1.1. Global talks on new climate deal must start now, commissioner says
28 March 2007 , EUOBSERVER
EU environment minister Stavros Dimas wants increased European efforts to help kick-start an international post-Kyoto climate deal aimed at limiting the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking before MEPs in the European Parliament’s environment committee on Tuesday (27 March) Mr Dimas said a global climate deal should be an issue at all meetings – bilateral as well as multilateral – which the EU attends.
"We have to start negotiations in Bali this year to make an agreement in 2009," Mr Dimas stated.
"We should use all meetings prior to that – both bilateral and multilateral," he said, adding that it would help make progress on a post-Kyoto agreement.
Environment ministers from across the world are widely expected to agree on a mandate to start negotiations to replace the UN Kyoto Protocol – the international plan to fight global warming by limiting CO2 emissions which runs out in 2012 – at a December meeting in Bali, Indonesia, this year.
EU member Denmark announced last week that it is set to hold the UN climate summit in December 2009 where the Nordic country wants to clinch a new global climate deal.
"We expect a lot from the member states and from [the parliament] to make the necessary pressure and to raise awareness," Mr Dimas told MEPs.
G8 meeting in June
He also described the G8 meeting in June organised by Germany – the current holder of both the EU and the G8 presidencies – as one of the most important gatherings ahead of the Bali UN climate summit noting that expects progress to be made "especially at the G8."
"If this small number of leaders of big countries cannot agree, how can more than 200 leaders meeting in Bali agree?" Mr Dimas asked.
The world’s eight biggest economies – Canada , France , Germany , Italy , Japan , Russia , the UK and the US – are currently responsible for 52 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions.
However, the rapidly expanding economies of China and India are showing a swift increase in CO2 emissions – China is already the second largest polluter.
There is a lot of interest from China in energy efficiency because saving energy means saving money, Mr Dimas said, but added that there is less interest from India on the issue.
The EU executive is keen to get rapidly growing economies such as Brazil, China and India on the bandwagon for a global deal albeit with a "differentiated" treatment to the already industrialised countries.
He explained that from meetings with China and India , it has become very clear that if the world’s number one CO2 polluter – the US – would not sign up to the agreement, then neither will they.
"We have to focus on the US . We must be both cooperative and critical and give them the arguments in order to press the decision makers," Mr Dimas said.
1.2. European Union’s climate change goals will cost €1 trillion
28 March 2007 , The Guardian
The EU’s new climate change goals will cost up to €1.1 trillion (£747bn) to implement over the next 14 years, according to a new study.
The most comprehensive investigation on managing the economics of climate change paints a daunting picture of the EU’s plan to decrease greenhouse gases by at least 20% by 2020.
But the study by the consulting firm McKinsey published in a German newspaper yesterday, argues it is both economically and technically possible to reduce emissions on schedule, but that the political effort necessary will be immense.
"On the basis of a balanced, sensible application of the most easily accessible technology, we’re calculating that the EU states will face annual costs of between €60bn to €80bn up until 2020," said Thomas Vahlenkamp, a McKinsey energy expert.
The EU’s heads of state agreed on the bloc’s environmental goals at its meeting on March 9, but did not discuss how costs and targets would be met. Germany has said it wants to reduce its emissions by 40%.
A Cost Curve for Greenhouse Gas Reduction offers a detailed breakdown of the potential costs of reducing carbon emissions across different sectors, from forestry to transportation.
The study says that technology, such as energy-saving lightbulbs and windpower, is capable of reducing three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions.
To achieve cost-effective results, the study advises that politicians concentrate on implementing the cheapest and most effective environmental measures first, rather than the cost-heavy solutions such as building CO2-free coal power stations. "The potential in building insulation should be given much more attention," Mr Vahlenkamp said. "There is a wealth of cost-free possibilities that would neither negatively effect our lifestyles nor our comfort."
The report explains that it is easier and cheaper to reduce energy use than to capture and store byproducts of fossil fuels, such as CO2. For example, insulating a building could save €150 for each tonne of carbon dioxide reduced.
The study says it is possible for the world to reduce CO2 levels by 27bn tonnes by 2030, a figure at which, scientists suggest, global warming may be curbed.
The study said one of the greatest challenges was the developing world which produces half of the avoidable global CO2 emissions. In the west the economic benefits of climate protection measures – such as energy-saving lightbulbs – would be felt. In Africa , South America and Asia such potential would be much lower. But Africa and South America could contribute to worldwide CO2 reduction through cutting back on deforestation.
The study criticises the EU for giving priority to reducing emissions in electricity generation, which has the potential to lower its CO2 emissions by 6bn tonnes by 2030, while failing to give at least equal attention to the forestry industry that could reduce its share by 7bn tonnes through improved management.
1.3. China , Norway in new climate pact
27 March 2007 , China Daily
China will adopt on-the-ground strategies to combat climate change, with financial and technological backing from Norway .
Further strengthening their relationship yesterday, the two countries signed agreements in Beijing , witnessed by Premier Wen Jiabao and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, on a three-day official visit to China .
Among the three pacts is one targeting the effects of climate change, and will be jointly conducted by Norway , the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and China .
Details of the agreement were not immediately available, but a statement released by the UNDP said the programs would help Chinese provincial governments assess potential risks caused by climate change and develop ways to respond.
"The presence of the two top leaders shows the strong commitments of both governments to responding to the global challenge of climate change," Khalid Malik, the UNDP representative in China , said.
The $2 million project will be funded by Norway and is expected to be launched by the middle of the year by the National Coordination Committee on Climate Change of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planning agency, and the UNDP.
The project will look at ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the largest coal-producing Shanxi Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region by improving efficiency in regional industries.
The statement said the programs would also look at ways to help local governments mitigate the effects of glacial melting in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
During one-hour official talks prior to the signing of the pacts, the two leaders agreed to work out a framework agreement on environmental protection to help future co-operation.
Wen said China supported the Kyoto Protocol, although "the protocol gave no stipulations on the reduction of emissions for developing countries".
"The Chinese government will adopt a responsible attitude and seriously fulfill its obligations," Wen said.
China will go along with the international community, including Norway , to intensify international cooperation in combating climate change, improve its energy efficiency, develop clean energy and strive to control greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
Stoltenberg said the environmental problems throughout the globe are partly caused by the industrialization of the developed countries and they have the responsibility to help developing countries reduce emissions.
He said his country was willing to help China reach its goal of emission reduction by increasing investment and sharing its technologies.
The two leaders also agreed to optimize the trade structure between the two sides, encourage more two-way investments and expand cooperation in the field of clean energy, energy saving, fishery and forestry.
They pledged to launch joint feasibility studies on a free trade agreement between China and Norway at the earliest possible date.
Norway is the 69th country in the world to grant China complete market economy status, but China ‘s biggest trade partner the United States , the European Union and Japan have yet to do so.
1.4. New report calls for decisive, concerted, sustained actions to combat climate change
21 March 2007 , http://www.wbcsd.org/plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?type=DocDet&ObjectId=MjM0OTQ
Policy Directions to 2050: A business contribution to the dialogues on cooperative action, launched today, asserts that the only way to combat climate change is through decisive, concerted and sustained actions between governments, businesses and consumers.
The publication, produced by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), identifies policy options to sustain economic growth while transforming the ways we access, produce and consume energy. Presented as an illustrative roadmap from which routes must be chosen, it explores policy ideas and concepts for the transition to a low greenhouse gas (GHG) economy. It calls for the development and deployment of leading-edge technologies through partnerships and incentives and an approach to mitigate long-term market risk and deliver secure benefits for large-scale, low-carbon, new-technology projects.
"Governments must start building the future policy frameworks, and it is necessary for us in business to begin to respond to those policies in time to meet the future emission reduction targets. We can not continue the ‘you first’ mentality. We need leadership and action by both governments and business," says WBCSD President Björn Stigson.
Policy Directions to 2050, launched at a key WBCSD members’ meeting here, says that "international efforts on climate change must recognize the sovereignty of national energy policy decisions, but at the same time provide the necessary global context for those decisions and the tools to optimize GHG emissions management. Systematically decarbonizing the global energy mix will require a broad and efficient mix of policies and programs, and there is a need to learn from current approaches and instruments that are being used and continue to evolve at international, regional and domestic levels."
"The world has reached an unsustainable trend in greenhouse gas emissions, so we now need to take action to decarbonize as much as possible the world’s energy mix. Resources are to be used more efficiently at the same time as we meet growing energy needs," says Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of French energy company Areva and Co-Chair of the WBCSD’s Energy and Climate Focus Area. "For that to happen one key element is to collectively define a global, long-term and quantifiable pathway for annual greenhouse gas emissions. This shared diagnosis could then be a point of reference for the development of national energy and climate policies."
The publication puts forth four policy priorities:
1. Establishing by 2010 a quantifiable, long-term (50-year), global emissions pathway for the management of GHG emissions.
2. Closing the gap that will exist after 2012 (when the Kyoto Protocol expires), using the existing international framework as a basis, and modifying it to build up from local, national, sector or regional programs.
3. Building robust programs at the national level, and in support of the international pathway. Such programs would include encouraging energy efficiency; broadening the range of fuels in the transport sector; and country-wide boosting of awareness and incentives for consumers across all levels of society toward low-carbon products, services and lifestyles.
4. Developing and commercializing a number of low- and zero-GHG technologies over the coming decades. These will require supporting policies and programs to address technical and cost challenges.
Policy Directions to 2050 explores and introduces ideas for a new international framework and addresses key policy issues within power generation, industry and manufacturing, mobility, buildings and consumer choices, asking three basis questions: What is needed? Why is it needed? How could it work? Through this approach, the WBCSD hopes to stimulate the debate by contributing business insights that can help encourage the required technological and behavioral changes.
"Demand for energy will increase by 60% by 2030. As demand increases, so will GHG emissions. All stakeholders, whether they be customers, shareholders, NGOs or the communities in which we work, will expect us to meet this increase in a sustainable way. But business cannot do this alone; it needs government to establish the necessary policy frameworks to get the ball rolling and put the technology into place," says Eivind Reiten, President and CEO of Norsk Hydro and Co-Chair of the WBCSD’s Energy and Climate Focus Area.
The publication is the third in the Energy & Climate series and reflects the WBSCD’s continued engagement with governments in the search for solutions. Earlier publications included Facts and Trends to 2050 and Pathways to 2050, which sought to create a basis for dialogue and action by translating the scale and complexity of these challenges into simple, illustrative pathways to 2050. This trilogy has helped a variety of stakeholders think about the ways in which energy flows through the global economy and affects the climate.
1.5. Commission takes legal action against six Member States over missing information
22 March 2007
The European Commission is taking legal action against 6 Member States for not providing information required as part of the EU’s efforts to combat climate change. The 6 are Bulgaria , Estonia , Greece , Italy , Luxembourg , and Malta . Luxembourg will be taken to the European Court of Justice and Estonia and Greece will receive final warnings for not communicating important technical information relating to their greenhouse gas emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol. The other cases concern Member States’ failure to provide complete reports on their progress in limiting or cutting emissions.
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas commented: "Accurate, up-to-date information is an essential basis for fighting climate change effectively. I urge the Member States concerned to provide the missing information as soon as possible and to meet the agreed deadlines in future."
‘Assigned amount’ reports
Three Member States have not provided a complete set of important technical information that is needed for establishing their permitted emission level in tonnes – their ‘assigned amount’ – under the Kyoto Protocol.
A Commission Decision required EU-15 Member States to provide this information by 15 January 2006 and EU-10 Member States by 15 June 2006 .
Despite a final warning last December, (see IP/06/1763) Luxembourg has failed to provide all the necessary information and will now be taken to the European Court of Justice. Estonia and Greece will receive final warning letters on the same grounds.
In their assigned amount reports, Member States need to include their annual emissions of greenhouse gases and the sources of these since their base year, the base year they have selected for measuring changes in their emissions of fluorinated gases, and what they propose their assigned amount should be on the basis of methodologies established under the Kyoto Protocol.
Reporting on greenhouse gas emission levels
The Commission is taking action against four Member States for failing to provide complete annual reports on their progress in limiting or cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Malta is being sent a final written warning since it has yet to provide the report that was due on 15 January 2006 . Malta will also receive a first written warning for failing to provide the report due on 15 January of this year, as will Bulgaria , Italy , and Luxembourg .
The national reports are required under a 2004 EU Decision on monitoring emissions and implementing the Kyoto Protocol. They are needed by the Commission to prepare annual reports on Community emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
Article 226 of the Treaty gives the Commission powers to take legal action against a Member State that is not respecting its obligations.
If the Commission considers that there may be an infringement of EU law that warrants the opening of an infringement procedure, it addresses a "Letter of Formal Notice" (first written warning) to the Member State concerned, requesting it to submit its observations by a specified date, usually two months.
In the light of the reply or absence of a reply from the Member State concerned, the Commission may decide to address a "Reasoned Opinion" (final written warning) to the Member State . This clearly and definitively sets out the reasons why it considers there to have been an infringement of EU law, and calls upon the Member State to comply within a specified period, usually two months.
If the Member State fails to comply with the Reasoned Opinion, the Commission may decide to bring the case before the Court of Justice. Where the Court of Justice finds that the Treaty has been infringed, the offending Member State is required to take the measures necessary to conform.
Article 228 of the Treaty gives the Commission power to act against a Member State that does not comply with a previous judgement of the European Court of Justice. The article also allows the Commission to ask the Court to impose a financial penalty on the Member State concerned.
1.6. Denmark to host 2009 U.N. summit, aims for new climate treaty
21 March 2007 , The Associated Press
Denmark will host a U.N. environmental summit in 2009 at which the Scandinavian country hopes nations will agree on a new climate change treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the government said Wednesday.
The new agreement should include the United States — which rejected Kyoto — and other major polluters like India and China , Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
The Kyoto Protocol, a U.N. treaty which expires in 2012, requires 35 industrial nations to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases collectively by 5 percent from 1990 levels.
The U.S. — responsible for about one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases that scientists blame for global warming — rejected the 1997 Kyoto protocol, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy.
The 2009 summit was scheduled for December in Copenhagen , but no exact date had been set, Fogh Rasmussen said.
1.7. Climate change top of APEC agenda
31 March 2007 , http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21479767-1702,00.html
Climate change is to be top of the agenda at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in Sydney later this year. Prime Minister John Howard said today he had written to the other 20 APEC leaders inviting them to the September leaders’ summit, outlining plans to make clean development and climate change a key agenda topic.
The 21 APEC economies, which include the world’s largest energy consumers, the United States , Japan and China , already account for 60 per cent of global energy demand.
Mr Howard said energy demand across APEC was projected to double by 2030, based on 2002 levels.
"Last year in Hanoi leaders instructed ministers to report in Sydney on ways APEC might respond to the challenge of meeting rapidly growing energy demands while minimising environmental effects,” he said.
"We now need to give practical effect to that instruction.”
Mr Howard said many APEC economies were already engaged in a range of joint initiatives in areas such as clean coal technology, renewable energy and energy efficiency aimed at achieving practical results.
That includes the $200 million Global Initiative on Forests and Climate announced this week.
"We now have an opportunity to build on this cooperation and ensure that broader Asia-Pacific perspectives on climate change and the role of our economies are given full voice in shaping the relevant international frameworks into the future,” he said.
Mr Howard said Australia ‘s economic destiny was very much within the Asia-Pacific region and it made sense that the Australian response to climate change was geared to regional interests and perspectives.
"This is the approach we have taken with the AP6 initiative, and it is strongly in our interests to strengthen dialogue on energy and climate change in APEC,” he said.
"Australia is demonstrating strong leadership by putting the issue at the centre of one of the major leaders summits of the year and is committed to developing a strong regional response to this pressing international challenge.”
2.1. The Greens say Biofuels Are Not Green
29 March 2007 , Press Release from the Green Party
The Green Party passed a ground breaking motion at its Spring Party Conference in Swansea (March 22nd – March 25th ; motion was passed on morning of Sun. March 25th) for an immediate suspension of all biofuel targets and obligations until the environmental, ‘food versus fuel’ and human-rights issues are resolved. Greens also called for import bans on products linked, directly or indirectly to deforestation.
The new policy called for a halt to targets and obligations for biofuel production and identifies just a limited role for biofuels only where they do not lead to an increase in the area of the planet under agriculture.
Greens point out that governments are smugly hiding behind a biofuels myth – the carbon neutrality myth – to avoid making the real policies needed to decarbonise transport systems. This three-fold deception deludes motorists that life goes on unimpeded; exports our transport sector emissions to tropical agriculture; and helps agri-chemi-bio-tech corporate interests, as with tax support for biofuels in Gordons Brown’s budget, not climate stability.
Councillor Rupert Read from Norwich says “We must arrest the new commercial climate-dangerous exploitation of the tropics being driven by recent large-scale US ethanol forays into Latin America and by the EU Biofuels target. Transport sector emissions can be cut more safely and effectively by reducing our demand for fuel.“
Councillor Andrew Boswell from Norwich explained how a Green government would save fuel by not developing large-scale biofuels: “We would cut wasteful road building programmes, instead making massive investment in public transport; we would promote increased engine efficiency – emissions could be cut by 15% at an extra cost of just €600 per car, recouped quickly by cheaper running costs; and we would support research into plug-in hybrids that could run for 60 miles on renewably produced electricity before using any fuel.“
2.2. Commissioner Piebalgs welcomes increased cooperation with the US on energy issues
On a visit to Washington DC , just after the adoption of the Energy Policy for Europe and in the run-up to the next EU-US Summit, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed the increased cooperation with the United States in the field of energy supply and security. Following the Declaration of last year to increase strategic energy cooperation, the Commission has worked closely with the US authorities on a wide range of energy issues. Research is the key area for cooperation, particularly in biofuels development and energy efficiency.
“I am pleased with our progress made especially towards developing a joint approach on biofuels including the second generation biofuels. However new technologies are only part of the picture. The efficient use of energy is also a key element and I believe that in this sphere the EU has a lot to offer in terms of know-how and best practice", said Commissioner Piebalgs after meeting with Energy Secretary Bodman. Commissioner Piebalgs is currently on a two-day visit to Washington where he is meeting several high ranking energy officials and a number of political leaders.
The EU and the US agreed at their Summit in Vienna on 21 June 2006 to develop strategic energy cooperation and therefore contribute to global energy security. Bilateral cooperation has been strengthened notably on biofuels, clean coal and carbon sequestration, energy efficiency, methane recovery, and, more generally, on energy security issues.
Both sides also agreed to take stock of progress by holding periodic Strategic Energy Reviews and this will also take place during the Commissioner’s visit.
2.3. Natura Opens First of Three Spanish Biofuel Plants
27 March 2007 , PLANET EARTH REUTERS
Spanish energy group Natura opened a 100,000 tonne a year biodiesel plant in Ocana, on the plains of La Mancha in central Spain on Monday, and said it had two bigger plants in the works.
The first plant, run by Biocarburantes Castilla La Mancha, is the largest so far in Spain and will start full scale production using imported soy oil in April, Natura’s Chairman Juan Carlos Jimenez told a news conference.
Plant-based biodiesel can be used instead of regular diesel to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for global warming, and European Union governments are encouraging its use as part of efforts to curb climate change.
By the end of 2008 Natura plans to have completed a 200,000 tonne a year plant in the port of Alicante and a 500,000 tonne one in the northern Spanish port of Gijon , which is says will be the biggest in the world.
"For now we are using imported oil, mainly soy, but we can use any vegetable oil, anything Spain can produce," Jimenez said.
The company says it will offer farmers long term contracts and is encouraging them to switch to sunflower, soy or rapeseed.
Another advantage is that these are less thirsty crops than the traditional alfalfa, maize or beet.
Substituting oilseeds for these crops over 1.2 million hectares (3 million acres) — the area Natura estimates would be needed to supply its three plants — could save 4,000 cubic metres of water a year, it says.
"There’s a tremendous deficit of biodiesel in Spain ," Jimenez said. The Ocana plant has already sold its output for the first two years, mainly to the major fuel companies, who will blend it with mineral diesel.
As the Natura brand becomes better known it will probably sell more of its diesel for use in pure form. Most vehicles can use biodiesel without any engine modification.
The production plants can switch to using oil made from non-food crops once the technology exists to produce it at a reasonable cost, said Jimenez’s brother Juan Francisco, chairman of the Jimenez Belinchon group. The family-owned company and financial group Ahorro Corporacion are Natura’s biggest shareholders.
"Our R&D unit is is testing oils like jatropha, cotton or coconut and will look at the possibility of using toxic oils, if we can manage to remove the toxins," Juan Carlos Jimenez said.
Some 70 percent of Spanish vehicles are diesel, and the country so far produces only a fraction of the biodiesel it would need to reach the EU goal of 5.75 percent usage in transport by 2010.
2.4. Singapore to Spend US$230 Mln on Clean Energy Research
27 March 2007 , Reuters
Singapore will spend S$350 million (US$230 million) on research into clean forms of energy over the next five years to meet soaring energy demand in the region, the government said on Monday.
The tropical city-state will focus on solar power and fuel cell technologies research, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said, adding that the sector could create some 7,000 jobs and make up 0.6 percent of gross domestic product by 2015.
Located close to the equator, Singapore is well-placed to conduct research into how solar energy can be harnessed for the benefit of some one billion people in South and Southeast Asia who do not have access to electricity, EDB officials said.
"The clean energy industry is experiencing robust global growth due to rising energy demand, climate change concerns and technological advances," Lim Siong Guan, EDB’s chairman, said.
The Southeast Asian city-state is keen to design and produce clean energy technologies such as solar panels, and to attract energy firms which want to enter the Asian market.
Energy firms that already have research facilities in Singapore include German solar firm Conergy and Vestas,the world’s biggest wind turbine maker.
Clean energies — which also include wind, hydro, tidal power and biomass — could surge to supply half of world demand by 2050, compared with 13.2 percent currently, if governments crack down on the use of fossil fuels, the European Renewable Energy Council and Greenpeace said in January.
2.5. “Scrap Euratom!” demand Europeans – Piebalgs accepts gift boxes full of signatures on nuclear treaty’s 50th birthday
23 March 2007
Ahead of the 50th anniversaries of the EU and its pro-nuclear Euratom Treaty, 780 organisations and 630,000 individuals have demanded abolition of Euratom and a phase-out of nuclear power across Europe . European Energy Commissioner Piebalgs received birthday presents packed with signatures today, and campaigners encouraged EU member states to consider the legally sound option of unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear treaty.
Frank van Schaik, from the European Petition Campaign against Nuclear Power said:
“For the last fifty years, the Euratom Treaty has given unjustified and undemocratic preferential financial support to nuclear power. People across Europe have demanded that the treaty should be scrapped. And failing that, member states should exercise their sovereign right to withdraw unilaterally and halt their own contribution to this outdated nuclear fund.”
Several recent studies published by German and Austrian professors of international law conclude that it is legally possible for the EU member states to independently pull out of the Euratom Treaty, without affecting their position in the EU.
The petition urges the European Commission, the European Parliament and all EU member states to:
1. Stop or prevent the construction of new nuclear power plants and facilities in the European Union
2. Launch a plan to abandon nuclear power within the European Union
3. Invest massively in energy saving and the development of renewable energies
4. End the Euratom Treaty, which massively supports nuclear power in Europe by means of public funding
The petition enforces the recent Eurobarometer poll showing that 61% of the overall EU population thinks the share of nuclear power should be decreased due to concerns such as nuclear waste and the danger of accidents.
In total, Piebalgs received 634,686 signatures from individuals and 782 signatures from organisations from all over Europe , packaged in 27 “unhappy birthday presents”. French and Belgian anti-nuclear campaigners marched from Lille through Belgium to hand over their contribution to the petition. Activists were dressed in radioactive protection suits and party hats. After receiving the presents, Piebalgs was offered a piece of ‘anti-nuclear birthday cake’.
The European Petition Campaign against Nuclear Power stresses that nuclear power is still dangerous and produces a radioactive legacy of waste. Furthermore, nuclear power is not a solution to climate change – in the complete production chain of nuclear power, a considerable amount of carbon dioxide is released. In addition, as nuclear power is extortionately expensive, building new power plants is economically risky and relies on a huge injection of public money.
“An enormous amount of people in Europe don’t want nuclear power. A nuclear accident would be disastrous; radioactive waste lingers for hundreds of years; and we will save our climate much more cheaply by investing in renewables and energy efficiency instead of pouring money into extortionate nuclear power,” Mr Van Schaik concluded.
3.1. The winners and losers of climate change
2 April 2007 , Reuters
Northern nations such as Russia or Canada may be celebrating better harvests and less icy winters in coming decades even as rising seas are washing away Pacific island states.
A draft UN report to be issued in Brussels at the end of the week foresees unequal impacts from warming: tropical nations from Africa to the Pacific, mostly poor, are likely to bear the brunt but those nearer the poles, mostly rich, may briefly benefit.
"At least for a few decades there will be a few winners," says Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of 2500 experts that will release the report outlining regional impacts of warming.
But he says most scenarios foresee an extended rise in temperatures this century, stoked by rising concentrations of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.
"Clearly there would be no winners left anywhere," he says.
Pachauri declined to give details of the report but a draft seen by Reuters projects heatwaves, droughts and floods that could cause more hunger for millions of people, mainly in Asia and Africa , and water shortages for up to 3.2 billion.
It also says, however, that world farms could gain from up to a 3°C rise in temperatures because of better crop growth at higher latitudes.
And less cold towards the poles could also mean fewer deaths in winter, lower heating bills and more tourism, aiding nations from Scandinavia to New Zealand .
Are there any real winners?
Even so, many reject the idea of climate change winners.
"You can have positive effects in some sectors and very negative in others. It’s impossible to say what the bottom line will be," says Norwegian environment minister Helen Bjoernoy.
She says rising temperatures might mean "sweeter apples and cherries" in Scandinavia or less need for snow ploughs in winter to clear the streets. But stocks of cod or herring might move north, damaging fisheries.
"With a temperature rise of perhaps 2-3°C you would see benefits for the whole temperate zone," says Dr Richard Tol of the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin .
"But if you approach it from an ethical perspective, that your emissions will affect people in Bangladesh , then clearly you have to think again," he says.
In Europe , he says places north of about Bordeaux in France could benefit. Portland , Oregon , in the US and Vladivostok in Russia are roughly on the same latitude.
Among regional losers, the draft report says Himalayan glaciers could shrink on current trends to 100,000 square kilometres by 2030 from 500,000 square kilometres now.
Glaciers regulate river levels and link to irrigation for hundreds of millions of people in Asia .
Low-lying small island states, such as Tuvalu in the Pacific or the Maldives in the Indian Ocean , fear they could disappear below the waves as seas rise. Millions of people from China to Florida live in low-lying coastal areas.
"Sea-level rise and increased sea water temperature are projected to accelerate beach erosion, and cause degradation of natural coastal defences such as mangroves and coral reefs," the draft says of small island states.
A UN report in February said seas could gain by 18-59 centimetres by 2100.
And the new draft says that many dry regions, such as the Mediterranean basin, the Western US , southern Africa and northeastern Brazil "will suffer a decrease of water resources due to climate change".
Russian fur coats
Russian President Vladimir Putin once mused in 2002, before deciding to ratify the UN’s Kyoto Protocol for fighting global warming, that warming might be good for his chill nation.
"Maybe it would be good and we could spend less on fur coats and other warm things," he said.
But other experts say rising temperatures could thaw permafrost on which many roads and towns are built, from northern Canada to Siberia , and bring forest pests north.
"And in many regions farming cannot simply move north; Russia and Canada simply lack suitable soils," Tol says.
Anders Portin, senior vice-president of the Finnish Forestry Industry Federation, says:
"It’s a very dangerous avenue to say there are benefits from climate change," adding that paper producers would "certainly not" be net beneficiaries.
3.2. Warming will end some species
31 March 2007 , The Associated Press
From the micro to the macro, from plankton in the oceans to polar bears in the far north and seals in the far south, global warming has begun changing life on Earth, international scientists will report next Friday.
"Changes in climate are now affecting physical and biological systems on every continent," says a draft obtained by The Associated Press of a report on warming’s impacts, to be issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the authoritative U.N. network of 2,000 scientists and more than 100 governments.
In February the panel declared it "very likely" most global warming has been caused by manmade emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Animal and plant life in the Arctic and Antarctic is undergoing substantial change, scientists say. Rising sea levels elsewhere are damaging coastal wetlands. Warmer waters are bleaching and killing coral reefs, pushing marine species toward the poles, reducing fish populations in African lakes, research finds.
"Hundreds of species have already changed their ranges, and ecosystems are being disrupted," said University of Michigan ecologist Rosina Bierbaum, former head of the U.S. IPCC delegation. "It is clear that a number of species are going to be lost."
The IPCC draft estimates that if temperatures rise approximately 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit more, one-third of species will be lost from their current range, either moved elsewhere or vanished.
3.3. Climate change set to overwhelm the world’s poorest
29 March 2007 , Friends of the Earth International
On 6 April, the world’s leading scientific experts are to gather in Brussels , Belgium , to launch the second volume from the United Nation’s Fourth Assessment Report, which addresses climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.
The report is expected to portray a bleak future for the world’s poorest countries, which have done least to pollute the atmosphere. Despite the negligible historical emissions of greenhouse gases by the least developed countries, their people will suffer most from climate change, as they are the most vulnerable to the impacts and least able to adapt.
The second volume of the Fourth Assessment Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group II provides the starkest warning yet on the threat of global climate change and predicts the severe consequences the planet will face unless world leaders take urgent action to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.
Friends of the Earth International’s Climate Campaigner, Catherine Pearce, said: "The scientific findings are stronger than ever. This report is likely to confirm that not only are we seeing the impacts of climate change around us already, but worse is yet to come and the world’s poorest people are being hardest hit.
"The industrialised world, including the USA , must lead the way by making significant cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions and helping less developed countries to develop sustainable, low-carbon economies.
"Current efforts on adaptation, including available funds, are clearly inadequate to meet the scale of what is required. Urgent assistance is needed for those developing countries, which have done nothing to contribute to the current threat of climate change and are already facing the devastating effects."
"In Bali this December, industrialised countries must also agree a more effective and stronger second round to the Kyoto agreement on climate change which starts in 2013.”
The UN report – the second of a series based on the latest scientific literature – analyses how climate change is affecting natural and human systems, what the impacts will be and how far adaptation and mitigation can reduce the impacts.
The report, which has taken six years to compile, draws on research by 2,500 scientists from over 130 countries and should shock the world into taking urgent action to reduce global emissions.
Government delegates from more than 100 countries are expected to agree that hundreds of millions of people are vulnerable to flooding due to sea level rise, especially in densely populated and low-lying settlements which already face other challenges, such as tropical storms.
The UN report is also expected to warn that projected climate change is likely to affect millions of people through increases in malnutrition, deaths, disease and injury due to heat waves, floods, storms, fires and droughts.
Worryingly, scientists are also expected to state that over the next half-century it is very likely that climate change will impede the achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.
4.1. "International and EU Climate Change Policies after COP 12 / MOP 2: Challenges and Opportunities for the New Member States and Candidate Countries".
The workshop is part of the conference series on "Future Climate Change Policy: Looking beyond 2012" and will take place in Prague at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on 12 April, 2007 .
For the workshop programme, please refer to Ecologic’s website at http://www.ecologic-events.de/climate2012/prague/programme.htm.
The registration form is available for download at http://www.ecologic-events.de/climate2012/prague/registration.
Further information: http://www.ecologic-events.de/climate2012/prague/index.htm.
4.2. International "Coping with Nuclear Waste" Conference
Stockholm 27-29 April 2007
Organised by The Swedish NGO Nuclear Waste Secretariat (MILKAS). The conference will take place in Stockholm , Friday 27 to Sunday 29 April 2007 . The Sunday session is an internal NGO strategy meeting. An overall perspective on nuclear waste is urgently needed, from the enormous quantity of waste produced by uranium mining to the final storage of spent nuclear fuel.
All interested individuals and organisations that want to influence these crucial issues are welcome to attend.
An on-line registration form is available at: http://www.nuwinfo.se/waste2007registration.
4.3. Russia and the Kyoto Protocol 2007
St. Petersburg , 24 – 25 May
Online registration will be available soon. Meanwhile please write to [email protected] to get registered.
Following the overwhelming success of last year’s conference which gathered over 300 participants and 20 exhibitors from from 24 countries, we are pleased to invite you to meet the Russian authorities, project owners and developers, emission reduction buyers, potential project hosts, technology providers, carbon investors and analysts.
To learn more about the conference, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please visit http://www.pointcarbon.com/Events/article20697-369.html.
4.4. International Young Scholar Network for Earth Systems Science, Third Workshop
Bristol , UK June 2-5, 2007
This small workshop will focus on understanding decision making on land-use issues, in order to move towards modelling these processes in Earth System Models. We encourage interdisciplinary applicants from the natural and social sciences, economics, engineers and scholars from the humanities with research interests in the Earth system. The goal of the YSN workshop will be a manuscript reviewing the state-of-art in decision-making in land-use modelling and its impacts on biogeochemistry and climate from an Earth’s System perspective, and prioritise future research topics. Participants will be expected to write whitepapers before the workshop, and continue finalizing the manuscript after the workshop.
For more information see the attached flyer and also the web page at: http:///ww.aimes.ucar.edu/activities/YSN/2007_UK/YSN_BRISTOL.shtml.
4.5. YouPEC – European Youth Perspective on Energy and Climate
From June 22nd-27th, 2007 , the Youth Alliance for Future Energy, a public network of individuals and youth organizations, will hold YouPEC, a European conference on climate and energy, in Berlin . Young Friends of the Earth Germany (BUNDjugend) is responsible for the administration and organization of the conference.
Conference participants will be young people between the ages of 18 and 27 from all 27 member countries of the European Union. Five active young people from each country will be selected and invited to attend the conference.
The conference offers a unique opportunity for participants to forge international contacts and deepen their knowledge, exchange ideas and explore courses of action in the field of energy and climate protection. Therefore the various consequences of climate change (in terms of biodiversity, weather and living conditions etc.) and energy use and politics will be the central educational themes of the conference.
The goals of the conference are the development of a strategy to combat climate change from the point of view of young people, the drafting of a declaration and a personal commitment to protect the climate, as well as the planning of one or more European projects to reduce CO2 emissions.
The conference is being sponsored by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
For further information contact: Julia Balz, [email protected].
4.6. IEW meeting 2007: first announcement
The International Energy Workshop (IEW) is a network of global energy experts who meet annually to discuss a wide range of topics, with particular emphasis on global as well as regional energy issues. The annual IEW meetings focus on energy assessments and try to understand the reasons for diverging views of development in the energy sector. This year’s meeting will be held 25–27 June 2007 at Stanford University , Stanford , California .
A call for abstracts in the energy-economy-environment field (including Post-2012 Regimes for the UNFCCC) can be found at http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/ECS/IEW2007/index_1stannouncement.html.
4.7. Scientific framework of environmental and forest governance — The role of discourses and expertise
The IUFRO conference to be held on 27 and 28 of August 2007 in Goettingen/Germany.
Please consult the Call for Papers for further information under: http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-6/60000/61200/61202/activities/ or http://www.iufro.org/download/file/1648/3058/goettingen07-call-for-paper.doc.
4.8. DISCCRS International Interdisciplinary Climate Change Symposium
Hawaii , Sept. 10-17, 2007 — Deadline for applications: 30 April 2007 .
Airfare, room & board are fully paid for 36 accepted candidates from around the world. Social scientists are especially encouraged to apply!
DISCCRS (pronounced "discourse") is an interdisciplinary initiative for recent Ph.D. graduates conducting research related to climate change and its impacts. The goal is to broaden research interests and establish a collegial peer network extending across the spectrum of natural and social sciences, humanities, mathematics, engineering and other disciplines related to climate change and its impacts. The initiative includes a public webpage, electronic newsletter, and annual symposia funded through 2008.
Expenses: Airfare and on-site expenses are provided through NSF grant EAR-0435728 to Whitman College .
Eligibility: Ph.D. requirements related to climate change and impacts. Recent Ph.D. graduates from all disciplines and countries are invited to join the DISCCRS network and apply to be a DISCCRS symposium scholar.
Thirty-six applicants will be selected by an interdisciplinary committee of research scientists. During the week participants will provide oral and poster presentations in plenary format, hone interdisciplinary communication and team skills, and discuss emerging research, societal and professional issues with each other and with established researchers invited to serve as mentors.
For questions, please contact: [email protected].
4.9. COP 13, COP/MOP3
Venue of the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) and the third session of the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 3) Nusa Dua, Bali, 3 to 14 December 2007.
The Bureau of the UNFCCC met on Tuesday, 13 February 2007 and decided to accept with gratitude the offer by the Government of Indonesia to host COP 13 and COP/MOP 3 at the Bali International Conference Centre and the adjacent facilities and services in Nusa Dua.
The Bureau requested the secretariat to complete the corresponding host country agreement with Indonesia in time for the sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies in May 2007.
Further information on the Conference will appear on the UNFCCC website.
5.1. Dictionary and Introduction to Global Environmental Governance
By Richard E. Saunier and Richard A. Meganck
The book provides a compilation of over 5000 terms, organizations and acronyms, drawn from hundreds of official sources. An introductory essay frames the major issues in GEG and outlines the pitfalls of talking past one another when discussing the most critical of issues facing the planet.
More about the book: http://shop.earthscan.co.uk/ProductDetails/mcs/productID/777.
5.2. Introduction to Energy Analysis
Thorough introduction into the analysis of energy systems and energy technologies and treats both the energy supply and energy demands systems. The book is suitable for students (Master and Bachelor), as well as for professionals wanting to refresh and update their knowledge.
Introduction to Energy Analysis is available as from Mid April.
For more information: http://www.technepress.nl/publications.php?id=17.
5.3. Size, structure and distribution of transport subsidies in Europe
Technical report No 3, published at: http://reports.eea.europa.eu/technical_report_2007_3.
Abstract: Transport contributes to several environmental problems such as climate change, air emissions and noise and is at the same time favoured by significant subsidies. An EEA report identifies European transport subsidies worth at least EUR 270 to 290 billion a year. Road transport receives EUR 125 billion in annual subsidies, most of it as infrastructure subsidies, assuming that taxes on road transport are not regarded as contributions to finance infrastructure. Aviation, as the mode with the highest specific climate impact, gets significant subsidies in the form of preferential tax treatment, in particular exemptions from fuel tax and VAT, which add up to EUR 27 to 35 billion per year. Rail is subsidised with EUR 73 billion per year and benefits the most from other on-budget subsidies. For water-borne transport, EUR 14 to 30 billion in subsidies have been identified.
5.4. Guidebook to markets and commercialization of forestry CDM projects
The guidebook to markets and commercialization of forestry CDM projects provides an overview of forestry CDM projects, a description of the carbon markets, and it gives recommendations to the project developer.
The information contained in this guidebook is based on in-depth interviews with key market actors, a review of secondary information, and on a survey among market actors. In addition, the guidebook lists minimum requirements that CDM forestry projects need to meet, outlines steps of the CDM project cycle, gives an overview of risks, looks at forestry CDM projects from a financial viewpoint, and discusses quality standards. Besides, it outlines the present state of the markets and describes some of the mechanics and policy processes underlying them. A section is dedicated to the procedures for commercialization of carbon credits and analyzes buyers’ preferences, and project success criteria. Finally, the guidebook recommends strategies for carbon credit commercialization. The project developer is provided with a check-list to checking concrete initiatives against the data and the insights that this guidebook compiles.
You could download the study for free on the website www.proyectoforma.com.
6.1. Capturing and storing CO2 underground – Should we be concerned?
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on benefits and challenges of carbon capture and storage (CCS), and how this technology relates to other energy and greenhouse gas mitigation options!
You are invited to express your views: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/ccs/consult_en.htm.
The European Commission is preparing an enabling legal framework on carbon capture and storage (CCS) – a technology concept that potentially is important for the environment and energy policies of the European Union.
To that end, the European Commission has launched a public on-line consultation on CCS, which runs until 16 April 2007 . We would much appreciate if you could take 20 minutes of your time to respond to this consultation, and if you could inform your contacts about this consultation.
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected].