1.1. Climate judgement stops airport expansion
19 April 2010, T&E
The potential for climate legislation to influence transport policy was demonstrated in Great Britain last month, when a judge told the British government it could not go ahead with a third runway and sixth terminal at London’s Heathrow airport without looking again at the project’s climate implications. The High Court judge said so much had changed in terms of climate change policy since the government first approved the runway in 2003 – notably the introduction of legally obligatory climate targets – that officials had to reconsult on all the underlying issues to see if the expansion was compatible with such targets. The government said its plans for the airport expansion were not dead, but they may be after the British elections being held on 6 May.
1.2. Eco-activists mass for alternative climate summit in Bolivia
19 April 2010, AFP
COCHABAMBA , Bolivia — Environmental activists, indigenous leaders and Hollywood celebrities are gathering in Bolivia ahead of a self-styled global people’s conference on climate change starting Tuesday.
Thousands of attendees intend to highlight the plight of the world’s poorest who they argue were largely ignored at the official United Nations-sponsored summit in Copenhagen last December.
The Copenhagen meeting was widely drubbed for failing to produce a new treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions, with Bolivia, along with Cuba and Sudan, among the leading voices questioning the climate accord.
Critics say that deal will not avert a catastrophe and the "People’s World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights," which runs through Thursday, aims to draft new proposals for consideration at the next UN meeting in Mexico at the end of the year.
Bolivia ‘s UN ambassador Pablo Solon said the conference, which was expected to be attended by some 18,000 people, was "the only way to get the climate change talks back on track."
And Bolivian Environment Minister Juan Pablo Ramos described the Cochabamba meeting as "a major mobilization to fundamentally influence the next climate summit in Mexico in December."
Developing nations have resisted a legally binding climate treaty, arguing that wealthy nations must bear the primary responsibility for climate change.
Nearly 130 countries, including many of the world’s poorest, will be represented at the Cochabamba conference, which symbolically reaches its climax on Earth Day.
Individual participants include an assortment of anti-globalization activists like writer Naomi Klein of Canada and Jose Bove of France.
Also invited is James Cameron, the Canadian-born director of the blockbuster film "Avatar" and James Hansen, a US researcher who was among the first to warn about climate change.
Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Adolfo Perez Esquivel, noted for his demonstrations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, was also due to take part, as was Hollywood actor and political activist Danny Glover.
"We have great extremes of heat and cold, and as a result we’re seeing illnesses and outbreaks that once had disappeared," said Nilo Cayuqueo, a Mapuche Indian preparing to attend the summit.
Cayuqueo described seeing the effect of climate change every day in his Argentine homeland, saying "there are no more butterflies in the air or worms in the earth" due to the impact of global warming.
This week’s gathering will also give a giant megaphone to a left-leaning bloc of Latin American leaders, including presidents Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales, the indigenous president of host nation Bolivia.
The conference will seek to refine proposals presented by Morales in Copenhagen that included the creation of a world tribunal for climate issues and a global referendum on environmental choices.
Presidents Chavez and Morales were among the harshest critics of the December 2009 Copenhagen conference, arguing that developing countries were largely ignored in the debates.
The conference begins the day after representatives from the world’s leading economies gathered in Washington for a preparatory meeting ahead of the December UN summit in Cancun.
The US-led Major Economies Forum comprises 17 countries responsible for the bulk of global emissions and excludes smaller nations such as Sudan whose firebrand negotiators held up sessions at December’s Copenhagen summit.
Washington hopes the closed-door talks will allow key nations to quietly assess what they can achieve heading into the next major climate summit in December in Cancun.
"Clearly, there is still a gap between the views of the developing and developed world," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said. "We’re going to see if we can, through the course of this discussion, narrow that down."
2.1. WWF: 100% Renewable Power is Possible as Shown by Breakthrough McKinsey Study
13 April 2010, WWF
The launch today of a ground breaking study by McKinsey on various options for a carbon-free European power sector by 2050 is welcomed by WWF for showing that a 100% renewable electricity system would be as reliable as our power system today and would reduce Europe’s fossil fuel import costs.
Commissioned by the European Climate Foundation (ECF), and in consultation with many large electricity companies and other organisations, the study shows that a 100% renewable electricity supply would only be 5 – 10% more expensive than the other low-carbon pathways considered in the study, without the risks posed by nuclear energy and fossil fuels, making it overall the best option.
"Our vision of 100% renewable power for Europe by 2050 is supported by this study", said Dr Stephan Singer, Director Global Energy Policy at WWF International at the launch of the study.
"The EU must now get to work, planning its long-term energy strategy based on 100% renewable power. This will be good for the climate, phase out risks of nuclear power and fuel import dependency, guarantee power supply, and would provide the most cost-effective and acceptable sustainable energy pathway for Europe."
3.1. Transport emissions likely to hold back EU climate effectiveness
19 April 2010, T&E
The transport sector is likely to prevent the EU from reducing its total greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, according to the results of a project set up by the Commission.
The project was begun with the aim of working out emissions-reduction scenarios for transport up to 2050, but preliminary results suggest the most ambitious scenario would still only deliver a reduction of less than 60% between 1990 and 2050.
That would not allow the EU to achieve an overall 80% reduction, despite reductions in other sectors.
The analysis looked at combinations of policy options and technological improvements, including new vehicle emission limits, increased fuel taxes, advances in electric and hydrogen cars and speed limits.
The project organisers say deep emissions cuts will require lots of measures, including reducing demand for transport. They also say measures have to be introduced soon if the 2050 target is to be met, because most measures take a long time to have a profound effect.The project may produce further scenarios in the next few months, though it is unclear whether any more effective scenarios can be developed.
The findings will be used as background material for the Commission’s white paper on transport due out at the end of this year.
3.2. World Bank says East Asia can stabilize CO2 by 2025
19 April 2010, Reuters
China, the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter, and five other East Asian nations, need a net additional investment of $80 billion per year to get on to a sustainable energy path, the World Bank said on Monday.
Such investment was crucial to curb an otherwise inevitable surge in planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions as regional economies grow to lift millions out of poverty and to meet the energy needs of rapid urbanization, the Bank said in a report.
The report, "Winds of change: East Asia’s sustainable energy future," said it was possible for China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to stabilize their greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 without compromising growth.
But the move would require major policy changes and investments in energy efficiency and a concerted switch to renewable sources of power.
Such a switch would also increase energy security while improving local environments.
Underscoring the region’s rapid rise, the bank said East Asia achieved a 10-fold increase in GDP over the past three decades, leading to a tripling of energy consumption, which was expected to double again in the next two decades.
"Countries need to act now to transform the energy sector toward much higher energy efficiency and widespread deployment of low-carbon technologies," Jim Adams, World Bank Vice President for the East Asia & Pacific Region, said in a statement.
The report looked at two scenarios in which development continued according to current government policies and an alternative, low-carbon growth path.
Under the alternative sustainable energy development (SED) path, the report said renewable energy, including hydropower, wind, biomass, geothermal and solar, could meet a significant proportion of the region’s power needs by 2030.
And to achieve this sustainable energy path, net additional investment of $80 billion per year was needed over the next two decades, or an average of 0.8 percent of regional GDP. But mobilizing this financing was a major hurdle, the Bank said.
"Historically, financing has been a constraint in developing countries. The results have been under-investment in infrastructure and a bias toward energy choices with lower up-front capital costs," it said.
It also estimated that approximately $25 billion per year would be required as concessional financing to cover the incremental costs and risks of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Under the reference (REF) scenario, emissions of local air pollutants and CO2 would double over the next two decades. Coal would also continue to be the dominant fuel.
This would lead to growing energy security concerns triggered by increased risks of price volatility and exposure to disruptions in energy supplies, the report says.
"Throughout the next two decades, imports of oil and gas will grow across the region. Under the REF scenario, by 2030 China is expected to import 75 percent of its oil and 50 percent of its gas demand and become the largest oil importer in the world. Malaysia and Vietnam are projected to switch from being net energy exporters to net importers," it says.
Under the SED scenario, CO2 emissions of the six countries could peak at 2025 and decline slightly thereafter.
Local environmental damage costs by 2030 would drop to $66 billion versus $127 billion under the REF scenario.
The study said the share of coal in power generation was projected to decline from 70 percent under the REF scenario to 36 percent under the sustainable development scenario by 2030. This assumed that carbon capture and storage would play a key role.
This would also require a 3-fold increase in the share of low-carbon technologies such as renewable energy and nuclear in power generation from today’s 17 percent.
"Scaling up renewable energy requires putting a price on carbon and providing financial incentives to deploy renewable energy technologies," the report says.
3.3. 30% CO2 reduction through 80 km/h speed limit
19 April 2010, T&E
Research by the respected Dutch consultancy CE Delft has shown that carbon dioxide emissions from road transport could be reduced by 30% if motorway speed limits in the Netherlands were set at 80 km/h.
The research, undertaken for the NGO Milieudefensie, estimates the optimum long-term reduction as 2.8 million tonnes of CO 2 for passenger cars, and a further 0.2mt for delivery vans.
The reduction assumes a uniform limit of 80 km/h which is strictly enforced. Less drastic tightening of speed limits result in emissions cuts of 8-21%.
Although the figures apply only to the Netherlands and will be different in other countries dependent on existing speed limits and vehicle fleets, there are other interesting findings from the research.
For example, it finds that, because of the longer travel times resulting from lower speed limits, fewer car kilometres will be driven and there will be ‘a certain shift from private car to public transport’. The researchers also believe this will lead in the longer term to people moving closer to their workplace and shops relocating closer to consumers, thereby reducing overall car kilometres.
It also says the lower limit would bring about improvements in air pollution, noise nuisance, traffic safety and possibly congestion. But it says economic welfare measures lower speeds and reduced traffic volumes as costs.
3.4. EU carbon at fresh 2010 high after weak open
19 April 2010, Reuters
European carbon emissions permits rose on Monday to a fresh high for 2010 after a weak opening, with market confidence buoyed by an improved economic outlook, traders said.
EU Allowances for December delivery rose as high as 14.75 euros a tonne, up 33 cents or 2.3 percent, a new high for 2010. The benchmark contracts were trading at 14.60 euros at 1050 GMT on heavy volume of nearly 9,000 lots traded.
The market has been rallying since the release of EU verified emissions data on April 1, gaining almost 15 percent, underpinned by higher energy prices, although oil fell on Monday.
An emissions trader said EUAs’ early fall was due to some participants correcting the previous session’s gains.
Technicals suggested a correction may be due with the RSI rising to 76.6, the highest level since May 2007, implying the futures may now be overbought.
The futures also bounced off a long-term bearish trend line at 14.75 euros.
By mid-morning, sellers had been overpowered by players who were trying to push prices higher, the trader added.
"(Prices) could reach 15 euros by the end of the day," another trader said.
On Friday, EUAs rose to a high of 14.56 euros as utilities bought permits to bank for future use and financial buyers shook most sellers out of the market, traders said.
Participants might also prefer to save EUAs for the future instead when prices are expected to be higher. Analysts polled by Reuters expect prices to increase to up to 24 euros in 2011.
Certified emissions reductions gained 19 cents or 1.5 percent at 12.87 euros a tonne, setting the EUA-CER spread at around 1.75 euros.
German Calendar 2011 baseload power on the EEX was down 4 cents at 49.10 euros per megawatt hour.
Oil prices sank to a three-week low below $81 a barrel as risk appetite soured across the board after investment bank Goldman Sachs was charged with fraud.
The European Commission on Monday approved new carbon emissions quota of 208.5 million tonnes a year for Poland, ending a long dispute.
Poland had originally requested 284.6 million a year of the permits under the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme, but this was scaled down by the Commission.
On Friday, the European Commission approved another amendment to its registries regulation, putting an end to the recycling of CERs both in and outside the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
The move, which is understood to involve CERs surrendered for compliance being put in a retirement account, is being applied from Monday, the Commission said.
3.5. Sarkozy withdraws carbon tax as France resists trend towards higher fuel taxes
19 April 2010, T&E
France ’s president Nicolas Sarkozy has abandoned his highly publicised tax on carbon emissions. But recent trends among EU finance ministries suggest the French are moving against the tide.
The tax was originally announced last year as Sarkozy looked to promote France as a leader in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit. It was due to raise between €3.5 and €4.5 billion a year by adding a few cents to each litre of transport fuel and each household gas bill. But the French prime minister François Fillon said the government was withdrawing the tax, and instead pressing for a carbon levy at EU level.
The French environmental movement was very angry, with 10 NGOs saying in a letter to Sarkozy they were ‘outraged by the contempt that characterises this decision’. They were supported by the junior environment minister, Chantal Jouanno.
The French move is out of step with recent trends, which have seen a third of EU members increasing fuel taxes by more than two cents a litre or more over the past few months. Nine states have put up their taxes by at least two cents, and Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece and Ireland by five cents or more. Greece’s petrol tax went up by more than 20 cents. In contrast, countries like Spain, Austria and Luxembourg kept their already low taxes unchanged.
4.1. “Case for EU industry fleeing climate regime up in smoke”
CAN-Europe’ s submission to the public consultation in preparation of an analytical report on the impact of the international climate negotiations on the situation of energy intensive sectors
April 2010, CAN-E
4.2. Creating an Eco-Internet
Not before time – but it looks as though the global green community could soon have its very own “sustainable” domain name.
ICANN – the organisation responsible for domain endings (like .com or .org) will shortly start the process to create a whole bunch of new endings – including .eco.
Great news for anyone who wants to proclaim their green credentials by adding a .eco ending to their website or email address – but there could be significant risks of greenwashing. Every email and website created that ends in .eco will send a powerful signal that its owner is in some way "environmentally-friendly", "sustainable" or simply "green."
That’s why WWF and a group of other NGOs, individuals and organisations are working out a way to manage the .eco domain responsibly on behalf of all those striving towards a more sustainable world.
Rules & Transparency
It’s critical that the rules for operating .eco – including who can buy names, how proceeds are used, what it stands for, and how trust is maintained – are transparent, accountable, community based and designed for the long-term benefit of people and the environment.
Give your input
We’ve put together an independent Stakeholder Council along with a panel of advisors and partners representing more than thirty organisations and gurus working in the environmental, sustainability and human rights sectors, backed up by an Expert Working Group to provide technical and policy advice.
We’d welcome input from anyone who cares about using the power of the web for the good of the planet and its people.
To find out more and to get involved, go to: doteco.info/openletter
5.1. The 40% Seminar
Seminar on 40% emission cuts in the EU by 2020: Mobilising Europe to achieve climate justice
European Parliament – April 27th 2010, 14:00-18:00
Room P7 C050, Paul Henri Spaak building
A study released by Stockholm Environment Institute in partnership with Friends of the Earth Europe has proved for the first time that Europe could more than double its current greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2020.
Join the 40% seminar to discuss:
what scale of emission cuts are technically feasible in Europe by 2020 (and 2050)
how EU climate policy compares to what science and the EU’s historical responsibility tells us is necessary
how EU policy can be improved in the short and medium term
More at: http://www.thebigask.eu/40percentstudy/seminar/
5.2. The Growth of Electric Vehicles:
Integrating Emerging Business Models and New Value Chains
27th April 2010
More at: http://awbriefing.com/events/10-04-27.php
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected].