the UK, because its sulphur content is too high, and also its moisture content. That’s why the shale gas people say, ‘the coal is there, the gas is there, the coal is not good for export, then take the gas from it, and leave the coal underground,’" Rosner said during the debate.
Shale gas, the miracle solution?
Shale gas, produced from layers of sedimentary rock that are difficult to tap with conventional technology, was recently developed in the USA and made the country self-sufficient in gas, even bringing down world prices. Experts note that shale gas can be produced at coal basins and could be the miracle solution for Russia as well. However, speakers lamented that Russia had not formulated clear ideas about extracting shale gas.
Development of shale gas is set to rise by 71% between 2007 and 2030, the International Energy Agency said. In recent statements, Gazprom officials have shown disdain for shale gas and cited the possible negative environmental impact of developing such technologies.
Speakers said that developing shale gas was even more important for Ukraine, a country which has no gas resources but is rich in coal. Ukraine, like some EU countries such as Poland, could become less dependent on Russian gas by developing its own production, they said.
However, technological problems linked to shale gas extraction would represent an obstacle, it emerged during the discussion. Also, as Rosner’s paper indicates, Western strategies for sharing technology with Russia are conditional on the country liberalising its domestic energy market and its commitment to cutting greenhouse emissions.
2.4. Brussels against exporting nuclear waste outside EU
10 March 2010, EU Observer
Brussels is against member states exporting their nuclear waste to countries outside the EU or to store it in joint sites, energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger said, as the commission is working on a set of common safety standards for this dangerous material.
"It is the duty of national politicians to do their homework," Mr Oettinger told Financial Times Deutschland in an interview published on Wednesday (10 March). The German commissioner warned against common storage sites, as well as exporting the radioactive material outside the EU, for instance Russia.
The Times last month reported of plans to ship high-level nuclear waste from Western member states to eastern European ones, for burial in a central underground storage facility, which would be a cheaper option.
But in Mr Oettinger’s view, such plans are out of the question. Special waste export for economic reasons was "scandalous and dangerous", he said, adding that it applied to nuclear waste as well. Placing this material outside the EU borders, was also a no-go because Brussels had no ways of inspecting those sites, he said.
The European Commission will table by the end of this year a set of common safety standards for nuclear waste storage across the EU, the commissioner added.
Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso announced these plans on Monday in Paris, during a conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The question of radioactive waste storage was a "major concern" for the EU public opinion and a precondition for "safe, durable and optimal use" of nuclear energy, Mr Barroso said.
Most European countries using nuclear energy keep the waste in interim storage facilities, but several governments are now moving on setting up deep geological repositories for permanent use.
The first site is due to be up and running in Finland in 2020, followed by Sweden three years after and France in 2025, experts who addressed a forum at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), have said in a "vision paper", AFP reported last month.
Only 15 out of the 27 EU member states have nuclear plants, with a total of 145 reactors. France is one of the biggest nuclear waste producers, with its 59 reactors producing almost 80 percent of the country’s electricity.
Brussels has no say on the choice of building or closing such facilities, which is made exclusively by national governments and sometimes requires a national referendum. The Austrian public, for instance, rejected the use of a brand-new nuclear reactor in 1978, which was built but never switched on.
3.1. EU CO2 tax proposal due in April
9 March 2010, EurActiv
The EU’s new taxation commissioner, Algirdas Šemeta, will revive debate on harmonised minimum CO2 tax rates on fuels at EU level, and plans to table fresh proposals as early as next month, it has emerged.
The commissioner wants to discuss the legislation with his colleagues in the college of commissioners in the second half of April, with a view to presenting proposals in April or May, a Commission spokesperson said.
But she admitted that the timetable would depend on how the internal discussions go, and said May could be a more realistic goal.
The proposal would overhaul the EU’s existing energy taxation directive to bring it into line with the bloc’s environmental priorities. Currently, the law sets minimum tax levels that EU states must levy on fuels according to volume consumed.
By contrast, the upcoming proposals would base taxation on the CO2 content of the fuels on the one hand, and their energy content on the other. This means that fuels like coal, which emits a large amount of CO2 but has a low energy content, would be taxed most heavily.
Šemeta’s predecessor László Kovács had already made it a priority to introduce a CO2 tax back in 2008, but his draft proposals proved too controversial to pass through the Commission (EurActiv 29/09/10).
But Šemeta believes that the momentum is now right to table new proposals, with a new Commission in place and pressing climate change commitments on the horizon, his spokesperson said.
She said that the proposals would be based upon the same concept as the draft worked out by the previous commissioner. This time, however, they would include some "fundamental differences" that should make the legislation more acceptable.
For instance, drafts prepared under Kovács would have set a minimum tax rate of €10 per tonne of CO2 emitted, but this would not apply in the new proposal, the spokesperson said. The Commission services are now revising the impact assessment for the revamped directive in order to determine the appropriate levels, she added.
A growing number of member states are introducing carbon taxes, joining Nordic countries Sweden, Finland and Denmark, which have been applying them since the early 1990s. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy is battling to get national legislation through constitutional hurdles (EurActiv 22/01/10).
Consequently, the UK, the most vocal opponent to EU-mandated environmental taxes, is looking increasingly isolated. Šemeta’s proposals would, however, require the unanimous endorsement of all member states.
3.2. UK import emissions are the highest in Europe, figures show
8 March2010, Reuters
Study finds 253m tonnes of CO2 are released annually in the manufacture of products bound for UK shores – mostly in the developing world.
Britain ‘s demand for imported goods is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions abroad than any other European country, according to a new study published today.
The report shows that 253m tonnes of carbon dioxide are released overseas each year in the manufacture of products bound for UK shores, the equivalent of 4.3 tonnes per person. The average Briton’s carbon footprint is 9.7 tonnes, not including emissions from goods.
Only the US and Japan have higher emissions linked to their imports, at 699m tonnes and 284m tonnes of carbon dioxide per year respectively, the study found.
The majority of the emissions are released in rapidly industrialising parts of the developing world, such as China and India.
The study, by scientists at the Carnegie Institute of Washington in California, highlights the unresolved issue of responsibility for carbon dioxide that is released to make products for foreign markets.
Under the Kyoto protocol, emission targets apply to the country where the gases are produced. But China has so far resisted binding emissions targets, as it does not accept responsibility for emissions associated with making goods that are exported to wealthy nations.
Previous studies, by the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research last year and Oxford University in 2007, have found that the UK is "outsourcing" much of its carbon emissions for the manufacture of goods to China.
For this study, Steven Davis and Ken Caldeira used published data on international trade from 2004 to build up a picture of how goods moved between 113 countries or regions and 57 industrial sectors, including machinery, vehicles, chemicals and food. By allocating carbon emissions to products and sources, they calculated the net emissions linked to countries imports and exports.
"Instead of looking at carbon dioxide emissions only in terms of what is released inside our borders, we also looked at the amount of carbon dioxide released during the production of the things that we consume," said Caldeira.
Over one-third of the carbon emissions linked to goods used in many European countries were actually released in developing countries, the study shows. Imports to Germany and France were responsible for 233m tonnes and 170m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions abroad respectively. Switzerland "outsourced" more than half of its carbon dioxide emissions, according to the report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Just like the electricity you use in your home, we found that products imported by the developed countries of western Europe, Japan and the US cause substantial emissions in other countries, especially China," said Davis. Nearly one-quarter of China’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, some 1.4bn tonnes, come from the manufacture of products and services that are ultimately exported, the report adds.
Jan Minx, an expert in environmental economics at the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York, said the study’s system of attributing emissions – based on which country’s consumption causes emissions rather than the country where the emissions are released – can help identify when international agreements to cut greenhouse gas emissions are being undermined. Some countries, the UK included, are increasingly becoming service-based economies, but they still import goods from countries that rely heavily on fossil fuels and have no binding emissions targets. "It’s not intentional, but it can have a detrimental effect on international agreements," Minx said.
Obliging countries to cut carbon emissions beyond their national borders is fraught with political and practical difficulties, but this should not stop import-related emissions being taken into consideration in negotiations to cut emissions, Minx said. "It’s most feasible for a country to reduce emissions on their own territory, but this kind of accounting system can provide extra information for policymakers," he added.
Adopting such an accounting system for greenhouse gas emissions could be fairer to developing countries, such as China and India, which rely heavily on fossil fuels to manufacture products for wealthy foreigners, the researchers said.
"Apart from an opportunity to inform effective climate policy, consumption-based accounting of emissions provides grounding for ethical arguments that the most developed countries – as the primary beneficiaries of emissions and with greater ability to pay – should lead the global mitigation effort," the authors write.
3.3. Carbon offsetting in the EU: who’s buying what, where revealed for the first time
10 March 2010, Sandbag
We’ve launched a brand new map and report today illustrating just how much offsetting is going on in Europe. Our new offset map allows you to explore where offset credits being imported into the EU originate from – for the first time it is now possible to see exactly who is buying what from where.
And what it reveals is that the majority of the offsets used come from just three countries: China, India and South Korea and that they are made up of credits generated from chemical plants, reducing emissions of HFCs and N2O. This is not a surprise since these are the cheapest credits available since it costs very little to destroy these powerful greenhouse gases. This has drawn criticism since it leads to huge profits for the companies investing in these projects. In addition, the investment delivers no environmental or social benefits beyond the carbon saving. Many argue specific regulations banning these emissions would be far more cost efficient way of uncovering these emissions cuts. However, without these regulations in place these emissions would have occurred so there is at least a clear carbon saving.
We’ve also been able to identify which companies are doing the most buying of offsets thanks again to a collaboration with Carbon Market Data. Spanish power company Endesa tops the list with their part-owners ENEL, an Italian power company, coming in second. Power companies are in general subject to tight caps so it is not surprising that they are big users of offsets.
But companies with as many or more permits than they currently need are also using offsets. ThyssenKrupp’s Duisburg steelplant in Germany offset 56% of its emissions in 2008 and in the UK Corus is a big buyer of offsets despite having surplus emissions permits. It makes sense for companies to do this since they can either use the cheaper offset credits to comply with the caps and then sell the EU allowances they have been given for free for a profit, or bank them for use in the future when they will be even more valuable.
Our aim in releasing this new information is twofold. Firstly to demonstrate how well companies in the EU are adapting to the carbon constraints they now operate under and to challenge the assertions by industry lobby groups that a higher climate target in Europe would be ‘physically impossible’ to meet (as claimed by ENEL) or "fatal" to our steel companies as claimed by Eurofer.
But secondly we also wanted to open up the offsetting market to more public scrutiny so that companies using offsets would be more discerning in their choice of offset credits in the future. The next stage is to add more information to the map to make it easier to identify projects which are doing a lot for the environment from those that might actually be doing very little or even having an overall negative impact. If anyone has information that can help us do this we’d love to hear from you.
3.4. UNECE announces the introduction in 41 countries of type approval for electric and hybrid vehicles’ electric safety requirements
10 March 2010, UNECE
The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, adopted today, at its March 2010 session, a new version of UNECE Regulation No. 100 which introduces type approval requirements for all types of electric and hybrid vehicles’ electric safety requirements .
Type approval refers to the administrative procedure by which the competent authorities in one Contracting Party declare, after carrying out the required verifications and tests, that a vehicle submitted by the manufacturer conforms to the requirements of the given Regulation. Once this approval has been obtained, the vehicle will benefit from the mutual recognition of this approval in all Contracting Parties applying UNECE Regulation No. 100 (currently 41 countries – see list below).
The new version of UNECE Regulation No. 100 will cover all types of electric vehicles: pure electric, hybrid, plug-in, as well as hydrogen fuel cells vehicles as regards electric safety requirements. The Regulation encompasses the electric safety requirements of all types of road vehicles (passenger and commercial vehicles) which can exceed 25 km/h. One of the key requirements is that vehicles must provide users with an effective protection against electric shocks.
This change in UNECE Regulation No. 100 reflects the growing interest of both manufacturers and customers for electric and hybrid vehicles, as evidenced at the Geneva motor show this year.
It offers car manufacturers the legal instrument to put into the market passenger and commercial vehicles with greener standards, reducing the costs and delays associated with multiple approvals in various countries.
More at: http://www.unece.org/press/pr2010/10trans_p06.htm
3.5. Motor lobby attack on van CO2 law is not credible
12 April 2010, T&E
Some of Europe’s biggest-selling vans are already close to meeting proposed EU CO2 targets for 2016 after making big improvements in fuel efficiency this year, according to T&E. Meanwhile the car industry lobby continues to claim that EU proposals for binding reduction targets are ‘unrealistic’. That claim is not credible, says T&E.
The European Commission’s proposal for binding CO2 targets for vans was announced in October 2009 and will be discussed by national environment ministers on Monday 15 March. It states that manufacturers should cut van emissions to an average of 175 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre by 2016, a cut of around 14 percent compared to the 2007 baseline of 203 g.
In the run up to the proposal’s announcement, the car industry lobby group ACEA described the targets as "completely, totally out of reach". The boss of VW’s van division told Handelsblatt last month that the proposals are "unrealistic" (1).
And yet, the 2010 Volkswagen T5 van range achieved a reduction of about 10% in fuel consumption and CO2 compared to 2007 according to Volkswagen publicity (2). The T5 was the 3rd biggest selling van in Europe in 2007 according to JATO dynamics (3).
The most fuel-efficient new Renault Master emits 187 g/km (4). This is 15% more efficient than the best Renault Master from 2007 (5).
The new Ford Transit ECOnetic has CO2 emissions 11% better than the most efficient Ford Transit previously available (6). The Ford Transit was the best selling van in Europe in 2007 according to JATO.
The car industry was equally critical of binding car CO2 targets when they were proposed by the Commission in 2008. But progress on cars has moved forward significantly since then. Two of Europe’s biggest selling cars, the Ford Focus and VW Golf are now available in 99g/CO2 versions, just a few grams away from the EU’s average target for 2020.
Kerstin Meyer of Transport & Environment said: "The car industry’s lobbyists said no to car CO2 standards, but the engineers proved them wrong. They said the proposed short term target for vans was ‘impossible’, but the industry is well on the way. They are now attacking the proposed long term target for vans – but based on past performance that claim is just not credible."
Between 1997 and 2007, the total number of vans on Europe’s roads increased by about 50% (7).
At the same time fleet average CO2 emissions of new LCVs actually increased from 201 g to 203 g/km between 2002 and 2007.
T&E believes a long term target for van emissions of 125g CO2/km is needed for 2020, and says the corresponding improvements in fuel efficiency would bring big benefits.
"Business spends EUR 30 billion every year on fuel for vans. That’s money going up in smoke that could be invested in training, technology and innovation. A 125g long term target will bring down fuel bills and make Europe more competitive" said Meyer.
3.6. Drivers of older cars ‘could be charged twice as much to park
7 March 2010, Telegraph.co.uk
Drivers of older cars could be charged twice as much to park as other motorists under a scheme being considered by a council.
Teignbridge District Council in Devon is proposing a two-tier charge in which cars made before January 2001 are charged £1 a day and others 50p.
The scheme would be introduced at the council’s headquarters in Newton Abbot to promote their "green travel plan".
The proposal, to be discussed by the council’s executive on Monday, is aimed at increasing the number of staff using buses, cycle or walk to work.
It says: "Payment charges are proposed at 50p a day for cars with Euro emission standard compliant engines in standards Euro 3, Euro 4, Euro 5.
"Those higher polluting cars with engines manufactured prior to Jan 2001 would be charged £1 per day."
Christine Bolton, of the union Unison, said the proposal was unfair on those who earn less and cannot afford newer cars.
"My car is registered prior to 2001 so I would pay the higher charges. I question how green it is to encourage people to change their cars," she said.
"Those on lower pay who can’t afford to change their cars will be paying twice the amount of people who are two or three times their salary. That doesn’t seem fair."
A council spokesman said the scheme would charge council staff who currently use the car park for free.
He said: "We want to encourage staff to come to work in bus or bicycle, ways which are more environmentally friendly.
4.1. INNOVATIONS – Position paper on Benchmarking and allocation rules in phase III of the EU Emissions Trading System
February 2010, CAN Europe
More at: http://www.climnet.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=1534&Itemid=2
4.2. The Carbon Rich List : The companies profiting from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
February 2010, Sandbag
More at: http://www.climnet.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&Itemid=55&gid=1551
5.1. Bond Development and Environment Group Coordinator
More at: http://www.iied.org/general/jobs/bond-development-and-environment-group-coordinator
5.2. Expert to ISO TC 229 Nanotechnologies ECOS would like to nominate an expert to ISO TC 229 Nanotechnologies – WG 3 Health, safety and environmental issues. The technical work deals with the development of standard methods for toxicological screening, relative toxicity/hazard potential determination, establishing occupational exposure limits, etc. for nanoparticles and other nanoscale materials; as well as protocols for inhalation testing, toxicology testing, safe handling, exposure determination and safe disposal of nanotubes.
The work of the expert will consist of the following:
1. Assessment of the ongoing work and drafting of positions and priorities for ENGO-involvement in this WG
2. Regular representation of ECOS at physical WG3 -meetings (in Europe and worldwide, when required) – normally 2-3 times per year. The expert would have to be available for the upcoming meeting between the 17-21st May 2010 in the Netherlands.
3. Due preparation for and reporting from meetings (following a standard template)
4. Cooperation with a task force of interested experts and NGO-representatives, including the delegated NGO expert(s) working at OECD level.
For details regarding the work of ISO TC 229 – WG 3 see the attached business plan . For information about ISO see: http://www.iso.org
Remuneration of the expert:
– reimbursement of travel costs
– expert fees and per diems
Details according to ECOS terms and conditions provided on application.
Interested experts are asked to send a detailed cv including references of relevant work on nanotechnologies and associated environmental issues for/with NGOs and/or other stakeholders and references to publications to [email protected] until 6th April 2010.
6.1. Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism – CDM-EB 53
22-26 March 2010
The proposed agenda and its annotations for the Fifty-third meeting fo the CDM Executive Board (CDM-EB 53) are now available online.
More at: http://cdm.unfccc.int/EB/053/index.html
6.2. The EU Sustainable Energy Week 22-26 March 2010
The time is ripe to shape our energy future
More at: http://www.eusew.eu/
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