Gail (11 Nov 2011)
"It's not just Planes, Trains, & Automobiles"


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EU signs off on short-term climate finance

Wednesday 9 November 2011


EU finance
                                      ministers have reaffirmed climate

EU finance ministers have reaffirmed climate financing. (REUTERS)

EU finance ministers have signed off on about $9.6 billion in short-term funding to help developing countries adapt to Climate Change and curb emissions -- even as they met to grapple with Europe's debt crisis. This comes ahead of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 17, is to be hosted by Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9, 2011.

A European Union statement at the end of the finance ministers' meeting said it had underlined the need to identify a path "for scaling up climate finance from 2013 to 2020."

Oxfam and other non-governmental organisations are eager to establish sources of climate finance that are distinct and definitely new.

Together with the World Wildlife Fund(HRH P.Charles), it has put forward a proposal for discussion at climate talks in Durban beginning later this month to raise funds by applying a carbon price to international shipping.


Prince Charles assumes presidency of UK's World Wildlife Fund. Sept.12 2011
In his inaugural address as the new head of Britain's chapter of the international environmental organization, His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales said that humans must radically change their relationship with nature, or risk becoming endangered as well.


Green group accuses China of climate blackmail   

The row over hydrofluorocarbon-23 offsets has intensified before international climate negotiations in Durban this month.

A BASF-YPC employee walks through the company's production facility in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China. Photograph: Bloomberg

An environmental group has accused China of climate blackmail after threats to vent powerful greenhouse gases if Europe cuts off carbon credits next year. The row over hydrofluorocarbon-23 offsets – which have a much greater warming effect than carbon dioxide and linger in the atmosphere for 200 years – has intensified before international climate negotiations in Durban this month.

Since 2005, Chinese firms have received the bulk of the $6bn in carbon credits for the reduction of these gases, which are produced in the manufacturing of refrigerant chemicals. The money has mostly come from European firms that have bought the offsets under the clean development mechanism, but this source of funding will come to an end next year. The EU has banned HFC-23 offsets because they are inefficient: the value of credits is 70 times the cost of destroying HFC-23 gases.

There are also widespread suspicions that Chinese and Korean firms have cynically created hydrofluorocarbon facilities in order to qualify for credits, which can generate twice as much income as selling the refrigerant. But Europe's decision has angered Chinese officials responsible for administering the system, which has generated $1.3bn in tax revenues for the state.

The China Clean Development Mechanism Fund warned last week that the loss of income would force HFC producers to cut costs. "If there's no trading of [HFC-23] credits, they'll stop incinerating the gases" said Xie Fei, the fund's revenue management director. His comments have sparked outrage among environmental groups.

"Attempting to force countries into squandering billions on fake offsets that actually increase production of greenhouse gases is extortion," said Samuel LaBudde, senior atmospheric campaigner with the Environmental Investigation Agency. "China is not the victim here, and a world order responsive to climate change cannot be predicated on unrepentant greed." The NGO accuses China of blocking international efforts to find alternative means of dealing with these potent industrial emissions, including direct payments to factories and technological and financial support for other developing nations to dispose of the gases. Xie Fei declined to comment on these allegations.

AAPA’s Herdman: EU and TSA must step back from new unilateral regulations November 4, 2011

The European Union (EU) has over-reached and needs to rethink its approach to new taxes that would offset airline emissions, according to the head of the Assn. of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

AAPA DG Andrew Herdman added his voice to the growing international chorus of criticism of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) plan that takes effect Jan. 1 and mandates emission fees for all airlines flying in and out of Europe.

Briefing media in Seoul Nov. 3 before the AAPA annual meeting, Herdman said non-European carriers were ready to comply with EU ETS regulations by Jan. 1 “because the penalties for non-compliance don't bear thinking about." But retaliatory actions were being considered by some countries and the US has begun work on a bill that would make it illegal for US airlines to comply while also protecting them from the consequences (ATW Daily News, Nov. 3).

Tit-for-tat reaction is not favored by Herdman, however. “I do not look forward to a trade war, especially when it’s fought in aviation because we will get hit on both sides,” Herdman said.

He said the high-stakes issue will not be resolved in the courts, but by political negotiation. As part of that negotiation, the EU will need to find a way to step back while also saving face. They have over-reached and left nothing for anyone else. They need to step back incrementally or rethink what they are doing,” he said.

Herdman also criticized the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for its attempts to impose new security screening rules on international cargo operators. “The US wants to export its security regimes on the rest of the world and the rest of the world is not buying it,” he said.

Herdman said that existing, intelligence-led and collaborative security measures had proven extremely effective at detecting potential threats. Meddling with that system could make it more time consuming and less effective. “To start all over again would really be taking things backward,” he said.

EU sticks to airline carbon rules despite UN opposition

03 November 2011 

(BRUSSELS) - The European Union refused Thursday to drop plans to charge all airlines for carbon emissions when flying to and from Europe despite opposition from the UN's civil aviation body.

The International Civil Aviation Organization adopted a working paper, backed by the United States, China, Japan and Russia, urging the EU to exempt foreign carriers from rules that are due to come into force on January 1.

"It is disappointing that ICAO discussions once again focus on what states should not do instead of what they should do to curb growing aviation emissions," EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard said.

"However, this decision will affect neither the EU's commitment to working within ICAO to agree on a global solution nor our adopted legislation," she said.

The EU is already fighting in court to defend its decision to include airlines in its Emissions Trading System (ETS) after US companies argued that the rules violate international climate change and aviation agreements.

The carbon trading scheme is used to charge industries such as oil refineries, power stations and steel works for CO2 emissions as part of Europe's efforts against climate change.

The dispute is threatening to turn into a trade row, after China reportedly retaliated in June by blocking an order by Hong Kong Airlines for billions of euros worth of Airbus aircraft.

The US House of Representatives weighed in last month, passing a bill directing the US government to forbid US carriers to take part "in any emissions trading scheme unilaterally established by the European Union."

The ICAO document, presented by 26 of the organization's 36 members on Wednesday, states that the EU scheme "violates the cardinal principle of state sovereignty" by charging airlines for emissions released outside the 27-nation bloc.

Airlines ready for next battle against EU carbon law

On Monday October 31, 2011


Sanchez regarded the U.S. draft bill as a stronger rebuff, although it is unclear whether the proposal, which has not been matched by companion legislation in the U.S. upper house, would become law.

It would put airlines in the near-impossible position of being either in breach of U.S. law or of EU law.

"This measure effectively means that the EU will have to ban all U.S. flights to or from the Union on the basis that they're not complying with EU law. This is the first step toward a trade war," said Sanchez.

The 26 member states expected to oppose the EU are Argentina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.



PRYOR: U.S. in trade war with China


The United States is in a trade war with China, even if our officials won’t admit it, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., told the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce last week.

Speaking at a Thursday luncheon, Pryor said the Chinese government’s
main weapon in the trade war is its currency, which he said results in Chinese goods costing about 20 percent less here than similar American-made products and making American goods about 20 percent more expensive in China.

“For those who say we shouldn’t start a trade war with China, I’ve got news for you,
we’re already in the middle of a trade war,” he said.

“I support fixing this trade imbalance,” the senator said, adding that decisions on correcting the problem could be among the most important facing Congress and “We need to get it right.”


Everyone is allocating movement toward a mode of Protectionism.

And here's putting an energy emphasis on Israel again.

Israel's Huge Natural Gas Discovery


Natural gas is an abundant and environmentally friendly fuel that’s already revolutionizing key global energy industries such as petrochemicals. And natural gas is a far more viable alternative to oil in the transportation sector than any of the widely hyped alternative energy technologies.

-- Elliott Gue , The Energy Strategist

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All forms of natural renewable power are dependent upon prevailing weather conditions, and there will always be a degree of uncertainty. There will be days where the wind is unusually calm, and most places have a degree of cloud cover which can reduce solar power.

The energy sources that may be important for meeting future demand under carbon dioxide emissions constraints, and competitiveness in a future marketplace conditioned by a CO2 emissions price, at the heart of it, is Natural Gas. Natural gas is a major fuel for multiple end uses — electricity, industry, heating — and is increasingly discussed as a potential pathway to reduced oil dependence for transportation. In addition, the realization over the last few years that the producible unconventional gas resource in the U.S. is very large has intensified the discussion about natural gas as a "bridge" to a low-carbon future. -MIT


Popping the Green Bubble 11/1/2011

Solar Glut

The proximate cause of the solar industry’s troubles is a glut of solar-power equipment and declining government subsidies, particularly in Europe.

The media often lauds Germany’s focus on renewable energy and suggests that the US and other nations follow the country’s lead in aggressively promoting green energy. But Germany’s policies to promote renewable energy inflict substantial costs on electricity producers and consumers.

Someone has to pay for the subsidized electricity rates. In 2008 total fees paid under Germany's FiT scheme amounted to EUR9 billion. However, in 2012 the total could top EUR20 billion. The German government doesn’t pick up this tab, and industrial customers like manufacturers are sheltered from the rising costs; retail customers will bear the brunt of these expenses.


Mid-Point - March 21st 2013

God Bless,