Energy Efficiency and Climate Change News

7 December 2012

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

Climate Change Stand-Off Sparks Concern

A stand-off over how many billions of dollars wealthy countries should stump up to help poorer nations cope with climate change over the next three years is prompting concern that fresh UN climate negotiations may be headed for collapse. A negotiating group of developing countries known as the G77 and China want the Doha meeting to formally agree that industrialised countries produce extra funds totalling USD60bn by 2015 to keep financing on track.


Developing Countries Seek Commitment on Climate Funds

Developing countries are planning to propose a mid-term finance target for 2015, to ensure that the climate finance pledge made by developed countries is guaranteed, said sources at the fourth day of the climate change talks in Doha, Qatar.


Australia Reveals Kyoto 2 Pledge of a 0.5% CO2 Cut

Review Australia’s recently released submission under the Kyoto Protocol for its Quantified Emission Limitation or Reduction Objective (QELRO).


UK Pushes Back 2030 Decarbonisation Target

The UK’s coalition government ended months of internal rows and agreed key details of its forthcoming draft energy law late on 22 November. The agreement paves the way for the proposal’s publication next week. However it says no decarbonisation target will be set until 2016 – after the next election when the political landscape could be much changed.


EU Must Raise 2020 CO2 Target to 30% - German EPA

In a press released on the action needed at Doha, the German Federal Government's climate advisors say the EU should target 30-percent-lower emissions by 2020.


UK Energy Deal Triples Renewables Subsidy By 2020

British government support for low-carbon electricity generation will triple by 2020 after the energy and finance ministries reached a deal to end months of wrangling over costly reforms.


EU Ministers to Debate Post 2020 Green Subsidy Reform

EU energy ministers are poised to seek "non-binding" guidance from the European Commission on reform of green fuel subsidies as part of a debate on new post-2020 policy goals, according to a draft document.


Irish Energy Minister Outlines Presidency Priorities

Efforts to complete the internal energy market will be a major focus of the forthcoming Irish presidency of the EU, Ireland’s energy minister Pat Rabbitte told a conference at the International Institute for European Affairs in Dublin on Friday 23 November.


Saving Energy 'Can Buy Time to Seal Climate Deal'

Action on energy efficiency could buy time to secure a global agreement on climate change, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday 12 November, with the release of the World Energy Outlook 2012 publication which has a special focus on energy efficiency this year.


No Nation Immune to Climate Change: World Bank

All nations will suffer the effects of a warmer world, but it is the world's poorest countries that will be hit hardest by food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought, the World Bank said in a report on climate change.


Gas-Rich Qatar to Invest Up To USD20 Billion in Solar Energy Plant

OPEC member Qatar will ask firms to tender for a 1,800 megawatt (MW) solar energy plant in 2014 costing between USD10-20 billion as the world's highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter seeks to increase its renewable energy production.


U.N. Advisors Seek USD7.5 Mln to Run Empty Green Climate Fund

The administrators of the U.N.'s Green Climate Fund designed to channel tens billions of dollars of finance to help poor nations combat climate change has asked for almost USD7.5 million to manage the fund, which currently has no money in it, U.N. documents show.


EU Commission Proposes Holding Back 900 Million Carbon Permits

The European Commission on Monday proposed postponing the auction of 900 million carbon emission allowances from 2013-2015 until later in the next phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which runs until 2020.


UK Government Publishes Energy Efficiency Strategy

A transformation in the way energy is used across the UK economy could help boost growth and jobs, and investing in energy efficiency could save up to 22 power stations-worth of energy by 2020, according to the Government’s Energy Efficiency Strategy published on 12 November.


Carbon and Energy Taxes Most Cost-Effective Fiscal Measures: Study

Carbon pricing can help European countries to raise revenue and reduce their fiscal deficits more effectively than other taxes, according to a new report published on 19 November 2012 by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.


Focus on EU Budget Size Keeps Environment off Agenda

The collapse of the November EU budget talks could prove to be a blessing in terms of green spending, by allowing more time to improve the environmental quality of the package, green groups have suggested.


UNGA Second Committee Approves Resolution on Protection of Global Climate

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has approved draft resolution (A/C.2/67/L.43) on “Protection of Global Climate for Present and Future Generations of Humankind.” The draft was approved in New York, US, on 28 November 2012.


EU Losing Patience over Poor Implementation

In a lecture on green laws, the head of the European Commission’s environment questioned the use of directives to implement EU legislation.


China Pledges USD56 Billion to Cut Air Pollution

China will spend 350 billion yuan (USD56 billion) by 2015 to curb air pollution in major cities, in an effort to be led by local governments, the environmental watchdog said on Wednesday 5 December.


Russia to Set 2020 Carbon Target That Will Let Emissions Rise

Russia plans to set itself a binding 2020 goal for carbon emissions, a top climate change official said on Wednesday - the only problem is it would allow them to rise.


Industry, business and utilities

Nine EU Utilities Call For Binding 2030 Renewables Target

The Coalition of Progressive European Energy Companies calls upon EU Energy Ministers to support continuation of targeted and ambitious renewables policies and measures towards 2030, such as new binding targets. They are argue that such measures, along with the EU ETS and modernising energy infrastructure, are essential to bridge the policy gap between 2020 and 2050, to allow the renewables industry to mature and to reach cost competitiveness.


Investors Call on Governments to Avert Climate Change

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has announced the release of an open letter from several of the world’s largest investors to governments ahead of the UNFCCC negotiations scheduled to convene in Doha, Qatar, beginning on 26 November. The letter calls for a “new dialogue” on climate change policy to avert dangerous climate change and resulting economic impacts.


Metal, Steel Industries Warn EU Efficiency Laws Could Force Them Out Of Europe

Steelmakers and other metals industries fear that limits the EU is considering imposing on the amount of natural resources they use will push them out of Europe, where environmental regulations are less stringent.


Number of Companies Implementing Power-Saving Measures Growing in Japan

Teikoku Databank, a credit research company, announced on July 4, 2012, the results of its survey on corporate attitudes toward reduction of power consumption in the summer. The target sample size was 22,800 companies nationwide, out of which the number of valid responses was 10,589 (response rate of 46.4%). Over 70% of the companies nationwide reported they had implemented power-saving measures. The most common answer on reducing power consumption was "by less than 10%," given by 40.3% of respondents.\


French CCS Project in the Lead For EU Funding

A proposed carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at a mothballed steel mill in France may be the only demonstration CCS project to receive first-round NER300 funding, industry sources fear.


EIB Plans More Climate Bonds for Next Year

The European Investment Bank (EIB) plans to launch a new round of climate bonds early next year, a spokesperson said, after the bonds raised €350m in 2012 for lending to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Europe.



Dow Corning Opens Window to Energy Savings

Businesses are increasingly waking up to the benefits of energy efficient buildings, and researchers at Dow Corning have developed smart window technology that has businesses interested.


Appliances, equipment and lighting

Console Makers Outline Energy Efficiency Plan

A self-commitment, rather than a voluntary agreement, would be the best way to reduce the energy use of game consoles under ecodesign legislation, manufacturers said at a stakeholder meeting in Brussels on Friday 9 November.


EC Consults on Four New RoHs Exemptions

The European Commission's environment department is consulting on four new exemptions for the use of toxic substances in electric and electronic equipment. These exemptions are listed in an annex to the RoHS directive.


UN Envoy: Affordable Broadband A Global Challenge

The UN Broadband Commission for digital development has set four targets related to accessibility, affordability and getting online in order to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals. Among these, universal access to broadband seems to be manageable, but affordability is and will continue to be the bigger problem, says Suvi Lindén.



ICAO Launches Green Meetings Calculator

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has released the Green Meetings Calculator to help UN organisations reduce their carbon emissions from airplane travel to meetings. The ICAO Green Meetings Calculator can help facilitate the process of selecting a meeting venue when accounting for the carbon footprint associated with air travel.


EUR 1.3bn EU Funding Call for Transport Projects

The European Commission has launched two Calls for Proposals under the 2012 Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) multi-annual and annual programmes, making €1.265 billion available to finance European transport infrastructure projects in all transport modes – air, rail, road, and maritime/inland waterways – plus logistics and intelligent transport systems, and all EU Member States.


Parliament Endorses Deal on Motorbike Emissions

The European Parliament approved an EU agreement to cut pollutant emissions from motorbikes, three-wheelers and quads in plenary on Tuesday, 20 November.


Chinese carrier orders 60 Airbus planes after EU CO2 retreat

A Chinese airline has agreed to buy 60 EU-made planes in a multi-billion dollar deal clinched less than a fortnight after the EU said it would delay a law to regulate CO2 emissions from foreign flights.


U.S. Launches New Project to Develop Electric-Vehicle Batteries

The Obama administration launched a fresh USD120-million research project Friday, aimed at developing cheaper batteries for electric vehicles, a sector that has faltered despite billions of dollars of prior government investment.



Emissions trading/Carbon market

 EU Willing to 'Stop the Clock' on Aviation in the EU ETS

Connie Hedegaard announced on 12 November that the European Union would defer the requirement under the EU Emissions Trading System for airlines to surrender allowances for flights into and out of Europe. This decision follows the very positive discussions that took place last week in the Council of the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on a global market-based approach to regulating greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.


California Overstated Inaugural Carbon Auction Demand

California's air regulator confirmed that it counted rejected bids when tallying demand for carbon permits at the state's first cap-and-trade auction last month, a calculation that gave market participants the impression that demand was stronger than it actually was.


UK Government to Simplify Corporate Carbon Trade Scheme

The British government will simplify its costly and complex scheme for corporate carbon emissions reduction and will review its effectiveness in 2016, after which it could be scrapped, the UK Treasury said on Wednesday 5 December.


EU Climate Fight Hit by New Record Low Carbon Price

The European Union's leadership in the fight against climate change, already under fire at U.N. talks in Qatar, suffered a further setback on Friday as the carbon market it created to help spur a switch to greener energy tumbled to a record low.


EU CO2 Prices to Rise by 50 Pct Next Year: Orbeo

European carbon permits will rise nearly 50 percent from current levels to average 10 Euros in 2013 if the EU persuades member states to back its auction backloading plan, said an analyst at Orbeo, a subsidiary of Belgian chemical company Solvay.


EUAs Hit 5-Day High on Firmer Energy, Short-Covering

European carbon prices rose to a five-day high above 7 euros on Friday 23 November amid firmer energy prices and as speculators covered short positions ahead of next week, which will see a third less in new permit supply.


European Companies 'Using Emissions Trading To Subsidise Overseas Rivals'

Some of the companies that have complained loudest about the EU's environmental measures are using the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) to give money to rivals in other countries instead of cutting their own greenhouse gas emissions, it has emerged.


Korea Warns Carbon Trading Advocates of 'Negative Lobbying and Blackmail'

Carbon trading schemes are fast sprouting across the planet as a market-based way of addressing rising greenhouse gas emissions. But advocates should be prepared for powerful business backlashes, Chang-beom Kim, the South Korean ambassador to the EU, warned a Brussels round table of business leaders and envoys on 19 November.


Govt Indecision Makes EU CO2 Fix a Distant Prospect: Analysts

The EU is unlikely to prop up ailing carbon prices in its Emissions Trading Scheme until late 2013 or 2014 after the bloc’s executive body delayed a key vote on the plan, analysts said Friday, citing a lack of government support for the controversial measure.


Climate change negotiations

Climate Cash Debate Rages as Doha Summit Opens

The EU will not commit to renew climate funding which runs out in 2013 ahead of talks at the Doha climate summit, which opened on 26 November. But new climate aid may be announced in the conference’s second week.


Key Decisions Elusive As U.N. Climate Talks Near End

Agreement on how to raise billions of dollars in climate aid and extend the world’s only treaty that forces nations to cut emissions remained unresolved at U.N. climate talks, just 24 hours before they are due to end.


Kyoto and Climate Finance Major Issues for Doha

UN climate talks in Doha starting on Monday will attempt to make progress on two fronts: pre-2020 carbon cuts inside and outside the Kyoto Protocol, and a global climate deal. But the most pressing deadlines hanging over the talks are the expiry of the protocol and of the “fast start” climate funding scheme on 31 December.


Cash Row Threatens Doha Climate Talks

A row over who will pay for dealing with the accelerating impact of climate change soured U.N. debate in Doha, where a final day of haggling was expected to do nothing to curb greenhouse gas pollution.


UN Calls for Urgency on Climate, Says Doha Deal to Delight No One

The United Nations said on Friday greater urgency was needed to slow climate change and that even success at current low-ambition talks among 200 nations in Doha would delight no one.


GEF CEO Outlines the GEF's Vision at COP 18 Side Event

On the sidelines of the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UNFCCC, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii met with participants to discuss "GEF 2020," the GEF's long-term strategic vision. Moderated by Robert Dixon, the event highlighted how the Facility intends to mainstream its work "on the ground."


EU Nations Pledge 5 Bln Euros in Aid at U.N. Climate Talks

Four EU member states and the EU Commission on Wednesday pledged to give poor nations about 5 billion Euros next year in part to help them deal with climate change, government officials told Reuters Point Carbon.


Rich-Poor Divide on Finance Threatens Climate Pact Progress

A dispute over whether nations should agree a new collective goal to provide billions of dollars in climate aid to poor countries has bogged down U.N. climate talks tasked with making progress on a new global climate pact and extending the existing Kyoto Protocol treaty.


Saudi Arabia Sees Need to Act on Climate Change

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday scientific evidence showed the need for the world to act on climate change, although it stopped short of making any pledge to cut its own emissions.


Australia Outlines Conditions for Joining Kyoto Protocol's Second Commitment Period

Australia's Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, has announced that Australia is ready to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon commended Australia for expressing readiness to join a second commitment period, and called on all governments to take decisive steps to address climate change at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar.


Washington Weighs Moving Climate Politics Beyond UNFCCC

The US is considering a funnel of substantive elements of the Doha Climate Summit away from the UN framework and into the Major Economies Forum (MEF), a platform of the world’s largest CO2 emitters, EurActiv has learned.


U.S. Holds to Climate Goals Despite Poor Nations' Pleas

The United States resisted pledging steeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 at Doha on Monday 26 November despite calls by poor nations at the start of a U.N conference for tougher action to avert storms, droughts and rising seas. The current US goal corresponds to a cut of 3-4% below 1990 levels by 2020.


UN: World "Actively Moving in the Wrong Direction" on Climate Change

Even meeting emissions commitment will leave the planet far beyond internationally agreed limits, a UN report released on 21 November finds.


World 2011 CO2 Emissions Up 2.5 Percent: German Institute

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2011 rose 2.5 percent to 34 billion metric tons (37.48 billion tons), a new record, Germany's renewable energy institute said on Tuesday 13 November.


EU Fails to Fill Cash Gap as Climate Talks Loom

EU finance ministers have failed to deliver firm promises of cash to help poor nations deal with climate change, threatening progress at international talks to tackle global warming later this month.


Scenarios and Sticking Points under the Durban Platform: The Long and Winding Road to 2020

Given the outcomes of COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, and subsequent negotiating sessions in Bonn and Bangkok in 2012, achieving “success” under the newly formed Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) is proving to be a formidable task. Nonetheless, Parties have begun to envision a future where all major emitters may be under the same “mitigation tent.”


Group pitches plan to target plant CO2 emissions state by state

The United States can shed more than a third of its carbon pollution by 2025 by giving states the flexibility to use a variety of measures to reduce or offset their emissions rather than setting a uniform national performance standard for existing power plants, a new report by an NGO recommended.


U.N. Keeps Alive CDM Credit Crunch Plan

A plan to drastically curb the supply of carbon offset credits remains on the table going into the final day of two-week U.N. climate negotiations in Qatar.


Kazakhstan Sets Kyoto Cap Ahead Of CO2 Market Launch: Official

Kazakhstan will sign up for the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol with a binding emission target that will allow its emissions to grow significantly, and will in January start a domestic cap-and-trade scheme to help it meet that goal, a government official said Thursday 6 December.


'Hot Air` Could Let Nations Dodge CO2 Cuts until 2026: Study

Countries that have pledged new emission reduction goals under the Kyoto Protocol will on average not be forced to cut their CO2 output for 15 years unless unused carbon rights are cancelled or targets are deepened, according to a study published on 23 November.