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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Climate news, April, 2009

Today:
  1. EU wraps up climate and energy policy
  2. Experts urge UN to include agriculture in climate talks
  3. Car-scrapping schemes meet huge success in Europe
  4. EU stimulus plan to include funds for energy savings
Quote of the day(credit goes to a Czech minister):"If their situation deteriorates, they will lose the new car, while having scrapped the old one. The only thing left will be the debt. This is even less moral than consumer credit offers, because they are not subsidised by the taxpayer."

EU wraps up climate and energy policy

7 April 2009

The EU's Council of Ministers yesterday (6 April) adopted the final legal texts of the energy and climate change package of legislation negotiated by member states in December last year.

The new legislation is intended to meet the EU's 2020 climate goals to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 20% below 1990 levels and boost the share of renewables in the total energy mix to 20% by the same date.

The 'package' is composed of six measures. The revision of the EU's flagship emissions trading scheme will enter into force in 2013, obliging power installations to buy all their emissions allowances at auction to correct the deficiencies of the previous scheme, in which free allocations resulted in massive windfall profits .

For other ETS sectors, auctioning will be gradually phased in, with 20% of emissions permits bought at auction by 2013 and 70% by 2020. Full auctioning will not kick in before 2027. Moreover, member states with significant coal-based production negotiated substantial derogations to their industries that are deemed to be at risk of 'carbon leakage'.

For the sectors outside of the ETS, such as transport and agriculture, the package contains an "effort-sharing" decision, which sets out binding emission-reduction targets for each member state, in line with their ability to pay, in order to reach an overall cut of 10% by 2020.

The package also establishes a regulatory framework for the capture and underground storage of CO2 to help support this new technology before it becomes commercially viable .

Another of its major policy developments is to set out individual targets for the proportion of renewables in member states' final energy consumption, to reach 20% EU-wide.

In addition, the directive stipulates that each country should reach a 10% renewables share in its transport sector, and establishes criteria for the sustainable use of biofuels.

The two remaining measures set CO2 emission limits for new passenger cars and standards for fuel quality. source

My comment:Nothing new here-but it's good to have this list for future reference. I still think that they chose the soft way. We should have chosen much more ambitious goals.

Experts urge UN to include agriculture in climate talks

10 April 2009

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture could further help mitigate the impact of climate change, policy experts are arguing, calling for the sector to be put at the centre of ongoing UN climate talks.

If climate-change mitigation and adaptation goals are to be met, international climate talks must include agriculture, argued the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in a policy paper published last month.

Agriculture is "the missing word" in the UN climate talks, said Gerald Nelson, a senior research fellow at IFPRI, adding that while the agricultural sector emits 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions, it also has a "unique role" in absorbing carbon emitted from other sectors.

Therefore, "any funds set aside in the UN talks to help adaptation need to include agriculture. We need to think about new crop varities, new physical infrastructure to make farming more resilient as well as new institutions both domestically and internationally that support resilience," said Nelson.

According to IFPRI, agriculture can mitigate emissions through "changes in agricultural technologies and management practices," and new crop mixes that include more perennial plants or have deeper root systems. Such plants allow more carbon to be stored in the soil.

Reduced tillage and changes in crop genetics, irrigation, fertiliser use, livestock species and feeding practices can also reduce emissions, the paper continues, asserting that changes to make the agricultural system more resilient to climate change will also increase carbon sequestration.source

My comment: Click here to see the non-result from the talks in Bonn. And when I read the title, I thought they want to help the environment, when in fact, they only want to harm more. This is absolutely disgusting. I mean, they don't offer to reduce emissions trough more sustainable agriculture-no, they offer to MODIFY genetically crops to emit less! Complete idiots! Instead of asking for money, they should consider how to optimise agriculture. Recently I read a complete propaganda article about GMO crops at reason.tv. It tried to convince us that the reason why we don't live in a hungry world (don't we?) is the progress of agriculture, more particularly modified crops. Well, sorry, but that is completely untrue. The fact that we produce so much food is due to the automatized production, better use of fertilisers and probably better use of the land itself. Modified crops are not used for substantial food-can you compare corn or soya with wheat or fruits or vegetables? That's a complete nonsense. Yes, we have to include agriculture in the climate deals. But not so that they can suck even more money from us, quite on the contrary, we must focus on the ways food-production may be optimized to collect more CO2 and probably less water. I don't mind genetical research. I mind however to invest millions into a corporation that endangers both human health and the environment.

Car-scrapping schemes meet huge success in Europe

21 April 2009

Berlin announced plans yesterday (8 April) to treble the size of its car-scrapping scheme to five billion euro after consumers massively responded to the initiative, which encourages motorists to trade old cars for new ones in exchange for a 2,500 euro bonus.

New car registrations in Germany rose by 30% in February after the launch of the scheme, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). As a result, total sales for 2009 could reach 3.1 million cars instead of the 2.8 million forecast initially, the association said.

The German fleet renewal scheme, worth 1.5bn euro, was unveiled in January as part of a 50bn euro stimulus package to kick-start the economy, which is experiencing its worst recession since the 1930s. The plan invites owners to trade in cars that are nine years old or more for new fuel-efficient models in exchange for a 2,500 euro bonus.

But the scheme soon became a victim of its own success. With 1.2 million applications to date, demand has twice exceeded the fund's capabilities to support them. The fund's extension should enable a further two million bonuses to be distributed.

The German case is not isolated. Similar schemes are being introduced around Europe and are experiencing similar success.

But the scheme is not to the taste of everybody. In an online chat session, Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said he "disagrees" with the introduction of the car scrapping scheme and argued that it was "an unfair, temporary aid for a single industry".

He further questioned the morality of such schemes, saying they have dramatic social consequences for the poor. "If their situation deteriorates, they will lose the new car, while having scrapped the old one. The only thing left will be the debt. This is even less moral than consumer credit offers, because they are not subsidised by the taxpayer."

The scheme also came under fire from environmental groups, which denounced its "absurdity". source

My comment: I happen to agree with the Czech minister this time. Although, I'd love to get a 2500 euro bonus (and a new car!) , it doesn't solve people's problems-if you cannot afford a new car without the bonus, you're not likely to be able to really afford it with the bonnus. And in the end, you're fucked. There's only the debt left. And this reminds me of how governments print money-they give credits which the people pay off creating the money for them. And anyway, this isn't fair at all. They have to take into account the type of car, whether it's economical and clean and so on.

EU stimulus plan to include funds for energy savings

17 April 2009

After weeks of wrangling, EU lawmakers and member-state representatives have struck an agreement on a €5 billion European recovery plan, which will include substantial funding for energy projects considered vital to Europe's security of supply.

At their meeting yesterday (16 April), the Czech EU Presidency and the Parliament's negotiators endorsed the list of eligible projects agreed by EU heads of state and government in March (EurActiv 20/03/09).

The plan's revised version allocates €3.98 billion to energy projects designed to stimulate job creation, help the EU out of recession and strengthen the bloc's energy independence.

It includes €2.35bn for gas and electricity interconnections, €0.565bn for offshore wind and €1.05bn for carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration plants.

The Parliament had threatened to derail the agreement as the plan agreed by EU leaders in March had omitted energy efficiency and smart cities from the deal (EurActiv 02/04/09).

The final compromise reflects MEPs' views, as it allows the Commission to propose the use of recovery money that is not committed by the end of 2010 for energy-efficiency and renewables projects. However, the EU executive will only be able to do this if it can show that there are "serious risks in implementing the priority projects". A progress report in March 2010 will determine whether such risks exist.

Separately, the Commission will also announce further measures to support energy efficiency and renewable energy, including the revision of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan by end of October 2009 and a public-private partnership on energy-efficient buildings before the Parliament votes on the compromise, the EU's co-legislator said. source

My comment: Again, nothing new here. It's kind of suspicious, however, how they avoid efficiency so diligently. Hmmm... I mean this is the easiest step as it's paid not by the government but by people. And it's the most effective way to decrease emissions as well. So if they are serious about climate, why are they avoiding those decisions?

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