17 - 23 March 2012

General policy         

Breaking News: Supreme Court rejects government’s feed-in tariff solar appeal

The Supreme Court has today thrown out the government's appeal against a previous ruling which deemed its controversial changes to solar feed-in tariff incentives as unlawful.


Time for a grand bargain with Poland on energy and climate

Energy relations between Poland and the EU have been extremely difficult in recent years, especially when it comes to climate policy. This situation is highly damaging to both sides. It is time for the EU to gain a better appreciation of Poland's unique challenges and to offer the country a credible long-term deal on energy and climate, argues Thomas Spencer, Research Fellow in Climate and Energy Economics at the Paris-based think tank IDDRI.


IDB annual meeting presents new low carbon and sustainable energy initiatives

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Annual Meeting highlighted a series of projects to benchmark, map and disseminate low carbon initiatives in the region, to support sustainable cities, as well as to promote sustainable energy sources in Central America and the Caribbean.


UK’s Carbon Reduction Commitment to be reformed or axed

Chancellor George Osborne has pledged to replace the unpopular Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) with a simpler green tax system if the current scheme cannot be simplified within the next six months.


All the latest on the UK’s Green Budget: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/special/2162231/budget-2012?wt.mc_ev=click&WT.tsrc=Email&utm_term=&utm_content=Green%20Budget%202012%20-%20All%20the%20latest&utm_campaign=BusinessGreen%20Weekly%20Newsletter%2021%2F3%2F12&utm_source=Business%20Green%20Weekly&utm_medium=Email

European Parliament backs low-carbon roadmap

MEPs broadly backed the European Commission's low-carbon roadmap to 2050 in a vote last Thursday. However, a series of compromises introduced to keep the centre-right EPP group happy upset the Greens.


Industry, business and utilities         

Expert: Only consumer-focused energy companies will thrive

Energy companies will have to change their business models from only gas and electricity supply to personalised consumer energy services as the EU's Energy Efficiency Directive takes shape, an industry expert told EurActiv in an interview.


14 Firms compete for EU green business award

The European Commission has named the 14 companies that have been shortlisted for the European business awards for the environment, which are held every two years. The winners in the five categories will be announced at Green Week in May.


Sindicatum shifts focus from CDM, eyes domestic schemes

Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, which until late last year was known as Sindicatum Carbon Capital, is shifting its focus from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) into new markets in countries where it already has a strong presence, its CEO said.


Britain mulls replacing corporate CO2 scheme

The UK government will consider replacing a scheme to cut corporate energy use with an alternative environmental tax if it cannot reduce the scheme's administrative costs, finance minister George Osborne said in his budget statement on Wednesday.


MEPs debate plans for greener farming policy

A proposal to make almost one third of agricultural subsidies conditional on fulfilling certain green criteria would increase participation in environmental measures but is not necessarily the best way of greening farming, MEPs have heard.


UK government cuts environmental red tape

The UK environment department (DEFRA) has announced plans to streamline environmental regulation to reduce the administrative burden on businesses. The cuts should save companies about GBP 200m (EUR 240m) a year, it predicts.



China making significant progress in building energy code compliance

"China has dramatically improved its compliance rate with building energy codes in only five years", writes Shui Bin in a new report released by the Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Third Parties in the Implementation of Building Energy Codes in China.



After China, India asks airlines to boycott EU carbon scheme

India joined China on Thursday in asking their airlines to boycott the European Union's carbon scheme, confirming an earlier Reuters report and escalating a diplomatic row over the issue.



Airlines can ‘bank’ 2012 offset concession: EC

Airlines participating in the EU carbon market will be able to carry forward any unused quotas that allow them to use cheap foreign CO2 credits to offset emissions, a European Commission spokesman confirmed Wednesday, potentially cutting the sector’s compliance costs.


Finland taken to EU court over green car rules

The EU executive is taking Finland to the European court for not fully implementing rules on the promotion of cleaner cars. Finland faces a daily fine of EUR 13,277, which will be imposed until it complies. Cyprus could also be fined for breaching environmental law.


US business coalition offers plan to accelerate adoption of plug-in electric vehicles

A coalition including automakers, electric utilities, environmental groups, and state officials outlined joint recommendations in “An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid” this week to accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) nationwide.


UK’s Green Budget 2012: Osborne extends tax breaks for green fleets

Low carbon transport was one of the main beneficiaries from the UK's newly annouced Budget, with the announcement of new tax breaks for green fleets, pledges to electrify additional rail routes, and no further cuts to taxes on fuel or flights.


EC urged not to change rules on mega-lorries

The European Commission must not allow mega-lorries weighing up to 60 tonnes to cross Europe's internal borders, green transport group T&E said on Tuesday amid reports that the EU executive is considering lifting a ban on transnational traffic.


Study recommends harmonising car labelling

Europe should develop a single EU-wide fuel economy and carbon dioxide label for cars, according to consultancy study conducted for the European Commission. At the moment, member states are using a wide variety of different vehicle labels.


Appliances and equipment         

Labelling: Commission urges Czech Republic and Poland to adopt consumer-friendly legislation

The Energy labelling directive; important in promoting energy efficiency, raising consumers' awareness, and defining common EU thresholds related to energy efficiency; has not been fully transposed into the national legislation of Czech Republic and Poland. The Commission has today decided to send Reasoned Opinions to these Member States. If they do not comply with their legal obligations within two months, the Commission may refer them to the Court of Justice.


Ireland hits 25% battery recycling target

Ireland has exceeded the interim EU Directive target of 25 % for the recycling of batteries. As a result of efforts by WEEE Ireland and ERP Ireland, over 613 tonnes of batteries have been collected, over 29% of the portable batteries sold in Ireland between 2009 and 2011.


The paradox of air conditioners

 On March 10th, the Commission published a new regulation on ecodesign requirements for air conditioners and comfort fans (Commission Regulation (EU) No. 206/2012) that significantly raises the minimum energy performance standards of air conditioners. An appliances blogger reports.


Time to jump-start eco-design

After years of delays, hopes are high that 2012 will be the year Europe’s Ecodesign Directive will finally kick into action, saving billions of euros and the environment, says Stéphane Arditi, coordinator for the 'Coolproducts' campaign to promote energy-efficient appliances and other consumer goods.


Emissions trading/Carbon market         

Germany confirms ETS auction opt-out

Germany has notified the Commission that it intends to appoint the European Energy Exchange AG (EEX) as its transitional opt-out auction platform. The Commission will now assess the notification.


New Mexico regulators kill mandatory carbon caps

New Mexico regulators have repealed a regulation that would have forced companies statewide to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3 percent a year starting in 2013.


UK lowers CO2 floor price revenue projection by 6 pct

The UK’s levy on fossil fuels will raise 3.03 billion pounds for government coffers over the three fiscal years from 2013 to 2016, down from a previous projection of 3.22 billion, according the government’s annual budget statement on Wednesday.


NZ mulls more changes to CO2 market: govt source

New Zealand's government is planning to hold this year public consultations to make a second round of changes to its emissions trading scheme, according to a government source.


WCI hires Burke as first executive director

The board of Western Climate Initiative (WCI) Inc. has tapped Anita Burke to serve as the organization's first executive director, according to an announcement released Thursday.


Standardising CDM could struggle to deliver cleantech boon

Introducing standardised baselines in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is unlikely to prove a big boon for cleaner technology in developing countries unless host countries do more to meet new requirements on supplying emissions data, consultants said.


Climate change negotiations         

Warming will cut oceans' value by EUR 1.5trn – study

Global warming will cut the annual economic value of oceans by USD 2trn (EUR 1.5trn) by 2100 – equivalent to 0.37% of the world's GDP – if CO2 emissions follow a 'business as usual' scenario, according to the Stockholm Environment Institute.


Australia on track to exceed its Kyoto goal - analyst

Australia is on track to undercut its Kyoto protocol carbon target by 125 million tonnes, a leading analyst says, creating a handy buffer to meet its 2020 greenhouse target in the event the carbon price fails to deliver


Portugal reviews CO2 purchases as emissions plummet

Portugal is reviewing its plans to purchase carbon credits and emission rights under the Kyoto Protocol after its emissions of greenhouse gases fell to their lowest level in 14 years, well below the country’s cap under the 1997 international treaty.


Climate change 'requires military involvement'

Europe must start planning for military involvement in climate change preparedness and emergency response, participants at a workshop on the environment and security in the European Parliament were told on Wednesday.


Organisations Express Willingness to Host UNFCCC's Climate Technology Centre

The UNFCCC Secretariat has reported that nine organizations have expressed their willingness to be the host of the UNFCCC’s new Climate Technology Centre (CTC). The CTC, along with its Network, is the implementing arm of the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism, established at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.