1.1. China rules out linking climate aid to transparency
19 November 2010, Reuters
China said on Friday it will not agree to any deal linking rich nations' aid to its acceptance of tighter oversight of efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The remarks from Huang Huikang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's special representative for climate change talks, laid bare rifts between Beijing and rich countries -- especially the United States -- that could trouble high-level negotiations in Cancun, Mexico.
China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from human activity, will be a key player when almost 200 governments meet in Cancun from late this month to try to agree on a "green fund" for poor countries and other building blocks for a comprehensive new agreement to combat global warming.
Cancun is meant to be the stepping stone to a legally binding deal next year that would lock governments into reducing the greenhouse gas pollution holding more solar heat in the atmosphere and threatening to tip into dangerous global warming.
Even modest gains at the talks appear tough after a year of bickering between China and the United States, the top greenhouse gas emitters that have also sparred over trade and currency ties.
The U.S., European Union and other governments want China, India and other big emerging economies to shoulder firmer international commitments to control and eventually cut their emissions, and to subject those emissions to tighter monitoring.
Huang told reporters that Beijing hoped to see progress in Cancun, but would not yield on what he said was China's right to make economic growth an overriding priority.
"Recently, we've found that some people have always been making a fuss about so-called (emissions) transparency," he told a news conference.
The key to success in climate negotiations, he said, was advanced economies leading with big emissions cuts and ensuring more aid and clean technology to help poorer nations.
"These are unconditional and should not be linked to anything else," he said of rich nations' efforts.
"This is a strong signal. Previously, we haven't so strongly stressed that as a matter of principle we believe that improving transparency is not an issue."
China's emissions would keep growing for some time, Huang added, but he did not specify for how long.
"China's overriding priority will be to develop its economy, eliminate poverty and raise people's welfare, and our energy consumption and (greenhouse gas) emissions will experience reasonable growth for some time," he said. "In my personal judgement, the peak will not come any time soon," he said of China's greenhouse gas emissions growth.
Huang's comments underscored the hurdles to crafting a climate treaty that will accommodate the competing demands of emerging and advanced economies.
Governments failed to agree last year on a new legally binding deal. A meeting in Copenhagen last December ended in rancour between rich and developing countries and created a loose, non-binding accord with many gaps. China's emissions have more than doubled since 2000 and have outstripped the United States'. In 2009 its emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels were 7.5 billion tonnes, or 24 percent of the global total, according to BP .
Beijing has made a domestic vow to reduce "carbon intensity" -- the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each dollar of economic growth -- by 40-45 percent by 2020 compared with 2005. But it says that goal will not be turned into a binding international target that could hinder the country's choices.
1.2. Climate Talks Should Not Set Deadline For Pact
18 November 2010, The NY Times
President Barack Obama's climate envoy said on Thursday world powers shouldn't get bogged down on a deadline for greenhouse gas emission cuts at the upcoming global climate talks, but instead should take small steps that could lead to a broader agreement.
"I don't personally think so," Todd Stern, the top U.S. climate negotiator, told reporters after a two-day meeting of the Major Economies Forum, when asked if there should be a deadline. "I think it should get done when it's ripe."
It was the last meeting of the group of 17 economies, including China, India, Russia and countries in the European Union, that debate ways to fight emissions before annual United Nations climate talks that run from Nov 29. to December 10 in Cancun, Mexico.
With the 2012 expiration looming for the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, some countries have pressed for a pact on binding emissions cuts by next year's climate talks in South Africa.
If that goal is out of reach, they say a deadline on agreeing to a binding pact should be set to help speed negotiations.
"I would rather have the concrete stuff done while we are trying to get the legal treaty than say we are not going to do anything before we get the legal agreement," Stern said.
Rich and developing countries can take steps in Cancun to help build trust on fighting emissions, he said.
These include agreeing on a global system to monitor, report, and verify emissions and the architecture of a fund to help developing countries deal with the worst effects of climate change.
Agreeing on systems to ensure technology transfers between rich and poor nations to mitigate and adapt to global warming and to fight deforestation are also areas where progress could be made in Cancun, he said.
The United States is not a member of the Kyoto pact that binds other developed countries to cut emissions of gases that cause global warming, which could lead to more floods and droughts.
Still, Obama pledged at last year's U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen that the United States would cut emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. That is about a 3 percent reduction from 1990 levels, the baseline used by many other countries, including those in the EU that have agreed to stronger cuts.
Stern reiterated that Washington would stick to that pledge despite the U.S. Congress' failure to pass a bill to deal with climate change. With Republicans winning control of the House of Representatives in this month's elections, chances are now even more remote a climate change bill will be considered.
The Obama administration is taking steps to cut emissions from vehicles and from smokestack industries like power plants and cement manufacturers.
An increase in the number of climate change deniers in Congress after this month's elections is something the U.S. will have to get through, Stern said.
Since binding cuts are off the table for the Cancun talks and the two biggest emitters -- China and the United States -- remain at odds on how to fight emissions, some analysts have said the coming talks will serve as a referendum on whether the U.N. process has been a failure.
Stern allowed that the U.N. talks must make more progress. "The process can't continually stalemate," he said. "If we can't make any progress this year or next year there will be a point it won't work."
1.3. Poor nations say rich fail on climate aid pledge
18 November 2010, Reuters
Poor nations accused donors on Thursday of failing to keep a promise of extra climate aid, which the U.N. says will be the "golden key" to successful global warming talks in Mexico this month.
"The promises (of aid) are there, and they keep coming, but we don't see anything on the ground," said Bruno Sekoli of Lesotho, who will chair the group of least developed countries (LDCs) at the United Nations' negotiations in Mexico from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10.
"For us, the LDCs, we want action," Sekoli told Reuters of promises of billions of dollars of extra aid for 2010. Up to 194 nations, of which about 50 are LDCs, will meet in the Mexican resort of Cancun to seek ways to slow climate change.
By contrast, developed countries say that cash is starting to flow under a pledge made at the U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 to provide funds approaching $30 billion of "new and additional" aid between 2010 and 2012. [ID:nLDE6AD0I6]
A draft European Union report, for instance, said that EU members were keeping a promise to deliver 2.2 billion euros ($3 billion) in 2010 to help poor nations cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to impacts of climate change. [ID:nLDE6AE1MR]
It said projects include a German grant of 300,000 euros to help Mozambique build a flood warning system and a 400,000 euro grant from the Czech Republic to help Ethiopia revitalise wells, improve water supplies and halt erosion.
U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres says flows are a "golden key" to Cancun, where nations hope to agree a package of measures including a green fund to manage long-term aid, deals on sharing clean technology and protecting tropical forests.
The different perceptions of aid flows between rich and poor nations are likely to be a hurdle to negotiations among environment ministers in Cancun. No nations expect a treaty to be agreed after world leaders fell short in Copenhagen.
Poor nations suspect that rich nations, facing budget cuts at home, are simply relabelling many old projects as new.
"It is clear there is more funding flowing," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington. "But how much of it is new and additional is an open question."
Developing nations have long said aid is "new and additional" only if it is above a goal, set in the 1970s, for developed nations to give 0.7 percent of their annual gross domestic income as aid. Most donors have never reached the goal.
Even so, Sekoli said that getting cash flowing was more important than wrangling about percentages. "We should not spend time arguing on the level ... I am so desperate to see the flow of funds," he said.
The poorest nations, largely in Africa, have done least to cause global warming but are among the most vulnerable to droughts, floods, desertification, heatwaves and rising sea levels.
Many developed nations have not clearly defined what they mean by new and additional. Under the Copenhagen Accord, aid is due to rise to $100 billion a year from 2020.
1.4. UK climate economist warns US of trade boycott
19 November 2010, AFP
A British climate change economist at the heart of international negotiations seeking a greenhouse gas deal said Friday that the US faces a trade boycott if it fails to rein in its carbon emissions.
Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the British government's 2006 report on the economics of climate change, warned the US that many countries would shun its goods if they deemed them to be "dirty."
"The US will increasingly see the risks of being left behind, and 10 years from now they would have to start worrying about being shut out of markets because their production is dirty," Stern told The Times newspaper.
"If they persist in being slow about reducing emissions, US exports will start to look more carbon intensive."
Stern advises several G20 countries and his 2006 Stern review is regarded as the most in-depth and well-known study into climate change economics.
World leaders will meet at the UN climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, in 10 days' time to try and kickstart emissions negotiations which faltered at the Copenhagen conference last December.
Stern said that countries who have pledged to reduce their emissions would resent competition from "dirty" exports. He highlighted aircraft, cars and machine tools as goods which could face restrictions.
"If you are charging properly for carbon and other people are not, you will take that into account," he said. "Many of the more forward-looking people in the US are thinking about this."
US President Barack Obama pledged before the Copenhagen conference to cut US emissions by 17 percent on 2005 levels by 2020, but has been thwarted by Congress.
Any new US commitments within the next two years are highly unlikely following the Republican party's gains in the midterm elections.
1.5. Has the EU kept its fast-start climate finance promises?
17 November 2010, CAN-E
A new report , commissioned by CAN Europe, examines the EU’s commitment to keeping the promises made by developed countries in Copenhagen to provide immediate “new and additional” climate cash for developing countries.
Based on the findings of the report, green and development NGOs call for an improved transparency in EU’s reporting on “fast-start” climate finance.
Complete reporting transparency on near-term finance could set a good precedent for long-term climate finance and build the necessary trust between developed and developing countries to reach a successful agreement in the international climate negotiations that will take place in Cancun later this month.
EU Finance Ministers (ECOFIN Council) meeting today in Brussels are expected to adopt the first annual EU progress report on meeting its targets on “fast start finance,” which is scheduled for release this week.
NGOs are urging a review and expansion of the information in the EU report by including vital information identified in the NGO-commissioned report. Some of the main issues identified in the publication by CAN Europe and others include:
Lack of a common global reporting framework;
Funding sources being identified as aggregate figures, rather than on a country-by-country basis;
Unclear classification between grants and loans - over half of funding worryingly appears to be loans;
Lack of specific project details, including geographical distribution; and
No definition of the criteria for funding to be classified as “new and additional,” i.e., proving that the funding is not simply recycling past aid promises.
Read the full report: http://www.climnet.org/resources/doc_download/1741-has-the-eu-kept-its-fast-start-climate-finance-pledges
1.6. Businesses 'deploying clean tech' despite slow UN talks
22 November 2010, EurActiv
The slow pace of the international climate negotiations is not preventing large emerging countries from putting in place ambitious policies, said Mark Kenber, deputy CEO of The Climate Group. He was talking to EurActiv ahead of the UN climate conference in Cancún, which starts next week (29 November).
"We're seeing that businesses – despite the lack of progress on the international front – still continue to look at how to become more energy efficient, how to deploy renewables and other clean energy technologies," said Kenber.
The deputy chief of The Climate Group, which brings together politicians and business leaders to advance a clean industrial revolution, pointed to ambitious plans in countries without emission-reduction commitments, like India and China.
"If the success [at the Cancún climate talks] isn't what everybody thinks it should be, that doesn't mean that nothing's happening or the progress will stop."
Kenber was optimistic that even if world leaders do not attempt to agree on an overarching deal until South Africa next year, Cancún will still lead to a number of decisions and demonstrate that the multilateral UN process can still work.
"It seems that there's potential there to make good progress on the financing package," Kenber argued. Advances could also be made in the areas of adaptation, a climate technology mechanism and a REDD+ programme to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, he said.
"Another thing that is hoped for is that the voluntary targets that were included in countries' submissions after Copenhagen can be codified in some kind of COP decision so that they become more formal agreements, even if they're not commitments under the Kyoto Protocol or under the convention," the expert said.
But he cautioned that he would be "quite stunned" if there was real progress on new targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
Kenber also argued that the US election results will not make a massive difference to the passage of climate legislation in the country and its participation in the negotiations.
"It would be naïve of me to say that the outcome of the election is positive – it's clearly not positive and it makes it more difficult for [US President Barack Obama] to move ahead. But as I said, we haven't seen a huge amount of progress in the last year so I don't think it makes a lot of difference," he said.
The expert argued that US companies that see clean technologies as an opportunity will continue to seek opportunities outside of the US. "I think the biggest loser from not taking action to reduce emissions and introduce new green technologies will be the US itself," he said.
The EU last month agreed its stance for Cancún, declaring its support for the continuation of Kyoto, provided that essential reforms are carried out and all major economies commit to appropriate measures. But it also postponed discussions about raising the EU's 2020 emissions reduction target until after the climate conference.
"I think it will be an advantage next year if Europe does decide to move beyond 20% - and let's remember it's not just 20% or 30%, it can be somewhere in between," Kenber commented. He argued that had the EU made the move ahead of the Copenhagen, it would have had an impact on progress in the negotiations, despite many countries claiming that it would not have made a huge difference one way or the other.
"But more importantly for Europe and the process as a whole is Europe laying out how it's going to move beyond the 2020 package and on into the future," he said, arguing that doing so would be beneficial both for Europe and for the global process.
1.7. EU regions back Schwarzenegger initiative to save climate
19 November 2010, EurActiv
Six European regions have joined Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a global initiative to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions called 'R20'.
'R20' is the name of a new initiative that seeks to bring together regional governments from across the world in order to share knowledge and push ahead with actions to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transport.
The initiative, launched in California this week (15-16 November), is being actively supported by regions across Europe.
"The signing of the Climate Action Charter by sub-national groups sends a strong message to national governments and international institutions," said Michèle Sabban, president of the Assembly of European Regions and vice-president of the Ile-de-France Regional Council.
"The message is that regions must be recognised for the actions they undertake in support of innovation and adaptation to climate change whilst global policymakers should learn from our ability to develop new forms of cooperation," she said.
Other European regions represented at the R20 launch event include Alba (Romania), Flevoland (The Netherlands), Azores (Portugal), Istria (Croatia) and Donetsk (Ukraine).
Schwarzenegger in the driving seat
The R20 initiative is based on the model of the C40 – a group of large cities committed to clean energy and energy-saving measures, which was established in 2005 and is currently chaired by Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City.
The R20 group was launched at the 3rd Governors' Global Climate Summit which took place in Davis, California, this week. This was a final opportunity for the state's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to make an impact on the world stage before his term of office comes to an end on 3 January 2011.
Schwarzenegger is very much in the driving seat of the R20, which aims to highlight the contribution that regional governments can make to tackling climate change, promoting energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"We can't afford to wait for national and international movement. Action is needed now, and action is what we're taking with R20," the former movie star told delegates.
"The role of subnational governments is more important than ever, and California has shown that state and regional governments can institute policies that will grow the green economy, create jobs and clean our environment."
"With this unprecedented level of cooperation and collaboration, R20 will continue this leadership around the world and will help influence national and international action."
Schwarzenegger, who grew up in Austria, was a world famous body-builder and movie star before deciding to enter politics in 2003. He has regularly spoken about the need to address climate change, and in 2006 he signed a law to limit greenhouse gas emissions in California, which has more inhabitants (37 million) than any other state in the USA.
2.1. Tools for a green European energy grid, but no direction
16 November 2010, Greenpeace
Brussels, International — Tomorrow the European Commission adopts its discussion paper on energy infrastructure priorities for 2020 and beyond. Greenpeace welcomes important elements of the communication such as...
* the presentation of a Europe-wide approach to grid development that could allow green energy generated in one region to be shared with others;
* a list of priority projects, like a North Sea Grid, to help integrate significant volumes of renewable energy;
* an emphasis on smart grids, which will help local-level renewable generation and secure continuous energy supply.
However, Greenpeace EU energy policy advisor Frauke Thies said: “The Commission has missed the opportunity to tackle the real energy issue that all governments in Europe should be addressing. If they do not make the strategic choice to develop a clean, flexible energy mix we will end up with a wasteful and expensive energy system that tries to combine the growing share of renewables with old-fashioned, inflexible and dirty coal and nuclear. The Commission has presented some critical tools to help us along the path to a green future, but shied away from showing EU countries the way.”
The communication also marks a change in the Commission’s tone on carbon capture and storage. While it talks of a potential CO2 network infrastructure, it warns that such plans should be treated with “great caution” because of the costs involved.
2.2. Nanotechnology: true climate and energy cost exposed
16 November 2010, FOEE
Nanotechnology will not significantly increase energy efficiency, or help tackle climate change in its current form, reveals a new report from Friends of the Earth in Europe, US and Australia, released today . Nanotechnology, climate and energy: over-heated promises and hot air exposes the true environmental and energy costs of nanotechnology, promoted as ‘green’ by the nanotech-industry.
The report details the complexity of nanotechnology and demonstrates that current uses fail to deliver benefits for global warming, resource depletion and pollution, but instead increase energy use and create environmental risks.
Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Nanotechnology has the theoretical potential to change the way we harness, use and store energy. However, in reality nanotechnology products require large amounts of energy to manufacture, at the environment’s expense, and do not deliver the levels of savings promised.”
Nanotechnology has been the focus of considerable ‘greenwash’ and industry has promoted it as is a solution to our environmental concerns. But, it is drawing valuable investment away from proven solutions to the environmental crisis, such as renewable technologies. Current uses, including socks, sports equipment and cosmetics, offer no energy- or environment-saving benefits, but require vast amounts of energy. The embodied energy in a single kilogram of carbon nanotubes, used in sporting equipment and other nanoproducts, may be as great as 167 barrels of oil.
Ian Illuminato, Friends of the Earth US and co-author of the report, said: “Despite industry claims, nanotechnology will not significantly contribute to energy saving and greenhouse gas reduction. In practice it will do the opposite: giving politicians an excuse to continue with ‘business as usual’, at the expense of smart, informed technology choices and behavioural change.”
“Nanotechnology is no quick techno-fix for our environmental problems. At best it can make a small positive contribution to energy and climate problems, but it has the potential to make things much worse.”
Georgia Miller, Friends of the Earth Australia and co-author of the report, said:“It is important the public understands that many nanotechnology applications come at a high environmental cost. At a time when we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, there is growing investment in nanotechnology to find and extract more oil and gas, instead of investment in proven solutions such as renewable technologies.”
The report can be viewed at: http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2010/nano_climate_energy_nov2010.pdf: http://www.foeeurope.org/press/2010/Nov16_nanotechnology_true_climate_energy_costs.html
2.3. Smart grids could save Europe €52bn
16 November 2010, EurActiv
Smart grids could save the EU €52 billion annually, according to leading smart grid companies that have teamed up to promote European leadership in smart grids.
The sizeable savings would arise from reducing losses in the electricity distribution network through automation and encouraging consumers to cut energy consumption with smart meters that provide more accurate and timely information, experts from the Smart Energy Demand Coalition said at its launch yesterday (15 November) in Brussels.
Utilities will also be able to lower the system voltage level and make meter-reading redundant, argued Chris King, chief regulatory officer at eMeter. After deducting necessary costs like the installation of smart meters and new software, the net benefit would still be €31 billion per year, he said.
The new coalition includes members like electricity utilities ENEL and EDF, technology companies Landis & Gyr and eMeter and think-tank VaasaETT. Modelled after a similar association, the US-based Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition (DRSG), it aims to inform policymakers about developing smart grid policies and publicise the benefits of smart energy demand.
Smart metering solutions will allow the introduction of time-based tariffs and provide consumers with information about their electricity use in real time. But installing the equipment in each household will do nothing unless consumers are given adequate information about how to make use of them.
Europe is currently spending billions of euros on developing technologies requiring smart grids, including wind and solar generation, electric vehicles and heat pumps. But in comparison to these funding and standardisation efforts, little attention is paid to developing demand-side programmes that will reduce energy consumption, the coalition members pointed out.
"The political recognition is there but everybody keeps asking 'show me the numbers'," said John Harris, vice-president of global leader in smart metering solutions Landis+Gyr. While the industry can convert the benefits of smart metering and intelligent grids into figures, the EU still faces a regulatory gap that has not been closed by its 2020 climate goals or the third energy package, which requires smart metering systems to be fitted into 80% of homes by 2020.
"The first thing we need to do is to define what an intelligent system and meter is," Harris said. Here, the functionalities of smart metering identified by European standardisation bodies working under an EU mandate are a good starting point, he argued.
Another problem will be solving the question of who pays for the roll-out of smart meters, which is more complicated in a liberalised market like that of the EU, Harris added.
3.1. Don't weaken vans limits, says T&E after car industry 'exaggeration
18 November 2010, T&E
T&E says its latest figures monitoring the efforts of car makers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars show the industry exaggerated the difficulty of reducing emissions when the latest CO2 reduction target was agreed in 2008. Toyota has almost reached the target six years early, with other car makers not far behind. T&E says the figures are a warning to MEPs and ministers that they should not water down proposed limits for emissions from vans which are currently going through the EU legislative process.
In its annual survey of car manufacturers’ progress on reducing CO2 emissions from new models, five companies achieved more than 3% reductions by using new technology (Toyota, Suzuki, Daimler, Ford and Mazda). Three makers (Hyundai, Suzuki and Fiat) achieved the same as a result of selling smaller vehicles, many of which were subsidised by so-called ‘scrappage’ schemes. (Suzuki achieved 3% reductions using both means.)
The EU’s emissions target is for the average new car to emit no more than 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2015, but this is a target that was weaker than originally proposed, following lobbying by the car industry. In the mid-1990s, the Commission proposed a 120g target to be achieved by 2005; this was later watered down to 120g by 2012 and subsequently 130 g/km by 2012, but even that was delayed by three years as the car makers said it was timewise not feasible.
T&E director Jos Dings said: ‘Three years ago the car industry said it could not deliver car CO2 targets on time but is now set to achieve them years ahead of schedule. Now the same industry is saying van CO2 limits cannot be met – it’s time the credibility of these claims is questioned.’
Some automotive analysts have said the overall 5.1% reduction in CO2 emissions during 2009 is due more to the global economic crisis that forced customers to buy more fuel-efficient cars, than to technological improvements. But T&E’s findings challenge that assumption. They conclude that more than half of the reduction in 2009, or close to a 3% improvement in average efficiency, was achieved through better technology, rather than through sales of smaller cars.
Dings added: ‘Our data show that last year’s big improvement in fuel efficiency was not just a one-off caused by a shift to smaller cars – car makers are adding fuel-saving technologies. So the trend of reduced CO2 emissions is structural and will therefore continue when the market returns to normal. The EU’s CO2 regulation is clearly working.’
Parts of the car industry appear to agree. A spokesperson for the British car makers and traders association SMMT admitted to The Times newspaper that its members had overestimated the difficulty of cutting emissions and had underestimated how quickly the industry would respond to the end of a voluntary target and the start of a mandatory one. ‘Having these limits imposed focused attention and encouraged everyone to do whatever they could to accelerate development,’ the spokesperson said.
The latest figures on CO2 emissions maker-by-maker are available in a report ‘How clean are Europe’s cars?’ from the T&E website.
3.2. New call for carbon charges on aviation and shipping
19 November 2010, T&E
A United Nations body set up after last year’s Copenhagen climate change summit has recommended increased taxes on carbon emissions and air and sea transport with the aim of raising $100 billion a year to help poorer nations fight global warming.
The group, led by the prime ministers of Norway and Ethiopia, said carbon emission taxes must be used as a deterrent to producing greenhouse gases blamed for global warming and to raise money so the developing nations can play their part in fighting climate change.
It proposed that CO2 emissions should cost between $20 and $25 a tonne, which would be more than double existing emissions costs made up of a lot of smaller charges. It also suggested new carbon taxes and auctioning carbon emission allowances, with the aim of raising up to $30 billion a year.
The group was set up by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who said the proposals were ‘financially feasible and politically viable’. But doubts remain about whether it has any official standing within the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change. If it does not, opponents of efforts to charge aviation and shipping could argue that the group’s recommendations cannot be debated as an official proposal at next month’s follow-up global climate conference in Cancun, Mexico.
T&E programme officer Bill Hemmings said: ‘It’s hardly surprising that an independent group led by two prime ministers and featuring several finance ministers, and the financier George Soros, should come up with a recommendation that airlines and shipping companies are paying too little to cover the damage they cause. The problem is obvious, and you wonder how long the world’s governments can continue to keep their head in the sand.’
3.3. T&E paper highlights full picture of transport emissions
9 November 2010, T&E
The gulf between the transport sector’s increased greenhouse gas emissions and cuts from other sectors grew again in 2008. And aviation and shipping’s share of transport emissions rose from 18% in 2007 to 24% in 2008. These are two findings from T&E’s latest report on transport emissions.
The paper is described as a complement to the European Environment Agency’s submission to the UNFCCC, but it is more of a corrective paper, tackling the continuing confusion over the contribution of the transport sector to the EU’s CO2 emissions. This confusion arises because the EEA’s figures usually leave out emissions from international shipping and aviation – the Kyoto protocol does not allocate theses emissions to individual countries, so total EU figures tend to leave them out.
Among the findings from the 2008 figures are:
Between 1990 and 2008, transport emissions increased by 34% while emissions from other sectors decreased by 14%, a discrepancy that widened compared with the period 1990-2007.
Consequently, the share of transport in total emissions rose further from 28 to 29%; in 1990 transport’s share was 21%;
Emissions from international aviation and shipping have risen by 110% and 56% respectively.
In 2008 aviation and shipping accounted for 7.0% of total CO2 emissions, and 24% of transport emissions. In 1990, these figures were 3.8% and 18% respectively.
3.4. 'Resource efficiency' the new buzzword in Commission workplan
19 November 2010, T&E
The Commission has confirmed it will publish a new white paper on EU transport policy next year. The announcement came as part of the Commission’s workplan for 2011, which is aiming to make resource efficiency a priority.
The work programme mentions climate change just once, instead concentrating on terms such as ‘low-carbon economy’, ‘energy security’ and ‘a resource-efficient economy’. It says the work ‘will take time to develop, but the first fruits will consist of an overall approach setting out how energy, transport and the promotion of a low-carbon economy can today be put on the road to transform the EU economy by 2050’.
The white paper on the future of the Common Transport Policy, which is already in an advanced state of preparation, is likely to be aimed at ‘examining the completion of the European transport area to provide an efficient, seamless infrastructure around a core network, building on innovation to achieve low-carbon transport’.
The first transport white paper came in December 1992, and was updated in 2001. The 2001 paper was broadly welcomed by environmental campaigners for making commitments to making the polluter pay and encouraging a shift of freight traffic from road to rail. But while the paper is supposed to guide EU transport policy, many developments in the years following 2001 contradicted some of the environmental promises made in the paper.
Explaining its commitment to using resources sensibly, the work programme says: ‘The aim will be to build progressively a framework based on resource efficiency, to include the shift to a low-carbon society and which sets sectoral policies – including energy, transport and the management of natural resources such as agriculture and fisheries – within a long-term sustainable framework.’
Nina Renshaw, Transport & Environment deputy-director, said: 'Whatever the commission wants to call it, low-carbon, energy-secure or resource-efficient, a coherent approach must include concrete measures to reduce emissions from transport. This must encompass full internalisation of external costs, completing the tentative steps forward in the Eurovignette revision, measures to finally tackle shipping emissions, closing the fuel tax and VAT loopholes enjoyed by aviation and a smarter targetting of EU money to support a transition to clean energy use in transport.'
The Commission is asking for comments on the development of its ‘roadmap’ for a low-carbon economy by 2050. One study suggested transport emissions could drop between 1990 and 2050 with the right measures. The consultation ends on 8 December – see
4.1. Our demands of the Hungarian EU Presidency
18 November 2010, Greenpeace
Greenpeace demands of the Hungarian EU Presidency 2011
Download Document at: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/policy-papers-briefings/our-demands-of-the-hungarian-e
5.1. Young FoEE in Brussels at the Youth Convergence for Climate Justice
From 26th November- 12th December 2010, Young Friends of the Earth Europe
Whilst delegates from all over the world travel to Cancún, Mexico for the next round of UN Climate Talks,Young Friends of the Earth Europe is mobilising young people from across Europe to join the Movement for Climate Justice and take part in a programme of discussions, workshops and training, as well as reactive actions and media work on the negotiations as they unfold in Cancún.
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