Climate Change Initiative Newsletter December 2002 (30)
Table of Contents
Climate Change Initiative
National Conference on Climate Change
On February 27-28, 2003, National Conference on climate change is planned to be held in Kiev. The Conference will be organized jointly by the government of Ukraine and public actors assisted by the Climate Change Initiative. For more information please contact Alex Khomenko at CCI: firstname.lastname@example.org; +38044-2537663/5177.
Ukraine Climate Change News
US Climate Change News
International Climate Change News
Climate Change Initiative
On December 7, 14 and 21, the Promin National Radio Station broadcasted three climate change programs jointly developed by the Promin journalists and CCI experts. The content of the first program was presented to the readers in the November NL issues. During the second program the journalists and the participating CCI experts gave basic information about major GHG emission sources and corresponding mitigation measures. The Dec.7th program put à specific emphasis on energy efficiency as one of the most feasible and beneficial option for Ukraine to reduce its GHG emissions. Other opportunities such as increasing the amount of GHG sinks and Co2 absorption capacity in Ukraine had also been elaborated. The last radio program broadcasted on Dec. 21st was dedicated to the climate change international negotiation process. The program listeners had learned about recent developments within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and under the Kyoto Protocol including the Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms. The CCI has established à good working relationship with the National Radio Environment Team. Both teams had discussed further joint plans to continue the radio media climate awareness work based on feedback received from the above program audience.
2. National Climate Conference Planned
On December 23, representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and the NGO community met with USAID and CCI experts to plan preparatory work for à national conference on climate change scheduled for February 2003. During the meeting the participants agreed on the Organizing Committee composition, conference objectives and agenda. The conference will focus on four major themes including the current status of the international negotiation process, Ukraineús compliance with the UNFCCC obligations, benefits for and impacts on Ukraine resulting from the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, and development of national and regional climate change action plans. The meeting participants agreed that the CCI prepares à draft full agenda based on the above broad themes. The first draft of the agenda will be forwarded to the Organizing Committee members before the end of 2002.
3. More Renewable Ideas
WASHINGTON, DC - The Millennium Project, an international think tank, says current renewable energy options will not keep up with demand for the next 20 years. The Project involves 1,000 futurists, scholars, business leaders, scientists and policymakers from 50 countries, serving as à think tank under the auspices of the American Council for the United Nations University. The group examined the challenge of meeting rising energy demand from safe and efficient sources without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Electricity demand will grow significantly, and oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait could use their oil and gas to generate power that would be beamed by satellite to receivers in other countries, perfecting the technology of wireless energy transmission via microwaves that was demonstrated by NASA in 1967.
"This has the great benefit of reducing potential catastrophic oil spills, managing pollution more locally, and eventually opening up new energy sources such solar panels in earth orbit", says project director Jerome Glenn. The long-term goal would be to beam down solar energy from space to remote sites around the world.
The Millennium Project is discussing the option with oil companies, which has stimulated grants from the National Science Foundation. The group also support carbon sequestration to remove Co2 from the air, which would address the need to mitigate emissions from transportation vehicles.
World energy consumption is expected to increase 57% by 2020 and to triple by 2050, and the U.s. Department of Energy expects 40% of the increase to 2020 will come from oil, with lesser amounts from natural gas and coal. Such à trend would increase carbon emissions to 9.9 billion metric tonne by 2020, doubling over the past 20 years.
(Refocus weekly, November 27)
WASHINGTON – Most of the world is focused on cutting back emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief cause of global warming, but the Bush administration is looking instead at reducing black-carbon soot and methane pollution. It contends that approach would curb climate change more quickly. Independent experts disagree among themselves on the merits of this approach, but some say it could help.
The strategy also could be less disruptive to the U.s. economy. Carbon dioxide comes largely from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas in power plants and automobiles, and curbing those emissions would threaten the American lifestyle. Reducing black-carbon soot primarily would require only cutting back on diesel engine emissions and outdoor burning of vegetation. The soot is made up of minuscule airborne particles of black carbon, caused when à fireús fuel doesnút completely burn up.
John Marburger, the presidentús chief science adviser, told à news conference that the administrationús emerging strategy for combating global warming will emphasize the shift to emissions other than carbon dioxide. "You will see more emphasis on things like soot and other components of greenhouse gases", Marburger said. This refocus away from carbon dioxide follows controversial recommendations by NASA scientist James Hansen, the father of global-warming science.
Targeting soot makes sense because it remains suspended in air only for days, so reducing it could immediately slash its contribution to global warming. Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, stays in the air about à century, so reducing its emissions would take much longer to show results, Marburger said. In its fiscal 2003 budget message, the Bush administration targeted soot as à bigger menace to public health and air pollution than smog, which recent scientific studies support. The administration also has upheld à Clinton rule mandating cleaner diesel engines and is proposing à voluntary cleanup of off-road diesel engines, such as those used in construction.
Some experts remain skeptical about singling out soot. Reducing it could help, but only if the world also keeps trying to limit the growth of carbon dioxide emissions, said Michael Prather, à professor of earth sciences and à top climate-change researcher at the University of California at Irvine. "Theyúre choosing something thatús not at the core of the U.s. energy supply", said Dan Lashof, à senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. "The real problem is that the administration is wedded to protecting the existing dirty sources."
Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and à leading advocate of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, said that merely targeting soot would be shortsighted. "The real problem is carbon dioxide", Trenberth said. "They keep putting it off and putting it off, and that means youúre just heading down the road to real problems."
(By SETH BORENSTEIN, Bayarea, November 28)
Washington - More than 1,300 climate scientists and experts met in Washington to discuss à new U.s. strategic plan to help clear up the scientific uncertainties surrounding climate change.
The Climate Change Science Program Planning Workshop held December 3-5 drew participants from the United States and more than 30 other countries to review à draft version of the U.s. climate change research strategy, which sets priorities for the nationús $1,800-million annual multi-agency research program on climate change. The draft strategic plan, issued on November 11, was prepared by 13 federal agencies participating in the administrationús Climate Change Science Program.
The strategic plan is intended as à vehicle to facilitate comments and suggestions by the scientific and stakeholder communities interested in climate and global change issues. U.s. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Sam Bodman told those attending the workshop that the goal is to build à focused science program to improve the information available to policy makers, and that this could not be done without constructive input from all concerned parties.
Since 1990, the United States has spent $20 billion on climate research. Mr. Bushús fiscal year 2003 budget seeks $4.5 billion in total climate expenditures, an increase of more than $650 million over last year. The funding will be used for basic scientific research, cutting-edge technology development, tax incentives to encourage the deployment of renewable and cleaner energy technologies and support for technology transfers to the developing world, where emissions are growing rapidly as à result of development.
The president also is challenging American businesses to reduce the greenhouse-gas
intensity of their operations. The semiconductor and aluminum industries and
others already have scored successes in reducing emission of some of the most
potent greenhouse gases.
The transportation sector accounts for about one-third of U.s. carbon emissions. Slightly more than half of these are produced by light-duty passenger vehicles. One innovative research project under way is the "FREEDOMCAR." This public-private partnership is focused on developing à break-through hydrogen-powered fuel cell. The long-term results of this research could be cars and trucks that are more efficient and less expensive to operate, and which emit no harmful pollutants or greenhouse gases.
(December 3-5, Donald Evans, Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration, and Jim Fuller Washington File Staff Writer)
6. Canada Ratifies the Kyoto Climate Protocol
OTTAWA - The Parliament of Canada voted today to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, bringing the treaty to limit greenhouse gases one step closer to entry into force. Environmentalists cheered the vote, but industry remains opposed to the binding emissions limits.
The Canadian Cabinet is expected to pass an Order-in-council to formalize the governmentús decision to ratify. Canadaús decision will then be delivered to the United Nations, at which point the process will be officially complete.
Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson presented the motion for ratification which was approved by à vote of 196 in favor and 77 against. Anderson believes Canadaús support for the Kyoto Protocol will apply pressure to the United States to ratify the agreement, although President George W. Bush has rejected it as too economically risky for the U.s. economy.
Parliament turned down an opposing motion that the government not ratify the Kyoto Protocol "until an implementation plan is in place that Canadians understand, setting out the costs and benefits and how the targets are to be reached and until the plan can be agreed to by the provinces.” Although it was defeated, this motion expresses the concerns of many Canadians.
Speaking from New York City, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein who heads an oil and gas producing province, commented negatively on the ratification vote. "The federal Liberals have defied common sense and the objections of the provinces in order to grant the Prime Minister his Christmas wish", said Klein. "The onus is now on the federal government to bring certainty to industry and to repair the damage caused by the unnecessary rush to ratify Kyoto by developing an implementation plan that works for Canada, Klein said.
"Weúre prepared to do whatever it takes - including launching à constitutional challenge, if necessary - to ensure that Albertaús concerns are addressed in Ottawaús implementation plan", the premier said.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2002. All Rights Reserved.
On December 10 New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark signed country’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, ignoring à barrage of criticism from Opposition and business sectors, that is to reducing New Zealandús emissions of six key greenhouse gases to 1990 levels from 2008-12.
Business representatives and National Mps criticised the ratification. But Miss Clark said the signing was à necessity and would help give New Zealand opportunities to develop research to combat climate change. "On à global scale, the trend of steadily increasing consumption of fossil fuels and steadily growing greenhouse gas emissions must be broken. "There is à need on à global basis to move to à new track of increasing reliance on renewable energy sources, with steadily reducing emissions." Miss Clark said creating renewable, low-emission energy would provide new market opportunities. "It also will spur innovation and efficiency in the way we use energy and natural resources." Because over half of New Zealandús emissions were caused by agriculture, local research could lead the world in tackling the problem, Miss Clark said. She called the protocol à "coherent, workable and flexible agreement".
Mr Hodgson, who convenes the ministerial group on climate change, said the Government had used the flexibility of the protocol, and "chosen policies that will help ensure the continuing competitiveness of New Zealand businesses". The Green Party and Greenpeace supported the signing, but both warned more was needed to phase out fossil fuel use.
Detractors said business and agriculture would suffer too much with Kyoto Protocol enforcement. National agriculture and associate finance spokesman David Carter said the signing showed "à callous disregard for rural New Zealand". He claimed ratification would compromise the competitiveness of New Zealand agriculture, particularly to Australia. The Government was "jeopardising our largest foreign exchange earner by jumping in to ratify Kyoto. ... Our farmers canút afford this", Mr Carter said.
Federated Farmers president Tom Lambie said the emission tax on the productive sector would be damaging. "Farmers are part of an integrated supply chain from pasture to plate and will have costs imposed all along that supply chain compromising our international competitiveness." Business NZ chief executive Simon Carlaw said extra costs would hamper export efforts.
Engineers, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) national secretary Andrew Little said the emission tax should not be targeted only at selected industrial sites. The union supported ratification, but was concerned about its impacts on small and medium-sized manufacturers.
(New Zealand Herald, December 10)
On December 9, the 15 ministers unanimously approved proposals under which producers in six sectors -- electricity and heating; steel; cement; glass; brickmaking; paper and cardboard -- will trade in emissions quotas from the start of 2005.
Point Carbon analyst Atle Christiansen estimated this decision could create an eight billion euro ($8.07 billion) market by 2007. Pointcarbon said the EU marketús capitalisation would be around one billion euros ($1.01 billion) in 2005, rising to between 3.9 and 8.0 billion in 2007, depending on how many of the 10 new members set to join the EU in 2004 take part in the trading scheme.
Pointcarbon estimates an average EU emissions allowance price of 4.8 euros per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, though prices could be in à up to 20 euros, depending on the overall reduction cap. The first deal within the framework of the pact was done earlier this month, when the government of Slovakia sold greenhouse gas emissions credits to à Japanese trading house.
"The emerging European market may demonstrate that trading in emissions allowances is à well-suited instrument to meet reduction targets in à cost-effective manner, providing à benchmark for the development of trading systems in other countries and regions", Christiansen said.
(Pointcarbon, December 12)
The government of Slovakia has sold greenhouse gas emissions credits to à Japanese trading house under one of the Kyoto pactús market-based mechanisms, the broker of the deal, Evolution Markets LLC, said.
The value of the deal and the identity of the buyer were not disclosed, but Slovakia sold 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent under the international emissions trading program.
Evolution links worldwide buyers and sellers of emissions credits but central Europe, which has à supply of heavy industry emitters that can be made more green with investment, is one of their main supply pools. Central Europe is full of opportunities with "reasonable price tags in terms of creating low cost emission reduction projects so you can create supply in à place with geopolitical stability and government support that you might not get in eastern Europe", Andrew Ertel, the president and chief executive of Evolution Markets told. He said Evolution was looking for buyers from corporations in Canada, Japan and Western Europe. In Slovakia, Menert LLS, an engineering company, is helping to create the countryús supply of credits in the deal to the Japan trader by reducing emissions at their own operations and managing other reductions.
"By tapping the international carbon market, this innovative transaction allows us to pursue green investments", Laszlo Miklos, Slovakiaús environment minister, said in à statement.
(by Timothy Gardner, Reuters, December 6)
WARSAW - Polandús top refining group PKN Orlen blasted plans to force fuel firms to boost the sales of biofuels to well above levels proposed by the European Union, which the country is set to join in mid 2004.
Polandús powerful farming lobby, backed by à rural junior coalition party, has already pushed the biofuels bill though the lower house of parliament and the controversial regulation will start its first reading in the Senate last week. The bill - which aims to create new demand for crops such as rapeseed to help Polandús struggling farmers - would set from 2003 an obligatory minimum 4.5 percent level of biofuels' shares in total domestic fuel sales.
The EU wants à two-percent minimum level of biofuels as à proportion of all fuels by 2005, gradually reaching 5.75 percent of all fuels sold by 2010. Poland is by far central Europeús largest fuel market with annual consumption of around 10 million tones, of which nearly à fifth comes from imports.
Biofuels are environment-friendly and often enjoy favorable tax treatment. They have many advocates among industry players as laws limiting pollutants grow stricter around the globe. They are also seen as key in lessening dependence on imported energy.
But Orlen, Polandús top fuels group with 1.5 percent of sales already comprised of biofuels, said the bill was unfairly setting high obligatory minimum biofuel levels and violating EU law by forcing fuel sellers to use only Polish bio-components. "While in general we are decisively in favour of getting more bio-fuels in the market, this bill is simply uncivilised", Janusz Wisniewski, Orlenús deputy chief in charge of production, told Reuters. "We are just about to introduce à bill which violates European Union regulations and which will have to be reversed the first day after accession", he added.
While Orlen theoretically could win out on the bio-component import ban, Wisniewski said lack of clear-cut quality guidelines could easily lead to "moonshine" fuels flooding the market. "In Poland there are no standards for checking the quality of bio-components in fuel and this bill may simply bring more harm than anything else", he said. Car makers, including the Polish unit of Ford Motor, have warned in the past few days that many engines used in cars driving on local roads could not handle high biofuel levels. The bill - which has already sparked à public debate between environmentalists, farm lobbying groups and the fuel and refining industry - also allows for à controversial government prerogative to set à minimum price for crops used in biofuels.
(by Marta Karpinska, REUTERS, December 2)
New Delhi – There is à great opportunity awaiting India in carbon credit trading which is estimated to go up to $100 billion by 2010. In the new regime, the country could emerge as one of the largest beneficiaries accounting for 25 per cent of the total world carbon trade, says à recent World Bank report.
The country’s dominance in carbon trading is expected to be driven, not so much by the domestic industry, but more by its huge tracts of plantation land, estimated to be over 15 million hectares, much larger than Australia which aims to be à major player in emission trading by adding 2 million hectare plantation by 2020. The report points out that certified emissions reductions (Cers) are the currency of the clean development mechanism (CDM). Cers can be used to acquire technology, capital investments in projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
(Financial express, November 29)
CALGARY -- Canada should compel firms that canút meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to pay into à "Green fund" to develop pollution-abatement technologies, rather than letting them buy carbon credits on the international market as allowed under the Kyoto Protocol, says the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Under the plan envisioned by CAPP, companies would pay $10 for each tonne of greenhouse gases they emitted over an agreed-upon target. Rick Hyndman, Cappús senior policy adviser on climate change, said "It puts money into something that will actually help us perform better", echoing comments by Encana Corp. head Gwyn Morgan and other oil patch executives.
CAPP has not solidified its proposal, and some variations on its plan could mean firms face virtually no penalty for missing their greenhouse gas targets. Companies might, for instance, be allowed to apply their research budgets against any assessed payment into the green fund, with any actual cash outflow happening after the assessment topped the budget.
(By PATRICK BRETHOUR, November 29)
BRUSSELS - The ICFPA (International Council of Forest and Paper Associations) has developed an international methodology for estimating greenhouse gas emissions from pulp and paper mills. The calculation tools establish à method, which addresses the industryús specific attributes and assures that the assumptions and calculations used to estimate the industryús emissions are transparent and that they are consistent, accurate and easily understood.
The emissions covered by the inventory are: Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion; Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from combustion processes; emissions of CH4 and N20 are usually very small compared to those of CO2 and some inventory protocols (such as that of the Wri/wbcsd) do not address such emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from mill landfills and waste water treatment plants. Carbon dioxide emissions from biomass combustion are not counted in the inventory as recommended by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) guidelines.
The calculation tools have been prepared by NCASI (National Council for Air and Stream Improvement), à Us-based research institute, with the support of experts from various parts of the world, including Europe. The calculation tools are consistent with existing protocols developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) /world Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
They are available on the WRI (the World Resources Institute), NCASI and ICFPA websites and à printed executive summary will be available in January 2003.
FRANKFURT - Germanyús solar energy equipment industry will have received private sector investment totalling $1 billion in 1998-2004, raising sales in the industry five times from 2001 levels, à study showed.
International energy majors such as Shell, RWE and Vattenfall have solar energy-related production ventures in Germany, taking advantage of state subsidies aimed at boosting alternative sources of energy. "These extensive investments are mainly due to the German (government) subsidies, which have created à significant sales market in Germany", said the report commissioned by countryús leading solar industry association UVS. The study showed that sales in the so-called photovoltaics industry, which includes the production of solar cells and wavers, should rise to $1.6 billion by 2004 from about $320 million in 2001.
Despite booming investment and sales in the equipment industry, solar energy itself still contributes very little to total power generation in Germany. "Last year solar power had à 0.03 percent share in overall electricity production in Germany and it is expected to remain below one percent in 2002", an UVS spokesman told. Installed solar power in Germany in 2001 stood at 200 megawatt (MW), again trailing behind Japan which had over 400 MW put into place. The U.s. came third with about 175 MW of installed capacity.
(REUTERS, November 25)