1.1. Progress falters on ‘Bali Roadmap’ to new climate deal
14 June 2008, AFP
BONN (AFP) — Another round of talks on the road towards a new global deal on climate change was wrapping up here Friday, battered by criticism that progress had been negligible.
The 12-day haggle under the 192-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was the second since the accord in Bali, Indonesia, last December that set down a "roadmap" towards a new planetary treaty.
Officials said some ground had been cleared but admitted to worries about what lay ahead.
The goal is to conclude the most ambitious and complex environmental pact ever attempted in December 2009 in Copenhagen.
"We now have a clear understanding among governments on what countries would ultimately like to see written into a long-term agreement to address climate change," UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said.
"But with a little more than a year to go to Copenhagen, the challenge to come to that agreement remains daunting."
The proposed pact would take effect from the end of 2012, when the current provisions of the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol expire.
It would be a template for reining in greenhouse gases in the next decade, encourage the transfer of clean technology and provide financial help to poor countries likely to bear the brunt of climate change.
Delegates said progress was mainly stymied by a who-goes-first question on concessions.
Developing nations say the responsibility for global warming lies historically with rich countries, who are best placed for tackling it.
So they want the rich nations to come up with detailed proposals as to how they intended to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions post-2012.
On the other hand, many rich nations want to see how emerging giants such as China and India — set to be the biggest sources of greenhouse gases in the decades to come — intend to deal with their own fast-growing pollution.
Indian representative Chandrashekar Dasgupta deplored "the lack of any real progress" in Bonn and "a deafening silence" among industrialised countries, save the European Union.
The EU unilaterally plans to cut its carbon pollution by 20 percent by 2020 compared with a 1990 benchmark and has offered to deepen this to 30 percent if other major emitters follow suit.
1.2. TEXT-G8 finance ministers’ statement on climate investment funds
14 June 2008, Reuters
1. We, G8 Finance Ministers, welcome and support the launch of the new Climate Investment Funds, including the Clean Technology Fund and the Strategic Climate Fund. We are committed to helping developing countries address climate change in a way consistent with the development needs of their people.
2. The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that warming of the climatic system is unequivocal, and that delay in reducing emissions significantly constrains opportunities to achieve lower stabilization levels and increases the risk of more severe climate change impacts, both in developed and developing countries.
As developing countries strive to expand their economies and reduce poverty, their demand for energy will increase rapidly. G8 Finance Ministers are convinced that urgent and concerted action is needed to help developing countries move towards a lower carbon growth path. We accept our responsibility to show leadership in tackling climate change.
3. Substantial investment will be needed to provide access to clean energy, adaptation and tackling deforestation. The main source of finance should be the private sector, driven by policies that harness market forces to minimize the costs of action and provide incentives for all stakeholders to use existing low-carbon technologies. Public resources are also essential to help developing countries in their efforts to catalyze investment to address climate change.
4. We particularly welcome the support and consensus among donors and recipient countries at the final design meeting for the Climate Investment Funds last month in Potsdam, Germany.
That meeting prepared the way for formal creation of the funds by the World Bank Board of Directors next month.
5. Recognizing the need for urgent actions to tackle climate change in the short term, we support the launch of the Clean Technology Fund and the Strategic Climate Fund, including the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience and the Forest Investment Programme, which will be administered by the World Bank in close cooperation with the Multilateral Development Banks.
These funds will be operated in a close coordination with existing bilateral and multilateral efforts, in particular the GEF and the Adaptation Fund.
6. The Clean Technology Fund will aim to slow the growth of emissions in developing countries by helping fund the incremental costs of transitioning to low carbon economies by deploying commercially available cleaner technologies instead of cheaper, dirtier alternatives.
This funding will be used for investments in support of national development plans that include low-carbon objectives to help put developing countries on a cleaner development path.
7. The Strategic Climate Fund will help more vulnerable countries adapt their development programs to the impacts of climate change ensuring climate resilience and will take action to prevent deforestation.
It will also enable discussions between donors and recipient countries about climate related investment and encourage support from a range of bilateral donors, private sector and civil society contributors.
8. The G8 recognizes the UN climate process is the appropriate forum for the negotiations to reach an agreed outcome for the post-2012 period and we reaffirm our commitment to contribute to its successful conclusion, in which all major economies are effectively engaged, based on the Bali Action Plan.
In this regard, the new Climate Investment Funds should not prejudice the UNFCCC negotiations and should be consistent with national mitigation plans proposed by developing countries.
Climate Investment Funds will fill, as an interim measure, an immediate financial gap for urgent actions until a new financial architecture under the post-2012 regime is effective.
9. We call on others to support these and other multilateral funds, such as the GEF, that help developing countries address the dual challenges of economic growth and climate change.
1.3. EU, US declare intent to cooperate on climate change at summit
12 June 2008, Mister-Info.com
A European Union-United States summit held in Slovenia produced a draft declaration outlining the groups’ future cooperation on climate change, energy security and financial stability. Yesterday was the final day of the summit, the last EU-US summit that US President George W. Bush will attend in his current role.
Hopes of a major breakthrough on the topic of climate change were low going into the summit. The foreign minister of Slovenia, Dimitrij Rupel, commented last week that, "on climate change, the positions are split." Members of the 27-nation EU have regularly expressed their dissatisfaction with the US for not having ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement with binding greenhouse gas emissions targets. Doubts about the summit’s efficacy were not misplaced, as no firm targets were set for actions on climate change.
The EU and US agreed to cooperate increasingly in science and technology research for energy and climate change purposes, including carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen fuel cells. The EU reaffirmed its commitments as per the Kyoto Protocol, but the US restated that developing countries such as China and India must be made to sign up to such global agreements before it will sign on.
Steps to secure energy sources for the future were also discussed. Promoting the creation of multiple pipelines to supply more natural gas to Europe was determined a priority, despite the fact that this would encourage an increase in emissions from gas use.
Bush commented in a follow-up news conference: "I think we can get a global agreement on climate change during my presidency – just so you know."
1.4. UN climate chief spurs talks on new global warming pact
13 June 2008, AFP
BONN (AFP) — UN climate chief Yvo de Boer called on industrialised countries on Thursday to start showing some of their cards in a slow-paced poker game whose prize is a new pact to tackle global warming.
De Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said talks unfolding among senior officials here marked "the first time that people are getting down to serious negotiations" for a historic deal in Copenhagen in December next year.
But, he warned, many positions had so far been "incredibly generic" and this problem of vagueness among industrialised countries was especially worrying.
The June 3-13 Bonn talks should issue "a very clear call on governments to start submitting their ideas on what should be the key elements of a Copenhagen outcome," said de Boer.
He warned: "Politically, if Copenhagen fails we would be in huge trouble. I think that people would then begin to question the utility of this process."
Last December, parties to the UNFCCC set down a "Bali Roadmap" of talks designed to climax in the most ambitious and complex environmental treaty ever attempted.
The post-2012 pact would succeed the current pledges made under the UNFCCC’s cornerstone accord, the Kyoto Protocol.
It would commit countries to deeper curbs on the heat-trapping gases that are driving climate change.
And it would beef up the transfer of clean technology to poorer economies and strengthen financial support for those countries most at risk from water stress, rising sea levels and other damage.
The green group WWF cautioned on Thursday that "only" 536 days remained until Copenhagen.
"The ideas put on the table are only (being) translated into shopping lists rather than blueprints for negotiations," it said.
WWF urged Japan, as host of next month’s summit in Hokkaido, gathering the Group of Eight (G8) and the five major economies of the developing world, to give the flagging process a boost.
Looking at specifics, de Boer said developing countries were still awaiting a signal from industrialised economies about what they intended to put on the table, especially "the critical ingredient" of money.
According to UNFCCC figures, 150 billion euros — more than 200 billion dollars — will have to be mustered each year by 2030.
One potential cash cow is the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), under which rich countries help environmentally-friendly projects in poor countries, in such fields as cleaner energy and waste handling.
The carbon pollution averted through the scheme is transformed into credits that can be sold or deducted from the rich country’s emissions quota under Kyoto.
A levy of two percent is applied to the CDM to help mobilise resources for developing countries.
A total of 1,081 CDM projects worth 13 billion dollars have been registered in 49 countries, with the potential to avert 152 million tonnes of carbon pollution by 2012.
On present trends, the two-percent levy should provide between 10 and 50 million dollars a year in resources by 2012.
But this income could rise to "some 100 billion dollars annually" if, for the post-2012 period, industrialised countries agree to reduce their emissions by 60 to 80 percent by 2050, de Boer said.
He described this as a "back-of-an-envelope calculation" based on a price for carbon dioxide (CO2) that stays above 10 dollars per tonne. On Friday, CO2 was changing hands in the EU’s emissions trading system at 27.5 euros (around 40 dollars) a tonne.
Scientists say time is running out for avoiding lasting damage to the climate system.
Under one scenario sketched last year by the UN’s Nobel-winning expert group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), industrialised nations would have to slash their emissions by 25-40 percent by 2020 compared to the 1990 level to help peg warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
2.1. EC to update EU nuclear sector analysis by end-2008: official
The European Commission plans to update its January 2007 analysis of the EU’s nuclear power sector by the end of the year, a senior EC official said Tuesday.
The updated illustrative nuclear investment program, commonly known by its French acronym PINC, is to accompany the EC’s second strategic EU energy review, the EC’s director for nuclear energy, Christian Waeterloos, told the European Nuclear Assembly in Brussels.
The updated program is to focus on investment, the role of public authorities and the conditions for gaining public acceptance, he said.About half of the EU’s power generating capacity would have to be replaced by 2030, said Waeterloos. "We want a roadmap for replacing ageing plant," he said.
EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs told the conference that "substantial investments" would be needed to replace plant. "In order to make the necessary investments possible, the EC is examining ways to address the difficulties related to licensing, financing and different nuclear liability regimes," he said.
Nuclear made "an important contribution" to the EU’s energy supply security and its fight against climate change, said Piebalgs, but he also stressed the need to strengthen EU countries’ cooperation on nuclear safety, security and waste treatment.
Waeterloos told the conference that the EC wanted to reopen the debate with national governments on increasing Euratom loans for new nuclear plant.
The Euratom Treaty was originally set up to coordinate EU countries’ nuclear energy research programs, and now helps pool knowledge, infrastructure and funding.
A 2002 EC proposal to raise the Euratom loan program’s borrowing limit from Eur4 billion to Eur6 billion ($6.3 billion to $9.5 billion) has so far failed to be approved by the EU Council of member states.
2.2. Nuclear power among options for UN greenhouse cuts
12 June 2008, Reuters
BONN (Reuters) – Developing nations might get help to build nuclear power plants under proposals at 170-nation climate talks in Bonn for expanding a fast-growing U.N. scheme for curbing greenhouse gases.
Nuclear power is the most contentious option for widening a U.N. mechanism under which rich nations can invest abroad, for instance in an Indian wind farm or a hydropower dam in Peru, and get credit at home for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
"It’s one of the issues that needs to be considered," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said on Thursday of suggestions by countries including India and Canada at the June 2-13 talks of aid for atomic energy.
Other proposals at the talks include giving credits for capturing and burying carbon dioxide, for instance from coal-fired power plants, or to do far more to encourage planting of forests that soak up carbon as they grow.
Many nations and environmentalists oppose expanding the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to include nuclear power. The CDM is part of the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol for curbing emissions of greenhouse gases running until 2012.
"Nuclear power is not the energy of the future," said Martin Hiller of the WWF conservation group. "It should not be in the CDM. The CDM should be about renewable energy."
He said nuclear power was too dangerous although it emitted almost none of the greenhouse gases associated with burning coal, oil and gas and which are blamed for heating the planet.
No decisions on overhauling the CDM will be taken at the Bonn talks, part of a series of negotiations meant to end with a new long-term U.N. climate treaty by the end of 2009 to succeed the existing Kyoto Protocol.
"I think nuclear power in the CDM is a non-starter for most delegations," one European delegate said.
The debate reflects wide uncertainty about whether to turn to nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels in a fight to avert rising temperatures that could bring heatwaves, droughts, rising seas and more powerful cyclones.
De Boer projected that the CDM could channel up to $100 billion a year towards developing nations in coming decades if industrialized countries agreed sweeping cuts in emissions and made half their reductions abroad.
That was also based on the assumption that credits for averting greenhouse gas emissions would average $10 a tonne.
So far the CDM has projects approved or under consideration that would avert a combined total of 2.7 billion tonnes of emissions by 2012, roughly equivalent to the combined annual emissions of Japan, Germany and Britain.
De Boer rejected criticisms that the CDM was badly flawed, for instance for handing huge profits to carbon traders and companies in China that destroy HFC 23, a powerful greenhouse gas that is a waste product from making refrigerants.
"The fact that people have found a way to remove a powerful greenhouse gas and make a profit is not morally wrong," he said. "We’ve created a market mechanism and, guess what, it’s working."
Other criticisms of the scheme focus on whether or not funding has led to emissions cuts, or whether these would have happened anyway — for example because of existing state support for wind power in China or India.
2.3. EU to propose energy efficiency tax breaks
11 June 2008, Guardian.co.uk
BRUSSELS, June 11 (Reuters) – The European Commission will propose changes in tax policy later this year to boost energy efficiency and encourage EU states to help sectors of society worst hit by high oil prices, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
Spokesman Johannes Laitenberger said the European Union executive would urge member states at a summit next week to take "targeted measures to help citizens that are hardest hit by the current situation" without giving inappropriate incentives.
Asked about a possible windfall profits tax on energy firms, he said all issues were being considered, but any measures must not discourage necessary investments in production and energy efficiency.
2.4. France launches ambitious plan to enhance energy efficiency
10 June 2008, ChinaView.cn
PARIS, June 10 (Xinhua) — France will launch of a plan to review the energy situation in agricultural enterprises that have been hit by higher fuel prices with an aide package worth 100 million euros (about 150 million U.S. dollars) over the next five years, according to official sources.
"Although figures have not been made today, in principle, a favorable response has been given," French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier was quoted as saying during a press conference Monday.
The agriculture minister was referring to an ambitious five-year plan that would see leading energy sector companies such as Total, Electricite de France (EDF) and Gaz de France (GDF) as wellas others in the fertilizer sector chip in fund government activities.
"This diagnosis will affect close to 100,000 agro-businesses," according to the minister, who was speaking at the end of roundtable discussions with representatives of agricultural-based organizations.
The meeting was attended by officials from energy giants, including Total, EDF, GDF, and the French Union of Petroleum Industries and leading fertilizer manufacturers.
In general terms, French farmers, through their organizations, have welcomed the latest announcement as positive, but they have maintained that they are looking for "clear contribution" or "commitment" from these companies.
While describing the plan as "important," Jean-Michel Lemetayer, president of the National Federation of Farmers Unions (FNSEA), regretted that the fact that it "does not have a clear commitment from the world of oil, world of energy and the world of fertilizers to fund the plan of diagnosis announced by the minister."
On his part, Philippe Meurs, president of Young Farmers Association (JA), said that his members were expecting "something very concrete" with regard to energy and that the government should move fast to address the issue.
"Today, the minister has pledged an 100-million euro plan and for this to happen we need the contribution of all the major French companies that have continued to make money on oil prices while we are bearing the full brunt of the situation," he said.
The "plan on energy performance of farms" is designed to investigate precisely the energy consumption of agro-businesses, according to an official from the agriculture ministry.
3.1. City seeks to be carbon neutral
12 June 2008, BBC News
Stirling is aiming to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city.
Funding of £1.25m has been given to the community-led project, Going Carbon Neutral Stirling (GCNS), which hopes to reduce the area’s environmental impact.
The target is to bring down average annual carbon dioxide levels from 12 tonnes, the average in Scotland, to one tonne per person per year.
The funding to get the scheme under way is coming from the Big Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government.
Locals will be encouraged to do things like turning their washing machines down, switching off lights and changing their shopping habits to buy local and seasonal produce.
Businesses will also be urged to recycle and use energy saving light bulbs. GCNS will be administered through Keep Scotland Beautiful.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said the initiative was the start of an "exciting new era".
He said: "We want Scotland to be part of the global solution to tackling the threat of climate change.
"This is the start of an exciting new era for community empowerment and I’d encourage all those in Scotland who want to make a difference locally and globally to come forward with their ideas."
The project was also welcomed by Green MSP Patrick Harvie.
He said: "Stirling has a vision on how to go carbon neutral, and their efforts will inspire others to follow.
"When the history of our work to beat climate change and develop a truly sustainable low carbon Scotland is written, this will be seen as a crucial day."
4.1. "CO2 from new passenger cars in Europe – Driving Climate Change?"
on Tuesday, June 24th 2008, 13.00 – 15.00 ,in one of the Salons in the Member’s Restaurant
The debate, which I’m hosting in co-operation with Transport & Environment, is planned as an exchange between two speakers, representing the industry and environmental perspectives:
– Mr Ivan Hodac, Secretary General of ACEA (confirmed)
– Mr Jos Dings, Director of Transport & Environment
Please confirm your participation by June 18th to [email protected].
If you are not accredited to the European Parliament, please do not forget to include your full name, date of birth and your current address.
4.2. Eleventh meeting of the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee – JISC 11
Bonn, Germany, 16 – 17 June 2008
The proposed agenda and its annotations for the eleventh meeting of the JI Supervisory Committee are now available online.
More info at: http://ji.unfccc.int/Sup_Committee/Meetings/011/index.html
4.3. 2nd meeting of the Adaptation Fund Board
Bonn, Germany, 16 – 19 June 2008
The second meeting of the Adaptation Fund Board will take place at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dahlmannstr. 4, Bonn, Germany, from 16 – 19 June.
4.4. The New Nuclear Wave: Perspectives for the 21st Century
ING, Avenue Marnix, 24 B-1000 Brussels, Building I
Wednesday 2nd July 2008, 17:30 – 19:00
This debate will address the role of nuclear energy and whether its contribution to the new energy goals of the EU, notably sustainability and low emissions, can compensate for concerns about its potential harmfulness to the environment.
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected]