January - June 2012

The Climate Bond Initiative
26 June 2012 – Financial News
During the UN sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro, UN secretary General Kimoon has called for faster acting against the climate change. Also HSBC’s Climate Change Centre of Excellence Head N. Robins noted that countries do not want to play the leading role in tackling the sources of climate change. The global emission rose by 3.2% in 2011 and required investments are lacking. Climate Bond Initiative Chair Sean Kidney promoted the idea of financing anti climate change projects through a market of “green bonds”, because one could not rely on the support of governments, he said. In order to find bond investors the public has to be informed better and convinced of the possible profits. (Read More)

EU Farm Proposals Will ‘Make Mockery’ of Green Targets

19 June 2012 – EU Observer
A recent report from the Danish EU Presidency concerning reform to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has received intense criticism from the pro-green World Wildlife Fund. The Danish report, published yesterday, states that while the Commission works to persuade farmers to adopt eco-friendly farming techniques, they will also grant member states greater flexibility in enforcement of sustainable development policies. EU lawmakers support shifting this area of oversight to individual member states, contesting that a large-scale green approach to the CAP at the EU-level would involve too much red tape. The WWF, however, has contested that increased CAP flexibility promotes the creation of policy loopholes, with member states picking and choosing reforms based on national interests rather than environmental wellbeing.” (Read More)

G20 Climate Investments
30 May 2012 – International Trade Union Confederation
The climate change investments of the G20 Financial Reform Agenda are regarded as limited by the International. Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) As a matter of fact, the amount of green bonds are considerably low in view of the total sum of bonds currently in the markets. The trade union organization’s general secretary says that more can be done for emission reduction and adaptation policies.. According to ITUC not only the investment in pension funds should be raised but also governments and financial institutions need to “take the lead” so that the present climate change investment barriers can be overcome. (Read More)

Mexico: Policies for Economic Growth and Against Climate Change
23 May 2012 – OECD Observer
Patricia Espinosa, the Foreign Minister of Mexico, describes the current global energy trends as negative contribution to global warming. The country commits itself to conferences to stop climate change and also wants to be “coresponsible” in other spheres of international relations. Mexico has set itself priorities from the G20 agenda with which it wants to stabilize its economy and set up policies towards “green growth”. According to Espinosa the government’s approaches, such as the involvement in international financial architecture, are intended to “ensure economic growth and well-being in every country of the world”. (Read More)

Bolivia takeover: Spain dismayed by TDE Nationalisation
2 May 2012 – BBC News
Spain’s economic minister has expressed disappointment at Bolivia’s decision to nationalise Spanish-owned electric power company. Luis de Guindos warned that the move could deter investment from outside nations, with the European Commission backing his opinion. Bolivia argues that the company did not invest enough in Bolivia and thus was not benefiting the nation. The decision comes on the heels of Argentina’s decision to nationalise the oil firm YPF which the Spanish company Repsol has a large stake in. Although Mr Guindos said the situation was very different, with YPF representing a value of around $25-35 billion and TDE much less. Spain is very keen to not draw parallels for fear other nations in the region also following suit and is making it very clear that Spain will be compensated. (Read More)

Rio Observers Fear Weakening of Earth Summit Proposals
2 May 2012 – Euractiv 
Some of the main proposals in a draft text for negotiation at a UN sustainable development conference next month are being watered down at informal talks in New York, with fears of Rio+20 being a failure growing. Rio+20 in Brazil is expected to draw more than 50,000 participants from governments, companies and environmental and lobby groups. The aim of achieving sustainable development goals across seven core themes ranging from food security to water security to energy seems to be faltering. Companies are reportedly frustrated with the idea that they will have to report on how sustainable they are. Financial woes and waning confidence in climate change as a threat has meant many fear the outcome of Rio, especially when global leading figures such as President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron are not attending.  (Read More)

UK, US to Agree to Work on Floating Wind Turbines

23 April 2012 – Reuters
Britain and the US will agree to collaborate to develop floating wind turbine technology at a meeting of energy ministers in London this week. Energy ministers from 23 of the world’s largest economies will discuss how to speed up the move to cleaner energy. The two nations already make funding available for such projects, but this would allow the two countries to share expertise. The UK places offshore wind as a high priority for the UK’s energy future. Floating turbines can be placed in deep waters, whereas conventional turbines cannot. Waters to the west of the UK can be up to 100m deep, but have consistent high wind speeds. (Read More)

Parliament begins scrutiny of EU airport noise rules
26 April 2012 – Euractiv
The European Commission’s plan to ease noise restrictions in and around airports has been met with scepticism by the MEP in charge of the dossier, who believes the EU executive is placing economic interests above citizens concerns. The EC said that noise restrictions provided inconsistencies which hinder the growth of Europe’s already crowded airports. The EC’s plans would bring EU rules in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The EC has also claimed that the new rules will improve transparency in the decision making process, and made it clear that individual nations have the final say on the restrictions around their airports. However, the EU may be granted the power to ban the nosiest planes with the aim that eventually all aircraft at EU airports will possess ‘type 4’ engines, the quietest. (Read More)

Mad Cow Disease Case in US was a ‘one-off’ caused by Mutation
25 April 2012 – The Guardian
The US Department of Agriculture has discovered a case of mad cow disease in a US dairy herd in California. Despite reassurances from the government that it was a ‘one off’ case caused by a mutated gene, sellers in South Korea stopped selling US meat. Mad-Cow Disease or BSE is caused by the misfolded proteins called prions building up in the brain. A huge outbreak of the disease in UK during the 1990s had profound consequences on its ability to trade to British meat, and also had serious effects on individuals. The US is confident that this case, the first since 2006, is not a problem caused by cattle feed or the process of slaughtering. (Read More)

MEPs Press Commission on 2020 Green Master Plan
23 April 2012 – Euractiv 
With 60 days left before the Rio sustainable development conference, MEPs have told the European Commission to produce ‘without delay’ an ambitious environmental agenda for the decade ahead. On Friday the Parliament produced an 11-page resolution highlighting the shortcomings of the expiring Environmental Action Programme (EAP), including individual states failings. The decade old EAP has set in place many controversial pieces of legislation, whilst at the same time many governments have wavered in introducing it all. MEP’s encouraged the commission to come up with a more international paper that is not watered down due to current economic woes. The EU wishes to see itself take a leading role at talks in Rio in June. (Read More)

EU Airlines Emission Law is ‘Deal Breaker for Climate Talks’
12 April 2012 – The Guardian
India’s environment minister has said that the EU’s aviation emission permits are unacceptable. India has demonstrated strong criticism of the incorporation of aviation into the European Emission Trading Scheme. Although the US has announced that it will comply, China has barred its carriers from doing so, a move which India has now followed. Although the Environment ministers comments fall in line with the public Indian line, it is unclear whether these fresh words are officially endorsed. Since the EU introduced its trading scheme more progress has been made at the UN level, although many fear it still would not come into fruition anytime soon. The ‘coalition of the unwilling’, Russia, China and India have all said they will boycott such a scheme at future meetings. However, the EU has illustrated no moves to back down from this scheme. (Read More)

Putin Fears Shale Gas Competition
12 April 2012 – Euractiv
Russian Prime Minister, set to be President, Putin has told his country’s gas industry that it needs to ‘rise to the challenge’ of shale gas being pursued in the US and EU nations. Putin believes that US shale gas could completely restructure supply and demand of gas in Europe. In 2009 the US overtook Russia as the world’s biggest producer of natural gas, a feat only achieved with the help of shale gas. With the EU and other Eastern nations looking to cut their reliance on Russia for energy, it is a direct threat to Russian energy. However, the negatives ecological impacts of shale gas, have halted drilling Bulgaria, Romania and France. However, despite Europe looking for energy independence it is likely a Russian company like Gazprom will still control the companies. (Read More)

Three Russian Companies bid for Greece’s Gas Assets
3 April 2012 – Euractiv 
A quarter of the countries bidding to acquire Greek gas companies DEPA and DESFA are Russian, with the most prominent offer being from Gazprom. Greece expects to obtain no less than € 2 billion from the auctioning of these companies. DEPA the public gas supplier for Greec is estimated at €1 billion with its subsidiary DEPA at circa €500 million. However, Greece’s geopolitics makes it an extremely lucrative deal. Greece currently represents the alternative corridor of gas for Europeans, for which the Russian companies wish to cut out. Three major pipelines run through Greece, South Stream, ITGI and TAP, many of which support Italy’s gas needs. There is concern that the Russian European gas monopoly will grow larger in the wake of this. (Read More)

RWE and E.On Halt UK Nuclear Plans at Wylfa and Oldbury

29 March 2012 – BBC News
The UK government has suffered a major setback in its efforts to attract investment to two new nuclear power stations. Energy companies RWE Npower and E.On announced they would not develop the power projects in the UK despite orginal plans to develop new plants new Bristol. The energy companies blamed the lack of interest in raising funds for such projects and also the high cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants in Germany. The plan was to develop eight new power stations which could replace the current aging ones. However, with Germany decommissioning all of their nuclear power plants, it has been a costly time for RWE and E.On who own most of them. There is concern that without these two big European energy players there will not be a substantial enough alternative to fill their lack of support.  (Read More)

Boeing, Airbus Team Up on EU Carbon Charge, Biofuels

23 March 2012 – EurActiv
In a move rarely seen, Boeing threw its weight behind Airbus in contending the EU’s airline emission tax announcing at the same time an agreement to work together to develop and commercialize sustainable biofuels. The CEO of Boeing Jim Albaugh said ‘This is not about Boeing and Airbus; it is about what is best for our customers and how we are going to get the whole industry to reduce its environmental footprint’. A meeting in Geneva of aviation industry leaders urged governments to work within the UN to prevent these zonal tax systems. The EU maintains that its scheme will remain in place until the UN can come up with a better or equal one. The two companies which annually compete for $100 billion worth of contracts are uniting to improve the viability of bio-fuels, with both companies understanding that it is crucial to the future of their industry.  (Read More)

EU, US Still At Odds Over Airlines' CO2 Emissions Rules
21 March 2012 – Fox Business 
At an aviation conference on Wednesday in Geneva, the FAA advised the EU to be more flexible in its discussions with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the imposition of an emissions tax on all aircraft entering EU airspace. The US and many other countries have adamantly opposed the EU effort to include non-EU airlines in the Emissions Trading System as it charges an airline for the full flight, which usually begins outside of EU airspace. The airlines themselves are most concerned with the uncertainly of the matter although Delta and United recently added a three dollar surcharge to cover the new ETS taxes.  (Read More)

EU Parliament Chief Says 63 million People Could Be Affected by Water Shortages in Middle East
21 March 2012 – KUNA 
President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said that water governance needs addressing in the Mediterranean ahead of an Assembly of Union for the Mediterranean nations in Morocco. 60% of the world’s population with little water is concentrated in the southern part of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. Schulz claimed that 63 million people in this region could be affected by water shortages by 2025. Schulz went on to say that rapid urbanisation and the failure to properly manage water supplies fairly and efficiently could be damaging. (Read More)

Carbon Emissions: A Taxing Problem for Air Transport

19 March 2012 – China Daily
The criticism from China over the new EU aviation tax is still ongoing. The EU is happy to exempt Chinese flights if the discussion about emission trading schemes in China include aviation and come into action soon. China has selected seven provinces and cities, including Beijing and Tianjin to begin preparations for the pilot of such a market. China believes because it is only a pilot scheme and not national, it cannot include aviation yet. Although the gathering of opponents in Moscow seemed to achieve very little, behind the scenes the EU has said that the US and China are negotiating real solutions. The EU is not alone, South Africa will introduce and ETS later this year and Australia will follow in 2015. The EU is refusing to allow exceptions for fear of other airlines and nations complaining. For each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted without a permit, the airline will be charged 100 Euros. (Read More)

China Blocks Airbus Deals over EU Carbon Tax, says EADS
8 March 2012 – BBC News
In what is seen to be the first retaliatory measure against the new EU emission tax on airlines, China has barred its airlines from purchasing Airbus aircraft. Although China has made no official comment it is unclear whether this is a negotiating ploy or an official policy. EADS, the parent company of airbus, says this could have a large impact on already placed orders but not only that it could encourage other regions to emulate this retaliation. This move by China seems to have taken Europe by surprise after it was though tensions over the issue were easing. It is yet to be seen, in 2013, how many airlines will actually foot the bill of the tax.  (Read More)

Mexico: Policies for Economic Growth and Against Climate Change
23 May 2012 – OECD Observer
Patricia Espinosa, the Foreign Minister of Mexico, describes the current global energy trends as negative contribution to global warming. The country commits itself to conferences to stop climate change and also wants to be “coresponsible” in other spheres of international relations. Mexico has set itself priorities from the G20 agenda with which it wants to stabilize its economy and set up policies towards “green growth”. According to Espinosa the government’s approaches, such as the involvement in international financial architecture, are intended to “ensure economic growth and well-being in every country of the world”. (Read More)

Bolivia takeover: Spain dismayed by TDE Nationalisation
2 May 2012 – BBC News
Spain’s economic minister has expressed disappointment at Bolivia’s decision to nationalise Spanish-owned electric power company. Luis de Guindos warned that the move could deter investment from outside nations, with the European Commission backing his opinion. Bolivia argues that the company did not invest enough in Bolivia and thus was not benefiting the nation. The decision comes on the heels of Argentina’s decision to nationalise the oil firm YPF which the Spanish company Repsol has a large stake in. Although Mr Guindos said the situation was very different, with YPF representing a value of around $25-35 billion and TDE much less. Spain is very keen to not draw parallels for fear other nations in the region also following suit and is making it very clear that Spain will be compensated. (Read More)

Rio Observers Fear Weakening of Earth Summit Proposals
2 May 2012 – Euractiv
Some of the main proposals in a draft text for negotiation at a UN sustainable development conference next month are being watered down at informal talks in New York, with fears of Rio+20 being a failure growing. Rio+20 in Brazil is expected to draw more than 50,000 participants from governments, companies and environmental and lobby groups. The aim of achieving sustainable development goals across seven core themes ranging from food security to water security to energy seems to be faltering. Companies are reportedly frustrated with the idea that they will have to report on how sustainable they are. Financial woes and waning confidence in climate change as a threat has meant many fear the outcome of Rio, especially when global leading figures such as President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron are not attending.  (Read More)

UK, US to Agree to Work on Floating Wind Turbines

23 April 2012 – Reuters
Britain and the US will agree to collaborate to develop floating wind turbine technology at a meeting of energy ministers in London this week. Energy ministers from 23 of the world’s largest economies will discuss how to speed up the move to cleaner energy. The two nations already make funding available for such projects, but this would allow the two countries to share expertise. The UK places offshore wind as a high priority for the UK’s energy future. Floating turbines can be placed in deep waters, whereas conventional turbines cannot. Waters to the west of the UK can be up to 100m deep, but have consistent high wind speeds. (Read More)

Parliament begins scrutiny of EU airport noise rules
26 April 2012 – Euractiv
The European Commission’s plan to ease noise restrictions in and around airports has been met with scepticism by the MEP in charge of the dossier, who believes the EU executive is placing economic interests above citizens concerns. The EC said that noise restrictions provided inconsistencies which hinder the growth of Europe’s already crowded airports. The EC’s plans would bring EU rules in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The EC has also claimed that the new rules will improve transparency in the decision making process, and made it clear that individual nations have the final say on the restrictions around their airports. However, the EU may be granted the power to ban the nosiest planes with the aim that eventually all aircraft at EU airports will possess ‘type 4’ engines, the quietest. (Read More)

Mad Cow Disease Case in US was a ‘one-off’ caused by Mutation
25 April 2012 – The Guardian
The US Department of Agriculture has discovered a case of mad cow disease in a US dairy herd in California. Despite reassurances from the government that it was a ‘one off’ case caused by a mutated gene, sellers in South Korea stopped selling US meat. Mad-Cow Disease or BSE is caused by the misfolded proteins called prions building up in the brain. A huge outbreak of the disease in UK during the 1990s had profound consequences on its ability to trade to British meat, and also had serious effects on individuals. The US is confident that this case, the first since 2006, is not a problem caused by cattle feed or the process of slaughtering. (Read More)

MEPs Press Commission on 2020 Green Master Plan
23 April 2012 – Euractiv
With 60 days left before the Rio sustainable development conference, MEPs have told the European Commission to produce ‘without delay’ an ambitious environmental agenda for the decade ahead. On Friday the Parliament produced an 11-page resolution highlighting the shortcomings of the expiring Environmental Action Programme (EAP), including individual states failings. The decade old EAP has set in place many controversial pieces of legislation, whilst at the same time many governments have wavered in introducing it all. MEP’s encouraged the commission to come up with a more international paper that is not watered down due to current economic woes. The EU wishes to see itself take a leading role at talks in Rio in June. (Read More)

EU Airlines Emission Law is ‘Deal Breaker for Climate Talks’
12 April 2012 – The Guardian
India’s environment minister has said that the EU’s aviation emission permits are unacceptable. India has demonstrated strong criticism of the incorporation of aviation into the European Emission Trading Scheme. Although the US has announced that it will comply, China has barred its carriers from doing so, a move which India has now followed. Although the Environment ministers comments fall in line with the public Indian line, it is unclear whether these fresh words are officially endorsed. Since the EU introduced its trading scheme more progress has been made at the UN level, although many fear it still would not come into fruition anytime soon. The ‘coalition of the unwilling’, Russia, China and India have all said they will boycott such a scheme at future meetings. However, the EU has illustrated no moves to back down from this scheme. (Read More)

Putin Fears Shale Gas Competition
12 April 2012 – Euractiv
Russian Prime Minister, set to be President, Putin has told his country’s gas industry that it needs to ‘rise to the challenge’ of shale gas being pursued in the US and EU nations. Putin believes that US shale gas could completely restructure supply and demand of gas in Europe. In 2009 the US overtook Russia as the world’s biggest producer of natural gas, a feat only achieved with the help of shale gas. With the EU and other Eastern nations looking to cut their reliance on Russia for energy, it is a direct threat to Russian energy. However, the negatives ecological impacts of shale gas, have halted drilling Bulgaria, Romania and France. However, despite Europe looking for energy independence it is likely a Russian company like Gazprom will still control the companies. (Read More)

Three Russian Companies bid for Greece’s Gas Assets
3 April 2012 – Euractiv
A quarter of the countries bidding to acquire Greek gas companies DEPA and DESFA are Russian, with the most prominent offer being from Gazprom. Greece expects to obtain no less than € 2 billion from the auctioning of these companies. DEPA the public gas supplier for Greec is estimated at €1 billion with its subsidiary DEPA at circa €500 million. However, Greece’s geopolitics makes it an extremely lucrative deal. Greece currently represents the alternative corridor of gas for Europeans, for which the Russian companies wish to cut out. Three major pipelines run through Greece, South Stream, ITGI and TAP, many of which support Italy’s gas needs. There is concern that the Russian European gas monopoly will grow larger in the wake of this. (Read More)

RWE and E.On Halt UK Nuclear Plans at Wylfa and Oldbury

29 March 2012 – BBC News
The UK government has suffered a major setback in its efforts to attract investment to two new nuclear power stations. Energy companies RWE Npower and E.On announced they would not develop the power projects in the UK despite orginal plans to develop new plants new Bristol. The energy companies blamed the lack of interest in raising funds for such projects and also the high cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants in Germany. The plan was to develop eight new power stations which could replace the current aging ones. However, with Germany decommissioning all of their nuclear power plants, it has been a costly time for RWE and E.On who own most of them. There is concern that without these two big European energy players there will not be a substantial enough alternative to fill their lack of support.  (Read More)

Boeing, Airbus Team Up on EU Carbon Charge, Biofuels

23 March 2012 – EurActiv
In a move rarely seen, Boeing threw its weight behind Airbus in contending the EU’s airline emission tax announcing at the same time an agreement to work together to develop and commercialize sustainable biofuels. The CEO of Boeing Jim Albaugh said ‘This is not about Boeing and Airbus; it is about what is best for our customers and how we are going to get the whole industry to reduce its environmental footprint’. A meeting in Geneva of aviation industry leaders urged governments to work within the UN to prevent these zonal tax systems. The EU maintains that its scheme will remain in place until the UN can come up with a better or equal one. The two companies which annually compete for $100 billion worth of contracts are uniting to improve the viability of bio-fuels, with both companies understanding that it is crucial to the future of their industry.  (Read More)

EU, US Still At Odds Over Airlines' CO2 Emissions Rules
21 March 2012 – Fox Business
At an aviation conference on Wednesday in Geneva, the FAA advised the EU to be more flexible in its discussions with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the imposition of an emissions tax on all aircraft entering EU airspace. The US and many other countries have adamantly opposed the EU effort to include non-EU airlines in the Emissions Trading System as it charges an airline for the full flight, which usually begins outside of EU airspace. The airlines themselves are most concerned with the uncertainly of the matter although Delta and United recently added a three dollar surcharge to cover the new ETS taxes.  (Read More)

EU Parliament Chief Says 63 million People Could Be Affected by Water Shortages in Middle East
21 March 2012 – KUNA
President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said that water governance needs addressing in the Mediterranean ahead of an Assembly of Union for the Mediterranean nations in Morocco. 60% of the world’s population with little water is concentrated in the southern part of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. Schulz claimed that 63 million people in this region could be affected by water shortages by 2025. Schulz went on to say that rapid urbanisation and the failure to properly manage water supplies fairly and efficiently could be damaging. (Read More)

Carbon Emissions: A Taxing Problem for Air Transport

19 March 2012 – China Daily
The criticism from China over the new EU aviation tax is still ongoing. The EU is happy to exempt Chinese flights if the discussion about emission trading schemes in China include aviation and come into action soon. China has selected seven provinces and cities, including Beijing and Tianjin to begin preparations for the pilot of such a market. China believes because it is only a pilot scheme and not national, it cannot include aviation yet. Although the gathering of opponents in Moscow seemed to achieve very little, behind the scenes the EU has said that the US and China are negotiating real solutions. The EU is not alone, South Africa will introduce and ETS later this year and Australia will follow in 2015. The EU is refusing to allow exceptions for fear of other airlines and nations complaining. For each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted without a permit, the airline will be charged 100 Euros. (Read More)

China Blocks Airbus Deals over EU Carbon Tax, says EADS
8 March 2012 – BBC News
In what is seen to be the first retaliatory measure against the new EU emission tax on airlines, China has barred its airlines from purchasing Airbus aircraft. Although China has made no official comment it is unclear whether this is a negotiating ploy or an official policy. EADS, the parent company of airbus, says this could have a large impact on already placed orders but not only that it could encourage other regions to emulate this retaliation. This move by China seems to have taken Europe by surprise after it was though tensions over the issue were easing. It is yet to be seen, in 2013, how many airlines will actually foot the bill of the tax.  (Read More)

Germans Are Willing to Pay For Renewable Energies
6 March 2012 – Spiegel
German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen made it clear that Germany is willing to pay the price in order to move to cleaner and greener energy, a move which he says is still on track. More than 90% of Germans wish for Nuclear energy to be phased out. Despite criticism from EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger that Germany lacks an energy plan, Roettgen believes it does and is making progress. Germany has to invest heavily in new electricity grids and storage facilities to meet the new types of energy, however improvement is slow. Germany remains a net exporter of energy but some feel this could change with the reduction of nuclear energy. Germany is continuing to expand its solar energy which is expanding faster than expected despite the costly subsidies. Nonetheless, Roettgen claims ‘all surveys show that Germans are willing to [pay], because it’s an investment in the future of our energy supply’. (Read More)

Scottish Politician Casts Skeptical Eye on Renewable Energy
4 March 2012 – OilPrice.com  
With the rise of nationalism in Scotland and the fear that it is producing in Westminster, concern about Scotland's energy resources is rising. Scotland at present is the EU’s largest petroleum producer with Scottish waters containing the largest oil resources in the EU. First Minister Alexander Salmond has claimed that due to the profit made off Scotland’s resources; if Scotland had independence in 1979 it would have been running surpluses from the late 1980s, although this claim is contested. Scotland possesses world-class renewable technology companies, thus Salmond hopes to generate all of Scotland’s energy from renewable sources as of 2020, leaving more oil to be exported. However, the Scottish people are less enthusiastic, with many concerned about the environmental impacts. (Read More)

EU Politicians Back Plan to Withhold CO2 Permits
29 February 2012 – The Guardian
From 2013 the EU will be allowed to withhold CO2 permits from the EU’s ETS. It is hoped that stemming the flow of these permits will hopefully drive up the demand of them. The estimated surplus of carbon permits up until 2020 ranges from 500m to 1.4bn, which would have rendered the ETS redundant. Even though the EU now possesses the power to withhold permits, the numerous motions which it has to go through each time it wishes to do so, puts the survival of the set-aside provision at risk. There is concern from some member states that imposing extra carbon costs on their industries is not productive at present, particularly Poland with its heavy reliance on coal output. However, following Tuesday’s ruling to grant such powers the value of permits rose by over 1%. This new power is seen as compromise to those who wanted excess permits removed from the system; instead they are now controlling the flow of permits onto the ETS. (Read More)

EU Aviation Climate Charge Faces Limited Opposition
23 February 2012 – BBC NEWS
Following a meeting in Moscow where nations that opposed the EU airline carbon tax met for the past few days, limited measures have been put in place. None of the nations are willing to immediately lodge legal cases against the EU in the UN. The joint declaration by the 23 nations is not as drastic as it was expected. The EU is welcoming any moves to counter the rising effect of carbon dioxide emitted by aircraft. The opposing nations still maintain that aviation fuel should be exempt from taxation and that they hold sovereignty over the skies above their own countries. The result of this meeting has been to make a joint statement saying that they will ‘consider taking actions’. (Read More)

Airlines and Tar Sands Proxy For Bigger Climate Battles
21 February 2012 – BBC News
The EU faces one of its toughest weeks with regards to implementing its climate politics. A two day meeting in Moscow by the 26 nations opposing the introduction of aviation to the EU ETS could result in a range of formal protests and retaliatory trade measures. Additionally, on Thursday the EU will decide which fuels are to be classed as high pollutants such as tar sands; this is likely to result in trade disputes with Canada, who see tar sands as central to their economy. The problem is that certain nations, such as EU states, want quicker action whilst big nations are happy with the cumbersome nature of international organizations. There is also concern the EU will expand such environmental tax policies which could lead to protectionism. Media in the opposing nations have started to turn away from the governmental line, asking whether such an ardent stance against EU measures is necessary or wise. (Read More)

Canada Threatens Trade War with EU over Tar Sands
20 February 2012 – The Guardian
Canada has escalated tensions between itself and the EU after threatening a trade war. The EU plans on labeling tar sands, or oil sands, as highly polluting. This comes on the back of the US rejecting the pipeline Keystone XL and Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol. Canada hopes that nations such as Italy, The Netherlands, France and the UK will all vote against such labeling as energy companies in each respective nation have displayed a strong interest in the tar sands. Canada’s tar sands are thought to be the largest fossil fuel reserve in the world following Saudi Arabia. There is concern that the UK has such a vested interest in Canadian tar sands that it will cause issues at the EU. (Read More)

Maersk Leads Shipping Industry Developing Fuels From Waste

15 February 2012 – Bloomberg
Maersk is currently conducting tests at two Danish universities in the hope to develop clean fuels developed for ships. The cleaner fuel would not only cut emissions but also reduce Maersk’s fuel bill by $6 billion-a-year. The technology for running fuel off algae has been used in the US Navy with few problems; it enabled the Navy to be secure from volatile petrol prices. Maersk sees the EU widening its ETS scheme even further to potentially including shipping and thus has taken this step to get ahead. Brands are also starting to pick shipping companies on their sustainability. Airlines have been allowed to fly on organic waste and non-food plants since July and as such Maersk wishes shipping to catch up. Maersk is cutting emissions, leading the way, cutting costs and providing what customers are increasingly looking for; sustainability. (Read More)

Americans Gaining Energy Independence
6 February 2012 – Bloomberg
The US is the closest it has been for twenty years to achieving energy self-sufficiency. The US has been aiming to achieve such a stature since 1973 and the Arab oil embargo. The US is producing so much natural gas that an export terminal is even being considered. If the trend continues the US would become the top energy producer by 2020. Furthermore, energy independence would allow the US to act more independently in the Middle East. This independence would also help to drastically cut the trade deficit. The last time the US had such energy prominence was in 1952. However, the downside of Natural Gas prices plummeting by more than 80% since 2008, has been the reluctance and reduced enthusiasm for green energy sources. (Read More)

Parliament Committee May Back EU Carbon Permit Set-Aside, Liese Says
13 February 2012 – Bloomberg
The EU parliament is set to vote on a draft bill to enable the ITRE to withhold permits from entering the ETS. In January there were criticisms from environmental groups and investors that the system was weak and ineffective due to the surplus of permits on the market and thus the permits lost their value by almost 50% from the previous year. The draft has already been backed by the ENVI and is less specific than previous drafts that had exact figures. This corrective measure is a first for the ETS which is still finding its feet especially in the wake of the introduction of the Aviation industry to the market. (Read More)

Energy Points Launches World’s First Universal Metric for Measuring Sustainability Across all Resources; Including Electricity, Transportation, Water, Gas, Waste and More
13 February 2012 – Market Watch
Energy Points launched the world’s first universal measurement of sustainability which companies could use in order to meet environmental targets. The 2011 Sustainability and Innovation Global Executive Study and Research demonstrated that 68% of companies now have a focus on sustainability and 66% said that it needed to become a competitive initiative. However, some companies measured it in Greenhouse gas emissions, some measured it as cost reduction however neither of these accounted for the same variables. By introducing a common measurement it is hoped companies can compete and compare their sustainability. Not only does it help competition, but consumers have shown a preference for companies that are more sustainable and thus a company can now clearly convey their performance in this area to customers. Finally, people now have a frame of reference for discussing environmental policies and energy reduction. Companies are now able to choose the best way that suits them to improve sustainability and still accumulate a score equal to other measures that may not have suited their business.  (Read More)

Airline Emissions Restraints May Be Relaxed in Europe
7 February 2012 – The New York Times
The EU attempted to relax mounting external tensions by announcing that if countries are able to demonstrate clear progress this year in establishing ‘a global emissions control system’ they would suspend parts of the new airline tax and its integration into the Emission Trading Scheme it wishes to impose. Mr Debelke, EU Commissioner for Environment, said that any global response to reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions will undoubtedly be better than an EU only one. Nations would have to show convincing signs of progress after this summer in order to qualify for fewer regulations. Although, Debelke did not make it clear as to what would constituted ‘convincing’ evidence. (Read More)

EON’s Teyssen Urges Fix to ‘Bust’ EU CO2 Plan, Energy Rules
7 February 2012 – Bloomberg
According to EON AG’s CEO Johannes Teysson, the EU needs to rebuild its CO2 reduction plan as many investors have lost confidence in it. EU carbon prices fell to a four year low in January due to the economic crisis and concern increased that that the demand for energy permits will dissipate. Teyssen’s scathing remarks added that he does not ‘know a single person in the world that would invest a dime based on ETS signals’. Although the EU maintains its goal of reducing greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050, Teyssen believes the ETS needs reevaluating. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that the ETS will have a surplus of 1.1 billion permits between 2008 and 2012. Some EU energy ministers want to see new carbon targets made harder in order to make the ETS a necessary system. Once again issues of better coherence, co-operation and integration are all argued to be the best solution to maintaining the ETS. (Read More)

E.U. Rebuffs China's Challenge to Airline Emission System
6 February 2012- NY Times
The European Commission said Monday that it would continue charging airlines for their greenhouse gas emissions, despite an announcement from China that its carriers would be forbidden to pay without its permission. “We’re not backing down in our legislation,” said Isaac Valero-Ladrón, a spokesman for the commission, the executive body of the European Union. “We’ll apply this to companies operating in Europe.” Earlier Monday, the Chinese air regulator effectively prohibited the country’s carriers from paying those charges or other fees, or increasing ticket prices in response to the E.U. system, without permission from the government. (Read More)

China ‘Bans’ Airlines from Joining EU Carbon Scheme
5 February 2012 – BBC News
China has banned all airlines registered in China from taking part in the ETS and barred all airlines from increasing their fares to accommodate for any European airline tax. China claims that such a scheme will cost its airlines €95 million a year. China’s concerns have been matched in particular in the USA and Canada; many fear that with the economic climate as it is, that such a charge will affect travel numbers. The EU now has to decide what to do; a barring of Chinese aircraft from European airports could just result in a harsh retaliation. Some nations believe it is an international issue and as such should be settled at the World Trade Organization, either way both sides do not show any sign of backing down. (Read More)

Clinton in Bulgaria to Promote Democracy, Energy Independence from Russia
5 February 2012 – Washington Post
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Bulgaria recommending that the nation diversify its gas and oil supplies in order to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. Clinton will suggest new pipeline routes which would take ease the pressure of Moscow on Eastern European nations. The US would also like to see help from Eastern European nations in supporting the Arab Spring exchanging ideas about how best to achieve democracy. It is a diplomatic visit which is likely to cause a stir in Moscow, but for Washington it makes no difference as the US is currently at odds with Russia over its veto on the UN council’s resolution for Syria. (Read More)

EU Biofuels Targets to Cost $166 billion, Study Says
2 February 2012 – Bloomberg Businessweek
Between now and 2020 the EU’s targets on transportation using biofuels will cost as much as $166 billion. The EU hopes to get 10% of all transportation on biofuels, hydrogen and renewable power by 2020. However the concern is that the use of such fuels would not cut greenhouse gases enough due to the number of trees that would need to be chopped down to create the fuel. The European Commission believes that it is ‘reasonable’ to pay higher prices for environmental friendly fuel. Friends of the Earth Europe note that the focus should be on reducing the use and improving the efficiency of this energy rather than just implementing it. (Read More)

Oettinger Calls for ‘Europeanisation’ of Energy Powers
1 February 2012 – Euractiv   
Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has called for a pooling of national powers to set energy policy in Brussels after 2014, in an unscripted speech to European policymakers yesterday (31 January).  “At the end of the day, what I am looking for is full competence,” he told a European Economic and Social Committee conference, “including of the energy mix and the decisions about how energy is processed.” In a speech, the commissioner also spoke of his wish to open an energy chapter with Turkey in the current accession talks, and to enlarge Europe’s energy community to take in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Norway, Switzerland, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro and the Maghreb.  (Read More)

Parliament Moves to Boost Carbon Price
1 February 2012 – Reve
The European parliament has increased the cost of carbon emissions following the influx of free emission allowances in the Emissions Trading System (ETS). The economic crisis meant factories were no longer producing or emitting as many carbon emissions and as such created a surplus in the ETS. In order to combat this and keep the ETS running efficiently the EU parliament has increased the value of carbon emissions. This move by the EU comes on the back of a report published this week which outlined the individual benefits each member state would receive from adopting a 30% carbon cutting target by 2020. This report clearly illustrated that all states can benefit from the EU’s environmental policy, rather than just a few. (Read More)

EU Energy Policy May Bring 500,000 Jobs

28 January 2012 – Reuters
It is looking likely that the EU will pass its Energy Efficiency Directive in the next six months as Denmark aims to have it completed during its Presidency.  The hope of the bill is to boost job growth, cut energy bills and improve the EU’s environmental weight, all achieved through keeping Europe’s buildings in better condition. It would commit the EU to retrofit a number of public buildings every year, this would be done by improving insulation, reducing leaks and improving the overall energy efficiency of the building. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard also points out that this is only one of many energy policies hoped for by the EU commission which could potentially create 2 million new jobs running up to 2020. (Read More)

EU Beefs Up Electronic Waste Recycling
24 January 2012 – The Guardian
Under legislature voted on by the EU parliament last week, the amount of e-waste recovered and recycled by each nation will be increased. Under the new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive countries will have to collect 45 tonnes of e-waste per 100 tonnes of electronic goods put on sale three years previously. This contrasts to the target of 4kg per person set previously. It is hoped that not only will these quotas reduce the environmental impact of disposal but also that the retrieval of valuable raw materials would provide an economical incentive. However, some IT charity companies have argued that the EU has overlooked the pertinence of reusing electronic equipment and has focused in on the wrong area.  (Read More)

BP and EU Lobbied US on Iran Sanctions: Sources

23 January 2012 – Reuters
The EU, the UK and BP Plc have all lobbied the US government to exempt the Shah Deniz project from any sanctions imposed on Iran according to sources close to the lobbying. BP and Norway’s Statoil Company co-lead the Shah Deniz project which is estimated to house 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas which is vital to EU energy security. However, National Iranian Oil holds a ten percent stake in the business, which would qualify it for sanctions. Shah Deniz is part of the EU’s move away from Russian energy reliance, a move which the US government supports. BP’s appeal to US lawmakers comes on the back of the shutdown of its Rhum gas field in the North Sea, as Iranian Oil Co Ltd had a fifty percent stake here and thus undoubtedly qualified for sanctions under EU law. (Read More)


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