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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Energy in EU, June, 2008- some really bad news for car industry in EU

In this edition:
  • G8 energy chiefs worried by oil prices, eye nuclear
  • EU mulls mandatory CO2 ads for cars
  • Including aircraft operators in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
  • EU pledges tax breaks to counter oil price rise
  • Member states in push to revise renewables plans
  • Merkel and Sarkozy 'breakthrough' on car emissions
Mostly bad news. Unfortunately. My comment are below. I'm especially sad over the last one. As the GreenPeace representative said-if the car industry say "Jump", Germany and France say "How high". Very very true, because it turns out that all the requirements of the car-producers are fullfilled. And the consumers and the planet are majorly screwed.

G8 energy chiefs worried by oil prices, eye nuclear

9 June 2008

Energy ministers from the Group of Eight (G8), plus China, India and South Korea, expressed concerns on Sunday (8 June) about the impact of soaring crude oil prices on the world economy, calling for better energy efficiency and more nuclear power.

"Current high oil prices are unprecedented and against the interest of either consuming or producing countries. They pose a heavy burden – particularly on resource-scarce developing countries," the group of countries said in a joint statement, released after the ministers' meeting in Hokkaido, Japan.

Over the past four years, crude oil prices have more than tripled, from $40 per barrel in 2004 to nearly $140 at the close of markets Friday (6 June). The meteoric price rise has caused public protests and riots in developed and developing economies alike.

Meanwihle the International Energy Agency (IEA) is calling for a major boost in clean technologies to address the world's soaring demand for energy. Nuclear, along with carbon capture and storage (CCS), renewable energies and energy efficiency, "all must play a much more important role," the IEA said in a 6 June press statement. source

My comment: Stating merely the obvious :)

EU mulls mandatory CO2 ads for cars

3 June 2008

Much to the displeasure of media corporations, car advertisers could be forced to include "tobacco-style" warnings relating to the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new vehicles in all their promotional campaigns as the Commission looks to revise rules on car labelling.

The EU executive launched a two-month consultationexternal yesterday (2 June) to sound out public opinion on whether additional data should be made available to consumers in order for them to make a more informed choice when buying a new car.

Carmakers have often argued that the current low demand for environmentally friendly cars is due to the lack of consumer awareness of the impact they have on the global climate as drivers. While they are willing to pay more for factors such as comfort and speed, they are not yet ready to fork out the extra cash to reduce their carbon footprints.

Current legislation already requires distributors to inform their customers of fuel consumption and CO2 emission data at all points of sale and in printed promotional literature, such as posters and newspaper and magazine ads. But the Commission is investigating whether similar requirements should also be set for television, radio and internet advertising. An A ("best") to G ("worst") ranking scheme could also be introduced.

Last year, the European Parliament backed a report by Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, which called for the use of tobacco-style environmental warnings whereby a minimum of 20% of any car advertising, marketing or promotional space would have to be dedicated to this type of information (EurActiv 25/10/07).

But media corporations have reacted with fury to this kind of proposal, which could cause a serious blow to one of their most lucrative sources of revenue. The automobile sector represents roughly 9% of TV and 15% of radio advertising revenues across the EU, although in some countries, the figures are much higher.

Last week, the Commission also launched a joint campaign entitled "Save more than fuelexternal ", in collaboration with oil companies. The aim of the awareness campaign is to provide consumers at petrol and service stations with simple tips on how to save fuel and emit less CO2 when driving. source

My comment: I don't know in what way the requirement for 20% of the space to be information of the economy class of the car represents limitation on free speech and medias, but anyway to sum up- ME LIKES! :) I think this is an important information, especially with the current prices of fuel, so why not?

Including aircraft operators in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

9 June 2008

Issues such as whether or not to include outside operators in the future aviation arm of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) as well as how to determine the emissions cap itself could prove stumbling blocks in the expansion plans, says a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The European Commission has proposed an enlargement of the ETS to include aircraft operators from 2011, but debates over its implementation are likely to continue, says the report.

Many operators are still not ready for the expected launch of the system in 2011 as they are waiting for binding rules. But the report urges them to prepare early to give them an advantage in the long term.

Operators are mainly concerned with tax and accounting issues and whether or not the ETS will ensure a level playing field for operators based within and outside Europe, says the report. It states that most operators would favour a global emissions trading scheme to avoid unfair competition.

Many operators are already voluntarily looking to reduce emissions, as fuel is a major cost for air traffic, says the report. As air traffic is the only global passenger transportation network, destabilising the industry's stability would have an adverse effect on the European economy, argue PwC.

The Commission proposal favours integrating the aviation industry into the current ETS, rather creating a separate framework, notes the report. Therefore, operators will be able to buy allowances from other emission sectors but will not be able to sell these to the other sectors. Trading within their own sector will be permitted.

The remaining issues that need to be agreed upon are whether caps on emissions are determined nationally or at EU level, how many of the allowances are auctioned and whether or not to include other greenhouse gases, says the report.

PwC conclude that the most contentious issue will be whether or not to include international flights and non-EU operators in the ETS for the aviation industry. EU operators have argued that including non-European operators would be essential in the interests of competitiveness. source

My comment: Yup, I'm totally for including all operators into the scheme, because otherwise, it's absolutely useless.

EU pledges tax breaks to counter oil price rise

12 June 2008

The European Commission said on Wednesday (11 June) that it will propose tax breaks and other incentives to ease the short and long-term effects of fuel price rises on the poorest sectors of the EU population.

The measures will be unveiled in detail in the coming days so that EU heads of state and government can debate them at a summit in Brussels on 19-20 June, the Commission said. The proposals will include:

  • A revision of the energy taxation directive and the 'Eurovignette' directive, which allows EU countries to charge road users (to be presented this year);
  • a report on the use of tax incentives, including reduced VAT rates to encourage energy savings (in the autumn), and;
  • proposals on the transparency of commercial oil stocks (by the end of the year).

In the short term, the Commission said it will allow EU countries to provide "targeted support" to poorer households provided that the measures are "temporary, non-distorting and do not inhibit longer term adjustment to higher prices".

Commission spokesperson Johannes Laitenberger also suggested that the Commission could consider taxing the "windfall profits" that energy firms pocketed by charging their customers for the cost of CO2 pollution permits that they initially received free of charge.

Over the past weeks, Brussels has been anxious to discourage EU countries from taking hasty measures to alleviate fuel price rises in the hardest-hit sectors of the economy.

The central part of the Commission's response is therefore long term. "The major policy response must be to make the EU more efficient in the use of energy, and less dependent on fossil fuels," the EU executive said in a statement.

According to the EU executive, the response to rising oil prices "should be based on the assumption that prices are likely to remain high in the medium to long term". source

My comment:Absolutely! The price are going to stay high and that's absolutely obvious. The demand is still growing and the production is increasing very very slowly. It's simply impossible to lower the price by decreasing the locale taxes. The best way to deal with the situation is to invest in efficiency (short-term) and in alternative source of energy (long-term).

Member states in push to revise renewables plans

y 10 June 2008

Germany, the UK and Poland are proposing new flexibility mechanisms to help reach EU renewable energy targets, while Italy is demanding a new method be used to calculate countries' renewables potential. Rome is also pushing for a reduction of the EU's 10% biofuels target.

"The current [renewables] package may not deliver the best value for money," say Germany, the UK and Poland in a joint statement released during the Energy Council of 6 June. The Commission is basing the targets on economic strength rather than on the basis of countries' potential "to deliver cost-efficient renewables," the statement continues.

While the three member states are not calling for a new method to calculate their individual renewable energy targets, they are nonetheless demanding more 'flexibility'.

Included in their proposal is a mechanism that would allow EU countries to collaborate towards achieving their individual goals via joint projects. Two member states could also combine their targets, and countries that reach their targets early should be able to transfer surplus renewable energy to states that are falling behind, according to the statement.

Significantly, the three member states' proposals do not include any mention of trading in renewable energy certificates.

The Commission's proposal on renewable certificates trading "is not flying anymore", he said. France and Spain are also likely to support non-trading flexibility mechanisms, Schäfer said.

Italy, meanwhile, is calling for a revision of the criteria used to calculate national targets, which are currently based national GDP. Rome wants to add an emissions criterion to the calculation method, whereby states that pollute less would also have lower targets.

Austria, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Malta are backing Rome's proposal.

Italy is also urging the EU to "speak a realistic language" with respect to biofuels in the context of sky-rocketing food prices.

While the EU remains locked in a heated debate over whether or not the biofuels targets should be kept, it is less likely that member states will agree to a rethink on renewable energy target calculation, according to Schäfer.source

My comment: I think those suggestion are sensible. And maybe that flexibility will be a better incentive for countries to be effective. But one should be cautions and set up a minimum of emissions for every country, so that some countries won't turn to HELL and some - to paradise. As for Italy-very sensible ideas, it's really odd not to have a current emissions criteria. Though that changes the focus of the proposal from shared responsibility, to not-shared. Because it's obvious that some countries will always emit less than others, while still relaying on their production. So, probably there should be a Green tax put on the consumer. This way, the Green production will always be stimulated.

Merkel and Sarkozy 'breakthrough' on car emissions

10 June 2008

Meeting for their annual bilateral summit on 9 June, the German Chancellor and French President finally smoothed over a heated dispute regarding European Commission plans to cap CO2 emissions from new cars. But green groups say the deal is a sham.

In a joint statementPdf external , the two leaders gave their backing to EU plans to cut emissions of CO2 from new vehicles from current levels of around 160g/km to an average of 120g/km by 2012.

While remaining vague over the details, Merkel and Sarkozy said they had agreed that targets be based on vehicles' weight, as proposed by the Commission. This is key to the auto industry as it will enable heavier, more polluting vehicles, such as the SUVs and luxury models produced by German carmakers, to emit more, so long as manufacturers balance this production with smaller, less-polluting models. /NOOOOOOOOOOOOO/

Merkel and Sarkozy went a step further, backing a "substantial" phasing-in period for proposed limits in order to take into consideration "the technological capacities of the car manufacturing industry".

They also called for more flexibility on penalties for offenders. These "should be adapted for small deviations of carmakers from their target," they said.

They added that carmakers should be given breathing space if they are trying to introduce cleaner technology.

Merkel hailed the deal as an "important breakthrough" which showed that Germany and France can work together to resolve major differences and will pave the way towards a deal at EU level.

But green groups slammed the agreement. "The car industry says jump and France and Germany say 'how high?'" said Greenpeace campaigner Franziska Achterberg. She said the deal was a route to "climate disaster", notably with the proposed flexibility mechanisms for the introduction of green technologies. "With all the small print they have introduced the target would no longer be 120g CO2/km by 2012, but a whopping 138g by some unspecified date."

During the meeting, Sarkozy also attempted to win over his German counterpart on a proposal to cap soaring oil prices by lowering EU fuel taxes ahead of a key European Summit on 19-20 June. But Merkel merely responded by saying: "I think conditions in every country are very specific."


My comment:That is absolute tragedy! The dependence over the weight is an absurd and I think this deal is really shameful for both countries. I really preferred not to have read this article.

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