Energy Efficiency and Climate Change News
5 July 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.
European Parliament Back Plans to Push Up Carbon Price
The European Parliament has approved plans designed to boost the EU's carbon market and drive green investment by tackling the glut of allowances that have sunk the price of CO2 to record lows this year. MEPs voted on 3 July in favour of "backloading" proposals at a plenary vote in Strasbourg, approving plans for the European Commission to temporarily postpone the auction of 900 million allowances for the bloc's Emissions Trading System (ETS).
European Parliament Agrees Beefed Up CO2 Backloading Plan
The European Parliament has agreed that 900 million CO2 allowances should be withheld from the EU’s emissions trading scheme to boost carbon prices, subject to proof that sectors at risk of carbon leakage would not be harmed. MEPs in Strasbourg on 3 July said the plan should be conditional on assessments showing there will be no negative impact on these sectors.
NZ Green Party Urges Ambitious NZ Climate Target
New Zealand’s Green party recommended on 7 June that the government should set a 40-percent carbon reduction target by 2020, tighten up its emissions trading scheme or launch a carbon tax to do its fair share to combat climate change.
Mexican President Presents National Climate Change Strategy
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as presented a new national climate change plan based on eight axes of action, namely: reducing vulnerability to climate change; decreasing the vulnerability of production systems; increasing the capacity of ecosystems to adapt to the effects of climate change; accelerating clean energy; reducing energy consumption; transitioning towards models of sustainable cities; promoting better agriculture and forestry practices; and reducing emissions of short-life pollutants.
Lithuania Aims For Informal Deal on Clean Transport
The Lithuanian presidency of the EU hopes to broker an informal agreement on rules to boost the deployment of a European infrastructure for clean fuels during its six-month spell at the helm of the Council of Ministers. The draft directive tabled by the European Commission in January sets targets for various types of fuelling stations. But transport ministers raised concerns over the proposal during an initial debate in Brussels in March.
Twelve EU Ministers Urge MEPs to Back ETS Back-loading Plan
On 1 July, Energy and Environment Ministers from 12 EU Member States issued a joint statement calling for MEPs to support the so called ‘backloading’ proposals due to be voted on in Strasbourg on 3 July, and for the European Commission to bring forward legislative proposals to deliver structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) by the end of the year. The call has been echoed by separate statements and press releases from businesses and industry groups across the EU.
Northern California Urged To Conserve Power as Heat Wave Peaks
(Planet Ark 02 Jul 13) California's power grid operator on Monday 1 July issued a rare plea for customers in the north of the state to conserve energy over the next couple days as a heat wave blanketing the region is expected to peak just as the work week begins.
Australian Climate Minister Resigns after Leadership Change
Greg Combet, Australia’s climate change minister and a key supporter of the country’s plans to launch a carbon market, resigned on 26 June after Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard lost a leadership challenge.
Australia Opposition Says Top Priority to Dump Mine and Carbon Taxes
Australia's conservative opposition said its top priority if it wins elections in September will be to repeal taxes on mining profits and carbon, blaming both policies for stopping fresh investment in the vital resources sector.
ILUC Debate to Continue Under Lithuanian Presidency
Member state discussions on the indirect land-use change (ILUC) of biofuel crops will have to continue under the incoming Lithuanian presidency of the EU, Ireland said on Friday 7 June after the final energy council of its presidency. Ministers formally adopted conclusions on the completion of the internal energy market approved by heads of state and government last month.
Obama's Environmental Nominee in Jeopardy from Senate Republicans
President Barack Obama made a plea this week for the U.S. Senate to confirm his choice to head the agency that will oversee the core of his new climate change plan, but nominee Gina McCarthy's prospects seem increasingly in doubt.
Obama in USD 7bn Africa Power Initiative
Barack Obama unveiled a multibillion dollar initiative on Sunday 31 June to help Africa tackle its crippling power deficit, with an ambitious target of doubling access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa as the US president pledged to form a partnership with the fast-growing continent.
U.S. Floats USD 8 Bln Loan Plan for Low-Emission Oil, Coal Projects
The U.S. Energy Department on Tuesday laid out plans to offer up to USD 8 billion in loan assistance for fossil fuel projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as the Obama administration pushes ahead to use its authority to address climate change.
Swiss Carbon Tax in Heating Fuels to Increase
Switzerland’s carbon tax on heating fuels will increase by 66% from next year to 60 Swiss francs (EUR48.6) per tonne of CO2, the federal government announced on 3 July as data shows the country has missed its national climate goals for 2012. About a third of revenues from the tax are used to finance CO2 cuts in the building sector, which will receive CHF260m (EUR211m) in 2014 thanks to the increase.
France’s President Hollande Fires Ecology Minister for Attacking Spending Cuts
Ecology Minister Delphine Batho attacked the planned cuts in a television interview on 2 July, questioning a planned sharp reduction in her ministry’s spending. Ms Batho spoke days after the government revealed plans for EUR 9bn cuts in state spending next year, designed to meet France’s target of reducing its budget deficit to within 3 per cent of gross domestic product in 2015. The ecology ministry budget is set for a 7 per cent reduction, the largest of any department.
Japan to Fund 13 Emission Reduction Projects under New CO2 Scheme
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will subsidise feasibility studies for 13 emission reduction projects in 11 developing countries, as it seeks to roll out its new international carbon offset market.
Funds Warn EU Energy Policy is Not Investment Friendly
Pensions, insurers and other funds responsible for EUR 7.5 trillion (USD 9.75 trillion) in assets said investment is likely to shun the European Union unless it can draw up new energy and climate policy before the end of the year.
Draft BAT Guidance for Combustion Plants Out
Europe’s power stations and other large combustion plants may have to meet tighter pollution limits than set by EU legislation, according to draft conclusions on best available techniques (BAT) contained in new guidance, known as a BREF. The draft BREF sets out BAT for controlling pollution and maximising energy efficiency at new and existing plants, while considering their costs.
BP Profits Threatened By Disaster Payments
BP’s compensation payouts under the settlement for victims of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster are on course to hit the company’s earnings before the end of the year, unless it is successful in a legal challenge that will be heard in court next week.
Report Touts Economic Benefits of Rule for Existing Power Plants
The US Natural Resources Defense Council today released an analysis of its own proposal for curbing greenhouse gases from power plants that shows states benefiting from a rule pairing flexibility with a significant emissions-reduction target. The approach would have EPA set state-specific carbon rates that utilities could meet primarily through energy efficiency measures, but also through renewable energy generation, switching to lower-carbon fuels, or entering a carbon trading system like California's or the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast.
New York Utility Sues Insurers to Recover Damages Caused by Superstorm Sandy
New Jersey's largest utility company is suing its insurance carriers for failing to cover the storm damages it incurred during Superstorm Sandy. Public Service Enterprise Group, the parent company of PSE&G, which provides electricity to 2.2 million homes and business, said 11 insurance companies won't cover the USD 426 million bill the utility racked up from the Oct. 29, 2012, storm.
Chinese Energy Efficiency Scheme Defrauded World Bank
The World Bank Group announced the debarment of China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group Technology and Investment Co. New Hope & Talroad (Beijing) Environmental Technology Co. Ltd. (CECEP New Hope), formerly known as New Hope & Talroad (Beijing) Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. for a period of two years following the company’s acknowledgment of fraudulent misconduct impacting the World Bank-financed Shandong Flue Gas Desulphurization Project in China. The project closed on June 30, 2012.
List of Sectors at Risk of Carbon Leakage Set to Grow
Member state representatives in Brussels will vote on 10 July on whether to expand the list of sectors eligible for additional free carbon allowances because the emissions trading system (ETS) puts them at risk of carbon leakage.
Shifting Paradigms in the Buildings Sector
The debate on what kinds of buildings we should live and work in is shifting, with construction experts and EU policymakers moving away from focusing simply on energy efficiency to a broader appreciation of sustainable buildings, taking into account their environmental, social and economic impact. The European Commission’s environment department is currently working on a new policy paper (Communication) on Sustainable Buildings.
European Commission Hamstrung in Brussels Buildings Renovation Drive
The Brussels Capital Region is probably the most ambitious in Europe in terms of introducing energy efficiency in buildings, industry sources told EurActiv, but the European Commission’s ageing building stock has not yet reaped the benefits.
US Strengthens Energy Star Rules for Refrigerators
The US EPA has issued strengthenedEnergy Star Requirements for refrigerators and freezers and is encouraging “connected” features, including smart grid functionality/ Energy Star certified refrigerators and freezers will use at least 10 percent less energy than models meeting 2014 federal minimum efficiency standards. If all refrigerators and freezers sold in the United States were to meet the new requirements, annual energy cost savings would grow to more than USD 890 million.
EU Smart Meter Roll-Out Lags Behind Ambition
Europe’s ambitious plan for 80% market penetration of smart meters by 2020 is failing to live up to expectations. A senior energy official at the European Commission admits that market penetration is still very low, particularly in the new member states, and that there is a big shortfall in investment.
Apple Plans Nevada Solar Farm in Clean Energy Push For Data Centres
Apple Inc. said it plans to build a new solar farm with NV Energy Inc for power supply to its new data centre in Nevada, a major step towards its goal of having its data centres run on renewable energy.
Germany in New Push against EU Car Emissions Plan-Draft
Germany has put forward a fresh proposal on regulating carbon dioxide limits for cars sold in the European Union, which campaigners say is a last-ditch attempt to dilute a new emissions law.
Germany in New Challenge to Rules on Car CO2
The deal on reducing CO2 emissions from cars reached on 24 June may have to be tweaked because of Germany’s opposition to rules on 'super-credits'. Europe’s economic powerhouse will continue to push for more generous super-credit rules to benefit its car industry, but France and Italy are strongly opposed to the talks being reopened, according to a diplomat.
GM, Honda to Jointly Develop Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles by 2020
General Motors Co and Honda Motor Co will jointly develop hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles over the next seven years, the latest alliance in an industry-wide effort to cut the technology's costs and meet stricter global emissions rules.
European Commission Welcomes Agreement on Connecting Europe Facility
The EU Commission, Council and Parliament have reached an agreement on the Connecting Europe Facility, a key proposal for achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the most innovative element of the next multiannual financial framework. This will help build railways, inland waterways, ports, electricity grids and gas pipelines, and contribute to the Digital Single Market.
European Commission Proposes Monitoring of International Shipping Emissions
The European Commission has taken the first step towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping industry by proposing legislation which will require owners of large ships using EU ports to monitor and report the ships' annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The Commission also published a Communication setting out its strategy to address and reduce these emissions, preferably through measures at global level.
California Says Line Will Start Reducing GHG Emissions in 2022
California's planned statewide high-speed rail system will displace the carbon emissions of 31,000 vehicles in its first year of operation, state officials have said. The USD 68.4 billion rail line, slated to begin construction later this summer, will eventually reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 44.9 million tons by 2050, when it stretches from Sacramento to San Diego. In 2022, its first year of operations, it will reach from the Central Valley to the San Fernando Valley, near Los Angeles.
Airlines Reap Millions from Fare Hikes after Ducking EU CO2 Law
Six major airlines may have pocketed up to USD 32 million after they hiked fares in response to an EU law forcing them to pay for their carbon emissions, from which they were later exempted, an aviation analyst said on Friday.
EU Lawmakers Reach Deal on CO2 Limits for Vans
Negotiators from the Irish presidency of the EU and the European Parliament have reached an agreement on how manufacturers of vans will meet their CO2 limits for 2020. It will not include super credits or a 120km/hour speed limit. A similar deal on car emissions was struck on 24 June.
Carbon Wins Lifeline After Tight EU Parliament Vote
The European Parliament after months of bitter debate backed a plan on 3 July to boost carbon prices, throwing a lifeline to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the bloc's push for greener energy.
EU Carbon Market Expects Narrow Win in Crucial Rescue Vote
Members of the European Parliament on Wednesday will vote on a compromise plan to try to prop up the EU emissions market, the world's biggest carbon trading scheme.
EU CO2 Prices Climb 9 Percent on Market Fix Vote
EU carbon prices rose 9 percent on 3 July after EU lawmakers backed a Commission plan to choke supply of permits in the market.
Australian Firms Back ETS amid Climate Policy Turmoil: Survey
Almost 65 percent of surveyed businesses in Australia said a trading scheme is the best way to set a price for carbon emissions, a study showed Monday, coming ahead of a government election that could be make-or-break for Australia’s climate policies.
China Central Bank Official Calls for Absolute CO2 Cap, National Market
China should set an absolute cap on greenhouse gas emissions and introduce a nationwide emissions trading scheme in order to cut its output of greenhouse gases, the vice governor of the nation's central bank said Tuesday 2 July.
CCAs Idle At USD14.50 Per Tonne As Trading Stalls
California carbon allowances (CCAs) for delivery in December 2013 settled at USD14.50 per tonne on 6 June, virtually unchanged from one week prior in one of the quietest trading weeks so far this year.
Costa Rica Moves Closer to Emissions Market, World Bank Deal
Costa Rica is poised to release rules for a voluntary carbon market that would aid local companies in cutting emissions and help the nation meet its goal to become carbon neutral by 2021, according to sources overseeing the program.
Hangzhou Becomes China’s Eighth Region to Launch CO2 Market
One of China’s fastest growing cities is set to become the nation’s eighth region to launch a carbon market, after Hangzhou city’s government approved a plan to launch an emissions trading scheme to regulate CO2 emissions from hundreds of firms.
RGGI States on Track to Tighten Cap in 2014: Official
All nine of the north-eastern states that make up the US Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) are on track to pass laws or update regulations necessary for the program to tighten its cap by 45 percent starting next year, an official said on 26 June.
Global CO2 Deal Must Address Leakage – Industry
Developed and developing countries should not continue to have widely different climate change mitigation responsibilities after 2020, EU industry groups said in their responses to an EC consultation on the future global climate deal. Chemicals trade body CEFIC, farm lobby Copa-Cogeca and power sector association Eurelectric are among the groups calling for an end to the UNFCCC's strict categorisation of countries as developed or developing.
EU Body Predicts More Extreme Weather as Floods Devastate Central Europe
In a statement, “Flood risk in Europe: the long-term outlook”, released on 5 June, the European Environment Agency predicted a rise in extreme weather events due to climate change as floods caused deaths and widespread property damage in Central Europe. They stated that this is mainly “due to land use change, increases in population, economic wealth and human activities in hazard-prone areas and to better reporting”.
Tunisian Development Banker to Head U.N. Climate Fund
Hela Cheikhrouhou, currently the head of energy, environment and climate lending at the African Development Bank, has been appointed as Executive Director to lead the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund and help meet a United Nation’s pledge to raise USD 100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020.
World Suffered Unprecedented Climate Extremes in Past Decade: WMO
The world suffered unprecedented climate extremes in this decade, from heatwaves in Europe and droughts in Australia to floods in Pakistan, against a backdrop of global warming, a United Nations report said on 3 July. Every year of the decade except 2008 was among the 10 warmest since records began in the 1850s, with 2010 the hottest, according to the study by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The number of daily heat records far outstripped lows.