1.1. Climate talks stall on targets, finance
2 October 2009, Reuters
Efforts to convince rich nations to toughen emissions cuts have failed to make much headway at climate talks in the Thai capital, the U.N. said on Friday.
Delegates from about 180 nations are meeting in Bangkok to try to narrow differences on ways to broaden and deepen the fight against climate change.
The September 28-October 9 talks are the last major negotiating session before environment ministers meet in Copenhagen to try to seal a tougher global pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
"Progress toward high industrialized world emissions cuts remains disappointing during these talks. We’re not seeing real advances there," Yvo de Boer, the head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told reporters.
"Movement on the ways and means and institutions to raise, manage and deploy financing support for the developing world climate action also remains slow."
The U.N. climate panel says rich nations should cut emissions between 25-40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid dangerous climate change. But the aggregate cuts pledged by industrialized states remains well below this level.
Many developing nations say rich countries should commit to 40 percent cuts by 2020, blaming them for most of the planet-warming greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels over the past two centuries.
Poorer nations also demand cash and clean-energy technology to help them curb the growth of their own emissions. CLEARER PICTURE
Negotiators in Bangkok are trying to trim a complex 180-page main draft text that will form the basis of the new climate pact from 2013. The U.N. hopes Bangkok will lead to a clearer picture of what a Copenhagen agreement might look like.
Scientists say a tougher deal is crucial to avoid the worst of more intense droughts, floods, melting glaciers and rising seas.
The Copenhagen agreement could also give a major push to greening the global economy, boosting investment in renewable energy, expansion of carbon markets and more efficient transport.
De Boer said the United States was a key reason why rich nations’ 2020 emissions targets have not been finalized.
The United States never ratified Kyoto and is not among the 37 industrialized nations committed to emissions targets during Kyoto’s 2008-12 first commitment period. Washington remains outside formal discussions on tougher post-2012 commitments.
"Not knowing what the United States is going to be able to bring to Copenhagen really makes it very difficult for other countries in that Kyoto discussion to increase the level of ambition of their numbers," he said.
John Ashe, a senior diplomat who chairs a key U.N. group negotiating expanded Kyoto commitments, told Reuters in an interview it was unlikely pledged cuts by rich nations would change in Bangkok.
He also said developing nations had not change d any of their demands for tough cuts by rich countries.
He said it was still unclear what limits would be agreed on carbon offsetting by rich nations, such as investing in forest preservation projects in the developing world.
"There will be a cap on offsets. There must be a cap."
"No one is contemplating a situation where targets are met through just pure offsets," he said.
1.2. UNFCCC optimistic as Bangkok talks reach half time
3 October 2009, The Nation National
"Progress is being made towards an effective draft in the key areas of global agreements on adaptation, technology and building capacity for action in developing countries," Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told a press conference at the midway point of a two-week meeting in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, at last week’s UN General Assembly in New York, leaders from around the world backed agreements covering key political essentials necessary for success.
UN climate change talks during the past week have seen signs that the world can deliver the "tools and rules" that will be essential in making any agreement reached at December’s Copenhagen summit successful, an official said yesterday.
The Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the General Assembly in New York chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon heard clear calls from leaders for results.
Leaders agreed on the need to mobilise significant financial support for both adaptation and mitigation of climate change and the further task of finance ministers to agree on ideas about mobilising and managing the costs involved.
The UN and Bangkok meetings have shown the willingness of world leaders to re-engage personally on the road to December’s meeting in Copenhagen and getting political results there.
De Boer said he was encouraged by the commitments made at the UN and in Pittsburgh but added the world could not move fast enough to beat dangerous climate change and that this was why progress on financing was so important.
"You can’t cut a cake without a knife, and you won’t be able to cut a global deal without the right tools," he said.
De Boer said he was happy to see negotiators were finally really getting into the text of a new agreement, beginning to slim the text down and identifying key options about the way forward.
However, the progress of the industrialised world’s emission cuts remained disappointing.
"We are not seeing real advances," he said. "Movement toward managing and deploying financial support from the developed world on climate action remains slow."
De Boer said talks next week would focus on concrete financial mechanisms and market solutions for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.
"What needs to happen next week is that negotiators really must focus even harder on what must be in the Copenhagen text – what to cut out or what can be left until later, when the details of a Copenhagen agreement are being worked out," he added.
"A critical responsibility of the negotiators is really to ensure that the Copenhagen outcome actually is durable."
The meeting so far has seen what de Boer called useful progress being made already on adaptation, technology and capacity building. These are important because Copenhagen "should be believable" and must be achievable in the sense that it can be implemented on the ground to real global needs.
The meeting also proposed the creation of a technology hub that would link institutions active in the field to decide what needs to be done in technology development, deployment and transfer.
Cooperative research on ways to draw breakthrough technology into the market, including clean-energy technology and intellectual property rights in terms of technology in developing countries was also proposed.
The impact of the US decision not to join the Kyoto Protocol was another topic of discussion at the Bangkok meeting.
De Boer said a large number of countries, mainly developing ones, discussed continuing the Kyoto Protocol, while many industrialised nation said they wanted a new agreement under the convention.
Both developing and industrialised countries said some serious decisions would have to be made in Copenhagen.
"Integration of the US into the Kyoto Protocol is not an option," de Boer said.
1.3. EU backs US bid to corner India at climate talks
3 October 2009, The Times of India
NEW DELHI: Differences between the rich and the developing countries have turned into entrenched battle lines at the ongoing climate negotiations in Bangkok, with the EU backing the contentious proposal of the US to do away with the Kyoto Protocol — the compact that binds industrialized nations to emission reduction targets under the UN convention.
While the US, which has not signed the Kyoto Protocol, has always suggested its demise as the only way forward, the EU had so far not displayed such an inclination.
The coming together of industrialized countries over the past two days in the Thai capital signals a renewed and vigorous attempt to get emerging economies, including India, to take on a set of internationally binding emission reduction targets without financial or technical compensation to cover for the economic costs of achieving them.
India is leading the charge along with other key developing countries against the move at the ongoing negotiations at Bangkok.
The convention at present demands commitments only from industrialized countries to reduce their historically disproportionate emission levels. The protocol turns these commitments into hard targets to be achieved in fixed time.
While India and other developing countries have demanded for last two years that the negotiations, as agreed upon under the Bali Action Plan in 2007, only look to enhance the commitments under Kyoto Protocol and the mother convention, industrialized nations made it clear in Bangkok that they wanted to alter the convention and the protocol in order to corner India and other large developing countries into taking commitments.
The US wants another omnibus agreement or protocol which locks India, China, Brazil and South Africa into taking emission control targets. EU too has wanted action from the four to be brought under international scanner but had so far not shown too keen an interest in altering the existing protocol’s basic structure which is under review for second phase of commitment levels.
But at the Bangkok meet, EU made a tactical shift and said it would prefer a new single "instrument" which binds countries from both sides of the spectrum — the industrialised and the developing — into a single regime. Interestingly, it also wants pieces of the earlier protocol that are to its advantage to be chopped into the new deal.
India and others pointed out at the meet that the existing convention and the understanding achieved by all countries at Bali in 2007 differentiates between "commitments" of the rich countries and the "actions" of the rest. They also pointed out that the actions of the developing countries, as per existing convention and decisions, is to be undertaken only when enabled by finances and technology transfer from the industrialized countries.
A single regime as proposed by EU and US will break the equity-based differences enshrined in the convention and force the larger developing countries with much lower per capita emissions to be treated at par with the countries responsible for the historical responsibility of GHG emissions.
1.4. Catastrophic climate change without tough targets, says report
28 September 2009, EurActiv
Global temperatures may rise by up to four degrees Celsius by the mid-2050s if current greenhouse gas emission trends continue, triggering castastrophic climate change, according to a study published today (28 September) as 190 countries gather in Bangkok to continue negotiations on a new post-Kyoto deal.
The study, by the Hadley Centre at Britain’s Met Office, echoed a UN report last week which found that climate changes were outpacing worst-case scenarios forecast in 2007 by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
"Our results are showing similar patterns [to the IPCC] but also show the possibility that more extreme changes can happen," said Debbie Hemming, co-author of the research published at the start of a climate change conference at Oxford University.
Leaders of the main greenhouse gas-emitting countries recognised in July a scientific view that temperatures should not exceed two degrees above pre-industrial levels, to avoid more dangerous changes to the world’s climate.
The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its fourth assessment report, or AR4. One finding was that global temperatures could rise by four degrees by the end of the 2050s. Monday’s study confirmed that warming could happen even earlier, by the mid-2050s, and suggested more extreme local effects.
"It’s affirming the AR4 results and also confirming that it is likely," Hemming told Reuters, referring to four degrees warming, assuming no extra global action to cut emissions in the next decade.
One advance since 2007 was to model the effect of "carbon cycles". For example, if parts of the Amazon rainforest died as a result of drought, that would expose soil which would then release carbon from formerly shaded organic matter.
"That amplifies the amount of carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere and therefore the global warming. It’s really leading to more certainty," said Hemming.
Some 190 countries will try to reach an agreement on how to slow global warming at a meeting in Copenhagen in December.
Chinese President Hu Jintao won praise for making a commitment to limit emissions growth by a "notable" amount at a UN climate summit in New York last week. Other leaders made pledges to agree a new climate pact. The EU has pledged to cut emissions to maintain temperature rises at no more than two degrees.
Temperature rises are compared with pre-industrial levels. The world warmed by 0.7 degrees last century, scientists say. A global average increase of four degrees masked higher regional increases, including more than 15 degrees warmer temperatures in parts of the Arctic, and up to 10 degrees higher in western and southern Africa, study found. "It’s quite extreme. I don’t think it’s hit home to people," said Hemming.
As sea ice melts, the region will reflect less sunlight, which may help trigger runaway effects. Such higher Arctic temperatures could also melt permafrost, which until now has trapped the powerful greenhouse gas methane, helping trigger further runaway effects, said Hemming. "There are potentially quite big negative implications."
The study indicated rainfall may fall this century by a fifth or more in part of Africa, Central America, the Mediterranean, and coastal Australia, "potentially more extreme" than the IPCC’s findings in 2007.
"The Mediterranean is a very consistent signal of significant drying in nearly all the model runs," said Hemming. A 20% or more fall is "quite a lot in areas like Spain already struggling with rainfall reductions in recent years".
1.5. U.N. climate scientist says clean tech good investment
2 October 2009, Reuters
The United Nations scientist whose report set the global standard for climate change sees biofuels as a good investment bet and advised on Friday that people eat less meat to help curb global warming.
In an interview on what individuals in developed countries can do to slow climate change and profit in the process, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, advised investors to assume the future will be low-carbon.
"Investors should be going toward clean technologies," he said. "The world is going to move toward a low-carbon future. That is inevitable."
The IPCC’s 2007 report galvanized global reaction to climate change with predictions that world temperatures could rise as much as 11.5 degrees F (6.4 degrees Celsius) this century if carbon emissions were not tackled.New technologies, some of which are still in the lab, could become important, Pachauri said on the sidelines of the Governors’ Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles.
"Battery technology is going to be extremely important, but I wouldn’t rule out the importance of biofuels. Of course it won’t be biofuels converting corn into ethanol. It will be a new generation of biofuels that has relatively low environmental and other social impacts."
"Production of hydrogen from water in a way that’s not going to be terribly intensive in terms of conventional forms of energy," could be important. "You have algae that has a lot of potential" as a biofuel, he added.
On a personal level, Pachauri advised citizens of developed countries to cut back on eating meat, which is extremely energy intensive to produce; walk instead of drive when possible; and turn the thermostat up or down a bit.
Put on a sweater and turn down the thermostat instead of wearing a T-shirt indoors in winter, he said.
Buying energy-efficient lights and putting solar panels on the roof would also help, he said.
"I would look at even simple technologies like, you know, when you go into an office, why not have sensors by which lights get switched on or switched off by themselves?" Such simple solutions are cheap and pay for themselves, he said.
If climate change isn’t halted, poor nations will "fail" as weather gets worse and sea levels rise, raising risks for developed nations, Pachauri said.
1.6. Obama unlikely to sign climate bill ahead U.N. Meet
2 October 2009, Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign climate legislation ahead of a U.N. global warming meeting in Copenhagen that starts in early December, the White House’s top climate and energy coordinator said on Friday.
"We’d like to be (finished with) the process. That’s not going to happen," Carol Browner said at a conference called the First Draft of History. She said the administration is committed to passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation "on the most aggressive timeline possible."
Democratic Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer unveiled a climate bill this week but it remained unclear whether it would win the required 60 Senate votes for passage.
Even if the bill does pass, the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives would have to reconcile their versions of the bill in committee.
That would leave little time for Obama, who has made climate one of his top issues, to sign the bill before 190 nations are due to meet in Copenhagen from early December in hopes of hammering out a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.
The U.S. Congress has been focused on health care legislation, delaying work on the Kerry-Boxer bill.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters later on Friday that Obama would consider attending the climate talks in the Danish capital if heads of state were invited.
Browner said she did not know if a global agreement on binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions could be made in Copenhagen. But she had hope for progress saying the world’s top leaders recognize global warming is a problem.
"Copenhagen isn’t the end of a process, it is the beginning of a process," she said.
The administration has been pleased with recent talks with China, the world’s top greenhouse gas polluter, on tackling climate change, she added.
Browner expressed optimism Congress would pass the bill in due time but said the administration has options if that did not happen.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could work with states that already have formed carbon markets to extend those programs, said Browner, former head of that agency.
"That may be a way in which you could form a regime using these models that are already out there," she said.
Ten eastern U.S. states have formed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. In addition, California and several other states in the West plan to regulate six greenhouse gases from smokestacks and tailpipes beginning in 2012.
2.1. European biofuel use driving disaster in Indonesia
23 September 2009, FOEE
New research released today shows for the first time the extent of damage being caused by the European Union’s increasing use of biofuels . The research focuses on the massive expansion of palm oil in the Indonesian district of Ketapang and reports on the deforestation, illegal operations and social conflicts caused by the growing demand for palm oil in Europe. The report follows last week’s announcement by the World Bank to cease funding palm oil projects .
The research conducted in Ketapang, a large district in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, investigates how demand for palm oil for energy is leading to an expansion of palm oil crops, and whether so-called sustainability schemes prevent illegal operations, deforestation, climate emissions and social conflicts. It concludes that:– in the last three years, the government of Ketapang handed out licenses to grow palm plantations on 40% of the district’s land surface, bypassing laws intended to protect forests, the environment and people.
– 39 of the 54 licenses overlap with 400,000 hectares of protected forests, including parts of a national park with orang-utan habitat. Permits to grow palm plantations now cover 1.4 million hectares.
– 43% of the land being acquired is by companies that are members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and the same violations are being committed by members as by non-members.
– the rights of local communities are often ignored. 20 land conflicts had been reported by the end of 2008, and this figure is set to rise as the expansion of plantations increases.
2.2. EU pushes for more transparency of consumer energy bills
2 October 2009, EurActiv
European policymakers, consumer groups and energy industry representatives have endorsed a set of voluntary guidelines for good practice in energy billing, in an attempt to placate dissatisfied customers.
The guidelines were presented at the second Citizen’s Energy Forum held in London on 29-30 September. The forum was established to help contribute to the better functioning of the gas and electricity retail markets under the EU’s third energy liberalisation package (see EurActiv LinksDossier).
The European Commission argues that there is a clear need for simpler and more informative gas and electricity bills as the majority of consumers find it difficult to compare offers from different providers. It attributes this to the fact that only 8% of European electricity consumers have switched providers in the past two years, although less than three in five are satisfied with their service.
"Market opening forces companies to compete for customers by offering attractive prices and good, reliable services. Consumers should be properly informed of their rights and their consumption so that they can actively participate in the energy market. However, information for consumers is not enough to ensure their active engagement," said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The EU executive said that the ten guidelines, which call for transparency and readability, would help EU consumers both to cut down on energy use and save on their bills.
The recommendations include a list of elements that all energy bills should include in order to allow customers to compare offers from different providers. Among these are the duration of the contract and the required notice period for switching supplier, as well as the switching code required to change supplier and a clear indication of the base price per kilowatt hour, which is the main reference for making comparisons.
"These recommendations on energy billing undoubtedly constitute a first step towards more consumer-friendly bills. Billing is crucial in terms of empowering consumers in the liberalised energy market, not least because improved billing practices could help consumers switch suppliers if they wish to, help them save money or develop more environmentally-friendly energy consumption habits," said Monique Goyens, director-general of EU consumer group BEUC.
Goyens called on the Commission to prepare to turn the guidelines into legislation in case the industry fails to act according to the guidelines.
Eurelectric said that transparent bills based on competitive prices are a prerequisity for consumer confidence. The European electricity industry association stated that to function well, retail markets would require clarification of the roles of the distribution system operator and the power supplier, and customers would need to be given access to accurate information on consumption.
"We believe that the most convenient approach here is to make the supplier the single point of contact for the customer," said Eric Van Vliet, vice-chairman of Eurelectric’s markets committee.
2.3. Centre-right victory rewrites Germany’s anti-nuclear agenda
29 September 2009, EurActiv
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s majority for a new centre-right government means she can rewrite a national nuclear phaseout deal by allowing reactors to run longer than laid down by her predecessors.
Nuclear operators’ shares rose on Monday, the day after the election, while carbon prices crept higher and power fell with oil, as Merkel’s conservatives and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) aimed for a quick coalition.
The election outcome may be a precursor for more nuclear projects in other European countries and a contributor to lower carbon emissions in Europe, but is no carte blanche for new reactors on German soil, which the public still opposes. "We need nuclear energy as a bridging technology to keep power prices stable and to comply with our climate protection goals," Katherina Reiche, a senior conservative lawmaker working on reactor safety and the environment, told ARD television.
"We intend to work towards a lengthening of the plants’ running times," she said, confirming pre-election plans. Shares in nuclear operator E.ON were up 3.7% and those in rival RWE rose 3.1%, making them top gainers in the blue-chip DAX.
Analysts noted that the life cycles might be extended by 15 years on the basis of a benefit-sharing deal, which after tax would leave 65 percent of the profits for the state and 35% for plant operators.
E.ON Chief Executive Wulf Bernotat told the Handelsblatt newspaper he was prepared to offer something in exchange for longer life cycles. "Of course we have prepared for this scenario and are ready to play our part," Bernotat said in an interview to be published in the paper’s Tuesday edition.
Seven nuclear plants totalling 6,200 megawatts of power capacity would have had to close in the coming four years without a change of government, and may now be kept open.
Nuclear energy emits virtually no carbon dioxide, which in theory could be bearish for CO2 emissions rights, but analysts said the effect will be minimal in the years through to 2012.
The opposition Green and Social Democratic parties have vowed to uphold opposition to a loosening of the nuclear law and have the potential to mobilise powerful grassroots lobbies.
"There must not be any lengthening of nuclear plants’ lives," leading politician Renate Kuenast of the Greens shouted to cheering supporters. The Greens remain a significant force, winning 10.7% of the vote.
2.4. Energy mix essential for sustainable growth
Berlin-based nuclear industry lobby, the Atomic Forum, said in a statement: "Now the arguing over a final repository has to stop and we need to come to a sustainable solution."
Storage of nuclear waste is a politically charged issue in Germany where the suitability of the favoured Gorleben site has been called into question.
German nuclear opposition is part of the political culture in a way unique in Europe, where Finland and France are building new reactors and E.ON and RWE are studying such plans for Britain and are also looking at Eastern European projects. These plans make sense and will not be put into question by longer running times of reactors inside Germany, Wulf said.
The gains in nuclear operators’ stocks were in contrast to those of highly subsidised solar firms such as Q-Cells and Solarworld.
Their generous grants are set to decline under the influence of the free-market FDP, Merkel’s junior partners. The generous feed-in law for renewable energies, brought in by two SPD-Green governments between 1998 and 2005, is likely to be changed or dropped, said analysts, who do not expect this to kick in before 2011.
According to some other analysts, Merkel’s coalition will continue to invest in solar and wind power. Funds for investment in these energy technologies will come from a tax on the profits of the nuclear reactors.
Coal-biased utility RWE, which also has a high share of nuclear and recently made big moves into renewables, said a mix of generation sources remained essential for Germany, where nuclear accounts for 23% of all power and coal for half. "Apart from renewables, we also do need coal and nuclear," CEO Juergen Grossmann said in a post-election statement.
3.1. Court decision threatens to unravel Europe’s carbon market
23 September 2009, EurActiv
Estonia and Poland have scored deeply significant wins in their battle with the EU over carbon quotas. In a decision that threatens to scupper Europe’s cap and trade scheme, the Court of First Instance annulled the European Commission’s decision to lower the carbon emission quotas of both countries.
The court said setting carbon limits is a matter for member states rather than the EU. The ruling could force the European Commission to review its quotas and undermine the fledgling carbon market.
Estonia and Poland have been fighting for more generous national caps on industrial carbon emissions, arguing that their industry would be hamstrung under the EU scheme.
A Commission spokesperson said the EU executive would consider appealing the decision, which was described as "extremely disappointing". An appeal process could take more than a year.
Under the scheme countries get a certain allowance of carbon emissions rights which they apply to industry, such as power plants and steel mills.
"The Commission exceeded its powers" by imposing a ceiling on carbon emissions, said the EU Court of First Instance, Europe’s second highest court, in its statement.
Poland, Estonia and other East European countries argued that the Commission had unfairly trimmed their quotas, or national allocation plans (NAPs), under the second trading phase of the scheme from 2008-12.
Concern for future of carbon market
The news sparked concern among EU carbon market participants that the ruling, if upheld, could cause an unravelling of the market, which depends on a tight cap on emissions.
If their cap is raised, as Poland and Estonia want, the price of EU allowances (EUAs) could tumble. In addition, several more countries have objected to their quotas, including Czech, Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.
"It is certainly a big issue as far as other outstanding national allocation plan decisions are concerned," said Graham Stuart, partner at the law firm Baker & McKenzie.
Prices for EUAs were down 3.9% at €13.20 euros ($19.54) a tonne in the wake of the decisison. "It’s bearish news. It sets a precedent for other countries," Reuters quotes one trader as saying.
The Commission had cut by 27% Poland’s original request for 284.6 million tonnes of EUAs annually from 2008-12, and had cut Estonia’s requested quota by 48%.
EU member states alone had the power to take final decisions fixing the quota, the court said on Wednesday. The Commission only had powers to review the quotas, and was wrong to dismiss these solely on the grounds of unreliable data, it added.
3.2. EU carbon tax plan to include transport sector
3 October 2009, The Irish Times
EU TAX commissioner Laszlo Kovacs has proposed a pan-European carbon tax on emissions that do not come within the ambit of the current emissions trading scheme.
At a meeting here of EU finance ministers and central bank chiefs, Mr Kovacs indicated that households would come within the framework of the plan, as well as the transport, agriculture and forestry sectors.
The framework would operate in the same way as European rules on value added tax, in which the EU lays down a minimum tax rate that can be imposed in each case.
Mr Lazlo emphasised at a press briefing that such a scheme would be subject to a unanimous decision by EU governments.
He said the commission will propose the tax early next year, by which time a new commissioner will be in charge of the taxation directorate general.
However, he believed political agreement on the parameters of the plan could be reached in the first half of next year.
The commission’s push for a deal on carbon taxes will come after the Government’s likely introduction of such taxes in next year’s Budget.
“Introducing a new tax in the EU has never been easy, and particularly it’s not easy in the time of a financial and economic crisis,” Mr Kovacs said. “But it is evident that the climate change is an even more disastrous global challenge than the current financial and economic crisis. It’s a question of life or death for the population of the globe.”
At the same event, the Swedish presidency of the EU stepped up pressure on the US to do more to secure a global deal on fighting climate change at the Copenhagen summit in December.
Sweden’s finance minister Anders Borg, host of the informal eurogroup and Ecofin meetings, said the Obama administration should do more to convince developing countries to participate in a climate agreement to replace the Kyoto pact after 2012.
“We need US support. We need stronger US action on climate change,” Mr Borg said. Washington was making “good sounds” on climate, he said, but action was required.
Developing countries are demanding significant aid assistance in exchange for committing to lower carbon dioxide emissions. They argue that the developed world should bear the brunt of the cost of a settlement as the depletion of the ozone layer is largely their responsibility.
The EU is discussing aid figures, ranging from €2 billion to €15 billion a year until 2020, depending on how ambitious the deal will be. However, the US has not yet named its possible contribution.
3.3. EU nations divided on burden sharing of climate financing
2 October 2009, The China View
European Union (EU) countries were split on Friday as to how much they should share in the contribution to help finance the fight against climate change in the developing world.
The division was exposed at an informal meeting of EU finance ministers, which concluded in the Swedish port city of Gothenburg on Friday.
Although the Swedish government, which holds the EU rotating presidency, said the ministers had an "active and constructive" discussion on the issue, some new EU member states made it clear they are not willing to pay.
"From our point of view, it is totally unacceptable that the poor countries of Europe should help the rich countries of Europe to help pay the poor countries of the rest of the world," said Polish Finance Minister Jan Rostowski ahead of the meeting.
World governments are expected to reach a new deal on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol after it expires in 2012 at a United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen this December.
With two more months left, negotiations have been deadlocked and climate financing proved to be a stumbling block.
Developing countries have called for generous financial support from rich countries to help them cut greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impact of global warming, for which industrialized nations are historically responsible.
The European Commission proposed that the EU as a whole would contribute some 2 to 15 billion euros (2.9 to 22 billion U.S. dollars) a year by 2020, calling on other countries to follow.
The commission said the burden sharing should be decided in line with each country’s responsibility for emissions and ability to pay.
But some new EU member states, while rely heavily on more polluting coal, disagreed.
"It is not only emissions but also financial capacity that should be taken into consideration when we are talking about sharing the costs," Hungarian Finance Minister Peter Oszko said. "Our situation and our points of view are similar" to that of Poland.
The Swedish EU Presidency said EU finance ministers would continue discussion at their next meeting later this month.
4.1. Europe for Planet Earth: WWF Eco-Guide
You want to change your lifestyle and reduce your impact on the environment?
Then use the WWF Eco-Guide which will show you actions you can take when travelling, at your office, and in your daily living routines. You will also be able to calculate your own footprint on the planet – the amount of land and natural resources used to support your lifestyle.
More at: http://assets.panda.org/downloads/wwf.swf
5.1. International Conference: Nuclear Waste Problems – from Mining to Reactor Waste, 17-18 Oct. 2009
Hosted by The Swedish Environmental Movement’s Nuclear Waste Secretariat (Miljörörelsens kärnavfallssekretariat, Milkas), a non-profit, non-governmental organisation founded in 2004 by the national anti-nuclear group The Swedish Anti-nuclear Movement (Folkkampanjen mot kärnkraft-kärnvapen, FMKK) and Friends of the Earth, Sweden (Miljöförbundet Jordens Vänner, MJV), the Swedish branch of Friends of the Earth International.
The conference language is English. Registration info at http://www.nonuclear.se/register
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected]