19 - 25 June 2012

General policy         

EU Countries Strike Deal on Energy Efficiency Law

Negotiators from the European Parliament, Commission and Council reached a deal on the Energy Efficiency Directive on 13 June. But it fails to achieve its initial purpose of reaching 20% energy savings by 2020, the Parliament's chief negotiator has warned.



IEA says Energy Efficiency Could Save Trillions

Trillions of euros in investment in clean-energy technology are needed worldwide by mid-century to control rising carbon emissions, says the IEA’s new Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 report that could help shape the debate on some of Europe’s most controversial energy policies.




Australia Cuts Number of Firms to Pay Carbon Tax

Australia will levy a controversial carbon tax on about half the number of companies originally expected, a government list released on Friday shows, which may limit the economic and political impact of the tax which starts on July 1.



Rio+20 Ends with Weak Text, Emboldened Observers

Global leaders ended a U.N. development summit on Friday with what was widely considered a lackluster agreement, leaving many attendees convinced that individuals and companies, rather than governments, must lead efforts to improve the environment.



Factbox: Main Points in Rio+20 Agreement

Nearly 100 heads of state and government gathered over the past three days in efforts to establish so-called "sustainable development goals,". The agreement, seen by Reuters, was little changed from a draft text on Tuesday apart from grammatical tweaks. Some of the main areas it covered in this article.



Life after Rio: ‘No excuse to do less’

Disappointed over the failure of the Rio summit to produce ambitious commitments on sustainable growth, conservationists say Europe must now redouble efforts to tackle its own environmental challenges.



Poland Blocks EU's Zero-Carbon Plan

When European delegates were preparing to push a low-carbon agenda at the Rio Earth Summit last week, coal-reliant Poland has prevented EU governments from speaking with a single voice in the bloc's debate on a low-carbon energy future.



Scotland Eyes 'Energy Switching' to Tackle Fuel Poverty

Scottish politicians will try to kick-start a pioneering collective bargaining plan, whereby energy switching would by encouraged by auctioning off monopoly energy provision rights for communities. Already tested with success in the Benelux countries, supporters say the approach would help communities tackle fuel poverty.



IEA Chief Stresses Positive Impacts of Achieving Universal Energy Access

In an article published in the Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book, Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), underlines that making access to modern energy services universal would have no real negative impact on energy security or climate change globally, but rather would radically improve the lives of billions of energy poor.



WHO Releases Briefing Series on Measuring Health Gains from Sustainable Development

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a set of thematic briefings on measuring health benefits of sustainable development in relation to the key themes discussed at the UN Conference for Sustainable Development.



European Environment Ministers Discuss 7th Action Programme

The European Environment Ministers met recently in the Environment Council to adopt conclusions on setting the framework for the 7th EU Environment Action Programme (EAP) and on preparations for key biodiversity and climate meetings, among other items.


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Industry, business and utilities         

UN Chief Unveils Clean Energy Pledges, Investments

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday that over 50 governments have launched new energy strategies and that private investors have pledged over $50 billion to help carry out his goal to double the share of renewable energy in the world and double the global rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030.



EDF: Price Rise for Low-Carbon Electricity on the Way

The boss of the UK’s largest electricity generator and distributor has warned of imminent electricity price rises across Europe, due to the perceived demands of moving towards a low-carbon economy.



Dong Energy Exec: Energy Savings are Profitable

Lars Clausen a top executive at DONG Energy, says the Danish company was able to become one of the leading energy firms in Northern Europe by seeing energy savings not as a "threat", but an "opportunity".



Accounting for Pollution Likely Within a Decade

Corporate and government accounting will likely reflect environmental profit and loss within a decade, thanks partly to progress made this week at a U.N. conference in Rio de Janeiro, backers of the plan told Reuters on Thursday.



Coalition Confirms Introduction of Mandatory Carbon Reporting

Nick Clegg confirms companies listed on the London Stock Exchange will be required to report on their carbon emissions from next year.  Mandatory carbon reporting rules will require around 1,800 of the UK's largest listed companies to report annually on their greenhouse gas emissions.



Carbon Reporting Victory Promises Boost for Green Businesses

Business Green Blogger commends UK Ministers Nick Clegg and Caroline Spelman and the green wing of the coalition for winning the argument over whether mandatory carbon reporting will deliver net benefits to the UK economy. After a slightly frustrating delay, it was announced that listed UK companies will from next April be required to report on their carbon emissions.


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Report Highlights North America's Efforts towards Green Buildings

The US Green Building Council, the UN Environment Programme's Regional Office for North America and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development have released a new report titled “Advancing the Transformation to a Green Economy through Green Buildings and Resource Efficient Cities: Key Messages from North America.”  



EU Energy Law Paves Way for New CO2 Market for Buildings

The EU’s upcoming energy savings law will allow member states to launch an intergovernmental carbon market to help them cut emissions in the buildings sector.



Tokyo Gas Launches Smart House Test for Multi-Unit Residences

Tokyo Gas Co., a major gas supplier in Japan, announced on March 14, 2012, plans to launch this April a demonstration test for a smart house system targeting multi-unit residences. The test will be conducted as part of the Yokohama Smart City Project, one of four Next-Generation Energy and Social Systems Demonstration Areas being promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan.



New Method Ensures the Effectiveness of US Residential Building Energy Codes

The Energy Department recently released a new methodology for evaluating homeowner savings through residential energy codes based on a life-cycle analysis that balances initial costs with the longer-term savings these codes make possible.


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High Level Group Report Recommends Gradual Opening of EU Road Haulage Market

Gradual opening of domestic road transport markets should be considered as a key step towards completing the Single European Transport Area says a report handed over to Vice-President Kallas on 20 June.



Commission Launches Survey on Quality and Efficiency of Ports in Europe

As part of its on-going review of European ports policy to improve its economic and environmental efficiency, the European Commission has launched an online questionnaire, open until September 2012, to be discussed with Member States, the European Parliament and stakeholders at a high-level conference on 25-26 September 2012.



Multilateral Development Banks Announce USD175 Billion for Sustainable Transport

On sidelines of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20), eight of the largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) announced their commitment to provide over USD175 billion of loans and grants to support sustainable transportation systems over the next decade.



EU Figures Show 3 Percent Drop in New Car CO2 Emissions

Carbon dioxide emissions from new cars in the European Union fell an average of 3 percent in 2011, as buyers chose less polluting vehicles, EU figures showed last Wednesday.



EU Vehicle Emissions Standards Set to Create EUR 9bn Worth of New Jobs

Forcing new vehicles to meet proposed tighter emissions standards could create €9bn of new jobs and save EUR 36bn in fuel costs by 2030, according to draft EU estimates.



Commission Wants Stricter Limit on Van Emissions

The European Commission is preparing to propose tighter CO2 emissions standards for vans, as part of a wider legislative push to reduce emissions from road transport and cut fuel bills, a draft regulation showed.



Germany May Miss Electric-Cars Goal without Funding

Germany's goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020 may only be achieved if state funding of fossil fuel-free mobility is raised substantially. No more than 600,000 electric cars will be on the road by the end of the decade without extra spending, according to a report published last Wednesday by a panel of experts from car makers, science, politics and unions.



UN Aviation Body Says Will Have Emissions Plan by March

The head of the United Nations body that oversees civil aviation said on Monday he expects to have a draft proposal on measures to tackle emissions from aviation by March 2013, rather than at the end of 2012 as he had said previously.



France Should Act on Diesel Cancer Link: Minister

France should rein in tax policies favouring diesel engines after a World Health Organisation review found a clear link between their exhaust emissions and cancer, the country's environment minister said.



Renault Backs Electric Cars with Free Chargers

Automaker Renault, frustrated by the speed at which electric car chargers are being installed across France, is to fund some of the missing infrastructure itself. The allied carmakers, both headed by chief executive Carlos Ghosn, will give away close to 1,000 fast chargers costing around 5,000 euros (USD 6,300) each, mostly in France.



A123 Says New Battery Technology to Make EVs Cheaper

A123 Systems Inc said it has developed a new technology that allows lithium ion batteries to function in extreme temperatures, eliminating the need for separate heating and cooling systems and potentially making electric vehicles (EVs) cheaper.



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Appliances and equipment         

en.lighten Releases Global Policy Map and Country Lighting Assessments

s part of the en.lighten initiative, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released the findings of 150 country lighting assessments and a new global policy map on efficient lighting, on the sidelines of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).



Philips Calls On Governments to Switch on to LED Opportunity

Two-and-a-half-year study finds light-emitting diodes could lead to energy savings of 85 per cent from street lighting alone



Sony Develops 'Authentication Outlet' which Controls Electricity Per User and Per Device

Sony Corp. has developed an "Authentication Outlet" that enables users to control and use electricity on a per-user and per-device basis and to keep records of past usage, and arrange payments for electric bills by combining it with an electronic payment system.


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Emissions trading/Carbon market         

EU Carbon Surges 7.4 Pct on Utility Buying, Short-Covering

European carbon hit a three-month high Friday to post its biggest weekly gain in four months, as utilities bought on growing confidence that the EU would cut permit supply, forcing banks to reverse positions and buy back allowances.



China Lays Out Rules for Domestic Offset Credits

China’s central government has published rules that will govern its future domestic carbon offset market, potentially allowing more than 2,200 existing emission reduction projects to earn domestic carbon credits that could be used in a potential Chinese carbon market.



New York Judge Drops Suit Challenging RGGI

New York’s top court on Wednesday dismissed a Tea Party-backed lawsuit that tried to block the state from participating in a cap-and-trade system to cut carbon emissions in the northeast, finding that the plaintiffs had no grounds to challenge the programme.



Rio Delays Carbon Market Launch after Industry Resistance

Brazil’s second largest state Rio de Janeiro has delayed indefinitely the launch of its carbon cap-and-trade system amid strong pushback by local industry to the market, which it says would increase operation costs for companies, a state official confirmed.



Analysis Shows EU Should Consider Alternatives to ETS

Europe's emissions trading scheme has failed to create incentives for utilities to use cleaner energy fuels, meaning that governments will have to switch to simpler tools, such as subsidies and regulation, to enforce emissions reduction targets.




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Climate change negotiations         

Sweden Pledges EUR 7.5 million to African Climate for Development Programme

At a high level roundtable held on 25 April 2012, in Stockholm, the Swedish Government pledged EUR 7.5 million to a fund of the Climate for Development in Africa Program (ClimDev-Africa).



UNFCCC Executive Secretary Calls for Strategic and Efficient Use of Oil Emissions

Speaking at the Fifth Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) International Seminar, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said progress in the international climate change negotiations is an opportunity, rather than a threat, for OPEC member States. 



China Emissions Study Suggests Climate Change Could Be Faster Than Thought

China's carbon emissions could be nearly 20 percent higher than previously thought, a new analysis of official Chinese data showed on Sunday, suggesting the pace of global climate change could be even faster than currently predicted.



Alternative Leaders can Unlock U.N. Climate Deadlock

Business leaders, cities and regional administrations can break a governmental stalemate on cutting emissions at U.N. climate talks and drive action to stave off runaway global warming, according to a paper published last week.