1.1. Government changes tack on climate
29 September 2010, Nyheder
The European Union must reduce its CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2020, said Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen in a speech held at the World Climate Solutions conference in Copenhagen’s Bella Center earlier today.
– It is the opinion of the Danish government that the European Union should make a unilateral decision to up CO2 reduction targets to 30 percent, said Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
Thus, Denmark joins the ranks of the more ambitious EU countries, which include the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
Race for green solutions
The more ambitious EU nations think it would be in the interest of the European Union membership countries to make strict reduction demands on companies and citizens. There is currently a race on between companies in the United States, China, and the European Union to be first with climate-friendly solutions. The winner of that race will be able to create a lot of new jobs in coming years.
– By setting an ambitious target, we would stimulate the development of new technologies and the green solutions market, said Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
The European Union has already decided to reduce its CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020. But the EU membership countries can reach that target almost without trying. Several experts and politicians – including European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard – have expressed concern that developments in the EU might stagnate without added political pressure.
Jobs must be safeguarded
The Prime Minister’s statement follows long deliberations in the government. The government is concerned that jobs could be lost should the EU impose higher demands on companies than the United States, India, and China do.
Therefore, the Prime Minister insists that he will only support the 30 percent reduction targets in the EU on the condition that it will not lead to increased unemployment.
Several EU membership countries, including Poland and Italy, are vehemently opposed to increased reduction targets, and a political dogfight is anticipated in Brussels.
1.2. Tinkering with climate policies will backfire, investors warn
4 October 2010, EurActiv
Institutional investors have warned European countries that repeated policy changes across the continent are discouraging investment in low-carbon technologies.Ž
A paper released last week (30 September) by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) identifies changing legal frameworks as the biggest obstacle to private investment in technologies needed to create the shift to a low-carbon economy.
90% of asset managers surveyed for the paper by international law firm Norton Rose said that changing policy and so-called retrospective legislation, without providing guarantees for existing investments, halt investment in renewable energy.
For instance, Spain’s decision to reduce its feed-in tariffs for solar installations has alarmed investors who are concerned about indications that Madrid is now considering a retroactive reduction of tariffs, the paper says.
In addition, 55% of the interviewees identified permitting and planning problems and 45% singled out grid access and infrastructure issues as barriers to investment.
The survey also suggested that the EU’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) is not yet capable of shifting investment towards less carbon-intensive products. Less than 10% of respondents said the EU’s flagship climate instrument provides long-term price signals.
"Investment should only happen if the business case is airtight," said Ole Beier Sørensen, head of strategy and research at Danish pension fund ATP and chairman of the IIGCC, at the launch of the research in Brussels. He added that the scale of investment required is "so great that it doesn’t really make sense to come up with a number".
The investors also called on the EU to set out steps to 2030, considering that investments in renewable energy tend to be long-term.
Michael Starbaek Christensen, deputy chief of staff for Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, said that the EU executive would start the debate on 2030 targets in the context of its 2050 roadmap to a low-carbon economy.
The UN Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) estimates that some 85% of the capital needed to put the world on a low-carbon path will have to come from the private sector.
When it comes to investing in clean technologies in developing countries, though, public funding will continue to dominate, the experts said.
"Getting private money to poor countries will remain a challenge," said Tom Murley, head of renewable energy at private equity firm HgCapital. Private investors will demand a return, which means that the poorest countries will continue to rely on aid, he added.
Emerging economies like China, India and Brazil are more likely to attract private investors, the experts said. The low-carbon strategies of China and India in fact create a more attractive framework for low-carbon investment, although currency and in China’s case lack of transparency continue to pose problems, they said.
1.3. Climate chief urges nations to show deal can be done
4 October 2010, Reuters
The U.N. climate change chief urged governments on Monday to make real steps toward a new treaty to fight global warming or risk throwing negotiations into doubt.
Negotiators are meeting in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin to try reach agreement on what should follow the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol, the key treaty on climate change, which expires in 2012.
The fraught U.N. talks have been hobbled by lack of trust between rich and poor nations over climate funds, demand for more transparency over emissions cut pledges and anger over the size of cuts offered by rich nations.
Delaying agreement would leave less time for the world to figure out how to rein in greenhouse gas emissions and would add to uncertainties weighing on companies unsure where climate policy and carbon markets are headed after 2012.
"Now is the time to accelerate the search for common ground," Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told hundreds of delegates at the opening session of the Tianjin talks, which last until Saturday.
The talks are the last major round before the year’s main climate meeting in the Mexican resort of Cancun from November 29.
Negotiators from nearly 200 governments failed to agree last year on a new legally binding climate pact. A meeting in Copenhagen in late 2009 ended in bitter sniping between rich and developing countries, and produced a non-binding accord that left many key issues unsettled.
Governments are struggling to overcome lingering distrust and turn a sprawling draft treaty dotted with caveats into a binding text, possibly by late 2011.
"A concrete outcome in Cancun is crucially needed to restore the faith and ability of parties to take the process forward, to prevent multilateralism from being perceived as a never-ending road," she said in an opening speech at the meeting.
DROUGHTS AND FLOODS
Recent devastating floods in Pakistan and severe drought in Russia are the kind of severe weather that rising temperatures are likely to magnify if countries fail to make dramatic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, said Wendel Trio, the climate policy coordinator for Greenpeace.
"Countries need to show a bit more trust in each other, and for that trust we will need developed countries to come up with some clear signs about them wanting to commit to the pledges they have made in Copenhagen," said Trio, who is at the Tianjin talks.
Figueres told Reuters in a separate interview that she hoped the Tianjin talks could agree on important specifics of a future pact, including how to manage adaptation funds and green technology to help poorer countries, and a program to support carbon-absorbing forests in Brazil, Indonesia and elsewhere.
"I think there’s a pretty good chance that the governments will agree on the creation of the fund," she said of a proposal to create a climate fund to help poorer nations green their economies.
But it might take "a longer period" for governments to agree on the sources of the proposed fund, she added.
Even if the negotiations make progress, the current pledges of governments to curb greenhouse gas emissions will not be enough to avoid pushing the world into dangerous global warming, roughly defined as a rise of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above average pre-industrial temperatures, said Figueres.
"They’re not enough to guarantee even a two-degree rise in temperature, and we know that a two-degree rise does not guarantee survival for the most vulnerable countries," she said in the interview.Governments should nonetheless focus on securing formal pledges of the emissions cuts already proposed, "fully realizing it is a first, necessary but insufficient step," she said.
2.1. European Parliament vote could prolong Europe’s addiction to oil
28 September 2010, Greenpeace
The European Parliament’s environment committee could prolong Europe’s dependence on oil if it weakens measures to reduce CO2 emissions from vans and blocks a resolution for a ban on deep-sea drilling in Europe, said Greenpeace.
About a third of oil in Europe is used by cars and vans, but recent technological advances have shown that this level of consumption can easily be reduced. Some top-selling van models have achieved an over 10% cut in emissions since 2007. Proposals tabled by the Commission would require carmakers to cut emissions by 14% between 2007 and 2016.
Greenpeace EU transport policy adviser Franziska Achterberg said: “By resisting efficiency targets that it can easily reach, the car industry is destroying the climate and prolonging Europe’s addiction to oil. As long as they continue producing inefficient vehicles, carmakers will encourage oil companies to take more risks to reach oil in dangerous places.”
MEPs are likely to widen a number of loopholes undermining already weak CO2 targets for vans proposed by the European Commission for 2016 and 2020. They could support measures allowing carmakers to continue producing high emissions vans by offsetting them with a limited amount of electric vans, by exploiting so-called ‘eco-innovation’ technologies (with unquantifiable benefits) and by reducing the CO2 emissions of passenger cars instead of vans.
Vans make up around 10% of road vehicles in the EU, and are responsible for 6-7% of the EU’s oil consumption. Oil consumption and CO2 emissions from vans are forecast to increase by 17% between 2010 and 2020, in the absence of additional measures.
Deep-sea drilling resolution
Greenpeace calls for a full ban of new deep-water drilling in EU waters and for credible measures to dramatically reduce oil consumption in order to eliminate the need for imports of deep-water oil in the future. It is estimated that around 10% of oil in the EU comes from deep-sea drilling operations similar to BP’s Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.
2.2. WWF Reactive Statement – European Commission approves new Spanish coal subsidy
29 September 2010, WWF
Brussels, Belgium – Responding to today’s European Commission approval of a Spanish state aid plan giving four years of priority market access for domestic coal-fired electricity, Tony Long, Director of WWF European Policy Office, said:
"This decision undermines the credibility of the EU’s energy and environmental pledges. Pollution will increase, consumers will pay more, cleaner investments will be delayed, and other energy providers in Spain will be disadvantaged. Europe’s own reputation as a clean energy leader is put at risk."
"Commitments to end this scheme after four years must come with a cast-iron guarantee if the EU is to salvage any face from this sad affair."
2.3. Brussels finalising EU energy infrastructure plan
4 October 2010, EurActiv
The European Commission is planning to introduce a fast-track procedure for permitting energy infrastructure projects of European interest, according to a draft proposal seen by EurActiv.
The draft communication on energy infrastructure priorities for 2020 and 2030 identifies nine priority projects of European interest to deliver Europe’s energy and climate objectives.
It points to missing links, insufficient market integration and the need to adapt the EU’s energy infrastructures to manage an increasing share of intermittent renewable energy.
Europe‘s energy demand is set to be increasingly met with electricity, while in 2020, 16% of overall electricity generation will come from variable energy sources like solar and wind power, the paper states. The EU’s climate and renewable energy targets will therefore require "extensive changes to the power grids" to integrate both distributed renewable sources and centralised power generation into the grid, the paper states.
The Commission estimates that 50,000km of electricity transmission lines will either have to be built or upgraded in the next decade to meet EU objectives on security of supply, renewables integration and market development.
Moreover, the paper foresees the building of a European "super grid" of very high-voltage lines that will be capable of transporting electricity across the continent to balance intermittent power generation – wind in the North and sun in the South.
"It will have to be woven into the existing alternating current high-voltage grid while allowing the same levels of system reliability and security," the paper says. In the longer run it could also equip Europe with more robust connections to neighbouring countries, it adds.
To put the infrastructure in place, the paper identifies the need to reduce delays in issues permits, which are crippling infrastructure projects. It points out that permit delays for building energy transmission infrastructure are now longer in many member states than delays in building the power plants to feed the lines.
European priority projects should be given preferential treatment to speed up their implementation, either by applying the fastest possible procedure at member-state level or by a new harmonised procedure, the paper says. The "preferred option" would be a "declaration of European interest" regime, which would trigger a simplified permitting procedure and maximum timeframes for each step in the process, it states.
Moreover, member states involved in cross-border projects should be required to enhance coordination, preferably providing a "one-stop shop" for permit application. In case of persistent conflicts and delays, the Commission or another authority could be given power to make decisions.
The Commission intends to table proposals on permitting for projects of EU interest next year.
"Permitting should be streamlined, but it should not be top-down. The market should have a place," commented Susanne Nies, head of energy policy and generation at Eurelectric, the association representing the electricity industry in Europe. She pointed out that it currently takes ten years to get an electricity line up and running, which is "totally incompatible with today’s requests for more renewables".
CO2 transportation included
The draft plan also seeks to put CO2 transportation pipelines on Europe’s priority list to prepare for the commercial-scale application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
"Whilst storage capacity in Europe is plentiful, it is not evenly distributed geographically and in some cases distant from significant emissions sources," the paper reads. "Moreover, some EU member states that account for a significant proportion of Europe’s CO2 emissions [e.g. Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic] have no more than 15 years of potential storage within their state boundaries," it adds.
CO2 pipelines installed between 2014 and 2020 will be associated with specific demonstration projects and unconnected, the draft says. But including CO2 transport infrastructure is necessary to accommodate a global rollout of CCS around 2025, it argues.
More EU funds for energy infrastructure?
The paper notes that not all of the "substantial investment" required to update Europe’s energy transportation capacities in the next two decades will be provided by the market.
The document gives a tentative figure of up to €15bn of public support for the identified priority projects. It also mentions the financial perspectives 2014-2020, hinting that the Commission could be seeking money for energy infrastructure from the next EU budget.
The communication, scheduled for presentation in November, will be followed by a proposal for a new financial instrument to replace the Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E).
3.1. Parliament votes to weaken van CO2 law
28 September 2010, T&E
The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has voted to weaken a proposed law setting fuel efficiency standards for new vans.
The committee voted this morning to:
– weaken the long term target proposed by the Commission of 135g CO2/km by 2020 to 140g; the short term target of 175g for 2016 was not changed;
– weaken the maximum penalties manufacturers pay for failing to meet targets from EUR 120 to EUR 95 per gram of CO2 exceeded per van;
– extend the period for which manufacturers receive ‘supercredits’, allowing them to sell several gas guzzling vans for every ultra-low emission (eg: electric)
van they sell – a further effective weakening of the overall CO2 target;
– cancel plans to introduce speed limiters on vans, an amendment to the legislation that was proposed by the Parliament’s Industry (ITRE) and Transport
(TRAN) committees in earlier votes.
Kerstin Meyer of Transport & Environment, the EU sustainable transport campaign group said: "This vote is bad news for the millions of companies that could
benefit from fuel efficient vans to save on fuel bills. By weakening the long term target, and the penalties, it also sends the wrong signal to the industry."
The Committee’s vote is also out of touch with recent developments in the market for new vans, according to T&E. The latest Volkswagen T5 van achieved a reduction of about 10% in fuel consumption and CO2 compared to the 2007 model. The T5 was the 3rd biggest selling
van in Europe in 2007 according to JATO dynamics. The new Ford Transit ECOnetic, on sale since late 2009 has CO2 emissions 11% better than the most efficient
Ford Transit previously available in the UK. The Ford Transit was the best selling van in Europe in 2007 according to JATO dynamics. Renault’s new Master is
15% more efficient than the best Renault Master from 2007.
A speed limiter for vans could save CO2 emissions and lives, and would bring vans into line with all other commercial vehicles driven in Europe today. The
Parliament’s ITRE and TRAN committees both voted to introduce speed limiters, and T&E urges the full parliament to reconsider the idea at its full vote
on the legislation later this year.
The European Parliament must also then agree on the final legislation with EU Member States
3.2. Shipping nations risk loss of control over greenhouse gas regulation
1 October 2010, WWF
Shipping nations are risking losing their control over maritime greenhouse gas reduction standards, global environment organisation WWF warned today in the wake of another failure to reach specific agreement on curbing maritime carbon emissions.
The key environmental sub-group of the UN-linked International Maritime Organisation (IMO) concluded a week long meeting today possibly further away than ever from agreement on efficiency and technology initiatives and market based mechanisms to cut shipping emissions.
Under existing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreements, the shipping and aviation sectors have been charged with coming up with mechanisms to cut emissions.
At its last meeting in March, the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (IMO MEPC) had endorsed a package of efficiency measures, specifically a mandatory energy efficiency design index (EEDI) and ships energy efficiency management plan (SEEMP). But the week-long meeting concluding tonight has failed to reach any consensus on implementing these measures.
“Like the aviation industry, the world’s maritime nations either need to find an emissions reductions solution within the IMO framework or face the possibility of less sympathetic regulation from elsewhere,” said Dr Simon Walmsley, WWF’s observer to the IMO talks.
“The worst outcome for a global industry like shipping would be to have differing emissions reductions schemes being imposed in different places – but that is the future shipping nations are courting by failing to reach agreement in their own forum.”
The world’s shipping industry accounts for over 2.7 % of total carbon emissions, and plays an important role in the global economy, transporting over 90% of global trade.
The meeting exposed further rifts between developed and developing maritime nations and was marked by a blunt refusal by some nations to acknowledge that shipping needs to contribute substantially to the global emissions reductions needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.
All shipping flag states are treated equally under IMO rules, while in other forums such as the UNFCCC concessions are made to the needs of developing states.
“Drawing such distinctions between developing and developed countries in shipping is not that simple,” said Dr Walmsley. “Shipping owners may be from a developed country, but their ships could be built, flagged and crewed in developing countries.
“Shipping states can either find creative ways to slash emissions together or see additional costs imposed on world trade as some trading blocks, states or even just ports bring shipping into their own regional schemes for reducing greenhouse gases.”
No rules required for one solution
Ironically, some leading shipping companies are steaming ahead with an option which dramatically reduces emissions with “no rules, regulations, investments or even research needed”.
Writing to mark World Maritime Day, traditionally held during the last week of September, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) CEO Arild Iversen and WWF International Director General James Leape noted that just a four knot reduction in sailing speed could reduce daily emissions by nearly 40 percent.
But with surveys showing goods in transit spend lengthy periods just waiting for connections, “slowing vessels down would not mean slowing up trade” the two leaders wrote.
”By planning more precisely, goods and cargo could actually travel slower, yet arrive to consumers sooner, while reducing emissions, cost and port congestion at the same time.
“We appreciate that manufacturers have capital invested in cargo, and sitting cargo is sitting capital, but a better balance between time and emissions can be reached.”
WWL, the world’s largest provider of Ro-Ro ocean transportation, has long been a key partner in WWF’s high seas conservation work and has a vision of largely emissions free shipping by 2040.
3.3. Obama administration attacks EU aviation emissions trading plan
28 September 2010, T&E
America is making a new attempt to stop the EU introducing aviation into its Emissions Trading Scheme in 2012. The USA, backed by Canada and Mexico, is submitting a resolution to the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s triennial general assembly later this month, saying emissions trading should only apply to nations who have specifically agreed to it. The EU’s climate commissioner said the USA was seeking to put up barriers for others when it had not done anything to tackle the problem itself.
The resolution, that will be debated at Icao’s general assembly, says countries ‘seeking to implement an emissions trading system that applies to other states’ aircraft operators’ should only be allowed to do so ‘on the basis of mutual agreement’. In other words, any single country would have the right to say its airlines do not have to pay any charges for the gases their aircraft emit.
According to the International Herald Tribune newspaper, which has seen a copy of the draft resolution, the three North American countries admit that pressure is increasing to establish international rules on aviation emissions, but said there was ‘no consensus on such a global approach at this time’.
The EU’s climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the USA had effectively demanded ‘a veto right over what measures states can take to limit the climate impacts of aviation’. She added that the North American resolution was ‘obviously a recipe for continued global inaction and not what we need to move this agenda forward in a positive and constructive way’.
Even if it were passed, the resolution would be non-binding, so the EU could ignore it, but aside from the political pressure to delay the start date that the resolution might cause, the initiative suggests the political climate in Washington towards tackling aviation’s emissions might not be changing.
‘We had hoped the Obama administration would be more environmentally aware than the Bush administration,’ said T&E policy officer Bill Hemmings. ‘This is a setback to those hopes. It appears from this activity that America is continuing the Bush line of attacking aviation’s introduction into the ETS through the back door of insisting on mutual agreement. Given all the evidence about the carbon-intensity of aviation and the supposed greater environmental awareness under Barack Obama, this is deeply disappointing.’
Three of the leading American airlines and the Air Transport Association of America are also challenging the legality of putting aviation into the ETS. The European Court of Justice is currently considering the challenge. T&E and several other environmental groups will give evidence in the case.
At the same time, the three airlines (American, Continental and United) have been making preparations to join the ETS. They have had monitoring plans approved, which means they would qualify for 85% of their permits to be free-of-charge.
T&E has always said emissions trading must be seen as a first step towards tackling aviation’s environmental impact, not a solution on its own. In a letter to the Financial Times newspaper earlier this month, Hemmings called for an end to air transport’s exemption from fuel taxes and value-added tax when the Commission reviews the EU’s energy taxation and VAT directives later this year. He described the VAT exemption for aviation as ‘blatantly unfair and makes EU climate policy eedlessly inefficient’.
More at: http://www.transportenvironment.org/News/2010/9/Obama-administration-attacks-EU-aviation-emissions-trading-plan/
3.4. Aviation sector calls for global plan to ‘green’ flights
4 October 2010, EurActiv
All aviation stakeholders, including manufacturers, airlines, airports and navigation service providers, have issued a joint call for governments to agree a global plan to address aviation emissions at December’s United Nations climate summit in Cancún.
The call from the international aerospace industry comes as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is holding its general assembly in Montreal.
Industry worries that a fragmented worldwide regulatory system would raise compliance costs for the sector and hurt the global industry.
The industry believes that ICAO, a specialised UN agency which codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation, is the right forum to draw up an appropriate global framework and implement it.
Just months before the UN climate conference opens in Cancún, "the ICAO Assembly must rise to the challenge and adopt a global plan for addressing aviation emissions," said François Gayet, secretary-general of European aerospace industry association ASD.
Message to Cancún
Last month, the global aviation industry gathered in Geneva for the fifth Aviation & Environment Summit, urging governments at the ICAO to "make decisive progress" and agree on a global framework to address aviation emissions.
The summit communiqué of 17 September urged the states involved in the UN climate negotiations "to summon the political will to endorse the industry targets for reducing emissions and establish the necessary global framework to deliver them".
The same message was sent to governments ahead of the December 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, after talks on a ‘global sectoral approach for addressing aviation emissions’ in October 2009.
While the industry is committed to improving its fuel efficiency, as well as stopping and then halving its net carbon emissions, it stresses that these goals are "subject to governments incentivising technological research and development for airframes and engines and the commercial development of alternative low-carbon fuels while also providing modern airport and airspace infrastructure".
The communiqué notes that the most effective current means of lowering CO2 emissions is to invest in new aircraft, but that the industry’s ability to do so "is threatened by increasing and costly regulatory burdens, including taxes, charges and economic measures".
Therefore, the sector calls for policy responses that are "cost-effective, equitable and globally coordinated through ICAO, providing open access to carbon markets".
4.1. Renewable Energy in the Public Sector
26 October 2010, The Barbican, London
The government intends to implement a full programme of measures to fulfil ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy. Renewables are the key to the strategy to tackle climate change and deploy cleaner sources of energy, and individuals and communities must be encouraged to generate their own energy locally, through renewable resources such as solar panels and wind turbines.
From August 2010, local authorities are allowed to sell energy that they produce back to the national grid, providing an additional source of revenue, ensuring energy security and reducing vulnerability to inevitable increases in energy prices. Renewable Energy in the Public Sector: leading the way to zero carbon presents an ideal opportunity for delegates from across the public sector to learn how to achieve targets, while saving and even making money with renewables.
More at: http://www.publicserviceevents.co.uk/event/overview.asp?ID=150
4.2. Green Jobs
An opportunity for Energy Security and Economic Prosperity
Panel discussion will take place on Monday October 11, from 2 p.m. in the building of Akademie Vìd ČR, Národní 3, Praha.
The Forum 2000 Foundation, the United Nations Information Center Prague and Hnutí DUHA kindly invite you to the panel discussion: Green Jobs, An opportunity for Energy Security and Economic Prosperity
The panel discussion is organised as a part of the Forum 2000 Conference
“The World We Want to Live in“, October 10–12, 2010, www.forum2000.cz.
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