Tag: Europe

Most Germans Support Plans for More Climate Protection and Less Brown Coal

Berlin, 25 April 2015 – A large majority of Germany's citizens support Chancellor Merkel and Economics Minister Gabriel in their plans for strengthening climate policy. Seventy percent are of the opinion that the German government should implement additional measures to ensure a 40% reduction in emissions by the year 2020 – a current target of German energy policy. This is the finding of a new survey conducted by TNS Emnid on behalf of the association Campact and WWF Germany.

Seventy-three percent of the more than 1000 German citizens who participated in the survey support the so-called “climate levy,” a proposed measure that would tax the oldest and dirtiest brown-coal-fired power plants. Majority support for the government's plans is even seen in impacted regions such as the Rheinland (69% support) and Brandenburg (55% support). Support was visible across party affiliations, with 75% of all participants in favor of the policy measure. The survey also makes clear that young people in particular favor a sustainable and forward-looking climate and energy policy.

"A clear majority wants to see a reduction in the use of brown coal for electricity production. This sends a clear signal to the German government: Mr. Gabriel, Mrs. Merkel, take action now. Ensure Germany fulfills its climate protection goals!" says Chris Methmann, a member of the association Campact.

Germany can only achieve its climate protection targets when significant emissions cuts are implemented in the electricity sector. The electricity sector is responsible for approx. 40% of German greenhouse gas emissions, half of which are attributable to brown-coal-fired power plants.

As the renewable energy revolution will create on the whole considerably more jobs than the measure to reduce the use of brown coal will destroy,  71% of Germans consider the policy measure to be justified, according to the TNS Emnid survey. Ninety percent of electricity generation would receive an explicit exemption from the proposed "climate levy." Accordingly, the policy measure represents an extremely modest intervention into the electricity sector.

"The support of the populace for the planned measure is overwhelming. In the run up to the G-7 meeting this summer and the UN Climate Conference in the fall, it is of key importance not to fall victim to the fear mongering that a few energy companies are engaged in," says Regine Günther, WWF Director for Climate and Energy.

 

Note regarding the survey: 
Unless otherwise indicated, all data were provided by TNS Emnid. 1002 adults took part in the survey, which took place between 18 and 20 April 2015. The results were weighted and are representative of the German population (age 14+).

Press contact:
Sylvia Ratzlaff, Press Office, WWF Germany, sylvia.ratzlaff@wwf.de, Tel. 030 311 777 467

Jörg Haas, Spokesperson, Campact e.V., haas@campact.de, Tel. 0152 - 22888799 
 
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CAN Letter to Chancellor Merkel and the G7 re: April Meetings, April 9, 2015

Dear Madam Chancellor,

2015 will be a decisive year for setting the course for climate policy. Germany is addressing the implementation of its Climate Action Program 2020 and the design of the power market while the EU is discussing how to put its emissions trading system on track again. At the international level a new global climate agreement is to be concluded at COP 21 in Paris in December. In view of this we very much welcome that “climate action” has been chosen as a key topic for the G7 agenda. Climate Action Network International, the broadest civil society coalition aiming at overcoming the climate crisis, kindly asks you to consider the following proposals for your G7 presidency.

Many countries have already started transformational processes at the national level, including increasingly basing their economic development on renewables and improved energy efficiency instead of fossil energy sources. Since renewable energies have undergone significant price declines in recent years, they have become competitive in many regions of the world thereby creating new development opportunities and expanding access to energy. These developments have to be strengthened and expanded by providing favorable political framework conditions.

In this context, the international climate negotiations play an important role. Decisions made within the context of the UNFCCC attract worldwide attention. They provide long term orientation and can give clear signals to investors that low carbon development is not only inevitable but also a real economic opportunity. During your last G8 presidency you were instrumental in defining the “2°C limit”. This has been a groundbreaking first step. We call on you to consolidate the achievements of the past during your current G7 presidency:

  1. Based on the L’Aquila declaration from 2009, and taking into account the G7’s particular responsibility, the G7 should make the next step and commit to a more specific and actionable long-term goal. In accordance with the high probability scenario of IPCC to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius or even 1.5 degrees Celsius it is necessary to phase out fossil fuel use and to phase in 100% renewable energies by 2050, providing sustainable energy access for all people.
  2. This long-term goal should be backed up with a substantial increase in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both in the run up to 2020 as in the post-2020 period for which countries are currently making pledges that seem insufficient to avoid dangerous climate change. For example, G7 countries should commit to deadlines for phasing-out domestic use of coal. 
  3. The G7 should confirm its commitment to the goal of mobilizing $ 100 billion in climate finance by 2020, as enshrined in the Copenhagen Accord. This should be backed with a corresponding pathway including increasing annual public contributions until 2020.
  4. G7 should commit to a global goal of ensuring climate resilience to all people by developing, implementing and financing developing country National Climate Adaptation Plans and respective robust and effective national and international frameworks to reduce and manage climate risks and losses that go beyond adaptation capacities. We welcome that Germany plans to enhance the G7 commitment to strengthen climate risk management in vulnerable developing countries. We ask you to ensure a strong focus on the needs of particularly vulnerable people and communities, espeically women. 

However, in CAN’s opinion, initiatives taken by G7 states should not only be limited to the UNFCCC process. While the above steps could in particular support progress in the UNFCCC process, the G7 should take complementary initiatives aiming at fostering trust building between developed and developing countries by launching projects and initiatives to facilitate the transformation process towards a low carbon and climate resilient future. Therefore, we call for your support to:

  1. Terminate the international financing of coal and lignite fired power plants including related infrastructure through the G7's development banks, other public banks and export credit agencies.
  2. Initiate new or significantly strengthen existing initiatives and financing instruments to promote capacity building, technology transfer and investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency in developing countries with ambitious climate and energy strategies.
  3. Mobilize new and innovative sources of climate finance including a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).
  4. Accelerate efforts to end subsidies for fossil fuels by 2015 in the G7 countries, which have all signed the respective G20 agreement in 2009.

​Madame Chancellor, we are looking forward to further exchange views on these issues and remain at your disposal.

Kind regards, 

Wael Hmaidan

 

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 Study quantifies benefits unlocked by new climate action commitments

Scaling up action scales up benefits

Berlin, Germany. March 31, 2015: More jobs, fewer deaths and money saved from fuel imports. That’s what the climate action commitments laid out by the EU, US and China will deliver to their nations, according to a study by NewClimate Institute, and commissioned by Climate Action Network. 

The new study calculates that as well as helping reduce climate change risk, the steps outlined in the plans for these three economies will mean a total of almost 1 million new jobs by 2030, save the lives of around 113,000 people who will no longer die prematurely thanks to reduced air pollution, and huge savings from avoiding the high costs of imported fossil fuels. 

What’s more, scaling up their commitments to be in line with the transition to economies powered by 100% renewables by mid-century will mean unlocking even more benefits for these nations. More ambitious plans would collectively create around 3 million jobs by 2030, save the lives of around 2 million people who would otherwise fall victim to deadly air pollution, and would save around US$520 billion from avoided fossil fuel imports per year. If all countries took climate actions at this scale, global warming would not cross the 2degC threshold, beyond which scientists predict climate change to spin out of control. Such action would also give us an even chance of staying within 1.5degC - the threshold advocated by many of the most vulnerable nations. 

NewClimate Institute’s Niklas Höhne, author of the study, said: “This new analysis shows that any governments currently formulating climate action plans should consider the significant benefits for their people that could be achieved by setting their ambition levels to maximum.” 

Climate Action Network chair Mohamed Adow said: “Over 100 countries have thrown their support behind a phase out of fossil fuel emissions and it’s not hard to see why - making a just transition to 100% renewable energy is a no brainer as it means healthier economies and healthier people.” 

The report comes as developed countries - and others in a position to do so - were expected to lodge their offers with the UN by today. These offers will form the building blocks of a new climate agreement to be signed in Paris this December. 

The study shows that Europe stands to save around USD$33 billion per year on avoided fossil fuel imports through its climate action plan, but this would jump to around USD$170billion a year if the region scaled up its offer. 

China’s battle with air pollution has been well documented, as has the country’s actions to get it under control. Beijing’s new climate offer will save around 100,000 lives a year, but as they scale up their efforts that figure rises to around 1.2 million people annually. 

The United States is expected to formally lodge an offer with the UN today which will create around 470,000 jobs by 2030 in the country’s burgeoning renewable energy sector, with even more potential in the country’s energy efficiency sector. 

This study once again confirms key findings from last year's Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which informed governments that the only way to build and retain prosperous economies is through both mitigating and adapting to climate change. 

All eyes will now turn to other major - more and more isolated - economies such as Japan, Australia and Canada whose governments appear to have missed today’s deadline for lodging climate action commitments with the UN.

With evidence piling up on the side of scaling up action and the multiple benefits that delivers, their people will increasingly question government decisions that fail to speed up the people-driven transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.  

 

Notes to Editors

  1. The report, Assessing the missed benefits of countries’ national contributions, was written by the NewClimate Institute - which raises ambition for action against climate change and supports sustainable and climate-resilient development through research and analysis. 
  2. The report was commissioned by Climate Action Network - a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: 
  3. You can find the full report here, a summary of the findings here, and an infographic here

 

Contact 
To be connected with a spokesperson on the report, please contact:  Ria Voorhaar, CAN International on +49 157 3173 5568 or email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org  

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Europe becomes second party to lodge Paris climate action commitment

Climate Action Network released the following statement upon the release of Europe's commitment towards the Paris agreement on climate change today. 

European environment ministers have today agreed on the EU’s first climate action commitment towards the Paris agreement. The pledge translates its previously announced target to reduce carbon pollution by at least 40% by 2030. After Switzerland, the EU will be the second party in the world to lodge its plan to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy with the UN. Commitments from other major countries including the United States and Mexico are expected later this month. Together, these pledges will signal the start of what will be the world’s first collective step on climate action. 

Europe has in many ways been spearheading the global transition, and it has only last week presented a domestic energy strategy that makes clear that Europe’s move towards a decarbonized economy is well underway. That’s why some observers want Europe’s first offer to go further in harnessing progress towards a fossil fuel phase out and Europe’s vision to be the world leader in renewable energy. For example, Denmark has already committed to make 100% of their electricity supply renewable and party leaders in the UK have committed to phase out coal. Accelerating this transition makes sense because it can deliver more and better jobs, improved public health and more robust economies.

Today’s announcement leaves open the tricky question of how to deal with forests when counting emission reductions. If not handled well, accounting rules could dilute the EU’s commitment. Progressive Member States are working to reach a decision that ensures environmental integrity and retains ambition. Furthermore, despite calling for countries to renew their pledges under the Paris agreement every five years, the EU does not outline a 2025 target in its offer.

The EU’s plan stayed silent on the amount of additional support they'd provide to developing countries who are expected to take their own climate action under the Paris agreement. Scaling up support will be vital if we're to secure a comprehensive global climate agreement in Paris in December that builds resilient communities and helps vulnerable people cope with unavoidable climate impacts. In a bid to shore up Europe’s leadership on climate, European foreign ministers can step up and explicitly outline their offer to help communities adopt renewable energy and adapt to climate change.

Undoubtedly, this offer will not be the final word from Europe on climate action towards the Paris agreement. Indeed, the EU’s pledge document says it looks forward to working with other countries to find “ways to collectively increase ambition further”. And European NGOs will continue to push member states to do more to unlock the “at least” part of their 2030 commitment.  The European Commission has already outlined plans to hold a conference in November to review collective commitments, providing the impetus for all countries to consider what more they can do to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. To give that agreement a smoother landing, Europe can reassert itself as a leader on climate diplomacy giving countries confidence in the collective steps we’re taking on climate action.

Contact: Ria Voorhaar
Head - International Communications Coordination 
mobile: +49 157 3173 5568

 
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COP20 boosted by German Climate Action Plan announcement, but negotiations still need to pick up pace

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 3, 2014, Lima, Peru: The UN climate negotiations in Lima, Peru received a boost today with Germany announcing additional climate action measures to ensure it stays on track to meet its targets for phasing down pollution before the Paris agreement comes into effect.

The German decision particularly to require the coal power industry to cut even more pollution from the sector together with a plan to table a law next year to cap and reduce use of the fuel across the board puts another nail in the coffin for fossil fuels, while at the same time highlighting that climate action is far from an impediment to economic prosperity. 

Speaking at the Climate Action Network press briefing in Lima today, Kellie Caught from WWF Australia explains that decisions like the one made by Germany today can set an example for other countries. “Hopefully this can send a message to other coal countries like Australia that coal can be phased out while sustaining economic prosperity,” Caught says. “The IPCC has shown that phasing out coal is the low hanging fruit countries should be reaching for.”

The drumbeat that is growing for climate action outside the negotiations has caused ripples inside the halls of COP20. With just 12 months to go before the new climate agreement is scheduled to be signed in Paris, it’s clear national interests are becoming more stark. Liz Gallagher, from E3G, says countries are still struggling to absorb the game-changing nature of the recent US and China climate action announcements. 

“If Lima is curtain raiser for Paris it feels like we haven’t yet written the play. Yesterday was lost due to confusion and posturing – with the US suggesting deletion of key elements of finance text. This only goes to embolden countries that don’t want to see progress like Japan," Gallagher says. We need everybody in this process to work together. We need marchers to shout loudly and for those messages to be heard inside the halls. We need ministers to tell negotiators to stop the petty politics.”

The recent US-China announcements have left other major climate polluters out in the cold. Brazil, for instance, is exposed and left with few excuses not to make significant climate commitments in its national plan which is due early next year, according to Ricardo Baitelo from Greenpeace Brazil. 

“Brazil remains in the top six emitters. We need to choose the clean path. We have both potential for wind and solar - enough to create as much as 10 times what the country needs - with jobs and better public health to go with it,” Baitelo says. 

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Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org

Contact:  Ria Voorhaar, CAN International in Lima on 963 961 813 or +49 157 3173 5568 or email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org,  

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Domino effect of energy security: binding targets, higher ambition, a good deal in Paris.

While ECO has been busy this week in Bonn, our spies in Luxembourg have been keeping an eye on EU environment and energy ministers. Yesterday, a joint EU Council meeting tackled two burning, and linked, issues: EU energy security and its post-2020 climate and energy framework. ECO’s intelligence network says this will be agreed in October. 

You don’t have to be in the CIA to know that Europe as a whole is getting worried about its energy security. Countries like Germany have a secret weapon: binding targets for renewable energy and energy savings. Achieving these targets in Germany would mean at least 35% of its electricity will be supplied by largely home grown renewable sources. Similar policies in other EU countries will result in a 40% reduction in EU GHGs below 1900 levels by 2030. This recent development makes ECO feel slightly optimistic that EU politicians won’t need a decoder ring to discover that fossil fuels don’t equal energy security.

ECO hopes that all delegates took note of the EU’s intervention at the ADP ministerial meeting last week. The EU’s 40% reduction target by 2030 is just the first initial domestic offer, not the final number on the table with member states like UK, Germany and Sweden already calling for the EU to go further.

But what about you France, our 2015 host? ECO hears you are in the process of adopting a national energy transition law, but you’re strangely silent about that EU package. Would that be because you're planning to do better AND push the EU for a stronger target? Normalement, oui quand meme?

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Poland and the EU’s KP ratification

Last week at the KP ministerial meeting, ECO again heard that commitment period two (CP2) ratifications were not advancing as we had hoped. So far, among industrialised countries, only Norway has managed to finalise the process. ECO understands that the EU environment ministers are discussing this issue at their council meeting on Thursday. But now, we hear rumours that there’s a problem. Yes, Dear Reader, you guessed right: the problem is Poland.

Poland is actually trying to use the CP2 ratification process to open and re-negotiate the whole of the European Union’s 2020 climate law. You know, the one adopted back in 2008. 

“It’s too mad, it can’t be true,” you say, and ECO agrees. Seriously, Poland. Stop — we’re not amused.  

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Paljon onnea Suomi!

ECO congratulates Finland on its brand new Climate Change Act. The Act gives legislative power for an emissions reduction target by 2050 of at least 80%. ECO would have preferred at least 95%, but hey, this is a leap in the right direction for Finland, which hasn’t shown such strong climate leadership in the past. Moving forward, Finland’s climate policy will not depend on political fluctuations. We applaud the long-term thinking! Please open your vodka bottles, and join ECO in a toast: "Kippis!"

Now, who’s next? If a cold, isolated country with lots of energy intensive industry can do it, so can you!

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Over achievement or under ambition?

The EU has made no efforts to hide their personal satisfaction at projecting it will overachieve its 20% target for 2020. According to the EU’s KP "ambition" submission, they’re on a pathway to a reduction of 22.8% on average during the second commitment period. Not forgetting that the latest numbers released just a couple of days ago confirmed that the EU has already reached a level of 19.2% below 1990 levels in 2012.

This looks great at first glance, but there’s more to it. In reality the EU isn’t offering any hard commitments to achieve additional reductions. A 30%  reduction target has been, until recently, a lively political discussion in Europe even though NGOs are calling for a 40% reduction. The overachievement is not so much ‘over’ achievement as it is ‘under’ ambition.

EU cuts could be greater than projected without much more effort. There are additional national measures, as well as the  Energy Efficiency Directive which isn’t yet accounted for, which together could shave off another 3% or more by 2020. In talking about additional cuts, the EU's KP submission also tactfully notes the 1.6Gt of eligible ETS offsets without suggesting what to do about them. There are almost three-quarters of a GT in non-ETS offsets also allowed under EU rules. The answer is obvious: cancel the excess. Otherwise in reality EU emissions can either grow to 2020, or the 2030 target will be poisoned by banked emissions.

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All eyes on Germany as incoming government mulls EU climate targets

Open letter from global civil society calls on German party leaders to harness Energiewende spirit

[Warsaw, PolandNovember 19, 2013] –  Civil society organisations gathered in Warsaw for the United Nations climate conference (COP19) today sent letters to German Chancellor and CDU party leader Angela Merkel, SPD party leader Sigmar Gabriel and CSU leader Horst Seehofer, who are in the middle of negotiations to form a coalition government for Germany.

85 groups and networks, representing citizens from around the world, are concerned that the coalition negotiations will result in weak climate targets. Given Germany’s key role in the EU, this would send a bad signal for the bloc’s impending decisions on 2030 climate and clean energy targets. European Heads of States are scheduled to address the issue in March 2013.

“As representatives of worldwide civil society, we are writing this letter from Warsaw today to urge you to show true leadership on climate policy”, said the letter, applauding Germany’s inspiring example of Energiewende.

Groups are urging the coalition negotiators to support European climate targets that would make a fair and adequate contribution to the global efforts of preventing catastrophic climate change, while putting the EU on track to become a climate friendly economy. 

A domestic EU reduction in carbon pollution of at least 55% by 2030 below 1990 levels is needed. This must be combined with ambitious and binding renewable energy and energy consumption targets. The 40% target, which is currently being floated in the coalition talks, is completely inadequate, and could imply only 33% domestic cuts, due to all the extra emission allowances in the EU emission trading scheme. Even the conservative-led UK government is advocating for a target of 50% by 2030. As for action on national level, the letter calls for a climate change act that uses binding climate and energy targets of the Energiewende as a framework for innovation. 

Ten days ago, the Philippines was hit with one of the world’s worst typhoons in recorded history, killing thousands, injuring many thousands more and displacing 4 million people. It was a grim reminder of the “weather on steroids” that climate change is causing. And it’s not just the Philippines.

Quotes:

“The emission gap is growing and growing while people in Kenya suffer from drought-caused decreasing agricultural yields every year. Please don't wait any longer and agree to the emission cuts necessary”, says ACT Alliance spokesman Votumniko Chinoko, Kenya

“If there are no drastic emission cuts, climate consequences look devastating for Latin America,” says Ariel Chavez from Diaconia Bolivia.

 “The people in Bangladesh are being forced to shoulder huge economic and social costs caused by climate change. To me it is an injustice when mitigation measures are continuously delayed and watered down”, says Mr Shamsuddoha from Center for Participatory Research and Development in Bangladesh.

“We need countries, which inspire the global transformation of our energy systems. Germany could and should do this. The world is watching you,” the letter concludes.

 

Contact:

For more information or for one-on-one interviews with CAN Director Wael Hmaiadn, please contact Climate Action Network International’s communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 (0) 157 317 35568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org

Climate Action Network (CAN) is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations working together to promote government action to address the climate crisis, with more than 850 members in over 100 countries.

 

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