1 - 7 June 2012

General policy         

Green energy needs milestones to grow: EU Commission

Europe must agree on 2030 goals as soon as possible to spur investment in renewable energy, or green power growth will fizzle after 2020, the European Commission said on Wednesday in its latest strategy statement.



EU Minister meeting to tackle carbon cuts: draft

European environment ministers are expected to reopen a difficult debate later this month on deeper EU carbon emissions cuts, but a draft text ahead of the meeting stops short of any firm targets.



ACEEE: Major new U.S. energy find could offset nearly a quarter of nation's power use

A recently released ACEEE report concludes: "System efficiency opportunities produce energy savings that dwarf component-based efficiency improvements by an order of magnitude. System efficiency is performance-based, optimizing the performance of the system overall-its components, their relationships to one another, and their relationships to human operators.”



Quebec premier unveils CAN2.7 billion climate plan

Quebec Premier Jean Charest released a climate change action plan for the Canadian province on Sunday that calls for CAN2.7 billion (US $2.6 billion) for greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation programs through 2020 sourced from future carbon market revenues and energy taxes.



Ireland abandons CO2 tax after losing court battle

Ireland has repealed a tax designed to claw back windfall profits its electricity companies make as a result of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme following a legal challenge by one energy company.



Rio+20 Secretariat invites voluntary commitments

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) Secretariat has invited all participants to make voluntary commitments to deliver concrete results for sustainable development.



U.N. sounds environment alarm ahead of Rio summit

Population growth, urbanization and consumption are set to inflict irreversible damage on the planet, the United Nations said on Wednesday, and called for urgent agreement on new environmental targets at an Earth summit this month



UK government announces biggest energy reforms in 20 years

The biggest reforms to the UK energy sector in two decades were set out on 22 May, prompting warnings from consumer groups and green campaigners that they would raise bills and penalise renewable energy while boosting nuclear power.



UK Treasury urged to boost green economy through Clegg's infrastructure drive

A leading green economist has laid down the gauntlet to the government to boost investor confidence in the low carbon economy, after it emerged the Treasury was trying to find ways of using its balance sheet to underwrite privately invested projects.



Brazilian president likely to veto parts of new forest bill

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is likely to veto some controversial aspects of a forest bill passed by the Congress last month as pressure mounts against the text days before the country hosts a large UN conference on sustainable development.



UNGA President calls for new paradigm on energy

At a conference on “The Future of Energy” convened by the Foreign Policy Association, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser stressed the urgency of improving energy access and highlighted its links to poverty. The Conference took place on 24 May 2012, in New York, US.



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Industry, business and utilities         

“Energy efficiency is a business opportunity”

Energy companies will have to change their business models from gas and electricity supply only as the EU's Energy Efficiency Directive takes shape, says Jon Slowe, director at Delta Energy and Environment, a consulting firm. 



US Energy Department awards USD 11 million for clean energy small businesses

As part of National Small Business Week, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy announced the release of USD11 million in innovative research and technology grants of up to USD 150,000 to nearly 70 small businesses nationwide.



Goldman sets USD 40 bln clean energy investment plan

Goldman Sachs Group Inc plans to channel investments totalling USD 40 billion over the next decade into renewable energy projects, an area the investment bank called one of the biggest profit opportunities since its economists got excited about emerging markets in 2001.



US to host first large-scale CCS plant in 2013: BNEF 

The U.S. is leading the race to build the first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project with the initiative due to start next year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) last week. 



China says only it has right to monitor air pollution

A senior Chinese official demanded on Tuesday that foreign embassies stop issuing air pollution readings, saying it was against the law and diplomatic conventions, in pointed criticism of a closely watched U.S. embassy index.



Japan's TEPCO pulls out of carbon market

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), Japan’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter and buyer of carbon credits, has pulled out of the U.N.-regulated carbon market, cutting offset credit demand by millions of tonnes per year.


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Cleaning up the policy puzzle on green construction

A patchwork of European regulations, directives and strategies aims at making homes and buildings more efficient, but the jury is still out on how well they work.



Amsterdam offers a haven for low-energy future

Amsterdam is looking to the future with plans to construct low-energy homes in a climate-neutral neighbourhood. The Houthaven development plan, with more than 2,000 homes built on peninsulas, is seen as a demonstration that European Union efforts to dramatically improve energy efficiency in buildings are both achievable and economically desirable.



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Commission proposes tougher EU car CO2 standards

The European Commission is set to propose tighter carbon emissions standards for new cars, according to a draft proposal, in a move that is likely to divide the auto industry.




Europe tackles sulphur emissions from ships

EU governments agreed this month on legislation to limit the maximum sulphur content of shipping fuels that will come into effect in Europe at the end of the decade.



Europe’s airline CEOs blast “crazy” carbon pricing scheme

Europe’s airline executives launched a new salvo against the EU’s Emissions Trading System on 24 May, just weeks before an international working group is due to make new proposals aimed at resolving the dispute over pricing air carbon emissions.



Commission set to boost inland waterway transport

The European Commission has taken a step towards a substantial revision of NAIADES, the action programme in support of inland waterway transport, running until 2013. The revision of NAIADES will focus on concrete actions which will help realising the potential of inland waterway transport and boost its contribution to sustainable and efficient transport.



Canada tackles CO2 from aviation, avoids sector caps

Canadian ministers on Monday laid out Canada’s strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its aviation sector, which focuses on improving fuel efficiency by upgrading airplane fleets and improving air operations and traffic control.



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Appliances and equipment         

Europe could kick the F-gas habit by 2020


Most fluorinated greenhouse gases (also known as F-Gases), used in today’s mobile air conditioning and refrigeration units, could realistically be banned across the EU by 2020, a new report says.





New US energy efficiency standards for clothes washers and dishwashers

The US Department of Energy has announced energy efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dishwashers that are expected to save consumers energy and water costs. Home dishwashers will use approximately 15% less energy and more than 20% less water, directly providing consumers with savings on monthly bills.



The coming out of Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

After deciding to replace the streetlights with LEDs for an energy saving of up to 70%, one city in the United States, Chattanooga Tennessee, augmented this replacement with radio-controlled maintenance system which slashes maintenance costs and raised the energy savings into the 70-80% range.



The en.lighten initiative highlights start of efficient lighting transition initiatives

The en.lighten Project Steering Committee has endorsed the selection of 14 priority pilot countries, which will be supported in developing country-led efficient lighting transition strategies. Activities are set to commence in these pilot countries in June 2012.



Hewlett Packard unveils 'zero-energy' datacentre

Hewlett Packard has unveiled plans for Net-Zero Energy Data Centers free from grid electricity that use renewable sources for energy and cooling, along with demand management techniques to cut total power usage by 30 per cent and cut organisations' costs by up to 80 per cent.


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Emissions trading/Carbon market         

California Assembly passes cap-and-trade revenue bill

California lawmakers have passed a bill that clears the way for the state to collect more than USD1 billion a year in revenue from selling allowances in the nation’s CO2 cap-and-trade market, which is due to start next year.



UK’s small emitters get green light to exit EU ETS 

Around 250 small UK emitters, including hospitals, can opt out of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from next year, the government said on Friday in a bid to slash red tape for businesses. 



Global carbon market value hits record USD 176 billion

The global carbon market grew in value by 11 percent to USD176 billion in 2011, as a sharp rise in traded volume offset near record low prices and a slow European economy, the World Bank said in a report on last week.



CO2 market wants tougher EU 2020 climate goal

The European Union needs to aim for a deeper emissions cut soon, to rescue a record low carbon price and spur long-term investment in low-carbon technology, leading carbon market players said at an industry gathering.



Shell executive: We must reform the Emissions Trading System

Shell has joined with other ‘progressive’ businesses to lobby the EU for a much stronger carbon price to incentivise clean energy investments. But Graeme Sweeney insists that it will not compromise on its support for tar sands, gas, and opposition to new efficiency and renewables targets.



EC plan to delay CO2 permit sales has little opposition: Delbeke 

A European Commission plan to prop up carbon prices trading near record lows by temporarily choking supply of permits will gain enough political backing to become law, a senior EC official said Thursday. 



Guangdong hints it could miss 2013 ETS start

China’s Guangdong province is struggling to finalise the design of its emissions trading scheme ahead of its planned 2013 launch, a local government official said Tuesday, suggesting a potential delay to carbon trading in the country’s most populous province.



EU-Chinese carbon market contacts intensifying

Meetings between EU and Chinese officials aimed at helping Beijing to draft plans for its own carbon emissions market are “increasing in intensity,” the EU’s chief climate negotiator, Artur Runge-Metzger has told EurActiv.



Sao Paulo to launch Brazil's largest carbon market

Brazil’s richest and most populous state Sao Paulo announced plans on Tuesday to launch an emissions trading scheme, which could potentially link with one being developed in neighboring Rio de Janeiro, the country's second largest economy.



German bourse scraps EU carbon emissions trading

Bavaria's stock exchange has announced will abandon its carbon emissions certificate trading operations in the EU-traded CO2 market on June 30 after volumes in Europe "plunged to practically zero" in recent months.


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Climate change negotiations         

U.N. stalemate in Bonn risks unraveling Durban climate deal: EU


A row over planning how to bind all emitters under a global climate pact from 2020 at U.N. climate talks in Germany is blocking negotiations to deepen nearer term emission cuts and raise cash to help poor countries cope with a warming planet, the EU said Tuesday.




Japan’s climate goal in balance as it mulls nuclear exit

Japan has refused to rule out a weakening of its international pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 as it agonises over whether to permanently shut its nuclear power stations, its main source of low-carbon energy.



Brazil to release emissions targets for 3 key sectors

The Brazilian government will release plans to cap and cut greenhouse gas emissions in its industry, mining and transportation sectors by mid-June, a government source said on Tuesday.



Shale gas boom helps slash US emissions

The shale gas boom has led to a big drop in US energy-related carbon emissions. They have fallen 450m tonnes over the past five years – the largest drop among all countries surveyed by the IEA - as generators switch from coal to cheap gas.



Russia approves record number of CO2 reduction projects

In the biggest round of approvals yet, Russia has given the go-ahead to U.N. emission reduction projects that could increase the country's supply of carbon credits by 70 percent, potentially taking the total number generated beyond Moscow's self-imposed 300-million limit and adding pressure to EU carbon prices.



Germany puts deeper carbon cut back on EU agenda

Germany has asked for discussion on deeper EU carbon emissions cuts to be put on the agenda at a meeting of environment ministers in June, EU sources said.



UNFCCC workshop considers options and ways for increasing ambition

The Workshop on increasing the level of ambition under paragraph 8 of decision 1/CP.17 aimed to consider options and ways for increasing ambition and possible further actions to bridge the gap between the sum of current pledges to curb emissions and what is required by 2020 to limit global average temperature increase to 2ºC.



Deeper carbon goal drops off EU agenda

EU environment ministers will not try to agree a long term emission strategy at a June 11 summit after Germany withdrew its request for the issue to be discussed.



EU carbon emissions rise, end multi-year decline

Greenhouse gases from the European Union rose more than 2 percent in 2010 when a cold winter and a rebound in many economies drove up energy use, breaking a multi-year pattern of emissions declines