Tag: Europe

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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Climate Help Wanted: Germany

Germany is in the middle of difficult coalition talks following the September elections. Climate policy is one of the areas where there still is no agreement.

The negotiations in Warsaw would really benefit from a bit of leadership from developed countries, and in particular the EU. But EU leadership is hard to mobilize without full engagement of the EU's largest economy. That's why this morning, around 80 NGOs from all over the world are sending an open letter to politicians involved in the coalition negotiations in Berlin, reminding them that Germany must show true climate leadership.

The letter reminds German political leaders of the devastating impacts of Super Typhoon Haiyan and other extreme weather events that should serve as a wake-up call for urgent climate action. It also acknowledges the success of Germany's Energiewende, the country's ambitious plan to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency. But the letter notes that ‘to ensure the Energiewende's continued success and create a new dynamic at the international level’, Germany now needs to ‘set a strong and ambitious framework domestically and at the European Union (EU) level’.

The letter continues: ‘In March of next year, EU heads of state and government will decide on 2030 climate and energy targets. We expect you to support the necessary targets to ensure the EU makes a fair contribution to keeping temperature rise below 2°C while keeping 1.5°C within reach. What is needed is an EU target of at least 55% domestic emissions reductions compared to 1990 levels by 2030 combined with ambitious and binding renewable energy and energy consumption targets. A target of 40% would fall short of EU’s fair share of the global effort, and could in practice mean only 33% actual domestic emission cuts by 2030, due to the amount of surplus allowances in the system. An ambitious 2030 target should be the basis for the needed structural reform of the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) and an adjusted climate target for 2020’.

The letter reminds German leaders that we need a strong signal to increase budget expenditures for promised climate change adaptation and mitigation until 2020, and that a binding domestic climate law could provide certainty to investors, enable a smooth transition domestically, and also build trust and credibility internationally.

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

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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, Tuesday November 19, 2013: Warsaw, Tuesday November 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. By comparison, 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.
ENDS

Contact:

Please contact Ria Voorhaar, Climate Action Network International communications coordinator at rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, or +49 157 317 355 68 for more information or interviews with Climate Action Network – International director Wael Hmaidan.

For the full list of signatories, see the letter, attached.

 

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germany_letter_v3_merkel.pdf62.63 KB

EU: When 40 Is Only 33

Coming to Warsaw, ECO was feeling somewhat optimistic. Fresh statistics suggested that global CO2 emissions growth has slowed a bit, which could be the first sign of an approaching emissions peak. In September, China announced took a major positive step -- a direction change in its coal policy. Three key industrial provinces must peak and decline coal consumption by 2017 and ban new dirty coal plants.

But then came the damaging announcements by Australia and Japan, whose shifts are in the negative direction.
After a week like this, we certainly don’t need more bad news.  But according to rumours, the European Commission is preparing a proposal for a 2030 climate target of a meagre 40% reduction against 1990 levels.

The EU has long been seen as setting a global high water mark on ambition.  Yet now it is undermining its own objective to keep global temperature below 2°C.

Yes, 40% seems like a lot – so let’s explain what this means.  A 40% target for 2030 would in practice bring the EU on a pathway towards real emission cuts of merely 33% by 2030 due to the amount of surplus emission allowances in the system.  Indeed, in order to accommodate the huge oversupply of surplus pollution permits in the EU’s carbon market, any 2030 target would need to be 7% stricter.

Instead, the proposed level would be inadequate to steer the EU’s energy system away from coal, or to drive transformational investments into renewables and energy savings. Instead of investing in clean technologies, EU industries can largely escape meaningful pollution pricing and rely on the overhang of surplus emission allowances on the EU’s carbon market well into the next decade. Fortunately, 40% is not the only number in the mix. The UK has called for an EU target of 50% by 2030, while Finland’s environment minister stated the EU’s fair share is between 40% and 60% emissions cuts by 2030.

The EU “Green Growth” group, consisting of the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania and Estonia, have called for an ambitious EU emissions reduction offer to be put on the table before Ban Ki-moon’s leaders summit in 2014.

So when the European Commission publishes its policy proposal in January and EU leaders discuss it during the EU summit in March 2014, they must insure that the rumour of 40% (remember, that's effectively 33%) doesn’t turn into any kind of reality.

The spotlight is really on Germany, where coalition talks are also rumoured to be considering a minimum 40% climate target by 2030. Germany, of all countries, should know how important it is to get the incentives and infrastructure correct across Europe in order to deliver its own Energiewende – and a 40% target wouldn’t do that. Climate Action Network Europe is calling on the EU to commit to at least 55% domestic emission cuts by 2030, on top of which would come the EU’s international effort. Moreover, a binding EU renewable target of at least 45% and an energy savings target of 40% are needed to provide certainty for investors and drive  true transformation of the energy system.

Does the Commission have in mind any kind of equity indicators whatsoever when planning for a 40% target?  And how big a global emissions budget is assumed? It doesn’t sound like the EU is assuming anything that would give a reasonable chance of staying below 1.5/2°C.  

To be sure, the EU has a long-term emission reduction goal of 80 to 95% reductions from 1990 levels by 2050. Achieving this would be in the EU’s own economic interests as well as inspiring others to follow suit – a real ‘ambition driver’. But 40% by 2030, with all the loopholes in the system, would take the EU off track. We will hear reassuring voices next week as ministers arrive, but what will they be assuring us?  We need to see the EU we have until recently known – all about ambition, action and the clean energy future.

 

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CAN Intervention in the COP19 Adaptation Fund Contact Group by Alix Mazounie, 14 November, 2013

Thank you chair.

My name is Alix Mazounie from the French Climate Action Network. I am from a country that has never contributed to the Adaptation Fund so far. I deeply apologise and will do my best to change its mind.

As you know, the Adaptation Fund is drying up. The 2 per cent CDM levy does not live up to revenue expectations. The sale of CERs is a dead source, namely because some countries have abandoned the Kyoto Protocol, and some countries refuse to fix their carbon markets in order to protect dirty industry as if climate change didn’t exist.

To narrow the funding gap, the Adaptation Fund Board had set a goal of raising 100 million USD by end of 2013, from direct contributions by developed countries. Since the goal was set in 2012, only two countries – Sweden and Belgium - have made new pledges. 

We wonder how developed countries can claim to stand behind the climate finance promise of 100 billion a year by 2020, if they are not ready to save the Adaptation Fund and meet the modest 100 million fundraising goal?  

You need to fix this, here in Warsaw and this week. CAN is looking particularly at those developed countries that have never contributed to the Adaptation Fund, such as my own country that portrays itself as a leader on climate finance.

You must not. Actually, no, you CANNOT leave Warsaw knowing the Adaptation Fund is on its death bed. Meeting the fundraising goal for the Adaptation Fund here in Warsaw is but the first step on your journey to meet your finance promises towards 2020.

We urge you to ring up your ministers, and warn them not to come to Warsaw empty-handed. 

Le Réseau Action Climat vous remercie. 

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EU: where is your short-term mitigation ambition?

Closing the Short-Term EU Mitigation Gap

We all know that if the ambition gap is not closed or significantly narrowed by 2020, the door will close on many options to limit temperature increase to 1.5° C.

An interesting truth is that the EU has already met its 20% target for 2020 eight years ahead of schedule. Including international offset credits, European greenhouse gas emissions were actually down nearly 27% on 1990 levels in 2012!

Therefore, it is a no-regrets option to make these reductions legally binding domestically and internationally, and adopt a 40% reduction target for 2020. And the EU has a concrete opportunity to do so in the context of revising its commitments under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol before May 2014.

A key policy instrument here is the EU Emissions Trading System, the world’s first international cap-and trade system, covering nearly half of the EU’s carbon emissions. The European carbon market must be reformed quickly as it is increasingly ineffective as a tool to control pollution. It suffers from an oversupply of almost two billion emission allowances, mainly due to a record use of international offset credits, which has caused the carbon price to crash to under less than 5 Euro.

What's needed is a bold decision to remove surplus allowances permanently from the market and to adopt a steeper emissions reduction trajectory.

Based on its experience with domestic targets, the EU is well-placed to call for a framework that hastens the roll-out of renewables and energy efficiency through enhanced international collaboration.
The EU should ensure its 2020 climate and energy package demonstrates how ambition leads to success. At stake is not only the EU’s credibility but indeed the integrity of its climate policy.

 

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