Energy Efficiency and Climate Change News

7 June 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

Leaders Hesitate Between Common EU Response and ‘Silver Bullets’ on Energy

Several EU leaders attending a summit in Brussels announced on 22 May they would prioritise ‘silver bullet’ solutions - such as the development of shale gas - to reduce energy prices. The European Commission, meanwhile, said simultaneous action was needed "on several fronts."


Australian Opposition Says Will Cancel Govt Clean Energy Loans

Australia’s opposition Liberal party said recently it would not honour any contracts signed by the governmental Clean Energy Finance Corporation if it wins the September general election, casting doubt on lending expected to amount to AUD 800 million (USD765 million) before polling day.


Carbon Pricing Covers 7% of Global Emissions

The World Bank's latest annual assessment report released on 29 May at the Carbon Expo announced that carbon pricing covers 7% of global emissionsbut said that the global carbon market is currently in such disarray that was unable to value it.


U.S. Government Raises Internal Carbon Price

The U.S. government on 4 June revised at least 50 percent higher its estimate of how much rising greenhouse gas emissions harms the economy after factoring-in more fully the impact of sea level rise and temperature changes.


China, US Pledge to Work Together on Climate Change

Senior officials from China and the United States, the world's two largest economies and greenhouse gases emitters, agreed on Friday to intensify their cooperation on climate change.


EU Summit Set to Turn Climate Agenda Upside Down

Europe’s plan to decarbonise its economy by 2050 could be turned on its head at a summit on 22 May if EU heads of state and government sign off on measures prioritising industrial competitiveness over climate change in draft conclusions seen by EurActiv.


Battle of Narratives Erupts Over 2020 Energy Savings Progress

The European Commission traded fire with energy savings campaigners on 28 May over the EU's chances of meeting its goal of cutting power use 20% by 2020, as both sides read different runes from energy projections submitted by member states last month.


Germany’s Energy and Climate Fund in Jeopardy

Germany’s €1.4bn fund financing energy and climate projects through revenues from emissions trading could be scrapped if the biggest opposition party, the SPD, wins September's elections. An SPD spokesman said that the party wants to terminate the EKF fund and return the programmes it finances to the federal budget.


UK Decarbonisation Target Narrowly Defeated in Commons Energy Bill Vote

A bid to include a target to decarbonise the UK's electricity generation by 2030 was narrowly defeated in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon (6 June), to the dismay of green campaigners and businesses that had backed the goal as a way of stimulating investment in renewables and low-carbon energy.


Ed Davey Confirms UK Backing For Beefed Up EU 2030 Emissions Targets

A ministerial statement issued by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey on 4 June confirmed the UK will push the EU to adopt a 40 per cent emissions reduction target for 2030 and outlined intentions to support raising the 2020 target from a 20 per cent reduction on 1990 levels to 30 per cent, and campaign for "urgent structural reform" of the flagging emissions trading system.


Mexico's New Climate Strategy to Tap Market Measures

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto unveiled on Monday a new national climate change strategy that will use carbon market instruments to execute the emission-reduction goals set in a law passed before his predecessor left office at the end of last year.


Oil-rich Kazakhstan Kickstarts "Green Revolution" For Energy

Oil-rich Kazakhstan will spend 1 percent of annual output every year until 2050 to increase power generation from greener sources, a senior official said, cutting its dependence on coal far faster than some of the world's big polluters.


Industry, business and utilities

U.S. Senator Accuses Utility of Misleading on San Onofre Upgrade

A U.S. senator on Tuesday said that Southern California Edison misled the public and regulators on work at its troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant in order to avoid safety reviews and she called for a Justice Department probe.


Investors Start to Respond to Building Efficiency Regulations

Europe’s rules on the energy performance of buildings are beginning to affect the investment decisions of pension funds and other financial institutions, said Tatiana Bosteels, the head of Responsible Property Investments at Hermes Funds Managers.


China to Cut Coal Use in Key Industrial Regions: Sources

China is considering plans to cut coal consumption in some major industrial regions, people familiar with the policy said, as part of measures to reduce air pollution - an issue that has triggered a surge in public protests.


Power Companies Want Help on Prices to Keep Clients in Europe

Europe's squeezed utility firms say they cannot cut prices to stop their big industrial clients moving to the United States, where fuel costs around a quarter as much.


German Utility RWE Backs 40 Percent Carbon Cut

The European Union should aim for a 40 percent cut in carbon emissions for 2030 and strengthen its emissions trading scheme, but steer clear of a fixed carbon price, the chief executive of German utility RWE AG said.


California Natural Gas Suppliers Push for Free CO2 Permits

The natural gas industry on Monday 4 June said the state should reverse its current policy and give its companies as many free carbon allowances as they need to comply with California's cap-and-trade program from 2015.


Industry Urges Rejection of ‘Unfeasible’ F-Gas Bans

MEPs in the parliament's environment committee are likely to strengthen draft rules on fluorinated gases, although the EPP group is sympathetic to industry concerns.



No information this month


Appliances, equipment and lighting

US DoE Sets New Efficiency Standards for Microwave Ovens

The Energy Department announced on May 31 that it has finalised new energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens that will take effect in 2016 and save consumers nearly USD 3 billion on their energy bills through 2030. The standards reduce energy consumption in standby mode by 75 percent in countertop microwaves and by 51 percent for over-the-range microwave ovens with convection features.


EU Urges Global Phase-Down of Potent Refrigerant Gases

The EU has called for a family of highly potent greenhouse gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners to be phased down globally, saying it will cut its own current output of fluorinated gases by 80 percent by 2030.


Restrictions on Halogen Lamps May Be Reconsidered

Eco-design rules banning sales of class C halogen lamps from September 2016 should be reconsidered because it is "highly uncertain" that more energy efficient models will be available by then, according to a draft report for the European Commission.



Airline Industry Moves to Prevent Collapse of UN Emissions Talks

A proposal agreed to this week by major airlines could rescue UN efforts for a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector, but the industry still needs to lean on governments for the plan to move ahead to prevent the EU from imposing its emissions scheme on the industry, observers said.


Auto Pollution Exceeds Manufacturers’ Claims, Report Says

The gap between the fuel-efficiency that carmakers declare for their models and the reality for drivers has widened to 25% on average, with luxury German vehicles showing the biggest divergence, a study by the non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has found.


Belgium, Luxembourg Must Cut Traffic, Says EC

Belgium and Luxembourg must cut road traffic and boost public transport, the European Commission said in country-specific recommendations on economic reform issued last week.


Emissions trading/Carbon market

 U.N. Says California and China in CO2 Market Link Talks

California and China have begun discussions about linking their carbon markets, Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said on 29 May.


Carbon Market Collapse

Opinion piece: The world-wide carbon market has collapsed. There is no price mechanism supporting the required move away from fossil fuels and so a total collapse of this required shift to renewables seems possible. Perhaps this is the end of climate change policies until the next crisis emerges?


EU Seeks Feedback on Industry Free Allocation Of CO2 Permits

The EU Commission on 6 June launched a stakeholder consultation on the free allocation of carbon permits to big emitting industry, a move that could slash the number of permits companies such as steelmakers Arcelor Mittal and Tata receive for free after 2015.


U.N. Panel Smoothes Path for African CO2 Reduction Schemes

Developers of emission reduction projects in ten African nations face less red tape to earn carbon credits after a U.N. panel last week agreed rule changes it hopes will re-invigorate its ailing carbon market.


Climate change negotiations

Slow Start, Dim Hopes at U.N. Climate Talks in Bonn

International negotiators met in Germany on Monday 4 June for a fortnight of U.N. talks aimed at forging a new global climate pact by 2015, but observers expected little progress on key issues such as whether countries would deepen their emissions reduction pledges or how to raise cash to help poorer nations fight climate change.

U.N. Climate Talks Stalled as Russia Seeks Rule Change

U.N. climate talks underway in Bonn remained stalled for a fourth day on 6 June as Russia, Belarus and Ukraine sought to address what they said is a lack of formal decision-making rules after the countries were snubbed at a previous meeting.


UNEP Risø Centre Outlines Elements of a New Climate Agreement by 2015

The UNEP Risø Centre, in collaboration with UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), has released 'Perspectives 2013,' a publication that features articles on the "Elements of a New Climate Agreement by 2015." The publication considers key issues to address with a view to reach a climate change agreement by 2015 to come into effect by 2020.


Figueres: Climate Deal likely to be Mosaic of Pledges

The future global climate deal is likely to involve different levels of legal obligation for different countries, the head of the UN climate secretariat said at the Carbon Expo on 29 May, echoing comments from a senior EU official last month.


Final Emission Data for 2011 Shows 3.3% Drop

Emissions of greenhouse gases in the EU dropped by 3.3% in 2011, more than initially estimated, according to final figures issued by the European Environment Agency on 29 May. The change from the 2.5% fall reported last year is partly due to the inclusion of more complete data on heating demand in the domestic and tertiary sectors, where emissions decreased the most due to the warm winter.


EC Tables CO2 Offset Regulation for 2013-20

A proposed regulation on companies’ entitlements to use offsets in the ETS could further cut the overall use of international credits in Europe, experts believe


EU Seeks Pathway to Strong UN Climate Deal in 2015

All countries should outline their long-term plans for curbing greenhouse gases next year, earlier than favoured by Washington, to revive the stalled fight against climate change, the European Union proposed on Tuesday 28 May.


US Shoulders 30 Pct of Effort under "Fair" Climate Deal: SEI

The United States should take almost a third of the responsibility for cutting greenhouse gas emissions under a “fair” global climate pact while China, the world’s top emitter, should shoulder a 10 percent share, according to data published in the Stockholm Environment Institute’s “Global Development rights Calculator”.