| SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - October to December 2007
21 December 2007
AVIATION EMISSIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE - WILL THE EU FINALLY REACH AGREEMENT ON MEASURES TO REDUCE CO2?
Council seals deal on aviation carbon trading
ENDS Europe DAILY 2454 - 20 December 2007
EU governments have reached political agreement on draft legislation
to include airlines in the bloc's carbon emission trading scheme
(ETS). The deal was hammered out at a meeting of environment
ministers in Brussels on Thursday.
Under the compromise all flights entering and leaving the EU would
fall under the scheme at the same time, in January 2012. They would
thus participate in the final year of the ETS's second phase. The
decision to include all flights simultaneously was taken after
various countries expressed concerns that the competitiveness of EU
carriers would be damaged by a two-phase inclusion.
The number of allowances in 2012 would be capped at 100 per cent of
average emission levels over 2004-6.
This is less environmentally
ambitious than the 90 per cent cap proposed by the European
parliament in its first reading. The compromise agreement says allocations for the scheme's third phase (2013-20) should also be capped at 100 per cent, but this figure could be amended in a planned
review of the EU ETS.
Ministers agreed that ten per cent of allowances should be auctioned
for the sector's first year in the ETS. But one sticking point was
how governments should invest auction revenues. In the end
governments agreed that revenues "should" be used to tackle climate
change and cover the administrative costs of the system, but the
final decision is left entirely to member states.
Governments also agreed to set aside three per cent of total
allowances during the third ETS phase for new airlines joining the
scheme, or for fast-growth airlines whose traffic increases by more
than 18 per cent annually. This is to allow for the expected growth
in aviation among the EU's newer member states.
Agreement had seemed unlikely during a public debate of the proposals
earlier in the day, when delegation after delegation set out
differing positions on the key issues. But ministers were acutely
aware of the need to translate the commitments voiced in Bali last
week into concrete action and the deal was eventually secured after
the Portuguese EU presidency tabled a compromise text.
Once the council has formally approved the agreement in the new year,
the proposals will go back to the parliament for a second reading.
OUR COMMENT: If emissions have to be capped at 2004-2006 levels the government's prophesies of a big increase in the number of passengers in the years up to 2020 ought to be rethought. How will the carbon implications of this big increase in the number of flights be dealt with? Will other business sections be able and willing to sell some of their hard earned savings? Or will the expanding airlines go touting around the third world looking for sellers? Any available carbon arising from the undeveloped countries should be credited to them, they need air transport more than the west needs more holidays!
We suggest that the easiest and fairest cap is a freeze on the expansion of EU airports, the priority being a freeze on the number of flights rather than the number of passengers.
21 December 2007
SSE WARNING OVER AIRPORT 'SLOWDOWN'
Herts & Essex Observer - 20 December 2007
SSE has expressed concern this week ? about FEWER flights from Stansted airport.
The campaigners flagged up a slowdown at the BAA base and campaign director Carol Barbone said: "We take no comfort from the present uncertainty at Stansted airport. We have always acknowledged that the airport is an important local employer, but there are risks to over-expansion not least the risk of the local economy becoming over-dependent on a single employer. This is a vibrant and diverse local economy and we should keep it that way. Nobody knows what the future might hold and so it makes sense to avoid having too many eggs in one basket."
Her comments were prompted by figures from the operator, published last week which showed Stansted handled 1.55m passengers in November, down 6.3% on the same month last year. For the year to date, passenger numbers in 2007 so just a 1% increase over last year.
SSE claimed that was evidence of a "substantial slowdown" compared to annual growth of 15-20% in recent years - although those figures were disputed by BAA.
SSE backed its allegations by pointing out that Stansted's biggest customer, Ryanair, has withdrawn 10 aircraft from service, while Air Berlin, the base's third largest carrier, had also cut back. Meanwhile, the main translantic carrier Maxjet, was "understood to be in financial difficulties" having recorded a loss of $112m since it started operations at Stansted two years ago. Last week it asked for trading in its shares to be immediately suspended "pending clarification of its financial position".
SSE also said that the slowdown was fuelling fears of job cuts at Stansted. The organisation claimed that it had inside information about the rationalisation or relocation of departments at the airport.
The claims were dismissed as piecemeal points by a BAA spokesman, who explained that the new figures simply showed that the operator's forecasts of growth to around 35mppa on the existing runway ? rather than the inflated statistics used as scare tactics by critics ? were correct.
He said the changes imposed by the carriers included normal seasonal adjustments and that Ryanair was already planning to base 40 aircraft at Stansted next summer.
He added that it had been well known since last February that a rationalisation programme to put passengers first was underway at all BAA airports and that staff restructuring was part of that process.
OUR COMMENT: Weren't passengers interests first before?
21 December 2007
WORLD AGREES ROAD MAP TO POST-2012 CLIMATE PACT
ENDS Europe DAILY 2451 - 17 December 2007
World governments agreed a negotiating framework to decide a new
global climate policy by 2009 at the UN climate conference in Bali,
Indonesia on Saturday.
The Bali road-map commits all developed countries to quantified
greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and says "deep cuts" will
be needed. Developing countries will commit to "appropriate
mitigation actions" (see road-map summary in separate article, this
Upon the insistence of the US, the road-map suggests no concrete
emission reduction targets. But a footnote makes reference to
documents from the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC)
which say reductions of up to 40 per cent by 2020 are needed to head
off dangerous climate change.
The agreement came on Saturday afternoon after a sleepless night of
high drama. Emotional speeches led by UN secretary-general Ban Ki
Moon and Indonesian president Susilo Bambang eventually prompted the
US to drop opposition to wording changes on developing country
commitments. This led to cheers for the US delegation.
"We consider this to be a historical day with a historical outcome,
everything will be different in relation to climate change,"
Portuguese environment minister Francisco Correia Nunes said on
behalf of the EU.
The UN climate convention's secretary, Yvo de Boer, described the new
agreement as "ambitious" - because it "very clearly" references the
IPCC science - "transparent" - because it specifically asks business
and civil society for input - and "flexible" - because it brings on
board all developed and developing countries.
The business community welcomed the deal. "We are deeply satisfied,"
said Guy Sebban of the International chamber of commerce (ICC). "Now
that we have a better perspective of what lies ahead, companies can
better design their research and development programmes and their
But others reached different conclusions. Carbon market expert Abyd
Karmali of Merrill Lynch said the absence of concrete emission
reduction targets in the road-map was a disappointment. And
Greenpeace lamented the lack of references to "crucial cuts" and the
"relegation of science to a footnote".
Meanwhile there was general approval for consensuses reached on
tackling emissions from deforestation, on enhancing technology
development and transfer, and on stimulating financial flows to fund
all climate change-related action.
Despite the optimism generated by the outcome at Bali, the next two
years of talks promise to be difficult. Some observers say the US's
ongoing "major emitters" initiative may complicate the process.
Several media reported US officials saying that they had "serious
concerns" about the Bali deal. White House spokesman Dana Perino
said climate negotiators "must give sufficient emphasis to the
important and appropriate role that the larger emitting developing
countries should play" - a clear reference to India and China.
In a separate agreement in Bali, parties to the Kyoto protocol agreed
to be fully guided by the IPCC's recommendations in setting a second
round of commitments by 2009. It is intended for the two tracks - the
Bali road-map and Kyoto - eventually to merge. A review of the
protocol, which will focus also on how to enhance carbon markets, was
21 December 2007
BALI DEAL SETS TERMS FOR TWO YEARS OF TALKS
ENDS Europe DAILY 2451 - 17 December 2007
The road-map agreed in Bali at the weekend fires the starting gun for
two years of negotiations which, if successful, will culminate in a
new global climate policy in Copenhagen in late 2009.
Here are the key parts of the new agreement as set out in the
Governments have agreed to "urgently enhance" the implementation of
the UN's framework climate change convention. Climate warming is
"unequivocal" and delay in reducing emissions "significantly" will
"increase the risk of more severe climate change impacts".
Governments recognise that "deep cuts in global emissions will be
Countries have decided to launch a "comprehensive process" to
implement a "shared vision for long-term cooperative action". This
will include a "long-term global goal for emission reductions" on the
established UN principle of "common but differentiated
responsibilities" and taking into account social and economic
For industrialised countries the talks will consider "measurable,
reportable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation
commitments or actions," including "quantified emission limitation
and reduction objectives by all developed countries". But the
agreement must ensure "comparability of efforts among them", taking
into account "differences in their national circumstances".
Developing countries will consider "nationally appropriate mitigation
actions". These will be "supported and enabled by technology,
financing and capacity-building in a measurable, reportable and
There will be "policy approaches" and "positive incentives" in the
new global deal to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest
degradation in developing countries. Attention will be paid to the
role of conservation, sustainable forest management and the
"enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries".
There should be "cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-specific
actions" to enhance transfer of technologies that reduce emissions of
greenhouse gases. There should also be "enhanced action" on
technology transfer and financing, including "positive incentives"
for developing countries to increase their mitigation and adaptation
Talks to agree the policy should begin "without delay" and be
completed by 2009. Organising the work to draft a deal "will require
a significant amount of additional resources."
21 December 2007
BACK TO SQUARE ONE?
US POURS COLD WATER ON BALI OPTIMISM
White House wants more from India and China
Future negotiations to achieve cuts made difficult
Environment Editor - The Guardian - 17 December 2007
The US backtracked yesterday on the climate change agreement reached after marathon talks in Bali, saying it had "serious concerns" about the new global consensus and that developing countries had to do far more if there was to be any pact in two years' time.
The reality check followed the drama and euphoria of the weekend when the US was shamed into joining the rest of the world in working towards a new climate change agreement to come into force after 2012. All 190 countries have agreed to take the talks further.
But the White House press secretary, Dana Perino, poured cold water on the Bali result, saying the talks had not adequately addressed the responsibilities of developing countries. "The US does have serious concerns. Negotiations must [now] proceed on the view that the problem of climate change cannot be adequately addressed through commitments for emissions cuts by developed countries alone."
In a clear signal that the US would agree to nothing unless China and India, the two largest developing countries, agreed to significant cuts, she said that account had to be taken of the size of countries' emissions as well as their level of economic advancement. China's emissions are on a level with those of the US but on a per capita level, each American emits far more than a Chinese. "For these negotiations to succeed, it is essential the major developed and developing countries be prepared to negotiate commitments that will make a due contribution to the reduction of global emissions," she said.
During the Bali talks the EU, China and most developing countries pressed strongly for rich countries to cut their emissions 25-40%. This was rejected by the US and the figures were relegated to the final text to a footnote. The final text does however acknowledge that "deep cuts" in global emissions will be required.
Yesterday international groups said a close study of the agreed text suggested that the world's biggest carbon polluters had been effectively allowed to carry on as before. Despite the scientific evidence, the 25-40% emission reduction range now risks being watered down. Japan, Canada and Russia have already made it clear they will resist taking on these targets, an Oxfam spokesman said.
"Ministers from some industrialised countries let down the people of the world. They reached agreement on a way forward but with little to guide them along the way. Future talks will now face a serious uphill battle," said Stephanie Long of Friends of the Earth International.
The talks were described as a "historic breakthrough" by the environment secretary, Hilary Benn. "For the first time, all the nations in the world have agreed to negotiate a deal to tackle dangerous climate change. What we have achieved has never been done before. Now we must make it work."
He was supported by business. "Now the hard part begins. Binding emission targets have to be set. This will create a very substantial market opportunity and then we will see the power of private money working for a moral purpose," said a spokesman for Climate Change Capital, a British carbon trading investment bank.
Global concerns - Plus
* All countries, including the US, have made a commitment to make "deep cuts" in greenhouse gas emissions. Two years of negotiations will now start
* Rich countries have agreed that poor countries must be given money to help them adapt to climate change
* Money may also go to countries not to cut down or degrade forests - one of the most serious sources of climate change emissions
* Developing countries will be helped to cut emissions with a transfer of new technologies
* Small-scale projects intended to cut emissions will be helped more
* The least developed countries will be given extra help to adapt
Global concerns - Minus
* No clear goals or timetables were set for emission reductions, only vague guidelines that "deep cuts" should be made. These could be watered down
* No significant extra money was pledged until after 2012 to help poor countries adapt now
* No binding targets were set for future funding. It is expected to cost poor countries in the region of £25bn a year to adapt to climate change
* There is a danger that climate change money will not go to benefit local people and could even be taken from existing development aid budgets
* Extra forestry money could be hijacked by industry for plantations
We've been suckered again by the US. So far the Bali deal is worse than Kyoto. America will keep on wrecking climate talks as long as those with vested interests in oil and gas fund its political system.
George Monbiot's view:
'After 11 days of negotiations, governments have come up with a compromise deal that could even lead to emission increases. The highly compromised political deal is largely attributable to the position of the United States, which was heavily influenced by fossil fuel and automobile industry interests. The failure to reach agreement led to the talks spilling over into an all-night session.'
These are extracts from a press release by Friends of the Earth. So what? Well it was published on December 11 - I mean to say, December 11 1997. The US had just put a wrecking ball through the Kyoto protocol. George Bush was innocent; he was busy executing prisoners in Texas. Its climate negotiators were led by Albert Arnold Gore.
The European Union had asked for greenhouse gas cuts of 15% by 2010. Gore's team drove them down to 5.2% by 2012. Then the Americans did something worse: they destroyed the whole agreement.
Most of the other governments insisted that the cuts be made at home. But Gore demanded a series of loopholes big enough to drive a Hummer through. The rich nations, he said, should be allowed to buy their cuts from other countries. When he won, the protocol created an exuberant global market in fake emissions cuts. The western nations could buy "hot air" from the former Soviet Union. Because the cuts were made against emissions in 1990, and because industry in that bloc had subsequently collapsed, the former Soviet Union countries would pass well below the bar. Gore's scam allowed them to sell the gases they weren't producing to other nations. He also insisted that rich nations could buy nominal cuts from poor ones. Entrepreneurs in India and China have made billions by building factories whose primary purpose is to produce greenhouse gases, so that carbon traders in the rich world will pay to clean them up.
The result of this sabotage is that the market for low-carbon technologies has remained moribund. Without an assured high value for carbon cuts, without any certainty that government policies will be sustained, companies have continued to invest in the safe commercial prospects offered by fossil fuels rather than gamble on a market without an obvious floor.
By ensuring that the rich nations would not make real cuts, Gore also guaranteed that the poor ones scoffed when we asked them to do as we don't. When George Bush announced, in 2001, that he would not ratify the Kyoto protocol, the world cursed and stamped its foot. But his intransigence affected only the US. Gore's team ruined it for everyone.
The destructive power of the American delegation is not the only thing that hasn't changed. After the Kyoto protocol was agreed, the then British environment secretary, John Prescott, announced: "This is a truly historic deal which will help curb the problems of climate change. For the first time it commits developed countries to make legally binding cuts in their emissions." Ten years later, the current environment secretary, Hilary Benn, told us that "This is an historic breakthrough and a huge step forward. For the first time ever, all the world's nations have agreed to negotiate on a deal to tackle dangerous climate change." Do these people have a chip inserted?
In both cases, the US demanded terms that appeared impossible for the other nations to accept. Before Kyoto, the other negotiators flatly rejected Gore's proposals for emissions trading. So his team threatened to sink the talks. The other nations capitulated, but the US still held out on technicalities until the very last moment, when it suddenly appeared to concede. In 1997 and in 2007 it got the best of both worlds: it wrecked the treaty and was praised for saving it.
Hilary Benn is an idiot. Our diplomats are suckers. American negotiators have pulled the same trick twice, and for the second time our governments have fallen for it.
There are still two years to go, but so far the new agreement is even worse than the Kyoto protocol. It contains no targets and no dates. A new set of guidelines also agreed at Bali extend and strengthen the worst of Gore's trading scams, the clean development mechanism. Benn and the other dupes are cheering and waving their hats as the train leaves the station at last, having failed to notice that it is travelling in the wrong direction.
Although Gore does a better job of governing now he is out of office, he was no George Bush. He wanted a strong, binding and meaningful protocol, but American politics had made it impossible. In July 1997, the Senate had voted 95-0 to sink any treaty which failed to treat developing countries in the same way as it treated the rich ones. Though they knew this was impossible for developing countries to accept, all the Democrats lined up with all the Republicans. The Clinton administration had proposed a compromise: instead of binding commitments for the developing nations, Gore would demand emissions trading. But even when he succeeded, he announced that "we will not submit this agreement for ratification [in the Senate] until key developing nations participate". Clinton could thus avoid an unwinnable war.
So why, regardless of the character of its leaders, does the US act this way? Because, like several other modern democracies, it is subject to two great corrupting forces. I have written before about the role of the corporate media - particularly in the US - in downplaying the threat of climate change and demonising anyone who tries to address it. I won't bore you with it again, except to remark that at 3pm eastern standard time on Saturday, there were 20 news items on the front page of the Fox News website. The climate deal came 20th, after "Bikini-wearing stewardesses sell calendar for charity" and "Florida store sells 'Santa Hates You' T-shirt".
Let us consider instead the other great source of corruption: campaign finance. The Senate rejects effective action on climate change because its members are bought and bound by the companies that stand to lose. When you study the tables showing who gives what to whom, you are struck by two things.
One is the quantity. Since 1990, the energy and natural resources sector - mostly coal, oil, gas, logging and agribusiness - has given $418m to federal politicians in the US. Transport companies have given $355m. The other is the width: the undiscriminating nature of this munificence. The big polluters favour the Republicans, but most of them also fund Democrats. During the 2000 presidential campaign, oil and gas companies lavished money on Bush, but they also gave Gore $142,000, while transport companies gave him $347,000. The whole US political system is in hock to people who put their profits ahead of the biosphere.
So don't believe all this nonsense about waiting for the next president to sort it out. This is a much bigger problem than George Bush. Yes, he is viscerally opposed to tackling climate change. But viscera don't have much to do with it. Until the American people confront their political funding system, their politicians will keep speaking from the pocket, not the gut.
21 December 2007
A CHANGE OF HEART?
IN AN ABOUT TURN, BUSH SIGNS CLIMATE CHANGE BILL
Energy law sets efficiency levels for cars and homes
Environmentalists say measures are too limited
Ewen MacAskill in Washington - The Guardian - 20 December 2007
President George Bush, after years of holding out against proposals to combat climate change, yesterday signed into law an energy bill establishing higher fuel-economy standards for new cars and other conservation measures.
Bush described the bill as "a major step toward energy independence and easing global warming". The White House claimed it went part of the way to fulfilling promises made at the environmental conference in Bali last week.
The legislation, though limited in scope, represents the biggest fuel efficiency push by the US since the 1970s oil crisis. The new law also contains provisions to increase the use of ethanol as an alternative to petrol.
Other measures in the legislation include a statutory target of a 70% increase in use of energy efficient lightbulbs and improved energy efficiency targets for fridges, freezers and dishwashers. Federal buildings will also have to become more energy efficient.
The reaction of environmentalists was mixed: grateful that the White House has belatedly adopted some of the policies they have been advocating but warning that the measures were too limited and not due to be implemented for years.
Throughout most of his presidency, Bush has disputed scientific evidence about global warming, refusing to sign up for the Kyoto treaty setting targets for reducing greenhouse gases. Over the last year, he has publicly softened his stance, acknowledging there is a crisis, though administration officials say that in private he continues to be sceptical.
The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday by 314 to 100, with 95 Republicans supporting the Democrats. The Senate approved it last week by 86-8. The bill was sent to the White House in a hybrid car, using a mixture of electricity and petrol.
As well as the Democratic-led Congress pushing proposals to tackle global warming, individual states, with California in the vanguard, have been putting in place energy-saving measures at variance with the Bush administration's position.
The new legislation requires cars and light trucks to increase fuel efficiency by 40%, setting a standard of an average of 35 miles a gallon by 2020, as opposed to 25 miles at present. Bush had previously opposed regulations on petrol use.
The Democrats said the legislation will reduce US demand for oil by 4m barrels a day by 2030, more than twice the present daily imports from the Gulf. They said the fuel economy requirements will save motorists $700 to $1,000 a year in costs.
In order to get the bill through, Democrats had to drop from it a $21bn (£10.5bn) tax package that would have reduced breaks for the biggest oil and gas companies and extended breaks for wind and solar projects. Bush threatened to veto any bill containing these measures.
12 December 2007
AVIATION EMISSIONS WON'T GO AWAY
UK's official CO2 figures an illusion - new report
David Adam, Bali - The Guardian - 10 December 2007
Britain is responsible for hundreds of millions more tonnes of greenhouse gas than official figures admit, according to a new report that undermines UK claims to lead the worlds on action against global warming.
The analysis says pollution from aviation, shipping, overseas trade and tourism, which are not measured in the official figures, means that UK carbon consumption has risen significantly over the past decade, and that the government's claims to have tackled global warming are a "delusion".
The report, from a team of economists led by Dieter Helm at Oxford University could prove embarrassing for Britain's negotiators at the UN summit in Basli, where they are trying to persuade countries including the US and China to agree a new world wide Treaty to limit the effects of global warming.
Britain is seen as a main player as the talks enter a second week, partly because it is one of the few countries on track to reduce its emissions as required under the Kyoto agreement, the existing global plan to curb carbon emissions.
Ministers are due to arrive for the high level segment of the talks on Wednesday. By Friday they aim to agree a road map and timetable for a treaty to succeed Kyoto in 2012. Under Kyoto, Britain must reduce its greenhouse output to 12.5% below 1990 levels by 2012. According to official figures files with the UN, Britain's emissions are currently down 15% compared with 1990.
But the new report says that UK carbon output has actually risen during this period, once the missing emissions are included in the figures.
The report says "This is a dramatic reversal of fortune. It merits an immediate, more detailed and more robust assessment. It suggests that the decline in greenhouse gas emissions from the UK economy may have been to a considerable degree, an illusion."
The new analysis measures the UK's consumption of carbon, rather than production. It includes energy used to make products and ship them to the UK from countries such as China, as well as the carbon footprint of British citizens abroad.
Helm, who is a government adviser, says: "The implications for the UK are stark. The UK has not yet, as ministers have repeatedly claimed, emphatically broken the link between rising growth and emissions. To reduce carbon consumption in the UK would demand much more radical policies. Excluding carbon imports and excluding aviation provides an artificial picture. We have to take responsibility for the carbon we consume."
The new figures, which are approximate and need more research, threaten the government's pledge to reduce emissions by 60% by 2050, he said.
"This puts us in a completely different starting position. We need to move on from all the self-congratulations over meeting the targetb set by Kyoto and look at the real effect of policies."
The report says that Britain's success in meeting its Kyoto target is not related to climate policies but the result of a major shift from coal to gas for power generation in the 1990s, and the closure of much of the country's heavy industry. The report says the resulting drop in carbon emissions "gives the impression that the UK is winning the fight against climate change and it leads people to think that the UK is reducing its dependence on polluting activities."
OUR COMMENT: Anyone attending the Stansted Inquiry would have been well aware of these conclusions, though the concept of also including energy used to produce imports is a new one and clearly justified.
12 December 2007
WORLD MINISTERS FACE HEFTY WORKLOAD IN BALI
ENDS Europe DAILY 2447 - 11 December 2007
World environment ministers arriving in Bali for the final three days
of the UN's annual climate conference. The most controversial
element facing the ministers during the high-level segment of the
event is the level of ambition that should be written into a roadmap
for a new global climate policy by 2009.
Over the last week-and-a-half government negotiators from around the
world have unanimously agreed that formal negotiations must be
launched on a new climate treaty for when the first commitment period
of the Kyoto protocol ends in 2012. And all except China have
committed to an end-date of 2009 for the negotiations.
But it is the third goal of the talks - to decide a substantial work
plan for the next two years - that is proving difficult.
On Monday lead US negotiator Harlan Watson told reporters that
America wanted no numbers suggesting emission reductions that
developed countries should commit to, or what a potential temperature
rise should be limited to.
"This might prejudge the outcomes [of negotiations over the next two
years]," Mr Watson said. Japan, Australia and Canada have all been
sympathetic to the US position.
One draft negotiating text that emerged over the weekend did in fact
suggest numbers: it said there should be 25-40 per cent emission
reductions by developed countries by 2020, relative to 1990, and that
global emissions must peak within the next 10-15 years and be cut by
"well over" half by 2050, relative to 2000.
The EU and the UN's framework climate convention secretariat, led by
Yvo de Boer, have consistently supported both of these goals. Yet
behind the scenes, EU sources suggest there may be some room for
manoeuvre. Mr de Boer also confirmed as much on Tuesday.
When asked whether he would consider a Bali roadmap that did not
contain the 25-40 per cent wording a failure, he said: "No - specific
targets you should discuss at the end [of the two-year negotiation
How ministers choose to word the level of ambition in the road map
depends in part on the other elements that the road map contains.
These other elements include climate adaptation measures,
deforestation policy, technology transfer, the carbon market and the
potential inclusion of aviation and shipping emissions.
The first three are what developing countries are most interested in.
They have consistently called for more support from their developed
counterparts on these issues. Two achievements on Tuesday were
agreement on the structure of a UN adaptation fund and the World
Bank's launch of a fund to help developing countries reduce emissions
from deforestation and land degradation.
Discussions on technology transfer are ongoing and this will also be
debated by ministers. One proposal is a technology leveraging
facility that would help developing countries prepare proposals to
enlist help from international financial institutions in meeting
their technology needs.
On other issues, countries agreed for the first time to consider
whether carbon capture and storage projects could be included in the
clean development mechanism (CDM). A decision is due next year.
Support for including aviation and maritime emissions in a post-2012
agreement looks uncertain.
12 December 2007
ACT NOW OR PREPARE FOR DISASTER,
SCIENTISTS TELL CLIMATE CONFERENCE
Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter - The Times - 6 December 2007
Any delay in reaching an agreement to tackle global warming would be disastrous, leading climate scientists said yesterday.
More than 200 scientists signed a declaration urging politicians at the United Nations climate change conference in Bali to reach agreement on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than half. The declaration was drawn up amid fears that delegates would try to delay taking action or weaken the measures necessary to combat climate change.
The signatories said that temperature rises brought about by global warming must be no higher than 2C (3.6F) and that emissions of greenhouse gases must start falling within 15 years. They were particularly concerned that politicians from the 180 countries represented at the conference would argue that they needed more time to assess the impacts of global warming before signing up to a deal.
The Bali Climate Declaration by Scientists, due to be released this morning, was organised by researchers from the University of New South Wales. It is based on the results of three major studies carried out this year and highlights the costs of inaction.
The declaration echoes the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the world's weather is "warming rapidly" and that it is virtually certain that the increases have been caused largely by human activities, notably through carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere.
"If this trend is not halted soon, many millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, our coasts and cities will be threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species will be in serious danger of extinction," the declaration says.
"Global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by at least 50 per cent below their 1990 levels by the year 2050 . . . In order to stay below 2C, global emissions must peak and decline in the next ten to fifteen years, so there is no time to lose."
Among the signatories were experts from Britain, the United States, Russia, India, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and several European countries.
Professor Corinne Le Quéré, of the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey, said that the declaration was intended to remind delegates of their duty and to prevent compromise and shilly-shallying. "We have as scientists done our jobs in doing the IPCC reports earlier this year. Now other people have to take over, but we are concerned they will not realise the urgency of the actions which are needed," she said.
"There might be a lot of argument among delegates about, for example, restricting temperature rises ? they might argue for 3C or 4C. The declaration is trying to emphasise 2C. They might try to gain time and let things go for a decade or two to see what happens. We don't have time for that. There is no time to waste. I urge the negotiators in Bali to stand up to the challenge and set strong binding targets for the benefit of the world population."
The conference is not expected to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but delegates are hopeful that a "road map" can be agreed, setting out the dates by which consensus needs to be reached. If successful, the road map will chart a pathway to a final agreement on targets to be signed in 2009, ready to be put into effect by 2013.
The conference in Bali started on Monday and will continue next week, when environment ministers from around the world will arrive in the Indonesian resort. Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, and Phil Woolas, the Environment Minister, will be among the British delegation at the conference next week.
The Bali Declaration
* The 2007 IPCC report, compiled by several hundred climate scientists, has unequivocally concluded that our climate is warming rapidly, and that we are now at least 90 per cent certain this is mostly due to human activities. The amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere now far exceeds the natural range of the past 650,000 years, and it is rising very quickly due to human activity.
* If this trend is not halted soon, many millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, our coasts and cities will be threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species will be in serious danger of extinction.
* The next round of focused negotiations for a new global climate treaty (within the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process) needs to begin in December 2007 and be completed by 2009. The prime goal of this new regime must be to limit global warming to no more than 2C [3.6F] above the preindustrial temperature, a limit that has already been formally adopted by the European Union and a number of other countries.
* Based on current scientific understanding, this requires that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by at least 50 per cent below their 1990 levels by the year 2050. In the long run, greenhouse gas concentrations need to be stabilised at a level well below 450 parts per million (measured in CO2-equivalent concentration). In order to stay below 2C, global emissions must peak and decline in the next ten to fifteen years, so there is no time to lose.
* As scientists, we urge the negotiators to reach an agreement that takes these targets as a minimum requirement for a fair and effective global climate agreement.
12 December 2007
EXTRA FUEL BURNT IN AIR FEE DODGE
BBC News - 3 December 2007
Tango routes incur fewer aircraft control charges
Airlines are deliberately flying longer routes over the Atlantic Ocean to avoid
paying air traffic control charges, a BBC Investigation has discovered.
Thomas Cook and Monarch frequently burn extra aircraft fuel to avoid higher fees on flights to the Canary Islands. The 100-mile (160km) diversion, known as the tango route, can produce an extra three tonnes of carbon dioxide. Both airlines said they used the routes to avoid air traffic congestion and maintain schedules.
During a month-long investigation the BBC South East team monitored 44 Thomas Cook flights from Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham flying to the Canary Islands and back. "Ultimately the environmental impact comes down to whether the travelling public is prepared to pay" - Monarch Airlines.
The direct route, flying over French, Spanish and Portuguese airspace, incurs £1,578 in air traffic control charges. Tango route costs come to £968 which, allowing for the extra fuel costs, means the airlines would make an annual saving of £99 per flight.
The BBC South East Investigations team was tipped off about tango routes by a Thomas Cook pilot. The pilot, who has asked for anonymity, said: "There are parts of Europe which are cheaper to fly over than other parts. So you can lengthen a flight by maybe fifteen minutes or more to avoid expensive bits of airspace. To get into the tango routes you have to fly out over Ireland."
The BBC team showed the 44 flight plans to a former airline operations director. The director, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "The overall trend is that there is a high proportion of flights taking ocean routes when there was no clear wind advantage to do so.
The CO2 produced was equal to 150 car journeys to Brighton
"I would hazard a guess that overflight charges may have been factored into these routings, owing to the disproportionately higher cost of the direct routing. I can understand why this might be done. The tango routes are quieter, and are less likely to suffer slot restrictions. Airlines may be able to benefit from more punctual schedules. Schedule punctuality is really important for the charters."
Andy Farrar, of Air Data, based in Gatwick, calculated the fuel burnt on a tango route flight from Manchester to Tenerife on 16 November and compared it with an imaginary direct flight.
Mr Farrar said: "The flight which flew over the ocean used 14.7 tonnes of fuel and took four hours 17 minutes. The direct route would have used 13.1 tonnes and have been shorter at three hours 57 minutes."
Mari Martiskainen, a climate expert at the University of Sussex, said the extra fuel would produce three additional tonnes of CO2 per flight. She added: "That's equal to the amount of CO2 emitted by 150 car journeys between London and Brighton."
Thomas Cook's environmental policy is to 'continuously strive to improve our environmental performance and to minimise any negative impact resulting from our operations'. The German-owned company said: "Thomas Cook Airlines can confirm that it does operate routes to the Canary Islands, which include using tango routes. These routes are used when they are the most efficient and when it is necessary to avoid lengthy air traffic control delays caused by airspace congestion in European airspace."
"On the Thomas Cook Airlines flights that used tango routes between the 2nd and 16th November 2007, fuel was saved on more than 75 per cent of these flights."
Luton-based airline Monarch admitted using the tango routes to avoid paying overflight charges but it also said it used them to maintain flight schedules. A spokesman said: "By travelling via these Oceanic routes, the company avoids paying French and/or Spanish overflight charges and instead pays a much smaller Oceanic airspace overflight charge to the UK and Ireland."
"However, this overflight cost saving has to be balanced against the additional mileage which increases both the flight time and fuel-related costs. In a highly competitive marketplace, where customers demand increasingly low fares, we have to manage our costs as tightly as possible. Ultimately the environmental impact comes down to whether the travelling public is prepared to pay."
12 December 2007
NO FRILLS CARRIERS: REVOLUTION OR EVOLUTION?
This report from the CAA has just been published
Jeremy Birch comments from AirportWatch - 10 December 2007
Two main conclusions emerge from this analysis. The first is that, in relation to the leisure market, the advent of no-frills carriers does not appear to have had a notable impact in terms of the income profile of passengers. In fact, the profile of UK leisure passengers is similar between no-frills carriers and full-service carriers, and has changed little over the last decade, and although numbers of leisure passengers from all income groups has increased, the majority of the absolute increase has come from those in higher and middle income and socio-economic groups.
The second main conclusion is that no-frills carriers have had a noticeable impact on the profile of business passengers. Passengers travelling on business have lower incomes overall now than ten years ago, and this is true across all airline types. This suggests that no-frills carriers have had a beneficial effect here, as the factors that have made trips more viable for lower income business passengers, in particular the removal of fare restrictions and the availability of lower fares to and from more destinations, particularly from the UK
regions, have resulted directly from the entry of no-frills carriers.
(However, the lower fares have not "democratized" flights ? so, taxes etc that might raise fares would not penalise the poor, neither are the destinations offered always attractive to business interests.)
A graph shows that average one way fares paid by UK passengers for business passengers has fallen from £220 to £110 from 1993 to 2006 (a 50% drop), but the fares for leisure passengers only dropped from £110 to £75 (a 32% drop). (This is well above the £10 fares that are consistently advertised.)
Also of interest is a figure (4.3) which shows that full service airlines carry about 42% business customers and 58% leisure, whereas no-frills carry 22% business vs 78% leisure (from 2005 CAA passenger survey).
Broken down by carrier it may of be of interest to those airports facing a no-frills explosion (these figures are for UK to EU and UK domestic, not long haul and are approximate, calculated from the graphs):
BA & other full service - 55% business
easyJet - 30% business
Ryanair - 23% business
Other no frills - 25% business
1 December 2007
ANOTHER PROTEST FROM THE MINISTER
'Heathrow debate is open and democratic'
Reader's Letters - The Guardian - 24 November 2007
I am disappointed at your cynical assessment of the government's consultation on the future of Heathrow (Leader 23rd November). We want to hear as many views as possible and we will take each and every one into account. The consultation document sets out detailed evidence on how development at Heathrow might be possible within the strict environmental limits on which we are insisting. This evidence is of course open to scrutiny and challenge.
Our programme of public exhibitions around the areas affected by the airport gives people the chance to probe the issues more fully and to respond to us directly. It is true that we have drawn on data from expert bodies, including the Civil Aviation Authority and the Airport owner BAA, in our calculations, but the final analysis on which we invite public comment is ours alone. The government previously consulted on increasing airport capacity before giving conditional support for a third runway at Heathrow in the 2003 White Paper. The present consultation is part of a transparent public process. This is not a 'closed debate', this is democracy.
Ruth Kelly MP
Minister of State for Transport
OUR COMMENT: We are glad to know that the Minister appears to accept that the 2003 White Paper can be questioned. In addition, the democratic process should include a ministerial commitment to accept an Inspector?s advice when this becomes available in the course of the planning procedures.
1 December 2007
Reader's Letters - The Guardian - 24 November 2007
Can I correct the impression your Leader may have given that I think the campaign against the expansion of Heathrow cannot be won? It's true that I feel that the campaign cannot be won within the narrow parameters in which Ruth Kelly has chosen to frame the consultation. She has excluded the full noise impacts and she has omitted altogether the climate change impacts. But that does not mean the campaign against expansion is doomed. It can be won if we succeed in both widening out the debate and harnessing the considerable opposition.
During the consultation we intend to challenge Kelly on the big issues: economics, climate change, noise. And, most importantly, that challenge will come not just from residents, but from the broadest and biggest coalition ever assembled against airport expansion in this country: all the local councils, virtually every MP in the area, the mayor of London, the London Assembly, leading environmental organisations such as Greenpeace and the National Trust, as well as a direct action movement invigorated by the climate camp held outside Heathrow in the summer.
Chair, Hacan (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise)
1 December 2007
CLIMATE CHIEF CALLS FOR 80% CUTS IN GREENHOUSE GAS
David Adam - The Guardian - 30 November 2007
Sir Nicholas Stern, the government adviser on the economics of climate change and development, has urged nations to agree on ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or face the "destructive" consequences of global warming.
Writing in today's Guardian, Stern, who produced a high-profile review of the economics of climate change last year, says rich countries must show leadership at a UN conference in Bali next week and aim for 80% cuts in their own pollution by 2050. The meeting will aim to agree the scope and timescale of a treaty to replace the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2012.
Stern writes: "Ambitious targets for emissions reduction must be at the heart of that agreement, together with effective market mechanisms that encourage emission trading between countries, rich and poor. The problem of climate change involves a fundamental failure of markets: those who damage others by emitting greenhouse gases generally do not pay."
"We risk damages on a scale larger than the two world wars of the past century. The problem is global and the response must be a collaboration on a global scale."
Stern says the response must pay more attention to the issue of equity. "Our starting point is deeply inequitable, with poor countries certain to be hit earliest and hardest by climate change."
The average emissions a head must fall from seven tonnes to two to three tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2050, he says. US emissions a head are more than 20 tonnes each year, with European citizens producing 10-15 tonnes each. In China it is about five tonnes, in India about one, and in Africa less than one tonne each.
Stern says the rich countries also need to provide public funding for three more key elements of a global deal: to combat deforestation, develop technology such as carbon capture and storage, and to help poor and vulnerable regions adapt to the consequences of climate change.
British officials do not expect the conference to produce a significant breakthrough, but they hope countries will agree general principles and set the ground for detailed talks over the next two to three years. Observers say a treaty needs to be finished by 2009-10 to follow Kyoto and allow carbon markets to develop.
Separately, business leaders from 150 global companies will today call for mandatory cuts in carbon to be agreed at Bali. The initiative, led by the Prince of Wales, argues that a "sufficiently ambitious, international and comprehensive legally binding UN agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will provide business with the certainty it needs to scale up global investment in low-carbon technologies."
The group includes Chinese companies such as Shanghai Electric and Suntech, as well as US firms including Nike, Coca-Cola, Gap and Sun Microsystems.
1 December 2007
Leader - Financial Times - 28 November 2007
Any more warnings that time is running out to stop global warming and Hollywood will have the script for a sequel to Groundhog Day. Yesterday's report on climate change by the United Nations Development Programme sounds the latest alarm call. After the shortcomings of Kyoto, it declares, the world has one final chance to avert a disaster.
Like many blockbusters, the report's conclusions are eye-catching. The cost of inaction will be higher than the spending needed to cut carbon emissions. A rise in temperature of 3-4 degrees Celsius could trigger catastrophe, depriving 1.8bn people of plentiful water supplies and displacing hundreds of millions more. Killer diseases could rampage through poor countries and species could become extinct. To avoid that, the report says, emissions must be cut by half. It puts the cost at 1.6 per cent of annual global output.
To their credit, the groundhogs are getting through to the politicians. Most western governments, even the sceptical administration of George W. Bush, now accept that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is vital to saving the planet. The hard part is how to achieve that. Talks on a possible successor to the Kyoto accord take place in Bali next month. Ministers may agree on the principle of cuts. That would be a good first step. But it is not enough.
To match rhetoric with action, governments will have to go much further and commit to establishing a price for carbon. There are two ways to achieve this: taxes and tradable emissions credits. Taxes, for which the UNDP sets out a strong case, would be the better of the two. Taxes would create price certainty for polluters, enabling them to invest efficiently. Revenues could be used to cut other taxes, on labour and investment for example, or to motivate the development of cleaner energy and transport fuels.
Carbon taxes are harder to sell politically than emissions trading, where credits are bought and sold. But cap-and-trade schemes have their own problems. While limits on emissions should be guaranteed by quotas, the carbon price is volatile. This makes polluters' costs uncertain. There is scope, too, for manipulation. In the European Union scheme, power generators profited from over-allocation of free permits.
The two systems are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, a combination of the two is likely. When they meet, rich nations should remember that the end is far more important than the means. If taxes are politically unacceptable, then emissions trading, for all its flaws, is better than no system at all. In the battle to halt global warming, a credible carbon price is the valuable prize.
1 December 2007
THE CLIMATE DEBATE:
CHINA AND INDIA MAY BE SPARED CURB ON CARBON
Fiona Harvey - Financial Times - 28 November 2007
China and India should be spared the full burden of fighting climate change, the United Nations said yesterday in an agenda-setting report published just days ahead of an intergovernmental conference to agree a successor to the Kyoto protocol.
The report of the UN Development Programme recommends that countries such as China and India should be allowed to increase their emissions to 2020, then reduce them by only 20 per cent compared with 1990 levels by 2050, while the rich industrialised countries shoulder a cut of 80 per cent.
The report will provide ammunition for developing countries wishing to avoid adopting stringent targets on emissions. Beijing, New Delhi and others have argued that rich countries carry more responsibility for the climate because most of the stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere came from the growth of their industries.
But the White House has stressed it would not sign up to an agreement that did not include China and other developing nations going through rapid industrialisation.
Heated discussions over the share of the burden that each country should take for cutting emissions are likely to be the main focus of UN talks on climate change beginning next week in Bali. The talks, the most important since the Kyoto protocol was drafted in 1997, will mark the first negotiations on a potential successor to the treaty, the main provisions of which expire in 2012.
The UNDP report estimates that the world needs to spend about 1.6 per cent of gross domestic product each year until 2030 in order to prevent emissions from rising to dangerous levels.
In a sign of the scale of the task facing ministers at Bali, the report also risked opening old wounds by questioning whether the carbon-trading system established at Kyoto was less effective at reducing emissions than a carbon tax - such as the one proposed yesterday by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, in Beijing.
Kevin Watkins, lead author of the report, told the FT: "Long-term investment needs predictability of price, and a tax is the way to do that. Cap-and-trade is not particularly working. We need to develop the strategy into a carbon tax."
Mr Watkins said cap-and-trade systems had a part to play in the short term but carbon taxes would be more effective in the longer term. "You could go for a really stringent cap-and-trade system in the short run then gradually introduce a tax, with cap-and-trade being phased down and the carbon tax phased up," he said.
But any debate over carbon taxes versus carbon trading could be damaging ahead of the negotiations for a successor to Kyoto. A debate raged for several years before it was resolved in favour of trading, enshrined in the Kyoto protocol. The world trade in carbon was worth more than $30bn (£14.5bn, ?20bn) last year, with most of the transactions taking place under the European Union's emissions trading system, designed to meet the bloc's Kyoto commitments.
Michael Grubb of Cambridge University said: "I find it extremely boring [to talk about taxes versus trading] as we did that 10 to 15 years ago. Taxes combine a price on carbon with a huge revenue transfer from business to government, which is a dumb place to start."
Paul Klemperer, professor of economics at Oxford University, said there were sound economic reasons for preferring a tax, but warned that economists must also take politics into account, and a cap-and-trade system might be more palatable to voters than a tax. He said: "We are not in a perfect world so to take a position on this purely on economics would be foolish."
Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the US and a prominent sceptic on global warming, said: "We are fairly confident that we can defeat a carbon tax in the US. Cap-and-trade is going to be harder to defeat if the Democrats gain more House and Senate seats in the next election and win the White House."
1 December 2007
Comment: Climate change: the (Groucho) Marxist approach
John Kay - Financial Times - 28 November 2007
Why should I do anything for posterity? What has posterity ever done for me? Groucho Marx describes one end of a spectrum of opinion. The only obligation we owe to future generations is to sell them assets to pay our pensions.
Sir Nicholas Stern's climate change report takes an opposite view. Governments must value the welfare of all present and future citizens equally and give no special preference to current voters.
The issue at the climate change summit in Bali, of how governments should balance the claims of present and future generations, is fundamental to all discussion. Economists frame the question in terms of the social time preference rate: what number should policymakers use to discount future costs and benefits? The power of compound interest is such that the answer makes a large difference. At a rate of 5 per cent, which most investors would think disappointing, a cent today would be worth more than a dollar a century from now.
The choice of a social time preference rate is relevant not just to environmental choices, but to the design of fiscal policy, the shape of pension provision and the appropriate level of public and private investment.
If Groucho's position is morally indefensible, Sir Nicholas's is operationally impossible. The problem of weighting the present and the future equally is that there is a lot of future. The number of future generations is potentially so large that small but permanent benefit to them would justify great sacrifice now. If we were to use this criterion to appraise all long-term investment, the volume of such investment would impoverish the current population. No government advocating it would ever be elected.
The burden of caring for all humanity, present and future, is greater than even the best-intentioned of us can bear. Most normal people feel sympathy and solidarity. But the intensity varies with the closeness of the relationship. Closeness may be familial, linguistic and cultural, or the product of shared attitudes or physical proximity. We care about the suffering of others, but less about the suffering of those in far continents, are ready to make sacrifices for our grandchildren, but less for their descendants. We care more about dogs and cats than about newts or flies.
We care about the environment, but more about the buildings we have seen and the mountains we might hope to see than about states of nature in remote locations we will never visit.
The modern culture of rights, and the value system that proclaims discrimination the greatest of public policy evils, finds it difficult to cope with this plain reality. It leads to an intellectual blindness that empathises with humankind in general but not in particular. He loves mankind, Voltaire wrote, therefore he does not need to love his neighbour. Many religious leaders and moral philosophers seek to extend our natural, but not unlimited, capacity for solidarity with others by calling on sacred texts and abstract principles. They are rarely very successful in this endeavour, and their efforts are usually most effective when they provide validation of their followers' instincts.
Governments cannot be expected to do more, and should not be permitted to do less, than express the concerns their citizens really feel. History illustrates the harm done when the fundamentalism of faith or abstract reasoning overtakes pragmatism as political principle.
George W. Bush sends troops to Iraq to promote democracy; thousands fly across the world to draw attention to climate change. The European Union promotes the windy rhetoric of its Charter of Fundamental Rights but fails to frame a statement of European solidarity or an assertion of distinctive European values. But it is a particular merit of democracy that its leaders are - not always quickly enough - forced to confront the world as it is rather than as they would imagine it.
The balance between present and future will be determined not by moral philosophy or economic models but by the decisions of ordinary savers, investors and voters. Economic and political marketplaces ultimately rule policy, as Groucho's realism recognised.
1 December 2007
THE CLIMATE DEBATE:
EU SEEKS BINDING CAP ON GREENHOUSE GASES
Andrew Bounds in Brussels - Financial Times - 28 November 2007
The European Union yesterday said it was confident that a global agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions would be struck at a key climate conference next week, as it set out its position for the Bali discussions.
Stavros Dimas, the EU's environment commissioner, said: "I expect that reason will prevail and we will have a binding agreement to reduce emissions to avoid going beyond the 2°C [average rise in the earth's temperature]," he said. The EU fears that any higher rise would be catastrophic. Mr Dimas pointed out that all countries had accepted the recent report from the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change, which said the phenomenon was man-made and worsening. Now that Australia had changed policy, he expected the US to follow suit in agreeing binding caps.
"It is quite clear if we do not [get an agreement] then the negative impacts will be really irreversible. This is for the Africans, Europeans and Americans too," he said. "There is a great awareness [in the US] about the risks of climate change." The EU has "building blocks" considered vital to agreement, he said."
* Developed countries should agree emissions cuts from a 1990 baseline of 30 per cent by 2020 and 60-80 per cent by 2050.
* Developing countries should reduce the energy intensiveness of their economic development.
* A global emissions trading scheme should be introduced.
* Efforts to help countries adapt to the effects of climate change to be increased.
* Rising airline and shipping emissions to be tackled.
* Greater research and development co-operation on carbon-cutting technologies.
* Deforestation, accounting for 20 per cent of carbon emissions, to be addressed.
Officials are sceptical of making progress on aviation or getting the world to accept the 2°C limit on global warming. The majority of members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, a United Nations body that regulates air travel, opposed EU plans to include international airlines in its emissions trading scheme from 2011. Led by the US, they agreed it would need permission from other countries. The International Maritime Organisation has also rejected calls for emissions caps. Mr Dimas said the treaty must be ready by 2009 to allow time for ratification before the Kyoto protocol's framework ended in 2012.
1 December 2007
EMISSIONS CUTS TO COST £100 A HOME, SAYS CBI
David Prosser - News Environment - 26 November 2007
Britain is now almost certain to miss its 2020 targets for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, but getting the country back on track for its 2050 commitments could cost just £100 per household, a CBI report will say today.
The report from the CBI's Climate Change Task Force, a group of 18 company chief executives and chairmen led by BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen, calls on British companies to change their business models to tackle environmental challenges but also warns that the "UK effort will only succeed if it becomes an urgent shared national priority".
The report's recommendations would enable the UK to hit its 2050 carbon targets. They include a significant increase in spending on research and development, and a targeting of energy efficiency and low-carbon technology. The CBI also calls for statutory limits on vehicle emissions and for an expansion of the European Union's carbon emissions trading scheme, with a doubling in the price of carbon to €40 (£28) a tonne.
The CBI also wants greater use of nuclear power, a call that will anger some environmental groups, and a governmental commitment to new nuclear power stations before the end of the year.
Mr Verwaayen said: "This is a call to action to the wider business community whose support we need, an offer of partnership with government and a commitment to empower consumers."
Richard Lambert, the CBI's director general added: "Critical decisions need to be taken now if we are to have a chance of hitting out emissions targets...."
The report is published a week before a summit of UN environment ministers in Bali.
26 November 2007
THE MINISTER RESPONDS: MORE RUNWAYS, MORE FLIGHTS!
(AND, OF COURSE, MORE GREENHOUSE GASES)
New Runways for London's airports
Reader's Letters - The Times - 23 November 2007
Your headline claiming that proposals for a second runway at Stansted Airport have been "scrapped" (22nd November) is wrong. In 2003, against the background of increased demand for air travel, the Government examined the balance between the economic benefits in terms of jobs and growth and its environmental impact. We concluded there was a need for two new runways in the South East, at Stansted and at Heathrow.
The position has not changed, and yesterday I launched a public consultation on proposals for a third runway at Heathrow. Meanwhile I understand that the owners of Stansted Airport will be submitting a planning application for a second runway in the near future.
Ruth Kelly MP
Secretary of State for Transport
OUR COMMENT: We have asked who is going to supply the surplus carbon emissions that the airlines will need to buy if they are increasing the number of flights within the next few years. The cap in this as yet non-existent aviation emissions trading scheme will, we are told, be set at the emissions from the number of flights in 2004-2006. There is not going to be enough surplus from industry to subsidise the increase from even one, leave alone two, extra runways. And these are carbon emissions do not include nitrogen oxides, a more powerful greenhouse gas, or allow for the fact that emissions at altitude have 2-3 times more effect on climate than those emitted on the ground.
We now learn that the hoped for suppliers may lie within the poorer undeveloped nations, a new style 21st century exploitation?
26 November 2007
EU CARBON MARKET LINK TO KYOTO FLEX-MEX DELAYED
ENDS Europe DAILY 2434 - 22 November 2007
The EU's carbon emission trading scheme will not link to the global
trade in Kyoto protocol flexible mechanism credits for several
months, the European commission has confirmed. But it said the delay
would not prevent EU firms from using Kyoto credits to help meet 2008
In a statement responding to media speculation the commission told
ENDS it was not yet able to link the EU's carbon market transaction
log (CITL) to a similar log of credits generated through Kyoto's
clean development and joint implementation mechanisms (ITL). The
commission said it was still running software tests to ensure the
connection is "safe and reliable". These tests "can extend to
several months," it said.
It had been hoped the two systems could be linked before January
2008, when Kyoto's five-year compliance period and the EU scheme's
second trading period begin. Firms that have invested in Kyoto
projects to offset emissions in the EU market will not be able to use
the credits until the link is made.
The commission said it would ensure the two systems are connected
before April 2009, the date by which firms will have to surrender
carbon allowances corresponding to their emissions in 2008. It also
reassured firms that the delay would not affect the distribution of
allowances from governments for the first year of the trading scheme
26 November 2007
A REMINDER: FORGET MONT BLANC OR KILIMANJARO -
THIS IS NEARER HOME
Snowdonia shows signs of global warming
Daily Post, Wales - 21 November 2007
Welsh environment minister Jane Davidson said last night she was shocked by
photographs taken ten years apart, one showing Snowdon covered in snow and
the other more recent picture, without its white peaks.
They are part of an exhibition by the National Trust entitled Exposed ?
Climate Change in Britain?s Backyard, which opened in the Senedd building in
Cardiff Bay last night.
By demonstrating the effect of global warming on Trust property, the event
aims to persuade people to adopt more environmentally friendly lifestyles.
Ms Davidson said: "I was shocked when I saw these two photographs. It has been suggested Snowdon may have to be renamed but like other parts of
the world it stands as a reminder of what is happening to our planet."
"I congratulate the National Trust for taking the initiative, not only to draw
attention to the effects of climate change through this beautiful exhibition,
but in adapting and responding in practical ways by saving energy and water,
generating renewable energy on site and embracing local food."
The minister told the launch: "We must act now to reduce the emissions of the
greenhouse gases that cause climate change and respond to the impacts of the
changes already underway as a result of previous emissions."
The National Trust will join a working group at part of the new Climate Change
Commission for Wales being set up by the minister to bring forward ideas.
Experts predict that the impact of global warming on the weather will mean
increased temperatures, hotter, drier summers, milder winters with less snow
and more intense rainfall, rising sea levels and more storms.
We can also expect more flooding, storm damage, summer droughts and habitat
Ms Davidson said: "The Assembly Government is committed to playing its part in
helping Wales manage these changes, but this is something that Government
cannot tackle alone. We all have a part to play, and raising awareness is key
26 November 2007
BACK TO HEATHROW - A CLOSED DEBATE
Leader - The Guardian - 23 November 2007
"The present levels of noise around Heathrow are unacceptable in a civilized country."
So pronounced the Inspector responsible for the inquiry into the airport's fourth terminal, in 1979. And yet that building was waved through, as was the terminal after that.
No expansion at Heathrow ever gets anything as unequivocal as a nod, it receives a resigned shrug, a worn-out sigh. However justified, resistance always comes to seem futile, outgunned by the government and the aviation industry.
That same weariness could be detected yesterday, even as the transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, began her consultation into the building of a third runway at Heathrow. John Stewart, a hardened campaigner against the scheme, admitted the battle was as good as lost: "Given the framework that the government has chosen, it will be difficult to challenge the plan". If that is what the dedicated are saying, imagine how others feel. Labour is already committed to a third runway at Heathrow ? as well as to others at Stansted, Birmingham and Edinburgh. The argument is a simple one: beefing up the airports will boost our economy. Besides, the DfT sees a massive increase in air travel as inevitable. It expects the number of passengers to double by 2030, to 465m. Informed by such thinking, the 238 page official consultation document published yesterday accepts the case for expanding Heathrow. The biggest question Ms Kelly is posing is how intensively the runways should be used.
This is not a consultation, not even an attempt at conversion, it is a lecture. Thanks to Xmas, the process has been extended to more than the bare minimum, but that is likely to be the biggest concession. Ministers will hold no public meetings with residents, but their officials will stage a series of roadshows, or exhibitions. Even these will be woefully limited: the village of Sipson, due to be obliterated by the new runway, will not get an official visit.
The documents on noise and pollution were provided by Heathrow's owners, BAA ? and some of the report's arguments were so lopsided that they too might as well have been. Gordon Brown may have come to power promising greater openness, but this report shows more of the old thinking that always puts growth and business interests first.
Visitors to Heathrow know it is bursting at the seams. Before increasing capacity however, a better first step would be divesting the airport of most of the flights for journeys that could reasonably be carried out by other modes of transport. Consumers can and do change their behaviour: A few years ago the ratio of air travelers to air passengers on the journey between London and Manchester was 7?3. Since Virgin brought in its high speed service between the two cities the ratio has reversed. The government should have seized this opportunity to encourage greener travel. True, it is lobbying for the introduction of aviation into the European carbon-trading scheme. But that does not atone for building a third runway, as Ms Kelly thinks it does. Any Europe?wide consensus on including air travel in the scheme will probably come after the consultation is over. Besides, the scheme has a very patchy record.
Given Mr Brown's commitment this week to taking a global lead in taking I global lead in tackling climate change, it would have been far more consistent ? refreshing ? the government to talk about reducing air travel. Instead it seems hell bent on creating extra capacity ? which will very quickly be taken up by air lines. The aviation industry often argues that if Britain does not give it room to grow, other countries will. Amsterdam will take up the slack, say BAA and others - and besides, China and India are fast taking to the skies. That aviation is a global business is undeniable, all the more reason for Britain to take an international lead. Instead the government rolls over and accepts to huge growth of air travel as unstoppable.
26 November 2007
WE ARE ALL (APART FROM THE AVIATION INDUSTRY) ASKED TO REDUCE OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT - HOW ARE WE DOING?
Study reveals UK's highest carbon emission areas
Jessica Aldred - The Guardian - 23 November 2007
Households in County Down emit the highest levels of CO2 in the UK, latest figures show
Research published today by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) combines its own figures on car emissions with government figures on household CO2 levels to reveal the UK's highest carbon emitters by local authority.
County Down in Northern Ireland is the biggest polluter with average carbon emissions for each household of 14.5 tonnes a year, including transport.
South Buckinghamshire is the worst English polluter with an average of 13.4 tonnes, the Orkney Islands have the highest level of CO2 emissions in Scotland, while Powys is the worst performing Welsh authority. The Orkneys produce an average of 12.9 tonnes a household each year, while in Powys the figure is 11.8 tonnes.
The report, the Green Barometer III, said these regions have the highest level of CO2 emissions because of their rural nature. Their vehicle emissions are higher than the national average because limited public transport means a high level of car use. For example, in Orkney almost 50,000 tonnes of vehicle emissions are produced each year despite there being fewer than 9,000 households.
The City of London has the lowest level of carbon emissions because it has the fewest number of households and cars. It produces just 4.6 tonnes of carbon emissions for each household a year.
The best-performing Scottish local authority is Glasgow, with average carbon emissions of 6.3 tonnes for each household, while Belfast has the lowest CO2 emissions in Northern Ireland with 10.4 tonnes for each household. Blaenau Gwent is the lowest Welsh polluter with 8.3 tonnes.
The researchers said these areas are the lowest emitters because their residents live in smaller homes, which are often well insulated. The areas also have public transport systems, meaning cars are driven less.
Complete picture of energy use
The report from the EST, an independent organisation promoting efficient energy use, combines its own data on car emissions with an analysis by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on domestic household emissions data.
It then grouped people living in the UK into 10 "segments", according to the amount of energy used by each household, their use of cars and attitudes towards the environment to produce "a more complete picture" of household energy use.
The model ranks local authorities in emissions per household, and identifies the segments most responsible for emissions within each locality, down to postcode level.
It said the findings highlighted what each region can do to save more energy, and allows households to be targeted with information and advice to help them cut their energy consumption.
Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the EST, said: "This latest report isn't about singling out local authorities, as each area is unique and has its own challenges and opportunities. We provide help and advice to local authorities and we can now work with them to offer much more tailored energy advice. One thing's for sure, a targeted, localised approach is critical for reducing household carbon emissions."
Total emissions (household and car) by local authority in the UK
Northern Ireland ? highest five areas of emission
England - highest five
Wales - highest five
Scotland ? highest five
Eilean Siar (Western Isles)
26 November 2007
UK'S WORST POLLUTING REGIONS REVEALED
Paul Eccleston - Daily Telegraph - 23 November 2007
Britain's worst polluting areas have been identified for the first time.
Average carbon emissions per household by local authorities - the survey worked out which local authority areas used the most CO2 according to household and domestic car emissions.
(Uttlesford gets the 'All Clear' ? no longer the worst!)
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) figures reveal the places with the highest emissions per household in the home countries are South Buckinghamshire (England); Orkney Islands (Scotland); Powys (Wales) and County Down (Northern Ireland). CO2 per household is the lowest in City of London (England); Glasgow (Scotland); Blaenau Gwent (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland).
The results of the survey will be used as a model to target councils and householders at street level and advise them on how to cut their energy use.
The chief executive of the EST, Philip Sellwood, said: "This latest Green Barometer report isn't about singling out local authorities, as each area is unique and has its own challenges and opportunities. We provide help and advice to local authorities and we can now work with them to offer much more tailored energy advice. This wealth of information at our fingertips means householders are more likely to receive the information they need, to act to curb their carbon emissions."
"Following the Comprehensive Spending Review, some local authorities' overall budgets have been cut. What impact will this have on their household energy efficiency work? One thing's for sure, a targeted, localised approach is critical for reducing household carbon emissions."
The EST was set up by the government and given a target for reducing UK emissions of CO2 - one of the worst greenhouse gases - by 20 per cent of 1990 levels by 2010. The survey identified 10 different types of family and individuals which it classified according to the amount of energy they used per household, their use of cars and attitudes towards the environment.
The amount of CO2 emissions from individual homes was calculated using energy bills data and then compared with the average for that type of home. Similarly emissions from cars were calculated using car ownership and mileage data and then compared with average use.
Attitudes towards the environment, including concern for environment, recycling, concern about pollution, were compared against average attitudes.
Breakdown of the 10 groups:
1. Environmentally Mature
Rich, affluent couples, living in large detached homes in the suburbs or more rural villages. Big consumers of household and vehicle energy. Well educated people who understood climate change.
2. Comfortable Conservatives
Professional people, comfortable conservatives resistant to change with house and car emissions above average.
3. Discerning Elders
Professional couples on the cusp of retirement. Pride in homes and cars. Large homes and high energy bills and interested in the environment.
4. Ethnic Tradition
Asian families and other ethnic groups living in suburban semi-detached houses or industrial terrace housing. Large, extended families Limited car ownership and high energy use.
5. Educated Advocates
Mixture of young city centre professionals and educated couples enjoying a city lifestyle. University educated, likely to be sharing a house, transient but moving towards first home purchase. Car ownership low but company cars common. A key target for future.
6. Britain Today, Reflection of 'modern' Britain:
Household and vehicles emissions not high and attitude towards the environment below average. Relatively low potential for reducing CO2 emissions. Mostly suburban couples influenced by middle-market tabloid papers who like makeover shows and gardening programmes.
7. Financially Burdened
Families with high expenditure on everyday living. Stage of life where money is accounted for by mortgage and household bills.
Housing is newer and large, but the demands of a family result in relatively high energy use. Car ownership is average.
8. Environmentally Indifferent
Poorer families and elderly couples living in council or ex-council accommodation in towns and cities. Focus is day-to-day survival and low levels of concern for environment. CO2 emissions and car ownership below average.
9. Driving Dependency
Young sharers or couples living in new houses in private estates, who see the car as the only way to get around. Cars are a lifeline for work, shopping, or visiting friends and relations. Most households will have two vehicles with one a company vehicle, leading to high mileage. Public transport links in these areas are poor. Current attitudes towards the environment are below average reflecting a 'live for now' attitude. They will become more conscious of surrounding environment and their 'legacy' as they have families. Low household CO2 emissions.
10. Restful Retirement
Elderly couples and widowers who have low energy use. Still living independently or in housing for the elderly. For those in private housing there is little they can do, or wish to do regarding reducing CO2 emissions. For the independents there is financial motivation to save energy. Car ownership is low relying on public transport or families.
23 November 2007
WHO ARE THE FALL GUYS?
WHO WILL PROVIDE THE CARBON TO COVER EXPANSION?
Kelly launches fight for Heathrow expansion
Scrapping runway plan 'won't benefit planet'
Minister warns of growing congestion at airport
Dan Milmo - The Guardian - 22 November 2007
The transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, warned yesterday that failure to expand Heathrow would damage the economy and have no impact on global warning, as the government prepares to launch the campaign for a third runway at Heathrow, Britain's biggest airport. The government will start a lengthy battle with environmental campaigners and residents today by publishing a consultation on building a new runway and increasing the number of flights from existing terminals.
Kelly said abandoning expansion plans might solve green consciences but it would have no impact on the environment, because the global appetite for air travel would continue to grow at 5% a year. "If Heathrow is allowed to become uncompetitive, the flights and routes it operates will simply go elsewhere. All it will do is shift capacity over the channel, it will make us feel pure, but with no benefit to the rest of the planet".
The report continues to quote the minister on the need to relieve congestion at Heathrow and increase the number of flights from 480,000 a year to about 550,000. About 700 homes and a church would have to be demolished. The consultation document is expected to show that pollution limits can be kept within the statutory limits and that average noise levels will not increase.
OUR COMMENT: All these arguments have already been produced at the Stansted Inquiry and demolished. Ms Kelly's only excuse for still apparently believing them is that she is new to the job, but protests that passengers will desert UK airlines if UK airports fail to expand and the UK will be left economically damaged while flights transfer to Europe is nonsense. Travellers to and from the UK will still have to cross the channel (hopefully by train more often). It is possible that some transfer passengers from America and the Far East might choose to change planes in France or Holland, if they are not visiting the UK, but what economic advantage are transfer passengers to the UK? They do not leave the airport. They benefit mainly BAA, and BA, hardly the "UK economy".
On climate change it is instructive to read the relevant summary of the consultation paper:
"We believe that a well-designed, open, international emissions trading scheme for aviation is still the best way of ensuring that the aviation sector plays its part in tackling climate change. And we welcome the European Union's plans to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Under current proposals aviation emissions would effectively be capped at the average level over the period 2004 to 2006.
This means that when the trading scheme is established any additional aviation emissions above that level would lead to no increase in total emissions, since airlines would have to pay for the equivalent emissions reductions in other sectors."
Does the minister seriously believe that "other sectors" will be able not only to reduce their own carbon emissions, but also to have thousands of tonnes spare to sell to cover all these extra flights?
What "other sectors" is she referring to? Why should aviation be so feather-bedded? Has she read the recent IPCC report?
See Consultation Paper Summary
23 November 2007
THE VIEWS OF THE IPCC
UN SCIENTISTS URGE CARBON TAX TO FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING
Temperatures may rise 6C by 2100, says panel
Report marks effort to find post-Kyoto consensus
David Adam - The Guardian - 15 November 2007
All sources of carbon pollution - from flights to inefficient light bulbs ? must become more expensive if the world is to tackle global warming, an influential panel of scientists and government scientists will say today.
Putting a price on harmful emissions from goods and sources would require a fundamental shift in the world's economy, but "could realise significant mitigation potential in all sectors" according to a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,(IPCC). The report will be launched today in Valencia by Ban-Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, and marks the start of an international effort to agree a world-wide treaty to regulate greenhouse gas output.
The IPCC, which won this year's Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Al Gore, will confirm it is 90% sure that recent global warming is down to human activity, and warn that the impact of future temperature rise will be severe. It will say that action is needed in the coming decades to stop global temperatures rising by as much as 6C by 2100, and that most of the technology needed already exists. Even deep cuts in carbon production would have only a marginal effect on economic growth, the IPCC will say.
Today's report comes 2 weeks before a UN meeting on climate in Bali when countries will try to map out the time scale and structure of an agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol, the existing Treaty which regulates greenhouse gases, when it expires in 2012. Analysts say the post-Kyoto agreement needs to be finalised by 2009 for it to start in time.
Today's report combines and summarises three other papers from the IPCC earlier this year, which discussed the science of global warming, its likely impact, and possible ways to tackle the problem. Scientists and officials were still working yesterday on the final working of the document. "This report is the blueprint for Bali and every country wants their own position represented. They know? they can't ignore what it says," says one source close to the process.
The IPCC does not recommend specific policies, but a draft summary obtained by the Guardian highlights the introduction of an "effective carbon price signal". It says a carbon price of between $20 and $80 a tonne by 2030 should be enough to limit the expected temperature rise. How such a world wide price could be introduced will be one focus of the Bali talks. Europe favours cap and trade systems, which place a mandatory limit on pollution from countries, companies and even individuals, who must buy the right to pollute more.
Despite reports that the US delegation was unhappy with the report, one of the senior authors told the Guardian yesterday there had been few serious disagreements. The draft report also restores the phrase "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" which was removed from the key summary chapters of the IPCC reports earlier this year after US protests.
23 November 2007
GORDON BROWN SPEAKS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
BBC News - 19 November 2007
Gordon Brown gave a wide ranging speech on the environment repeating previous promises to proceed with the current climate change bill, the first in the world, and to support all means of reducing carbon emissions and developing renewable energy sources. He made his first concession to the demands for a tougher Bill, though no mention of aviation.
This is what he said about the Bill.
"The legislation will enact our target of achieving a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of at least 60 per cent by 2050 through domestic and international action - but the evidence now suggests that, as part of an international agreement, developed countries may have to reduce their emissions by up to 80 per cent. So we will put this evidence to the committee on climate change and ask it to advise us, as it begins to consider the first three five-year budgets, on whether our own domestic target should be tightened up to 80 per cent."
OUR COMMENT: Has he done his arithmetic over his minister's aviation proposals?
23 November 2007
PLEASE CAN WE HAVE SOME MORE?
Cash-strapped council is left passing round
the begging bowl after airport inquiry
Dunmow & Walden Observer - 22 November 2007
The Cupboard is bare at Uttlesford district council and now leader Jim Ketteridge is passing round the begging bowel like a modern-day Oliver Twist to cover the crippling costs of the Stansted Airport public inquiry. The Tory, who took control following the May elections - after the cash-strapped authority was committed to footing the bill for fighting BAA's 16 week appeal - admitted the council's coffers had been cleaned out by the legal clash.
The total - already equivalent to around £5.50 for every man, woman and child in the district - does not include an estimated £1m claimed by BAA after it alleged UDC acted "unreasonably" in refusing expansion to 35 mppa. That threat is on top of a budget deficit of around a further £1m faced by the authority.
Cllr Ketteridge said: "The costs of the inquiry are not yet finalised, but the district council has incurred costs of nearly £400,000 since determining the application in November 2006. These costs have been drawn from the council's District Character Reserve, which is now - even allowing for the contribution by our friends at Essex, Herts and East Herts - more or less exhausted."
23 November 2007
SHOULDERING THE COST OF STANSTED
Leader - Dunmow & Walden Observer - 22 November 2007
The colossal cost of opposing development at Stansted Airport became all too clear this week for the council tax payers of Uttlesford.
Householders face a bill that equates to £5 for every man, woman and child in the district after their council battled BAA at the recent public inquiry and leader of the authority Jim Ketteridge faces a mammoth task to balance the books ? but is this fair?
The county councils of Essex and Herts have already agreed to cover some of the costs and East Herts council will stump up too, but the lion's share of the debt is down to Uttlesford as the planning authority named in the appeal.
Is it really the case that the residents of Birchanger are more bothered by aircraft noise than their neighbours in Bishop's Stortford? Is congestion on local roads a greater issue for householders in Manuden than their counterparts in Much Hadham? Is global warming less of a hot topic in Sawbridgeworth than Saffron Walden?
The contribution from other councils should reflect the impact the airport expansion will have on their communities ? and not the boundaries on a map.
23 November 2007
BAA STANSTED INVESTS £200,000
IN EMPLOYMENT AND SKILLS ACADEMY
Personnel Today - 20 November 2007
BAA Stansted is to invest £200,000 in a new employment and skills academy. The four-year project will see a partnership between Urban Futures and unionlearn, the TUC's learning and skills organisation, to provide a central recruitment service for employers and employees at the airport and a skills development training centre for future career progression.
Murray Thomas, human resources director for BAA Stansted, said: "With around 11,600 people currently working at Stansted Airport, we are the largest single site employer in the East of England. Stansted is a key facilitator for economic growth in the region and our strategy remains firmly focused on partnership working with employers, employee representatives, local authorities and educational providers to support both our existing and future workforces."
Phil Young of Urban Futures said: "The Academy will provide a framework for all elements of recruitment, training and skills support at Stansted Airport. Its physical presence at the airport will provide an easy gateway for employers to access the support on offer, and for individuals to access employment opportunities," he added.
BAA employment levels at Stansted Airport have almost doubled in just over five years to 1,300 people, and 263 people have successfully gained employment at Stansted Airport through the Airport Skills Training Programme, run in conjunction with Harlow College.
OUR COMMENT: BAA makes big claims for Stansted airport's position in the East of England business hierarchy. These claims were successfully brought down to size at the public inquiry ? while accepting that Stansted airport is a valuable transport interchange and regional airport which contributes to the economy of the region, as do many other enterprises. The setting up of a skills academy is a move to be commended and no doubt BAA itself will benefit as in an area of full employment BAA has to recruit from as far away as North London (which of course adds to local traffic). It is also interesting to see the titles of related articles listed in the same journal.
Unions threaten action after BAA closes final salary pension scheme
Union Unite condemns BAA decision to replace final salary pension with defined contribution scheme for new staff
Airport operator BAA to cut up to 2,000 jobs as part of cost reduction exercise
23 November 2007
CAPITAL IDEA BLOWN OUT OF THE SKY
BY STANSTED EXPANSION
Readers' Letters - Observer - 22 November 2007
The news that the Palace of Westminster is planning how it can best reduce its carbon footprint is obviously most welcome.
One suggestion is for a 35m high 1.65megawatt wind turbine in Victoria Gardens which would generate electricity and save 787 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
I only hope that government ministers realise that such a saving would be wiped out in one and a half days if they agree to expand Stansted Airport by even one million extra passengers per annum.
14 November 2007
MEPS BACK TOUGHER AVIATION CARBON TRADE RULES
Mixed Messages ? and this is the only government solution for reducing aviation emissions! The Minister admits that the proposed system will actually provide ways for airlines to buy surplus carbon emissions from other sources ? aviation must be protected! We do not know who will fill that role, neither are we told why aviation should be favoured over other industries.
ENDS Europe DAILY 2427 - 13 November 2007
The European parliament has backed plans to include airlines in the
EU carbon emission trading system. In Strasbourg on Tuesday.MEPs
voted to toughen European commission proposals by backing an earlier
start date, a tighter emission cap and more auctioning of allowances.
Rapporteur MEP Peter Liese said the parliament had made the plans
"more ambitious in environmental terms as well as more realistic as
far as competition aspects are concerned".
But airline association AEA warned that MEPs had "designed a scheme
which will have a devastating effect, not only on..financial
stability, but also on economic growth and tourism.. and will result
in a barely measurable reduction in CO2 emissions globally".
MEPs rejected the commission's plans for a two-step entry of flights
into the scheme.
All flights into and out of the EU should be included from 2011, they
said. The parliament's environment committee had backed 2010.
The parliament voted to cap airlines' emissions at 90 per cent of
2004-6 levels. This is less ambitious than the 75 per cent cap
supported by the committee, but stronger than the commission's
proposal of 100 per cent. "It will ensure airlines have to make
reductions..from day one," said Green MEP Caroline Lucas. MEPs also
left the door open to tighter caps in future.
Tuesday's vote backed auctioning of 25 per cent of all allowances
distributed to airlines in their first trading phase. This is
substantially more than the 3-5 per cent proposed by the commission,
but half the level supported by the environment committee. MEPs
backed Mr Liese's proposal that some auctioning revenue should be
used to subsidise public transport.
A multiplier factor would be used to take account of the extra
climate impact of nitrogen oxide emissions from aircraft, and this
would be extended to vapour trails once sufficient scientific
evidence exists. There would also be an efficiency clause obliging
airlines to meet efficiency goals before being allowed to trade
outside the aviation sector.
Green groups praised these moves but said the amendments did not go
far enough overall. WWF called it a "slight improvement" on the
commission's proposal, while Friends of the Earth said it "threatens
EU targets for cutting emissions".
The parliament's first-reading position will be forwarded to EU
environment ministers, who are due to discuss the proposals at a
meeting in Brussels on 20 December.
14 November 2007
AIRLINES "NOT READY FOR CARBON TRADING" - STUDY
ENDS Europe DAILY 2422 - 6 November 2007
Aircraft operators are still "far from being fully prepared" to enter
the European carbon emission trading scheme, consultant PWC has
concluded in a new study. It bases the claim on a survey of 20
airlines carried out during the summer.
The European commission has proposed including intra-EU flights in
the scheme (ETS) from 2011, and international flights from 2012.
These dates could be brought forward by MEPs and ministers, who are
currently debating the proposal.
PWC reports that half of the airlines surveyed expect emission
trading to affect their costs "quite a lot". Yet only one in four
has assessed the full business impact on their organisation.
Emission trading is seen primarily as a new law that must be
observed. But "aircraft operators need to treat their inclusion in
the EU ETS as a strategic business issue rather than merely a matter
of environmental compliance," the report's authors say.
PWC concludes that airlines must begin to pro-actively reduce their
emissions, not just to prepare for inclusion in the EU ETS but also
to meet demands from investors and consumers.
14 November 2007
Energy needs 'to grow inexorably'
BBC News - 7 November 2007
The world is becoming increasingly energy intensive
The global demand for energy is set to grow inexorably through to 2030 if governments do not change their policies, warns a top energy official.
Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said such a rise would threaten energy security and accelerate climate change.
He said energy needs in 2030 could be more than 50% above current levels, with fossil fuels still dominant.
Mr Tanaka was speaking at the launch of the IEA's World Energy Outlook report. Rapid economic growth in China and India would be the main drivers behind the rise, he said as he unveiled the agency's annual flagship publication.
"The emergence of new major players in global energy markets means that all countries must take vigorous, immediate and collective action to curb runaway energy demand," he warned.
"Rapid economic development will undoubtedly continue to drive up energy demand in China and India, and will contribute to a real improvement in the quality of life for more than two billion people.
"This is a legitimate aspiration that needs to be accommodated and supported by the rest of the world."
The World Energy Outlook 2007 report warned that much of the increased demand for energy would be met by coal.
China 'to be top energy user'
As a result, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could rise by 57% - from 27 giga-tonnes in 2005 to 42 giga-tonnes in 2030, it said.
Even in the report's "alternative policy scenario", which takes into account the governments' proposed action to save energy and cut emissions, CO2 levels are set to rise by 25%.
But it offered a glimmer of hope within its "450 Stabilisation" case study. It described a notional strategy for governments to stabilise CO2 levels in the atmosphere at about 450 parts per million (ppm), which some scientists and policy makers suggest is an acceptable concentration.
"Emissions savings come from improved efficiency in industry, buildings and transport, switching to nuclear power and renewables, and the widespread deployment of carbon capture and storage," the report said.
This approach would see global emissions peak in 2012 then fall sharply below 2005 levels by 2030, it suggested. But it added: "Exceptionally quick and vigourous policy action by all countries, and unprecedented technological advances, entailing substantial costs, would be needed to make this case a reality."
Mr Tanaka stressed the need for urgency in the battle against climate change: "We need to act now to bring about a radical shift in investment in favour of cleaner, more efficient and more secure energy technologies."
The UK's Energy Secretary, John Hutton, endorsed the IEA's findings and agreed that urgent action by politicians was needed. "As the IEA states, it is a lack of international political will, not technological innovation, that is preventing us from reducing emissions while securing energy supplies to power our homes and businesses for the years ahead," he told BBC News.
"The UK must continue to lead by example by embracing innovation while also ensuring it takes advantage of existing low carbon technologies. We share view that there should be the broadest possible energy mix and will be carefully examining the recommendations of this report as we prepare to introduce our Energy Bill."
6 November 2007
POLICY CONFUSION CONTINUES IN THE DFT
More planes, trains and roads can still bring cut in CO2, argues Kelly
John Vidal, Environment Editor - The Guardian - 31 October 2007
New Technology could 'decarbonise' traffic
Campaigners reject report as 'business as usual'
Britain's road, rail and air networks can all be greatly expanded without undermining a commitment to reducing climate change emissions, a government report has said. The "pro-green, pro-growth" discussion paper launched by the transport secretary Ruth Kelly, promotes a new high speed rail link between London, Birmingham and Manchester, wider motorways, congestion charging in more cities, and bigger sea and airports. It argues that forcing the pace of technological change is the best way to ensure that transport helps Britain meet its goal of a 60% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050.
The discussion paper says that a new generation of cars, improved fuels and renewable energy to drive electric vehicles could eventually almost "decarbonise" the road transport economy. "It is a possibility if substantial progress can be made in solving electrical vehicle technology challenges? the power sector can be decarbonised and expanded to provide a large proportion of road transport demand," it says.
More contentiously, it argues that airport expansion in the south-east England should go ahead and that aircraft emissions could effectively be held at 2004-05 levels with the European emissions trading scheme. The paper says transport is still growing but less fast that in the 1990s. Bus use is increasing, as is cycling and walking. "This paper will help us to deliver a transport system that dispels the myth that? we face the choice of being poor and green or rich and dirty," said Ms Kelly.
But despite calls by the environmental lobby for far more investment in rail, the DfT still regards it as a minority mode. "There are many types of passenger and freight movement for which it is not a suitable option," the paper says. It adds that more than 20bn is being spent on transport infrastructure, but the government plans to seek more private investment from pension funds and other institutional investors. In the past this has included money from toll motorways. "We intend to evaluate and pursue these (private investment) opportunities enthusiastically" said Ms Kelly.
The paper recognises that shipping emissions are a growing issue but says Britain is working with others to see how shipping technologies could be improved. Major improvements of ports at Felixstowe, Bathside Bay at Harwich and London Gateway will be able to take all but the very largest container ships.
The report was yesterday largely dismissed by environment and transport pressure groups as "business as usual". "Nice words, but the time for words is past. We're concerned the department's continuing road building programme and aggressive airport expansion plans will fuel climate change," said Stephen Joseph, director of the Campaign for Better Transport, formerly Transport 2000.
Greenpeace executive director, John Sauven, called on the government to "get out of bed" with the aviation industry. "Ministers want to see runways used to their full capacity and won't put their support for airport expansion into reverse" he said. "The result will be a huge growth in emissions from aeroplanes that will wipe out any carbon cuts from tweaking with road policy. It's time Labour got out of bed with the aviation industry and got into gear with real climate action."
OUR COMMENT: The vision of an all electric car (manufactured with renewable energy?) seems to blind the government to what is happening with other contradictory policies, such as objecting to tougher EU emissions standards for cars, trying to get lower renewable energy targets for 2020 and - electric cars still fill up spaces, there will still be congestion, endless hours wasted sitting in traffic queues. More trunk roads will not solve town traffic problems.
As for aviation, where are the mathematicians to advise the former education minister? If you expand airports the number of flights increases, emissions rise, how then can any EU aviation emissions scheme succeed in maintaining emissions at 2004-05 levels? Who is going to bridge the gap?
6 November 2007
GOVERNMENT TOLD: AIM HIGHER WITH EMISSIONS
Paul Eccleston - Daily Telegraph - 5 November 2007
Environmental groups have told the government to aim higher in its programme to cut CO2 emissions
The government wants a 60 per cent cut by 2050 but a new study claims an 80 per cent cut is achievable
A new study says the government target is inadequate because it is based on out-of-date science and excludes the UK's share of emissions from international aviation.
The research, by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), WWF and the RSPB. says the higher target would slow economic growth by 2-3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). But the economy would still triple in size and reach the same level as it would on a business-as-usual scenario by spring 2052, less than two years later.
"In contrast, the Stern Review on climate change concluded that taking no action on the impacts of climate change could reduce global GDP by 5-20 per cent," the report claims.
The research is based on the same models that were used by the government in the 2007 Energy Review and in Sir Nicholas Stern's Review of the economics of climate change.
Published ahead of the second reading of the Climate Change Bill, it includes emissions from international aviation, and applies environmental safeguards on the use of biofuels and wind energy. It also examines the implications of excluding new nuclear power.
The modelling suggests that the UK should be able to reduce its emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 through:
* Switching to low-carbon technologies in the electricity sector through investing in wind power, biomass, hydro-electric and other renewables alongside a roll out of new Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies.
* Reducing emissions from the production of heat through a programme of energy efficiency and moving to the use of low-carbon electricity for heating.
* Improvements to surface transport emissions by greatly increased vehicle efficiency and moving towards use of advanced biofuels derived from sustainable sources.
* Significantly controlling the growth in aviation. Without such action, it will be difficult or even impossible for the UK to achieve an 80 per cent emissions reduction.
The IPPR's Co-Director, Lisa Harker, said: "The government's current target for carbon reductions of 60 per cent by 2050 is inadequate. If we are to play our part in preventing dangerous climate change, we need to be aiming for 80 per cent. For this to be achieved we would need a radical shift in the pace and scale of investment in low carbon technologies."
Keith Allott, Head of Climate Change at WWF-UK, said: "All the science shows us that to keep below the critical threshold of 2°C global warming, countries like the UK need to cut emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050. This report shows that it can be done and that it is affordable, provided we start now. The world is crying out for true leadership on climate change ? and the Government can provide it by setting more ambitious targets in the Climate Change Bill."
Dr Mark Avery, Conservation Director at the RSPB, said: "The Government wants biofuels, barrages and wind farms largely irrespective of their potential for environmental harm. This report shows that we can cut emissions by 80 per cent without sacrificing wildlife and wildlife sites and that a cheap and effective start would be to use heat and power more efficiently in our buildings."
"A temperature rise of more than 2°C will cause untold damage and the UK can help us stay below this dangerous threshold by making 80 per cent, not 60 per cent, the legally binding target for carbon emission cuts."
6 November 2007
COMMISSION PONDERS CARBON TRADING FOR TRANSPORT
ENDS Europe DAILY 2421 - 5 November 2007
The inclusion of all major modes of transport in the EU's carbon
emission trading scheme (ETS) remains a realistic prospect, according
to a new consultation document from the European commission's
transport department. The idea is one of several policy options to
internalise the external costs of EU transport use.
The overall aim is to extend the "polluter pays" principle to the
entire transport sector and ensure the proper functioning of the
internal market, says the commission.
The inclusion of road, rail, maritime and inland waterway transport
in the ETS "could be envisaged", says the document. But practical
arrangements would be different for each transport mode. For road
transport in particular, "depending on the modalities of such
inclusion, this might affect the purchase or the use of vehicles".
Firm plans to include aviation in the ETS are already underway
(03/10/07 www.endseuropedaily.com/24001). Earlier this year
the European parliament demanded that shipping also be included in
the scheme, but the commission has given out mixed signals as to
whether it is seriously considering this idea.
Last year a consortium of European environment agencies cautioned
against emission trading for transport, arguing that the large number
of small emitters would make it difficult to monitor.
Other options for internalising the environmental costs of transport
include taxes on carbon dioxide and other pollutants. But the
document says the effectiveness of taxes is limited because they
cannot differentiate between the environmental effects of emissions
in different locations.
As a result the commission pledges also to examine the feasibility
and public acceptability of electronic charging for using road
transport infrastructure. "The commission intends to take existing
charges and taxes into account in order to avoid double charging", it
The consultation document accompanies an online questionnaire for
submitting comments. The deadline is 31 December. The commission
will present a policy paper on the issue next year, possibly with
6 November 2007
WELSH - TAKE NOTE!
Wales' carbon footprint shame
Andrew Dagnell - Wales On Sunday - 4 November 2007
WALES has one of the worst carbon footprints in the world. Today, the Wales on Sunday can reveal how Wales' carbon emissions are officially the worst per person in the UK.
With a population of just under three million and basking in some of the greatest scenery on earth, many would expect Wales' carbon output to rank among the lowest in the world.
But in a report presented to the Welsh Assembly Government, shocking statistics show the nation is producing more carbon dioxide per person than either Russia or China.
The Assembly Government is now facing accusations that it is failing to deal with the problem ? and that its estimations for reducing CO2 over the next five years are wildly off-course.
Today, as part of our special green issue investigation, we can reveal that Wales:
* Has the 12th worst carbon footprint in the world;
* Outpaces England and Scotland by more than 60 per cent in the CO2 it produces per head;
* And creates enough carbon dioxide every year to fly the population of Wales around the globe THREE times.
Environmentalists say increases in CO2 are responsible for destroying the environment by widening the hole in the ozone layer, allowing harmful UV radiation to speed up global warming. The latest figures show Wales produces 41.8m tonnes of CO2 every year ? a whopping 14.2 tonnes per person.
But in England, CO2 emissions per person sit at just 8.8 tonnes, while in Scotland the figure is 8.5 tonnes and in Northern Ireland it is 9.5 tonnes.
In Europe, Wales is the third worst pollutant, with only Belgium and Luxembourg producing more of the gas per head.
The findings of Wales' shameful carbon footprint are contained in a National Assembly report titled Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Wales.
In the study, the National Assembly conceded the problem has steadily worsened over the last 15 years ? and says it looks unlikely to improve unless drastic action is taken.
The study, written by Assembly researchers, says: "Despite the numerous policies acting to reduce emissions, carbon dioxide emissions in Wales have increased since 1990. Our interpretation of the Welsh Assembly Government's aim to 'contribute fully to meeting UK-wide targets' is a target to reduce Welsh carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010."
The report goes on to admit, however, that the latest statistics show its carbon emissions "were 15 per cent greater than the level needed to attain the target".
These targets have since been altered and the Assembly Government is now working to create a three per cent annual cut of CO2 emissions by 2011.
But Mick Bates, Liberal Democrat environment spokesman and chair of the National Assembly's all-party sustainability committee, told Wales on Sunday it was still massively off-track, and was unlikely to reach these goals.
He said: "The Welsh Assembly Government are not doing enough ? that's blatantly obvious. They have always talked the talk, but not walked the walk. The truth of the matter is that the Government has not been spending enough money on addressing the problem. The London Assembly is leading the way on green issues at the moment, but the Welsh Assembly is definitely not. We have the potential to lead the way because we have all the right resources here, but they?re not being used."
To tackle the issue, Mr Bates said two things must be done, including an awareness campaign so people can understand why it is a good thing to reduce energy use.
Mr Bates said every government should also be spending at least two per cent of their Gross Domestic Product on addressing issues of climate change. He said: "In Wales that means everyone needs full insulation in their houses, we need to make sure there is enough public transport and make sure the Carbon Trust gets in and does a lot of work with industries."
Mr Bates said the Assembly Government was nowhere near achieving its targets for reducing carbon emissions by 2011, and argued the law should be changed to force local authorities to play their part.
He said: "The targets are not going to be achieved unless more money is invested in addressing the problems of energy production and in a publicity campaign. They're just over 75 per cent behind the 2010 targets, which is coming up very soon. I'm beginning to think there needs to be legislation in place to force local authorities to take action."
"Because we are targeting carbon reduction, the problem is solvable. But unless we address the issue of reducing carbon emissions in Wales now, then it will escalate. It could become a total disaster."
The Welsh Local Government Association admitted it needed to "up its game" in order to tackle climate change. A recent meeting of the National Assembly's Sustainability Committee heard Tim Peppin, the Association's Director for Sustainable Development, call for regulations to be imposed on local authorities to meet targets for reducing CO2 emissions.
He said: "Local authorities have a huge potential role in working with the Assembly to deliver on what you are trying to achieve. We must become far more sophisticated in the targets that we use. If you asked most authorities what the targets are and how they are doing, you would find a very low level of awareness. We have done a lot with public sector stock and private rental housing, but we need to start focusing on private sector housing. By working through the planning system and setting requirements, building regulations and so on can have a major impact."
But despite the criticism, the Welsh Assembly said it was doing all it could to tackle the problem. A spokesperson said although the amount of CO2 per person seemed big, it was not entirely the fault of the Welsh population. She said: "Carbon emissions in Wales appear higher because of the amount of heavy industry and electricity generation in Wales. Road transport and residential emissions are in line with the rest of the UK."
She added that Environment Minister, Jane Davidson, was providing more resources to making sure Wales' reliance on coal and gas fired power stations was reduced.
The spokeswoman said: "We recognise the importance of this issue and are building a consensus across Wales to harness the potential of renewable energy and look seriously at ways to makes Wales self-sufficient in low carbon electricity within 20 years. Jane Davidson announced last month the setting up of a Climate Change Commission for Wales."
"The Commission will be key to developing the Welsh Assembly Government's policies and creating a consensus for delivering annual carbon reduction-equivalent emissions reductions. In areas which fall outside the devolved powers of the Assembly ? heavy industry and power generation industries ? we will work with this sector to reduce emissions."
2 November 2007
ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY, HILARY BENN, HAS TODAY SET OUT DETAILS OF A STRENGTHENED, MORE EFFECTIVE AND MORE TRANSPARENT BILL TO HELP TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE
Defra Press Statement - 29 October 2007
Mr Benn said that the Government would amend its draft Climate Change Bill, following a three-month public consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny by three parliamentary committees.
When originally published in March 2007, the draft Bill set out clear legally binding targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by at least 60 per cent by 2050, and from 26 to 32 per cent by 2020. This is to be based on a new system of "carbon budgets" set at least 15 years ahead. It also proposed the creation of a new independent, expert Committee on Climate Change to advise on the best way to achieve these targets.
The changes to the draft Bill, set out in a Command Paper entitled 'Taking Forward the UK Climate Change Bill' published today, include:
* As announced by the Prime Minister in September, asking the Committee on Climate Change to report on whether the Government's target to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 60 percent by 2050 should be strengthened further;
* Asking the Committee to look at the implications of including other greenhouse gases and emissions from international aviation and shipping in the UK?s targets as part of this review;
* Strengthening the role and responsibilities of the Committee on Climate Change, including by requiring the Government to seek the Committee's advice before amending the 2020 or 2050 targets in the Bill;
* Strengthening the Committee's independence from Government, by confirming that it will appoint its own chief executive and staff, and increasing its analytical resources;
* Increased transparency, by requiring the Committee to publish its analysis and advice to Government on setting five-yearly carbon budgets, which are designed to provide clarity on the UK?s route towards its reduction targets;
* Strengthening Parliament?s ability to hold Government to account, by requiring the Government to explain its reasons to Parliament if it does not accept the Committee?s advice on the level of the carbon budget, or if it does not meet a budget or target;
* Providing better information and streamlining reporting, including requiring the Government to report annually to Parliament on emissions from international aviation and shipping, in line with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; and
* Strengthening the country?s preparedness for climate change by requiring the Government regularly to assess the risks of climate change to the UK, and to report to Parliament on its proposals and policies for sustainable adaptation to climate change.
Mr Benn said: "We need to step up the fight against climate change and we need to do it fast. The draft bill we set out earlier this year, and have now refined, is a ground breaking blueprint for moving the UK towards a low carbon economy. It will bind us to legally enforceable emissions reduction targets at home, while giving us greater clout at the international negotiating table."
"I am extremely grateful for the invaluable input from the three Parliamentary committees, and from industry and the wider public that has brought us to this point. Thanks to their efforts we will now have a Bill that is stronger, more effective and more transparent. In short, they have helped make a good Bill better."
The Government now plans to introduce a revised Bill to Parliament at the earliest possible legislative opportunity.
OUR COMMENT: There is now a chance that common sense might prevail and aviation and shipping might be treated in the same way as other industries and services. France's President M. Sarkozy has just announced as part of a greener French climate change policy that French airports would not expand!
2 November 2007
BRITAIN "NEEDS CLIMATE SUPER-MINISTER
ENDS Europe DAILY 2418 - 29 October 2007
The British government must appoint a powerful climate
"super-minister" to drive its efforts to tackle climate change, a
parliamentary committee said in a report published on Monday.
The environmental audit committee says the move is needed to counter
the prospect that the UK will miss its climate targets and lose its reputation as a climate policy leader. The minister should have a seat in the cabinet and power to shape climate policies in other government departments, the committee said
On the same day the government announced it would table revised
legislation to strengthen greenhouse gas emission cuts following a
consultation earlier this year. Tougher long-term targets could be set out, it said.
The committee said reduction efforts are being undermined because of
the "confusing" framework that has been put in place to tackle the
issue and because of conflicts between government policies.
The committee called for a review of current action on climate and
recommended developing long-term policy frameworks to ensure
decisions taken today do not affect future emission reductions.
Skills shortages in government departments must also be addressed.
"The government's commitment to sustainable development and climate
change will be judged by actions and achievements, not speeches and
targets," the committee's chairman, Tim Yeo, said.
Following a consultation period the environment ministry said it
would strengthen the draft climate change law. The current draft
proposes a legal requirement to slash national CO2 emissions by 26-32
per cent by 2020 and 60 per cent by 2050.
The ministry is now considering tougher targets. Greenhouse gases
other than CO2 and emissions from shipping and aviation could be
included. It also wants to give more powers to an independent
committee that would advise the government on climate. The revised
proposal will be presented to parliament shortly.
2 November 2007
CARBON TRADING SCHEMES DECLARE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP
ENDS Europe DAILY 2418 - 29 October 2007
Countries and regions that back mandatory carbon trading to combat
global warming have forged an alliance to build a global carbon
market, it was announced in Lisbon, Portugal, on Monday.
The International carbon action partnership (Icap) was launched by 21
countries and regions from Europe, the US, Canada and Australasia,
with the goal of aligning new and planned emission trading schemes to
work towards a global carbon market.
"Putting a price on carbon is the vital 'pull factor' needed to
ensure a healthy market for clean technologies," said EU president
Jose Manuel Barroso. "[We are] sending an important signal.. just
one month before the UN climate conference in Bali."
Expanded carbon markets are seen by the EU as one of eight building
blocks for a post-2012 agreement on climate change.
Icap will provide an international forum for governments implementing
or designing mandatory cap-and-trade schemes to share experiences and
best practice as well as to develop common approaches.
Differences in scheme design, primarily related to the level of
ambition, have largely prevented link-ups between different schemes
so far. But last week the EU confirmed the first overseas expansion
of its scheme, to Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein.
Founding members of the Icap initiative are the European commission,
UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, and Portugal from
the EU, plus members of two regional trading schemes in North
America, and New Zealand and Norway.
The Icap website says it will establish processes to formally engage
businesses and NGOs in its discussions. The group's first meeting is
planned for 2008 in Brussels.
Also on Monday, Mr Barroso met with a high-level advisory group on
energy and climate change to discuss a strategy for the Bali meeting
and how to meet the EU's domestic greenhouse gas reduction targets.
The group was set up in March.
2 November 2007
THE EVIDENCE - MORE ACTION IS NEEDED
Carbon output rising faster than forecast, says study
David Adam - The Guardian - 23 October 2007
Global warming 'will come sooner and be stronger'
Chinese growth and loss of natural 'sinks' highlighted
Scientists warned last night that global warming will be "stronger than expected and sooner than expected", after a new analysis showed carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere much faster than predicted.
Experts said that the rise was down to soaring economic development in China, and a reduction in the amount of carbon pollution soaked up by the world's land and oceans. It also means human emissions will have to be cut more sharply than predicted to avoid the likely effects.
Corinne Le Quere, a climate expert at the University of East Anglia and British Antarctic Survey, who helped conduct the study, said: "It's bad news because the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has accelerated since 2000 in a way we did not expect. My biggest worry is people are discouraged by this and do nothing. I hope political leaders will act on this, because we need to do something fast."
The study worsens even the gloomy predictions of this year's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC, which shared the Nobel peace prize this month with Al Gore, said there were only eight years left to prevent the worst effects of global warming, by acting to curb emissions.
Dr Le Quere said: "We are emitting far more than anticipated when the IPCC scenarios were drawn up in the late 1990s." Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning has risen by an average 2.9% each year since 2000. During the 1990s the annual rise was 0.7%.
The new study explains abnormally high carbon dioxide measurements highlighted by the Guardian in January. At the time, scientists were puzzled why dozens of measuring stations across the world were showing a CO2 spike for 2006, the fourth year in the last five to show a sharp increase in the greenhouse gas.
Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is measured in parts per million (ppm); from 1970 to 2000, the concentration rose by about 1.5ppm each year; since 2000 the annual rise has leapt to an average 1.9ppm.
The new study, published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), says three processes have contributed to this increase: growth in the world economy, heavy use of coal in China, and a weakening of natural "sinks" - forests, seas and soils that absorb carbon.
Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project, which carried out the research, said: "In addition to the growth of global population and wealth, we now know that significant contributions to the growth of atmospheric CO2 arise from the slowdown of natural sinks and the halt to improvements in the carbon intensity of wealth production."
The overall growth of the economy is the only one of the three factors accounted for in scientists' forecasts of climate change, which means the growth in atmospheric CO2 is about 35% larger than they expected. About half of this is down to the Chinese reliance on coal, which has forced up the carbon intensity of the overall world economy since 2000, reversing a trend of increasing energy efficiency since the 1970s. The rest of the rise is explained by the weakening of the natural carbon sinks.
Scientists assume about half of human carbon emissions are reabsorbed into the environment, but computer models predict increased temperatures will reduce this effect. The PNAS report is the most convincing evidence so far that the global sinks have weakened over the last 50 years, though the large natural variations in carbon exchange between the earth and the atmosphere mean the team can be only 89% certain they have found an effect, short of the usual 95% confidence required to publish scientific findings.
2 November 2007
'CARBON SINKS' LOSE ABILITY TO SOAK UP EMISSIONS
Steve Connor, Science Editor - The Guardian - 23 October 2007
A dramatic decline in the ability of the Earth to soak up man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, and a corresponding acceleration in the rate of increase of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, have been detected for the first time by scientists.
The discovery that more carbon dioxide from human activities is lingering in the air rather being absorbed by the world's forests and oceans has alarmed scientists who believe that it signals a potentially dangerous turn of events for the global climate.
They fear that a much-anticipated "feedback" in the global climate ? when increases in carbon dioxide in the air trigger further increases in atmospheric concentrations of the gas ? has already begun to occur decades before many predicted.
"We always said that these feedbacks would happen in the future, but what this study shows is that these feedbacks are happening right now," said Josep Canadell, executive director of the Global Climate Project in Canberra, and the lead author of the study.
About half of the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from human activities are absorbed by natural "sinks" on land and the oceans but the new study shows that the efficiency of these sinks has fallen significantly over the past half century.
"What we are seeing is a decrease in the planet's ability to absorb carbon emissions due to human activity. Fifty years ago, for every tonne of CO2 emitted, 600kg were removed by natural sinks. In 2006, only 550kg were removed per tonne and that amount is falling," Dr Canadell said.
The study also found that the amount of CO2 released into the air from human activities has accelerated in recent years not just because of the growth of the global economy but because, for the first time in a century, the efficiency with which fossil fuels are used has stagnated.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, estimated that the inefficiency in the use of fossil fuels over the past six years has increased levels of atmospheric CO2 by 17 per cent, while 18 per cent came from the decline in the efficiency of natural sinks.
Corinne Le Quéré, a climate researcher at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, said that stronger winds in the southern ocean, caused by global warming and the loss of the ozone layer, has resulted in more dissolved carbon dioxide in the deep sea being brought to the surface, and consequently less carbon dioxide being absorbed from the atmosphere.
"This is incredibly important. It is bad news because we can't do much about these natural carbon sinks, but the good news is that we can increase the efficiency of fossil fuel use. I would say this is a wake-up call. Things are happening much faster than we expected," Dr Le Quéré said.
2 November 2007
NEW CO2 EVIDENCE MEANS CLIMATE CHANGE
PREDICTIONS ARE 'TOO OPTIMISTIC'
Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter - The Guardian - 23 October 2007
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are increasing much faster and will be harder to control than scientists have predicted, a study has found.
An international team of researchers has found that, since 2000, the rate at which CO2 has been pumped into the atmosphere is 35 per cent greater than most climate change models have allowed for.
The conclusions have serious implications for forecasts of how much and how quickly the world's temperature will rise and mean that global warming will be harder and more expensive to control than feared. The results also mean that international efforts to bring CO2 emissions under control will need to be more far-reaching.
Professor Nicholas Owens, of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), said that the findings were so worrying that they made previous widely accepted forecasts of climate change seem unduly optimistic
In February this year the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body devoted to assessing the likely extent and impact of global warming, judged that world temperatures would rise by up to 6.4C (11.5F) over the next century. But the findings of the team of researchers, who include Corinne Le Quéré, of the BAS and the University of East Anglia, may force the IPCC to revise its predictions.
"There's quite a significant difference from what was forecast," she said. "It's rather scary and the IPCC scenarios are, therefore, rather too optimistic - as if they weren't bleak enough already. The whole thing is likely to mean mitigation is rather more difficult than was thought."
Rapid expansion of the Chinese and Indian economies was thought to be at least partly responsible for the increase in the rate that CO2 has been emitted into the atmosphere.
The study identifies inefficient use of fossil fuels as a prime cause of the rise in emissions and the number of coal-fired power plants being built in India and China is identified as one of the key causes of that inefficiency. Previous models for climate change had allowed for an expansion in the global economy but also assumed that the trend towards more efficient burning of fossil fuels would continue.
Recent research has also noticed a reduction in the ability of the oceans and the land to absorb carbon.
The problem with the seas was identified this year in the Southern Ocean, where winds driven by climate change are bringing carbon-saturated waters to the surface, which are unable to absorb any more carbon. Droughts, a further by-product of climate change, are suggested as a reason why land is absorbing less carbon.
The latest study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In 2006 global CO2 emissions were found to have risen to 9.9 billion tonnes, 35 per cent above levels in 1990. Dr Le Quéré said: ?The decline in global sink efficiency suggests that stabilisation of atmospheric CO2 is even more difficult to achieve than previously thought. We found that nearly half of the decline in the efficiency of the ocean CO2 sink is due to the intensification of the winds.?
23 October 2007
STANSTED CAMPAIGN GROUP SAYS
BAA EXPANSION PLAN 'IN TATTERS'
Kevin Done - Financial Times - 20 October 2007
BAA had failed to provide "a shred of evidence" to a public inquiry that expanding Stansted, the UK's third busiest airport, would deliver any net economic benefits, the leading campaign group against the growth of the airport claimed yesterday.
The inquiry into the application by BAA, the UK airports group, to expand the use of the existing single runway at Stansted closed yesterday after more than four months of hearings. Peter Sanders, chairman of the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign group, said BAA's case for growth was "in tatters".
For the first time at a public inquiry airport expansion had been challenged on both economic and environmental grounds. Climate change had also been considered for the first time, highlighting the government's "contradictory policies for reducing carbon emissions while at the same time supporting a massive expansion of airport capacity", campaigners said.
BAA is seeking to remove the existing ceiling of 25m on passenger numbers at Stansted, and to raise the limit on take-offs and landings from 241,000 to 264,000. The airport handles 23.9m passengers a year, expecting to hit 25m next year. It forecast yesterday that the airport could reach 35m passengers a year by around 2015.
The planning application by BAA is the first significant test of the government's resolve to press ahead with expanding airport capacity in the highly congested south-east of England.
BAA said yesterday it expected to submit a planning application at the end of the year for its much more ambitious project to build a second terminal and runway at Stansted, aimed at doubling capacity.
The planning inspector is likely to submit his recommendations to the transport and communities and local government departments by Christmas, with a decision expected by early spring.
Next month the government is expected to stir fresh controversy by launching a public consultation into proposals to increase use of the existing two runways at Heathrow as well as building eventually a third runway and sixth terminal.
23 October 2007
OCEANS ARE 'SOAKING UP LESS CO2'
BBC News - 21 October 2007
The study was carried out over the course of a decade.
The amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the world's oceans has reduced, scientists have said.
University of East Anglia researchers gauged CO2 absorption through more than 90,000 measurements from merchant ships equipped with automatic instruments.
Results of their 10-year study in the North Atlantic show CO2 uptake halved between the mid-90s and 2000 to 2005.
Scientists believe global warming might get worse if the oceans soak up less of the greenhouse gas.
Researchers said the findings, published in a paper for the Journal of Geophysical Research, were surprising and worrying because there were grounds for believing that, in time, the ocean might become saturated with our emissions.
BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin said: "The researchers don't know if the change is due to climate change or to natural variations.
"But they say it is a tremendous surprise and very worrying because there were grounds for believing that in time the ocean might become 'saturated' with our emissions - unable to soak up any more."
He said that would "leave all our emissions to warm the atmosphere".
Of all the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, only half of it stays there; the rest goes into carbon sinks.
There are two major natural carbon sinks: the oceans and the land "biosphere". They are equivalent in size, each absorbing a quarter of all CO2 emissions.
23 October 2007
DON'T BLAME THE CHINESE!
Exports fuel China's CO2 output
BBC News - 21 October 2007
China is thought to be the highest emitter of CO2
A quarter of China's greenhouse gas emissions are produced making goods exported to the West, a report from a UK government-funded body has found.
Climate research body the Tyndall Centre, using 2004 data, estimates the emissions are double those of Britain for the same period.
It wants rich nations to take the lead in cutting the pollution they cause.
In the last year, UK imports from China rose by 10%, nearing 6.5 million tonnes, according to a recent study.
The Tyndall Centre report concludes that in 2004 - the most recent year in which comprehensive data is available - net exports from China accounted for 23% of its total CO2 emissions.
The authors said the emission levels are due to China's trade surplus, but are also due to the relatively high level of carbon intensity within the Chinese economy.
The report said: "The extent of 'exported carbon' from China should lead to some rethinking by government negotiators as they work towards a new climate change agreement.
"It suggests that a focus on emissions within national borders may miss the point. Whilst the nation state is at the heart of most international negotiations and treaties, global trade means that a country's carbon footprint is international.
"Should countries be concerned with emissions within their borders (as is currently the case), or should they also be responsible for emissions due to the production of goods and services they consume?" China is believed to be the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide.
23 October 2007
EU ROW DELAYS PLANS TO CUT GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
David Gow in Brussels - The Guardian - 22 October 2007
A row among European governments has forced the EU to postpone ambitious plans for tackling climate change before a crucial UN conference on the issue in Bali in early December.
It has emerged that the European Commission, due to announce on December 5 its proposals on how to cut CO2 emissions by 20% and use renewables for 20% of its energy consumption by 2020, has put off the plans until the new year. The UN conference, from December 3 to 14, will try to draw up plans for the post-2012 phase of the Kyoto protocol to cut global greenhouse gas emissions.
The EU, self-styled leader in the battle against global warming, has put forward proposals for the UN to adopt a goal of a 30% cut in emissions by 2020 but has been riven by arguments among its members over the role of trading mechanisms for promoting the use of renewables to reach that target and the EUs's own target of a 20% cut.
The decision to postpone the plans comes before a vote by MEPs this week over the commission's plans to force manufacturers to cut CO2 emissions from new cars.
Car makers are likely to be given three years' breathing space to reduce emissions. Motor manufacturers are also expected to lose the right to use biofuels to meet proposals that originally called for CO2 emissions from new European cars to be cut by around a quarter to 120g a kilometre by 2012.
Green MEPs warned last week that the whole EU climate change strategy would be jeopardised if car makers were not bound to meet the 2012 target and an even tougher goal of 80g by 2020.
They said that the commission's own proposals would cut emissions by only 239m tonnes a year compared with the 521m tonnes under their own plans.
A report prepared for them by Berlin consultants CPC said cars are responsible for 12% of total EU CO2 emissions.
The Green MEPs said that, if the EU were to meet its more ambitious target of a 30% cut in emissions by 2020, cars would have to be smaller, lighter and subjected to a 160kph (100mph) speed limit, with gas guzzlers effectively banned from Europe's roads.
23 October 2007
LESS OIL TO BURN?
WILL THAT BE THE ANSWER TO CLIMATE CHANGE?
Steep decline in oil production brings risk
of war and unrest, says new study
Ashley Seager - The Guardian - 22 October 2007
Output peaked in 2006 and will fall 7% a year
Decline in gas, coal and uranium also predicted
World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half as soon as 2030, according to a report which also warns that extreme shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown.
The German-based Energy Watch Group will release its study in London today saying that global oil production peaked in 2006 - much earlier than most experts had expected. The report, which predicts that production will now fall by 7% a year, comes after oil prices set new records almost every day last week, on Friday hitting more than $90 (£44) a barrel.
"The world soon will not be able to produce all the oil it needs as demand is rising while supply is falling. This is a huge problem for the world economy," said Hans-Josef Fell, EWG's founder and the German MP behind the country's successful support system for renewable energy.
The report's author, Joerg Schindler, said its most alarming finding was the steep decline in oil production after its peak, which he says is now behind us.
The results are in contrast to projections from the International Energy Agency, which says there is little reason to worry about oil supplies at the moment.
However, the EWG study relies more on actual oil production data which, it says, are more reliable than estimates of reserves still in the ground. The group says official industry estimates put global reserves at about 1.255 gigabarrels - equivalent to 42 years' supply at current consumption rates. But it thinks the figure is only about two thirds of that.
Global oil production is currently about 81m barrels a day - EWG expects that to fall to 39m by 2030. It also predicts significant falls in gas, coal and uranium production as those energy sources are used up.
Britain's oil production peaked in 1999 and has already dropped by half to about 1.6 million barrels a day.
The report presents a bleak view of the future unless a radically different approach is adopted. It quotes the British energy economist David Fleming as saying: "Anticipated supply shortages could lead easily to disturbing scenes of mass unrest as witnessed in Burma this month. For government, industry and the wider public, just muddling through is not an option any more as this situation could spin out of control and turn into a complete meltdown of society."
Mr Schindler comes to a similar conclusion. "The world is at the beginning of a structural change of its economic system. This change will be triggered by declining fossil fuel supplies and will influence almost all aspects of our daily life."
Jeremy Leggett, one of Britain's leading environmentalists and the author of Half Gone, a book about "peak oil" - defined as the moment when maximum production is reached, said that both the UK government and the energy industry were in "institutionalised denial" and that action should have been taken sooner.
"When I was an adviser to government, I proposed that we set up a taskforce to look at how fast the UK could mobilise alternative energy technologies in extremis, come the peak," he said. "Other industry advisers supported that. But the government prefers to sleep on without even doing a contingency study. For those of us who know that premature peak oil is a clear and present danger, it is impossible to understand such complacency."
Mr Fell said that the world had to move quickly towards the massive deployment of renewable energy and to a dramatic increase in energy efficiency, both as a way to combat climate change and to ensure that the lights stayed on. "If we did all this we may not have an energy crisis."
He accused the British government of hypocrisy. "Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have talked a lot about climate change but have not brought in proper policies to drive up the use of renewables," he said. "This is why they are left talking about nuclear and carbon capture and storage."
Yesterday, a spokesman for the Department of Business and Enterprise said: "Over the next few years global oil production and refining capacity is expected to increase faster than demand. The world's oil resources are sufficient to sustain economic growth for the foreseeable future. The challenge will be to bring these resources to market in a way that ensures sustainable, timely, reliable and affordable supplies of energy."
The German policy, which guarantees above-market payments to producers of renewable power, is being adopted in many countries - but not Britain, where renewables generate about 4% of the country's electricity and 2% of its overall energy needs.
23 October 2007
A GOOD IDEA FOR PLANES AND CARS TOO?
Dimas moots EU product carbon label
ENDS Europe DAILY 2413 - 22 October 2007
EU action plans on sustainable production and consumption and greener
industrial policy could lead to a European-wide carbon labelling
scheme indicating the impact of products on climate change,
environment commissioner Stavros Dimas indicated last week.
"I know that a number of companies and retailers are developing their
own carbon labelling and given that we have a single market it would
appear to make sense to have one set of labels for the single
market," Mr Dimas said in his personal blog during an event to mark
international blog action day.
Commission consultations on sustainable production and consumption
(SCP) and sustainable industrial policy (SIP) have just closed. A background
document to the plans suggests a carbon label as possible future
policy. "If there is a big demand for carbon labelling then it will
be one of the issues that I will be looking to follow up on," Mr
But the commissioner said the EU's flower ecolabel scheme already
took into account climate impacts and warned that any initiative must
not confuse buyers of products. "There is also the question of
making sure that consumers can trust that labels are telling the
whole truth and are not just being used to 'greenwash' products," he
20 October 2007
BATTLE IS OVER, BUT THE WAR GOES ON
Comment - Herts & Essex Observer - 18 October 2007
At last it is over. But don't dare breathe a sigh of relief. While the Stansted Airport public inquiry will close Friday, ending 6 weeks of fierce argument, the fight against more flights foes on.
Even before the government gives its decision on increasing passenger numbers by 10 million to around 35 million a year, BAA is set to submit plans which would see numbers almost double by 2030.
By this time next year, SSE and its stalwarts will have turned their attention to routing plans for a second runwayand halting any moves to build a second Heathrow on the doorstep.
Their hard work and heartfelt campaign against the current plans will be dwarfed by the fresh challenge. Supporters will have to dig deep once again ? the opposition thus far has already cost around 200,000 pounds ? and how much more will next year's bill be?
The task is daunting, but SSE has already shown it will not be bullied by BAA, although it still remains to be seen if they will win ther battle that ends this week and the war yet to come.
20 October 2007
BATTLE IS OVER, WE AWAIT THE RESULT
SSE Comment - 20 October 2007
The Inquiry finished with a vote of thanks from Brian Ross of SSE to the Inspector, Alan Boland, and to his assistant, Terry Phillimore, for the very efficient and fair way in which the Inquiry had been conducted. This was applauded by those attending on the final day, many of whom had followed the inquiry since it commenced last May.
Mr Boland reciprocated saying how courteous participants had been and how smoothly the sessions had gone, praising the work of Simon Osborne, the Inquiry's programme officer who had been responsible for organising sessions, cataloguing, reproducing and distributing the hundreds of documents and emails.
The last day had been filled with BAA's denunciation of all the evidence produced against their expansion plans. Their lawyers Michael Humphries and Hereward Phillpot, producing a lengthy folder, went through much of the evidence, dissecting and dismissing it, quoting as many witness statements as possible to support their case (with considerable cherry picking). Their final conclusion took us back to their original case - the much repeated mantra - the government says we need a bigger Stansed airport, people want to fly, Stansted expansion is vital to our economy and why are people making such a fuss over a few hundred more flights a day? They will hardly notice the difference, neither will the trees in Hatfield Forest, nor the passengers on the railway nor the users of local roads.
The last gesture from BAA was the presentation of their claim for partial payment of expenses from the Uttlesford, Essex County and Hertfordshire County Councils. This is based on the "unreasonable" nature of the reasons why they refused the application, and their alleged failure to produce any reasons for their decisions. Councillors were even threatened with having behaved improperly by joining SSE before the application went in, and then resigning before they voted to reject the claim. The Council have the opportunity to respond and the Inspector then makes his recommendation. This claim is quite separate from the main report which the Minister (Hazel Blears) expects to get by Xmas.
The week's final submissions presented by the main objectors were all of one mind, no more flights, but the Stansted Airline Consultative Committee are not against expansion in principle, they believe it is too soon and at the present time are prepared to settle for 30 mppa. They believe they have been made to pay higher charges to finance airport improvements that have not yet occurred and are not yet needed. They want a part in reaching commercial decisions on when and how to expand.
Muich Hadham Parish Council started the week , declaring "We do not want to see our quality of life continue to deteriorate with increased road traffic, resulting in worsening road surfaces, more carbon emissions and more traffic noise, more crowded trains, more urbanisation and more aircraft noise disturbing the peace and calm of our beautiful countryside. The wrong decision was made to create London's third airport in the countryside with poor public transport facilities and that wrong decision should not be compounded by allowing the airport to increase its capacity".
The National Trust concentrated on Hatfield Forest, which is "almost certainly unique in England and possibly in the world. It is the only place where one can step back into the middle ages to see, with only a small effort of the imagination, what a Forest looked like in use". And again "The ancient trees, often in excess of 600 years old, created by traditional practices encompass much of what is significant about the forest and each is unique in the ecosystem it supports. Hatfield forest is biologically of international importance..." The Trust detailed the damage that was being caused already to this fragile ecosystem by aircraft emissions of nitrogen oxides and the destruction of tranquillity by the increasing frequency of overflying aircraft. It chided BAA for failing to provide adequate information over the damage being created and the likely future effects of increased flights.
Saffron Walden Friends of the Earth analysed the evidence on the damaging effects of aircraft emissions on the Forest, the lack of adequate monitoring by BAA and the results of recent monitoring carried out by the Uttlesford Council that indicated that the Forest was already subjected to damaging pollution levels which would, if increased cause irreversible damage. They were also concerned about the increasing noise from the extra flights and the amount of water needed by an expanded airport.
SSE was represented by their two lawyers, Paul Stinchcombe and Sarah Hannett. SSE have covered every aspect of the Appeal, including the effects on climate change, assembling a team of witnesses with a few professionals and many volunteers, led by Peter Sanders and Brian Ross and organised by Carol Barbone. The submission opened with Paul Stinchcombe?s declaration: "This inquiry is the first inquiry of its kind, certainly in this country and we think in the world: an inquiry into an aviation proposal by which a significant expansion of traffic movements is proposed, all in order ? so the government orders ? to garner net economic benefits for itself and its citizens, but that same government acknowledges both that aviation is a prime cause of climate change and that climate change is the gravest challenge facing the world".
He went on to dissect BAA's case, dealing with both the environmental damage from increased flights, the noise annoyance and the battle of the statistics over surface access to the airport and also demolishing BAA's case that government policy was paramount, as expressed in the Aviation White Paper and that climate change is not a material consideration in an individual planning application - the government intends to control aviation emissions through economic means, primarily through an EU trading system.
Uttlesford District Council's lawyers, Tom Hill and Lisa Busch, followed the same arguments, attacking BAA's case and also presenting a digest of views from the many Parish Councils who gave evidence to the inquiry. Tom Hill reminded the Inspector that "The issues raised at this inquiry have a profound significance for the communities which we represent, and that they touch upon the lives of residents, workers, lovers of the countryside and of wildlife in a way that mercifully few developments do".
The Council is supported by Essex and Hertfordshire County Councils whose Highways officers have battled with BAA to make sense out of the traffic statistics and to try and get a satisfactory set of conditions to ensure that much needed road and rail improvements are carried out if expansion is allowed.
Throughout the inquiry a number of regular attenders supported the witnesses and the teams helping to present and prepare the evidence. The inquiry was housed in part of the second floor of Endeavour House, a wind blown glass and concrete box like building not far from the terminal building. Insulated from noise and intermittently well ventilated it offered a view of aircraft taking off and landing, and a drinks machine that had difficulties in keeping up with the demands placed on it. Some food could be purchased provided the supplying caterers could be located during the period they visited the building. Diet was therefore somewhat limited and the faithful supporters of SSE who came regularly will now be able to enjoy a well earned respite!
13 October 2007
MEMBERS OF ICAO AGREE EMISSIONS A PROBLEM
Madhu Unnikrishnan, Aviation Daily - 8 October 2007
The 179 ICAO member countries agreed wholly on the need to address
aviation's effects on the environment, but they disagreed in some ways on
how to go about finding a solution to this problem, Jeffrey Shane, U.S.
Transportation Dept. undersecretary for policy, said last week.
Shane, who headed the recent ICAO General Assembly, applauded the work done
at ICAO toward creating a framework to address climate change.
Anticipating scepticism, he added, "I know that the cynics among you will
say, 'Another working group, another report, another meeting. Where's the beef?'"
He went on to explain, "We had the usual deliberations over the actual words
that went into the resolution, but the determination that ICAO assert itself
and do something meaningful on the emissions question was palpable."
All participating countries embraced the use of market-based plans, such as
emissions trading, to tackle climate change, but the delegations differed in
how to approach implementing these tools.
The resolution included text that would have precluded ICAO member states
from levying emissions trading on other members' airlines "except on the
basis of mutual agreement between those states," Shane said. This language
was accepted by all but the 42 delegations of the European Union and the
European Civil Aviation Conference bloc, he said.
The U.S. and many other delegations say the EU's plans to include aviation
in its emissions trading scheme is "inappropriately unilateral,
extraterritorial, and inconsistent with the Chicago Convention and bilateral
air services agreements," Shane said.
The European delegations disagreed, arguing that their plans are consistent
with the Chicago Convention and the ICAO resolution was not "an impediment
to proceeding to implement the [ETS]," Shane said.
Although a compromise was never reached at the ICAO General Assembly, Shane
noted that the EU challenged the rest of the world to take the issue of
emissions trading in aviation more seriously. Public opinion in Europe is
driving the debate there, he said, and ICAO's member states were well
advised to take heed.
Yet, Shane remained optimistic a solution to allow market-based emissions
plans could be found under the auspices of ICAO. "We agreed about far more
than we disagreed about, and all of us intend to continue working as
productively as possible to address the emissions issue more effectively,"
13 October 2007
AIR DUTY REFORM TARGETS CARBON EMISSIONS
Kevin Done, Aerospace Correspondent - Financial Times - 10 October 2007
Air passenger duty, long criticised for its lack of environmental impact, is to be reformed to make it more effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Alistair Darling said the government would soon launch a consultation on a reform of APD to transform it into a per aircraft tax rather than a per passenger tax. It would examine ways of making aviation duty reflect more closely the distance travelled as well as ways to encourage more aircraft to fly at full capacity. The aim is to introduce the new tax from November 2009.
The Treasury said the "new per plane aviation duty will send an improved signal of environmental costs and ensure aviation makes a greater contribution to covering its environmental costs".
The reform would also look at other loopholes. The present tax is not levied on air cargo flights, transfer passengers (those connecting through UK airports for onward travel) or on private jet travel.
The government said that in introducing the new duty it would "take into account the impact on freight and transit and transfer passengers".
Easyjet, the leading UK low cost airline, which has been at the forefront of the campaign to reform APD, said it was the "right decision" to introduce a tax that "properly reflects the pollution levels of different aircraft types and the distance flown by those aircraft".
Andy Harrison, Easyjet chief executive, said: "A tax that penalises families but excludes private jets and charges passengers travelling to Marrakech the same as those travelling to Melbourne is just plain wrong.
"It is right to tax emissions, not passengers."
He warned, however, that the reform should not be used as an excuse to increase the burden of tax on passengers. Easyjet was already covering its carbon costs more than four times over with the present rate of APD.
British Airways, with a big share of long-haul passengers and an older fleet of aircraft, attacked the move.
It said aviation's impact on the environment would be most effectively addressed by including it in the European Union's emissions trading scheme, planned by Brussels for 2011. "Once aviation is included in the EU scheme, we expect APD or any replacement tax to be ended," it said.
Mr Darling left the current APD rates unchanged for the next fiscal year, 2008-09.
He moved, however, to close the loophole under which passengers flying on the new breed of all-business class airlines, such as Eos, Maxjet and Silverjet, have been paying the economy rather than the business class rates of APD. From November next year the tax rate will double from £40 to £80 per passenger.
13 October 2007
TRAVELLERS' AIR DUTY FACES OVERHAUL IN 2009
Kevin Done, Aerospace Correspondent - Financial Times Website - 10 October 2007
Ever since air passenger duty (APD) was introduced in 1994, the airline industry has complained the levy was a blunt instrument that did little for the environment, despite successive governments describing it as a "green tax".
The criticism of APD became much louder after the decision late last year to double the tax rates with effect from February.
Yesterday Alistair Darling, chancellor, responded by announcing a fundamental reform of the tax with effect from November 2009.
He also left the APD rates unchanged for the next fiscal year 2008-09, but moved to close the loophole under which passengers flying on the new breed of all-business class airlines such as Eos, Maxjet and Silverjet, have been paying the economy, rather than the business, class rate of APD.
From November next year the tax rate will double from £40 to £80 per passenger leaving the UK on these airlines, bringing them into line with business class passengers on all other carriers.
The government said it would begin a consultation shortly aimed at making APD a per aircraft tax rather than a per passenger tax. The consultation would examine ways of making tax reflect more closely the distance travelled and encouraging more aircraft to fly at full capacity.
The reform could also close other loopholes.
The government said the new duty would "take into account the impact on freight, and transit and transfer passengers" that at present are not taxed.
The government's announcement was a coup for EasyJet, the leading UK low-cost airline, which has been at the head of the campaign to change the existing APD.
EasyJet said it was a "right decision" to introduce a tax that "properly reflects the pollution levels of different aircraft types and the distance flown by those aircraft".
Andy Harrison, EasyJet chief executive, said: "A tax that penalises families but excludes private jets and charges passengers travelling to Marrakech the same as those travelling to Melbourne is just plain wrong. A structure that taxes a passenger in the newest, cleanest aircraft the same as someone in an old gas-guzzler cannot be allowed to continue. It is right to tax emissions, not passengers."
British Airways, with a big share of long-haul passengers and an older fleet, reacted less positively.
It said aviation's impact on the environment would be most effectively addressed by including it in the European Union's emissions trading scheme. Once that happened, as planned by Brussels in 2011, BA said it expected APD or any replacement tax to be ended.
4 October 2007
GOOD NEWS? NOT TOUGH ENOUGH?
MEPs toughen airline emission trade plan
ENDS Europe DAILY 2400 - 3 October 2007
The European parliament's environment committee has substantially
strengthened European commission proposals to include airlines in the
EU's carbon emission trading scheme. In a vote on Tuesday it backed
a tighter emissions cap, much more auctioning of allowances and an
earlier deadline for firms to join the scheme.
Earlier parliamentary debate had indicated for some time that MEPs
intended to toughen plans to include flights in the EU's trading
scheme (ETS). But until Tuesday no consensus had emerged on key issues such as the
cap and how allowances should be distributed.
The committee now says emissions should be capped at 75 per cent of
average levels over the period 2004-6 when airlines join the EU ETS.
Rapporteur MEP Peter Liese had proposed 90 per cent and the
commission 100 per cent. Mr Liese insisted after the vote that 75
per cent was "not feasible technically" and threatened the
competitiveness of EU airlines.
MEPs confirmed their backing for the aviation sector to be included
in the ETS from 2010. There had never been
significant support for the commission's plan to include intra-EU
flights from 2011 and external flights from 2012.
The committee also backed Mr Liese's call for 50 per cent of
allowances to be auctioned to airlines. The commission had proposed
around three per cent. The rapporteur's suggestion that auctioning
revenues should subsidise environmentally-friendly transport was
accepted but with softer language.
MEPs said a correction factor should be applied to allowances bought
from non-aviation sectors in the ETS, to compensate for the extra
climate effects of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Under this rule
airlines would have to buy two tonnes' worth of allowances from the
non-aviation sector for every tonne of carbon dioxide they produce.
Under another rule backed by MEPs, airlines would be required in
future trading periods to meet certain minimum emission efficiency
standards before being allowed access to credits outside the aviation
Attempts by some MEPs to dilute a benchmark for allocating
non-auctioned allowances and to raise the limit on access Kyoto
protocol flexible mechanism credits failed. Both would have reduced
the pressure on airlines to cut their own emissions. A controversial
exemption for government flights was voted out and other exemptions
Industry groups condemned the vote. "From our perspective it is
unrealistic and unreasonable," said a spokesperson for the
Association for European airlines.
The parliament's Green group said the committee had "significantly
improved... a weak proposal". Transport campaign group T&E was less
impressed, calling the vote a step back from a parliamentary
resolution last year.
4 October 2007
Deadlock over aviation emission trading
ENDS Europe DAILY 2396 - 27 September 2007
The International civil aviation organisation has failed to bridge a
deep divide between the US and Europe over how to include airlines in
the EU emission trading scheme (END 17/09/07
A vote on the issue due on Wednesday did not materialise and negotiations continued throughout
the night. Sources at the Montreal meeting, which ends on Friday, say
Icao is almost certain to endorse the American view that countries
must ask permission of foreign airlines' host nations before
subjecting them to emission trading.
The EU has already indicated it will pursue its plans even without Icao approval. See meeting
4 October 2007
BAA boss takes on airlines
Tom McGhie - Mail on Sunday - 23 September 2007
He has taken part in the world's highest bungee jump - a 708 ft plunge at Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa. He has cycled 508 miles non-stop on a route crossing Death Valley in America. But now Stephen Nelson, whose company runs Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, is taking the biggest risk of all.
He has thrown out the management maxim dictating that the customer is always right and decided to turn the tables in the blame game on to his biggest clients - the airlines.
After months of fevered criticism for levels of service that have according to detractors transformed Heathrow, the UK's premier gateway, into a national disgrace, BAA - owned by Spain's Ferrovial - has decided to take on its tormentors.
Chief executive Nelson and his senior team at the beleaguered company are so fed up with carrying the can for all the ills at their airports - ranging from dirty loos, mucky carpets and broken escalators to baggage delays, huge check-in queues and lost luggage - that they have decided to take aim at their accusers, the airlines.
Financial Mail understands that Nelson is now considering publicising a name and shame league table in an attempt to deflect the criticism. This will clearly identify the cause of the delays, whether at check-in, immigration or security.
BAA is confident that the airlines, which are responsible for baggage handling and check-in facilities, and the Home Office, which staffs the immigration desks, will be shown up as the real villains.
BAA is expected to consult airports regulator the Civil Aviation Authority and the Government about how the league table will be compiled and it is sensitive to the fact that a name and shame policy could become the source of yet more conflict.
Its main target inevitably will be British Airways, which dominates Heathrow and which has incensed BAA by calling for it to be broken up. Airlines argue that if Gatwick is sold, its management will compete with Heathrow and that will mean lower charges. At present it costs about £10 per passenger to land a plane at Heathrow and only £5 at Gatwick.
British Airways is privately furious that BAA should be seen to be trying to point the finger at its main customer. It believes it would do better to try to fix its problems rather than offload the blame. A British Airways spokesman said: 'It is down to BAA to defend itself against any accusations, but if it does make any charges against us, we will carefully look at the evidence.'
BAA claims it has no responsibility for 94% of delays at the airport. Senior executives argue that the major hold-ups occur at check-in and immigration. And they defend themselves by claiming that for 95% of passengers, security queues take less than ten minutes. This, they argue, should improve as they have hired an extra 1,500 security staff and a further 600 will join by Christmas.
It is not clear why BAA has gone on the offensive so publicly, given that the carriers were supportive of the change of management that accompanied the Spaniards' takeover bid. Some executives have suggested to Financial Mail that the airports operator is seeking to undermine airlines that have given evidence to a Competition Commission inquiry over whether BAA should be broken up and whether its monopoly of London airports is bad for passengers.
Unsurprisingly, BAA is arguing vehemently in favour of the status quo, hinting that a break-up could jeopardise plans to invest another £3.7bn to improve Heathrow.
Nelson, a former Sainsbury's trading and marketing director, also wants the CAA to allow him to make more profits. The regulator has said it will allow him to make a 6.6% return on capital - down from 7.5% now.
Nelson says this is not enough and he threatens that if the regulator is not more amenable, the costly improvements could be ditched.
But the veiled threat of an investment strike could just be one step too far for Nelson.
When British Airways heads to the new Terminal 5 next spring, it will leave another 90 or so carriers at its existing terminals, furious at the prospect that the Third World-style surroundings in which they operate will merely receive a lick of paint and a couple of stretches of new carpet tiles.
4 October 2007
A LEAD FOR THE FUTURE?
Munich Airport and Fraport to test emission-based landing fees
Travel News - 28 September 2007
Munich and Frankfurt airports have announced plans to introduce an emission-linked component in take-off and landing fees for a three-year test phase. The pilot project was developed by the German Airport Transport Initiative in consultation with the Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, and will introduce a charge of 3 euros per kilogram of nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions for all airlines landing in Frankfurt and Munich effective January 1, 2008.
"With these emission-linked airport fees we will achieve two effects," says Dr. Michael Kerkloh, the CEO of Munich Airport. "We create an incentive for airlines to operate aircraft with the lowest possible NOx emissions and send a long-term signal to manufacturers to forge ahead with technological innovation."
The change will not generate more revenues for the airports. The additional expenditures of the airlines for the emission-linked fees will be offset by an equivalent reduction in the fixed fees based on the maximum take-off mass of the aircraft type flown by the airline.
"It would be counterproductive to weaken Germany's competitiveness in the aviation sector with higher fees. However, we can exert a positive ecological impact broadening our range of instruments to improve our overall environmental performance by means of financial incentives," says Dr. Wilhelm Bender, the CEO of Fraport AG.
By launching emission-linked airport fees, the aviation sector is making an active contribution to environmental protection that has the support of the German Airports Cooperative and the German Airlines Association (BDF). The incentive to reduce NOx emissions will primarily benefit the local air quality in the vicinity of the two airports.
With this move, the German Air Transport Initiative is intensifying its efforts to reduce aviation emissions. The airlines act as system partners of the airports and air traffic control, jointly pursuing the goal of achieving the greatest possible compatibility of flight operations with environmental priorities.
"We are making an active contribution to reduce emissions by driving technological progress, working to enhance the efficiency of our infrastructure and taking very specific operational measures such as the implementation of direct air routes," said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, chairman of the executive board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. "The inclusion of nitrous oxides in airport fees is yet another intelligent contribution to ecological progress in aviation."
The German Air Transport Initiative is convinced that the new fee regulation, with its emission-based component, will send a very specific ecological signal while ensuring that the competitive playing field stays level for Germany's aviation industry by avoiding distortions such as ticket taxes or development fees for airline passengers.
German Air Transport Initiative was launched by Deutsche Lufthansa AG (DLH), Flughafen Frankfurt AG (Fraport), Munich Airport (FMG) and Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS). These four aviation companies formed this initiative to foster policies and economic conditions that will strengthen Germany's competitiveness to ensure that it will continue to share in worldwide growth in air transport while securing existing jobs and creating new ones. German air traffic control, the two airports and the airline have entered into a close system partnership to enable the German aviation sector to compete as efficiently as possible. The German Air Transport Initiative is supported by ministries at the state and federal levels, policymakers and the German aviation associations.
4 October 2007
BUSH ATTEMPTS A TAKEOVER
EU and US at loggerheads over climate change
ENDS Europe DAILY 2398 - 1 October 2007
The US government hailed climate change as one of the "great
challenges of our time" at the end of last week, but did not budge in
its opposition to globally-set, legally-binding emission reduction
"We come together today because we agree that climate change is a
real problem - and that human beings are contributing to it," US
secretary of state Condoleezza Rice told a US-led international
climate meeting. "Now, it is our responsibility as global leaders to
forge a new international consensus on how to address climate change."
This was a promising start to the Washington meeting that brought
together the world's 17 largest CO2 emitters last Thursday and
Friday. A year ago president George Bush was still questioning the
science behind climate change.
But despite the new rhetoric, the US did not budge from its long-held
position that technology, not binding emission caps, is the main
solution to climate change.
President George Bush called on those present to agree "a long-term
goal" to cut emissions by mid-2008, but did not put forward a
concrete proposal. Nor did he express support for a global,
legally-binding treaty to enforce emission cuts.
"Each nation must decide for itself the right mix of tools and
technologies to achieve results that are measurable and
environmentally effective," Mr Bush told delegates. Days before, UN
chief Ban Ki-moon had reassured critics the US initiative would feed
into UN climate negotiations.
The president's position received a sceptical response. "What they
placed on the table at this meeting is a first step, but is simply
not enough," said South African environment minister Marthinus van
Schalwyk. "We think that the US needs to go back to the drawing
Other participants called the US position "isolated" and suggested
the current administration was increasingly irrelevant in the run up
to a new government in January 2009.
Campaigners were harsh in their judgement. "President Bush's speech
today demonstrates once again his do-nothing approach to global
warming," said Greenpeace USA director John Passacantando. "He
offered no new policies that would commit the US to binding emissions
4 October 2007
BARROSO DEFENDS EU'S CLIMATE STRATEGY
ENDS Europe DAILY 2399 - 2 October 2007
European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso defended the EU's
dual-track approach to international climate negotiations on Tuesday,
saying he was convinced "more than ever that it's the right way to
Mr Barroso was responding to doubts over the policy raised by
parliamentarians at a joint meeting on climate change of members of
the European and EU member state parliaments. The strategy "offers
an incentive to other countries" to match the EU commitment, he
insisted at the gathering in Brussels.
In March EU leaders committed the bloc to unilateral emissions
reductions of 20 per cent by 2020, rising to 30 per cent if other
developed countries make a comparable commitment.
Mr Barroso also rejected a suggestion that the commission's plan to
publish draft national "burden-sharing" targets for meeting the 20
per cent goal on the eve of international talks in Bali could
undermine the EU's negotiating position. "It's not bad timing from a
political point of view to say 'we have just presented this to the
member states'. We will be far ahead of our other partners in Bali",
The commission president reiterated demands for the US and other
countries to sign up to binding emission reductions as part of any
UN-mandated post-Kyoto climate agreement.
"The US and Japan are much better on technology than the EU, but
technology and goodwill are not enough", he said. "We need a binding
cap on emissions to put a real price on carbon and give the right
economic incentives to environmentally-friendly technologies". China
and India still have "some difficulties" with the idea of binding
targets, he acknowledged.
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