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Monday, May 31, 2010

Climate in Europe - cold, not only on the outside, 05.2010

Today:
  1. Brussels backs down on centralised carbon auction plans
  2. EU, Poland move to settle carbon quota row
  3. Europe's transport emissions keep rising
  4. MEPs agree tighter rules on industrial pollution
First - I can't believe Germany won Eurovision. The girl was cute, but the song was plainly stupid. I was for Albania even though I heard only the last 30s of the song. Very good song. I liked also the Danish song. But Germany won! I wonder why...

    Brussels backs down on centralised carbon auction plans

    09 April 2010
    The European Commission has backed down on plans to establish a centralised platform for auctioning CO2 emission allowances from 2013, allowing Germany, the UK and other large emitters to organise auctions at national level, according to a draft proposal seen by EurActiv.
    A draft regulation was presented to EU member states this week (6 April) that would see a joint platform for auctioning carbon permits established during the third phase of the EU's emission trading scheme (EU ETS), which starts in 2013.
    As well as creating a single auctioning platform from 2013, the regulation provides for short-term auctioning of carbon futures.
    However, the proposal gives EU member states the chance to opt out from the European scheme during the first five years and allows them to auction their share of emission allowances until 2016 at national level.
    The impact assessment accompanying the draft regulation found that a centralised approach is "the most appropriate model" for auctioning EU allowances (EUAs), in that it minimises costs to both public authorities and bidders and provides simplicity.Moreover, the absence of a centralised auctioning system could complicate any future negotiations on linking the EU ETS to other cap-and-trade systems as envisaged by the bloc, it added.
    However, the Commission caved in to pressure from the EU's largest emitters - the UK, Germany, Poland and Spain - which formed a blocking minority. The group, led by the UK and Germany, are insisting on controlling their own auctions and prefer a system of linked national platforms.
    By contrast, the other 23 EU members overwhelmingly favour a single process for auctioning, citing greater efficiency and equal access to all parties.
    sourceMy comment: Lately, I'm very disappointed by the EU and I'm reconsidering this blog. I really believe the EU is a dream for us, because it offers us the unique opportunity to live together in peace and to create a better society. But reading articles like this, it's hard to see that dream alive. Few countries, usually the biggest, decide they don't want something to happen and it doesn't happen. Even if this will harm them in the long run. And since nobody wants something harmful, that shows that they simply don't believe in the system and they procrastinate until it falls apart. And now that's sad. Because we see what is the situation in Europe today. It's not only Greece. Greece is the scapegoat for European shame. Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, UK are also running on deficit. They are making their best to handle the situation, but the facts are clear. The deficit is simply a very well-hidden secret, nothing more. And the reaction of Europe against Greece is well-hidden fear, that their secret isn't a secret anymore. Well guys, I don't mean to be evil, but I hate how people live on credit. That's wrong. Credits are bad! And because our whole fiscal system is based not on production but on credits, it's also bad. And we have to face that truth and move on. 
    And again - I hate how those big countries manipulated the climate decision!

    EU, Poland move to settle carbon quota row

    20 April 2010
    Poland and the European Commission reached an agreement on carbon quotas yesterday (19 April), after Brussels accepted Warsaw's revised plan for allocating emission allowances.
    The EU executive said the new plan, submitted by Poland for the second phase of the EU's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) from 2008 to 2012, fulfilled the directive's requirements.
    The decision marks a milestone in the battle by several Central and Eastern European member states to raise the cap imposed by the EU ETS and ease the burden on their industries.
    The total number of allowances thus remains 208.5 Mt per year, compared to the 285 originally proposed by Poland. sourceMy comment: I'm glad this row is over, it was kind of annoying and ruining the EC authority. But I think we all have the feeling that the emissions of the EU will fall drastically in 2010, because of the crisis. Which isn't exactly good, they should have fallen because of improved efficiency, not because of bad financial climate. And I'm afraid this might tell people we don't need ETS. Which is wrong. We need it. Let's hope the smart people will see and will act.

    Europe's transport emissions keep rising

    03 May 2010
    Greenhouse gas emissions from Europe's transport sector continue to grow as people and goods are travelling longer distances despite the development of cleaner vehicles, which is making Europe's transport more efficient, shows a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
    Greenhouse gas emissions from transport grew by 28% between 1990 and 2007 across the 32 European countries, accounting for 19% of total emissions, the data shows. And while Europe recorded some successes in reducing air pollutant emissions, road transport remains the largest emitter of nitrogen oxides and the second-largest source of particulate matter in 2007, it reveals.Freight transport continued to grow somewhat faster than the economy, boosted by greater efficiency partly caused by the removal of intra-EU barriers, according to the report. The largest increases were recorded in road (43%) and air (35%) freight across the 27 EU member states.
    Passenger transport, on the other hand, also continued to grow but at a slower rate than the economy, the report showed. Air travel remained the fastest growing means of transport in the EU, recording a 48% increase between 1997 and 2007.
    The EU has spent the last decade trying to decouple transport emissions from economic growth while improving people's mobility, but the bloc now needs to develop a clear vision for its transport system by 2050, the EEA argued.
    The report concludes that the most effective approach is to adopt a "policy package" that combines technological improvements reducing fuel consumption with measures to shift journeys to lower emission modes and to avoid travelling altogether.This would include coupling measures ensuring an uptake rate of 50-80% for electric vehicles by 2050 or improved engine design with land-use planning.  source
    My comment: Yeah, right, we removed the barrier so that we can travel and now, they want to discourage traveling? That sounds so immensely bad, it's hard to believe someone actually said it. Anyway, I think those numbers are important, because people seem not to be able to grasp the number of vehicles that are on the move across Europe in each moment. And of them, maybe only 5% are with people traveling. Most of them move stuff around. And in most cases, they don't move them in the most environmentally friendly way, but in the cheapest way. If we want to change something, we have to make sure the last two terms become equal!

    MEPs agree tighter rules on industrial pollution

    07 May 2010
    MEPs yesterday (4 May) agreed to strengthen legislative proposals to limit industrial air pollution by allowing for more limited derogations than EU governments had demanded.
    The European Parliament's environment committee was voting on a proposal to recast the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive, which combines seven existing directives into a single directive on industrial emissions (IED).
    The proposal seeks to reinforce the implementation of the legislation, which obliges industrial installations to obtain permits from national authorities to release pollutants into the air, soil and water.
    MEPs strengthened the proposal by limiting the instances where public authorities can issue permits for installations that do not follow best available techniques (BATs).
    The committee added new text to clarify the conditions under which national authorities can set limits on emissions that are not as strict as those associated with BATs.
    MEPs decided to limit derogations to cases where assessments have demonstrated that the geographical location or local environmental conditions of an installation prevent the implementation of BATs, or where the technical characteristics of an installation would create disproportional economic costs compared to environmental advantages.
    The committee also agreed to allow member states to give their large combustion plants until mid-2019 to meet emission limit values.

    The vote came as the European Environment Agency (EEA) reported that around half of EU member states will miss at least one of their air pollutant emission limits under the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive. Moreover, 11 countries expect to exceed their ceilings "by significant amounts," it said.
    Rather than limiting pollution from individual sources like the IPPC directive, the law sets national limits for four pollutants.
     sourceMy comment: " disproportional economic costs compared to environmental advantages"? We're good with words aren't we? Anyway, those regulations are never obeyed as studies show, so I doubt the new wording would matter. But still, I'm very positive about the BAT idea and all I want to see is control. Because it's shame so much countries are not meeting their obligations. 


    France details plans for ‘carbon inclusion mechanism’- A campaign to introduce carbon tariffs at EU borders in order to restore fair competition with freely-polluting industries in China is being revamped in Brussels to allay fears that it might trigger a trade war.
    The proposed system, called a "carbon inclusion mechanism," would require importers of goods manufactured outside Europe to buy pollution permits from the EU’s emissions trading scheme for carbon dioxide (EU-ETS).
    French diplomats say the system would only be used as a last resort and should work as a lever to force emerging economies like China, India and Brazil back on the negotiating table after the failure of international climate talks in Copenhagen last year.- I absolutely agree with that idea! It was about time someone to offer it! Because it's the only way to make those countries join our efforts to curb emissions. Not that we're trying so hard, but if they start doing it, we will as well.


    Commission sees no need for separate biowaste law - Despite pressure from a number of EU countries to table a specific directive on biowaste, the European Commission argues that similar economic and environmental benefits can be achieved through better implementation of existing legislation.

    Mayors to receive extra EU cash for energy projects - European Commission President José Manuel Barroso yesterday (4 May) pledged to divert unused EU stimulus cash into a fund to help regions and cities become more energy efficient. "About time," said EU mayors meeting in Brussels. - "About time", indeed!

    EU ministers agree broad outline for climate aid - EU finance ministers yesterday (18 May) endorsed a report laying down Europe's priorities on climate aid for developing countries but left open details of how they will share the costs.

    World forests 'being flushed down the toilet' - As global population grows and access to sanitation improves, the world's forests are "under assault" from paper companies competing to respond to growing consumer demand for toilet tissue, the only paper product that cannot be recycled after use, writes the Worldwatch Institute.
    France takes carbon tariff campaign to Washington - France will seek an agreement with the US on a carbon border tax and is convinced that other EU states will come on board if Washington supports it. -
    Belgian anti-wind campaigners vent fury at EU - A group of citizens from the Belgian town of Estinnes near the French border have appealed to the European Commission to stop a wind farm being developed in their backyard. - Who would have thought that there is safety distance to such installations. Hm.

    Vacationing a human right, EU chief says -The European Union has declared travelling a human right, and is launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers' dollars for those too poor to afford their own trips. - Absolutely cool, the idea is to subsidize 30% of the trip of elder or youth or people in difficult situation. That great because first it's good of the people, second, it's good for tourism.

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