1.1. Ministers dialogue on climate change
14 August 2010, Ghana News
Ministers of Environment and Climate from developing countries have resolved with their colleagues from the rich north to fast track the implementation of international policies to combat the negative effects of climate change since it remained the greatest threat to humanity.
Whiles the least developed south would be expanding and deepening carbon trapping and low emission measures, developed countries such as German and Japan have packaged financial and logistical support to implement international climate protection projects for prevention of deforestation in developing countries.
Ms. Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra at the weekend, after participating in the Climate Change Dialogue Conference in Bonn, Germany this month.
The aim of the conference was to explore how the core elements under negotiation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) can be taken forward.
Ms. Ayittey said some of the pertinent issues include mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology to ending deforestation and promoting climate-friendly technologies and further developing emissions trading schemes.
The meeting also served as a platform for the participants to strategise and prepare for the UN climate conference to be held in Cancum, Mexico in December 2010.
She said the Ministers stressed on the need for governments to urgently give political guidance and assist in putting the UN climate negotiations back on track and end the vicious cycle of lack of trust and ambition.
Ms. Ayittey noted that the conference which was jointly opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Felipe Calderón agreed on prioritizing further UN negotiations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developed and newly industrializing countries; setting up an international system for monitoring mitigation activities; supporting adaptation measures in developing countries; and financing international climate protection.
She said government of Germany, South Africa and the Republic of Korea launched an initiative to support developing countries in elaborating environment- and climate-friendly growth strategies, subject to transparent, measurable and comprehensible implementation.
1.2. Entertainment industry leaders premiere Earth Hour global music video on Facebook
10 August 2010, WWF
Earth Hour – the massive grassroots campaign to galvanize action on global warming – has exclusively premiered its Earth Hour 2011 video on Facebook.
Created by one of the world’s most successful independent producers, Village Roadshow, and international award-winning animation and visual effects studio, Animal Logic, the Earth Hour 2011 video captures the passion of Earth Hour demonstrated in 128 countries this year.
Australian band, The Temper Trap, currently in the middle of a sell-out world tour including Glastonbury (UK), Outside Lands Festival (San Francisco) and Corona Capital Festival (Mexico), provided the award-winning backing track “Sweet Disposition”, despite having “retired” the single from partnerships.
The emotive three-minute video showcases a mosaic of professional and amateur imagery shared by the hundreds of millions of people across the planet who took part in the most recent Earth Hour. It features media reports from the night as well as quotes from Earth Hour. Ambassadors for the global action movement include The Most Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Italian Football icon, Francesco Totti.
Earth Hour Co-Founder, Andy Ridley, says that it is a great honor to have world-renowned artists working together to help spread Earth Hour’s message.
“Earth Hour proves beyond anything else that one person has the power to make change,” Ridley says.
“Not only does this video inspire everyone to take action, but it demonstrates the depths of the desire of millions of people from all walks of life who want a better, healthy world,” he says.
4,616 cities and towns in 128 countries and territories participated in Earth Hour, which involved hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Design Director, Toby Grime of Animal Logic, says that it was the sheer breadth of footage and photographs from world citizens that truly inspired the video’s direction.
“When you see the imagery that has been captured via mobile phones and amateur video cameras, it brings to life how everyday citizens have taken Earth Hour to their hearts and want to own a solution for the future of the planet,” he says.
Village Roadshow Chairman, John Kirby, says Earth Hour is a call to action for every individual, business and community throughout the world to stand up; take responsibility; get involved and lead the global journey to a sustainable future.
“It is not a question of whether Village Roadshow should support Earth Hour but how we could. It is simply our responsibility as citizens of a global community,” he says.
The visual beauty of the video is brought together by the song Sweet Disposition by the popular band, The Temper Trap, whose lyrics appropriately capture the determination of Earth Hour – “Won’t stop ‘til it’s over; Won’t stop to surrender.”
Ridley says that the world is ready for Earth Hour’s evolution. “In under three short years, Earth Hour has grown to reach over a billion people worldwide – the largest voluntary action ever witnessed,” he says. “If we can achieve this, imagine what else can be done.”
Earth Hour 2011 will take place at 8.30pm, Saturday, 26 March, 2011.
2.1. Coal power opposition goes global
13 August 2010, WWF
Almost 10,000 people from 100 countries have objected to plans for a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston in Ayrshire, Scotland, it was revealed today by WWF.
With one week to go before the official public consultation period ends, approaching 10,000 people have submitted objections by letter, postcard or via the environmental organisation’s website – http://wwf.panda.org/action/hunterston . From Bangladesh and Bulgaria to Uganda and Venezuela, WWF said that objections are pouring in daily to join the thousands already received from local residents and other concerned individuals throughout Scotland.
The proposal is the only live application for new coal-fired power station in the UK. Although the developers claim it is a clean-coal development, in reality 80 per cent of emissions would go straight into the atmosphere adding to global climate change.
WWF said that those responding have expressed their anger at the plans which would lead to an increase in carbon emissions and make a mockery of Scotland’s world leading climate change targets.
Commenting on the unprecedented show of global opposition to the plans WWF International President, Yolanda Kakabadse, from Ecuador said:
“When Scotland’s world-leading climate laws were passed it was rightly hailed as a great example for the world to follow. Plans for coal-fired power plants that do not capture all the emissions from day one, put that leadership in question. The eyes of the world are watching and hoping that Scotland will reject this proposal and continue to show that climate change can’t be addressed without vision, policy and action – Scotland must continue to walk the talk.”
Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said:
“With this huge public outcry, it is clear that a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston is not only unnecessary but it is also deeply unpopular. This polluting plant is now being opposed locally, nationally and internationally and will face a very rough ride through the planning process. We urge the Scottish Government to consider the views of people not only in this country, but also from abroad, whose lives could be seriously affected by the damaging effects of climate change.
“Scotland does not need new coal, as research published by WWF and other groups shows. A combination of improved energy efficiency and increased use of Scotland’s wealth of clean renewables is more than adequate."
2.2. Poland delays nuclear plant schedule
13 August 2010, Platts
Poland will commission its first nuclear power plant in 2022, two years after the original schedule, Hanna Trojanowska, the government’s nuclear energy adviser, said Thursday. "In effect, in the verified schedule 2022 appears as the date for the start-up of the first unit," Trojanowska told the state news agency PAP. Trojanowska has always maintained that the original 2020 deadline was highly ambitious. The revised schedule is contained in the government’s nuclear program project. The project, which includes the construction of two nuclear reactors, each with installed capacity of 3 GW, was accepted by the economy inistry. Thursday. The document will now be scrutinized by other ministries before it is sent to the government for approval. Poland ‘s largest power company, Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), has recently signed a number of non-exclusive cooperation agreements with Westinghouse Electric, GE Hitachi and France’s EdF. PGE will create a consortium, in which it will take a 51% stake, to construct the reactors. The first plant was originally scheduled to be commissioned in 2020 and the second in 2023. Poland fast-tracked the creation of a nuclear power sector in January last year during the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute. The government plans to meet 15% of its energy needs from nuclear power by 2030. Currently, the country produces close to 95% of its power from coal or lignite. In the early 1990s Poland abandoned plans to construct a nuclear reactor in Zarnowiec, northern Poland, following protests from the local community. Link: http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews.aspx?xmlpath=RSSFeed/HeadlineNews/Nuclear/8906697.xml
2.3. China province cuts power to 500 factories
16 August 2010, Yahoo
Authorities in eastern China have cut off electricity to more than 500 factories for a month after they failed to meet emission reduction targets, state media reported Monday.
The news came after China warned more than 2,000 companies in high-polluting and energy-intensive industries to shut down outdated equipment or risk having bank loans frozen, approvals for new projects dry up, and their power turned off.
The order from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology was the latest salvo by Beijing as it tries to slash its world-leading greenhouse gas emissions and restructure the economy.
The 506 factories in eight cities targeted by officials in Anhui province are mostly in industries that consume high amounts of energy such as the coal, chemical and metallurgical sectors, the China Daily newspaper reported.
"Some of their high energy consumption is due to the factories’ antiquated production facilities," Zhao De, an energy official with the province’s Department of Economic and Information Technology, was quoted as saying.
He told the newspaper it was the first time the province had cut the power to such a large number of factories, although previously officials had put limits on power consumption during peak summer months.
Sun Yangzhi, an official at Zhongcheng Cement Factory which employs 700 people in the city of Huaibei, told the newspaper his plant received a notice that power to the plant would be cut for a month two days before the blackout.
"We are quite worried because several tons of coating material will be wasted if we do not put them into production as soon as possible," Sun was quoted as saying.
"We are also anxious because we will not be able to complete several orders."
The suspensions are intended to help the province meet its energy consumption targets by year’s end, the report said.
The factory blackouts will also reduce electricity demand as the province copes with two weeks of temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) which have sent consumption soaring, the report said.
Neighbouring provinces have also introduced measures to cope with surging power demand.
Nanjing , the capital of Jiangsu province, has restricted consumption to 1,000 companies since Thursday to ensure that residents have enough power and has also asked energy-intensive companies to halt production, the report said.
In Zhejiang, 69 companies in Jinhua city had their electricity rationed between July and September, while in Shaoxing city, which consumes a quarter of the province’s power, 200 firms face limits until year’s end, it said.
3.1. World 2009 CO2 Emissions Off 1.3 Percent: Institute
16 August 2010, Planet Ark
Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2009 fell 1.3 percent to 31.3 billion tonnes in the first year-on-year decline in this decade, German renewable energy institute IWR said on Friday.
The Muenster-based institute, which advises German ministries, cited the global economic crisis and rising investments in renewable energies for the fall in emissions.
Global investment in renewable installations for power, heat and fuels last year rose to 125 billion euros ($161 billion) from 120 billion in 2008, IWR said.
But IWR director Norbert Allnoch said given the force of the crisis, the reductions in CO2 output could have been greater, had stronger output in Asian and Middle Eastern countries not overcompensated the savings obtained from declines in Europe, Russia, Japan and the U.S.
"The energy-induced CO2 output in China in 2009 due to its economic growth has grown to a level now that is as high as that of the U.S. and Russia combined," he said.
China in 2009 was in top position with 7.43 billion tonnes after 6.81 billion in 2008, followed by the U.S. with 5.95 billion (6.37 billion 2008). Russia was in third position, just before India, and followed by Japan.
Global investments in solar and wind power were helped by lower equipment costs as the crisis led to price cuts, IWR said.
But it reiterated its earlier suggestions that, in order to put brakes on the rising fossil fuels usage and to stabilize global CO2, it recommends that global annual spending on renewables be quadrupled to 500 billion euros ($644.2 billion).
Global CO2 emissions are still 37 percent above those in 1990, the basis year for the Kyoto Climate Protocol.
3.2. Cap and trade is dead, long live cap and trade.
12 August 2010, Sandbag
The chances of federal cap and trade legislation in the US being passed any time soon appear to be receding, however, this means the spotlight will inevitably fall back onto state-level proposals.
In total, some 50 States could be included in a future capped carbon market, made up of three linked regional schemes: the existing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the east, the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) and the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (Midwestern Accord).
All eyes are currently on the WCI where 7 US States, (representing 20% of US GDP), and 4 Canadian provinces, (representing 76% of Canadian GDP), have come together to develop a common framework for implementing a scheme by the start of 2012. However, at the moment only two US states (California and New Mexico) and 3 Canadian provinces (Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario) have passed the necessary legislation to introduce a scheme, so other partners may only join at a later date .
And in California – the largest of the partners – there is a cloud hanging over the scheme’s future. A referendum has been called to suspend the regulations until such time as unemployment in the state decreases below 5.5%, it is currently at 12.6% (and not expected to drop below 8% any time soon). The vote will take place in November with energy companies largely funding the lobbying effort behind it. If successful it would severely reduce the likelihood of the other partners proceeding with their plans.
Despite this potential set back, WCI issued detailed design details for how the scheme would operate at the end of July.
Here’s a quick summary:
– seeks to reduce emissions by 15% compared to 2005 by 2020 ,
– intended to cover 90% of all greenhouse gases,
– could mean up to 1.3 bn tonnes capped by 2015,
– applies to installations responsible for emitting over 25,000 metric tones per annum,
– starts in 2012 capping power and heavy industry, with transport and heating fuels joining in 2015,
– mixture of benchmarked free allocation and auctioning for distribution of allowances,
– initial allocations to match projected BAU emissions in starting year and then steadily decline year on year,
– no restrictions on who can trade,
– floor price introduced into auction to stem supply if overallocated,
– no price cap but the price safety valves include three year compliance periods, limited used of offsetting, linking to other schemes, limited borrowing and potential reserves and ‘special purpose pools’ of permits being set aside and released under certain scenarios,
– a set aside of permits to be retired for voluntary renewable investments,
– importation of electricity from non-capped states to be included in the scheme,
– penalties for non-compliance require purchasing of excess plus a multiplier of 3 applied.
Comparing the scheme to the EU’s scheme there are some welcome differences but also some unfortunate similarities. The most problematic are the relatively low ambition (a reduction of only 1% per annum) and the decision about which sectors to include from the start. Beginning with heavy industry alongside power follows in the EU’s footsteps but it will inevitably hinder the development of the scheme by antagonising powerful lobbies, who can use competitiveness concerns to attack the scheme. If the scheme survives, regulators will inevitably come under pressure to agree generous free handouts of inflated allocations to these sectors. To give the scheme breadth and liquidity, it would have been better to include transport and domestic heating fuels from the start and to leave trade exposed industries to the very last.
Introducing an auction floor price to choke off supply in the event of an oversupply of permits is a good idea and one the EU would do well to copy. The absence of a price cap is also sensible, though it will be important that the various other proposed mechanisms for relieving high prices maintain the integrity of the cap.
Overall, if the scheme succeeds in getting off the ground, it will be a welcome step forward. RGGI, the pre-existing scheme on the eastern seaboard, though well designed, is currently floundering under a huge over-supply of permits. There is already talk of caps there being tightened in order to make a link with the west coast initiative possible – something which is long overdue.
A lot therefore rests on the good citizens of California and how they vote in November. Let’s hope they see beyond the industry lobbying and scare tactics and allow things to proceed.
3.3. Spain’s electric car sales off target
10 August 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek
Spain’s much-publicized plan to have thousands of electric cars on the road in the coming years appears way off target: Only 16 have been sold so far. The government-backed REVE electric car and wind power project said on its website Tuesday that 2010 sales are at least up 15 from last year when just one was sold.
The Industry Ministry’s plan was to have 2,000 electric cars on the road by the end of 2010 and 20,000 electrical and hybrid vehicles operating the following year.
In April, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the government would invest euro590 million ($775 million) in promoting and developing production of electric cars over the next two years.
The plan was a key element of the government’s strategy to try to help the economy.
4.1 . RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR
26 October 2010, London
The government intends to implement a full programme of measures to fulfil ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy. Renewables are the key to the strategy to tackle climate change and deploy cleaner sources of energy, and individuals and communities must be encouraged to generate their own energy locally, through renewable resources such as solar panels and wind turbines.
From August 2010, local authorities are allowed to sell energy that they produce back to the national grid, providing an additional source of revenue, ensuring energy security and reducing vulnerability to inevitable increases in energy prices. Renewable Energy in the Public Sector: leading the way to zero carbon presents an ideal opportunity for delegates from across the public sector to learn how to achieve targets, while saving and even making money with renewables.
More at: http://www.publicserviceevents.co.uk/event/overview.asp?ID=150
4.2. The Pricing of Progress: Intelligent road charging for a smarter, more competitive Europe
28 September 2010, 09:00 – 13:00
Goethe Institute, rue Belliard 58, B-1040 Brussels
A major international conference on the future of lorry charging to achieve a cleaner, smarter and more competitive Europe.
More at: http://www.transportenvironment.org/News/2010/8/pricing_of_progress_event/
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