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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Carbon nonsense, 2009

  1. IEA calls for massive investments in carbon capture
  2. Brussels to propose mandatory EU energy savings goal
  3. UN climate talks: China envoy slams rich countries
  4. EU promotes smart metering in fight against global warming
  5. Parliament set to strip CO2 caps from EU air pollution law
  • EU lines up multi-million carbon capture projects
  • Health 'forgotten' in climate talks
Quote of the day:And if it's not working, then there isn't much sense into investing billions in it. If we have to finance any doable technology, let's finance space exploration or interstellar travel - imagine all those resources that float in space and we badly need them. But no, they prefer to finance CCS. And also note, this technology will benefit mostly the private sector. Then why the hell the government is financing it?!

IEA calls for massive investments in carbon capture

14 October 2009

The world will need to set up 100 CO2 capture and underground storage projects by 2020 to ensure that the fight against climate change remains affordable, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday (13 October).

The agency's roadmap says that between $2.5 and $3 trillion of additional investment will be needed worldwide within the next four decades to launch the technology commercially. This would require building 100 demonstration projects by 2020 and over 3,000 by 2050, it said.

The agency notes that the challenge will be to integrate those individual stages of carbon capture and storage (CCS) that have already proved technically viable and to scale them up. At present, only five fully integrated, commercial-scale CCS projects are operational, in Norway, Algeria and North America.

The effort must be led by the developed world, with OECD governments increasing funding for demonstration projects from $3.5 to $4 billion annually over the next decade, according to the report. It nevertheless points out that there is a pressing need for rapid development in coal-intensive developing countries.

The IEA therefore calls on developed countries to make available $1.5-2.5 billion to fund CCS demonstration in developing countries. It stresses that the short timeframe and the massive scale of investment required make wide international collaboration indispensable.

The report was presented at a ministerial meeting of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) in London. The forum brought together energy and environment ministers to discuss ways to accelerate the commercialisation of CCS.

In a statement, the 15 ministers called on negotiators at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen this December to "recognise the importance of CCS in mitigating climate change and in achieving the Convention's ultimate objective of stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system".

They argued that the technology should be recognised in any mitigation strategies and technology incentives that might emerge from an agreement in Copenhagen.

The US is earmarking over $4 billion for CO2 capture, a figure which is to be matched by $7 billion from the industry.

The EU is planning up to 12 demonstrations on its territory by 2015. The first six projects to receive EU funding are currently being debated by member states. source

My comment: I'm sorry, what exactly "(CCS) that have already proved technically viable" means? Because I don't know of CCS that is working. And if it's not working, then there isn't much sense into investing billions in it. If we have to finance any doable technology, let's finance space exploration or interstellar travel - imagine all those resources that float in space and we badly need them. But no, they prefer to finance CCS. And also note, this technology will benefit mostly the private sector. Then why the hell the government is financing it?! I'm so angry about all those money which will flow into some unknown (or even known) CCS company instead of real scientists that can really make a change to our society and our life. True, CCS will be useful, but it will keep the statuesque instead of changing our life for real. Imagine if we could invest all those money into clean technologies, like solar panels or wind generator, or even in better things that will come out later, what a difference this could make to our life. But no, almost free electricity is no good for anyone, right?

Brussels to propose mandatory EU energy savings goal

13 October 2009

The European Commission plans to impose binding energy-efficiency targets on EU member states, according to a draft of the EU's revised Energy Efficiency Action Plan obtained by EurActiv.

Entitled '7 Measures for 2 Million New EU Jobs', the draft seeks to simplify the 2006 Action Plan for Energy Efficiency by concentrating on a few effective measures.

It acknowledges that the EU is set to fall short of its 2020 target to slash energy consumption by 20%, instead achieving only 11% by the deadline.

The most controversial initiative in the draft is a plan to introduce mandatory energy-saving obligations on member states "in line" with the EU's aspirational goal of using 20% less energy in 2020. The paper suggests that the targets could be either sector-specific, potentially limited to buildings, or cover all aspects of the economy.

However, the Commission stops short of specifying whether the EU should set an absolute cap on each member state's emissions by 2020 or whether the savings would be in relation to their projected energy consumption. The final shape of the plan will emerge after an impact assessment has explored these options, as well as the likely need for burden-sharing measures between member states.

The second measure in the draft targets buildings as the highest priority. The sector represents 40% of Europe's energy consumption, but so far little has been done to harness the immense savings potential.

The Commission proposes to refurbish 15 million buildings by 2020. Insulating the millions of existing buildings and fitting them with double-glazing and appliances using less energy would save Europe 66 million tonnes of CO2, while creating 300,000 direct and 1.1 million indirect jobs each year, it says.

The draft does not earmark any money for the project, only referring to support from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It states that funding would have to be found from the EU's next Financial Perspectives, and unused money from the economic recovery fund could be used for the start-up phase before 2013.

Moreover, the Commission invites member states to set up a National Energy Efficiency Fund and use revenues from emissions trading to improve the efficiency of their buildings. source

My comment: Oh, yeah, this is the sad true. The EU is big on words but very little on actions. I like the idea of insulating buildings especially if it's for free, but we all know it's not for free and even more - it is quite expensive endeavor. At least in Bulgaria it is. And what's even more, I don't get why the decent citizens have to pay for the emissions of big companies?! Because let's face it - Europe is unable to fulfill its duties, because of the lack of political will! It's not citizens who should pay for that with improving efficiency but the big polluters - steal industry, power plants and so on. I'm not saying that buildings shouldn't be insulated, I totally agree with that step. The point is that this should be either payed entirely by the governments (though that again means our money) or by the private sector. I don't care. But it's not fair to make people pay because our governments are not willing to make the big guys pay!

UN climate talks: China envoy slams rich countries

7 October 2009

China hit out at rich nations at international climate talks in Bangkok yesterday (6 October), saying failure to honour past climate commitments was undermining UN-led efforts to try to seal a broader pact in December to fight global warming.

Yu said Annex 1, or rich, nations seemed to be shifting their positions to meet the stance of the United States. Washington wants any steps to cut emissions to be effective under domestic law but has been ambiguous on whether any new climate pact from 2013 should be internationally binding.

The United States never ratified Kyoto, which binds 37 industrialised nations to emissions targets during its first commitment period from 2008 to 2012.

The shape of a post-2012 climate agreement is a key focus for delegates from about 180 nations meeting in Bangkok. Officials are trying to bridge differences over a draft negotiating text that will allow all countries to deepen efforts to slow the pace of climate change.

Key to that issue is rich nations toughening their commitments to cut emissions from 2013.

Developing nations, including China, say rich countries are historically responsible for most of mankind's greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution and that they have the right to expand their economies to help fight poverty.

Many developing nations want industrialised countries to cut emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Current pledges are far below that.

Yu said China was disappointed rich nations were trying to dishonour what was agreed in major climate talks in Bali in 2007.

Those talks set a two-year deadline to agree on a new climate framework and formalised two negotiating tracks. One of those tracks would focus on emissions reduction commitments during a second commitment period from 2013.

The Bali talks also crafted a clause just for the United States that recognised all industrialised countries had to take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions and that these efforts should be comparable.

Yu said the US commitments should be comparable to the European Union, Canada and other rich nations. source

My comment: Ok, I won't comment this too much. I also think that all countries should have comparable commitments, but as we see, no country is willing to make any commitment, with the EU proudly on the top of the non-willing. So this whole article is nonsense. People need to understand that emissions should be limited trough cleaner technologies and improving efficiency and even more. But we have to be willing to do it. Notice something that some people don't comment - the very existence of Kyoto means that nations knew about the climate change and at some point, they were committed to limit emissions because they were convinced it's necessary. I don't believe that has changed, at least not with the current state of the warming! Then what's their problem, the technologies are better, the society is much more likely to accept the changes that such emissions require, then why everyone is hiding and avoiding a decision! This is weird and wrong.

EU promotes smart metering in fight against global warming

12 October 2009

The European Commission is calling on member states to support the rollout of technologies to boost energy efficiency, estimating that household energy bills would drop by 10% thanks to smart metering devices. However, no common standards for the devices are currently available.

Brussels adopted on Friday (9 October) a long-awaited set recommendations intended to increase the use of intelligent technologies in the fight against climate change.

At the same time, the EU executive is encouraging the industry to commit to ambitious targets for reducing the carbon emissions of the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector.

Member states are invited to adopt common standards for smart metering systems by 2010 in order to facilitate their deployment across Europe. By the end of 2012, a timeframe should be agreed for the rollout of smart devices in households and offices.

Easy-to-use and pervasive metering devices embedded in specific home electronic equipment - such as televisions, washing machines and computers – or applied to the overall energy consumption of a household are believed to play a crucial role in increasing awareness among citizens and reducing energy consumption, with beneficial effects on climate change.


My comment: I'm so waiting for the new smart metering. I mean this will be a blessing for the people who use electricity for heating. If we talk about normal homes with central heating, smart metering will be useful, but not so important. But for people that use electricity for heating, this is essential! And I can't believe those devices are not on the market yet. And they still make only recommendations.

Parliament set to strip CO2 caps from EU air pollution law

9 October 2009
European legislators have sounded the alarm against controlling CO2 emissions in a revised directive on industrial air emissions, fearing that it would doom the draft law to certain failure.

German MEP Holger Krahmer (ALDE), who is steering the revision of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) directive through the European Parliament, told electricity industry representatives yesterday (8 October) in Brussels that he would not bow to the demands of environmentalists who want to add CO2 performance standards to the new directive.

The revised directive, combining seven existing EU air pollution laws, will require some 52,000 industrial installations to obtain permits from national authorities to release pollutants into the air, soil and water. The law sets limit values for pollutants that cause acid rain, but it does not touch CO2, which is regulated via the EU's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS; see EurActiv).

But green groups, unconvinced of the cap-and-trade system's capacity to curb carbon dioxide emissions, have been upping the pressure on the EU institutions to control these within the industrial pollution directive (EurActiv 26/08/09).

"I hear loud and clear demands for CO2 standards," Krahmer said. He encouraged electricity operators to lobby against the proposal as it would undermine the workings of the EU ETS.

More generally, electricity operators warned that the new legislation would cause security of supply problems. The industry is concerned that requiring large combustion plants to comply with stricter pollution standards would make investments in efficiency too expensive and force some plants to shut down prematurely.

But Wenning pointed out that the Commission's impact analysis had revealed the draft's overall benefit to society, including to health and the environment. She noted that a negligible 0.03 eurocent increase in electricity prices was not enough to substantiate the industry's claims.

But electricity operators argued that the EU does not as yet have a common electricity market, meaning that the picture is different for each member state. As a consequence, some of them could encounter large costs, Eurelectric warned.

Drawing up their first-reading position in June, the 27-member states in the EU Council of Ministers called for greater flexibility, inserting a transition period for existing plants to phase in lower NOx SO2 and dust limits by the end of 2020 (EurActiv 26/06/09). source
My comment: Lies, lies, lies. Should I comment? Not at all. After all, had local government imposed the new ecology requirements, it wouldn't matter what the sector thinks, this would be the law! But not if it comes from the EU.


EU lines up multi-million carbon capture projects

7 October 2009

The European Commission last week proposed six carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects that are to receive a total of €1.05 billion to help commercialise the low-carbon technology.

The selected demonstration projects will receive EU funding for developing the technology used to trap CO2 emissions from power plants and industrial installations burning fossil fuels. The list was presented to member state experts last Thursday (1 October).

The Hatfield power plant in the north of England, Vattenfall's Jaenschwalde plant in Germany, Endesa's Compostilla plant in Spain, the Maasvlakte plant in the Netherlands and Belchatow in Poland would receive up to €180 million each, according to reports. In addition, Porto Tolle in Italy is lined up to receive €100 million.

A French CO2 transport project was dropped from the list as it did not meet all the requirements, sources told EurActiv.

Member states have two weeks to reject the proposal before it moves on to the European Parliament.

In addition to the recovery funds, the EU is funding the fledging technology from the 'new entrants reserve' of its emissions Ttading scheme . But the industry says that the emerging principles on how to distribute the 300 million carbon allowances set aside for CCS and innovative renewable projects do not make full use of the money.


Health 'forgotten' in climate talks

7 October 2009

Doctors and environmentalists believe the impact of climate change on public health has been largely ignored by policymakers as global leaders step up talks ahead of December's Copenhagen summit.

Health NGOs in Brussels are pushing for greater attention to be paid to the increase in infectious diseases and chronic illnesses that accompany changes to the climate, with campaigners fearful that world's poorest populations will be worst hit. source

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