1.1. At UN, climate ministers seek way out of stalemate
25 September 2010, Boston.com
Climate ministers and top negotiators from dozens of nations remain deadlocked over how to cut greenhouse gases less than three months before the next major international climate summit.
The U.N.’s top climate official told a high-level gathering Saturday that the key issues "are frankly in a deadlock" and the official negotiating text is bogged down by national interests.
But Christiana Figueres said some governments are trying to "rebuild the sense of trust in the process and rekindle the commitment to deliver" some agreements and funding.
"Governments have realized this year that you don’t build tall buildings without laying the foundations, unlike last year when they tried to build a very tall building without laying the foundations," she later told The Associated Press.
Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, who will preside over the December summit in
The meeting here helped to "show that there are in fact areas, many areas, in which we can reach a significant agreement that would allow the possibility of initiating programs, projects and very concrete actions against climate change in all countries," she later told AP. Many of the participants, including Figueres and Espinosa, noted the predominance of women in leading roles, which helped to set a friendly tone.
Saturday’s gathering followed a week of press conferences and other meetings on climate and environmental issues, including two days of talks among major economic powers on ways to move ahead in slowing and coping with climate change.
The annual U.N. climate conference will be hosted by the Mexican resort Nov. 29-Dec. 10.
The U.N. talks are meant to produce a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, whose relatively modest emissions reductions expire in 2012. The
"The big bargain that we expected in
The last summit in
The voluntary agreement has since prodded 85 nations to say they will take voluntary action to rein in emissions. It also included the first global agreement to keep the Earth’s temperature increases below 2 degrees C (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels and head off the worst effects of heat-trapping gases — as recommended by the U.N.’s Nobel Prize-winning international scientific panel studying global warming.
But the emission reductions envisioned in those pledges fall far short of what researchers say is needed to keep the atmosphere from warming dangerously through this century, leading to shifts in climate, worsening droughts and floods, rising seas and other damage.
1.2. Haste needed on climate deals, U.N. warns
24 September 2010, UPI.com
There is an urgent need to tackle key climate change issues as the next major summit is barely two months away, the U.N.’s chief environmental czar said.
Global climate negotiations remain deadlocked after the
Developing nations have resisted a legally binding treaty because they claim rich nations that have benefited from emitting greenhouse gases during the past decades should shoulder more of the burden. Industrialized countries argue the developing nations need to commit to concrete reduction targets to enable a global effort
Christiana Figueres, executive director at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said governments need to take firm steps to tackle climate change ahead the November conference in
"On the whole, governments have been cognizant this year that there is an urgent need to move forward and they have been collaborating in moving beyond their national positions to begin to identify common ground so that they can reach several agreements in Cancun," the United Nations’ news agency quoted her as saying.
She added that negotiations were moving ahead on key issues like technology sharing and deforestation but there was more work to be done.
"Let me be clear — there is no magic bullet, no one climate agreement that will solve everything right now," she said.
A negotiating summit in preparation for the Cancun meeting is scheduled for next week in China.
27 September 2010, Planet Ark
Li Gao, a senior Chinese negotiator on climate change, said his government would remain unyielding on issues of "principle" in the talks aimed at forging a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The first period of that key treaty on fighting global warming expires at the end of 2012.
Li also vowed to keep pressing rich countries to promise deeper cuts to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activity that are stoking global warming, said the China Economic Times, which reported his comments.
Many governments and experts have already dismissed hopes for a full
Li underscored that gloom, but also said his government hoped Cancun could be a stepping stone to negotiations next year that will culminate in a meeting in
Li oversees the international climate change negotiations office at
The deadline for a new binding global pact was originally set for late 2009, but a final round of negotiations in
With its 1.3 billion people, it is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from human activity, but is also a developing country with average emissions per capita well below those of wealthy economies.
But Li said it was
"The biggest obstacle comes from the
The U.S. Senate has dropped efforts to put emissions curbs in an energy bill now focused on reforming offshore drilling.
Negotiators from nearly 200 nations are haggling over a complex draft accord on climate change, and a further round of talks at the northern Chinese
Li said Beijing would keep pressing for certain principles, including that developing countries like China should not shoulder the same absolute caps on emissions that rich countries must take on.
1.4. Climate Heats Up, But Global Warming Treaty Out in the Cold
24 September 2010, Environment News Centre
The global climate is heating up. The first eight months of 2010 tied the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record – 1.21 degrees F (0.67 degrees C) above the 20th century average, according to
With this in mind, the top United Nations climate change official is urging governments to quicken their negotiations ahead of the UN’s annual climate conference in
While no one expects a legally binding climate treaty to emerge from the
"We are barely two months away from the UN climate change conference in Cancun, the place where governments need to take the next firm step on humanity’s journey to meet the full-scale challenge of climate change," said Christiana Figueres of
Ahead of the Cancun meeting, governments will hold a negotiating session in
She told a news conference at UN Headquarters in
"On the whole," Figueres said, "governments have been cognizant this year that there is an urgent need to move forward and they have been collaborating in moving beyond their national positions to begin to identify common ground so that they can reach several agreements in Cancun."
Agreement is needed on how the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming can be controlled after the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period expires at the end of 2012.
Under the protocol, 36 developed nations are legally bound to reduce their emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels.
But the world’s two largest emitters, the
After last year’s UN climate summit in
"Let me be clear," said Figueres Thursday, "there is no magic bullet, no one climate agreement that will solve everything right now."
"To expect that is naive. It does not do justice to the crucial steps already achieved since the beginning of the Convention and it dangerously ignores the need to keep innovating," she said.
U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern agrees. Briefing reporters Tuesday in
Instead of a legal treaty, last year’s summit produced the Copenhagen Accord, which opens the door for both developed and developing countries to make voluntary pledges to reduce greenhouse gases and fund climate mitigation and adaptation programs.
Stern said the Obama administration views the way forward as building on the Copenhagen Accord with a set of decisions on the core issues – mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, and REDD – the UN collaborative program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries.
Stern said the major economies came to a "broad consensus on the need to have decisions on those issues" in a balanced way.
"You don’t move on two or three of them and make no progress on the others but they all kind of have to march together and at more or less the same speed at least roughly speaking," said Stern. "This is obviously easier said than done."
"What you might think of as the old kind of Kyoto paradigm of developed countries have to do things on a mandatory basis and developing countries don’t or developing countries actions are purely voluntary, that was not a feature of the Copenhagen Accord," Stern said.
"The Copenhagen Accord envisioned that all the developed countries and all the developing countries who submitted actions would, on essentially the same basis, agree to implement them in an internationally transparent fashion," said Stern. "So those are elements that will obviously need to be part of any agreement this year."
Held at Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, the conference is considering whether an international deal on climate will be reached in the next year, and if not, what alternative forms of governance will emerge and what practical steps governments and business can take.
"This is the pre-eminent challenge in global governance," said Huhne told participants. "If we cannot deal collectively with such a threat to our very existence as a species on this planet, we are lost."
"Let us first be clear that the science is becoming more certain, not less," Huhne said. "This year alone, we have seen extreme weather events across the globe. Mudslides in
"Security analysts see climate change not as a matter of public debate, but as a threat multiplier. Food security, water shortage, climate-driven migration, energy conflicts: these problems will not respect
"The failure to secure a binding deal at
Back in New York, Figueres says negotiations are "on track" towards reaching agreements on the sharing of technology, jump-starting activities in developing countries dealing with reducing deforestation and degradation, setting out a framework for adaptation, and establishing a fund that would help developing countries with their mitigation and adaptation efforts.
She noted four major trends shaping the future: energy supply and security; natural resource depletion; population growth; and climate change.
"An unchecked climate change is the flame that would make the other three burn most seriously," said Figueres. "Governments can either stand together to turn these four threats into a new development paradigm that harnesses the full power of society, science and business, or they will fail divided."
2.1. EU insists on ‘unbundling’
27 September 2010, EurActiv
The European Commission said on Friday (24 September) it expected
The statement was made as
The EU was represented by Fabrizio Barbaso, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission’s energy department.
A Commission spokesman said at a regular press briefing on Friday (24 September) that the 27-member bloc expected Kyiv to "unbundle" Naftogaz under the deal.
About 100 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas a year transits from
As a result, to the dismay of international lenders and potential investors, the company has routinely reported losses for the past years that were covered by capital injections from the government – estimated at almost $1 billion this year alone.
Some analysts, however, have expressed doubts regarding the new law’s actual impact, pointing out that Naftogaz already runs different businesses through subsidiaries which are separate legal entities.
"It is too early to say whether this law will be implemented," said Denis Sakva, an analyst at Ukrainian brokerage Dragon Capital. "We will find that out in early 2012."
Volodymyr Omelchenko, an analyst at the Razumkov Centre for Economic and Political research, said he shared those concerns.
"I don’t know whether this [Naftogaz unbundling] will be implemented or whether those are just empty promises because there are financial, industrial and political groups in
"I see no steps to implement the already adopted gas market law."
The "unbundling" requirement also raises doubts about the prospects of a joint venture between Naftogaz and
23 September 2010, EurActiv
The much-vaunted green economy promises a new stream of jobs at a time of rising unemployment, but are European companies ready to capitalise on this potential? EurActiv’s media network looks at which countries are best-placed to benefit from the green revolution and examines the barriers facing smaller firms.
With job creation now at the top of the political agenda in
The difficulty for policymakers in
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says working out how many jobs can be considered to be part of the green economy depends on how work is defined. The work of architects and plumbers has evolved to incorporate a greener view, but while these jobs could be called ‘green’, they are hardly new.
Scepticism remains as to whether low-carbon sectors – which tend to require considerable public sector investment – can swiftly deliver the kind of labour-intensive jobs needed to curb unemployment across
Can big business and SMEs both be winners?
The question of whether big corporations or nimble SMEs will be the real winners in the green economy remains open. A number of large firms have been using their scale to work with local authorities on major projects such as the ‘greening’ of government-owned offices and housing stock.
However, big business often looks to SMEs as a source of niche solutions to specific technological problems. As usual, this kind of innovation requires financing – a problem continues to plague small firms.
Governments’ role in driving green innovation through public procurement is set to come to the fore when the EU executive publishes its Single Market Act next month and will also feature in the forthcoming innovation strategy.
The trouble for businesses hoping for public support is the contradiction between politicians’ pledges to back green business with the concurrent need for fiscal austerity. Business groups fear that while
2.3. Commission sued over biofuels as suspicions mount
21 September 2010, EurActiv
Europe’s biofuels policy could cause unwanted side-effects equal to as much as 1.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases – roughly the annual emissions of
That means biofuels could produce more carbon emissions than gasoline over a 20-year time frame.
The impact assessment emerged as climate campaigners sued the European Commission on Monday for withholding a different tranche of data on the negative consequences of fuels from crops such as maize, wheat and palm oil.
"Our efforts to understand and influence EU biofuel policy have been repeatedly hampered by attempts to restrict access to documents," activist lawyer Tim Grabiel of ClientEarth said as he launched the court action.
"The Commission is running an opaque operation," he said.
The Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) said somewhere between 201 million tonnes and 1.092 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases would be released into the atmosphere due to the complex impact of "indirect land use change" from biofuels.
Those estimates were based on a scenario in which
But new strategy reports from the majority of the European Union’s member states show they are actually intending to burn somewhere between 9 and 11% biofuels, implying that the real side-effects could be as high as 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.
A Commission spokeswoman said seven of the 27 national plans were still missing, so an accurate assessment remains impossible. EU targets have been set for renewable energy in transport, but not specifically for biofuels, she added.
This year’s fractious quest to understand the impact of EU biofuels policy has already led to allegations of bias, court action against the Commission and warnings that the probes will kill the nascent industry.
EU sources said Commission energy officials had fought to withhold the new work by the JRC for weeks, but relented on Friday.
In terms of land area, the new JRC study models a negative impact of between 8,209 square km and 52,372 square km due to indirect land-use change – in other words, an area somewhere between the size of Puerto Rico and that of
The spare land would most likely be found in
Freedom of information
In essence, the concept of "indirect land-use change" says that if you take a field of grain and switch the crop to biofuel, somebody, somewhere, will go hungry unless those missing tonnes of wheat are grown elsewhere.
The grain to make up the shortfall could come from anywhere, and economics often dictate that will be in tropical zones, encouraging farmers to hack out new land from fertile forests.
Burning forests to clear that land can pump vast quantities of climate-warming emissions into the atmosphere, enough to cancel out any of the benefits the biofuels were meant to bring.
But the whole picture is far more complex.
The EU biofuels industry counters that shortfalls in grain can be avoided in several ways, including by improving farming yields and cultivating abandoned land in Europe and
Furthermore, so-called "second generation biofuels" from waste straw and forestry offcuts are nearing commercialisation and have undisputed climate benefits.
To get a balanced picture of biofuels’ impact on the environment, studies need to take account of the basic principle of using biofuels in the first place – the theory that fuel crops absorb as much carbon growing as they release when burned.
Any one-off impact caused by clearing forest or scrubland to increase farmland will be paid back over time as carbon savings due to biofuels add up.
The Commission research centre has attempted to pull together all the factors, however, and has found that over 20 years the European biofuels policy might actually lead to an increase in emissions – by 21% compared to gasoline, based on data from the executive’s own agro-economic experts.
Another scenario paints a vision of 36% emissions savings on average compared to gasoline over 20 years, this time using figures generated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in
Meanwhile, on Monday activist lawyers ClientEarth launched two court cases at the EU General Court against two powerful EU bodies – the European Council and the European Commission.
The first seeks greater transparency in the Council’s review of EU transparency laws and the second seeks to unearth a hidden draft impact assessment on biofuels by IFPRI, which sources say was tweaked by the Commission in later drafts to improve the fuels’ credentials.
"Citizens are being denied the right to participate in decisions that affect flagship climate policies and will not only affect their lives but those of future generations as well," said Grabiel of ClientEarth.
3.1. EU carbon rises on firmer energy, equities
27 September 2010, Reuters
European carbon emissions futures rose in Monday’s early trade, in line with other commodities, as firm energy prices and rising equity markets supported, traders said.
EU Allowances for December delivery were up 15 cents or 0.98 percent at 15.45 euros ($20.62) a tonne at 0657 GMT, with just 1,534 lots traded. The benchmark contract was at its highest level since September 16.
Certified emissions reductions for December delivery were slow to trade.
"Firm energy prices sparked short-covering on Friday and we are seeing a continuation of that this morning with prices headed toward 15.50 euros," an emissions trader said.
When the Dec-10 contract broke through a key resistance level of 15 euros on Friday, it prompted many players who were short last week to buy back carbon permits to close positions before the weekend, traders said.
"The contract should continue with the same dynamics and slightly increase today. Dec-10 EUAs could close around 15.50 euros a tonne," said Emmanuel Fages, SocGen/orbeo analyst.
German Calendar 2011 baseload power on the EEX was up 0.95 percent at 50.07 euros per megawatt hour.
Oil was steady on Monday, trading close to a two-week high near $77 a barrel reached earlier, as energy and commodities regained the favor of investors with a weaker dollar, rising equities and resurfacing risk appetite.
Markets climbed broadly, but analysts said that data showing increased
Clean energy project developer Camco International Ltd signed a joint venture with Khazanah Nasional expand its operations in south east Asia, it said on Monday.
4.1. European Union sued for lack of transparency
20 September 2010, FOEE
Leading environmental law organisation, ClientEarth, is suing both the Council of the European Union and the European Commission over their failure to uphold EU transparency rules. The legal actions come as the European Union threatens to weaken its commitment to openness during a review of its own transparency regulations. The lawsuits indicate that a lack of transparency is becoming endemic among EU institutions.
The first lawsuit relates to the European Union’s review of its regulations regarding public access to documents. Proposals put forward by the Commission would substantially restrict the number of documents made available to the public, including those containing environmental and other information relevant to EU policies. ClientEarth’s case against the Council relates to the refusal to release a key document about the review of EU transparency rules.
Anais Berthier, environmental justice lawyer at ClientEarth, comments:
“The fact that we have to sue the Council for lack of transparency during its review of EU transparency rules speaks volumes about the institution’s commitment to an open society.”
“It is ironic and unsettling that the Council is considering restricting a citizen’s access to information while, at the same time that it entertains these restrictions, it is withholding the very information upon which it will base that decision. By the Council’s own admission the legal issues raised in the requested document are likely to be the subject of intense discussions within the Council and the European Parliament. If the Commission’s proposals are allowed to progress unchallenged the ramifications for freedom of information will be far-reaching.”
The second lawsuit relates to Commission attempts to manipulate the science guiding European biofuels policy. The lawsuit, brought by ClientEarth, Transport & Environment, the European Environmental Bureau, and BirdLife International, challenges the Commission’s failure to release documents containing previously undisclosed information on the negative climate impacts of widespread biofuels use in the European Union. It is the second time the Commission has been sued for lack of transparency on EU biofuels policy. The first lawsuit was lodged on 8 March 2010 and is ongoing.
Tim Grabiel, senior lawyer at ClientEarth, comments:
“These cases call into question the openness and transparency on which the EU is based. In denying access to these documents EU institutions are flouting their own regulations and ignoring court rulings requiring a transparent and democratic Europe.”
“Our efforts to understand and influence EU biofuel policy have been repeatedly hampered by attempts to restrict access to documents. The Commission is running an opaque operation. Citizens are being denied the right to participate in decisions that affect flagship climate policies and will not only affect their lives but those of future generations as well.”
The lawsuits, ClientEarth v Council and ClientEarth and others v Commission, are a last resort for ClientEarth after the institutions’ repeated denials to grant access to documents. Under EU regulations citizens have the right to request documents held by European institutions. These regulations have been further strengthened by rulings in the European Court of Justice. They should ensure openness and transparency and allow citizens to be active in EU decision-making processes.
5.1. Briefing: Vans and CO2
T&E, September 2010
6.1. Lead Analyst (Climate Change)
Salary: £35,531 – £39,086 p.a.
Closing date: 3rd October 2010
CAFOD is one of the
The lead analyst will lead CAFOD’s research, policy and lobbying work on climate change as part of our climate change advocacy strategy.
You will have a background in policy and lobbying on environment or development issues. An in-depth knowledge of climate change and campaigning are all essential as is experience of media work and strategic thinking skills.
The Lead Analyst will:
· Lead CAFOD’s research, policy and lobbying work on climate change
· Line manage the Policy Researcher on climate change
· Work closely with the International Division, Campaigns and Media to deliver an integrated advocacy strategy on climate change that is focused on achieving policy change
· Help to ensure implementation of CAFOD’s strategic framework on climate change
This post is based in
If you think you have this combination of skills, please send your completed application form to [email protected] quoting ref APACC by midnight of the closing date. We will prefer not to receive CVs.
If you do not hear from us within 14 days of the closing date, please assume your application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.
More at: http://www.cafod.org.uk/about-us/jobs/uk
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected]