Energy Efficiency and Climate Change News

18 January 2013

The IEA’s Energy Efficiency and Climate Change News directs you to articles about energy efficiency and climate change issues that are written and owned by others.  The selection is intended to be balanced and the views and analysis expressed by the authors of such articles do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the IEA Secretariat or IEA member countries.

General Policy
Industry, business and utilities
Appliances, equipment and lighting
Emissions Trading/Carbon Market

Climate Change Negotiations

General Policy

Carbon Plan Can Pass with German Backing: EU Climate Chief

An EU executive plan to reduce a glut of carbon emissions allowances, which are trading close to record lows, can pass provided it gets German support, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said on 16 January.


EU to Revive Debate on Minimum Energy Tax Levels

EU officials are to debate a new set of tax proposals to promote clean fuel and erode fiscal advantages that have made diesel relatively cheap, a document seen by Reuters showed.


EU Cautious About New Obama Climate Policy Buzz

The EU has reacted coolly to speculation about a potential new direction in US climate policy during President Barack Obama’s second term. Environmentalists say that Obama is considering a climate change summit in the White House, and EurActiv understands that US State Department officials expect a significant statement on climate change, imminently.


Three EU States Criticise UK’s Energy Savings 'Accounting Trick'

In a letter to EU Energy Commissioner, Germany, Austria and Finland have called for the withdrawal of an unpublished EU interpretation note on the Energy Efficiency Directive. The note allowed the United Kingdom to sign up to the Directive by accounting to include measures outside the target period. Countries argue that “the level of ambition of the Directive would be substantially reduced and the fulfilment of the EU’s 20% energy efficiency target jeopardised.”


Jackson to Step Down As Obama's Environmental Chief

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson, who spearheaded the Obama administration's crackdown on carbon emissions, has said she will step down after almost four years of battles with Republican lawmakers and industry over proposed regulations.


US EPA Faces Legal Battles, Might Take Easy Confirmation Road

Regardless of who takes the reins, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will likely face continued legal battles in President Barack Obama's second term as it tries to finalize pollution rules for power plants, analysts said.


China Expands Pollution Monitoring to Biggest Cities

China plans to release hourly air pollution monitoring data in 74 of its biggest cities starting on New Year's Day, state media said on Sunday, in a sign of increasing responsiveness to quality-of-life concerns among prosperous urban people.


China Leads Faster Global Energy Efficiency Gains-BP

Accelerating global energy efficiency means fuel use is rising far slower than prosperity, largely because Chinese industrial development is increasingly energy efficient, a study by oil company BP Plc found.


Carbon Taxes Make Ireland Greener

Ireland facing a fiscal crisis has imposed a major reform involving a carbon tax and success is both solving the fiscal crisis and well as turning Ireland into a much greener with its emission dropping by 15% since 2006. Ireland is a model for other countries to follow.


EU Council to Consider EIA Directive Changes in March

Over the next six months, member states will discuss changes to several EU laws including the environmental impact assessments (EIA) directive and rules on F-gases, but will not make any final decisions on these matters. Conclusions from the Council of Ministers in the non-legislative area of adapting to climate change will be sought, however.

Brussels Steers Towards ‘Resolute’ New CCS Targets By 2014

Europe’s failing plans to encourage the burial of carbon dioxide emissions underground should be boosted by new laws for emissions performance standards or mandatory carbon capture and storage (CCS) certificates, according to a draft EU communication seen by EurActiv.


Japan Introduces Tax on Carbon Emissions

The Japanese government introduced on October 1, 2012, a tax for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels used in thermal generation, automobiles, and the like, thereby enhancing national measures for combating global warming. The tax requires all people to equitably share the burden of alleviating the environmental impacts that arise from all types of fossil fuels, such as oil and petroleum products (e.g., gasoline), natural gas, and coal, according to the amount of CO2 each type emits.


Industry, business and utilities

RWE Starts Carbon Capture at UK Coal Plant

RWE has captured the first tonne of carbon in a UK pilot project, the company said on 17 January, bringing it a step closer to applying a technology that could significantly reduce climate-warming emissions from power plants.


Iberdrola Offloads French Wind Farms

Iberdrola is selling 32 French wind farms to a consortium including General Electric for EUR400m, part of a big divestment programme aimed at reducing debt at Spain’s largest utility by market value.


Spain Adopts Controversial Hike in Energy Taxes

Higher energy taxes, proposing that all forms of electricity production will be subject to a flat tax of 7%, as opposed to 6%, were introduced in Spain on 1 January following the approval of fiscal measures by the country’s parliament before Christmas. The renewables and cogeneration sectors say the tax hike will disproportionately affect them.


Unilever Eyes EU Research to Halve Its Water, CO2 Footprint

The Dutch multinational Unilever wants to boost its participation in EU research programmes to develop the breakthrough technologies it needs to cut the water use and CO2 emissions of its products by half – two of its key environmental objectives.



Thousands of Insulation Industry Jobs Lost in New Year, Figures Show

More than 1,700 jobs have been lost since December because of the gap between the government's home energy schemes.


Appliances, equipment and lighting

Power-Meter Shift to Cut USD10 Billion Brazil Market by 50%

Bloomberg - Brazil’s decision to weaken a proposal for boosting energy efficiency by installing smart meters is wiping out half of a USD10 billion market that lured foreign manufacturers from Elster Group SE (ELTTY) to Echelon Corp. (ELON)


Global LEAP Awards Outstanding Off-grid Solar Lighting Products

The Clean Energy Ministerial's (CEM) Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) has announced the laureates of the Lighting Global Outstanding Product Awards, which recognizes sustainable off-grid solar lighting products for people without access to electricity in developing countries.



EU transport policy needs drastic reform -report

A radical shift from biofuels towards electric vehicles and more fuel-saving is the only way the European Union will achieve goals to cut transport emissions, a report said on Thursday, 17 January.


EU to Revive Debate on Minimum Energy Tax Levels

EU officials are to debate a new set of tax proposals to promote clean fuel and erode fiscal advantages that have made diesel relatively cheap, a document seen by Reuters showed.


Tesla Begins Europe Sales Push with Higher-End Model S

Bloomberg - Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), the maker of electric cars led by billionaire Elon Musk, said only higher end versions of its battery-powered Model S sedan will initially be sold in Europe as it races to turn a profit.


Untamed Motorization Wraps Delhi in Smog

Delhi’s traditionally reasonable air quality is now under threat from a population of 20 million with a rapidly growing use of automobiles with the rising incomes. A decade ago, Dehli introduced a range of emission controls, closing polluting industries and expanding green spaces. The city’s buses and popular 3 wheeled transport vehicles were converted to compressed natural gas. For a time air quality even improved. Now Delhi can sport an arid blanket of grey smog. What happened?


CEM Announces New Web Portal on Electric Vehicle Best Practices

The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) announced the launch of the "World EV Cities and Ecosystems" web portal, which aims to connect policy makers and practitioners for sharing electric vehicle (EV) best practices and encouraging increased cooperation in cities worldwide.



Emissions trading/Carbon market


California Downplays Possibility of Australia CO2 Market Link

California officials said they have no plans to sign any agreement with Australia linking their carbon markets down the road, despite interest on the part of Australian officials to expand its coming emissions trading system.


China’s Hangzhou Outlines Carbon Trading Plans

The fast-growing city of Hangzhou in eastern China has begun drawing up plans for an emissions trading scheme, a move that will make it China’s eighth region to launch a carbon market as the world’s biggest-emitting nation strives to clean up its economy.


RGGI States Propose Program Changes by February

States participating in the northeast U.S. region’s carbon market will in February put out proposed changes to the program’s underlying rules, possibly including more stringent emission limits, which could reinvigorate dormant trading.


EU Unlikely To Cut CO2 Permit Supply This Year: Analysts

Legislative delays will probably prevent the European Commission from withdrawing any EU carbon permits from Europe’s emissions market this year, pushing implementation of the plan to prop-up record low CO2 prices to 2014, analysts said.


Shanghai Includes Aviation Emissions in CO2 Market

Airlines based in Shanghai will be forced to surrender a carbon permit for each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit on domestic routes under the city’s Emissions Trading Scheme, due to launch this year, according to official documents listing market participants published late December.


2013 Brings New Phase, Old Problems for EU Carbon Market

European carbon prices are expected to remain under pressure in 2013, the first year of phase three of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), as a steady flow of fresh permit supply and flat demand continue to weigh.


CER Issuance Up 6 Pct in 2012

The U.N. handed out a record 339 million Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) in 2012, a rise of six percent that took the total number of credits issued to date to 1.15 billion, data compiled by Reuters Point Carbon showed.


Value of Global CO2 Markets Falls to Pre-Recession Levels

Global carbon markets dropped in value for the first time ever in 2012, collapsing 36 percent to a five-year low despite new cap-and-trade schemes and record trading volumes, analysts said on Thursday.


Carbon pricing extended to 9 pct of world population

Three jurisdictions launched carbon markets on January 1st 2013 as lawmakers attempt to cut emissions of planet-warming gases by putting a price on emitting carbon dioxide.

Gas prices, drought force Spain’s power emissions up 11 pct

Spain’s power sector CO2 emissions rose 11 percent in 2012, outpacing a modest increase in electricity output as generators favoured burning coal over cleaner forms of production, according to preliminary data from grid operator REE.


Climate change negotiations

U.N. Climate Chief Praises Nations for Passing Domestic CO2 Law

Individual nations need to continue to pass domestic legislation to cut emissions of gases blamed for warming the planet if a global climate deal is to emerge in 2015, the U.N.’s climate chief Christiana Figueres said Monday, 14 January.


US Says 2015 May Be Last Chance for UN Climate Pact

Ongoing talks to strike a climate deal may be the U.N.’s last chance to broker a global pact that would force nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, the United States’ lead climate negotiator said on 15 January.

Cost of Combating Climate Change Surges as World Delays: Study

An agreement by almost 200 nations to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 will be far more costly than taking action now to tackle climate change, according to research published in the science journal Nature on 2 January. For the first time, it quantified and ranked the uncertainties associated with efforts to mitigate climate change, including questions about the climate itself, uncertainties related to future technologies and energy demand, and political uncertainties as to when action will be taken.


Beware Black Carbon’s Warming Effects, Climate Scientists Warn

Black carbon, a pollutant and greenhouse gas emitted by diesel engines and incinerating waste at landfill sites, is second only to carbon dioxide in its climate warming abilities, an international group of more than 30 scientists warned on Tuesday, 15 January.


Offsetting Carbon: The UN's Joint Implementation Scheme

As part of the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations developed a market-based mechanism called Joint Implementation (JI) which allows rich nations to obtain credits for carbon reduction projects in "transition" economies such as Russia, Ukraine and the EU's former communist states. But the system is complex to manage and has yielded little results so far, raising questions about its continuation after Kyoto expires.


CEC Assesses the Comparability of GHG and Black Carbon Emissions Reporting in North America

A report by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) finds challenges in using current national and subnational reporting regime data to estimate the potential impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures and coordinate climate change policy in North America.