8 - 14 September 2012

General policy         

Russia Will Not Cut Emissions under Extended Kyoto Climate Pact

Russia confirmed on Thursday it would not make cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from 2013 under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, joining Canada and Japan in rejecting an extension of the plan for fighting climate change.


Owen Paterson Appointed New UK Environment Minister

Climate change sceptic Owen Paterson has been promoted to be the new Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.


UK’s Green Party Touts Plan for Royal Bank of Sustainability

The UK’s green party unveiled a series of new policy proposals designed to stimulate low carbon investment and boost UK food production at its annual conference this week.


President Obama: 'Climate Change is Not a Hoax’

President Barack Obama gave hope to green businesses last night, telling the Democratic National Convention that "climate change is not a hoax" and promising to cut emissions further and promising to accelerate investment in renewable energy and other clean energy initiatives.


France Seen Turning to Renewables in Policy Shake-Up

France's government begins a review of its energy policy today with a two-day conference to agree on how to conduct a six-month national debate that will seek to reshape the way energy is produced, consumed and taxed in France. The world's most nuclear-dependent country may be looking to extend strong support to its small and ailing renewables sector.


The European Parliament Adopts the Energy Efficiency Directive in First Reading

On 11 September 2012, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Energy Efficiency Directive, the draft of which was settled between the European Parliament and the Council on 13 June 2012. The Council is due to vote in early October, after which the signature of the Directive and its publication in the Official Journal would follow. The Directive will enter into force 20 days after its publication in Official Journal


Norway Follows EU with CO2 Compensation Scheme

 Norway followed the European Union on Tuesday with a $90 million scheme to encourage energy-intensive industries to stay in the country, a move analysts said highlighted weaknesses in Europe's flagging carbon market.


Farm Ministers Make New Pledge to Fight Climate Change

The Ministers of Agriculture of the EU confirmed their commitment to promoting measures through the new Common Agricultural Policy to adapt to climate change. Water scarcity and land abandonment linked to adverse climate conditions were in the centre of the discussion at the Informal Agriculture Council which was held on the 11th of September 2012 in Nicosia.


With Rio Setbacks in Mind, MEPs Press For EU Pragmatism

Following its failure to deliver on ambitious plans for the Rio+20 conference, Europe must redouble its climate commitments and be a more pragmatic world leader, say three MEPs involved in shaping environmental legislation.


UK Government, Climate Advisors at Odds Over Gas Role

The UK government may be on a collision course with its climate advisors over the role gas should play in cutting CO2 output in Europe's second largest emitter, statements published Thursday show.


Industry, business and utilities         

Obama Order Targets Industrial Efficiency, Emissions

President Barack Obama issued an executive order on Thursday 30 August that would increase the number of cogeneration plants in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2020, a move that would boost U.S. industrial energy efficiency and slash carbon emissions by 150 million tons per year.


Polish Ministries Clash over Support for Biomass Co-Firing

Poland's treasury, which controls the country's top utilities, has criticized a draft renewables law written by the Economy Ministry which would make biomass co-burning, the largest source of renewable power in Poland's energy mix, unprofitable - in the latest sign of tension over support for green energy in the coal-dependent economy.


More Groups Join Call for Rise in Green Funding

A coalition of trade unions, business groups and public authorities has called for a bigger rise in environmental funding as part of talks on the next EU budget.


Rising Number of Top Firms Believe Climate Change is Threat to Business

A survey of top global companies carried out by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) indicates that major companies are increasingly concerned that they are at risk from climate change in the face of recent extreme weather events such as drought and floods. More than one-third (37%) see the physical risks of a changing climate as a real and present danger, up from just 10% two years ago.


Australia Scraps Dirty Power Station Closure Plan

Australia on Wednesday abandoned plans to pay the country's dirtiest power generators billions of dollars to shut down production after failing to agree a price, but the government said the move would not derail its carbon reduction policy.


Shell Promises to Bring CCS to Canada’s Tar Sands

In what could represent a major milestone for the emerging carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry, oil giant Shell has confirmed it is to proceed with plans for one of the world's largest carbon capture projects as part of the Athabasca Oil Sands development in Canada.


Stockholm: A Green Beacon for Other Cities to Follow

The Swedish capital has managed to coordinate transport, waste and energy networks in a way that few other conurbations have managed anywhere in the world. Whats more, the environment and health department at the City of Stockholm municipality will be publishing a plan detailing how it intends to become a "climate neutral city" by 2050.


Italy to Cut Environmental Red Tape for Companies

According to a government statement, the Ministry for Public Administration will present the decree at a cabinet meeting on Friday, which will enable thousands of small and medium-sized companies to benefit from a simplified assessment of the environmental impact of their business.



EU Members Approve Law on Cutting Sulphur Content in Shipping Fuels

The European Parliament has approved legislation to slash sulphur levels in shipping fuels, a move environmentalists say will help prevent thousands of deaths linked to maritime pollution. Finnish MEP Satu Hassi (Greens), who wrote the environment committee’s report on the issue, told EurActiv the “uncertainties are now gone” for what the EU is doing to reduce pollution from shipping.


EU Grants Nearly EUR200m for Key Transport Projects

The European Commission has selected 74 projects that will receive almost EUR 200 million in EU co-financing from the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) programme to continue improving transport infrastructure across the EU. These projects range from the construction and/or upgrade of current links, support of transport corridors, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and innovative financial instruments.


Cycling in China: Not For the Faint-Hearted

China was once known as the kingdom of bicycles, but these days the car is the image that best sums up the country's rapid economic development. The streets of Chinese cities which were once full of graceful cyclists are now clogged with snarling traffic jams. But the bike has not been completely relegated to the rubbish bin of China's history.


Finland Budgets EUR30m for Ship Sulphur Scrubbers

Finland will spend EUR 10m a year over 2013-15 to help its shipping industry comply with limits on maritime air pollution, according to budget plans to be submitted to its parliament on 17 September.


Appliances and equipment         

Light Goes Out For Incandescent Bulbs

After more than a century lighting up the world, the switch will be flicked off across the EU for the final time on incandescent bulbs on Saturday as the phased ban on their sale is completed.


New Draft Eco-Standards for Vacuum Cleaners

The European Commission has put forward new proposals on EU ecodesign and energy labelling rules for vacuum cleaners. The latest versions are longer and more detailed than first drafts circulated last year.


World's Most Energy Efficient TVs

The first SEAD Global Efficiency Medal competition recognises Samsung and LG for producing the most energy efficient televisions in Europe. This global awards program encourages the production and sale of super-efficient televisions by identifying the most efficient products in three different size categories and four geographical regions.


Emissions trading/Carbon market         

Lack of Demand 'A Crucial Issue for CDM'

The most pressing problem facing the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is the weakness of national emission reduction targets rather than inherent flaws in the scheme, according to a UN panel set up to review it.


Netherlands To Oppose EU CO2 Support Plan: Minister

The Netherlands will oppose a European Commission proposal to temporarily shore-up prices in its carbon market, according to the nation’s environment minister, throwing doubt on how many countries will support the controversial plan to delay the sale of hundreds of millions of permits starting next year.


Australian Polluters to Save AUD2.5 Billion in CO2 Costs: Analyst

Australia's top polluters, from steel firms and coal miners to airlines, will save about AUD 2.5 billion over 5 years after a decision to align the nation's carbon scheme with Europe's, a leading analyst firm said last week.


Airbus Ministers Seek Suspension of EU Emissions Plan

Aerospace officials of the European countries where Airbus makes its planes will push for a suspension of the European Union's Emission Trading System (ETS) for airlines to avert retaliation from China, officials said on Tuesday.


UK and Germany Deny Giving in to Anti-ETS nations

Officials from the UK and Germany have denied reports that their governments are backpedalling on EU emission trading (ETS) rules for airlines amid pressure from anti-ETS countries and European manufacturer Airbus.


 China’s Guangdong to Launch World’s 5th Biggest CO2 Market

Southern China’s Guangdong province will next year cap CO2 from 827 of its biggest-emitting facilities, including power generators and manufacturers, as it plans to launch a carbon trading market that will be the fifth biggest in the world.


NZ CO2 Market Changes Will Cause Logging: Foresters

The New Zealand government’s plan to weaken the country’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will lead to fewer trees being planted and will lead to deforestation, a major source of emissions of heat-trapping gases, the Forest Owners Association said Wednesday.


Russia May Launch Carbon Trading Scheme Shortly

Several Russian ministries are involved in drawing up plans to introduce internal carbon caps and a trading system as an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol commitments that the country refused to renew at the Durban climate conference last December. A carbon-trading consultant who has been closely involved in cross-agency discussions said that President Vladimir Putin could make an announcement on an internal carbon trading system by the end of the month.


Controversial Coal-Fired Power Project Gets CDM Credits

An efficient coal-fired power project in India has become the first of its kind to get U.N.-backed carbon credits, one of six projects in the sector to escape the consequences of the CDM Executive Board’s suspension of a methodology for the schemes, which use the fossil fuel blamed most for climate change.


Climate change negotiations         

UN Panel Flags Kyoto Carbon Market Overhaul

A high–level UN panel has proposed a hard-hitting package to reform the centrepiece of the carbon market established by the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Non-binding recommendations include establishing a new fund to buy and cancel some of the carbon credit glut that has depressed prices and phasing out the issuance of credits to controversial industrial gas projects altogether.


USA Calls for a Non-Binding Climate Treaty

US negotiators have been accused of undermining the UN climate talks after calling for a new treaty to be ‘flexible’ and ‘dynamic’ rather than legally binding.


UN Climate Talks Should Stick With 2 Degree Goal: EU Negotiator

An EU climate negotiator reiterated on Tuesday, the need for United Nations climate talks to continue pushing for more ambitious action to ensure global warming is kept under 2 degrees, a month after the United States was accused of backtracking on the goal.


Danes Debate How to Deliver 40% Cut in GHGs

The Danish Government will have the climate back on its agenda as they work to formulate a new climate plan. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and contribute to the green transformation of society up to 2050. (translated)


New Maps on EU Cities' Climate Vulnerability

Climate change will affect Europe's cities in different ways. To give an overall impression of the challenge for European cities to adapt to climate change, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has published a series of detailed interactive maps, allowing users to explore data from more than 500 cities across Europe.


Bolder GHG Pledges 'Remain Best Climate Option'

International efforts to tackle black carbon and other 'short-lived climate forcers' (SLCFs) are not an alternative to bolder greenhouse gas reduction pledges, according to the latest analysis by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) project.


Nations Warn of Broken Promises at U.N. Climate Talks

Almost 50 of the world's poorest nations said pledges made by rich countries to provide funds to help them adapt to a warmer planet risk being overlooked as U.N. negotiations over a global climate pact to start in 2020 got underway in Bangkok on Thursday 30 August.


Wind energy makes meaningful cuts to UK CO2: research

Wind energy avoided at least 5.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in the UK last year and is making a meaningful contribution to cutting the country’s greenhouse gas output, a report said Thursday, a counter to claims by some lawmakers that the carbon-cutting credentials of wind turbines have been greatly exaggerated.