1.1. UN chief urges climate change on G8, G20 agenda
12 May 2010, Xinhua news
The United Nations Secretary-General pressed here Wednesday for putting climate change on the agenda of the G8 and G20 summits which Canada hosts in Toronto in June.
Ban Ki-moon, who arrived here for a one-day working visit, also pressed Ottawa to live up to the greenhouse-gas reduction targets it negotiated under the Kyoto Protocol.
“Canada has a special role and special responsibility to play," Ban told an audience of hundreds of academics, diplomats and civil society groups organized by the United Nations Association in Canada.
"I urge Canada to comply fully with the targets set out by the Kyoto Protocol," he added, before holding meetings with Harper and opposition leaders.
Ban also called on Canada to press fellow G8 leaders to live up to their previous aid commitments to help developing countries improve their living and environments.
The UN chief praised Canada for making child and maternal health in the developing countries a major issue at the G8 in the Muskoka region of Ontario during June 25-26, followed by the G20 summit in Toronto on June 26-27.
Asserting that economic recovery, impoverished country development and climate change are all interwoven, Ban said he will look to the G20 "to push for a green recovery to the global economic crisis."
1.2. Kerry Unveils Climate Bill
14 May 2010, Planet Ark
Senator John Kerry ratcheted up the fight to pass legislation to combat global warming on Wednesday, unveiling a bill as the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster complicates the measure’s already difficult prospects this year.
Kerry, a Democrat, and Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent, took the wraps off their bill as two important deadlines loom.
Congressional elections are less than six months away and with Democrats facing losses, June or July could be the last chance for them to pass a climate bill this year, before the political atmosphere gets too overheated.
Then there’s the Environmental Protection Agency, which stands ready to put regulations into effect in January that would reduce carbon dioxide pollution from power plants and factories if Congress fails to act.
"If we got into the floor in June or July, I’d be very happy," Kerry told reporters.
Foreign capitals will be watching Congress and the EPA closely, as the fate of an international pact to battle global warming hangs largely on Washington’s actions.
A Republican supporter of the U.S. climate legislation, which aims to cut planet-warming domestic emissions by a modest 17 percent in the next decade, was conspicuously absent on Wednesday.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who worked with the two senators on the bill, did not attend the ceremony to unveil it. He reiterated in a statement that this is not the time to press on a climate bill because of the massive oil leak and talk of moving ahead on immigration reform.
Nevertheless, Graham voiced support for the bill’s concepts.
"Speaking for myself, I believe he’ll (Graham will) vote for this bill," Lieberman told a small group of reporters after the ceremony.
"If we get to 59 (votes), he’ll be 60 without hesitation, that’s my view," Lieberman said referring to the 60 votes needed in the Senate to overcome procedural hurdles.
Flanking Kerry and Lieberman when they presented their climate plan were heads of electric utilities and other large industries.
Kerry and Lieberman are banking that a strong lobbying effort by the business community will propel undecided senators to back the effort.
"Many of them are Republicans and many of them represent a significant component of the Republican base," Kerry said.
The Senate’s Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, dismissed the Kerry-Lieberman effort as "little more than a job-killing national energy tax." He said it would raise the price of electricity and gasoline.
The bill still has provisions to encourage offshore drilling but would allow U.S. states to prohibit offshore oil activity within 75 miles of their coasts. It also allows coastal states to reap some revenues from drilling.
But that may not be enough to win drilling opponents from coastal states as concerns mounts over the gushing oil well.
Kerry disputed that, saying, "I felt that in the end that our colleagues, ones most concerned (about offshore drilling) came away assured. There are protections they don’t have now.
If the bill does advance, a fight over offshore drilling is expected to spill onto the floor of the full Senate. "This part of the bill would be written on the floor," Lieberman said. "We’re making a proposal here, but there would be extensive floor debate."
President Barack Obama welcomed a new U.S. climate bill, saying he hoped to pass it this year as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico underlined the need for energy reform.
"The challenges we face — underscored by the immense tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico — are reason to redouble our efforts to reform our nation’s energy policies," Obama said in a statement.
But it is unclear if Obama is willing put the same kind of political capital behind the climate bill as he did for healthcare legislation earlier this year.
Without a big White House push, the bill faces slim chances this year with an already clogged congressional schedule that includes dealing with financial reform and a Supreme court nomination.
The bill includes provisions for boosting nuclear power and offshore drilling in order to help win votes from states where the economies depend on energy production. Earlier versions of the legislation relied more on boosting alternative energy.
"The Gulf of Mexico spill has turned offshore drilling — an issue that once greased the wheels of the grand bargain — into a political toxin," said Kevin Book, analyst at ClearView Energy Partners.
Many utilities with big investments in low-carbon nuclear power, natural gas, or wind and solar power hope to benefit from a crackdown on greenhouse gases.
Utilities such as FPL Group, Duke Energy and Exelon have lobbied alongside environmental groups for the climate bill as has General Electric, a manufacturer of clean coal and natural gas systems for power plants and wind turbines.
The legislation would establish what has become known as a cap and trade system for reducing carbon pollution by electric utilities and factories.
Starting in 2013, electric power utilities would have to obtain pollution permits, initially provided for free by the government and then changing to full auctions by 2030, according to Senate aides.
The permits could be traded on a regulated market. The government would hand out the permits to utility companies based on a formula of 75 percent related to their emissions and 25 percent on their deliveries.
That is a revision from a previously considered 50-50 formula that coal-fired utilities complained was unfair. But the formula could bring a backlash from environmentalists.
"Those ratios of allowances do nothing to ameliorate global warming. Industry is getting exactly what it wants" with the legislation at the expense of the environment, said William Snape, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity.
1.3. India’s Environment Minister to Keep Position
13 May 2010, The Wall Street Journal
India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, will be keeping his position after apologizing for his comments that India’s government was "paranoid" about Chinese investment, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office said Thursday.
Mr. Ramesh’s comments came over the weekend in Beijing, where he was attending a meeting on climate change. He said cooperation between India and China had improved since last year’s meeting in Copenhagen on climate change but risked souring because of overly restrictive policies on Chinese investments and technology in India.
Mr. Ramesh singled out India’s intelligence community and the interior ministry for being alarmist about Chinese investment. The comments, widely reported in the Indian media, sparked calls for his resignation.
Mr. Ramesh offered to step down on Monday, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who met with him on Wednesday, declined to accept his resignation, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office said.
India and China sometimes cooperate in international negotiations. But in recent years, a growing tussle over trade and disputed territory on their shared borders has soured the relationship.
India leads all members of the World Trade Organization in antidumping cases against China. India has banned imports of Chinese toys, milk and chocolate, citing safety concerns, and has launched investigations into export surges of Chinese truck tires and chemicals, among other products.
Mr. Ramesh has become known on the global stage for taking a leading role in global climate negotiations. He has been a dogged proponent of the idea that developing countries shouldn’t be asked to start cutting their greenhouse-gas emissions until developed nations, who have caused most of the emissions to date, act first. Chinese negotiators have taken a similar stance.
1.4. Senate Gets a Climate and Energy Bill, Modified by a Gulf Spill That Still Grows
12 May 2010, The NY Times
The long delayed and much amended Senate plan to deal with global warming and energy was unveiled on Wednesday to considerable fanfare but uncertain prospects.
After nearly eight months of negotiations with lawmakers and interest groups, Senators John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, produced a 987-page bill that tries to limit climate-altering emissions, reduce oil imports and create millions of new energy-related jobs.
The sponsors rewrote the section on offshore oil drilling in recent days to reflect mounting concern over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, raising new hurdles for any future drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts while allowing it to proceed off Louisiana, Texas and Alaska.
Mr. Kerry said the United States was crippled by a broken energy policy and falling behind in the global race for leadership in clean-energy technology.
“We’re threatened by the impacts of a changing climate,” he said in a packed Senate hearing room. “And right now, as one of the worst oil spills in our nation’s history washes onto our shores, no one can doubt how urgently we need a new energy policy in this country. Now is the time to take action.” It may be difficult, however, for him to persuade the Senate to act. The country is nervously watching efforts to halt the gulf spill, the Senate is torn by deep partisan hostility and the public is uncertain whether the benefits of combating global warming are worth the costs. There is also no assurance that the bill will break through the crowded Senate calendar to reach the floor this year.
No Republicans have stepped forward to support the two senators’ efforts.
President Obama endorsed the proposal.
“Americans know what’s at stake by continuing our dependence on fossil fuels,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday. “But the challenges we face — underscored by the immense tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico — are reason to redouble our efforts to reform our nation’s energy policies. For too long, Washington has kicked this challenge to the next generation. This time, the status quo is no longer acceptable to Americans.”
He called on the Senate to move ahead so that a final bill could be enacted this year.
One of the central elements of the Senate bill — incentives to increase domestic offshore oil production — was changed in the aftermath of the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the gulf on April 20, which left an undersea well leaking oil. Instead of providing for a broad expansion of offshore drilling, the measure would have the effect of sharply limiting oil operations off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts by giving states the right to veto any drilling plan that could cause environmental or economic harm.
The original oil drilling provision was drafted in part by Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, a supporter of expanded drilling and an important envoy to other Republicans. Mr. Graham had been a partner in drawing up the climate legislation, but he dropped out of the effort last week over the problems raised by the gulf spill and an unrelated dispute with the Senate leadership over immigration.
Mr. Graham said Wednesday that while he agreed with many of the goals of his former partners, he did not think that the Senate was likely to act this year.
“The problems created by the historic oil spill in the gulf, along with the uncertainty of immigration politics, have made it extremely difficult for transformational legislation in the area of energy and climate to garner bipartisan support at this time,” he said.
The Kerry-Lieberman proposal would treat each major sector of the economy differently, while providing something for every major energy interest: loan guarantees for nuclear plant operators, incentives for use of natural gas in transportation, exemptions from emissions caps for heavy industry, generous pollution permits for utilities for years, modest carbon dioxide limits for oil refiners and substantial refunds for consumers.
The bill’s overall goal is to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 17 percent (compared with 2005 levels) by 2020, and by 83 percent by 2050. The targets match those in a House bill passed last year and in the Obama administration’s announced policy goal.
There is no economywide cap-and-trade system like that in the House measure, but electric utilities will face limits on their greenhouse-gas emissions and a market will be established to allow them to trade pollution permits. The leader of the main utility industry trade group, Thomas R. Kuhn of the Edison Electric Institute, stood with Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lieberman on Wednesday and endorsed their bill.
The oil industry will have to buy emissions permits, based loosely on the price set in the utility-trading markets. It is expected they will pass along added costs to consumers in the form of higher fuel prices. The American Petroleum Institute said it was withholding judgment until the measure’s effects on the oil and gas industry could be analyzed. Some oil companies, however, including BP and ConocoPhillips, have indicated their support.
It cannot yet be known whether the concessions and compromises embodied in the bill will let it attract the 60 votes needed to thwart a filibuster.
Some environmental advocates were involved in drafting the bill and were highly supportive. But other environmentalists said the bill did not go far enough and offered too many concessions to win industry support.
The United States Chamber of Commerce, whose support was avidly courted, refused to endorse the measure, calling it a “work in progress” that may prove too costly to business.
1.5. Investors wary of ‘green’ forestry
14 May 2010, EurActiv
The value of forests is growing as a result of climate policies, but the complexity of carbon markets coupled with the effects of the financial crisis are deterring investment, investors and analysts said in London on Thursday.
In plantation forests, new demand for wood to generate low-carbon renewable power generation to replace fossil fuels is adding to traditional pulp and paper demand, potentially fuelling values.
For managers of natural and virgin forests, new carbon markets to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) are emerging to pay owners not to chop down trees.
But investors said they were deterred by the complexity of those new markets, and were wary of making investments in plantation forests for bio-energy.
"We see potential in the REDD process, but from an investor perspective it’s difficult to make a convincing case right now," said Marko Katila, a partner at Finland-based timber fund Dasos Capital, which raises money from institutional investors.
"Our fund right now is not looking seriously at these types of investments," he added, referring to payments for not chopping down natural forests, speaking on the sidelines of an Environmental Finance forestry conference in London.
Discussions on REDD are part of stalled UN climate talks, and are complicated by issues of how to measure carbon savings from reduced deforestation.
"Frankly the discussions are not progressing at all," said Pedro Costa, co-founder and former president at carbon offset company EcoSecurities, and now at Oxford-based E2 Advisors.
"I find it extremely unlikely that REDD will favour any individual investment at least in the short-term, if ever. It’s hellishly complicated."
Costa was focused on projects in the Brazilian Amazon, where he said philanthropic capital may be drawn by returns to investments in sustainable forestry, including a combination of selective logging and conservation.
A draft US climate bill unveiled on Wednesday may boost forest carbon markets, however, proposing to allow foresters and farmers to earn tradable carbon offsets from emissions cuts they make in the United States.
The American Power Act also recognised payments for avoided deforestation, or REDD, in developing countries, but experts said the draft bill had little chance of passing Congress this year.
Low-carbon energy targets in the Europe Union are fuelling demand for wood chips from plantation forests, or careful, selective thinning of natural forests.
Britain ‘s Helius Energy, for example, recently won planning consent for a power plant which it said, if built, would consume the equivalent of 8% of Britain’s total annual tree cut.
"It looks like there’ll be a massive demand for biomass products," said Helius feedstock director Daniel Davidson.
Investors were still wary of funding new plantation forests, said Dasos Capital’s Marko Katila.
That reluctance reflected the long cycle of forest investments, which were largely up-front, making these rather illiquid and more difficult to justify against a backdrop of financial uncertainty.
"Since the financial crisis it has been difficult to sell something very illiquid," Katila said.
2.1. Safe clean energy future unfolds on virtual Heliosthana
11 May 2010, WWF
A how-to guide for a safe clean energy future, based around the virtual Mediterranean nation Heliosthana was launched today by WWF and the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF).
Heliosthana was unveiled at at the Spanish European Union presidency conference on the Mediterranean Solar Plan in Valencia, in the form of a guide to building a completely renewable energy based nation
The Heliosthana guide outlines six basic steps taken in the imaginary Mediterranean island that are immediately applicable in most Mediterranean countries and provide the basis for an energy and economic transformation.
Fossil fuels are finite, supplies to Europe are insecure and threatened by both environmental and geopolitical factors, and energy prices are both unstable and destabilising. Also imperative for all countries is finding tangible and immediate solutions to climate change..
Heliosthana describes a decade-long harmonious transition towards a sustainable energy system that respects people and the planet, while sustaining balanced economic and social development.
In 2010, Heliosthana is highly inefficient in its use of energy and is significantly dependent on expensive and polluting imported fossil fuels. Growing urbanisation paired with a rapid economic development, amongst other factors, were driving a rapid energy demand increase, which seemed out of control. High costs, uncertainty and multiple crises (fossil fuel price volatility and shortages) were affecting people and companies.
In 2020 Heliosthana combines low energy intensity (20% less than in 2010) with a promising share of renewable energy (20% of primary energy supply). Part of the renewable electricity is exported to neighbouring countries. Education, research and development activity and healthcare have benefited from the money saved due to reduced investments in fossil fuels.
Jean-Philippe Denruyter, Manager for Global Renewable Energy Policy at WWF International and Special Advisor to the Government of Heliosthana, said: “WWF supports sustainable energy development in the Mediterranean region and we believe that Heliosthana has become a role model for its Northern and Southern neighbours and an ideal partner for the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP). It highlights that each country in the region should elaborate its own solar plan, boosting prosperity and increasing security.”.
In the Mediterranean, renewables projects have been announced; however the scale of ambition is huge and bold steps are still needed to move towards a solar region. While the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) has targeted 20 GW renewable energy capacity by 2020, the Desertec Industrial Initiative talks about a potential 400 bn EUR investment in renewables.
The Heliosthana model is for the country to develop a strategic vision with a dedicated institutional framework, assess renewable energy potential and use tools such as feed-in tariffs and financial support to rapidly build renewable energy capacity.
At the same time fossil fuel and electricity subsidies would be phased out while efficient energy use would be supported with regulation and support.
In the longer term urban plans would lead to denser and more efficient cities and buildings, connected with a reliable public transport scheme, and closer distances between working, living and leisure centres. The new vehicles combine low energy consumption and new energy sources, such as renewable electricity.
2.2. U.S. urges China to keep an open technology policy
16 May 2010, Reuters
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke urged China on Sunday to remain open to U.S. and other foreign technology as it ramps up investment in clean energy to fight global warming and secure its economy.
"China, given the incredible challenges that is has, should in my view be taking the best technology from wherever — whether it’s China, the United States, Europe, Japan, anywhere else," Locke said at the start of a trade mission to open doors for U.S. clean energy firms.
The United States and a number of other countries have concerns about China’s local innovation policies, which could restrict foreign participation in Chinese clean energy projects.
"We know that the Chinese have made some modifications on their latest proposals for indigenous innovation. (But) Other economies still have concern about that, and we’ll be discussing that with the Chinese," Locke said.
"It’s more cost effective for companies and countries to seek the best technology as opposed to buying something that is not quite as good … and a few years later having to completely revamp or purchase new technology," Locke said.
Locke is leading a diverse group of 24 U.S. companies that include power generation manufacturing giants General Electric and Pratt & Whitney Power Systems, a division of United Technologies.
Others are First Solar, a leading manufacturing of solar modules that last year had $2.1 billion in sales, Peabody Energy , the world’s largest private-sector coal company, and Covanta Energy Corp, which processes municipal solid waste into energy.
Beijing is pouring tens of billions of dollars into solar, wind, biomass and nuclear power projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming and to replace depleting oil and natural gas supplies.
But U.S. officials say the barriers to China’s fast-growing clean energy market can be as big as the opportunities.
Locke "will be talking about those things pretty frankly in his meetings with Chinese government officials," a senior Commerce Department official said.
China ‘s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is overseeing construction of a number of mega-wind farms capable of generating 10 or more gigawatts of electricity.
Alan Wolff, a Washington-based attorney for Dewey and LeBoeuf which studied China’s clean energy push for a leading U.S. business group said China had not bought a foreign turbine since 2005 for these programs.
While foreign companies have made sales for smaller wind projects, their share of China’s total wind power equipment market has plummeted from 75 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2008 and could fall as low as 5 percent this year.
Locke will take the companies on Tuesday to Shanghai and later this week to Beijing, where he will join U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other top U.S. officials for the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
U.S. concerns about China’s exchange rate practices are expected to top the economic portion of the agenda.
2.3. French government says it sets power tariffs after CRE, EDF clash
13 May 2010, Platts
The French government will continue to set power tariffs in the light of proposed market reforms which have seen EDF clashing with regulator CRE over the fair level of nuclear pass-through costs, energy minister Jean-Louis Borloo said late Wednesday.
The minister released a statement following reports that, under the proposed NOME reform plan, there is a large difference between the pass-on cost of nuclear production that EDF wants to charge its competitors and the level the regulator believes would be a fair representation of costs. Under the NOME plan, set to be debated in parliament next month, EDF would have to sell nuclear power to its competitors until 2025 at a price the government has said would be based on "the complete cost of EDF’s nuclear production." France wants to encourage competition as state-controlled EDF operates much of the nation’s power supply, including its 58 nuclear power reactors, which account for around 80% of power output.
Presenting to a parliamentary commission Wednesday, EDF’s CEO Henri Proglio reportedly said that the minimum sale price for the nuclear power in the NOME mechanism should be Eur42/MWh.
Also speaking to the commission, CRE president Philippe de Ladoucette proposed a price of Eur37.20/MWh. The CRE also reportedly predicts that the new tariff regime with a nuclear sale price of Eur37.20/MWh would increase electricity prices for residential customers by 7.1% in 2011, and then by 3.1% a year from 2011 to 2025. EDF’s suggested rise of Eur42/MWh for the nuclear sale within NOME would push up residential prices by 11.4% in 2011 and by 3.5% between 2011 and 2025.
Energy minister Borloo responded to the reports by insisting it would maintain current criteria for setting power tariffs. "The government is responsible for setting regulated tariffs and no other authority," he said.
"Regulated tariffs will continue, as they always have been, to be set according to an industrial and economic method, that is to say to reflect in a responsible way the evolution of costs and investments on the French electricity system," the minister said.
3.1. EU carbon emissions, price forecasts to 2020
14 May 2010, Reuters
European Union carbon permit prices have had a rollercoaster ride over the past 45 days, and according to varying estimates made by analysts in the latest Reuters emissions poll, the volatility may not be over yet.
Since the EU published preliminary 2009 data for its emissions trading scheme on April 1, showing industrial carbon dioxide levels fell by 11.2 percent last year due to the recession, EU carbon prices have surged by over 25 percent.
Benchmark EU Allowances for delivery in December rose to a 17-month high of 16.73 euros a tonne on May 4. Prices then fell back, bottoming at 14.93 euros on Tuesday over worries about the Greek debt crisis, lower energy prices and some profit-taking.
The Dec-10 EUAs have since recovered somewhat, trading up to 16.00 euros a tonne on Friday morning, up 3 percent for the week.
Nine emissions analysts polled by Reuters said they expect 2010 EUA prices to average 15.40 euros this year, though the estimates varied wildly between 12.90 and 18.50 euros.
Prices have averaged 13.66 euros in the first 5-1/2 months of 2010, meaning they will have to hold at current levels or rise further if they are expected to reach an average of 15.40 euros.
The European Union confirmed it will publish final 2009 emissions data at 1000 GMT on Saturday.
Nine analysts polled by Reuters estimated 2009 emissions have fallen to around 1.9 billion tonnes, meaning participants will have received a collective surplus of up to 170 million tonnes in EU permits. The analysts predict Phase 2 (2008-2012) emissions to average 2.06 billion tonnes, resulting in an annual surplus of 40 million tonnes.
They also said the linear annual reduction in the scheme’s emissions cap through Phase 3 (2013-2020) will see a shortage of around 260 million tonnes per year, and as a result EUA prices will double to average 29.90 euros per tonne.
Following is a table showing analysts’ forecasts for total carbon dioxide emissions per year by companies participating in the EU scheme and averaged across the scheme’s second and third phases.
The table also contains surplus or shortage (long/short) estimates for EUAs, and notes whether each analyst has taken into account emissions from aviation, to be included in the scheme from 2012, or from Norway, which is not a member of the EU but has an emissions trading programme linked to the bloc’s scheme.
More at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64D36Y20100514
3.2. Bulgaria suspended from CO2 emissions trading
14 May 2010, EurActiv
Bulgaria will be suspended from carbon emissions trading under the Kyoto Protocol as a result of poor transparency and untrustworthiness, the country’s environment minister said on 13 May. The decision represents a heavy blow for the government in Sofia, which expected to receive €250m in revenue from the scheme this year, according to Dnevnik, EurActiv’s partner publication in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria will be suspended from the scheme as of 30 June if a United Nations’ committee revokes its accreditation under the treaty. A formal decision is expected by the end of June. Environment Minister Nona Karadzhova said there was no chance of any reversal. Ž
The suspension, which is expected to last until at least November, comes after UN checks had shown that Bulgaria’s national system for recording greenhouse gas emissions, which is key for ensuring compliance under Kyoto, was not transparent and trustworthy, Karadzhova explained.
She said the ban would prevent Bulgarian companies from trading on greenhouse gas emission schemes under Kyoto, and would also affect their participation in the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS).
"The UN Convention report is devastating. We are likely to lose our accreditation as of 30 June, due to the criminal inaction of the previous government," Karadzhova said.
Over 130 Bulgarian companies, which waited for over two years to begin trading under the ETS, will now only be able to sell their free quotas until 30 June. The government will most likely not receive a single euro of the so-called Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) that it has accumulated, Dnevnik writes.
The news comes as a heavy blow for the Bulgarian government, which had earmarked €500m of such revenue for financing anti-crisis measures.
Just one person responsible for supervision
Foreign experts revealed that just one person, who works in the environment agency, deals with the country’s yearly reports. The young female employee reportedly could not maintain consistency in the information included in the reports.
"It’s a young woman. She had worked well, but in fact she was on maternity leave during the [foreign experts’] check and we had to call her to come to the office," Karadzhova said.
Her predecessor Dzhevdet Chakarov, now a member of parliament, responded to accusations of negligence by the previous government by saying that throughout his term, nobody had questioned the consistency of the reports.
Bulgaria’s suspension from CO2 trading is the "merit" of the current government, he said.
Small impact on EU carbon market
A European Commission spokeswoman said the suspension would have only a limited effect on Bulgaria’s participation in the EU emissions trading scheme.
"The suspension would not extend to trade in [EU carbon] allowances, but would temporarily prevent the delivery of allowances," the spokeswoman said in an email, quoted by Reuters.
"In the short-term, the only effect would be that allowances could not be moved into and out of the Bulgarian [emissions] registry, which would hamper spot trading in allowances for Bulgarian companies, as allowances could not be delivered until the suspension is lifted."
Spot trading in EU permits and Bulgaria’s share of permits both only account for a small proportion of the total EU carbon market.
"It could impact day-to-day volatility but I don’t think it will have a significant effect on prices," said Trevor Sikorski, director of carbon research at Barclays Capital.
Spot EU carbon prices on French exchange BlueNext were unchanged at 15.50 euros a tonne by 14:45 GMT on Thursday (13 May).
3.3. China study shows huge potential of low carbon telecom solutions
13 May 2010, WWF
A joint China Mobile and WWF study has shown the huge potential low carbon telecom solutions have to reduce carbon emissions, with savings from Chinese telecom solutions in 2008 estimated at being similar to the total CO2 emissions of countries like Sweden, Denmark or Finland.
Low Carbon Telecommunications Solutions in China: Current Reductions and Future Potential, which was presented today at the Telecommunications Sector Conference for Energy Efficiency and Emission Reduction in Beijing was carried out by the Service Management Science Research Institute of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.
It estimates direct CO2 emissions savings from low carbon telecom solutions provided by China Mobile in 2008 at 48.5 million tonnes or just over six times the company’s own emissions. For 2009, the savings were 58.2 million tonnes, almost six and a half times company emissions.
“It is important to pay attention to the companies that deliver the solutions society needs, and not only focus on those that are big emitters,” said Dermot O’Gorman, the Country Representative of WWF China. “We want to support China and Chinese companies to take the lead in a solution approach that can deliver results not just in China, but globally.”
The estimates were based on detailed analysis of direct savings from 14 low carbon information communication technologies (ICTs) offered by China Mobile which were categorised into smart logistics (like matching truck journeys to load needs), dematerialisation (saving paper and other materials), smart work (reducing commuting and travel needs) and smart appliances (remotely monitored and controlled for energy savings).
The estimates are also conservative, disregarding the potential for indirect savings. For instance, while the energy implications from savings in paper from putting newspapers, sales brochures and invoicing online are calculated, no account is taken of the reduced needs for transport, storage and waste disposal or the knock-on infrastructure implications of such reductions.
“We are happy to present this joint report with WWF that clearly demonstrates the important role of the mobile telecom sector in helping China to move towards a low carbon economy,” said Jianzhou Wang, the President of China Mobile Communications Corporation.
“Many of our solutions are transformative and help people get better service with dramatically reduced emissions.”
The largest single current savings in carbon emissions lay in reducing commuting through teleworking, which could save an estimated 340 million tonnes of CO2 emissions China-wide in 2020. However, the savings from virtual meetings will increase at a much greater rate to an estimated 623 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030 when such meetings reduce the demand for commercial aviation by nearly 40 per cent.
The potential savings from smart logistics, dematerialization, smart work (including smart meeting and smart commuting) as a whole in 2010 is 399 million tons, 615 million tons in 2020 and 1298 million tons in 2030.
“This would be a significant contribution to the global greenhouse gas emission reductions and an important contribution to China’s target to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 40 to 45% by the year 2020,” said Yanli Hou, the Director of Climate Change and Energy Programme of WWF China.
“With the already existing savings and the great potential we look forward to continuing to explore the opportunities for China Mobile to contribute to a low carbon society,” said Guangze Qin, the Director of Working Group of Green Action Plan of China Mobile Communications Corporation.
The report recommends the recognition of the contribution of low carbon ICT solutions in China’s next five year plan, along with targets for the emissions reductions to be delivered.
“The government should stipulate emissions limits for certain services to support innovation and heighten the sense of industrial discipline in order to increase the incentive to use low carbon ICT solutions,” said Mr. Qin.
3.4. UK’s new "green" government says to cut its CO2 10 percent
14 May 2010, Reuters
Britain’s central government will cut its emissions of climate-warming carbon by 10 percent in the next 12 months, while speeding up the wider move to a low-carbon economy, the new UK Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday.
"I don’t want to hear warm words about the environment. I want to see real action. I want this to be the greenest government ever," the Conservative leader of Britain’s first coalition government since 1945 told staff at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
"If we do this, we’ll cut the government’s energy bills by hundreds of millions of pounds … In fact, we’ve made a good start. Someone pointed out when you mix blue with yellow – you get green."
The environment was a key part of the yellow-flagged Liberal Democrat election campaign, and the Conservative-led government announced several carbon cutting plans on Wednesday.
The new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne, said on Thursday his party had agreed not to vote against new nuclear power stations as part of its compromise to do a deal with the blue flag waving Tories.
"The benefits of the low carbon economy are agreed between both parties, this is a priority agenda common to both manifestos," Huhne said.
"I intend to make decisions put off for too long to fundamentally change how we supply and use energy in Britain … To give the power industry the confidence it needs to invest in low carbon energy projects."
UK energy regulator Ofgem said in February Britain’s energy markets needed to be radically redesigned to spur hundreds of billions of pounds of investment in low-carbon technologies, from wind and solar to nuclear, a view shared by utilities.
Most of Britain’s aging nuclear power plants are scheduled to shut over the next decade and the previous Labor government has been pushing private companies to build new ones as part of a low carbon power generation mix — a policy supported by the Conservatives but not the Lib Dems.
Europe’s biggest utilities have been lining up to build the plants, paying hundreds of millions of pounds for farmland to build them on, but want higher long-term charges on rival gas and coal fired power plants to support their multi-billion pound investments.
The coalition said on Wednesday it would introduce a minimum charge for emitting carbon but it remains unclear whether it will be high enough to have a significant impact on the economics of building a nuclear power plant.
3.5. US EPA issues rules on biggest carbon polluters
13 May 2010, AlertNet
The Obama Administration finalized greenhouse gas rules for big factories and power plants on Thursday, giving momentum to the troubled climate bill in the Senate.
Starting next year, the Environmental Protection Agency rules would require large power utilities, manufacturers and oil refiners to get permits to operate or prove they are using the latest green technology to cut emissions when building new capacity.
President Barack Obama has pushed the EPA to roll out emissions rules and polluters could face more stringent future climate regulations if the climate bill fails. [ID:nN13187982]
"It’s long past time we unleashed our American ingenuity and started building the efficient prosperous clean energy economy of the future," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said.
The EPA said the new rules will cover nearly 70 percent of U.S. emissions from stationary sources. Environmentalists praised the effort.
"By focusing its requirements on only the largest sources of emissions, EPA picked exactly the right place to start," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
Big industry said the permitting requirements would be onerous.
"The Portland Cement Association is concerned that the rule could act as a disincentive for expanding U.S. cement production, generally, thereby potentially impacting the ability of cement producers to meet market demand," said Andy O’Hare, a regulatory official at the PCA.
Capitals from Beijing to Brussels are closely watching how the United States addresses climate change, an effort seen as critical for building global agreement on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which Washington sat out.
Although mounting industry lawsuits question the EPA’s authority on climate, Obama hopes the rules will push lawmakers in states heavily dependent on fossil fuels to support the climate bill.
As written, the bill unveiled by Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman on Wednesday, would preempt automatic EPA regulations. Preemption would come as a relief to emitters, who feel they have more influence with Congress to form new air laws than with the EPA, which is issuing rules from the top down adjusting existing laws.
The climate bill currently lacks the Republican support it needs to pass. [ID:nN12199780]
The bill faces additional obstacles, including the narrow span of time for negotiation before mid-term elections and the fact some Democratic senators are anxious about offshore drilling provisions as a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico continues to gush unchecked.
But Kerry said polluters would get a better deal under the legislation.
"If Congress won’t legislate a solution, the EPA will regulate one, and it will come without the help to America’s business and consumers contained in the" bill, Kerry said in a release on Thursday.
The EPA is effectively trimming the Clean Air Act, or "tailoring" it, so it only applies to the biggest emitters of gases blamed for warming the planet. Without the tailoring, small emitters such as hospitals and schools would be regulated and overwhelm the agency with paperwork.
The rules would subject power plants, factories and oil refineries that emit 75,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and already under clean air regulations to get operating permits beginning in January 2011. Regulated polluters would include big coal-fired power plants and heavy energy users such as cement, glass and steel makers.
Waste landfills and factories not already covered by clean air laws that emit at least 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year would get a six-month extension and would not be regulated until July 2011.
Sources that pollute less than 50,000 tonnes per year would not be regulated until 2016, if ever, said EPA air official Gina McCarthy.
Under the rules, polluters would have to get permits showing they are using the best available technology to cut emissions when building new plants or modifying existing ones.
The rules could hit big operators of coal-fired power plants. Companies such as Calpine Corp
4.1. Bonn Climate Change Talks – June 2010
Meetings of the Convention Bodies – 31 May to 11 June
Thirty second sessions of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies
Monday 31 May to Wednesday 9 June 2010
Twelfth session of the AWG-KP and tenth session of the AWG-LCA
Tuesday 1 June to Friday 11 June 2010
Venue: Hotel Maritim, Bonn, Germany
More at: http://unfccc.int/meetings/sb32/items/5573.php
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