1.1. Rapid ice loss found in survey supports trend to summer ice free Arctic within decade
14 October 2009, WWF
New data, released today by the Catlin Arctic Survey and WWF, provides further evidence of thinning Arctic Ocean sea ice, supporting the emerging thinking that the Ocean will be largely ice-free in summer within a decade.
The Catlin Arctic Survey, completed earlier this year, provides the latest ice thickness record, drawn from the only survey capturing surface measurements in the last winter and spring.
The data collected by manual drilling and observations on a 450 kilometre route across the northern part of the Beaufort Sea suggests the survey area is comprised almost exclusively of first year ice. a significant finding because the region has traditionally contained older, thicker multi-year ice. The average thickness of the ice-floes measured 1.8 metres, a depth considered too thin to survive the next summer’s ice melt.
The findings were analysed by the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge, led by Professor Peter Wadhams, one of the world’s leading experts on sea ice cover in the North Pole region.
“With a larger part of the region now first year ice, it is clearly more vulnerable,” said Professor Wadhams. “The area is now more likely to become open water each summer, bringing forward the potential date when the summer sea ice will be completely gone.
“The Catlin Arctic Survey data supports the new consensus view, based on seasonal variation of ice extent and thickness, changes in temperatures, winds and especially ice composition, that the Arctic will be ice-free in summer within about 20 years, and that much of the decrease will be happening within 10 years.
“That means you’ll be able to treat the Arctic as if it were essentially an open sea in the summer and have transport across the Arctic Ocean.”
According to the scientists who have studied the data, the technique used by the explorers to take measurements on the surface of the ice has the potential to help ice modellers to refine predictions about the future survival or decline of the ice.
“This is the kind of scientific work we always wanted to support by getting to places in the Arctic which are otherwise nearly impossible to reach for research purposes,” said Expedition leader Pen Hadow.
“It’s what modern exploration should be doing. Our on-the-ice techniques are helping scientists to understand better what is going on in this fragile ecosystem.”
The results of the analysis of more than 6000 measurements and observations collected by the survey in 73 days on the ice were unveiled today in London with warnings that rapid climate change in the Arctic risked the release of vast quantities of carbon stored in hydrates on the Arctic seabed or in frozen tundra soils.
“The arctic sea ice holds a central position in our Earth’s climate system. Take it out of the equation and we are left with a dramatically warmer world,” said Dr. Martin Sommerkorn from the WWF International Arctic Programme, which was a partner in the survey.
“Such a loss of Arctic sea ice cover has recently been assessed to set in motion powerful climate feedbacks which will have an impact far beyond the Arctic itself – self perpetuating cycles, amplifying and accelerating the consequences of global warming. This could lead to flooding affecting one quarter of the world’s population, substantial increases in greenhouse gas emissions from massive carbon pools, and extreme global weather changes."
“Today’s findings provide yet another urgent call for action to world leaders ahead of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December to rapidly and effectively curb global greenhouse gas emissions, with rich countries committing to reduce emissions by 40% by 2020.”
1.2. ANALYSIS – U.N. climate talks may need extra time in 2010
15 October 2009, Reuters
World climate talks may need extra time next year to agree cuts in greenhouse emissions for 2020 since U.S. laws are unlikely to be in place before a U.N. meeting in Copenhagen in December, experts say.
A deal from the 190-nation Dec. 7-18 talks may focus on finance to help developing nations confront global warming, technology and institutions. But a key goal of fixing country by country targets for the rich to curb emissions by 2020 may slip.
"There may have to be extra time," said Nick Mabey, of the E3G think-tank in London, suggesting April 2010 as a deadline for a deal.
"You can do the details of institutions after that but not the fundamental deal, or it will start looking like Doha," he said, referring to slow-moving trade talks. "You can have extra time only if the crowd is still in the stadium."
A carbon-capping bill before the U.S. Senate is likely to clear some committees, but not the full Senate, this year, experts say. After it clears the Senate, it has to be reconciled with a House bill passed in June before it can be law.
A lack of clear U.S. numbers could have a knock-on effect.
Many other nations are reluctant to step up their ambitions in Copenhagen unless the United States, the biggest emitter behind China and the only developed nation outside the Kyoto Protocol for limiting emissions to 2012, signs up.
"A final agreement doesn’t appear in reach for Copenhagen but a solid agreement on the basic framework would be a huge step forward," said Elliot Diringer of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. He said Copenhagen could still set "ambitious" goals such as a global goal of halving emissions by 2050 and an aggregate 2020 target for developed nations’ cuts. But more months of work were likely to be needed to agree national 2020 goals.
Diplomats say there are preparations for extra U.N. climate meetings in 2010 beyond a main meeting in Mexico in December and a mid-year session in Bonn. Those meetings are likely to be needed no matter what the outcome of Copenhagen.
U.S. negotiator Jonathan Pershing said at U.N. climate talks in Bangkok last week that it would be "extraordinarily difficult" for the United States to commit to a specific number in the absence of action from Congress.
He added: "That doesn’t mean that a deal is not possible."
Other nations say Washington has to name numbers.
"We need a number from the United States at the Copenhagen talks. I think that’s very important," British Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Miliband said. "You can’t have success in Copenhagen without the numbers."
"We are not even considering the possibility" that the United States will be unable to set a national target for 2020, European Commission spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich said.
"What’s important is that one way or the other the U.S. comes to Copenhagen ready to do a deal…whatever the stage or status of climate legislation in the Senate," said James Leape, head of the WWF environmental group.
U.S. numbers could unlock cuts by other developed nations and also encourage developing nations, such as India and China, to reduce the growth of their emissions, he said.
So far, 2020 offers of greenhouse gas cuts from developed nations total between 11 and 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
A U.N. climate panel report in 2007 said that cuts would have to total 25-40 percent to avert the worst of climate change such as more wildfires, sandstorms, extinctions, rising ocean levels and more powerful cyclones.
And most offers are conditional on what others do. The European Union, for instance, has said it will cut unilaterally by 20 percent and by 30 if other nations join in. Australia’s 2020 offer ranges from 3 to 23 percent from 1990.
A big problem for President Barack Obama is that the administration of President Bill Clinton agreed in Japan in 1997 to cut U.S. greenhouse gases by seven percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 as part of the Kyoto Protocol.
Clinton never even submitted the deal to a hostile Senate and President George W. Bush formally dropped Kyoto, saying it unfairly omitted goals for poor nations and would hit jobs.
So Obama’s administration is extremely wary of promising more than the Senate delivers.
The proposed U.S. Senate bill offers emissions cuts by 2020 of 20 percent below 2005 levels. That works out at 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 — by coincidence the cut Clinton thought the U.S. could achieve under Kyoto.
1.3. EU nears tech transfer deal on climate change
16 October 2009, EurActiv
The European Union is getting closer to a deal on supporting the low-carbon development of emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil, as the global community enters the final negotiating straight before a UN climate summit in December, EurActiv has learnt.
According to plans currently being worked out by EU member-state negotiators, transfers of clean technologies such as wind turbines would take place along country-specific roadmaps, supervised by an international panel of experts
A UN forum would meet once a year to assess progress made by emerging economies in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions beyond business as usual. It would then allocate international funding according to progress made.
The European Commission estimates that developing countries’ overall financing needs will hit €100 billion a year by 2020. Between €22-50 billion would come from the international public sector.
Intellectual property protection
Until now, the issue of clean technology transfer from rich countries to the developing world has stumbled on intellectual property protection.
Emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil have been pushing for exemptions from international legislation protecting intellectual property rights, explained a senior diplomat from one of the large EU member states, speaking to journalists in Brussels this week.
"The European Union says it is conscious of this and that something needs to be done," the diplomat said, before stressing that granting such exemptions would be asking too much of developed countries.
"This would be enormous because this is the body that governs the industrial and economic stability of research centres," he said. "This is not possible."
To overcome this problem, Europeans stand ready to offer "technology roadmaps" tailor-made to each country’s needs, he said. "On a case-by-case basis, we will see how we can find solutions to technology barriers," the diplomat explained.
The idea, he said is "to put in pace the technology roadmaps and establish a panel of experts that assess year-on-year the evolution of the situation and looks if there are blockages".
To supervise the whole system, a forum would be established to verify emissions reductions made be developing countries on the one hand and financing needs on the other. "There will obviously be a link between the emissions reductions and financing," the official stressed.
According to the diplomat, emerging countries’ targets for 2020 could be met with existing technologies. But beyond that date, technology breakthroughs will be needed, he said.
The idea seems to have struck a chord with emerging countries, with some now ready to drop their demand for free access to technology, according to a report in the Financial Times on Friday (16 October). One EU official is quoted by the paper as saying that the "language of the discourse" on technology transfer had changed in recent weeks. Another said the discussion was now "broadening", with "more mutuality" between rich and poor countries.
1.4. EU countries get cold feet on raising climate goals
14 October 2009, EurActiv
As international climate change negotiations drag on, EU countries are calling for a "rigorous assessment" of what other nations are prepared to do before scaling up their own commitments, EurActiv has learned.
Europeans are edging closer to a decision on how to measure other countries’ commitment to fight climate change as the EU prepares for a final round of UN negotiations in Copenhagen later this year.
Environment ministers from the 27-country bloc are meeting on 21 October to prepare for Copenhagen, with an EU summit on 29-30 October expected to hammer out their final position.
"We are entering a critical phase of the Copenhagen preparations whether at international or European level," said a senior diplomat from one of the EU’s large member countries, speaking to Brussels journalists off the record.
"The Swedish EU Presidency had planned things in this way: from the moment we decide our position on open issues, which will be done before the end of the month, we will enter the final straight. From the October EU summit until Copenhagen, we will need to find agreement on all topics."
But progress in international negotiations is slow, leading Europeans to imagine several possible scenarios for their own climate change commitments.
Last year, the EU adopted its so-called energy and climate change package, committing to reduce its emissions by 20% unilaterally by 2020, regardless of what other countries do. This target would be raised to 30% in the event that other developed countries such as the US adopt similar cuts and emerging economies such as China and India slow their own emissions by 15-30% below business-as-usual by the same date (EurActiv 29/01/09).
30% target open to internal EU negotiation
However, this commitment is being questioned by some EU member states, which are calling for a strict assessment of other countries’ commitments before embarking on any further emission cuts, the diplomat said.
"We have to be very rigorous in our analysis so that we do not make commitments in Copenhagen that would create problems afterwards at the European level," the diplomat warned.
"What we said in the energy and climate change package is that the passage from 20 to 30%, the additional effort, would be subject to co-decision," which requires the approval of all EU member states, the diplomat added, suggesting that difficult talks may lie ahead for Europe.
"It is a major decision to go from 20 to 30%, it is a very important additional effort," the diplomat said, explaining that the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands were the only countries in favour of raising the EU’s target "almost unilaterally". EU president Sweden and Denmark, which is hosting the UN summit in December, are also favourable, he said, but have tamed their positions given their special role in the negotiations.
In contrast, a majority of EU countries including France, Germany, Italy and most of the newer member states from Central Europe are in favour of a more cautious approach, the diplomat said.
US feet-dragging influencing EU position
At the heart of Europe’s concerns is the position of the United States, which is heading towards emissions reductions of around 20% by 2020 compared to 2005 levels. This is much smaller than what Europe has committed to, as the EU decided to choose 1990 as the base year for its own unilateral 20% commitment.
Under a draft bill discussed in Washington, the bulk of US emission cuts would take place between 2020 and 2030, leaving enough time to prepare for a low-carbon future without inflicting too much pain on the US economy.
But as the draft US bill takes shape, some European countries are now calling for espousing the US position and choosing 2030 as a target date instead of 2020. This is the case of Poland, for example, which has resisted the EU’s 2020 targets, claiming that they call for too rapid a transformation of its coal-dependent economy.
"In this debate there is also the position which consists of saying that if we don’t arrive at the right level in 2020, then we will make up for it in 2030" with deeper emission cuts, the EU diplomat said. "This is the debate which is going on in the United States. This is not the position of the EU today but this is a debate which will take place in any case so we are preparing for it."
According to the diplomat, such a delay in cutting emissions would have to be thoroughly checked against scientific advice, which says global emissions should peak by 2020 and decline steeply afterwards if climate change is to be kept under control.
"What we are saying is that if there is going to be a 2030 examination, then it has to be absolutely equivalent in scientific terms" to the recommendations of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the diplomat said.
Pointing out that greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, he added: "If we fall behind in 2020, then not only will we have to get back on the right trajectory [for 2050] but also do more to compensate for what will have been emitted in the meantime."
1.5. Comprehensive climate deal still out of reach
13 October 2009, EurActiv
As the latest round of UN climate talks in Bangkok ended with little progress, negotiators are preparing for the Copenhagen summit in December on the assumption that not every detail will be agreed this year.
The two-week talks in the Thai capital failed to produce strong commitments by rich countries to cut emissions, apart from Norway’s offer to up its target to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Similarly, there was little movement from developed countries towards committing resources to funding climate mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries.
"Bangkok is still miles away from Copenhagen," the European Commission’s head climate negotiator, Artur Runge-Metzger, told reporters in Brussels yesterday (12 October). Nevertheless, he pointed out that Bangkok had cut down and streamlined the barely legible 180-page draft agreement.
"You’ll never make a deal before the last night in Copenhagen," the EU negotiator said, adding that it is now clear to negotiators that Copenhagen will not be able to deliver on all the details. These would have to be filled in over the course of next year, he explained.
Progress was, however, made on adaptation and technology transfer measures, where voluntary agreements and incentive mechanisms were debated.
Runge-Metzger described the discussions on adaptation as "relatively constructive". But he expressed concern that future progress could be hampered by disputes among the G77 developing countries, which have different interests. He pointed out that there is still no consensus over what the definition of ‘most vulnerable countries’ should be, with developing countries arguing that they should all be eligible for funding.
So far, the only figures currently on the table are those suggested by the European Commission, which said that the overall financing needs of developing countries would climb to €100 billion a year by 2020 (EurActiv 11/09/09). But poor countries said the estimate was woefully inadequate, calling for at least double that amount.
Bickering over technicalities
The latest talks were overshadowed by disagreements over the legal form of the future agreement.
Developing countries lashed out at the EU, claiming that the bloc was "killing Kyoto" by clearly expressing for the first time that it wanted to have a single agreement. This could happen either by amending the Kyoto Protocol or producing a totally new agreement in Copenhagen.
The EU envisages that the new treaty would build on those aspects of Kyoto that have worked best, like target-setting, establishing common accounting and monitoring frameworks, and introducing compliance systems.
The Kyoto Protocol was divided into two tracks, only imposing legal obligations on developed countries. The EU has stressed that this time around, rich nations must also adopt substantive measures.
Moreover, they accused the US of seeking to do away with the Framework Convention by wriggling out of the "common but differentiated responsibility" principle. The US, which has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, has sought to put both developed and developing country reduction commitments into one document that would have to be inscribed into domestic law, de facto scrapping the Kyoto Protocol (EurActiv 17/09/09).
Developing countries, however, are keen to keep the Kyoto Protocol.
"There is a sense […] that the US is not going to move anywhere, so let’s at least lock in the other developed countries," said Runge-Metzger.
UN climate chief Yvo de Boer warned that the question of legal form should be dealt with at the end once the substance of the agreement has been thrashed out.
As Bangkok closed, the UN warned that time to show ambition is running out, as only a few negotiating days remain ahead of Copenhagen. Negotiators will meet again in Barcelona in early November.
"Negotiators have three weeks back in their capitals to receive guidance from their political leaders to complete their work," said the UN’s de Boer. "Bold leadership must open the roadblocks around the essentials of targets and finance that the negotiators can complete their journey," he added.
For the EU, the meetings of finance and environment ministers on 20 and 21 October respectively will be crucial to agreeing the missing bits of the EU’s position, to be endorsed by EU leaders the following week. Most importantly, ministers are expected to finalise their approach to funding, giving their opinion on the Commission’s blueprint.
2.1. Brussels to propose mandatory EU energy savings goal
13 October 2009, EurActiv
The European Commission plans to impose binding energy-efficiency targets on EU member states, according to a draft of the EU’s revised Energy Efficiency Action Plan obtained by EurActiv.
Entitled ‘7 Measures for 2 Million New EU Jobs’, the draft seeks to simplify the 2006 Action Plan for Energy Efficiency by concentrating on a few effective measures.
It acknowledges that the EU is set to fall short of its 2020 target to slash energy consumption by 20%, instead achieving only 11% by the deadline.
The most controversial initiative in the draft is a plan to introduce mandatory energy-saving obligations on member states "in line" with the EU’s aspirational goal of using 20% less energy in 2020. The paper suggests that the targets could be either sector-specific, potentially limited to buildings, or cover all aspects of the economy.
However, the Commission stops short of specifying whether the EU should set an absolute cap on each member state’s emissions by 2020 or whether the savings would be in relation to their projected energy consumption. The final shape of the plan will emerge after an impact assessment has explored these options, as well as the likely need for burden-sharing measures between member states.
Unlike the EU’s mandatory greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy targets, legally binding energy-efficiency goals have proven controversial. Few member states have expressed their support for the fear that it would come at a high cost, Sweden being the exception (EurActiv 25/06/09). Moreover, there are disagreements within the Commission, with DG Environment even arguing that member states have already been asked to do enough in the energy and climate package without binding efficiency targets.
Nevertheless, the EU executive maintains that the additional measures in its revised plan will achieve energy savings cost-effectively so that any financial burden will be "strictly limited".
Reburbishing 15 million buildings
The second measure in the draft targets buildings as the highest priority. The sector represents 40% of Europe’s energy consumption, but so far little has been done to harness the immense savings potential.
The Commission proposes to refurbish 15 million buildings by 2020. Insulating the millions of existing buildings and fitting them with double-glazing and appliances using less energy would save Europe 66 million tonnes of CO2, while creating 300,000 direct and 1.1 million indirect jobs each year, it says.
The draft does not earmark any money for the project, only referring to support from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It states that funding would have to be found from the EU’s next Financial Perspectives, and unused money from the economic recovery fund could be used for the start-up phase before 2013.
Moreover, the Commission invites member states to set up a National Energy Efficiency Fund and use revenues from emissions trading to improve the efficiency of their buildings.
Other initiatives in the plan include a network of smart cities to pioneer new technologies in a bid to cut emisissions by more than 20% by 2020.
The power sector is also addressed, the intention being to provide incentives beyond the emissions trading scheme to cut energy use. The EU executive plans to propose a directive obliging each member state to set up a white certificate scheme. However, the schemes would remain national instead of an EU-wide system in which certificates could be traded between member states.
One major omission from the action plan is the transport sector, which the EU executive plans to deal with separately. It plans to table a White Paper next year, detailing measures targeted specifically at transport, which accounts for almost a fifth of EU primary energy consumption.
The Commission plans to table the Action Plan this month, but sources say this looks unlikely and expect delays.
2.2. Airlines to commit to ambitious fuel savings
12 October 2009, EurActiv
The international air transport sector last week agreed to improve its fuel efficiency beyond government goals in a bid to halve the industry’s emissions by 2050.
The world’s major airlines – together with aircraft manufacturers, airports and air navigation service providers – pledged to improve the sector’s fuel efficiency by 1.5% annually up to 2020, when increasing air travel should no longer lead to a rise in emissions.
In the longer term, the industry is planning to slash carbon emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2050.
The goals were presented at a high-level meeting of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal on 7-9 October. The airlines are hoping to pitch their sectoral approach to policymakers gathering in Copenhagen in December to hammer out a post-Kyoto climate agreement.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) stated that the industry is thinking ahead of governments by targeting absolute reductions in the long term.
"It is ironic that industry is setting tougher targets for itself than its regulators are prepared to require," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA director-general.
In the short term, though, the suggested goal falls short of the 2% target governments in the ICAO have agreed for fuel efficiency improvements. But the sector argues that tough immediate targets would be counterproductive without the backing of public money for research into second-generation biofuels and infrastructure investments.
"Unfortunately, we were recently puzzled to see that the preliminary draft general budget of the European Union for 2010 calls for a reduction in funding for aerospace research and development. This is certainly not the right decision to take if we are serious about developing radically greener technologies on this continent," François Gayet, secretary-general of AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), told EurActiv.
Gayet said that the sectoral approach floated by the industry could easily work within a global carbon market. But he warned that setting emissions targets too tight in the short term would lead to offsetting, thus directing money away from investment in future technologies.
2.3. EU promotes smart metering in fight against global warming
12 October 2009, EurActiv
The European Commission is calling on member states to support the rollout of technologies to boost energy efficiency, estimating that household energy bills would drop by 10% thanks to smart metering devices. However, no common standards for the devices are currently available.
Brussels adopted on Friday (9 October) a long-awaited set intended to increase the use of intelligent technologies in the fight against climate change.
At the same time, the EU executive is encouraging the industry to commit to ambitious targets for reducing the carbon emissions of the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector.
Member states are invited to adopt common standards for smart metering systems by 2010 in order to facilitate their deployment across Europe. By the end of 2012, a timeframe should be agreed for the rollout of smart devices in households and offices.
Over time, citizens are expected to reduce their energy use once they are able to easily check their consumption and how much it costs them.
Easy-to-use and pervasive metering devices embedded in specific home electronic equipment – such as televisions, washing machines and computers – or applied to the overall energy consumption of a household are believed to play a crucial role in increasing awareness among citizens and reducing energy consumption, with beneficial effects on climate change.
ICT industry required commitments
The ICT sector is expected to gain considerably from the rollout of intelligent technologies, which will increase the pervasiveness of ICT in citizens’ daily lives, boosting revenues among industry players such as IBM or Cisco Systems.
In exchange, the EU executive requires the sector to significantly cut its own energy consumption and CO2 emissions, estimated at 2% of the total. Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding called upon the industry "to identify by 2011 energy efficiency targets that aim to exceed" the EU’s overall 2020 targets on climate change "by 2015".
In other words, she is asking the ICT sector to commit to objectives that are more ambitious than the most ambitious plan ever conceived to fight climate change.
In order to reach these goals, the industry must be able to accurately measure its own emissions. Top ICT companies have already voluntarily committed to significant cuts in CO2 production, with reduction targets of up to 80% for BT, 50% for Vodafone and 49% for Nokia Siemens. "But nobody knows the way they calculate their energy consumption," an industry expert told EurActiv, preferring to remain anonymous.
That is why Brussels wants smart metering systems to be applied by the ICT industry as well as by households. The sector is encouraged to adopt and apply common standards to measure its energy and environmental performance by 2010, according to the EU guidelines.
2.4. Green groups demand new EU laws to end energy waste in buildings
13 October 2009, WWF
A coalition of environmental NGOs, including members of the "Coolproducts for a Cool Planet" campaign , will launch its new Cool Products, Warm Homes Manifesto  Wednesday at a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels. The coalition will ask EU institutions and Member States to urgently put in place new, more ambitious legislation to reduce energy demand for heating and cooling our buildings. The EU’s energy consumption for heating and cooling buildings accounts for about one quarter of all energy consumed in Europe  – as much as all EU transport combined.
“Europe needs to massively boost its efforts to reduce energy demand for heating and cooling buildings, including long awaited minimum efficiency requirements for boilers, water heaters, and air conditioners,” said Edouard Toulouse from ECOS. Truly ambitious measures for those products could cut Europe’s CO2 emissions annually by 230 million tonnes by 2020.
Most buildings are still poorly insulated and use oversized and inefficient heating and cooling systems that unnecessarily waste energy, contribute to climate change and air pollution, which add billions of Euros to Europe’s energy spend.
Moreover, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) fails to introduce enough measures that will really improve the energy performance of our houses, offices and of all the buildings we use. The revised EPBD needs to close this gap by requiring that all new buildings are net zero energy by speeding up the renovation of existing buildings and through enhancing the role of the Energy Performance Certificate which would allow customers to make informed choices regarding the energy consumption of buildings. Discussions will continue Wednesday at a second ‘trilogue’ meeting between governments and MEPs.
"Buildings and their equipment are the fabric of our society: the way they are designed, built and maintained determines whether they are an asset to our well-being, our planet and our economy or whether they contribute to fuel poverty, urban sprawl and wasted resources,” says the European Environmental Bureau’s (EEB) Secretary General John Hontelez.
Supported by a cross party group of Members of the European Parliament (4), the Cool Products, Warm Homes Manifesto strongly urges the European Commission, Member States and MEPs to:
1. Adopt a mandatory 20% energy saving target for Europe by 2020 to support their commitment to energy conservation.
2. Establish more coherent legislation to close gaps and set clear responsibilities.
3. Boost the energy performance and renovation rate of existing buildings in the EU.
4. Allow only the greenest heating and cooling products to reach the market.
5. Redirect finance where it matters.
Major windows of opportunities are about to close. Discussions on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings directive are soon to be over, as this is to be adopted by the end of the year. Energy efficiency requirements for boilers, water heaters and air conditioners will be voted on in the first half of 2010 under the Ecodesign of Energy-Using Products directive. Meanwhile, the European Commission is also revising the EU’s Energy Efficiency Action Plan.
2.5. U.N. calls for more sophisticated biofuels debate
16 October 2009, Reuters
Countries must adopt a much more sophisticated approach to developing biofuels as a green energy option if they are to benefit the economy, the environment and society as a whole, the United Nations said on Friday.
Biofuels are mostly produced from food crops including wheat, maize, sugar cane and vegetable oils, and advocates have hailed them as an important way to cut greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
But others argue that they may actually worsen the situation by leading to the destruction of ecosystems, offer limited energy savings and divert crops from a food chain already struggling to meet the demands of a growing global population.
A major U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Friday said biofuels, like all new technologies, presented opportunities and challenges.
"Therefore a more sophisticated debate is urgently needed," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner told reporters.
"On one level, it is a debate about which energy crops to grow and where, and also about the way different countries and biofuel companies promote and manage the production and conversion of plant materials for energy purposes. Some clearly are climate friendly, while others are highly questionable."