E – news update 4 February 2008

CLIMATE

1.1. France urges U.S. to do more in combating climate change
31 January 2008, China View
HONOLULU, United States. The world expects the United States to take the lead in combating climate change, a French representative said on Thursday.
The world was waiting for the United States to take the next step in curbing climate change, said Brice Lahonde, French special ambassador for climate change.
The EU, along with other developed countries, has agreed to mandatory emission reductions, and the United States should follow suit, Lahonde said at the conclusion of the Major Economies Meeting on Energy Safety and Climate Change hosted by the White House.
Organizers of the meeting invited the media to meet the delegates who had held closed-door discussions for two days to work out specific measures to address climate change.
Lahonde took the opportunity to ask the United States to move a step forward.
Lahonde said the Bush administration "was lagging behind" in terms of fighting climate change. He was referring to the U.S. withdrawal from the Kyodo Protocol.
However, the United States "is changing its position," he said. When asked to explain, he cited the U.S. engagement in climate talks and the recent steps the Bush administration has taken in tackling climate change, including setting aside more funding for clean energy and the energy efficiency bill.
He voiced hope that the United States would join other industrialized countries in imposing mandatory emission reductions.
Speaking on the same occasion, German chief representative Matthias Maching echoed Lahonde’s position by calling for a binding international agreement.
Such an agreement "was the most important" because "we are running out of time," he said.
In response, James Connaughton, chairman of White House Councilon Environmental Quality, reiterated that United States would not agree to mandatory emission reductions unless major developing countries like China and India do the same.
The Bush administration has rejected the Kyoto Protocol, contending that its aim to set mandatory limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and vehicles unfairly exempts major developing economies.
The Bush administration favors what it calls "aspirational" long-term goals to be set voluntarily by countries, but U.S. officials stressed they support certain mandatory steps, such as fuel-efficiency standards and the use of alternative fuels.
Mainly because of the difference, the meeting ended without reaching any agreement. It pledged instead to move forward the Bali Action Plan on climate change.
Link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-02/01/content_7545625.htm

1.2. World’s big polluters note change in US climate stance
1 February 2008, Reuters
HONOLULU. The world’s biggest greenhouse polluters applauded the United States at climate change talks on Thursday, but some urged Washington to take the next step by setting goals to reduce its emissions of climate-warming carbon.
The United States, alone among major industrialized countries in rejecting the carbon-capping Kyoto Protocol, noted that the two-day Hawaii meeting addressed the toughest areas of disagreement among the countries that use 80 percent of the planet’s energy.
Brice Lalonde, the French ambassador for climate change, noted a shift in the U.S. position, which he said had previously been "a bit lagging" in failing to set goals to reduce its overall emissions of greenhouse gases.
"And now we are seeing that the United States is discussing the matter," Lalonde said at a news briefing. "We welcome this move. Of course we are waiting for the next step, which would be that the United States will also have a goal in reducing its greenhouse gases, joining in that way all developed countries."
The U.S.-hosted meeting in Honolulu gathered delegates from 17 so-called major economies – the Group of Eight industrialized nations plus fast-developing China and India along with Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea and the European Union – to work together to spur U.N. negotiations on climate change.
The goal is to craft an international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. To make sure the new agreement is ready in time, a new pact must be ready by 2009.
The United States, by most counts the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, rejects Kyoto on the ground that it unfairly exempts China and India and says any new agreement must include all countries.
The first meeting of major economies, convened in Washington in September, found some delegates complaining that the United States was isolated for its stand against Kyoto and that the U.S.-led process had the potential to distract from rather than contribute to the U.N. negotiations.
James Connaugton, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, sounded encouraged by the frank, hard-working and civilized tone of this week’s talks.
"You’re not seeing the questioning, the concerns, you’re not seeing that," Connaughton said in an interview on the final day of the closed-door sessions.
"We’re now getting into some very specific areas on some issues that are quite sensitive and we are working hard to more clearly understand the different perspectives of different delegations and look for common ground."
"We had a very constructive debate," said Matthias Machnig of Germany’s Ministry for the Environment. "It’s very important to have an international regime of mandatory targets based under the umbrella of the United Nations and hopefully we made a step forward here to come to real agreement in 2009."
Link: http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnN01379758.html

1.3. Nations Try to Advance Climate Road Map
1 February 2008, AP
HONOLULU. Delegates from the nations that emit the most pollutants worked Thursday to advance discussions on how the world can combat global climate change.
Phil Woolas, Britain’s environment minister, said the closed-door talks addressed whether nations should compile a series of national commitments to reduce emissions. Another option is to set a worldwide long-term goal and then divide the emissions reductions needed among different countries, he said during a break in the meeting.
Delegates from 16 nations, plus the E.U. and the U.N., gathered for the U.S.-sponsored meeting also discussed what temperature they’d like the Earth to be, Woolas said.
"We really are engaged in pretty intensive talks about what does each other mean, what does each other want, what are the fears, what are the suspicions," Woolas said Thursday, the second and last day of the meeting.
Delegates say they’d like the Hawaii talks to advise negotiators charged with crafting a 2009 road map for fighting global warming.
The U.S. and other countries are showing more flexibility at the Hawaii conference than at earlier climate change meetings, Woolas said, confident the talks would be productive.
"There’s a realization that we have to get an agreement; otherwise we’re all going to drown," Woolas said.
Nations represented at the conference account for 80 percent of emissions that scientists say contribute to global warming. In addition to the U.S. and Britain, they are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and South Africa.
President Bush had hosted the first round of talks among the major economic nations in Washington in September. The E.U. had threatened to withdraw from the meetings, which some environmentalists have viewed as a threat to the U.N. climate treaty process, but European nations agreed to participate after talks last month in Bali, Indonesia, that resulted in a blueprint for fighting global warming by 2009.
The U.S. has been seeking voluntary pledges from nations for specific cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. delegate Jim Connaughton, White House environmental chief, had said Wednesday that he hoped countries could help draft targets for industries to meet in the global effort.
Daniel Price, assistant to President Bush for international economic affairs, said during a break in Thursday’s talks that the discussions "have been positive and constructive."
Demonstrators were absent Thursday, but about a dozen had protested the day before outside the meeting, held at the University of Hawaii, to object to what they said was insufficient commitment from the Bush administration to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Others drew blue chalk lines along Honolulu city streets to show where high tide would be after decades of global warming and rising sea levels.
Environmentalists have voiced skepticism about what the Hawaii talks would accomplish, given the U.S. opposition to mandatory national reduction targets of the kind agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol a decade ago.
The E.U. has proposed cutting its overall emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels — or 14 percent from 2005.
The process launched in Bali, in addition to setting goals for industrialized nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, also will outline ways for wealthy nations to help developing countries cut their emissions and adapt to rising temperatures.
Link: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hExozDqB-mXGnpa1pMx7yUs6BLmAD8UH9P300

1.4. UN: Climate Change May Cost $20 Trillion
31 January 2008, AP
UNITED NATIONS — Global warming could cost the world up to $20 trillion over two decades for cleaner energy sources and do the most harm to people who can least afford to adapt, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns in a new report.
Ban’s report provides an overview of U.N. climate efforts to help the 192-nation General Assembly prepare for a key two-day climate debate in mid-February. That debate is intended to shape overall U.N. policy on climate change, including how nations can adapt to a warmer world and ways of supporting the U.N.-led negotiations toward a new climate treaty by 2009, U.N. officials said Wednesday.
The treaty, replacing the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012, could shape the course of climate change for decades to come. The Kyoto pact requires 37 industrial nations to reduce greenhouse gases by a relatively modest 5 percent on average.
Much of the focus has been on the United States, the only major industrial nation to reject the treaty, and on fast-developing nations such as China and India. Many are looking to next year, when a new U.S. president takes the White House. The leading contenders in both political parties favor doing more than the voluntary approaches and call for new technologies that President Bush espouses.
In his 52-page report, Ban says that global investments of $15 trillion to $20 trillion over the next 20 to 25 years may be required "to place the world on a markedly different and sustainable energy trajectory." Today, the global energy industry spends about $300 billion a year in new plants, transmission networks and other new investment, according to U.N. figures.
Srgjan Kerim, a Macedonian diplomat and economics professor who is president of the U.N. General Assembly, told The Associated Press that cutting greenhouse gases alone will not be enough to pull island nations, sub-Saharan Africa and other particularly vulnerable parts of the world back from the brink of irreversible harm.
"Cutting emissions is a very important dimension, but that’s not enough for this equation," Kerim said in an interview this week. "Inventing new technologies, renewable energies, investing more in research and development, is also a very viable way and remedy for resolving the problem."
In December, under the auspices of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 186 nations that attended a climate meeting in Bali, Indonesia, agreed on a "Bali Roadmap" of principles to craft a successor to the Kyoto treaty.
Last year, a Noble Prize-winning U.N. network of climate and other scientists warned of rising seas, droughts, severe weather and other dire consequences without sharp cutbacks in emissions of the industrial, transportation and agricultural gases blamed for warming.
That network, called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, advised that emissions should be reduced by 25 percent to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
"Climate change and its implications is a broader process, more profound than negotiations among member states," Kerim said. "So our aim, our goal is to support that process, not to replace it."
Kerim said he wants to encourage partnerships between businesses and governments, and that he would refrain from encouraging nations to assign blame — and added responsibility — to the United States and other rich nations for their historical pollution.
"To approach the issue must be a forward looking way," he said. "We have to now try to find a way out. And to find a way out, you don’t look in the rear mirror which shows you the back of your car."
British billionaire Richard Branson, who has decided to invest heavily in "biofuels" along with his Virgin brand of several hundred companies, will be a special guest at the assembly meeting, Kerim said.
"He was one of the first who reacted and who said that he’s prepared to finance projects for clean energies and technologies," Kerim said.
Like Ban, who told the AP in December that his No. 1 priority is persuading the world to agree to new controls on global warming gases before the end of 2009, Kerim calls the challenges of climate change "my flagship topic."
In his report, Ban warned that global warming would probably affect women more than men. "The challenge of climate change is unlikely to be gender-neutral, as it increases the risk to the most vulnerable and less empowered social groups," he said.
Annie Petsonk, a lawyer for the advocacy group Environmental Defense, said global warming will most affect poor people and minorities, because the wealthy can spend more to adapt. "Women in poorer communities are going to face greater challenges protecting their children from the spread of diseases, polluted water, water shortages and so on," she said.
Link: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iOP9ju4UE7lfsSq7mtnziSlpe31QD8UGF9C00

EMISSION

2.1 Carbon emissions show slight fall
31 January 2008, BBC news
The UK’s carbon emissions fell by just 0.1% last year, and the government has admitted it must do more to tackle climate change.
The figures would have been worse if the UK’s share of pollution from global flights and shipping had been included.
Analysis of the figures highlights key trends: emissions from homes went down, while road transport emissions went up.
UK aviation pollution increased overall but emissions from domestic flights went down as some switched to rail.
The UK has made big cuts in greenhouse gases other than CO2, so it is still on track to go well beyond its Kyoto commitments. But ministers are getting worried by their inability to make substantial cuts in the main greenhouse gas CO2.
"As a country we must do much more across the board,” said Environment Secretary Hilary Benn. “We have to make a real change to every aspect of our lives and our economy. The government is taking steps to make that happen with the Climate Change Bill in Parliament.”
‘Hopeful sign’
The figures are estimates for 2005-2006. Mr Benn said that the decrease in emissions from the residential sector of 4%, repeating a similar success in 2005, was a hopeful sign.
“People are much more aware of their impact on the climate than they were even a few years ago, and I’m hopeful that these figures will become a continuing trend as we all increase our efforts to cut our carbon footprints at home.”
His department is concerned, though, about the 1.3% rise in transport emissions which is likely to be exacerbated by government policies to build more roads and runways.
Another problem area, electricity generation (up 1.5% thanks to the high gas price driving generators to coal) should be easier to combat as power firms are being squeezed by the European Emissions Trading System.
Emissions from domestic aviation decreased by 2.8%, while international aviation emissions increased by 1.5%, due to an increased number of flights. Between 1990 and 2006, emissions from aviation fuel use more than doubled. A recent report from the Civil Aviation Authority showed fewer people were taking domestic flights.
Mr Benn said the trend demonstrated that Europe needed to bring aviation into an emissions trading system as soon as possible. Most analysts say this will not curb the growth in overall aviation emissions.
‘Mockery’
Controversially, emissions from international planes and ships do not get counted towards the UK’s overall total. What is more, high altitude aviation has a greenhouse effect estimated by the government at more than double that of CO2 alone, but this is not reflected in this indicator.
Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner, Martyn Williams, said: “Leaving aviation emissions out of the Climate Change Bill makes a mockery of the government’s climate strategy.
"It’s plain unfair to expect all the other sectors of the economy to play their part in the fight against climate change while aviation remains outside the law.”
Among the first tasks of the government’s new independent Climate Change Committee, headed by Adair Turner, will be to decide whether the UK’s 2050 target of a 60% CO2 reduction is a sufficient contribution to stabilising climate change, and whether aviation and shipping should figure on the national CO2 inventory.
Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7220487.stm

NUCLEAR POWER

3.1. Dutch Bank ING withdraws from Slovak Nuclear Project – Mochovce 3 and 4 too risky
29 January 2008, Greenpeace and Urgewald
Amsterdam / Brussels. Last week, the Dutch banking group ING to Greenpeace representatives that it has withdrawn financial support for the construction of the Mochvoce 3 and 4 nuclear reactors in Slovakia. ING took this step after it had received information from environmental organizations on the risks related to the Mochovce project.
According to a press release by the Slovak utility Slovenske Elektrarne (SE), ING was the lead bank that had coordinated a loan of 800 Million EURO from nine banks on October 23rd 2007 for the utility’s investment program. 85% of this investment program is destined to complete construction of the Mochovce 3 and 4 nuclear power stations. ING representatives said to Greenpeace: "ING will not invest a single EURO into this project." They promised that ING will neither invest through project loans, nor indirectly through corporate loans.
Greenpeace’s EU campaigner on nuclear energy, Jan Haverkamp, who has been working for 20 years on energy issues in Central and Eastern Europe, says: "This decisionis an important signal. The Mochovce project is amongst the worst nuclear projects in the pipeline in Europe. ING’s refusal to finance it, shows that Mochovce does not meet today’s social corporate responsibility standards."
The planned VVER 440/213 nuclear reactors received a building permit from the Czech communist authorities in 1986. Although construction was halted in 1994, the permit was prolonged. In 2004, the Slovak government then decided it wanted to see Mochovce 3 and 4 finished. It took this up in its negotiations with the Italian utility, ENEL, who bought 51% of SE’s shares and is now the majority owner of the Slovak utlity.
The Mochovce blocks are upgraded versions of the original 1970s design. But since most of the concrete has been poured and vital parts were already delivered in the early 1990s, the Slovak State Nuclear Agency UJD has confirmed that Mochovce 3 and 4 will not be able to reach modern safety levels. One of the most significant problems is that the plant has no containment structure, which is needed not only to keep radioactivity inside after an accident, but also to protect the reactors from external events, such as an airplane crash. The project has also never been submitted to an nvironmental Impact Assessment, nor was there any public participation in its planning, because the Slovak government deems the 1986 construction permit to still be valid. "This is a clear violation of EU regulations," says Heffa Schücking from the German NGO, Urgewald. "Mochovce is a dangerous project and will risk the health and lives of millions of citizens in the heart of Europe," she adds.
Greenpeace, Urgewald and organisations from CEE-Bankwatch and the BankTrack network are now calling upon other banks from the consortium to also withdraw from the project. These banks include ERSTE Group (Austria), Dexia and KBC / CSOB (Belgium), Intesa Sanpaolo (Italy), Societe Generale and Calyon (France), and Mizuho (Japan).
During 2006 and 2007, the same environmental groups convinced 12 international banks to not invest in another East European nuclear project: the Belene nuclear power station in Bulgaria, which is to be built in a seismically active area.
For more information: [email protected], [email protected]

CONFERENCES

4.1. Concentrated Solar Power Congress
5th – 6th February 2008, Barcelona
Join over 100 concentrated solar power experts, financiers and policy makers in Barcelona and discover the business opportunities in the international concentrated solar power market.
Download PDF brochure: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11dI7mqI42QNi
View Agenda: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11dLvOltjgG77
Register Now: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11dOUggeyuvqW

4.2. Measuring your Carbon Footprint
New York City, 4 February 2008
A one day interactive workshop, led by the 3C Group – The Carbon Credit Company, will provide guidance for companies looking to calculate emissions from business operations, products and services.
PDF brochure: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11dVHa5L2Wa4A

4.3. Voluntary Carbon Markets New York
5th – 6th February 2008, New York
Network with 150+ leading VCM experts and gain an in-depth understanding of the voluntary carbon market, the risks of investing, the latest standards developments, how to generate and sell credits, what buyers are looking for and what are the opportunities for future growth.
Download PDF brochure: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11e5SvQ2MBE23
View Agenda: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11e9gXKO1PtlS
Register Now: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11ecFpFzh3iFH

4.4. 3rd International Solar Cities Congress
17-21 February 2008, Adelaide, South Australia
The International Solar Cities Congress is part of the International Solar Cities Initiative and the 2008 Congress will be the third solar cities congress.
The objectives of the International Solar Cities Initiative are to support UN energy and climate policies by stimulating the interest of cities into becoming benchmark cities that commit to ambitious emission reduction goals; help cities systematically integrate renewable energy and energy efficient technologies and industries into environmental, economic and city planning; and provide scientific support for the validation and design of effective measures and policies for Solar Cities.
The 3rd Congress will appeal to all professionals and individuals with an interest in sustainable energy and its role in our urban environment. The International Solar Cities Initiative (ISCI) has been formed to address climate change through effective measurable action at the urban community level. The members of ISCI are cities, institutions and individuals who want to help each other in this task.
More info: http://www.solarcitiescongress.com.au/welcome.htm

4.5. The 4th Annual Brussels Climate Change Conference 08
26 – 27 February, Brussels
After a series of high profile events related to climate change throughout 2007 such as the G8 summit or the major economies meeting, the climate change negotiations during the COP13 in Bali have accepted a roadmap for the negotiations for a post-2012 climate change agreement. After taking stock of the state of negotiations, this joint CEPS/Epsilon conference will explore the key issues for the post-2012 agreement.
More info: http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Summary.aspx?e=cfd208ee-edfd-4763-abe5-f28dd0de99d4

4.6. World Biofuels Markets Congress
Brussels, 12-14 March 2008, www.worldbiofuelsmarkets.com
Last week’s statement from the European Commission confirming a 10% biofuels for transport target for all member states by 2020 renews confidence in the global biofuels market as the industry transitions to a sustainable 2nd gen platforms.
Over 700 senior decision makers from 38 countries are already registered to attend Europe’s premier biofuels networking event. Register today and do business with the leading industry players.
The congress also features Europe’s largest dedicated biofuels equipment and services networking exhibition. To find out about the remaining exhibition and branding opportunities, please contact
[email protected]
Download PDF brochure: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11eg3RAkwh7Zw
View Agenda: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11ejsjv5LuXjl 
Register Now: http://greenpower.msgfocus.com/c/11emQLpR0IMDa

4.7. IEA: Meeting Energy Efficiency Goals: Enhancing Compliance, Monitoring and Evaluation
28 – 29 February 2008, Paris
Many policies now exist, both mandatory and voluntary, for improving energy efficiency and minimising greenhouse gas emissions, but there is frequently a gap between expectations of what such policies will achieve and their actual impacts. This gap represents a substantial lost opportunity to maximise saved energy, reduce the cost of energy services and greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance energy security.
More info: http://www.iea.org/Textbase/work/workshopdetail.asp?WS_ID=349

JOB OFFER

5.1. YFOE Germany is looking for an Intern or Freelancer,"Coordination of international climate actions", starting April 1st or earlier.
Berlin, January 2008
Young Friends of the Earth Germany, "Jugend im Bund für Umwelt- und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. "(BUNDjugend), is looking for an Intern or Freelancer "Coordination of international climate actions" starting Arpil 1st or earlier.The Task: BUNDjugend supports selected European, multinational youth projects with a focus on climate and energy. Accompanying international conferences like the European Social Forum (September, Malmö/Sweden) and the COP 14 (December, Poznan/Poland) we are organizing several
international workshops und actions. As a member of our team of professionals and volunteers "climate and energy" you will be supporting the project leaders at all stages: planning, coordination, implementation, documentation. Depending on the project, you will assist with the coordination or have the sole responsibility of certain parts.
Required qualifications: Experiences in the implementation of projects, a talent to organise and the ability to think and work structured and autonomously are essential. You need to have knowledge and intuition for the participation of volunteers. Ideally you have a university degree and already worked in international projects. Fluency in English (written and spoken) is a must.
Experiences in working with (international youth-) NGOs or unions, participation -processes and knowledge on climate and energy as well on international climate politics are an advantage. You should have about 20 hours/week time for the project and be able to work in Berlin at least one week/month. If you have nerves of steel, a good sense of humour, the ability to keep cool when work gets stressful and like to work in a team, you should definetly apply!
We offer a paid and fair internship (or self-employment), the chance to work in an exceptionally interesting international project with the potential for international networking as well as a job in the heart of Berlin.
Closing date: 15.2.2008, applications after closing date will not beconsidered.
Start of working: March 15th or April 1st the latest. Questions can be asked via email. Applications (motivational letter and CV in English, references in the respective language of the country) per email only to: Nicola Moczek,[email protected]
Link: www.bundjugend.de

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