1.1. Industry chiefs call for sectoral approach to climate change
16 July 2009, EurActiv
A fair, new international climate regime should include sector-based agreements, leading to binding targets for emissions cuts in developing countries, the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), an influential group of CEOs, said in a paper published yesterday (15 July)
The EU will be able to upgrade its 2020 objective of slashing emissions of global warming gases from 20% to 30% only if an international agreement is struck to spread obligations evenly among the global community in order to avoid competitive distortions, the group said in the paper.
"Seen from a European perspective, an effective international framework is one that allows the EU to continue competing in the global market by ensuring that the gap is minimised between those leading on the implementation of emission constraints and those following as their economies build capacity to manage emissions," said Jeroen van der Veer, former CEO of Shell and chair of the ERT’s Energy & Climate Change Working Group.
The ERT is a forum of around 45 chief executives and chairmen of major national companies, including E.ON, GDF Suez, Siemens, Nokia, BT and Fiat.
The business leaders see a global greenhouse gas emissions market as the principal tool to deliver emission cuts. Industrialised countries with binding targets should link national cap-and-trade systems together to finance clean technology programmes in developing countries, the group said.
"This will establish a widespread market price for emitting CO2 (and other GHGs) into the atmosphere and deliver the reductions at lowest cost to the global economy," the paper reads.
UN projects to go large-scale The UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which allows industrialised countries to earn offset credits by financing mitigation efforts in the developing world, should be redesigned to support large-scale projects – notably in the electricity sector – that are driven by a carbon price, the ERT argues. Lower-cost measures such as energy efficiency would largely be financed by developing countries themselves, it says.
More advanced developing countries, on the other hand, should "stabilise their absolute emissions in the medium term through nationally appropriate actions and thereafter, make a firm commitment to reduce absolute emissions," the report states.
This could be done via sectoral agreements with industrialised countries, the paper argues. The agreements would enable developing countries to adopt emissions reduction programmes in specific sectors like cement or steel to tap into funding and build capacity.
"Each agreement should include the eventual implementation of a long-term binding target for the sector or sectors in question," the ERT says. It adds that the approach could be extended to areas such as deforestation and afforestation. This has been envisaged under the UN’s REDD mechanism, which is likely to feature as part of the deal in Copenhagen (EurActiv 20/04/09).
In order to reduce the need for protection for EU sectors that have the price of carbon added to their production costs, each agreement would have to involve at least 80% of world production of products in each particular sector and lead to CO2 reductions comparable to what the EU has set, the paper states.
One of the technologies that the business group would like to see transferred to the developing world through revamped CDM projects is carbon capture and storage (CCS). It calls for an international carbon storage certification, which would deliver a certificate for each tonne of carbon buried underground.
1.2. Sarkozy pledges leadership on climate change
16 July 2009, Web in France
The President of France promises to do his part toward a global agreement on greenhouse emissions.
Sarkozy greenhouse emissionsA week before sweeping climate change legislation that will change the way America does business passed in the US House of Representatives, the President of France was demonstrating that he is on the same page. Nicolas Sarkozy, who will be attending the Climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark this December, addressed communication to the head of the UN panel of experts saying that the “challenge of a world agreement on climate change must be met.”
Sarkozy’s messages have become increasingly green in recent months, especially when his turn at the presidency of the EU laid bare the many conflicts among member countries on the issue, especially how to divide the responsibility and the costs for any changes. Back in 2007, Sarkozy called for a national “carbon tax” on global-warming pollutants and a European tariff on imports from countries outside the Kyoto Protocol.While no specific countries were cited, it was generally understood that the proposal was targeted at imports from the United States and Australia, the only advanced economies outside the Kyoto agreement, the UN’s landmark pact on greenhouse-gas emissions.
France has been one of the world leaders in environmental issues. Always a staunch supporter of the Kyoto Protocol, France gets 84% of its energy from its nuclear power plants, which, despite its reputation for dangerous meltdowns, is the cleanest form of energy generally available today. France also has an extensive rail system including the high-speed electric TGV trains, that cut down on fossil fuel emissions from automobiles. In a further effort to reduce this pollution, France was among the first countries to offer drivers incentives to buy greener cars as well, and Paris recently installed a system of rental bicycles to give the public another greener alternative for getting around the city. Sarkozy wishes to continue France’s climate change leadership, especially in the light of the dire predictions of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) which state that without intervention climate change threatens to lead to cataclysmic drought, floods and epidemics before the end of this century. The head of the panel visited France last week to meet with Sarkozy, and was gratified by the French head of state’s response and pledges of cooperation and leadership on global climate change measures.
Sarkozy has even called on President Obama in recent months to follow the leadership of the EU in the climate change arena, and reverse the environmental isolationism of his predecessor. Sarkozy will probably score some political points at home for the climate change legislation that just passed in the US Congress, which calls for utility companies to get 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. In any case, the legislation, provided it passes in the Senate, will give a big boost to the December Copenhagen conference. Then the ball will be in the rest of the world’s court. The U.S. measure aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. Europe has pledged to cut its own emissions by at least 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and 30 percent if other advanced economies agree to do the same.
However, Sarkozy’s critics say he has not been quite consistent in his support for climate change reforms. The President of France recently expressed his preference for Claude Allegre to head his cabinet’s super-ministry of science, industry and innovation. Allegre, a former climate change champion who has recently reversed his opinion and no longer believes that human activity is responsible for any modifications in the earth’s atmosphere, is seen as an enemy to scientists who preach that global warming can be controlled by changes in peoples’ behavior and energy consumption.
1.3. U.S. lawmakers debate climate bills’ economic impact
16 July 2009, Reuters
U.S. lawmakers on Thursday clashed over what impact climate change legislation would have on U.S. employment and American consumers.
With the economy struggling, Democratic lawmakers have touted legislation establishing a system to cap greenhouse gas emissions as a way to bolster the economy.
"When we unleash the American innovative spirit, we will drive economic growth and create jobs and whole new industries here at home," Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer said at a hearing.
Republicans, however, have strongly contested these claims, characterizing so called "cap and trade" bills as a threat to economic recovery that would push companies to other countries and force consumers to pay more to use energy.
"My fear is that what the recession and faulty management decisions did to the auto industry, the U.S. Congress will do intentionally to the rest of Midwest manufacturing — kill U.S. jobs and drive many of them overseas to China," said Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri.
The House of Representatives narrowly passed a climate change bill last month that aims to lower carbon emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
Democratic leaders in the Senate have pushed back the timeline for introducing a similar bill in the chamber until September.
Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, a Democrat, said the extra time will give lawmakers more time to craft a better bill.
"We have this extra two months, it’s been almost a gift. We need to put it to good use," Carper said.
He said Democrats could possibly attract more support from moderate Republicans by doing more to promote nuclear power in the legislation.
"I think it’s important for us to remember that nuclear energy is carbon free and that there is an expanded role for nuclear," Carper said.
2.1. UK climate plan builds on wind, nuclear, clean coal
16 July 2009, EurActiv
The UK yesterday (15 July) unveiled its transition strategy to a low-carbon economy, foreseeing that 40% of the country’s electricity will be provided by ‘clean energy’ by 2020.
The eagerly awaited white paperPdf external and accompanying strategy for renewable energy set out how the UK aims to meet its national target of slashing greenhouse gases by 34% from 1990 levels by 2020 as well as its EU obligation to produce 15% of energy from renewable sources by the same date.
The plan sets obligations for emissions cuts in all sectors of the economy, but the most far-reaching change is expected of the power sector, as "greening the electricity mix" is expected to deliver half of the total cuts.
The government believes that the strategy could create up to 400,000 new green jobs without a major rise in energy bills. Moreover, it would contribute to the country’s energy security by halving the need to import gas.
"Renewables, nuclear, clean fossil fuels, as this plan sets out, are the trinity of low carbon and the future of energy in Britain," said Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband.
Renewable energy should deliver a third of British electricity by 2020, while clean coal and nuclear would cover a further 10%. The share of renewables would have to rise from the current 5.5%, mainly with the help of wind, but the government also sees a role for wave and tidal power, hydro and bioenergy.
To speed up the connection of renewable electricity to the grid, the government pledged up to £6 million for the development of a smart grid. It also said it would increase financial incentives for developers in the field.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology gets a prominent role in the low-carbon strategy, as the government plans to fund up to four demonstration plants in the country (EurActiv 28/04/09). It also announced that it would establish a special Office of Carbon Capture and Storage to support work on developing the pioneering technology to bring it to a commercial scale.
Renewables goal ‘unfeasible’
Last week, however, a report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) criticised the government’s plans, arguing that favouring wind power would deter investment in nuclear and clean coal.
"While we have generous subsidies for wind power, we urgently need the national planning statements needed to build new nuclear plants. If we carry on like this we will end up putting too many of our energy eggs in one basket," said John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general.
The UK business lobby urged the government to reduce projections for wind energy by 2020, shifting support to nuclear power instead.
The renewable energy strategy voices some concerns over the proposed increase in wind generation, which "could have implications for the security of electricity supply".
The paper argues, however, that these can be managed with various strategies until 2020. "We will continue to keep these issues under close review, and take any necessary action to ensure this continues to be manageable," it states, leaving the door open for back-pedalling at a later date.
Setting a precedent for Copenhagen The UK government sees its 2020 plan as a model for other nations to follow so that the Copenhagen climate conference in December delivers an ambitious global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
"Developed countries must now show leadership and ambition if they’re to be taken seriously by developing countries. It’s why I believe every developed country needs a low-carbon transition plan," Miliband said. He added that the UK plan shows his country’s willingness to play a part in the Copenhagen deal "with real policies and real cuts in emissions".
The UK plans to reach its 2020 emissions cuts through domestic action, without purchasing international offset credits from climate mitigation projects in developing countries. Nevertheless, it could still decide to buy credits if an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen induces the EU to increase its target, requiring tighter emissions cuts in the UK.
2.2. EU energy savings target toothless, MEPs warn
15 July 2009, EurActiv
Energy efficiency is likely to disappear from EU member states’ radar screens in the absence of a binding Europe-wide target, a group of MEPs warned on Monday (13 July).
Energy Efficiency Watch, an initiative driven by a group of MEPs, published an assessment of the first National Energy Efficiency Action Plans submitted by member states as part of their commitments under the 2006 Energy Services Directive.
But the national plans failed to convince the watchdog that EU governments’ efforts to increase energy savings will compare with those they have to put into other sectors like renewable energy, for which there is a binding EU-wide target.
The 2006 Energy Services Directive set an aspirational target of 9% annual energy savings by 2016. But as the European Commission cannot legally enforce this, the parliamentary monitoring group expressed doubt that the target would be achieved.
"Most member states will probably focus on achieving their climate and renewables targets [under the EU’s climate package] rather than committing themselves 100% to their ESD target," they argued.
Although all countries have adopted savings targets and sketched out measures to reach them, the report argued that there was often a mismatch with the final objective. Instead of calculating the target as a result of the cumulative impact of the policies, most member states simply calculated how much 9% of their current energy consumption was and gave the final sum as their target, the MEPs said.
Moreover, many of the proposed policies had already been planned or even implemented regardless of the Energy Services Directive, the report points out.
The EEW, however, argued that the efficiency action plans provide a good opportunity for mutual learning as they display a large array of policy packages and measures for different sectors.
Towards a standard format for energy-saving plans
To make the most of this potential, the watchdog urged the Commission to establish a standard format for the second set of action plans to be submitted in 2011. Harmonising the structure and level of information in the documents and a common methodology to evaluate energy savings would facilitate the planning process in member states and support responsible authorities in improving national policies, it argued.
The Commission made a similar shift to a harmonised format for the national renewable energy action plans, arguing that it would improve the quality of national reporting. The member states will now have to set out the measures to reach their individual targets under the new renewables directive using a common template (EurActiv 01/07/09).
2.3. Enel mulls bonds for new nuclear plants in Italy
14 July 2009, Reuters
Italy’s biggest utility Enel (ENEI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) is considering selling bonds to help finance construction of new nuclear plants in Italy, Enel Chief Executive Fulvio Conti said on Tuesday.
"There are several ways of financing. We have good experience with share issues, we are in a strong position in terms of budget. We are considering selling bonds to broaden the financing possibilities," Conti told a news conference in Slovakia. Italy plans to return to nuclear energy it abandoned more than 20 years ago, but industry experts and analysts expressed doubts about financing such expensive and long-term projects as nuclear plants.
3.1. U.N. shipping body agrees to CO2-cutting proposals
17 July 2009, Reuters
The United Nations shipping agency on Friday agreed to voluntary proposals aimed at cutting carbon emissions, delegates said.
But environmental groups said it fell short of what was needed.
Shipping and aviation are the only industry sectors not regulated under the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for greenhouse gas emissions by rich countries from 2008-12.
Shipping accounts for nearly three percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and pressure has grown for cuts ahead of a crucial climate change summit in Copenhagen in December. Delegates from around 90 countries approved non-compulsory technical and operational measures to reduce greenhouse emissions from ships.
These included an energy efficiency design index for new ships to ensure new vessel designs are environmentally friendly as well as an index for existing vessels.
"It is being circulated as interim and voluntary guidelines," said a spokeswoman for the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Peter Lockley, head of transport policy with environmental group WWF-UK, said the measures should have been mandatory with set targets.
"This does not meet our demands or what is necessary to protect the climate and we are going to call on the UNFCCC to set targets and timelines and guiding principles," Lockley said referring to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Peter Hinchliffe, marine director with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) which represents 75 percent of the global industry, said the proposals were an important step adding that shippers wanted them to be mandatory as soon as possible.
"I think the IMO is quite right to express just a little bit of caution about making sure what is actually eventually adopted in a mandatory sense will work," he told Reuters.
"I think therefore the trial period that has been agreed to is a very sensible way to take it forward."
France called last month for a decision in Copenhagen on curbs to ship emissions, but stopped short of stating figures.
Some analysts argue the IMO has been slow to come up with a mechanism to curb CO2 due to differences between member nations, especially ahead of Copenhagen.
Christian Breinholt, director of the Danish Maritime Authority and part of the Danish delegation, said the design index was an important step forward.
"For some delegations it is very, very delicate to apply legal effects in advance of COP 15 (Copenhagen)," he said.
IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos told delegates earlier this week they should avoid the temptation to seek "overly ambitious results we cannot deliver."
Shipping industry officials have accepted some kind of market based mechanism is needed and argue that given shipping’s global nature any solution must be directed by the IMO.
The session of the IMO’s marine environment protection committee discussed for the first time the issue of market-based measures and agreed on a work plan which said it "could be in a position" to report its progress on the issue in 2011.
"The IMO has got the technical expertise," WWF-UK’s Lockley said. "But this is a bigger political issue and we need to see some movement in Copenhagen if it’s going to progress."
3.2. EU ups pressure on China to agree emissions cuts
15 July 2009, EurActiv
The Swedish Presidency this week used its first bilateral climate talks at the EU’s helm to send a message to China that decisive action on reducing emissions will also be expected of emerging economies.
The EU delegation’s visit to China from 11-14 July was headed by Sweden’s Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren. He was accompanied by EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and Spain’s environment minister, who will chair EU ministers’ meetings in the first half of next year.
The troika reiterated the EU’s call on developing countries to curb their emissions by 15-30% from business-as-usual levels in 2020 during a meeting with the head of China’s ‘Climate Change and Coordinating Committee’, Xie Zhenhua, and Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian.
The talks with China followed last week’s meeting of the Major Economies Forum, where the 17 major emitting economies – both developing and industrialised – pledged to limit global warming to 2°C for the first time (EurActiv 10/07/09). But the EU is insisting that China needs to commit to the 15-30% target if Europeans are to upgrade their objective of slashing emissions to 20% below 1990 levels in Copenhagen in December.
"If we get that commitment, it would be possible for the EU to go up to 30%," said Leif Holmberg, a political adviser to Carlgren.
The Swedish environment minister believes that the 2°C commitment is important, but at this point the global community should also be talking about midterm targets to avoid slowing down the momentum of global talks, Holmberg stressed.
Although the Chinese did not reject the EU’s demands outright, they predictably "did not agree on all points," he said. Talks will continue to be tough, as China has repeatedly stressed that the historical responsibility for emissions lies with industrialised countries, which it says should achieve a 40% emissions cut.
The main focus of the visit, technology cooperation, offered more common ground, and the EU and China agreed to organise further workshops on technology transfer as a follow-up to this week’s discussions. An EU proposal that all developing countries draft national low-carbon development strategies as part of a new global climate regime has led developing countries to call for assistance in adopting clean technologies.
Indeed, clean energy partnerships are attracting increased attention as the Copenhagen climate conference approaches. US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu are also in China this week, discussing opportunities for US-China cooperation in the clean energy sector.
"Today, we are more interdependent with China than at any point in the last 30 years," Locke said, stressing the mutual benefits of building relations in the area.
4.1. INTERN FOR FOOD, AGRICULTURE AND BIODIVERISTY PROGRAMME
The way we produce and consume food in Europe leads to environmental and social problems both within Europe and in developing countries, as well as contributing to climate change and the loss of biodiversity. EU agricultural policy and international trade agreements promote the corporate control of farming and the food chain, market concentration, chemical input use and the intensification of farms. In addition, an increasing amount of arable land is being used to feed animals or grow agrofuels, which are often genetically modified and grown in developing countries, thereby threatening the food sovereignty of people in those countries and leading to agro-industrial expansion into biodiverse-rich areas as well as causing social conflict.
Friends of the Earth Europe has an exciting programme which includes:
* Food Sovereignty in Europe and the world and an end to the unsustainable practice of European farming policy (the Common Agricultural Policy)
* Raising public awareness on the impact of European over-meat consumption and the push for agrofuels on the Global South
* Keeping Europe free of genetically modified crops
* Supporting and developing biodiversity in Europe
Working alongside the campaign coordinators, the intern will help to:
* coordinate the programme with member groups and partner NGOs
* monitor campaign issues at the EU institutions
* organise and distribute relevant information to member groups and the wider NGO network, including website updating
* help organise activities (film projections, protests, policy events, publications)
* support the daily work of the campaign.
The intern should:
* have excellent organisational skills
* be fluent in English
* have background in NGO or voluntary activities
* have knowledge of food and farming issues
* have some knowledge of EU politics / institutions
* love unexpected situations
* be autonomous and a good team worker
* knowledge of another EU language would be welcome.
The internship ideally starts end August or early September 2009 and lasts for 6-12 months, working 5 days per week. The intern will be based in our office in Brussels. Friends of the Earth Europe will pay a monthly contribution to living costs.
If you are interested, please send an letter, explaining your background and motivation, with an attached CV by end 7th August, to [email protected]
Interviews will be held in Brussels during the week of August 17th.
Friends of the Earth Europe unites more than 30 national organisations in Europe with thousands of local groups and is part of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International which includes 77 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. We challenge the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.
For more information, see: http://www.foeeurope.org/job/FABintern_Jul09.html
5.1. Resumed ninth session of the AWG-KP and resumed seventh session of the AWG LCA
2-6 November 2009, Barcelona Convention Centre
FIRA GRAN VIA, Carrer del Foc 47
08038 Barcelona, Spain
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected].