1.1. Greenpeace: Commission paper exposes industry scaremongering on climate
26 May 2010, Greenpeace
In a paper published today, the European Commission is expected to find that upgrading the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target would be much cheaper than predicted and bring jobs and economic development to Europe, said Greenpeace.
The Commission estimates that achieving the EU’s current 20% emissions target for 2020 is at least one third cheaper (€22 billion) than calculated in 2008. According to the Commission, increasing the target to 30% could actually save up to €40 billion in fossil fuel imports alone and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs.
Greenpeace EU climate and energy policy director Joris den Blanken said: "Some industry lobbyists claim that ambitious climate targets will lead to cuts in jobs and production, but the Commission paper shows that the opposite is true. With a stronger climate target, companies would stop profiting from pollution and start gaining from green growth."
Industries in the manufacturing sector claim that a stricter EU target would expose them to competition from abroad. But at the same time they are piling up billions-worth in unused carbon credits (due mainly to the economic slowdown). A report found last week that the steel, refinery and iron sectors have in fact been passing on to European consumers the imaginary cost of these carbon credits they get for free, making €14 billion in windfall profits over only three years.Greenpeace calls on EU member states to support Commission findings on the benefits and costs of a 30% emission cut. This should be a first step towards at least 40% emission cuts for all industrialised countries under a global climate agreement.
1.2. How to save the climate and billions of Euros
25 May 2010, WWF
President Barroso to prove leadership over ‘gang of four’
Brussels, Belgium – Tomorrow the European Commission is expected to present a communication which would be important new input in the ongoing debate on the potential costs and savings of increasing the EU’s greenhouse gas reduction target. Sources close to the Commission point to a potential block of this communication by a ‘gang of four’ powerful Commissioners.
Only a few months ago, Commission President Barroso called climate change the defining issue of our generation. To be consistent, he now has to show that he is willing to confront Commissioners Kallas, Lewandowski, Oettinger and Tajani and ensure that the analysis is published in time.
The Commission’s communication shows that the estimated cost of reducing CO2 emissions beyond the existing 20% by 2020, to an increased target of 30%, has fallen due to the declining economic activity – but the four mentioned Commissioners do not want any additional spending of EU money, even if it is less than predicted.
Decarbonising Europe now will however be cheaper than in the future and will furthermore have positive impacts on the EU’s economy and the well-being of its citizens:
– Achieving a 30% target would save EUR 40 bn. in oil and gas imports in 2020 1 – the money saved could then be reinvested in Europe where it is needed most.
– The RECIPE report 2 , sponsored by WWF Germany and Allianz, found that a reduction target of 30% made economic sense, even without deeper reduction commitments in other countries.
– A study published in 2009 by WWF France 3 found that a 30% CO2 cut by 2020 would yield a net gain of 684,000 jobs in France alone.
– A report WWF co-sponsored with CAN Europe and HEAL in 2008 4 found that the additional benefits to public health in the EU of a 30% target compared with a 20% target totalled up to EUR 25 bn. annually from 2020 onwards.
WWF recognizes that concerns for the economy and financial stability are uppermost in policymakers minds at the moment. But our view is that failing to grasp money-saving opportunities like reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is short-term thinking that will simply lead to more problems, says Jason Anderson, head of EU climate and energy policy at WWF.
WWF welcomes this communication as a step in the right direction for looking beyond the existing 20% by 2020, even though a reduction target of 30% by 2020 is not sufficient. This increase should bring the EU back in line with its longstanding commitment to fight climate change and will help the EU in reaching its target of 80-95% reduction by 2050, as agreed by the October 2009 European Council.
1.3. Mexico’s President pushes Ottawa to act on climate change
27 MAy 2010, The Globe and MAil
Mexico’s president, in Ottawa as Stephen Harper’s guest, has taken a whack at his host’s wait-for-the-U.S. policies on climate change.
Prime Minister Harper has said Canada will wait to see what policies the U.S. adopts to regulate major emitters of greenhouse gases, because the two countries’ economies are so closely integrated. But Felipe Calderon, who leads the United States’ other border nation and trade-bloc partner, expressed exasperation at waiting for rich countries to step forward.
Mr. Calderon said Mexico couldn’t wait for rich countries to do something about climate change, as droughts hit his country and Mexico City’s water supply shrank, and had to take its own action.
“In Mexico, we cannot wait. We cannot wait for the developed countries to make a decision,” the Mexican President said at a joint press conference with Mr. Harper. “Some of them, like the U.S., could take another eternity to decide on what they had decided since the Kyoto Protocol.”
“We know that the quality of life, and the future, is at risk. And I mean the future of a great deal of humanity.”
While it was no surprise that Mr. Calderon differs with Mr. Harper on climate policy, his move to publicly urge him to greater action during an official visit was unusual diplomacy, though planned.
Mr. Calderon, whose country will host the next round of United Nations-sponsored climate change talks in Cancun at the end of November, delivered a speech to the House of Commons earlier in the day that stressed the need for Canadian leadership on climate change. He raised it again, unasked, at the press conference with Mr. Harper.
Mexico has set out its own plans to regulate greenhouse gases, and is now seen as a leader among developing nations in tackling climate change. Like Canada, its economy is highly linked to that of the U.S., but it has not insisted that its regulations must wait a U.S. first move.
Last December, Environment Minister Jim Prentice warned that Canada’s economy would “suffer economic pain for no real environmental gain” if it took a more aggressive approach than the U.S. “Given the integration of our two economies it is essential our targets remain in line – not more, not less,” Mr. Prentice said then.
But at his press conference with Mr. Calderon, Mr. Harper insisted that is not the totality of Canada’s climate-change policies, noting that Canada has put large sums into developing technologies to capture oil-sands emissions, and is doing other things at home to combat climate change.
“We are not simply working with the United States, although that is an important part of what we’re doing,” he said.
But he added later that systems for capping and trading emissions, for example, must be done on a continental basis: “In the integrated North American economy, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to make progress on that kind of a system without the co-operation of the United States.”
The two leaders met for just over an hour Thursday after Mr. Calderon addressed Parliament, and discussed the thorny visa issue that has annoyed Mexico – but Mr. Calderon handled that issue delicately in public, offering to work with Canada to solve the problem, though Canadian officials have admitted there’s little he can do.
Last July, Canada moved to require Mexicans to get visitors’ visas before travelling to Canada, aiming to cut the rising number of people from that country who make refugee claims here. Mr. Harper and Mr. Calderon both said the problem is bogus claimants who try to abuse Canada’s refugee system.
Mr. Harper said he hopes proposed reforms, now before the Commons, will give Canada other tools than imposing visitors’ visas, but that will take time.
“It’s a comprehensive series of reforms to the current refugee-determination system. After it’s passed it requires some significant machinery-of-government changes to be implemented. And obviously there’s the problem of the backlog in the current system,” he said.
Mr. Calderon did not mention the vexing visa issue in a dinner speech extolling Mexico’s reforms and virtues as an investment and tourism destination to a large business audience in Toronto Thursday evening.
He did address the drug war, though, which has hurt the country’s image abroad, saying it is essential to restore the rule of law to all parts of the country as part of “a deep transformation” of Mexican society.
The problem, he said, is that Mexico lives in a building “in which the our neighbour is the largest consumer of illegal drugs in the world,” and everyone wants to use Mexico’s door to sell them.
“If you see dust in the air, it’s because we are cleaning house in Mexico,” he told the gathering, held by the Canadian International Council.
Mexico was hit particularly hard by the global crisis, as its economy shrank by a precipitous 6.5 per cent last year. But it is in the midst of a sturdy recovery, thanks partly to surging exports. Growth this year is expected to reach 4.3 per cent.
With economic reforms ranging from reduced tariffs to less bureaucratic red tape, “Mexico is gaining competitiveness at the global level,” Mr. Calderon told the audience.
His country, he said, has become the world’s lowest-cost producer of manufactured goods for export to the U.S. and Canadian markets, ahead even of China and Brazil.
2.1. EU stops short of recommending 30% cut in emissions by 2020
26 May 2010, Guardian
Climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard claims that economic crisis has made it cheaper to move to higher target
The European commission today reopened the debate on whether Europe should volunteer to cut its carbon emissions further, but stopped short of recommending such a move.
Connie Hedegaard, climate commissioner, said the recession would make it cheaper than expected for the continent to hit its target to reduce carbon pollution 20% by 2020. Raising the target to 30% by 2020 would also cost less than first calculated.
Hedegaard said: "Whether to increase our reduction target for 2020 from 20% to 30% is a political decision for the EU leaders to take when the timing and the conditions are right. Obviously, the immediate political priority is to handle the [financial] crisis. But as we exit the crisis, the commission has now provided input for a fact-based discussion. The decision is not for now, but I hope that our analysis will inspire debate in the member states on the way forward."
The analysis had been widely trailed, but was altered to play down the merits of raising the targets after late objections from some countries. Early drafts said the 20% target was not enough; this was changed to the target being a first step. Today’s communique also emphasises that the "conditions are not right" for such a move.
The document says it will cost €48bn a year to hit the 20% target, down from €70bn when the goal was set two years ago. The 30% target is estimated to cost €81bn a year. At present, the EU only plans to introduce the 30% target if other countries pledge similar cuts as part of a new global climate deal.
The commission’s costs-benefits analysis of whether to shift to more ambitious carbon cutting targets presages a summer of infighting and intense lobbying across the EU. Sources in Brussels said Hedegaard is keen to commit to more ambitious European targets, but is being pressured by colleagues in the commission to hedge her bets.
Germany has been the strongest advocate of moving to a 30% target only in the context of a global agreement and of retaining the option as a bargaining chip in the climate change negotiations. The Italians and the east European members of the EU also oppose committing to 30% cuts.
The new coalition government in the UK, by contrast, emphasises the EU’s pioneering role on climate change and would support a unilateral pledge on deeper cuts.
"We will push for the EU to demonstrate leadership by supporting an increase in the EU emissions reduction target to 30% by 2020," said Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary.
Today’s analysis will go before EU environment ministers next month and possibly to a summit of EU government leaders also in June. The government chiefs would need to agree for the 30% cuts to become EU policy ahead of further international talks on global warming in December in Cancun, Mexico.
2.2. Moving to a 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU – Greenpeace policy analysis and recommendations
25 May 2010, Greenpeace
On 26 May the European Commission is expected to launch a new communication (‘Unlocking Europe’s potential in clean innovation and growth: Analysis of options to move beyond 20%’) exploring the feasibility for the EU to increase its greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2020 from 20% to 30%. The Commission will assess the costs and benefits of a 30% cut and put forward practical recommendations to achieve this target.
EU environment ministers meeting on 11 June and European leaders meeting on 17 and 18 June are expected to discuss the study and the Commission’s policy options. This briefing analyses what is likely to be the content of the Commission paper and puts forward recommendations for the EU.
Download Document: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/policy-papers-briefings/analysis-commission-30-percent-paper-25-05-10
2.3. Putting a green economy within arms’ reach
26 May 2010, WWF
The Commission’s communication on moving the EU’s CO2 emission reduction target beyond 20%
Brussels, Belgium – Today the European Commission published a communication objectively assessing the economic and political impacts of increasing the EU’s emission reduction target from 20% to 30% by 2020, despite blocking attempts by a vocal minority of the industry lobby.
The analysis supporting the paper clearly shows that the costs of reaching the higher target are much lower than previously thought. It also shows that an increased target will act as a stimulus for innovation and save the European economy billions of Euros in oil and gas imports.
‘It’s time for the facts about the benefits of a green economy to overcome the fear-mongering of special interests’, says Jason Anderson, head of EU climate and energy policy at WWF European Policy Office.
‘WWF now calls on EU Member States to support the Commission’s communication and analysis. We are expecting the European Council to call for the policy changes needed to make the increased target a reality.’
2.4. China May Start State-Guided Carbon Market by 2014, Feng Says
28 May 2010, Bloomberg
China will likely set up a domestic market for trading carbon emissions by 2014 and hand companies “half-mandatory” targets for limiting their greenhouse gases, said a government official who oversees climate change issues.
Authorities are drawing up the rules for a market to be run by “associations” overseen by the government, Feng Shengbo, deputy director of the China Clean Development Mechanism Management Center, said yesterday in an interview.
“The government will not directly control the market, but if the associations make misleading policy it’s for the government to guide them,” Feng said on the sidelines of a conference in Cologne, Germany.
China and India, which have captured the most investment in emissions-reducing projects overseen by the United Nations, are trying to set market mechanisms to encourage polluters to slow their growth of carbon-dioxide emissions even as both resist legally binding limits on the gases they release. Those plans contrast with market delays seen in several richer nations.
Australia postponed legislation to set up a carbon market in April with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd saying he wanted to assess action taken by other nations. European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said this week that the European Union, which runs the world’s largest carbon market, will only increase its targets for cuts to heat-trapping emission should other countries make progress.
U.S. lawmakers have yet to endorse President Obama’s offer of a cut of 17 percent from 2005 levels. The U.S. climate bill is stalled in the Senate.
China, the world’s biggest polluter, pledged to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide it emits for each unit of economic output by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit last year. Chinese negotiators resisted a cap on the absolute amount of greenhouse gases the country emits, arguing that the U.S. and other wealthy nations should bear the brunt of emissions cuts.
“From the government point of view, an absolute reduction is not realistic for China at the current stage,” Feng said.
The government may set targets for Chinese companies to reduce the amount of carbon they emit for each yuan of profit, Feng said. To help them meet those targets they may be able to buy carbon-offset credits from projects, industries, or even cities that reduce their own carbon intensity, he said.
“I don’t think they will be very hard targets,” Feng said. “But if they are too loose we can change them.”
Only Chinese companies will be allowed to trade in the market during its initial phase, he added.
India may let power companies start trading renewable- energy credits this year as it bids to encourage reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. The market may be worth as much as $16 billion within five years, Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency Director-General Ajay Mathur said in January.
Feng declined to say how much China’s carbon market might be worth.
More at: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?sid=aTBr5I5UPH_U&pid=20601087
3.1. Industry myths blocking an EU 30% emissions cut
25 May 2010, Greenpeace
Industry lobbyists opposed to stronger climate and energy policies have claimed for some time that an upgrade of the EU’s 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction target from 20% to 30% would not be possible without cuts in industrial production and significant job losses.
With the Commission due to launch a feasibility study on 26 May on an upgrade to a 30% target, this briefing counters industry scaremongering and unravels some of the myths that underpin its claims. It also illustrates how some industry sectors are set to profit from weak EU emission reduction targets while doing nothing to reduce emissions.
Download Document at: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/policy-papers-briefings/debunking-industry-climate-claims-25-05-10
3.2. Ensuring carbon reductions from fuel production
May 2010, T&E
In theory, it is a great idea
In December 2008 the European Union adopted the revised Fuel Quality Directive (FQD)1. Article 7a of that law contains a powerful new tool for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport fuel production. The law obliges transport fuel suppliers to cut the carbon footprint of their products, per unit of energy sold, by 6% in 2020, compared to the baseline in 2010 (likely to be set as 86 g CO2/MJ). That footprint includes greenhouse emissions on a so-called ‘well to wheel’ basis i.e. emissions associated with both the production and the use of the fuels. Fuel suppliers cannot influence CO2 emissions from the use of fuels like petrol, diesel, ethanol and biodiesel. Every litre of such fuels burnt inevitably releases a fixed amount of CO2 into the air.
Therefore the law’s main impact is that it gives the suppliers an incentive to either clean up the production process of these fuels, or to offer transport energy that emits less CO2 in the use phase such as clean electricity or hydrogen. T&E has been very supportive of this approach and strongly prefers it over the 10% target for renewable energy (mostly biofuels) by 2020. The main reason is that the GHG target gives fuel suppliers strong incentives to reduce the carbon footprint of their products, whereas the 10% renewables target contains few incentives to do so. The GHG target therefore is far more cost effective and as such it offers far better perspectives for true decarbonisation of transport fuels than quantity targets for specific types of fuels.
More at: http://transportenvironment.org/Publications/prep_hand_out/lid/580
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