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Monday, December 21, 2009

From Copenhagen to Nopenhagen, Climate, 2009

Today:
  1. Ministers cautious on EU-wide CO2 tax proposal
  2. France, Germany to call for EU border tax on CO2
  3. Climate summit yields no progress on CO2 targets
  4. Court decision threatens to unravel Europe's carbon market
  5. HSBC: World climate business revenue $2 trln by 2020
  6. EU lists industries exempted from carbon trading
Well, sorry for the long time off, but you know. Sometimes we all have to work :)
Quote of the day:: Ok, first - note the Al Gore statement. I really dislike that person, even though I support the greening of the economy (and improving its efficiency), so I'm not very surprised by his words. But I don't understand how he has the face to say them. I mean, what is he praising the Chinese for? For stalling the negotiations, for refusing to give any concrete numbers or measures?Come on!

Ministers cautious on EU-wide CO2 tax proposal

5 October 2009

The European Commission's plans to introduce an EU-wide carbon tax to leverage money for financing a post-Kyoto climate treaty received a positive but cautious welcome from finance ministers last week.

Meeting in Sweden on 1-2 October, the Commission floated the idea of imposing a carbon tax on sectors outside the EU's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS; ) for the first time at ministerial level.

Taxation Commissioner László Kovács indicated that the Commission had been encouraged to propose the legislation next year at the earliest.

"The introduction of a new tax in the European Union has never been easy and particularly it's not easy in the time of a financial and economic crisis," Kovács said. "But it is evident that climate change is an even more disastrous global challenge than the current financial and economic crisis."

The EU ETS only covers around 45% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions, leaving out major emitting sectors, notably agriculture and transport. The Commission has been drafting a proposal to review the current Energy Taxation Directive in order to address these and small industrial installations excluded from carbon trading (EurActiv 29/09/09).

As taxation is the sole competency of the member states, any EU proposal will require unanimity in the 27-state Council of the European Union. The taxation commissioner stressed that the EU executive is under no illusions that it will be possible to get a deal before the UN climate conference in Copenhagen.

Nevertheless, the EU hopes to use the possible adoption of the new market instrument to leverage greater commitments from other countries in the negotiations, which have stalled on funding in particular.

source

My comment: Ok, cutting the crap, I must say that I support entirely this initiative. We all saw what happened in Copenhagen - absolutely nothing! Then, taxes are all that is left to achieve our goal. And not the taxes that Sarkozy imposed to french people - the carbon tax which is absolute nonsense, but the taxes for the real polluters, the guys that are pushing and pushing to break any international deal on global warming. Why this is the best way to succeed?Well, simply because when producers are united, it's hard to do anything. But import tax will create a drift between local producers and "outsiders" and even more - if we start taxing products from countries with worst standards than our own (which I hope is the idea of the exercise), then companies will be discouraged to change the location of their productions. And the local companies will be indirectly subsidized. And the local company is under the control of local government and thus local population. If it pollutes homeland, it will have problems. Everyone will be happy and we finally have the chance to change something.

France, Germany to call for EU border tax on CO2

18 September 2009

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the two countries will table a proposal "in the coming days" to correct possible trade and competitiveness distortions created by a future international climate change agreement in Copenhagen later this year.

According to the French president, the idea of a carbon adjustment tax is making inroads among European leaders as international negotiations at UN level fail to pick up pace.

Sarkozy said the idea was now "progressing" among EU leaders "because it is more and more understood, not as a protectionist measure," but as a way to "rebalance the conditions of free-trade and competition".

"Otherwise, it is a massive aid to relocations. We cannot tax European companies and exempt others," Sarkozy insisted.

The final statement of the EU summit yesterday put the pressure on emerging economies to raise their financial contributions to fighting climate change in the developing world. "All countries, except the least developed, should contribute," the statement said.

The European Commission estimates that total funding to help developing nations switch to low-carbon energies and adapt to the expected increases in floods and storms due to global warming "could amount to about EUR 100 billion annually by 2020".

source

My comment: Precisely. I just don't get one thing. Most of the developing countries are hardly polluters on their own - most of them pollute only because big "western" corporations relocate their productions to a place that the pollution cannot be seen. So where exactly are those subsidies supposed to go? To the developing nations or to the companies who choose to stay there. Because it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, to pay to producers who don't want to meet the standards, just because they are located in developing nations. If it is local producer - I agree. It's fair to help locals. But to subsidize international companies simply don't make sense. Especially if they do not invest those money into clean technologies.

Climate summit yields no progress on CO2 targets

23 September 2009

Despite hopes that China would unveil targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions and break the deadlock in global climate talks, President Hu Jintao told a United Nations summit that Beijing will put a "notable" brake on the country's soaring carbon emissions.

The leader of the world's biggest emitter promised that China would cut "carbon intensity," or the amount of carbon dioxide produced for each dollar of economic output, over the decade to 2020.

A follow-up treaty to the Kyoto Protocol is supposed to be finalised at talks starting on 7 December in Copenhagen, but diplomats have made almost no progress towards an agreement - a point stressed repeatedly by world leaders gathering in New York yesterday (22 September).

His pledge was perceived as going in the right direction as China had previously rejected rich nations' demands for measurable curbs on its emissions, arguing that economic development must come first while millions of its citizens still live in abject poverty. However, the promise disappointed those who had expected China to unveil sound targets.

Nobel laureate and former US Vice-President Al Gore praised China for "impressive leadership" and said Hu's goals pointed to more action.

Backed by India and other developing nations, China argues that rich nations emit more per person and enjoyed emissions-intensive industrialisation themselves, so they have no right to demand that others behave differently: unless they are willing to pay for it.

In a summary of Tuesday's talks among world leaders, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that there was convergence on five key issues, including enhanced measures to help the most vulnerable and poorest adapt to the impact of climate change as well as setting emission reduction targets for industrialised countries.

Addressing the summit, UN General Assembly President Ali Treki, a veteran Libyan diplomat, said poor countries, which are least responsible for the problem of climate change, often suffered first and foremost from its impact.

source

My comment: Ok, first - note the Al Gore statement. I really dislike that person, even though I support the greening of the economy (and improving its efficiency), so I'm not very surprised by his words. But I don't understand how he has the face to say them. I mean, what is he praising the Chinese for? For stalling the negotiations, for refusing to give any concrete numbers or measures? Come on! And yeah, on the article - I agree with China that they have the right to emit, but we have the right to make them pay for it. Because when we polluted, we didn't know what we're doing. On the contrary, not it is very clear that pollution is bad. We didn't have the technologies (or made sure we won't have them), but now, there are such technologies that won't stop the progress while ensuring efficiency and decrease of emissions. So, I don't think they have a reason not to use them, behind simply stubbornness and of course, money.

Court decision threatens to unravel Europe's carbon market

23 September 2009

Estonia and Poland have scored deeply significant wins in their battle with the EU over carbon quotas. In a decision that threatens to scupper Europe's cap and trade scheme, the Court of First Instance annulled the European Commission's decision to lower the carbon emission quotas of both countries.

The court said setting carbon limits is a matter for member states rather than the EU. The ruling could force the European Commission to review its quotas and undermine the fledgling carbon market.

Estonia and Poland have been fighting for more generous national caps on industrial carbon emissions, arguing that their industry would be hamstrung under the EU scheme.

A Commission spokesperson said the EU executive would consider appealing the decision, which was described as "extremely disappointing". An appeal process could take more than a year.

Under the scheme countries get a certain allowance of carbon emissions rights which they apply to industry, such as power plants and steel mills.

"The Commission exceeded its powers" by imposing a ceiling on carbon emissions, said the EU Court of First Instance, Europe's second highest court, in its statement.

Poland, Estonia and other East European countries argued that the Commission had unfairly trimmed their quotas, or national allocation plans (NAPs), under the second trading phase of the scheme from 2008-12.

The news sparked concern among EU carbon market participants that the ruling, if upheld, could cause an unravelling of the market, which depends on a tight cap on emissions.

If their cap is raised, as Poland and Estonia want, the price of EU allowances (EUAs) could tumble. In addition, several more countries have objected to their quotas, including Czech, Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.

source

My comment: Ok, first I think such decisions should be made on a fixed formula including the population and the GDP. That's all. Only this could guarantee fairness of the process. And yeah, there probably should be some extra allowances for countries with bad economy, but that's all. Because if the allowances are based on "needs", what's the point. If industries don't invest into clean technologies, there always will be the need of more allowances, which if the EC allow, then the whole idea becomes pointless. So, I hope there will be some sense and people will realise what's going on. After all, when a country enters the EU it not only gets the rights but also the obligations. And if you don't like something, then you have to face all of the countries and tell them your pain and to decide together what to do. Everything else is wrong.

HSBC: World climate business revenue $2 trln by 2020

21 September 2009

Global revenues from climate-related businesses such as energy efficiency rose by 75% in 2008 to $530 billion and could exceed $2 trillion by 2020, HSBC Global Research estimated on Friday (18 September).

In the 2006 Stern Review on the economics of climate change, climate-related revenues were forecast to climb to $500 billion by 2050.

The climate sector has surpassed the size of the global aerospace or defence industry, with the United States, Japan, France, Germany and Spain accounting for 76% of global climate revenues, the report found.

For revenues to rise to $2 trillion, the way energy is generated and used needs to change and continued government support is needed.

The four core investment pillars will be low-carbon energy production, energy efficiency, control of water, waste and pollution and climate finance, the report said.

Energy efficiency recorded the highest investment returns in the year to date at 30%, followed by carbon finance at 24%. source

My comment: I'm not sure if this is good news, because numbers like these feed the anger of climate skeptics, but after all, before the same numbers came from petrol-based industries or war-industries and so on. It's just the natural evolution of economy - the winners cannot stay the same forever. If or when they do, it's quite depressing.

EU lists industries exempted from carbon trading

21 September 2009

Experts from the 27-member bloc agreed on a list of industries ranging from plastics manufacturing to iron and food processing that will be largely exempted from CO2 trading after 2013 for fears that their inclusion would move production abroad.

National experts agreed on a list of 164 sectors deemed to be at risk of relocating their activities to foreign countries that have not adopted greenhouse gas emission restrictions similar to the EU's. The threat is dubbed "carbon leakage" because industries and their related polluting emissions would simply move abroad without any benefit for the environment.

The list, covering the most carbon-intensive industries such as steel, cement and chemicals, represents 77% of the total manufacturing emissions under the EU's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS). These will continue to get a higher share of their emission allowances (EUAs) for free after the EU ETS has been revamped in 2013, after which date the power sector in the EU-15 will be obliged to pay for all its permits.

The Commission's calculations are based on two criteria: the intensity of trade with third countries and the increase in production costs as a result of complying with the directive. This approach qualified a range of industries for permit exemptions, ranging from plastics and iron to food processing and weapons manufacturing.

Observers say member states have been pushing heavily to protect industries vital to their national economies, with environmentalists in particular attacking the Commission for tailoring the criteria to suit the interests of national capitals.

The list will apply for five years until 2014, but the EU executive says new sectors could be added in the meantime. source

My comment: Idiots, what more can I say. But then, without an import tax/duty, there isn't another way to stop the industries from relocating. Or at least part of them - not for everyone will be cost effective to go to China.

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