1.1. Rich nations urged to develop climate aid plan for Cancún
4 November 2010, Guardian.co.uk
Brazilian environment minister Izabella Teixeira says negotiators must show they can produce agreements to restore faith in climate talks
Governments in the industrialised world must have a clear climate aid plan for developing countries if they want to avoid a fiasco at the Cancún climate conference this month, Brazil’s environment minister, Izabella Teixeira, has warned.
In an interview with the Guardian before this week’s preparatory ministers’ meetings in Cancún, Teixeira said negotiators needed to show they can produce concrete agreements to restore faith in the international talks for a global climate deal.
A key element was pinning down an agreement on climate finance, she said. "You need to adopt actions that show it is possible to do something until you have formal international agreements," Teixeira said. "We need to show the world that in spite of the political process we can work together."
Brazil is trying to play a bigger role in the United Nations climate talks by showcasing its commitment to cutting emissions before the Cancún talks.
The country last month announced it had reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 34% over the past five years, putting it well ahead of schedule for meeting its target of a 39% cut by 2020.
"If we keep this pace – and everything indicates that we shall do so – we will accomplish our goal of voluntary carbon dioxide reductions in 2016, four years before we had promised," the outgoing president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said at the time of the announcement.
Almost all of those emissions cuts came from a reduction in deforestation, with the authorities cracking down on illegal logging operations. Brazil has reduced deforestation in the amazon by 70% over the past seven years.
The country also became the first to channel taxes from domestic oil production to a climate adaptation fund. The government expects the fund to generate $132m (£81m) next year.
Lula said he hoped those initiatives would help encourage industrialised countries into action in advance of the UN meeting at Cancún starting 29 November.
Brazil, like the other large developing countries, is pushing hard for developed countries to make good on the promise at last year’s Copenhagen climate summit to raise $100bn a year by 2020 to pay for emissions reduction and climate adaption in the developing world.
The climate fund was the one concrete achievement to emerge from Copenhagen. It was meant to kick off with a fast-track funding, channeling $30bn a year to developing countries from 2010 to 2012.
But as Cancún approaches, even that fund has failed to take shape, India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, complained.
"The promised $30bn is nowhere in the sight. At best we can hope to get $8bn or $9bn which is just peanuts," Ramesh told reporters before leaving for Cancún.
A UN advisory body of financiers and politicians is scheduled to report on Friday on how the international community can get to $100bn.
But Teixeira said draft reports suggest the group has yet to come up with clear guidelines on government funding. So far, the reports have looked at raising money by taxing air travel or bank transactions, or by reucing subsidies for fossil fuel.
An analysis by McKinsey consultants put public funds for climate finance as low as $12bn a year.
That does not go far enough, Teixeira said. It also failed to resolve the question of control over the climate fund – whether aid would flow through existing financial institutions or a new body.
"We have to discuss also public funds," Teixeira said. "It needs to be clear for us: what is the amount, what is the commitment from governments."Ž
In a separate development, the former UK deputy prime minister Lord John Prescott today urged countries at Cancún to reach a temporary voluntary agreement, rather than a fully legally binding deal, to reduce emissions. With no prospect whatsoever of the US approving legal measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the world should extend extend the Kyoto protocol for five years to allow time for a voluntary system of verifiable emission reductions to be introduced, he said. The protocol, which commited countries to carbon emission cuts when it was ratified in 2005, is due to expire in 2012.
Prescott, now the Council of Europe rapporteur on climate change issues, speaking from China said it would be "disastrous" if the UN meeting due to start on 29 November were also to end in a stalemate like Copenhagen last year.
"Forget the legal agreement – you can’t get it. That’s the reality. The Americans can’t deliver anyway and if they tried to get something through Congress, they couldn’t get it anyway. Let’s have a voluntary agreement. Let’s stop the clock. Instead of Kyoto having to be done by 2012, stop it for about five years, put in a voluntary agreement and a verification system."
"It’s only a small step, but I think the worst thing that could happen would be a failure at Cancún. If common sense applies and we are thinking about our children and our children’s children, let’s get an agreement," he said.
1.2. Obama’s climate pessimism dims U.N., G20 outlook
4 November 2010, Yahoo News
U.S. President Barack Obama’s pessimism about passing U.S. climate legislation also dims chances for action to slow global warming both in U.N. talks and in other groups such as the G20, experts say.
A lack of U.S. legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions may also hit plans to raise a promised $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor nations cope with climate change. That plan partly hinges on curbs on emissions to push up carbon prices.
Obama conceded on Wednesday that big Republican gains in Tuesday’s elections undermined prospects for comprehensive climate legislation. He held out hopes that his Democrats could find common ground on energy policies for a cleaner environment.
"The U.S. elections confirm what many people already suspected: the next U.N. meeting in Cancun won’t be a breakthrough on emission reductions," said Richard Klein, of the Stockholm Environment Institute.
The talks in Cancun, Mexico, on November 29-December 10, will seek progress after the U.N. summit in December 2009 fell short of a U.N. treaty. About 30 environment ministers are holding preparatory talks in Mexico this week.
Near-deadlock in the 194-nation U.N. talks has shifted focus to smaller groups, such as the Group of 20 or the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum (MEF), as possible avenues to agree climate action. But that too looks unlikely.
"The problem is more diplomatic or strategic — if you have a smaller club the United States sticks out more as doing less," said Susanne Droege, head of research in global issues at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
"So from a strategic point of view (emissions cuts) are not an issue for other nations to push" in the G20 or MEF, she said. Both the G20 and MEF include major emitters led by China, the United States, the European Union and Russia.
Washington could still play a big role in Cancun even if it cannot legislate cuts, perhaps with more cash to help developing countries protect tropical forests or to help the poor adapt to more heatwaves, floods, droughts or rising seas, she said.
Gordon Shepherd, leader of the WWF conservation group’s global climate initiative, said clarity that the United States will not legislate cuts might force other nations to be clearer about their plans after sitting on the fence waiting for Washington.
"It’s not like the train has smacked into the end of the railway track in the station. There’s lots of track left and let’s keep this moving," he said.
Obama’s election in 2008 and his talk of saving a "planet in peril" briefly brought optimism for many countries at talks on a new U.N. treaty to slow rising emissions.
Obama said at the Copenhagen summit that he wanted to cut U.S. emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, a cut passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and equivalent to 3-4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
The Senate did not pass the cut.
A group of U.N. advisers will hand a report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday outlining ways to raise $100 billion in climate aid to help developing nations cut their emissions and adapt to the impacts of warming.
But the goal, promised in a Copenhagen Accord, relies heavily on setting a price on carbon dioxide emissions — about 14.57 euros per tonne ($20.60) in a European Union market.
A draft seen by Reuters assumes a "medium" price for carbon of $25 a tonne by 2020 but such a global price would probably not emerge without wider curbs on emissions.
"The stronger the objectives (for cuts), the higher the carbon price and the more money will be available," Klein said.
1.3. UK official says ‘negative forces’ delaying US climate plan
4 November 2010, AFP
A British official said Thursday that "negative forces" in the United States are holding up a climate change policy, while praising China’s efforts in adopting a low-carbon economy.
John Ashton, special representative for climate change at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said a tug-of-war between "positive forces" and "some very negative forces" was delaying a US plan on curbing the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.
"There are plenty of positive forces (in the US), but there are some very negative forces too," he told a climate change conference in Hong Kong, without elaborating.
"That will make it very difficult to move forward."
Ashton praised a California referendum that rejected calls to freeze the state’s own ambitious plan to curb emissions.
"I take a lot of encouragement from that," he said.
Leaders of the Republican Party, which took control of the House of Representatives and made gains in the Senate at elections this week, opposed a bill last year to impose the first US restrictions on carbon emissions.
Ashton on Thursday said Beijing’s "high ambition" on climate-change policy was "in some ways stronger… than anywhere else".
China has set itself a target to reduce carbo
It invested a world-leading 34.6 billion dollars in clean energy initiatives last year — 30 percent of the global total and nearly double US spending.
China and the US — the world’s biggest polluters — clashed at a United Nations climate gathering in October, accusing each other of blocking progress ahead of the UN’s annual climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, this month.
1.4. Global consensus grows to act on climate change: Mexican FM
4 September 2010, English.xinhua.news
There’s growing global consensus to act quickly on climate change, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa said Thursday, ahead of the 16th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP-16).
"At the start of this year there were very divergent opinions within states and public opinion about the possibilities offered by the negotiations," Espinosa told a broadcast press conference on preparations for the COP-16 meeting in Cancun from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10.
"Now there is a growing consensus on the need to act as quickly as possible."
Espinosa said she is counting on the support from her counterparts from Denmark, which hosted the COP-15 in 2009, and South Africa, which is the next host for the COP in 2011.
The three nations agreed earlier this year to a troika system for the COP talks, which brings together the work of previous, present and coming COP hosts for continuity.
"There have been substantial progress in the process towards Cancun. Our negotiators are much closer to reaching agreements in areas like adaptation, technology, reducing emissions, and financing," Espinosa said. "Adopting these elements will benefit us all."
Mexico has made a unilateral commitment to reduce green house emissions by 50 million tons a year by the end of Felipe Calderon’s presidency in 2012.
Calderon’s proposal for a green fund through which industrialized nations would help pay for emission reductions in developing countries, will be among key issues at the COP-16.
1.5. 2C climate target may need to change: UK scientist
4 November 2010, Reuters
A widely agreed international target to avoid dangerous global warming must take account of local impacts and may need to change, said the chief scientist at the MetOffice Hadley Center, Britain’s biggest climate research center.
Julia Slingo said the target of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (2C) may need adjusting to take into account research into local and regional effects, particularly on rainfall patterns, as climate science advances.
More than 120 nations agreed to the U.N.’s Copenhagen Accord last December which aimed to limit average global warming to less than 2C, in one of the main outcomes of a fractious summit.
But hopes are low for agreement on a global climate deal, to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions after 2012, at a follow-up U.N. conference in Cancun, Mexico later this month.
Slingo said the world should keep the 2C target for now to aid negotiations, but that it should be kept under review.
She said better local and regional data would "enable individual countries to enter negotiations in a more informed, engaged way because it doesn’t seem like an arbitrary target that’s just been set at a global level."
Slingo added: "Temperature change in many respects is not the most dangerous part of climate change. The most dangerous part is arguably around the shift of regional rainfall patterns.
"It would be wrong to suggest in any way that the target is inappropriate, but in parallel we want to start to put some more substance on it."
The over-riding goal of the 1992 U.N. climate convention is to avert "dangerous" climate change — many scientists say 2C is the maximum safe limit. Temperatures have already risen about 0.7 degrees C since the Industrial Revolution.
But small island states, fearing sea level rise, favor a ceiling of 1.5 Celsius.
Some experts say global warming beyond 2C poses a 50 percent chance or more that the Greenland ice sheet will melt, over centuries, raising global sea levels by about 7 meters.
A global trend toward living in cities and near coasts means the world was already more vulnerable to natural, extreme weather, Slingo said.
She said new data also showed that manmade greenhouse gas emissions implied irreversible climate change.
"The greater understanding we have now … is that a fraction of the carbon we put in the atmosphere will stay there forever, all else being equal.
"There’s an irreversible nature to temperature, carbon dioxide and sea level rise which goes on for several centuries. That has to enter into our consideration of what’s dangerous."
2.1. Tired of choking on growth, China launches green index
4 November 2010, Reuters
Growing fast but choking on smog is just not good enough for a new "green development" index that China launched on Thursday.
The index, which in part revives an earlier attempt to put a price on pollution, is a small example of how China is gradually changing its course after years of pursuing fast growth with little regard for the environment.
It ranks cities and provinces according to their performance in striking a balance between economic expansion and environmental protection.
In its first edition, it gave top marks to the capital city of Beijing and ranked the coal-rich mining province of Shanxi at the bottom.
The world’s largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, China has pledged to seek a greener growth model and to make big cuts in energy intensity. But getting gross domestic product-obsessed officials to fall in line remains a challenge.
Analysts have said that the government must place greater emphasis on people’s welfare and the environment in assessing cadres, but such a system is hard to develop.
Li Xiaoxi, a professor with Beijing Normal University who led the design of the index, said it could serve as a tool for appraising officials in future, but added that it was just an academic exercise so far.
"We hope China’s top decision-makers will find our book valuable and incorporate it into official documents," Li said.
The green development index, which was compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics and two universities, factors in 55 detailed indicators, from per capita CO2 emissions to the share of environmental spending in overall fiscal expenditure.
China‘s Environment Ministry and the statistics agency previously tried to develop a "green GDP" measure, but scuppered the project because of resistance from local governments.
In 2006, they reported that pollution had cost China 511.8 billion yuan, or 3 percent of GDP, in 2004. No further reports were published after that.
3.1. Polish-Russian gas treaty receives EU blessing
Poland and Russia are due to sign an agreement in Brussels today (4 November) that will see Gazprom increase its deliveries to Warsaw by 38%. Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said the treaty would have "EU legitimacy".
Oettinger announced that he was going to look today "at the latest draft of the treaty on a confidential basis" but expressed confidence that the agreement would comply with EU legislation.
Under the deal, Gazprom will supply Polish gas company PGNiG with up to 10.2 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year, according to media reports in the two countries. The volume under the previous contact was 7.45 bcm.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak said the transit of Russian gas through Poland was guaranteed until 2019, according to the Moscow Times, but the two sides reached agreement on the possibility of prolonging the agreement until 2045.
A key part of the agreement lifts a clause that currently prevents Poland from re-exporting natural gas surpluses to other countries without Gazprom’s consent (the so-called ‘non re-export clause’), according to a statement by PGNiG.
This clause had caused a substantial delay in finalising the agreement, with the European Commission warning that it was against EU rules and that Poland risked gas shortages (see ‘Background’).
Poland will also benefit from a price discount if it buys more gas than agreed. PGNiG said this might save it as much as $250 million by the end of 2014 if it uses the full discount offered by Gazprom.
Oettinger, who has just returned from a visit to Russia, said the Commission had provided advice to the Polish and Russian authorities, as well as to energy companies on both sides.
As a result, the bilateral treaty will enjoy full EU legitimacy, he stated.
The gas deal was negotiated between Warsaw and Moscow in parallel with discussions over Poland’s possible participation in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania. Warsaw would also reportedly buy electricity from the plant.
Critics say that Poland’s energy agreements with Russia run counter to the country’s declared policy of seeking to rely less on Moscow for its energy needs. In particular, Warsaw is suspected of losing its appetite for developing shale gas in partnership with US giants such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and Marathon Oil.
Critics also point out that although a clause forbidding Poland to resell excess gas to third countries was removed, there would be no gas available for sale most of the time.
3.2. Commission adopts €4bn plan for renewables, CCS
4 November 2010, EurActiv
The European Commission adopted a proposal on Wednesday (3 November) to give four billion euros of funding to cutting-edge climate technologies such as renewable energies and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The so-called ‘New Entrant Reserve 300’ fund was agreed in 2008 by EU heads of state to support CCS technology – a method of burying harmful greenhouse gases spewed by industrial activity.
Many power producers see CCS as a potential silver bullet to curb climate-warming emissions from coal, but is still unproven on a commercial scale.
"The NER300 proposal was adopted on Wednesday, providing financial support for projects involving CCS and renewable technologies," a spokeswoman for the Commission, the EU’s executive body, said.
Around eight eligible projects are expected to be given a share of the proceeds from the sale of 300 million carbon permits called ‘EU Allowances’ (EUAs) from the EU emissions trading scheme’s (EU ETS) New Entrants’ Reserve.
This reserve sets aside EUAs for new installations and extensions to existing facilities.
The 27-nation bloc’s member states must present a list of qualifying projects to the European Investment Bank, which will eventually recommend to the Commission which projects to choose.
Under present plans, the bank will sell the NER300 EUAs on the EU carbon market. The bank is yet to detail exactly how and when it will do this.
The Commission is expected to disclose more details about the proposal on 8 November.
4.1. Carmakers exaggerated time needed for CO2 cuts
4 November 2010, T&E
European carmakers are set to achieve mandatory EU targets for new car CO2 emissions years ahead of time according to a new report published today. One carmaker, Toyota, has almost met its target for the year 2015, six years in advance. The study’s findings suggest that carmakers previously exaggerated the time needed to comply with car CO2 limits. Therefore targets now being discussed for vans should be tightened according to Transport & Environment.
Reductions in CO2 emissions of vehicles are directly linked to fuel efficiency improvements.
During 2008, carmakers lobbied aggressively to extend by three years a deadline for average new car CO2 emissions to reach 130g/km. As a result the EU postponed the target year from 2012 until 2015.
A new EU legal proposal to set emissions standards for vans is working its way through the legislative process and vehicle manufacturers are again repeating their calls for targets and deadlines to be weakened.
Jos Dings, director of Transport & Environment said: “Three years ago the car industry said it could not deliver car CO2 targets on time but is now set to achieve them years ahead of schedule. Now the same industry is saying van CO2 limits cannot be met; it is time the credibility of these claims was questioned.”
Crisis only partly responsible; technology explains more than half of improvements
Carmakers recorded a record drop of 5.1% in average CO2 emissions last year according to the report. Many analysts and commentators have assumed that this was due mostly to the financial crisis, and government subsidies for new cars (so-called ‘scrappage schemes’) which both had the effect of shifting consumer demand towards cheaper, and typically smaller and hence more efficient, cars.
But the report by Transport & Environment shows that the economic crisis and subsidies are not the most important factor in last year’s CO2 reductions. It concludes that more than half of the reduction in 2009, or close to a 3% improvement in average efficiency, was achieved through better technology, rather than sales of smaller cars.
The report found that five companies (Toyota, Suzuki (1), Daimler, Ford and Mazda) achieved more than 3% CO2 reductions though the application of new technology, while three others (Hyundai, Suzuki (1) and Fiat) achieved the same as a result of selling smaller vehicles due to the subsidies.
Dings commented: “This data shows that last year’s big improvement in fuel efficiency was not just a one-off caused by a shift to smaller cars; carmakers are adding fuel-saving technologies. So the trend of reduced CO2 emissions is structural and will therefore continue when the market returns to normal. The CO2 regulation is clearly working.”
The latest figures show that Toyota made the greatest progress in cutting CO2 emissions last year (10%), and is now closest to achieving its target for 2015. BMW, the company that made the biggest progress in 2007 and 2008, achieved just a 2% reduction in 2009 suggesting that its ‘efficient dynamics’ programme has been finalised.
Volkswagen Group, Europe’s biggest-selling carmaker, disappointed again last year both in fleet average CO2 (12th of 14) and in year-on-year progress (10th of 14) despite having several individual models with very competitive CO2 ratings. According to the report, it appears that Volkswagen keeps the share of its most efficient vehicles relatively low compared with other carmakers. This also explains why the average new car from the VW Group still has higher CO2 emissions than the average BMW despite being 8% lighter and 27% less powerful.
4.2. EU looks to alternative fuels for ‘green’ cars
5 November 2010, EurActiv
The EU needs a long-term strategy on alternative fuels to decarbonise its transport sector by 2050, according to a draft report from the European Commission, seen by EurActiv.
A draft report by the European Expert Group on Future Transport Fuels assesses Europe’s options for substituting oil in the transport sector.
The group, comprising industry associations, NGOs and Commission officials, was put together by the European Commission to provide advice on developing political strategies for alternative fuels.
The transport sector is currently heavily dependent on oil, but concerns over projected rise in demand and spiralling greenhouse gas emissions have led to the search for viable alternative fuels.
The report identifies electricity via battery or hydrogen fuel cells and biofuels as the main options for substituting oil in transport.
In addition, natural gas and bio-methane could be used as back-ups, while synthetic fuels could bridge the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, it says. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) could supplement the energy mix with a market share of up to 10% by 2020.
Biofuels and synthetic solutions would technically be able to fuel all transport modes, but feedstock availability and sustainability considerations would in practice put constraints on their availability, the paper argues.
"The expected future energy demand in transport can therefore most likely not be met by one single fuel," it says.
Alternative fuels generally tend to be less energy-efficient than fossil fuels, but they also reduce CO2 emissions from transport. They will be promoted in the European Commission’s upcoming White Paper on Transport, expected in December, which is scheduled to launch an EU strategy for transport policy in the next decade.
"All these possible solutions have quite different potentials of application for future mobility, depending on market competition and future requirements of passenger cars and freight vehicles for traffic in urban areas and long distance travel," the report says.
The main options for complementing fossil fuels in road transport, aviation and long-distance freight by 2050 will be energy-dense liquid biofuels that can be distributed in existing infrastructures, it argues. They should be "blendable at high rates and offer high energy density" to decarbonise the fuel mix to the highest potential, it adds.
Electric vehicles, on the other hand, are foreseen mainly for short-distance travel, according to the report.
Weighing the costs
Alternative fuels are, as yet, more expensive than fossil fuels.
An electric car costs around €10,000-15,000 more than a traditional car and requires the building of a network of charging points, the report argues. The electricity cost before taxes, however, is comparable to the price of fuel for petrol or diesel vehicles, it adds.
A medium-sized hydrogen vehicle, on the other hand, would now cost €150,000-200,000 more than a standard car, as the technology has not been commercialised yet. Building the infrastructure would require an additional investment of €3-5 billion annually until 2020 and then fall to €2.5bn per year until 2050, assuming that there will be 70 million hydrogen fuel cell cars on Europe’s roads, the experts estimate.
Methane cars, on the other hand, are in the same price range as diesel cars. But fitting 100,000 fuel stations in Europe with methane outlets will cost €25bn, according to the report’s figures.
Considering the various infrastructure requirements of the different alternative fuels, the report concludes that fungible fuels and biofuels, which require only minor infrastructure changes, could have an upper hand over others that require dedicated infrastructure.
Call for policy strategy
In order to provide a consistent investment environment, the experts urge the EU to define a long-term trajectory for shifting to a predominantly alternative fuel transport system.
A long-term fuel strategy should first concentrate on increasing energy efficiency with energy efficiency policies in the end-use sectors, fuel efficiency standards and electric drive technology, the experts recommend.
Another priority would be to ensure that liquid biofuels are fully fungible and therefore allow flexible blending ratios of fossil and biomass-based products, they argue.
Harmonised standards a must
In the grand scheme of things, the experts call for harmonised standards for all fuels used EU-wide to "allow economies of scale for the market roll-out and free movement of all vehicles using these principal alternative fuels".
The wish-list is broadly supported by the EU executive, as a draft White Paper on Transport shows that the Commission is planning to elaborate an alternative fuel strategy so that the EU can fully meet the transport sector’s energy demand from carbon-free sources by 2050.
The Commission says it will propose measures for the broad market commercialisation of such fuels as well as for building infrastructure. It would further develop common standards for vehicles running on alternative fuels.
4.3. EU states express doubts over carbon offset ban
4 November 2010, EurActiv
European Union member states may oppose new rules on how far their factories and power plants can offset their carbon emissions, to be proposed by the European Commission, environment ministries told Reuters.
The EU executive is expected to propose in the next two weeks curbs or an outright ban from 2013 on the most common types of offsets.
Europe‘s emissions trading scheme caps planet-warming gases emitted by industry, but allows companies to offset emissions by paying for carbon cuts in developing countries, as a cheaper alternative to cutting their own.
Shutting the main supply of offsets could push up carbon prices, if agreed by a majority of member states at a meeting of Commission officials and environment ministers later this month.
"From Poland’s perspective, of course, the key problem are those installations which have to buy enormous amounts [of offsets]: price hikes would be problematic for them," said Urszula Allam-Pelka, an official at Poland’s environment ministry.
Allam-Pelka did not say that Poland would oppose a ban. East European countries including Poland have previously disputed their carbon caps, seeing these as a handcuff on economic growth.
The Commission questioned in August the environmental integrity of projects, mostly in China and India, which destroy a greenhouse gas by-product called HFC-23.
Such HFC projects accounted for about 60% of offsets imported into the EU emissions trading scheme last year, according to the Sandbag environmental group.
An EU-wide decision will be made by majority vote, requiring at least 14 of the bloc’s 27 countries, later this month. Several countries were still undecided.
"There is not yet a unified line by the German government," said a German environment ministry spokesman. The environment ministry had sympathies with the EU plan but a joint stance must be agreed with for example the economy ministry, he added.
An official at Spain’s environment ministry said: "We consider it essential to guarantee a suitable transition that does not put in question the security of trading and carbon markets."
A UK energy and climate ministry spokesperson said: "We welcome the Commission taking a proactive role in this area."
A spokesman for the Czech environment ministry said that they could support a ban. "The Czech Republic supports in principle this step – a limitation or a ban. It will of course depend on the concrete form of the measures," said Petr Kucera.
One possible alternative to a ban may be to discount HFC credits – for example making each worth half a carbon offset.
Italian industry sources said that they supported in general the replacement of HFC credits, but that it would be impossible to put that in place by the end of 2012, which they said would put at risk more than 200 million tonnes of credits.
The Italian government appeared to be supporting their position, the industry sources said. There was no immediate comment from Italy’s environment ministry.
An HFC ban would likely irritate developing countries, and especially China, home to many such projects.
UN climate talks resume later this month in Cancún, Mexico, and are deadlocked for example on how far rich countries should pay for emissions cuts in the developing world. The Kyoto offset scheme has been the main source of carbon finance so far.
5.1. CAMPAIGNER to work on the issue of resource use
Full time and working in the FoEE office in Brussels
Friends of the Earth campaigns for sustainable and just societies and for the protection of the environment. It unites more than 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups and is part of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International. Please see www.foeeurope.org for more information.
This is an excellent opportunity to join one of the leading green NGOs in Brussels and to be part of a vibrant network of national member organisations.
Profile of the position
The campaigner will work to enable FoEE (organisation and network) to progress towards our vision of a more sustainable and just society by maximising opportunities to leverage change within the area of resource use. The campaigner will work in the FoEE Resource Use and Consumption Programme under supervision of a Programme coordinator based in London. The person will work with FoEE member groups active in the issue as well as external partners. In the office s/he will collaborate closely with colleagues from other FoEE programmes.
More at: http://www.foeeurope.org/job/campaigner_resources_October10.html
5.2. Call for Experts – Vehicle Noise
ECOS and T&E would like to nominate an expert to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Working Group on Noise (UNECE, GRB). The technical work deals with the development of harmonised European (and international) motor vehicle standards (light, medium and heavy duty) relating to noise emissions.
The work of the expert will consist of the following:
1. Assessment of the ongoing work and drafting of positions/priorities for environmental NGO-involvement in this technical body
2. Regular representation of T&E at the UNECE GRB meetings of in Geneva – normally twice per year, plus sub-group meetings in Europe as appropriate. The expert must be available for the upcoming meetings in February and September 2011.
3. Due preparation for and reporting from meetings (following a standard template)
4. Cooperation with a coalition of interested experts and NGO-representatives.
For further details regarding the work of UNECE GRB see: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/wp29/wp29wgs/wp29grb/grbage.html
Remuneration of the expert:
– reimbursement of travel costs
– expert fees and per diems
Details according to ECOS terms and conditions provided on application.
Interested experts are asked to send a detailed CV including references of relevant work on vehicle noise and related fields for/with NGOs and/or other stakeholders as well as references of any relevant publications to [email protected] and [email protected] by 30 November 2010.
6.1. Climate policy tracker
Tuesday 23 November:10h00 – 12h00, WWF
It is the EU’s objective to reach a low-carbon economy by 2050.
Are we doing what is necessary to reach this target?
WWF cordially invites you to the launch of a new report, on Tuesday 23 November, which for the first time ever provides a unique and comprehensive overview of where Member States climate-related policies are today, with regards to the EU objective of reaching a low-carbon economy by 2050. The result is a powerful tool that will provide the basis for future discussions on how to face the climate crisis.
More at: http://assets.panda.org/downloads/wwf_invitation___climate_policy_tracker_23_november_2010.pdf
6.2. European youth climate justice convergence
Brussels, 26 Nov- 12th December 2010
Join us in Brussels this December, as hundreds of Youth from all across Europe
demand climate justice and real action from the UN Climate Talks in Cancún.
From 26th November to 12th December 2010, Young Friends of the Earth Europe are organising a two week convergence for young climate justice activists from all across Europe and Belgium, with a daily programme of activities and open spacefor you to participate in and learn about, follow and react on the issue of climate justice, in parallel with the negotiations in Cancún.
What will be happening?
Friday 26th- Monday 29th November: Join the European Climate Justice Assembly that kick’s off our two week convergence.
Monday 29th November- Sunday 12th December- A two weeks programme will include a mix of activities for: exchanging our knowledge, ideas and expertise through workshops & skill shares; the online following of negotiations & daily political briefings as events unfold in Cancún; demanding climate justice by creating actions and our own media relevant to the political climate in Brussels, Cancún and around the world.
These activities will take place at space in the city centre of Brussel, open to all who want to be a part in the above activities and use the space themselves to share, learn, plan and build further the movement for climate justice.
Our motivation for calling for this convergence
We’re calling out to all other networks, organisations and youth groups in Europe to be a part of this event. We hope it will be part of a longer process in which we build a movement that doesn’t only fight climate change, but that achieves climate justice.
Our call for climate justice goes far beyond the scope of the official UN summit! Independent of the results in Cancún could achieve, we believe it’s time to increase our own capacities and trust in our own strength to build a strong and diverse Climate Justice movement from the bottom up. Climate Justice is not just about tackling climate change. It is also about restoring the balance between the Global North, which should take up its historical responsibility for causing the problem of climate change, and the Global South, which is suffering without any doubt the hardest from the consequences of climate change. In this way, climate justice is where ecological and social justice meet.
We want to take out this message and stress the solidarity between those struggling for climate justice in the Global North and their counterparts in the Global South through devoting our program to a well balanced mix of activities. We will create a forum for actions, workshops, skill sharing space and speakers that deal with a broad range of issues. We will be occupied with: talking about climate change and its present and future consequences for