CLIMATE AND ENERGY
1.1. U.S. Disagrees at G8 Climate Meeting, Germany Says
17 March 2007 , Bloomberg
The U.S. disagreed at a meeting of the Group of Eight nations and five key developing countries over the need for a global carbon market and economic incentives to help emerging economies protect the environment, said the German chairman of the talks.
The 13 countries agreed on a range of points, including that global warming is happening and more needs to be done to tackle it such as by the development of clean technologies, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters after a day of talks with his counterparts. The U.S. expressed dissent over two issues, he said.
“The United States of America has refused agreement, and one of the fields was the carbon market, and the argument put forward was the U.S. thinks there are other measures just as effective as the carbon markets,” Gabriel said today in Potsdam, near Berlin.
Carbon markets, which are a key mechanism under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to cut the greenhouse gasses blamed for global warming, enable companies to trade allowances for emissions of carbon dioxide to help them meet targets.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, who led his country’s delegation, said he was “merely pointing out” to Gabriel that carbon markets are “one tool in the toolbox” and aren’t necessary for all nations.
“The Carbon market is one tool, voluntary programs are a tool, some of the mandatory programs that we talked about within the United States context are a tool,” Johnson said in an interview.
On the question of economic assistance to developing nations, Gabriel said “the U.S. was against wording of economic balance of interests in recognizing commitments by developing countries to engage in environmental protection actions.” His comments in German were translated by an interpreter.
Johnson countered that economic assistance to developing nations doesn’t fall within the remit of environment ministers. The issues raised by Gabriel “were finance ministry kind of issues,” he said.
Johnson said he wasn’t alone in his reservations, although he didn’t specify which countries support him. Gabriel didn’t mention other dissenting voices.
The European Union in 2005 started a compulsory carbon dioxide emissions trading system to meet targets under the Kyoto Protocol, which limits emissions for the EU and 35 nations. The world’s largest emitter, the U.S. , cited economic reasons for not signing up, while large developing nations such as India and China don’t have targets.
The EU wants to create a global carbon market and campaign groups including Greenpeace are seeking bigger cuts in emissions to help avert the worst ravages of climate change. Scientists have said global warming is causing sea-levels to rise, storms to intensify, and droughts and floods to become more frequent.
The U.S. has focused on bilateral agreements and so-called intensity targets, or reducing the amount of emissions per unit of economic output, a policy that has their total emissions on course to be 30 percent higher in 2012 than in 1990.
A successor agreement to Kyoto to reduce emissions beyond 2012 would be “pretty much meaningless without the U.S. ,” United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said yesterday in an interview. U.K. Environment Secretary David Miliband said that it’s a question of “when, not if” the U.S. signs up to a global deal to cut emissions, and that “it’s not going to succeed without them.”
Asked whether Miliband’s comment was a fair assessment, Johnson declined to say yes or no, or to say whether the U.S. is likely to sign up to a global deal in the future.
“Our focus is what are the specific steps that each of us can take to bring aggressive changes to reduce global climate change,” Johnson said, pointing to $29 billion the U.S. has spent on measures to research climate change and develop technologies to combat it since 2001.
Glass `Half Full’
According to de Boer, Johnson told ministers “explicitly” that he supported consensus on issues including the scientific evidence for climate change, the need to develop technology to combat it, the need for industrialized countries to mobilize a variety of tools, the need to take measures to adapt to climate change, and the need to act to avoid deforestation.
That “points me to a half-full rather than a half-empty glass,” de Boer told reporters in Potsdam .
Today’s talks were designed to lay the ground for future negotiations on climate change between G8 leaders in the German town of Heiligendamm in June and a United Nations conference in Bali in December, rather than to produce any binding commitments, Gabriel said. Today’s talks were “open and honest” and conducted in a “good atmosphere,” he said.
The G-8 is an international forum for the governments of Canada , France , Germany , Italy , Japan , Russia , the U.K. and the U.S. The five major developing nations are Brazil , China , India , Mexico and South Africa .
1.2. Poor need more help to adapt to warming – Wolfowitz
13 March 2007 , Reuters
The world is pouring money into the battle to slow climate change but doing too little to help the poor adapt to it, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said on Tuesday.
With billions of dollars pouring into emissions trading and the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism to cut the greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, the world’s poorest people are being forgotten in the green goldrush.
Wolfowitz said the reason for the imbalance was that while there were trading mechanisms to deal with mitigation — cutting emissions of climate changing gases like carbon dioxide — there was nothing similar to help people survive its effects.
"There are a lot of people concerned about mitigation. There are not that many concerned about adaptation, and adaptation is a problem in the poorest countries who are our main concern," he told Reuters at a clean energy conference in London .
"Having said that I think the big resource management issue for both the developed countries and the developing countries is going to be in the area of mitigation … and that part of the picture will probably dwarf the other in scale," he added.
Scientists predict that average global temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century from burning fossil fuels for power and transport, causing floods and famines and putting millions of lives at risk.
On the edge
"If you are living on the edge, climate change can push you over," said Wolfowitz, former deputy secretary of defense under U.S. President George W. Bush.
Carbon emissions trading is forecast to be worth some $200 billion a year before long — with half flowing to the developing world.
That is far more than what is currently spent on development aid but is in turn dwarfed by the $1.5 trillion that the world spends on oil alone.
"One of the things that we are going to have to do is pay more attention to adaptation in our basis work," Wolfowitz said. "We are trying to climate-proof our own projects as far as possible.
He said he expected a major growth in public-private investment projects, with the World Bank active on both sides of the equation.
Wolfowitz, appointed as the World Bank’s 10th president in March 2005, rejected the suggestion that the bank’s officials had developed a reputation over decades as bankers in tuxedos who lived a rich life and were aloof from ordinary people.
"It is time our reputation caught up with what we actually do," he said. "Our feet are much dirtier."
"We are much more decentralised than we were even 10 years ago. I still think we need to be even more decentralised. More of our people should spend more of their time or even be permanently stationed in the field," he said.
"There is a change, and not just in the World Bank but in the whole development community, towards emphasising the human side of the development process. There is a much broader view of the development process now," Wolfowitz said.
1.3. Blair: UK to lead on climate action
13 March 2007 , Press Association
Britain will lead the world in combating climate change thanks to "revolutionary" legislation, said Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The draft Climate Change Bill will make the UK the first country to subject itself to legally-binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions – with a target of a 60% reduction by 2050.
The Bill was welcomed by environmentalists, businesses and opposition parties as a step in the right direction towards tackling global warming, which is believed to be caused by emissions of gases including carbon dioxide.
But Conservatives and Liberal Democrats called for annual targets for CO2 cuts, rather than the five-yearly benchmarks proposed by the Government, while Friends of the Earth said the Bill must be strengthened if it is to set an example for the rest of the world.
Unveiling the legislation to an audience of teenagers at 10 Downing Street , Mr Blair described climate change as "the biggest long-term threat facing our world".
"This is a revolutionary step in confronting the threat of climate change," he said. "It sets an example to the rest of the world but, as important as anything else, it listens and responds to the strong desire on the part of the British people to take the lead and to keep it."
As well as the 60% target for 2050, the Bill sets an interim goal of a 26%-32% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. Legally-binding carbon "budgets" will be set every five years to ensure Britain remains on track to meet these figures, and progress will be reported to Parliament annually.
Appearing alongside Mr Blair at the Downing Street launch, the PM’s expected successor Gordon Brown said future chancellors would have to "count the carbon, just as they count the pennies, and they will have to account for the use of the resources of our country just as they account for the use of public money".
Environment Secretary David Miliband said the carbon budgets would force the UK to "live within our environmental means". An independent advisory Committee on Climate Change will advise future governments on setting the budget and report on progress, and administrations which fail to hit their targets will be subject to judicial review, he said.
Pressure groups such as Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace will be able to apply to the courts for a review if goals appear to be drifting. And judges would be able to "name and shame" the Government with a warning, or impose other penalties such as forcing it to buy credits allowing greater emissions under international carbon trading schemes.
1.4. The Giant EU Energy Flag
Friends of the Earth activists demand climate-friendly energy outside EU Spring Summit in Brussels on March 9th
Anyone approaching the annual spring meeting of EU leaders in Brussels this year was treated to a livelier scene than just the usual landscape of grey suits and police security. Instead, they were greeted by three hundred Friends of the Earth from sixteen countries across Europe , a brass band and a 12m-high bright blue and yellow flag. The giant flag followed the design of the famous EU flag, but contained symbols for sustainable energy choices in the golden stars and was formed by blue-jacketed activists standing proudly on a scaffolding frame.
The stars on the flag displayed a wind turbine, a sun and a low energy lightbulb; and emphatically crossed out were a radioactive nuclear symbol, an oil barrel and a coal truck. Stars in the installation were laden with signatures, collected in local street actions in the preceding weeks. A big banner at the centre of the flag read “Stop climate change. Cut energy waste. Choose renewables.” This slogan was reiterated in multiple languages in a sea of banners on the ground.
Inside the meeting, the 27 Heads of States were sealing a deal that will govern Europe ’s energy future for the next decades. They agreed to cut Europe ’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, and to go as far as a 30% reduction by 2020 if other developed countries do the same. A binding target for renewable energy was also set – that 20% of primary energy demand should be supplied from renewable energy sources like wind, wave and solar, by 2020.
These goals are a huge step forward for the EU, but Friends of the Earth Europe had pushed for even greater political commitment to fighting climate change. In the months running up to the summit, campaigners from Friends of the Earth groups across Europe wrote to and met with their governments demanding a stronger position. These demands were re-enforced by national media coverage around local actions with the individual stars, and by media coverage around the big installation outside the summit on 9th March.
The EU has accepted that it is necessary for developed countries to cut greenhouse gases by 30%, but agreed to only take only a 20% target for itself. The strategic sense of this rather conflicting conclusion is questionable and Friends of the Earth is concerned that the EU now has a tough challenge to convince other industrialised countries, for example the USA, to take on the higher target.
It is certainly a positive step to have agreed a binding target for Europe ’s share of renewable energy, but Friends of the Earth stresses that it should have been higher than 20% by 2020, given the urgency to drastically cut back greenhouse gas emissions from conventional energy. Friends of the Earth had campaigned for the broad target to be supported by separate sub-targets for electricity and heating & cooling since different energy sectors have different investment structures. With just one vague target, it remains unclear whether there will be enough long-term investment confidence to spur massive commercial uptake of renewable energy in all sectors. The 20% target could flop if this isn’t addressed in a clever way.
EU leaders don’t quite see eye to eye on what role nuclear power should play in Europe ’s energy future, so the summit concluded that nuclear power could help secure energy supply and cut carbon dioxide emissions, but that member states can make up their own minds about it. Friends of the Earth was appalled by this passive endorsement of nuclear power and continues to highlight the danger of nuclear power, the unsolved problem of how to deal with radioactive waste, the extortionate price of building new plants compared with investing in renewable energy and the significant amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the nuclear power production chain.
The EU turns 50 on March 25th. Also celebrating its half-century is the Euratom Treaty, through which the EU gives preferential financial support to nuclear energy. Euratom was established in 1957 alongside the other founding agreements, but – unlike the other treaties, which have been adjusted as the EU has matured – Euratom remains unchanged since 1957. Euratom’s 50th birthday will not pass unnoticed. Along with a coalition of other NGOs campaigning against nuclear power, Friends of the Earth Europe will present to EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs hundreds of thousands of signatures, demanding a phase-out of nuclear power and an end to the archaic Euratom treaty.
So although the blue-clad Friends of the Earth have dispersed from the EU capital back to their national bases, a high-profile Friends of the Earth campaign in Brussels for clean, safe energy continues.
1.5. £25 fridge gadget that could slash greenhouse emissions
17 March 2007 , The Guardian
It is made of wax, is barely three inches across and comes in any colour you like, as long as it’s black. And it could save more greenhouse gas emissions than taxes on gas guzzling cars, low energy light bulbs and wind turbines on houses combined. It is the e-cube, and it is coming soon to a fridge near you.
Invented by British engineers, the £25 gadget significantly reduces the amount of energy used by fridges and freezers, which are estimated to consume about a fifth of all domestic electricity in the UK . If one was fitted to each of the 87 million refrigeration units in Britain , carbon dioxide emissions would fall by more than 2 million tonnes a year.
The patented cube mimics food and is designed to fit around a fridge’s temperature sensor, which usually measures the temperature of the circulating air.
Because air heats up much more quickly than yoghurt, milk or whatever else is stored inside, this makes the fridge work harder than necessary. With the cube fitted, the fridge responds only to the temperature of the food, which means it clicks on and off less often as the door is open and closed.
Trials are under way with supermarkets, breweries and hotels. One of the largest, the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel in London , fitted the device to each of the hotel’s 140 major fridges and freezers. David Bell, chief engineer, says energy use decreased by about 30% on average – enough to slash the hotel’s annual electricity bill by £17,000. The Park Plaza group plans to fit them throughout its UK hotels, and to recommend them overseas.
An independent report by Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association Group said: "The devices do indeed save energy. The slightly increased variation in temperatures in dummy loads would indicate that food safety would not be compromised."
Spencer Freedman of Ecube Distribution said about 10,000 of the devices have now been sold, and tests are under way at the Dorchester hotel in London , as well as Asda, GreeneKing IPA, Iceland , Netto and Starbucks. Guy Lamstaes, co-inventor of the device, said heightened concern about climate change had made companies more interested in saving energy. "We tried to market these for years but nobody was interested."
Mr Freedman said the devices would have the biggest impact in the large freezers and open chill cabinets used in the catering and supermarket industries. They do reduce the energy consumption of domestic fridges, but the saving is not so great because the door is not opened very often.
The company is talking to supermarket chains about fitting them to the refrigerated lorries used to ferry chilled and frozen foods.
The company is also about to report the results of trials at a central London pub, which had them fitted to 34 fridges.
Ecube Distribution claims the results will show the brewery could save around £3.5m and 17,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year if it used them nationwide.
Energy efficiency is one of the key pillars of a government pledge to save 60% of UK carbon emissions by 2050, which will be made legally binding by the climate change bill announced this week.
2.1. Global Warming Cuts US$5 Billion in Grain Crops – Study
19 March 2007 , Planet Earth Reuters
Global warming has cut about US$5 billion worth of the world’s most commonly grown grains over 20 years, according to a new study.
Warming temperatures from 1981 to 2002 cut the combined production of wheat, corn, barley and other crops by 40 million tonnes per year, according to the peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Research Letters on Friday.
"Most people tend to think of climate change as something that will impact the future," Christopher Field, a co-author on the study and ecology expert at the Carnegie Institution in Stanford, California, said in an e-mail response to questions.
"This study shows that warming over the past two decades has already had effects on global food supply," he added.
Not every scientist agrees that agriculture is suffering from warmer temperatures.
A draft UN report obtained by Reuters on Thursday said warming is expected to turn the planet a bit greener by spurring plant growth, but crops and forests may wilt beyond mid-century if temperatures keep rising. That report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will be released on April 6.
Field said the Carnegie study was the first to estimate how much global food production has already been affected by climate change. It was funded by the Carnegie Institution and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which is managed by the University of California for the US government.
Average global yields for several of the crops suffered from warmer temperatures, with yields dropping by about 3 to 5 percent for every 1 degree Fahrenheit increase, the study said.
Average global temperatures increased by about 0.7 degree F during the study period, with even larger changes in several regions.
If the past is an indication, agriculture will also suffer going forward, Field said. "We expect future warming to continue to be a drag on yields, essentially like driving with the parking brake engaged."
The cereal crops hit by global warming account for at least 55 percent of non-meat categories consumed by humans, according to the study. They also contribute more than 70 percent of the world’s animal feed.
Farmers can adapt to warmer temperatures through changing crop planting times, the varieties they grow, or the locations used for each crop, Field said. He said in the past farmers have been very adaptable to environmental challenges, but adaptation to warming can take years.
3.1. New EU Policies for Sustainable Energy and Climate Protection
One-day Event on Sustainable Energy: March 20 Brussels , Brussels
Organised by INFORSE-Europe, EREF, EUFORES
See Program and Registration form at: http://www.inforse.org/europe/seminar07_BXL.htm.
3.2. Workshop: Climate Change in South-Eastern European Countries: Causes, Impacts, Solutions
Graz , Austria , 26th and 27th of March 2007
Information regarding this workshop (accommodation, programme) is provided at the webpage www.joanneum.at/climate. Also, information about possibly granted subsidies will be provided at this page soon.
Although the organization of the workshop is proceeding, we would kindly encourage interested people to attend as speaker, poster or mere participant. Beside to our webpage, please find also information about registration procedure and requirements at http://www.joanneum.at/climate/Docs/pbf07102ief_climate_cfa_v1.pdf.
For further questions please contact me at [email protected].
3.3. "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.
3.4. 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.
3.5. 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.
3.6. 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.
3.7. 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].
3.8. 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.
3.9. 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.
3.10. 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.
4.1. White paper on the US debate about fixed price feed-in tariffs
The Heinrich Boell Foundation, Washington DC office, would like to share with you a white paper by Wilson Rickerson on the U.S. debate about fixed price feed-in tariffs to promote renewable energy, looking at the European experience, such as in Germany, Spain and Denmark, and analyzing the evolution of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) as primary approach to increase the share of renewable energy in the U.S. electricity mix. He outlines that fixed price feed-in tariffs could be an effective tool in the United States and that a respective debate is slowly re-evolving particularly on the U.S. state level.
The paper can be downloaded at: http://www.boell.org/Pubs_read.cfm?read=161.
5.1. Climate Star 2007 – The European Award for Local Climate Protection Activities
13 March 2007
For the third time, the "Climate Alliance of European Cities with Indigenous Rainforest Peoples" is inviting all European cities, municipalities and districts to present their climate protection activities and apply for a Climate Star. The Climate Star is to award outstanding activities and to document experience and good practice at the local level. With the awarding scheme, the Climate Alliance wants to point out the variety of local climate protection strategies and measures and motivate more local authorities to get involved.
The Climate Star award 2007 focuses on sustainable mobility. Traffic is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions and meanwhile causes approximately 30 percent of the CO2 emissions in Europe . For the world-wide climate protection we do not only need European and international climate negotiations but first and foremost the local level and the people: Climate protection begins with the everyday journeys of each individual.
Eligible are all local authorities, cities, municipalities and districts in Europe, that send the registration form per mail, fax, or e-mail up to the 31 May 2007 to the European Secretariat of the Climate Alliance. Afterwards, the municipalities will get the application paper per e-mail, in which is asked for a description of their climate protection activities and for a presentation of the most interesting projects in the area of mobility up to the 30 June 2007 . The award ceremony will take place at 23 November 2007 in Baden in the course of a major public event, upon invitation of the federal state of Lower Austria .
Further information and registration form: http://www.klimaschutz.kbserver.de/460.html.
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee for the accuracy, reliability or content of information. For help or questions, contact: [email protected]