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Focus 01.12.2008  
E-news update 1 December 08
CLIMATE

1.1. Indonesia to implement Bali Climate Change recommendation in 2009
1.2. Obama’s Climate Challenge: What to do About China?
1.3. UK says supports EU climate plan despite recession
1.4. EUROPEAN LEADERSHIP LACKING AHEAD OF GLOBAL CLIMATE TALKS
1.5. UN climate summit seeks clarity


ENERGY

2.1. Greenpeace press reaction on the Commission‘s rescue package for carmakers and the draft nuclear safety directive
2.2. EU risks 'climate time bomb' on biofuels


JOB

3.1. Oxfams EU Advocacy Office (Brussels) is seeking an Intern/Project Manager


CONFERENCES

4.1. The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Poznań, Poland - COP 14

  CLIMATE

1.1. Indonesia to implement Bali Climate Change recommendation in 2009
24 November 2008, China View
The Indonesian government will implement the Bali Climate Change Recommendation, which was proposed by the United Nations, next year, said an Indonesian official here on Monday.
"The program will start next year, and involve three Indonesian ministries, namely the forestry ministry, agriculture ministry and public work ministry," said Bayu Khrisnamurti, Deputy Economic Coordinating Minister. He added that the project will be funded by the UN and last for five years.
"The budget of this project is still being discussed for further possible change. I guess it may exceed 1.5 million U.S. dollars," Bayu said.
The program will involve both scientists and grass roots in rural areas, who will take an adaptation to the climate change.
"We attempt to build their knowledge of this climate change, and hope that they will find solutions and ready to adjust themselves to the change," Bayu said.
According to him, many areas in the country, particularly in the eastern part, were obviously impacted by the climate change. "It is due to the global warming," he said.
The program will cover 150 villages in six districts, by involving 6,000 households. The six districts include Belu, Timor Tengah Selatan, Rote Ndao, Sumba Timur, and Lembata," he said.
East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) has been selected as the location of a pilot project in Indonesia, because the province is one of the regions which are prone to the climate change impact. Other regions prone to the climate change impact are eastern Sulawesi and Kalimantan.
Link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-11/24/content_10406727.htm

1.2. Obama’s Climate Challenge: What to do About China?
24 November 2008, The Wall Street Journal
As if it needed one, here’s another dilemma for the Obama administration: How to move aggressively to tackle climate change without getting China on board?
GobiWindFarm_art_257_20081124142847.jpg
With or without you (AP)
During the campaign, Obama officials said it would be politically all but impossible for the U.S. to impose curbs on greenhouse-gas emissions unless big emitters like China also play ball; China already emits more greenhouse gases than the U.S. and its fast-growing economy means that lead will grow wider in coming years.
But last week, President-elect Obama said he’d make climate-change legislation the starting point of his energy revolution, reaffirming his campagn pledge to cut emissions by 80%, and that the U.S. should reclaim global leadership in fighting climate change.
What would that mean in practical terms? This summer, the Center for American Progress put together a primer for the next administration’s approach to China. In it, CAP fellow Robert Sussman said:
Early in the next administration, the new president should announce that the United States is committed to substantial, mandatory reductions in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that are not conditioned on the actions of China or other countries.
He said the U.S. should instead urge China to expand upon recent improvements in energy efficiency, renewables, and the like, and open the door to accepting binding emissions limits under the next version of the global Kyoto treaty.
But getting both China and the U.S. Congress to agree to such a deal won’t be easy, Mr. Sussman argued: “We can expect negotiating such a package will be challenging because of China’s misgivings about adopting even nonbinding goals, and due to the risk of U.S. domestic political backlash against an agreement that is perceived as imposing unequal burdens on the two countries.”
That isn’t just idle policy-shop speculation: Robert Sussman, a former Deputy Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, is Team Obama’s point man for the EPA transition. The EPA would be responsible for implementing whatever climate policy the administration and Congress come up with.
The tricky point for President-elect Obama: Taking steps to protect U.S. industry left at a disadvantage from unencumbered Chinese rivals could run afoul of World Trade Organization rules as well as Bejing. And Chinese goodwill, as Fareed Zakaria noted today, is crucial to financing Mr. Obama’s ambitious stimulus plans.
Maybe it won’t matter, anyway. Monday, a pair of researchers from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said slow government response makes it “almost unfeasible” to cut global emissions as much as needed by 2020 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Link: http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/11/24/obamas-climate-challenge-what-to-do-about-china/

1.3. UK says supports EU climate plan despite recession
25 November 2008, Reuters
Britain supports the European Union's tough climate change proposals even as Europe falls into recession, the UK minister of state for energy and climate change told a conference on Tuesday.
"We do not believe the global economic downturn justifies postponing action on climate change until stability returns," Mike O'Brien said.
"The case for strong and early action remains robust under the current economic situation."
The EU Commission's climate change and energy package tabled in January, dubbed "20/20/20 by 2020," seeks to reduce European carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, to increase energy efficiency by 20 percent and to source 20 percent of power from renewable energy like wind or solar.
The plan bolsters the 27-nation bloc's Emissions Trading Scheme by calling for an increase in the number of emissions permits to be auctioned to industry from 2013, including full auctioning to power generators.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi shocked other EU leaders at a summit last month by unexpectedly threatening to veto the plan unless its concerns about the impact on domestic industry were met.
Italy's employers lobby, Confindustria, has the plan will cost the country up to 27 billion euros ($34.76 billion). The EU Commission has estimated Italy's cost at less than one-half of that amount.
Poland and six other European Union newcomers also oppose the plan, saying it is too costly for their industries.
"The UK is strongly resisting any suggestions that the package should be delayed or watered down," O'Brien said, adding that some of the other member states had been "doom mongering."
Much of Eastern Europe relies on carbon-intensive coal for power generation, meaning coal plants will be forced to buy all of their emissions permits under full auctioning.
"We believe auctioning is better than free allocation, because it strengthens incentives to reduce emissions and reduces windfall profits among companies. We want 100 percent auctioning by 2013," O'Brien told the conference, hosted by Marketforce and the Institute of Economic Affairs.
Britain held its first permit auction last week, raising more than 80 million pounds ($120.9 million) for government coffers.
Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE4AO72V20081125

1.4. EUROPEAN LEADERSHIP LACKING AHEAD OF GLOBAL CLIMATE TALKS
25 November 2008, FOEE, Greenpeace, Oxfam, CAN Europe, WWF
Europe will face major embarrassment at international
climate change talks next week if it fails to live up to its commitment to tackle global
warming, environment and development groups warned today.
The world is looking at how high Europe will set the bar at climate talks in Poznan, Poland,
starting on December 1. Its position will be crucial in determining the chances of agreeing a
global deal consistent with keeping global warming below 2°C compared to pre-industrial
temperatures, and preventing the worst impacts of climate change.
However, the EU’s climate and energy package, the biggest legislative effort on climate
change in the world to date, is in danger of being watered down by some EU countries which
are more interested in protecting short-term national industrial interests.
Poland, which will be at the centre of the world stage in December as the host of the UN
climate change talks, is one of the Member States, along with Germany and others, being
most obstructive to the negotiations on a strong deal.
Climate Action Network Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, Oxfam and
WWF said: “Now is the time for Europe to show real leadership on climate change. The
importance of the EU climate and energy package cannot be underestimated – it is the test
of whether Europe will live up to its rhetoric and set the standard for the rest of the world.
Action in Europe will be crucial to determining tomorrow’s global temperatures and as a
consequence, the future for the planet and human development.
“If Member States such as Poland and Italy are allowed to weaken the climate package the
EU’s international credibility will be damaged.”
The groups point to major sticking points in negotiations on the climate and energy package,
which will determine the EU’s credibility on the international stage.
Climate Action Network Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF
call on the EU to follow scientific advice and cut its emissions by at least 30% domestically;
make polluting industries pay for their emissions and not allow them to buy their way out of
reducing their carbon footprint by sponsoring questionable projects in the developing world;
commit to the financial resources that are needed to support developing countries’ future
efforts as part of the next global climate deal, and make real progress during the climate
negotiations in Poznan to ensure that a deal can be reached in Copenhagen in December
2009.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP14) in Poznan is a crucial milestone in
negotiations for a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2012.
www.timetolead.eu
http://www.climnet.org/EUenergy/PressRelease_European_leadership_lacking_251108%20(2).pdf

1.5. UN climate summit seeks clarity
1 December 2008, BBC
This year's round of UN climate talks are opening in Poland with nations attempting to set the terms of a new deal on all aspects of climate change.
The talks, in the city of Poznan, mark the halfway point in a two-year process agreed at last year's UN conference.
The meeting will not produce a new deal but is likely to clarify what countries are looking for on issues such as emission cuts and forest protection.
The US will be represented by officials of the outgoing Bush administration.
The two-year process which began at last December's talks in Bali is designed to conclude in a year's time with an agreement that can enter force in 2012 when the current emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol expire.
Delegates with banner
Poznan: Opening gambits
"The Poznan conference is taking place in the broader context of the current global financial crisis and impending recession," noted Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
"But we cannot allow this to detract from the fight against climate change.
"The effects of climate change... are already weighting heavily upon those most vulnerable."
The last year has been a "year of ideas", with countries working out when they want and how they might get it.
Poznan marks a change of pace, and the beginning of real negotiations.
Commitment issue
Mr de Boer said that clarity needs to emerge at the meeting on three issues:
    * the scale of commitments that countries are willing make on cutting emissions
    * the scale of financial resources that developed nations are willing to commit
    * what institutions will run various funds and mechanism
On emissions cuts, the EU is leading the way in pushing for deep commitments.
It is arguing that richer nations should pledge cuts of between 25% and 40% from 1990 levels by 2020.
But as UN negotiators talk in Poznan, the European Council will be holding sessions in Brussels aimed at finalising its climate and energy package, which will clarify the scale of the bloc's eventual unilateral commitments.
The council is likely endorse plans to cut EU emissions by 20% by 2020, or by 30% if there is a new global deal, and to provide 20% of all energy from renewable sources by the same date.
But Poland, a major coal-mining and coal-using country, is leading a group of nations that profess themselves unhappy with the EU package.
Barack Obama
Though physically absent, Barack Obama will be a key figure
Some observers are concerned that Poland will use its position as host of the UN talks to project its own concerns and detract from EU leadership of the climate agenda.
Questions also surround the incoming US administration of Barack Obama.
While the president-elect has vowed to re-integrate with the UN negotiations, it is unclear whether the administration can secure agreement within the US on key questions such as emissions targets in time to put forward concrete plans for the UN deadline of 2009.
Angela Ledford-Anderson, director of the international global warming programme with the Pew Environment Group, believes the 2009 Copenhagen meeting might be too soon for other countries too to agree firm emission cuts.
"There's a real need to get as far and be as specific as they can before Copenhagen, but the most important things are the broad outlines of the agreement - how they're going to mitigate [emissions], how they're going to adapt to climate change, what is the range of financing available," she told BBC News.
"It might be more important for them to get the architecture in place; and once they've agreed that, they could spend the next year coming up with the targets."
Business development
The Poznan meeting is expected to make progress on setting up a mechanism to pay developing countries for preserving their carbon-absorbing tropical forests.
There are significant questions as to how this should be funded and managed, with developed nations determined to avoid paying for programmes that the forest-owning governments would have initiated anyway.
However, it is seen as a priority for action, with Brazil having just announced that its rate of forest loss is speeding up.
The richer developing nations will also come under some pressure to make pledges on curbing emissions.
A number, including China, have said they will reduce future emissions below "business as usual"; but that still allows room for their greenhouse gas output to increase.
According to UK government sources, a recent unpublished study prepared for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that the developing world must restrain emissions growth enough to keep it 15-30% below "business as usual" by 2020.
Even if developing nations accept restrictions on this scale, how to quantify "business as usual" emissions, and how to verify reductions, are likely to be contentious issues.
Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7755502.stm

ENERGY

2.1. Greenpeace press reaction on the Commission‘s rescue package for carmakers and the draft nuclear safety directive
26 November 2008, Greenpeace
Christmas has come early for the automotive industry, after the European Commission pledged to deliver a generous rescue package of €5 billion in 2009 despite the industry’s resistance to legislation to reduce car CO2 emissions.
The rescue package proposed by Commission President José Manuel Barroso includes a €4 billion low interest loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and is part of direct financial support by the EU and the EIB for the European economy of €30 billion.
“Governments must realise that carmakers can’t have jam on both sides. The parallel debates over car standard and loans raise doubts whether EU governments are serious about greening cars. They are offering carrots but refrain from using sticks,” said Franziska Achterberg, Greenpeace EU transport policy campaigner.
“The car industry is getting a gift despite the fact that they’ve been fighting tooth-and-nail against legislation to reduce CO2 emissions from cars.”
The rescue package follows a request by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association in October calling on the EU to deliver €40 billion in financial support. It also comes on the back of a call by three leading US carmakers for a $25 billion bailout.
Greenpeace calls on EU governments to refuse handing out loans as long as they are not certain that green cars are being put on the market. Between 1996 and 2005, 31% of the EIB’s entire industry funding went to the car industry. In Greenpeace’s view, this public money has been wasted, as there has been hardly any progress to make cars more fuel-efficient.
The three European institutions are currently putting the final touches on a new EU law to limit CO2 emissions from cars. Based on current proposals, this legislation will not lead to any reductions by 2012. The Commission‘s original proposal, supported by the European Parliament, asks for a target of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2012. Agreements on the car emissions legislation and the Commission’s rescue package are expected ahead of the Environment Council and at the EU Summit early next month.
Draft Nuclear Safety Directive
Serious doubt has been cast on the independence of the European Commission, said Greenpeace following today’s proposal for a Directive setting up a Community framework for nuclear safety.
"The Commission is clearly influenced by the powerful nuclear lobby. Its approach has consistently been to go for the lowest common denominator in terms of nuclear safety,” said Jan Haverkamp, Greenpeace EU dirty energy policy campaigner.
"Even though the Commission highlights in its proposal that countries are allowed to adopt stronger safety rules than those mandated, EU countries that have the lowest nuclear safety standards will have no incentive to make any improvements. This proposal will do nothing to reduce the risk of nuclear accidents.”
Link: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/press-releases2/Commission-s-rescue-package-for-carmakers

2.2. EU risks 'climate time bomb' on biofuels
25 November 2008, FOE, Oxfam, Birdlife, T&E
As negotiations over new EU targets for biofuels enter a critical final phase, environment and development campaigners have warned of a 'climate time bomb' if so-called 'sustainability criteria' are not dramatically improved.
The EU's proposed renewable energy directive (RED) calls for 10 per cent of transport fuel to come from renewable sources by 2020, which will significantly increase demand for biofuels. Representatives of the European Parliament, Commission and the French Presidency are meeting today to hammer out the final details of the sustainability rules that would apply.
The groups say the latest proposal from the French Presidency does not take into consideration recent scientific warnings on biofuels and could actually worsen climate change, endanger biodiversity and deepen global poverty.
In particular environmental groups are concerned that the French Presidency has so far failed to respond to European Parliament and other member state initiatives that would account for the impact of 'indirect land use change' (ILUC) on overall CO2 emissions from biofuels. When agricultural land is used for biofuels, additional land is required for other purposes which can cause, for example, forests to be cleared for food crops. As a result, biofuels can actually cause more emissions from 'well to wheel' than crude-oil based petrol and diesel.
Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The European public were assured that only sustainably-grown biofuels would be permitted in the EU. But these so-called sustainability criteria are little more than political greenwash. Despite all the warning of the potential harm biofuels can cause, the EU is ploughing ahead with massive expansion."
Development organisations are concerned that sustainability criteria, as currently proposed, will do little to tackle the impacts of biofuel production in the poorest countries including rising food prices and increased poverty. Biofuel production has been identified by international agencies and academics as a principal driver of recent food price rises and is also linked to displacement of rural populations in poor countries.
Robert Bailey of Oxfam International said: "It is the World's poor that are being hit hardest by climate change, whilst rich economies such as the EU are most to blame for it. Europe is now set to compound this injustice further with a policy that comes at the expense of poor people's land rights, human rights and food security. This is in no way sustainable."
Nusa Urbancic of Transport and Environment (T&E) said: "The French Presidency and the European Commission are sticking their heads in the sand. They have, so far, ignored the findings of numerous independent scientific bodies who say land use change is absolutely central to truly understanding the environmental impacts of biofuels. Weak rules will now massively increase investment in biofuels - good and bad - and risk creating a climate time bomb at a moment when the world needs policies guaranteed to cut emissions."
Ariel Brunner of BirdLife International said: "This directive will not lead to a sustainable biofuels industry. Indeed, precious wildlife and fragile ecosystems will continue to be destroyed to make way for biofuels, without even guaranteeing benefits to the climate."
Link: http://www.foeeurope.org/press/2008/Nov26_EU_risks_climate_time_bomb_on_biofuels.html

JOBS

3.1. Oxfams EU Advocacy Office (Brussels) is seeking an Intern/Project Manager
Oxfam International is looking to fill in a temporary/intern position to
join its EU team in Brussels. The position will have a particular emphasis
on coordination for the Czech Presidency, as well as providing support to
the team in their advocacy work, representative work and general office
administration.
More at: http://www.oxfam.org

CONFERENCES

4.1. The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Poznań, Poland - COP 14
1-12 December 2008
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznań opened this morning. It is 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 includes 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. Around nine thousand participants are attending the Poznań meeting, which will both advance international cooperation on a future climate change regime and ensure progress on key issues.
Provisional agendas and further information
Live and On-demand webcast
For the duration of the conference, all official meetings and press conferences will be available live and on demand, with English or floor audio streams. On-demand files will be available shortly after the close of each meeting.
A selection of side-events will be available on demand in floor languages.
View webcast: http://copportal1.man.poznan.pl/

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