E-news update 27 November 08

CLIMATE

1.1. Greek PM inundated with e-cards for climate action
21 November 2008, WWF
More than 3,000 Greek citizens have responded to a WWF call over the past four days by sending their Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis, a WWF e-card asking him to take an active part in the global efforts to fight climate change.
In the card is a projection of what Thessaloniki, Greece’s second biggest city, could look like around the middle of this century if action is not taken to stem global warming.
The senders also ask the PM to show the necessary political will during the next UN Climate Conference, in Poznan, Poland from 1-12 December 2008, where world leaders will be called upon to decide a 60-80 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions.
“Greece is a country which can develop sustainably based on clean energy and low greenhouse emissions,” said Demetres Karavellas, Director of WWF Greece.
“Our country is capable of responding to the challenge of climate change, given the right vision and the political will and given that the policies and measures are in place.”
The e-card action follows a new WWF Greece report prepared by Ecofys confirming that Greece can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions within the range proposed by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change for the year 2050.
The study, “Solutions for climate change: a low carbon vision for Greece in 2050” defines a a CO2 emission reduction of up to 67 per cent by 2050.
It says the energy and construction sectors can help achieve the lion’s share of the reductions and cut emissions by up to 93 per cent by 2050.
In addition, renewable energy sources could generate 58 per cent of all power in 2050 while increased energy efficiency would result in more than half the envisaged emission reductions.
EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas prefaced the WWF Greece report stressing that: “This is one of the most important reports that have been completed to date, presenting actions that a country like Greece could take in order to contribute in the common effort to combat the world climate challenge.”
Link: http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/where_we_work/europe/what_we_do/wwf_europe_environment/index.cfm?uNewsID=150821

1.2. Survey of Climate Change Solutions
Thank-you for participating in this worldwide survey of “climate solution providers” — those who will play critical roles in putting climate solutions in place.
This unique initiative is supported by the World Bank, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and the International Development Research Centre, and has the active involvement of a wide range of other organizations (please see logos below).
In return for about twenty minutes of your time to complete the survey, we will be pleased to send you a summary of the results of what your peers have to say, and to widely publicize the results — at the UN Conference of Parties in Poznan, through the media and elsewhere — in order to inform views and actions across sectors and geographies on climate related topics.
More at: http://surveys.globescan.com/climatepanel/

1.3. Climate change to cut back tourism
17 November 2008, NEWS.COM.AU
TOURISM operators are being told to prepare for a massive downturn in the industry as climate change ravages Australia’s natural wonders.
More than 300 tourist operators will discuss the future of tourism in an environmentally-conscious world at the Green Travel, Climate Change and Ecotourism conference in Adelaide this week.
It is the first time the conference has been held, amid increased climate change awareness and rising carbon emissions.
EcoTourism Australia chair Alistair McCracken said South Australia and North Queensland were the two areas which stand to lose the most in terms of the impact of climate change on tourism.
He said the effects of reduced water to the River Murray would be as detrimental to SA tourism as coral bleaching to the Great Barrier Reef.
"The condition of the Murray is something Australia should be completely ashamed of," he said.
"SA suffers at the hands of other unthinking, unplanned and ill considered processes that are not even felt in the state in which discussions are made, but has a dramatic impact on a tourism playground in South Australia."
He said SA could also expect a reduced number of international and interstate travellers because of the high emissions associated with planes.
Link: http://www.news.com.au/travel/story/0,26058,24662053-5014090,00.html

1.4. Britons gloomiest over ‘green jobs’
16 November 2008, FT.com
British people are markedly more likely to believe that tackling climate change will cost jobs than other Europeans and people in the US, according to the most recent Financial Times/Harris poll.
About 30 per cent of Britons thought efforts to combat global warming would reduce the number of jobs available, compared with 24 per cent who said it would increase job numbers.
The British and Spanish were also least likely of those surveyed to say it was important for their country to take a leading role in fighting climate change in light of the financial crisis. About 62 per cent of Britons and 59 per cent of Spanish respondents said they wanted to take a leading role, compared with 71 per cent in Germany and 68 per cent in the US. A clear majority in all countries surveyed also thought it was likely businesses would use the crisis as an excuse to backtrack on their environmental commitments.
The British public’s lukewarm response to European Union plans to further restrict greenhouse gas emissions was also out of step with the other countries surveyed. Just over half of Britons, 54 per cent, said Europe should press ahead with restrictions on companies’ output of greenhouse gases, but 28 per cent said the EU should wait for an agreement from other countries to do the same. This was many more than in other European countries, where only between 13 and 18 per cent of people wanted to hold back. In the US, 63 per cent thought Europe should press ahead with its plans.
In the US, only 22 per cent of people thought cutting emissions would cost jobs, compared with 43 per cent who thought it would lead to more jobs.
Other European countries surveyed – France, Italy, Spain and Germany – were also bullish on “green jobs”, with those believing that jobs would increase as a result of tackling climate change outnumbering those who thought jobs would be cut in each country.
The British gloom will come as a disappointment to the UK government, which is preparing a “green industrial strategy” to boost manufacturing activity through focusing on environmental goods and services. Ministers have estimated that seeking to improve the country’s environmental performance, and generate 15 per cent of energy from renew­ables by 2020, would generate 160,000 new jobs.
However, most of those polled also said that it was still important for their government to take action on global warming, even in light of the financial crisis.
Link: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ea63955c-b41d-11dd-8e35-0000779fd18c.html?nclick_check=1

EMISSIONS

2.1. UK to auction carbon permits
18 November 2008, BBC News
The UK government is to auction carbon emissions permits to power firms in a sale projected to raise between 1.5 and 2bn euros (£1.2-1.6bn) by 2014.
The Treasury is being warned that if it keeps the money, it risks fuelling public cynicism about green taxes.
A coalition of green groups and business leaders is demanding proceeds fund a green energy revolution.
In the first phase of the ETS, power firms were given most of the carbon permits they requested free of charge.
This was done in order to facilitate the carbon market.
If firms overshot their carbon allowance, they had to buy extra carbon permits from the market, in turn determining the EU price of carbon.
But many energy firms outsmarted politicians by acting as though they had been forced to buy all their permits, and then passing the cost on to electricity users.
This brought an increase in energy prices – and a huge windfall to the energy sector, which it said would be needed to invest in clean energy supplies. From this month, the windfall should be over in the UK, as the firms will have to buy 30% of their carbon permits – equivalent to the Treasury’s estimate of the previous windfall.
The European Commission had hoped that proceeds from carbon auctioning would underwrite the vaunted transition to a low-carbon economy in Europe. The Netherlands, for instance, is using the revenue to shield low-volume energy consumers against the rise in electricity prices.
But the UK led a revolt against the Commission’s plan and refuses to ring-fence the carbon dividend. A government spokesman said: "We are committed to reducing carbon emissions as our climate change legislation proves, but we do not hypothecate [specify the intended use of] revenues."
The Treasury is particularly nervous about the future of green taxation revenues because as cars become much more energy-efficient it will suffer a big drop in fuel taxes.
But green groups are warning that the refusal to earmark the carbon dividend will provoke even greater scepticism among the public about the government’s green tax agenda. The government has been inconsistent over the years in explaining the purpose of green taxes.
It comes at a sensitive time when the Treasury is baulking at the cost of funding a full-scale demonstration of carbon capture and storage at a coal-fired power station. This technology was described by the former UK Chief scientist Sir David King as "the only hope for mankind" but it is progressing slowly – partly through lack of cash.
Follow the leaders
The UK think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) want money raised through the sale to be put into a separate fund similar to Norway’s oil windfall fund. They argue it should be overseen by the Committee on Climate Change or another independent body.
The money, they say, should go toward improving energy efficiency in homes, investing in low-carbon technological innovation and helping meet the cost of dealing with climate change in poorer countries.
"This is a great opportunity to help poorer households make their homes both cheaper to heat and warmer, and create jobs through investment in new green technologies," said the IPPR’s Lisa Harker.
"The UK Government should follow the lead of other countries and establish a clear link between charging companies for their carbon emissions and investment in measures to help reduce emissions."
The Confederation of British Industry has joined campaign group WWF-UK and Oxfam in a call for the cash to be put toward green issues.
"The Stern review showed that tackling climate change makes huge economic sense – but this battle can’t be won if we don’t find the money to kick-start new green industries," said Keith Allott at WWF-UK.
"The revenues from the ETS auctions could go a long way to plug this gap, so it is frustrating that the UK Government is arguing about technical problems with earmarking revenues. It also begs the question of what alternatives the Government proposes in order to fund the transition to a climate-safe future."
A government spokesman said sufficient funds would be found to meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets.
Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7736005.stm

2.2. Rising industrialized countries emissions underscore urgent need for political action
17 November 2008, UNFCCC
Two weeks ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, the UN Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn has reported that greenhouse gas emissions in industrialized countries continue to rise.
Data submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) shows that emissions of 40 industrialized countries that have greenhouse gas reporting obligations under the Convention remained in 2006 below the 1990 level by about 5%, but rose by 2.3 percent in the time-frame 2000 to 2006.
For the smaller group of those industrialized countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, emissions in 2006 were about 17% below the Kyoto baseline, but still growing after the year 2000. The initial decrease in Kyoto countries’ emissions mainly came about through the economic decline of economies in transition (countries in eastern and central Europe) in the 1990s.
"Meanwhile, the biggest recent increase in emissions of industrialized countries has come from economies in transition, which have seen a rise of 7.4% in greenhouse gas emissions within the 2000 to 2006 time-frame."
"The figures clearly underscore the urgency for the UN negotiating process to make good progress in Poznan and move forward quickly in designing a new agreement to respond to the challenge of climate change," said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.
The UN’s top climate change official also noted that accounting data, including emission quotas for the Kyoto commitment period 2008–2012, have been finalized for almost all Kyoto countries. Such data is already used in emissions trading conducted by countries in accordance with the rules established by the Kyoto Protocol.
"Emission quotas defined by the Kyoto Protocol are no longer simple numbers on paper – they are part of real-time operation of the global carbon market," said Yvo de Boer. "We see the carbon market working and this is an important message, not least for the Poznan meeting," he added.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan (1-12 December) constitutes the half-way mark of a two-year negotiating process, set to culminate in an ambitious international climate change deal in Copenhagen next year.
In Poland, negotiators will take stock of the progress made in the first year of the talks and map out what needs to be done to reach agreement at the end of 2009. The meeting will also be an important opportunity for ministers to determine the key ingredients of a shared vision on long-term cooperation to address climate change.
Link: http://www.commodities-now.com/content/market-news/market-news-2008111711347.php?PHPSESSID=9ed4b8658c0a1dffc543acf7d49a8b78

2.3. Governments, Companies Must Hasten Carbon Capture, IEA Says
24 November 2008, Bloomberg.com
Governments and coal producers need to step up efforts to develop power projects that capture carbon pollution to have a chance of meeting emissions targets, the head of the International Energy Agency said.
Without so-called carbon capture and storage, or CCS technologies, emissions reductions in developing nations such as China and India are “impossible,” IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said in an interview today. The technology is also critical to ensure the future exports of Australia and other coal-producing countries, he said.
Australia, the world’s biggest coal supplier, produces more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal, which emits more greenhouse gases when burnt than natural gas. Rising costs are delaying CCS projects and jeopardizing plans to meet emission- reduction targets, the IEA, a Paris-based adviser to 28 nations, said last month.
“Everybody knows that CCS is necessary, but actually I observe that not really many things are happening, so I’m a bit concerned at the speed of development of CCS,” Tanaka said in an interview in Gold Coast, in Australia’s Queensland state. “For the sake of coal exports, CCS is a prerequisite, eventually in the future.”
Xstrata Plc and Japan’s Electric Power Development Co. are among companies involved in low-emissions coal-fired generating ventures in Australia.
Nuclear, Renewables
Projects that capture carbon dioxide and pump it underground for storage will probably first start making a contribution to emissions reductions after 2020, Tanaka said. By 2030, 30 new CCS power plants will need to be built every year to meet a target of stabilizing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million, he said.
By 2050, CCS projects need to represent at least a quarter of power generation globally to meet reduction goals, Tanaka said. A further 25 percent should be from nuclear power, and 50 percent from renewable energy, he said. The IEA supports CCS projects being included in the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism program to drive investment, he said.
The global economic crisis risks further slowing investment in CCS projects, endangering security of supply and carbon reduction targets and potentially boosting the contribution that will be required from nuclear, Tanaka said.
“If we postpone these investments in CCS, certainly the cost of mitigation can be higher,” he said.
Since Chernobyl
Australia started its first demonstration project in April for the underground disposal of carbon dioxide as part of a government-backed strategy to prolong the use of coal as a fuel source while reducing harmful emissions.
The required expansion in nuclear power is threatened by a lack of expertise and university training in the area, given development of the industry has “slowed down to almost zero” since the 1986 Chernobyl accident, Tanaka said. “Huge” resources are required for the construction of 20-30 reactors a year, he said.
The decline in crude oil prices, which have dropped more than 60 percent since July, is slowing investment in exploration and new projects, risking a “more acute supply crunch” once the global economy recovers, Tanaka said. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which meets later this week to discuss production levels, needs to react “flexibly” to market demand and supply interruptions, he said.
Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aV.5lbihyV.g&refer=australia

TRANSPORT

3.1. Calls to reject car industry loan
19 November 2008, T&E
T&E and CEE Bankwatch Network have written to President Barroso calling on him to reject the request of the European car industry for a EUR 40 bn taxpayer-backed loan.
Full text of the letter: http://www.transportenvironment.org/News/2008/11/Calls-to-reject-car-industry-loan/

3.2. Last chance saloon for EU car emissions legislation
18 November 2008, Greenpeace
Negotiations on CO2 emission standards for cars could result in legislation bordering on useless, said Greenpeace following a meeting between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission today to hammer out the final text of the EU legislation. The Commission had proposed that the average new car sold in Europe in 2012 should emit no more than 130 grams CO2 per kilometre. If all loopholes proposed in Council were adopted, the legislation would never deliver its objective. Carmakers would actually be allowed to increase car emissions until 2012, compared to today’s level.
“This is the last chance saloon for the EU to present an effective law to reduce emissions from cars,” said Greenpeace EU transport Campaigner Franziska Achterberg.
“The Germans and other manufacturing states have successfully bullied the French into emptying this legislation of all its meaning. Their shoddy deal means that the 130-gram target would be nothing more than wishful thinking. The average car sold in Europe in 2012 could emit more CO2 than is the case today.”
Greenpeace has calculated that if the Council proposal were adopted in its present form, carmakers could actually increase their emissions in 2012 to more than 160 grams, while remaining inside the rules. In 2007, average CO2 emissions from new cars sold in the EU were at 158 grams per kilometre. In 2015, average emissions could still be as high as 139 grams per kilometre.
With such weak legislation on the horizon, it is no surprise that German carmaker Volkswagen now declares itself ready to meet the targets. The company is among those pushing the EU for €40 billion in cheap loans to build more fuel-efficient cars. But the Volkswagen group has seen its profits rise, despite plunging European sales.
“The Council proposal is a complete farce. You have legislation to cut emissions that will let them rise and you have car makers saying what a struggle it will be to meet targets that require no effort, while they’re begging for handouts in order to keep on churning out gas-guzzlers,” said Achterberg.
Greenpeace urges the EU to remove all loopholes, set penalties that encourage compliance, drop the idea of an unnecessary delay and set a stringent EU target for 2020.
Link: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/press-releases2/Last-chance-saloon-for-EU-car-emissions-legislation

POLICY

4.1. Worst EU Lobbying Awards 2008
Open for voting until 30 November
Who deserves to be named and shamed for the most deceptive or misleading lobbying campaign in Brussels this year? You decide! Cast your votes until 30 November! The winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Brussels on Tuesday 9th December.
More at: http://www.worstlobby.eu/2008/home_en

PUBLICATIONS

5.1. CO2 from cars – the Council position on car emissions
18 November 2008, Greenpeace
If all the loopholes proposed in Council were adopted, the first-ever EU standard on CO2 emissions from passenger cars would never reach its stated objective of an average 130 grams CO2 per kilometre.
Download document at: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/policy-papers-briefings/CO2-from-cars-no-more-than-business-as-usual

5.2. Limits for the use of Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation certificates within the EU Emissions trading Scheme in Germany 2008-2012
17 November 2008, WWF
The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) enables the use of emission reduction credits from projects within the scope of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) as proof of compliance with the emission reduction obligations.
However, the use of these reduction credits is limited for a number of reasons (difficulties in proving the additionality of these projects, delay in (technological) structural change within the EU, credibility problems with a view to the necessary advance efforts in conjunction with emission reductions in industrialized countries). This applies to both the commitment by the different governments to reduce emissions and to the limitation of the permissible emissions in the EU ETS. The applicable directive for the EU ETS hence sets forth a cap for the use of credits from reduction projects outside the EU. Different models to this effect are considered in the discussions on the revision of this directive.
Download at: http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/where_we_work/europe/what_we_do/wwf_europe_environment/index.cfm?uNewsID=150561

CONFERENCES

6.1. The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Poznañ, Poland – COP 14
1-12 December 2008
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznañ will be a milestone on the road to success for the processes which were launched under the Bali Road Map. The meeting comes midway between COP 13 in Bali, which saw the launch of negotiations on strengthened international action on climate change, and COP 15 Copenhagen, at which the negotiations are set to conclude.
The conference will include the 29th sessions of the Convention’s subsidiary bodies – SBSTA and SBI – as well as the 4th session of the AWG-LCA and the 2nd part of the 6th session of the AWG-KP. The Poznañ meeting, which is expected to draw around eight thousand participants, will both advance international cooperation on a future climate change regime and ensure progress on key issues.
More at: http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_14/items/4481.php

6.2. Seventh session of the AWG-KP and fifth session of the AWG-LCA
Sunday 29 March to Wednesday 8 April 2009, Maritim, Bonn

6.3. Thirtieth sessions of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies – SBSTA and SBI, sixth session of the AWG-LCA and eighth session of the AWG-KP
Monday 1 June to Friday 12 June 2009, Maritim, Bonn

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