1.1. Developing nations want global climate accord by 2011
25 April 2010,AFP
Four major developing countries meeting in South Africa on Sunday called for a global, legally binding agreement on climate change to be finalised by next year at the latest.
Environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China met in Cape Town to discuss on how to speed up a process of finalising a global agreement that would require rich nations to cut carbon emissions and reduce global warming.
"Ministers felt that a legally binding outcome should be concluded at Cancun, Mexico in 2010, or at the latest in South Africa by 2011," ministers from the developing world’s powerhouses said in a joint statement, referring to United Nations climate talks.
The Copenhagen meeting, held last year and aimed at thrashing out a new climate treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, was widely criticized for failing to produce a new treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
"Developing countries strongly support international legally binding agreements, as the lack of such agreements hurts developing countries more than developed countries," the statement said.
The ministers also called for developed nations to fast track the release of a 10-billion-dollar fund to help poor countries "to develop, test and demonstrate practical implementation approaches to both adaptation and mitigation."
Meanwhile, the environmental lobby group Greenpeace urged the ministers to seize climate leadership in the run-up to the next UN Climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year and help break the current deadlock in the climate negotiations.
"Greenpeace urges the governments gathered in Cape Town to take the opportunity to make a clear and unanimous call for a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal to avert catastrophic climate change," said Greenpeace Africa political advisor Themba Linden in a statement.
1.2. Cuban VP Says Bolivia Summit on Climate Change Was a Success
24 April 2010, ACN
He told Prensa Latina on Friday in Bolivia before returning to Cuba that Evo Morales’ initiative to lead the Summit was excellent and that it confirmed his leadership in the world battle for the defense of the planet.
The conference gave representatives of social, indigenous, scientific and people’s organizations the possibility to talk openly about the true causes of climate change.
On Thursday, Lazo told participants in one of the forum’s panel that it was impossible to keep on watching how the income of the 500 richest individuals of the world is higher than that of the 416 million poorest people.
“We can’t passively watch how close to 1,000 million people from the First World waste half of the energy produced in the world while more than 2,000 million people don’t have electricity,” Lazo noted.
Among other proposals, the Final Declaration of the forum included a world referendum on climate change to be held on April 22, 2011 to consult the people on whether budgets devoted to wars should be used to safe the planet.
Other initiatives were the creation of an International Court of Climate and Environmental Justice with headquarters in Bolivia put forward by Evo Morales and charging rich countries for contaminating the planet.
The Cochabamba Declaration or People’s Agreement will be presented by the end of the year before the United Nations meeting on Climate Change to take place in Cancun, Mexico.
Before returning to Havana, Lazo had a warm meeting with Cubans working on educational and health collaboration programs in Bolivia.
1.3. People’s climate summit seeks to halve emissions by 2020
22 April 2010, AFP
A "people’s conference" on climate change agreed in Bolivia Thursday to call for the halving of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 at the next UN climate meeting in Mexico in December.
Some 20,000 environmental activists, indigenous leaders and unionists called for "collective, then individual, obligations for the reduction of greenhouse gases," instead of the non-binding accord adopted at the end of last year in Copenhagen, which the group dubbed a "failure."
The UN Ambassador to Bolivia, Pablo Solon, said that a 50 percent reduction could limit the warming of the planet to 1.5 degrees Celcius, instead of the two degrees agreed to in Copenhagen but which would not be met under current individual country pledges.
The three-day Cochabamba forum, organized by leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales, also recommended the creation of an international climate tribunal to judge countries on global warming.
It promised to take steps to create a declaration of Earth rights and to organize an international referendum on the environment to coincide with the next Earth Day, on April 22, 2011.
The conference followed a preparatory meeting between representatives from the world’s leading economies in Washington ahead of the December UN summit in Cancun, Mexico.
The United States on Monday downplayed hopes of clinching a new climate treaty this year, warning against unrealistic expectations despite what it said was growing agreement among major nations.
1.4. Global Climate Deal Best Option, But Road Rough: U.N.
23 April 2010, Planet Ark
The head of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) maintained a global climate treaty was better than a range of small-scale agreements, but said it was unlikely a deal to combat global warming would be reached this year.
The prospect of a global climate treaty is fading as the world’s top two carbon emitters, China and the United States, avoid legally binding action. Experts say a shift to a less ambitious goal might help.
"The argument or suggestion that the world would be better off if we somehow found lots of little packages and agreed to them and found out how they fit together is not to me a viable scenario," Achim Steiner, UNEP executive director, said on Thursday in an interview with Reuters.
Annual U.N. climate meetings have failed to achieve any major breakthrough since signing the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The present round of that pact expires in 2012.
The next annual meeting of environment ministers will be in Cancun, Mexico in November and December.
"We might not be able to conclude the one big deal in the next conference but what we must produce is some concrete results that clearly take us toward a global framework for action," Steiner said on the sidelines of the Business for the Environment meeting in Seoul.
Experts note a less formal deal, outside a legal framework, may now emerge, building on the actions of individual nations.
More than 100 countries have backed a non-binding Copenhagen Accord to mobilize $30 billion in climate aid from 2010-2012 to help poor nations face the impacts of climate change, underscoring what could be agreed outside a legal framework.
"What will be critical for Cancun is that the financial pledges that are part of the accord begin to be realized and that people see real money going to real projects," Steiner said.
"Do not write Cancun off."
Steiner also threw his support behind the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has been attacked by skeptics after it published a report with errors in global warming forecasts.
The U.N. launched a review of the panel last month after the IPCC acknowledged in January its report had exaggerated the pace of Himalayan glacier melting and overstated how much of the Netherlands is below sea level.
"The premise that the integrity of the IPCC has been compromised is something that I reject," he said. The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and produces the main scientific document driving global efforts to agree to a more ambitious climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
"It will remain the world’s best resource on trying to appreciate the complex and continuously evolving state of our knowledge of global warming," he said.
2.1. Derivatives Bill Calls For U.S. Carbon Market Study
23 April 2010, Planet Ark
A tough new proposal to regulate U.S. markets calls for top regulators and government officials to conduct a study on transparency in emerging U.S. carbon markets as part of the financial reform package.
The heads of the Treasury Department, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other U.S. agencies would be required to study oversight of existing and prospective carbon markets, according to the proposal, part of a bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee this week.
The goal of the study is "to ensure an efficient, secure, and transparent carbon market, including oversight of spot markets and derivative markets," the bill said.
Senator Blanche Lincoln’s Agriculture Committee voted to advance the bill this week. It will be merged with the Senate Banking Committee’s financial reform package, expected to be debated next week, which will likely include a crackdown on the unregulated $450 trillion derivatives market.
Emerging carbon markets are either voluntary or regional because the U.S. government does not limit emissions of gases blamed for warming the planet, considered a requirement before the launch of a national market.
Ten states in the U.S. Northeast operate a carbon market on power plants. In addition, the Chicago Climate Exchange also runs voluntary carbon markets.
Some critics of carbon markets say that not all of the credits that are traded in them represent true emissions reductions.
Senators John Kerry, a Democrat, Lindsey Graham, a Republican and Joe Lieberman, an independent, hope to unveil a climate bill on Monday that is expected to include a carbon market on power plants beginning in 2012, which could be expanded to the manufacturers years later.
Other agency officials required to participate in the study would be the heads of the Agriculture Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Energy Information Administration, the independent statistics arm of the Department of Energy.
The interagency group would be required to submit a report to Congress on their study within six months after the report becomes law.
2.2. France pleads for better regulation of carbon market Ž
23 April 2010, EurActiv
A working group commissioned by French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde has delivered a report calling for better regulation of the carbon market in light of recent scandals. EurActiv France reports.
The EU carbon market has faced a series of setbacks in recent months: VAT fraud, cyber crime and Hungary’s sale of ‘used’ carbon credits have all highlighted weaknesses in the EU’s flagship policy to fight climate change.
To tackle these issues, French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde has commissioned a former president of French securities regulator AMF, Michel Prada, to identify regulatory options.
In a report submitted on 19 April, the Prada working group warns that the planned auctioning system foreseen for carbon credits as of 2013 could increase the risk of market abuses (see ‘Background’).
The report makes 28 proposals, grouped into six main objectives. First and foremost, the reflection group sees the creation of an EU-level legal statute for CO2 quotas as essential.
According to the group, current disparities between quota definitions in Europe are leading to problems that only full harmonisation can solve.
To start with, the legal nature of quotas is unclear because they are an ambiguous mix between an administrative permit, a raw material and a financial instrument. The report thus calls for the creation of a new category at EU level.
Moreover, the reflection group supports the establishment of a monitoring mechanism for the carbon market and calls for a coherent European system of regulation.
This could take two forms, according to the report: either the creation a new European surveillance authority or a decentralised surveillance system run by national financial supervisors and energy regulators – and coordinated at EU level by the proposed European System of Financial Supervisors.
Emphasis is also put on the quality of information, particularly on creating a central reporting system for transactions carried out on the market.
Several European Commission departments were consulted ahead of the report’s publication – the Internal Market DG, the Energy DG and the Climate Action DG.
When questioned by EurActiv France, a Commission spokesperson said: "We appreciate the work of the Prada committee. It provides an interesting contribution."
Prada should soon meet with Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier and Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard to "pass on the right message" to the European institutions, the spokesperson added.
2.3. France awaits clearer EU strategy on e-cars
26 April 2010, EurActiv
France ‘s ambitious national strategy on electric cars is awaiting a clearer position from the European Union, EurActiv France reports.
Thanks to state support, the classic automobile market in France grew by 10.8% in March 2010 – a considerable leap – but the government is hedging its bets on "de-carbonised" vehicles.
French Ecology and Transport Minister Jean-Louis Borloo unveiled a national strategy in October 2009, with 14 concrete steps to encourage the development of electric and rechargeable hybrid cars.
The objective is to put two million electric vehicles on France’s roads by 2020.
Earlier this month, Borloo and Industry Minister Christian Estrosi stated that ”12 out of the 14 planned steps are now in process”.
”We are the first and the most organised in the European Union’,’ the two ministers added.
The ministers signed a charter with 12 local authorities and car manufacturers PSA Peugeot Citroën and Renault, with the aim of making electric and rechargeable hybrid cars accessible to the public in 2010. Financial support of some €2.5 billion should be provided to the sector.
People buying an electric car will also receive a grant of €5,000. To help establish a market for electric cars, the French state said it will place 100,000 orders for new vehicles. Borloo announced the formation of a group – including EDF, SNCF, Air France, France Télécom and La Poste – which will order an initial 50,000 vehicles. A call for tender will open on 23 April.
Brussels preparing legislative package
Meanwhile in Brussels, EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani is preparing to unveil an electric car strategy next Tuesday (27 April).
The EU’s commissioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard, and her colleague in charge of transport, Siim Kallas, are putting together a ‘transport and climate’ package of directives (EurActiv 18/01/10). Moreover, a strategy on an industrial automobile policy should be adopted this summer.
Speaking at a conference in Paris organised by the Confrontations Europe think-tank, Hugues Van Honacker from the European Commission’s transport directorate announced the imminent publication of a communication and a directive on the sale of clean cars.
Asked by EurActiv France to clarify these remarks, a Commission spokesperson was unable to specify whether these initiatives would be separate from the strategy to be unveiled by Tajani next week.
According to the EU executive, when public services purchase new vehicles they will have to decide between buying classical and electric cars, taking costs into account – particularly those relating to harmful emissions.
A White Paper on the de-carbonisation of transport and urban mobility should be published in November 2010. The strategy will deal with the question of European-level grants as well as the definition of an EU standard for plugs designed to recharge electric vehicles.
The question of interoperability of recharging systems in Europe is receiving a great deal of attention: if the EU does not manage to establish a common standard for recharging gear, the plan to develop a market for electric vehicle will run straight into a brick wall.
3.1. EU public affairs and advocacy officer, Brussels
ClientEarth is a non-profit public interest environmental law organisation headquartered in London with offices in Brussels and Paris. We are looking for an exceptional EU political and public affairs professional to work in close collaboration with our legal and communications teams to amplify the impact of our work by engaging with the EU institutions and key stakeholders across our programme priorities.
More at: http://www.clientearth.org/eu-public-affairs-and-advocacy-officer-brussels
4.1. 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
Tuesday 1 June to Friday 11 June 2010
Venue: Hotel Maritim
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