Climate Change

There's Always COP-6 Part II

dike3.gif

The general tone was deep disappointment as the COP-6 climate change negotiations closed unresolved. Unfortunately, 183 governments need more than two weeks to settle how the world will contend with such a complex issue. The next round of negotiations will continue in spring 2001 – in the meantime, the world keeps heating up. Much of the criticism focuses on U.S. intransigence – its insistence on using carbon sinks as a primary method to reduce emissions, rather than direct reductions. It has been shown over and over again that emission reductions are well within our means through simple measures such as energy efficiency standards. But, as Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change points out, it took about 10 years to pass today’s international trade rules and the U.S. Clean Air Act. Many observers indicate that much of the groundwork as been laid to settle the outstanding issues – sinks, supplementarity, compliance, and funding – in the next round of talks. Before the talks began, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change distributed a draft of the first full-scale update of the state of climate change since 1995. The report takes a stronger stand now on the cause […]

Read More

There's Always COP-6 Part II

dike3.gif

The general tone was deep disappointment as the COP-6 climate change negotiations closed unresolved. Unfortunately, 183 governments need more than two weeks to settle how the world will contend with such a complex issue. The next round of negotiations will continue in spring 2001 – in the meantime, the world keeps heating up. Much of the criticism focuses on U.S. intransigence – its insistence on using carbon sinks as a primary method to reduce emissions, rather than direct reductions. It has been shown over and over again that emission reductions are well within our means through simple measures such as energy efficiency standards. But, as Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change points out, it took about 10 years to pass today’s international trade rules and the U.S. Clean Air Act. Many observers indicate that much of the groundwork as been laid to settle the outstanding issues – sinks, supplementarity, compliance, and funding – in the next round of talks. Before the talks began, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change distributed a draft of the first full-scale update of the state of climate change since 1995. The report takes a stronger stand now on the cause […]

Read More

Oil & Coal Companies May Soon Join Tobacco

powerplant80.gif

Environmental organizations are looking at the landmark tobacco industry lawsuits as models to facilitate environmental change. International environmental organizations are building a case for the legal liabilities that may accrue to companies responsible for climate change such as oil, steel, cement, and coal-fired electric companies. Friends of the Earth (FOE) is studying whether to initiate legal action against industrialized countries and private industries that block the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. When FOE discussed the possibility of a global warming damage lawsuit with British Petroleum (BP), BP attorneys responded similary to tobacco industry executives when they testified to the U.S. Congress that tobacco was not proven to be addictive. The BP attorneys said, “Climate change hasn’t been proven.”

Read More

PEW Reports on Climate Change

Of five European Union countries reviewed in a Pew Center on Global Climate Change report, “The European Union and Global Climate Change: A Review of Five National Programmes,” only the United Kingdom is on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitment. reduction target. Germany is the largest EU emitter in the EU and is committed to reducing emissions 21% 1990 levels. Emissions are down by 17%, largely due to dramatic reductions in the former East Germany. The report concludes that despite likely additional programs and strong political commitment, reductions are unlikely to continue at the same pace, and it will be difficult for Germany to reach its Kyoto target. Germany has a varied program to reduce emissions ranging from green taxes to renewable energy. The United Kingdom has committed to reducing emissions by 12.5% below 1990 levels and emissions are down 14.6%, primarily from shifting from coal to natural gas. The UK program encourages renewable energy, encourages fuel-efficient vehicles through green taxes and plans to introduce an emissions trading system. The Netherlands committed to reduce emissions by 6% below 1990 levels, but CO2 emissions have increased by 17% despite strong political will. The country plans to purchase half its reductions […]

Read More

Can We Avoid Reducing Emissions?

Should carbon sequestation (using vegetation to absorb carbon) get the same credit as reducing emissions to meet a country’s Kyoto Protocol obligation? The U.S. argues it should; Europe is against it. The Gallon Letter published an Internet discussion amoung several scientists on the validity of sequestation. Folke Bohlin, professor, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Forest Management: “Carbon sequestration in biomass (CSB) is a dead issue for three major reasons and many lesser ones. 1) Carbon sequestered in biomass will be let loose eventually. To start building “CO2 bombs” might be considered a desperate measure when all other avenues are closed, not now while we still can do more effective things like getting rid of the carbon altogether. 2) CSB is exceedingly expensive, the opportunity cost of not harvesting at the appropriate time is very costly. Nevertheless one can always find many cases when this opportunity cost is less obvious, e.g., on low producing “waste lands” in the tropics, or, in the forests left uncut in the North. Those waste lands are being used by for grazing or other purposes, and as soon as the timber price goes up those forests will be cut down.” 3) Even with millions […]

Read More

U.S. Mayors Call on Congress to Address Climate Change

City Mayors passed a resolution 78-36 to reduce global warming during the U.S. National Conference of Mayors in June. The resolution calls on Congress and the Administration to fully fund the Clean Air Partnership Fund – which provides grants to states and municipalities to reduce emissions – and to support tax incentives and targeted investments that will accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. They note that scientific evidence demonstrates that global warming is a serious threat and that its impacts and costs are already being felt in the form of extreme weather events adding up to an estimated $140 billion in property damage. The group points to energy and transportation efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, and renewable energy programs as key methods to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to save money, create jobs and strengthen the local economy.

Read More

Sweden Continues Green Role Modeling

A government appointed committee on climate change has been charged with developing a strategic plan to cut Sweden’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050. The group will also propose how the country should meet it Kyoto Protocol obligation to reduce emissions by two percent under 1990 levels between 2008-2012. The plan is expected to rely on energy efficiency incentives, emissions-based vehicle taxes, and wind subsidies. It may include the phase out of three greenhouse gas emissions – hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – along with emissions trading of the other three gases. A three-year public information campaign will be used to prepare citizens for the impact of the measures. A plan to increase green taxes by five to seven percent over the next 10 years is included in the draft 2001 Swedish budget. Euros 3.6 billion (~US$3.46 billion) in taxes would be applied to the energy, transportation and agriculture sectors. It includes adjustments to green taxes currently in place as well as new measures to promote sustainable development, biological diversity, environmental monitoring and adult education. The final budget will be presented in the Fall. Source: Tax News Update

Read More

Enron Online for Real-Time Trades

Enron launched a real-time online trading system that enables visitors to buy from or sell to Enron hundreds of energy-related products and other commodities in markets throughout the world. Visitors can buy and sell sulfur dioxide, carbon emissions, and weather derivatives as well as traditional commodities such as electric power, natural gas, coal, pulp and paper, and petrochemicals. There is no charge for the service. [sorry this link is no longer available]

Read More

Ford & DaimlerChrysler Exit the Global Climate Coalition

Ford Motor Company and DaimlerChrysler quit the Global Climate Coalition, an industry group that lobbies against restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, arguing that the science linking them to global warming is unsound. In leaving the Coalition, both companies pointed to the credible evidence that links greenhouse gases to global warming and stated that membership in the GCC is impeding their ability to make progress on environmental initiatives. Both companies also remain opposed to the Kyoto agreement; Ford because of the treaty’s exemptions for developing nations and DaimlerChrysler because of its preference for technological solutions. Ford is the first member of GCCs board to leave. British Petroleum, Shell Oil, and Dow Chemical left the coalition over the past two years. This month yet another report was issued stating the warming of the Earth’s surface is “undoubtedly real,” this time by researchers of the National Academies of Sciences. It finds that surface temperatures in the past two decades have risen at a rate substantially greater than average for the past 100 years.

Read More

Companies Voluntarily Reduce Greenhouse Emissions

According to an Energy Information Administration (EIA) study, “Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases 1998,” 187 U.S. companies and other organizations reported 1,500 greenhouse gas emissions projects in 1998. They claimed reductions or offsets of 210 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of 3.2 percent of total U.S. emissions for the year. This is three times the amount reported in 1994 when the program began as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Greenhouse Gas Performance Software, developed by GreenWare Environmental Systems Inc., helps businesses measure, monitor and report emissions. As company divisions enter data it is seamlessly integrated for the parent company. Companies can determine their current performance by using the database of greenhouse gas performance indicators, as well as set targets for improvement in energy use and environmental performance. Best practices and benchmarking can be easily achieved across facilities. It works for companies of all sizes. Sustainability Report-building software will be available soon. Contact: greeninfo@greenware.com http://www.greenware.com

Read More