1.1. EU urges relaunch of global climate talks
5 February 2007 , EurActiv
A worldwide agreement on climate change is now more urgently needed than ever, said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas after the publication of a major UN-backed report blaming most of global warming on humans.
New scientific evidence on climate change is "alarming" and calls for "more action to limit greenhouse-gas emissions" worldwide, the EU said on 2 February.
"It is now more urgent than ever that the international community gets down to serious negotiations on a comprehensive new worldwide agreement to stop global warming," said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.
The call came in reaction to a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published on 2 February 2007, which showed that global average temperature will likely rise by a further 1.8-4.0°C this century, after increasing by more than 0.7°C in the past 100 years.
"Even the low end of this range would take the temperature rise since pre-industrial times to above 2°C, the level at which there could be irreversible and possibly catastrophic consequences," the Commission said in a statement.
On 10 January, the EU executive put forward plans for a ‘unilateral’ 20% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 in a bid to reduce Europe’s dependency on imported fuels and trigger a new ‘industrial revolution’ (EurActiv 11/01/07).
But it also warned that the EU, being responsible for only 14% of worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions, could not solve the problem alone.
"To stabilise global emissions of greenhouse gases, the next step must be for developed countries to cut their emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020," Dimas added. "In particular, we expect the US as the world first emitter of greenhouse gases to take action."
Meanwhile, on 3 February, more than 40 countries signed a call for action to "promote growth that respects the environment" at a conference on global ecological governance organised by French President Jacques Chirac in Paris .

1.2. Global warming ‘Live Aid’ planned
9 February 2007 , Financial Times
A day of concerts across the globe intended to exceed Live Aid in scale and ambition is to be held this summer to highlight the issue of climate change.
Organisers of the event, scheduled to take place on 7 July, hope to amass a worldwide television audience of two billion people in order to present the message about global warming.
The series of co-ordinated concerts in seven cities – London, Washington DC, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and Kyoto – is expected to be announced today by the former American vice-president Al Gore, who is now a figurehead of the campaign against climate change.
Promoters of the event, which will be branded "SOS", yesterday promised that the line-up of artists – likely to include U2, Coldplay and the Scissor Sisters – will "dwarf" those amassed for Live Aid and its successor, Live8.
Venues for the London event are still being discussed but the shortlist includes Hyde Park and the new Wembley stadium.
Organisers hope that up to three million people will gather at the venues and other cities for the day of interlinked music performances and film and television events.
One promoter told the Financial Times that the event was to be modelled on Live Aid and Live8. However, the source said: "The talent involved is just exponentially bigger because the issue itself is bigger. Live Aid was about asking people to stump up money, this about effecting systemic change. The aim is not just to drive awareness but to get people to take action."


2.1. Greenhouse Gas Ocean Burial Okayed from Feb 10
12 February 2007 , Planet Ark Reuters
International rules allowing burial of greenhouse gases beneath the seabed enter into force on Saturday in what will be a step toward fighting global warming, if storage costs are cut and leaks can be averted.
The new rules will permit industrialists to capture heat-trapping gases from big emitters such as coal-fired power plants or steel mills and entomb them offshore — slowing warming while allowing continued use of fossil fuels.
"Storage of carbon dioxide under the seabed will be allowed from Feb. 10, 2007 under amendments to an international agreement governing the dumping of wastes at sea," the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) said in a statement.
The new rules, agreed upon in November, amend the UN’s London Convention on dumping at sea. Its text had been unclear about whether carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas emitted mainly by burning fossil fuels, counted as a pollutant.
The changes apply to oceans worldwide and could clear the way to more investment in future subsea carbon storage by governments and companies, despite criticism by environmentalists that there are few safeguards against leaks.
"This removes a lack of clarity and doubt for investors," said Tore Torp, carbon dioxide storage adviser at Norwegian oil group Statoil which opened the world’s first commercial store of carbon dioxide in the North Sea in 1996.
A 2005 UN report, however, warned that such storage would only be widely applied if the penalty for emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere was US$25-US$30 a tonne — far above current prices in a European Union market.
It said carbon burial could be one of the top contributors to slowing warming this century. And in Paris last week, top climate scientists warned that global warming could bring rising seas, more floods, storms and heatwaves by 2100.
Acid, leaks
Statoil’s view has been that previous rules on ocean storage already allowed carbon burial. On land, national laws generally govern burial of carbon dioxide.
Greenpeace, which has branded subsea storage as illegal dumping in the past, said the revisions were too hasty.
"We think the London Convention has not taken objections seriously — such as who will be responsible for leaks, who will oversee the storage, who will clean up," he said.
Carbon dioxide is not toxic but can lead to acidification of sea water, making it hard for creatures from shrimp to oysters to build shells. In heavy concentrations above ground it can displace air and so asphyxiate animals and plants.
The amendments pave the way for carbon storage in "sub-seabed geological formations" and say gases injected must consist "overwhelmingly" of carbon dioxide with no added waste.
Torp said there was uncertainty about what "overwhelmingly" meant — emissions from a coal-fired power plant, for instance, might include some toxic sulphur dioxide.
Statoil has injected about nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide in rocks far below its Sleipner gas field in the past decade, with no signs of leaks, Torp said. Following Sleipner, two other big carbon storage sites are in operation in Canada and Algeria and more are planned.

2.2. Spain Aims to Cut Energy use by 1 Pct a Year – Report
12 February 2007 , Planet Ark Reuters
Spain can cut its energy consumption by at least 1 percent a year with a series of efficiency measures proposed in a report due this week, newspaper El Pais reported on Sunday.
The government aims to raise electricity prices, ban coal-fired central heating from 2012, limit air conditioning and penalise the most fuel-hungry vehicles, it said.
Spain ‘s greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 were 49 percent over 1990 levels — the highest of any Kyoto backer — and it has to cut that to a 15 percent increase by 2008-12, under its commitment to the international agreement to curb climate change named after the Japanese city where it was signed.
El Pais said the government wanted regional authorities to send inspectors to public and commercial buildings to make sure their thermostats were set at the most efficient temperature, and introduce efficiency standards for air conditioning equipment.
Sales of air conditioners have soared in recent years and power companies now have to cope with pronounced summer peaks in demand for electricity.
Other measures, such as energy efficiency standards and compulsory solar panels on all new buildings, are already largely in force.
The report is due to be discussed with regional governments on Tuesday, together with the Environment Ministry’s latest assessment on the impact of climate change in Spain .
That document, leaked to El Pais on Saturday, uses the same data the ministry has published in the past. It could be made obsolete by new scientific data within a few months, the daily El Mundo said.
It forecasts the average temperature is likely to rise by 2 degrees Celsius between 2011 and 2040.
By the end of the century, depending on the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, average temperatures could rise by 5 to 6 Celsius.
Inland areas would be worse hit than coastal ones, with temperatures in July rising as much as 7 Celsius, the leaked report shows. That is in line with forecasts the ministry has used in the past.
The report has differing forecasts for rain patterns.
One study says there will be little change, while another sees a 17 percent fall in the amount of rain falling by 2060.
Spain , and some other Mediterranean countries, are particularly at risk because much of the country is already hot and dry, and prone to desertification.
A ministry report last year shows more than 30 percent of Spain ‘s land is already at high or very high risk of desertification.
In the Canary Islands and Valencia well over 50 percent of land is classified as high risk.
Global warming speeds this process by drying up soil moisture faster.

2.3. Over 145 environmental, development and social organisations call upon EU to abandon bioful targets
8 February 2007 , Joint Press Release from biofuelwatch and Corporate Europe Observatory
In the build up to the EU Conference of Energy Ministers next Monday February 12th that will discuss future EU energy strategy, over 145 European social and environmental organisations have sent out a strong call to the Council of the European Union, EU Commisioners and ministers to stop promoting rainforest destruction for biofuels. The groups believe that a moratorium on biofuel targets is needed to protect natural forests and local communities in the global south.
In an Open Letter to the EU institutions and citizens (full text available in English at website:, and in Spanish at: The letter was launched and signed by 19 organisations and individuals. It is open to further signatures, and in one week, a further 130 organisations have signed. The regularly updated list of signatures can be found on
Key points are:
The proposed targets will amongst other things promote crops with poor greenhouse gas balances