1.1. Alliance against parts of EU climate plans widens
6 November Europe Daily
Leaders from Baltic states have teamed up with the "Visegrad" quartet of central European countries to push for changes to proposed EU rules on carbon trading. The seven member states met in Warsaw on Wednesday to address their individual concerns about the proposals.
Poland, which is leading the alliance, wants three controversial changes to proposals to revise the EU emission trading scheme (ETS): some free carbon allowances for power plants, carbon price controls and a more generous solidarity mechanism. All three are being given equal priority, a Polish diplomat told ENDS.
Poland’s proposal to allocate free allowance up to fuel specific, technology-based benchmarks is supported by new member states as well as EU-15 countries that burn a lot of coal such as Germany, Warsaw claims. This could cut the cost of the ETS to a quarter of European commission projections, an adviser to the Polish government told ENDS.
Professor Krzysztof Zmijewski said Poland wants to introduce a carbon price floor and ceiling, for example E10-15 to E38 per tonne. The idea was presented to EU finance ministers at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. Polish prime minister Donald Tusk claimed some support for it in Warsaw the following day. The commission has consistently opposed price controls.
Poland is also pushing for a stronger solidarity mechanism to recognise the emission reductions achieved by new EU states since 1990 and their lower GDP. Professor Zmijewski suggests allocating 30 per cent of allowances auctioned by governments to help the bloc’s poorer countries.
More at: http://www.endseuropedaily.com/information/index.cfm?action=notfound
1.2. UN announces Beijing Declaration on climate change
8 November 2008, China view
The United Nations released the Beijing Declaration here on Saturday, calling for strengthened international cooperation and improved technology transfers to battle climate change.
The declaration was issued at the end of a high-level conference that opened on Friday, co-organized by China and the UN, attended by more than 600 people including 30 ministerial officials and four UN agency heads.
The document stated that international cooperation was very important, as climate change had affected every aspect of life and no country could tackle it alone.
A more comprehensive mechanism of international cooperation should be established to address the challenge, covering all stages of technology development, transfer and application, it said. The participants agreed the challenge should be addressed, based on "common but differentiated responsibilities" and respective abilities.
The event was held in the run-up to the next conference of the parties to the UN convention, to be held in Poznan of Poland next month.
1.3. WWF welcomes Obama’s election
5 November 2008, WWF
The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States has been welcomed by WWF – provided he sticks to the progressive environmental policies that he promised throughout his campaign.
President-elect Obama has declared his commitment to policies that will sharply reduce greenhouse gas pollution and help prepare the world for the impact of climate change.
Chief Emeka Anyaoku, International President, WWF, welcomed the appointment. "I hail Barack Obama’s election as a milestone in modern human history and a beacon of hope for all those who care about the future well-being of planet earth,” he said.
“Obama faces tough challenges on many fronts, but I am optimistic that he will stand by his campaign pledges to act quickly and decisively to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and tackle the worst effects of climate change.
“The evident universal acclamation of his election shows that the President-elect is in a uniquely powerful position to influence other global leaders, and I trust he will use that influence to secure a meaningful global deal on climate change."
Following the election Carter Roberts, CEO of WWF-US, said: “We are confident President-elect Obama will view these challenging times as an opportunity to reverse the ill-chosen policies of the past and chart a new course that will lead America and the world to a healthier, safer, more sustainable and prosperous future.
“We look forward to working with the new President and his administration to implement the progressive environmental policies which he championed throughout his campaign.
“We hope the President-elect will also send a strong message to the international community that the US is now committed to working closely and cooperatively on climate change and intends to play a leadership role in the upcoming international climate talks in Poznan, Poland.”
2.1 Swedish nuclear plant posted cleaners as guards
30 October 2008, AP
Sweden’s nuclear watchdog has criticized the managers of an atomic power plant for posting cleaners and janitors to guard the facility when alarm system sensors were out of order.
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority says the incident at the Oskarshamn plant was serious and the workers had no training as security guards.
Plant spokesman Anders Osterberg says 20-25 cleaning and maintenance staff were deployed for a week around the plant’s perimeter this month in areas where a new alarm system’s motion sensors had malfunctioned.
The Oskarshamn plant, 210 miles (340 kilometers) south of Stockholm, has three reactors and provides around 10 percent of Sweden’s electricity.
2.2. Parliament puts the brakes on energy-efficient tyres
4 November 2008, T&E
Under pressure from the tyre industry and the Italian government, the European Parliament’s industry committee has voted to water-down proposed legislation to make car tyres quieter and more energy efficient.
The legislation, proposed by the European Commission in May (1) sets minimum noise and ‘rolling resistance’ standards for tyres. The most noisy and inefficient tyres would have been phased out and eventually removed from sale in Europe in steps between 2014 and 2018.
Reduced rolling resistance can make cars up to 5% more fuel efficient, which has a corresponding impact on reduced CO2 emissions. The noise standards as proposed could have cut road traffic noise by half.
But the tyre industry lobby group, the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) attacked the plans, calling for weaker targets for new tyre designs and the right to carry on selling the worst models almost indefinitely. ETRMA was backed by the Italian government who’s position ‘copy pasted’ large sections of the tyre industry’s demands. Italy is home to Pirelli, one of Europe’s largest tyre producers.
The industry committee vote this morning, which reflected key elements of the industry position, would delay and weaken the legislation. But it is only an ‘opinion’ report, and is not binding. However a report by Andreas Schwab MEP, responsible for the (lead) internal market committee’s vote on the issue in December (2) also largely reflects demands put forward by the tyre industry.
Nina Renshaw of T&E said: "If the legislation continues down this road, it will result in noisier, more inefficient tyres being sold in Europe for the foreseeable future. The finger of blame is pointed firmly at the tyre industry association, and their friends in the Italian government, who are attempting to ensure that a lowest-common-denominator approach wins the day."
"Energy inefficient, noisy tyres are bad news for consumers who miss out on fuel savings, and for the 200 million Europeans who suffer from the impact of road noise, for which tyres are primarily responsible. We urge MEPs to throw out the industry-backed proposals and focus on what’s good for all Europeans."
The Commission proposal for improving the energy efficiency potential of tyres was announced in May after carmakers had previously persuaded the European Commission to weaken a proposed CO2 standard for new cars from 120g CO2/km to 130g. The ten gram shortfall was supposed to be made up by other measures, including tyre standards under a policy coined by the industry, ‘the integrated approach’.
3.1. Annual circulation tax to be introduced
4 November 2008, timesofmalta.com
The vehicle registration tax regime has been overhauled with the tax on new vehicles to be based on the value, CO2, particulate matter, age and length of the vehicle.
Imported second-hand cars will be taxed on market value.
VAT on registration tax is being abolished while a minimal tax on imports from the European Economic Zone and non-EU member states is being introduced. There will be extra weighting for diesel cars with particulate matter higher than 5.0mg/km.
Vehicles will be subject to an annual circulation tax based on emissions and age.
As far as present fleets go, the first part of the reform affecting M1, self-drive, garage-hire cars and motorcycles, will come into force with a revision of the annual circulation tax based on capacity and age.
Cars bought between January 1 and end of December may opt for the new system. Any registration tax refund will be credited against payment of the annual licence.
The new system favours smaller vehicles with low-level emissions and cleaner technologies as well as motorcycles.
The reform is based on the polluter-pays principle and on congestion created. It will be addressed in two phases: The first, to come into force on January 1, would include private vehicles for the carriage of passengers and motorcycles. Commercial vehicles would then follow. The price of second-hand vehicles will be determined by local market conditions.
The government will be appointing an Appeals Board to hear and decide on cases where owners do not agree with registration tax valuations. There would still be a minimum tax for vehicles manufactured within a five-year-period from the date of registration in Malta and which are not of EU or European Economic Area origin.
Congestion is also another important factor in the proposed new system. Longer cars increase congestion time and need bigger parking spaces. Therefore, smaller cars should be fiscally preferred and so the purchase of smaller vehicles will be rewarded.
4.1. Nuclear power – Undermining climate protection
3 November 2008, Greenpeace
There is a clear scientific consensus that we must halve global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 or suffer changes to the global climate with catastrophic consequences. Avoiding the most severe impacts of climate change requires governments, individuals and businesses world-wide to take immediate action. The nuclear industry, which has been in decline in the US and Europe, has seized upon the climate crisis as a revival opportunity, claiming to offer a carbon-free contribution to our future energy mix.
Download document at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/nuclear-power-undermining-cl
5.1. Campaign Coordinator for its European Car Campaign
This is a unique opportunity to work in a green NGO working at a European level in Brussels. If you can demonstrate a passion for environmental and transport issues and the ability to coordinate a pan-European campaign on car efficiency, we can in turn offer you an exciting job in our climate and energy programme.
Friends of the Earth campaigns for sustainable and just societies and for the protection of the environment. It unites more than 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups and is part of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International.
Our car efficiency campaign is bringing together groups from Friends of the Earth and other organisations across Europe focusing on public campaigning. The campaign is working closely with a coalition of groups focusing on lobby work on car efficiency. Find more information about the campaign at http://www.foeeurope.org/cars/index.html
Purpose of role: Work with FoEE’s Climate and Energy team to campaign on environmental issues linked with the policies of the European Union to increase the energy efficiency of newly sold cars, and to coordinate such activities across the Friends of the Earth networks and other national organisations.
More at: http://www.foeeurope.org/job/Car_campaigner_Oct08.html
5.2. CDMWatch – a joint NGO project to monitor the CDM
The German NGO Forum Environment & Development – on behalf of a coalition of international NGOs – is looking for a full ‐ time project coordinator for »CDM Watch«. CDM Watch is an initiative to monitor CDM projects and political developments regarding the evolution of the CDM post 2012. More and more, NGOs are critical of the CDM.
There is growing evidence that the majority of CDM projects have not been »additional«, and there is concern about the lack of sustainable development benefits of CDM projects in general, and large negative social and ecological impacts of some CDM projects. CDM Watch will monitor these developments in a coherent and systematic way.
CDM Watch for now is funded for 1 December 2008 – 30 November 2009. Depending on successful fundraising the project will be extended beyond this period. Particular emphasis in the first year will be on Brazil and India.
We are looking for a staff person responsible to run the CDM Watch project in our offices in Bonn, Germany. Your job will be • updating ”The clean development mechanism (CDM) toolkit. A resource for stakeholders, activists and NGOs” • organizing capacity building workshops in Brazil and India in cooperation with local NGOs • attending CDM Executive Board and related meetings at the UNFCCC secretariat in Bonn and at UNFCCC conferences
• supporting NGOs around the world with regard to problems with CDM projects • setting up a website as a resource database Salary is €3500 a month before taxes. The project should start on December 1, 2008.
Applications should be sent until 20 November to: Jürgen Maier, Director, German NGO Forum Environment & Development, Marienstr 19 ‐ 20, 10117 Berlin, Germany, preferably via email at [email protected]
6.1. The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Poznañ, Poland – COP 14
1-12 December 2008
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznañ will be a milestone on the road to success for the processes which were launched under the Bali Road Map. The meeting comes midway between COP 13 in Bali, which saw the launch of negotiations on strengthened international action on climate change, and COP 15 Copenhagen, at which the negotiations are set to conclude.
The conference will include the 29th sessions of the Convention’s subsidiary bodies – SBSTA and SBI – as well as the 4th session of the AWG-LCA and the 2nd part of the 6th session of the AWG-KP. The Poznañ meeting, which is expected to draw around eight thousand participants, will both advance international cooperation on a future climate change regime and ensure progress on key issues.
More at: http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_14/items/4481.php
6.2. Seventh session of the AWG-KP and fifth session of the AWG-LCA
Sunday 29 March to Wednesday 8 April 2009, Maritim, Bonn
6.3. Thirtieth sessions of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies – SBSTA and SBI, sixth session of the AWG-LCA and eighth session of the AWG-KP
Monday 1 June to Friday 12 June 2009, Maritim, Bonn
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