January - June 2009

G8 to ask India and China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
28 June 2009 – The Hindu
The G8 countries are expected to ask major developing countries, like China and India, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the G8 summit in Italy next week.  Furthermore, draft legislation also aims at establishing a green technology fund for developing nations. G8 leaders are expected to reiterate their statements from last year’s summit and try to cut their emission rates by half until 2050. The meeting is said to try to rally nations before the December Copenhagen meeting which will determine the post 2012 conditions. Yet the draft has received some criticism because of its vague language.
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Brown proposes £60bn climate fund
26 June 2009 – BBC
Prime Minister Brown proposed a £60bn annual fund that is supposed to help developing countries obtain better green technology in order to reduce global greenhouse gas emission rates. Brown hopes to break the deadlock over who should aid the developing countries in this difficult process. Brown also hopes that this legislation will help countries come to an agreement at the Copenhagen summit. Although the figure proposed by Brown is less than needed, it will function as a starting point for negotiations at the G8 summit in Italy focused on climate change issues. In order to battle the climate change, Britain is also trying to cut its greenhouse emission rates by 80% until 2050.
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House passes climate change bill
26 June 2009 – Reuters
The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) was narrowly passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday and now moves on to Senate, where another narrow result is expected.  The bill, which was heavily supported by environmental groups, comes before the G8 summit in Italy next week and the December Copenhagen conference. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also pointed out that this legislation will create a lot of new jobs since the bill includes an $860 million contribution to the Green Jobs Act. The bill aims at reducing greenhouse gas emission by 17% until 2020. Furthermore, this bill will establish a cap-and-trade system that includes provisions to protect consumers from higher energy prices.
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The EU’s Carbon Capture and Geological Storage (CCS) plan
25 June 2009 – European Union
The EU made plans to finance the Carbon Capture and Geological Storage (CCS) project developed in collaboration with China . The project aims at near zero carbon emission coal technology through carbon capture and storage in the EU and China by 2020. This technology could play a major role for sustainable development since most developing countries rely heavily on coal produced energy. EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas hopes that the cooperation between China and the EU on this technology will fuel further cooperation at the December Copenhagen meeting.
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OECD countries boost support for renewable and nuclear energy exports
24 June 2009 – OECD
The OECD countries have agreed to offer “more generous terms on government-backed credits in support of export deals.” This move is aimed at increasing the export of renewable and nuclear energy equipment. Countries that participate in the OECD’s  Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits agreed to entitle projects in renewable and nuclear energies sectors to official export support. Mainly this support is manifested in longer and more flexible loan plans. This move comes in consideration of the global demand for new energy sources and takes into account the climate changes.
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Green Week 2009
19 June – European Union Press Release
The Green Week 2009 is taking place from June, 23 until June, 26 this year in Brussels. The biggest annual environmental meeting is aimed at drafting greenhouse emission agreements due to be finalized at the Copenhagen conference in December. The 4,000 participants will try to design a blueprint for a low-carbon world in 2050. EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso is the keynote speaker and is expected to deliver a speech evaluating the prospects of the Copenhagen agreement on Friday. The five "Best of the Best" LIFE-Environment projects for 2008-2009 and the five "Best of the Best" LIFE-Nature projects for 2007-2008 will receive awards on June, 24.

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EU and US set new energy standards for offices
17 June 2009 – Bate Felix – Reuters
The European Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set new guidelines for office appliances in order to save energy and electricity spending. The regulations mostly concerned with computers and printers will come into effect July, 1. These measures will be according to the Energy Star certification program developed by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy. Appliances with the Energy Star certification save 20-30% of energy on average.

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White House report warns of the serious effects of global warming
17 June 2009 – Associated Press
The White House science advisor released a statement on Tuesday warning against the harmful side effects of global warming, using stronger language than any previous administration. Although the report included no new research, it “paints a fuller, more cohesive and darker picture of global warming in the U.S. than studies during the George W. Bush years.” The report projects that temperatures may increase by 11 degrees by the end of the century. White House science advisor John Holdren said the global warming report “tells us why remedial action is needed sooner rather than later.”
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Angel Gurría at the International Economic Forum of the Americas
15 June 2009 – Angel Gurría – OECD
Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered a speech at the International Economic Forum of the Americas on June 9 th. Besides sustainable development he stresses reaching a satisfactory agreement at the Copenhagen Conference in December. He points out the positive influence the economic restructuring caused by fiscal stimuli in multiple OECD nations can have on the environment. The economic stimulus packages should promote reducing greenhouse gas emission rates and encourage greener industries. His entire speech can be found here
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Major shift in US climate policy sparks hope for global treaty
June 13 2009 – Frank McDonald – Irish Times
The new Obama administration now longer insists that China and other large developing countries make huge cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions. During talks with Chinese officials, Dr. Pershing, the head of the US delegation at UN climate talks in Bonn, assured that the US would not require large “emerging economies” to make actual cuts but rather curtail the growth of their emission rates. A new US proposal calls for all countries to take actions, while the US and other developed nations “would take additional action in line with their historical responsibility and capacity,” Dr. Pershing said. Since this proposal calls for developing nations to take actions and change their course as well, it is more likely to get passed through Congress.

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The European Commission plans to improve safety of biocides
12 June 2009 – European Union Press Release
The EU Commission has issued a draft legislation for higher protection of health and the environment. It aims at decreasing the usage of biocides in commercial products. It will extent legislation to apply to areas that were previously uncovered like furniture and textiles treated with biocides. While it urges companies to develop safer products, it will also authorize products as suitable with the help of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). The legislation is hoped to enter into effect in 2013. A decreased exposure to biocides will also increase the overall health of the European population. The proposal aims at specifically combating cancer-causing biocides.

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IEA proposes plan to reduce CO2 emissions
9 June 2009 – Report linked to on AtlanticCommunity.org
Due to the economic slowdown, reduced green-house emission rates can be achieved more easily in the short term. Since the energy sector continues to account for about 60% of the global greenhouse emissions, the IEA has proposed a “blue map” to ensure that long term emission cuts can be achieved as well. According to this plan, CO2 emissions can be cut by 50% by 2050. The “blue map” emphasizes: improving energy efficiency, developing renewable energy sources, increasing CO2 sequestration, and changing energy sources. Furthermore, the IEA called for greater international environmental-cooperation in order to achieve their goals.
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Importance of healthy oceans to Europe
8 June 2009 – EU
On World Ocean Day the European Commission restates the vital role healthy seas and oceans play for Europe. The EU’s 2008 Marine Strategy Directive is aimed at making the EU marine waters healthy by 2021 by preserving and protecting the marine environment. Rising sea levels due to increasing temperatures caused by global warming have been a huge concern for the EU. The EU has extended its network of conservation areas to include marine areas as well.
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Linking EU-US carbon markets
29 May 2009 – Nina Chestney – Reuters
In order to create a global carbon market the EU and US are trying to link their different trading schemes. Linking the EU’s emission trading scheme (ETS) to the US cap-and-trade scheme will proof a great tool for cutting greenhouse-gas emission. The European Union's executive Commission hopes to achieve a global carbon market by 2020 and to link all of the national schemes of the OECD countries by 2015. Yet experts say that building compatible trading systems will be a major obstacle. Even adjusting the EU’s ETS to the American system will be difficult.
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G8 Environment Ministers: Climate, Biodiversity, Health Essential
28 April 2009- Environment News Service
On Friday, Environmental ministers and senior officials from the G8 countries, Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, and Representatives of the EU Presidency concluded climate discussion held in Sicily. "We have reached important results that will assist in the debate on environmental issues during a particularly important year for choices on climate change and biodiversity, in order to get to the UN conference in Copenhagen in December," said Italian Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo. In her summary of the conference Ms. Prestigiacomo stated, “it is important that, on one hand, developed countries clarify their own position in terms of mid and long term commitments as well as financial support for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries; on the other hand, developing countries clarify their contribution to the global mitigation efforts. To this end it is important to increase mutual confidence, being proactive.” The meeting did not focus on a single issue area opting instead to look at a wider range of environmental issues. Representatives of many NGOs, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups and major corporations were also in attendance. Biodiversity and ecosystem services received special consideration in preparation for 2010, deemed the “International Year of Biodiversity” by the UN. “Participants at the G8 meeting stressed that biodiversity and ecosystem services represent the basis for human life and well being and that immediate measures to cope with the present trend of biodiversity loss are required.”
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U.S. Senator and German Government Minister to Discuss Transatlantic Cooperation on Environment and Economy
20 April 2009 – Center for American Progress
U.S. Senator John Kerry, current Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will meet with Sigmar Gabriel, the German Federal Minister for the Environment, on Wednesday, April 29 at the Center for American Progress to discuss forging closer Transatlantic cooperation on a variety of critical international issues. This open discussion follows weeks of active engagement between U.S. and E.U. representatives and underlies the renewed commitments of both Washington and Brussels to align U.S.-E.U. cooperation in tackling global problems. Senator Kerry and Minister Gabriel will specifically discuss appropriate responses to the challenges posed by climate change as well as approaches to transitioning towards a more environmentally-conscious economy (including the rise of the rise of “green” jobs).  This meeting will feature an open discussion between Sen. Kerry and Minister Gabriel and will take place at the Center for American Progress on April 29 between 3:00 and 5:00 PM.

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"G20 to eye creation of low-carbon economy"
27 January 2009 – Ko Hirano, Kyodo News
Expectations are rising for leaders of G20 nations to ensure that stimulus measures to address the global financial crisis lead to a low-carbon world economy when they meet in London in April. Simon Fraser, head of Europe and Globalization at Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, referred to a "Green New Deal" that he believes will spark UN negotiation for a new carbon-capping pact to be adopted at the climate talks in Copenhagen in December. Fraser added that leaders were expected to reaffirm their commitment to trade liberalization to ward off protectionism, discuss measures to strengthen the international financial system, and perhaps review the role and composition of the G8.
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E.U. Appeals to U.S. to Join Common Carbon Trading Market
23 January 2009 – New York Times – James Kanter
As Europe drafted its own highly comprehensive carbon trading system on Friday, the European Commission was already preparing an appeal to the United States encouraging adoption of the “carbon trading as the main system for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.” Many believe a transatlantic consensus on climate change policy would help facilitate a global initiative to curb emissions.

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Transatlantic Climate Bridge Launched with Call to Action for More Cooperation
17 December 2008 – Germany.info
Designed to build partnerships between the US and Germany , German leaders now seek a transatlantic commitment on climate change and energy security, through the ‘ ' Transatlantic Climate Bridge ' Initiative.’ First brought to the United States on December 16, at the Ambassador’s Residence in Washington DC, this initiative comes on the heels of the EU agreement on the ‘climate package’ proposed earlier this month at the EU Summit and recently accepted at the European Council and European Parliament (a commitment by the EU's 27 member states for a 20 percent reduction in the EU's 1990 levels of CO emissions by the year 2020) . Following the panel discussion at the German Ambassador’s Residence, “a concrete first step was taken towards increased transatlantic climate cooperation, with a joint statement signed by Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, [Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources] L. Preston Bryant, Jr., and Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Patrick O. Gottschalk. The statement identified five promising areas of joint cooperation in climate and energy issues between stakeholders from Germany and the Commonwealth of Virginia, including emissions trading, community energy planning, and a ‘green jobs and clean products’ initiative.” During the event, Ambassador Scharioth proclaimed, “that by working together, Germans and Americans can be a powerful engine for trans-Atlantic and also global climate cooperation.” Indeed, optimism remains high on both sides of the Atlantic as supports look forward to, what they believe will be, the inauguration of an environmentally friendly 44th president of the United States on 20 January 2008.
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