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  • FINLAND APPROVES CLIMATE ACT AND KEEPS PACE WITH EU GOALS

    Finland’s new law sets long term climate goals and promotes transparency and results monitoring.

    In March, the Finnish Parliament approved the Climate Act, a new climate policy that was tabled in June 2014. The law sets a target to cut emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050, consolidating Finland’s contribution to the EU emissions goal of an 80-95% reduction by 2050.

    The Climate Act requires every future government to specify climate policies towards the long-term goal and monitor the results, which, according to director general of the Environmental Protection Department Tuula Varis,“ makes climate policy planning in the future more systematic”, as well as making it easier to predict the direction the country is aiming at.

    Finland joins the UK, France, Denmark, Ireland, Mexico, Vietnam and South Korea in setting climate goals in law, and takes an important step towards the UN’s Paris climate summit that will take place in December.

    However, the advocates of the new law did not get everything they wanted, as they had to settle for an 80% emissions target, which represents the least ambitious end of the EU range; also, the Climate Act does not set any “carbon budget” for the medium term, making it less easy to follow whether the government is keeping its promises.

    At the moment, a quarter of Finland’s electricity is sourced from hydropower, with a third from nuclear.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Thursday, 12 March 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • AFRICAN STATES WANT TO LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING TO 1.5°C

    In a new proposal for the Paris summit, African environment ministers have reaffirmed their willing to confine global warming to 1.5°C above pre industrial levels, thus conflicting with the EU and US.

    In March 2015, the Cairo Declaration was issued by representatives from all 54 African states.  The document calls for serious carbon emissions cuts to be agreed in the UN climate pact due to be set in December, and expresses the need to keep global temperatures’ rise below 1.5°C by the end of the century, which represents a more ambitious goal than the 2°C target endorsed by wealthy nations.

    According to scientific researches, keeping the increase of global temperatures under 1.5°C will be costly and will require notable investments in negative emissions, such as tree planting or the developing of new technologies to suck carbon from the atmosphere.

    However, this target is still being taken into consideration in a UN negotiating text, and it is seen as vital by climate vulnerable countries, which could be seriously damaged by higher temperatures; for example, crop yields in North Africa and the Middle East could fall substantially with warming above 1.5°C, and for low-lying islands an excessive rise in temperatures could make the difference between survival and disappearing under rising seas.

    In their declaration, African ministers have also insisted on the importance of reaching a global goal for climate adaptation in a 2015 deal, highlighting the support poorer nation will need. With regard to this matter, some developed countries are worried that they will be expected to pay for the costs of adaptation in poorer countries, while other states like Brazil believe that adaptation is an issue that should be addressed at national level and others say that any goal should be voluntary.

    The statement also backs a reduction in African states’ use of HFCs, which are greenhouse gases way more powerful than CO2 that are employed in refrigeration; this intention had already been expressed by African ministers under the Montreal Protocol on the ozone, which is expected to release further proposals to limit HFC use in April.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI team

    Wednesday, 11 March 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • NEW ESTIMATE SHOWS UNCERTAINTY ON CLIMATE AID FLOWS TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

    UN panel admits that climate finance flows from developed to developing countries may be lower than advertised, and experts highlight confusion over green funds’ nature.

    In 2014, a new study commissioned by the UN’s climate body stated that US$340-650 billion had been invested in green initiatives around the world, and that, of that amount, around $40-175 billion had been used by developed countries to promote initiatives in developing countries. However, a new clarification note recently released by UN officials proves the calculations wrong, and says the estimate “may be closer to the lower bound“; according to the note, the size of climate finance flows to developing countries “is highly uncertain mainly due to uncertainty about the scale of the private flows”.

    In 2010, emerging and poor economies have been promised $100 billion of climate finance a year by 2020, and during the UN Paris climate summit that will be held in December they will surely ask for proofs that more finance for green projects will be delivered. 

    Another crucial point that will have to be dealt with by the UN is the need to define what climate finance really is, specify a methodology for monitoring flows and ensure that “clean” private investments are audited; according to experts, failure to do so could affect the success of the entire global climate deal that is due to be agreed later this year.

    As has been pointed out in 2013 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), at the moment there’s no clarity on how to define climate finance, and there are at least 24 different interpretations of the idea of green funding.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Tuesday, 10 March 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • ETS REFORM RAISES CONFLICTS WITHIN THE EU

    Eastern and western EU member states argue about the ETS reform’s starting date.

    Over the past years, Europe’s emissions-intensive industries have had the chance to benefit from the malfunctioning of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which permitted the over-allocation of allowances and carbon’s low price, and Eastern European countries - whose economies are dependent on them - already delayed the endorsement of a reform proposal that was meant to become effective in 2012 and was agreed to only in 2014.

    These countries fear that any change within the ETS could raise carbon price and undermine their economy, and are taking position against any kind of public intervention in a market-based system.

    New conflicts are now arising concerning the new ETS reform plan; in fact, all countries have agreed to the establishment of a market stability reserve into which deposit excess allowances when there are too many in the market, but a group of eight eastern states led by Poland wants the measure to be introduced as late as possible.

    In 2014, the Commission proposed 2021 as the start date of the reform, and Poland wants to stick to this date, while a group of western member states is pushing for it to start in 2017; aiming at smoothing the dispute, the European Parliament’s environment committee opted for a compromise start date of 31 December 2018, and even the new Commission no longer supports its previous proposal.

    However, the compromise date has convinced none of the members, and western states argue that waiting until 2019 will only hold down the carbon price and prolong uncertainty, raising costs for business and leaving consumers to pay the price.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Monday, 9 March 2015

    (Source: European Voice)

  • PERUVIAN TRIBE SETTLES WITH OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM ON AMAZON POLLUTION

    After years of legal battles in the US courts, indigenous Peruvians won a big Amazon pollution payout from Occidental Petroleum.

    In 2007, the members of the indigenous Achuar tribe from the Peruvian Amazon sued Occidental Petroleum, claiming it consciously brought pollution about which caused premature deaths, birth defects and damaged the habitat.

    Now, the indigenous have won an undisclosed amount from the US oil giant thanks to an out-of-court settlement, and they will use the money for health, education and nutrition projects.

    In 2008, the case had been dismissed, as the federal district court stated that the case should have been heard in Peru, but the claimants successfully appealed to overturn this decision, and the US Supreme Court refused to hear the company’s arguments in 2013.

    What’s remarkable about this case is that it is the first time a US company has been sued in a US court for pollution it caused in another country, so it will surely set a precedent which will be significant for the future.

    Occidental Petroleum drilled for oil in one of Peru’s biggest oil concessions from 1971 to 2000, meanwhile releasing around 9bn gallons of untreated “produced waters” containing heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into the surrounding rivers without regards for international standards.

    In 2006, the indigenous seized oil wells, and forced the government and the Pluspetrol company which took over the block in 2000 to provide a remedy for the environmental damage by reinjection of the production waters; however, environment conditions haven’t improved with the new company, which is currently challenging nearly $13m in environmental fines through Peru’s courts.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Friday, 6 March 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • UN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION DEAL COULD HAVE HUGE IMPACT ON CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS

    Nearly 160 countries sign off a deal within the UN to prepare for future extreme weather events.

    On the occasion of the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) held in Sendai from 14-18 March, participating states discussed the 22-page draft negotiating text which was built on the last DRR deal agreed in Kobe in 2005.

    The new deal pushes countries to draw up tougher plans to face future natural or human influenced disasters, and could set new global targets, such as reducing per capita deaths from disasters, controlling economic losses and enhancing international cooperation; also, the states and the private sector have to address “underlying disaster risk factors through disaster-risk informed investments”.

    2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR15)was presented, and Margareta Wahlstrom, head of UNISDR, stated that “disaster risk is undermining the capacity of many countries to make capital investment and social expenditures necessary to develop sustainably”; in fact, according to the report economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of US$250 billion to US$300 billion annually, and often states are more focused on managing disasters that have already arisen than on managing the underlying risks.

    The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon highlighted the connection existing between the DRR deal and climate change, so Sendai will also be a chance to discuss in preparation for the UN climate and sustainable development goals talks that will happen in 2015, and will work as a test for the governments’ willingness to take the global warming threat seriously.

    However, the drafting of the disaster deal didn’t draw the attention of the public opinion. That’s primarily due to the fact that the proposals are non-binding and will not force countries to make any financial pledges; also, the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) decided to delink the talks from global warming, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - which has many publications on disaster risk - is not even mentioned in the draft text.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Thursday, 5 March 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • EFFECTIVENESS OF INDIAN MEASURES TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE IS YET UNCLEAR

    Narendra Modi’s maiden budget cut funding for environmental protection, but coal tax could help to accelerate decarbonisation.

    The Indian government took some controversial measures in the environment protection field, as it cut allocation to the ministry of environment forests and climate change from Rs 2,043 crore (US $378 million) in 2014-2015 to Rs 1,681 crore (US $300 million), and also refused to fund new climate change adaptation provisions despite the recent disasters occurred in the country and linked to heavy rains and deforestation. In fact, instead of increasing appropriation for afforestation to achieve the 33% green cover goal in the country, it allocated only 1% of the total budget for the purpose.

    On the other hand, the government also endorsed some environment-friendly measures, as it decided to double thecoal tax to Rs 200 ($3.25) per metric tonne and to channel the proceeds into the fulfilment of India’s clean energy plan, and drafted a plan to encourage the deployment of electric vehicles too.

    India’s new policy could help solving financing matters and boost clean energy projects, but above all will reveal the level of carbon cuts the government could target at the end of the year, when the UN climate deal will be agreed.

    According to the latest official plan, 110 gigawatts more will be produced through coal-based thermal power by 2022 in India, but many object that the tax is just symbolic, and that in any case coal companies would still be assured of a decent benefit. At the moment, 60% of power generation is mainly coal-fired, while coal-based thermal power factories are the most polluting in the world and are operating at only 60-70% of their capacity.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Wednesday, 4 March 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • CHINA COAL CONSUMPTION DECREASED IN 2014 AND MAY KEEP FALLING OFF

    According to new data, China’s coal demand fell by 2.9% in 2014, and carbon emissions could peak earlier than predicted.

    New data from the Chinese government highlight that even though China still heavily relies on coal (which accounted for 66% of energy consumption in 2014) coal demand fell by 2.9% during the last year. According to Jiang Kejun, a scientist at the Energy Research Institute of Beijing, this trend will continue in the coming decade, when most energy intensive products will reach their production peak and there will be a slowdown in growth of energy demand.

    The fell in coal consumption determined also a decrease in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, even though it’s yet unclear by how much China’s emissions have reduced; also, it’s yet to be clarified whether the country’s demand for coal has truly peaked, as 2014 could just represent an anomalous year, but what’s certain is that coal growth has slowed over the past two years, while the economy kept growing.

    Pursuant to an agreement signed with the US in 2014, China’s emissions will have to peak before 2030, but Jiang Kejun believes that this goal should be reached by 2025 in order to avoid warming of above 2°C; according to the scientist, this will require energy intensive industries to start cutting their products’ carbon intensity, and would also need major investments in alternative energies such as wind, solar, gas and nuclear.

    China is expected to soon issue its 13th Five Year Plan (FYP), which will determine whether the country’s efforts in reducing emissions will continue; current goals include cutting energy intensity by 16% below 2010 levels by 2015 and increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix to 15% by 2020.

    Beijing’s decisions will affect the entire world, especially because China is a huge importer of coal from overseas, and its imports already fell by 10.9% in 2014.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Epsei project

    Tuesday, 3 March 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

     

  • SWITZERLAND ISSUES A PLEDGE FOR PARIS CLIMATE DEAL

    The Swiss government is the first to submit a climate change pledge, and promises to target 50% greenhouse gas cuts on 1990 levels by 2030 and 70-85% by 2050.

    In February, Switzerland has released a formal communication that defines the range if its contribution to a UN climate change deal: the country will cut 50% greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2030, and 30% of these cuts will be achieved within the country, while the remaining 20% via carbon markets or other forms of offsets. The government is also discussing a long term target to reduce emissions by 70-85% by 2050 on 1990 levels.

    According to the communication, the 2030 goal “reflects Switzerland’s responsibility for climate warming and the potential cost of emissions reduction measures in Switzerland and abroad over the 2020-2030 period”, but many object that there’s no clarity on how the 30% domestic emissions cuts would be accomplished, that nothing’s said about climate finance, and that the document lacks a support plan for developing countries.

    At the moment, Switzerland is responsible for 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and, with 6.4 tonnes per capita per year and based on the structure of its economy, is considered to have a low level of emissions.

    The communication claims the target to be “compatible” with efforts to limit warming to below 2°C, and Switzerland’s chief climate negotiator Franz Perrez highlighted that, given the country’s very low per capita emissions and the thereby limited availability of cost-effective short term domestic emission reduction potential, “the use of international credits meeting high environmental standards will allow Switzerland to contribute to quick emission reductions, while at the same time to continue its ambitious pathway towards further reduction of domestic emissions”.

    Switzerland’s pledge has been issued two days after the European Commission published its own plans for a contribution to the Paris climate deal set to be signed in December, and ensues from the commitment that all major economies have taken to submit to the UN their ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ before 1 October 2015.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Monday, 2 March 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • AUSTRALIA’S STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS WORK TOGETHER ON CLIMATE CHANGE

    A deal on stronger standards on emissions and a national clean air agreement will help Australia to reduce air pollution and save billions of dollars.

    Australia’s federal and state governments decided to cooperate to improve air quality standards, and environment ministers released a discussion paper for a national clean air agreement, which should assure tougher air quality standards, hinder mercury release into the environment and restrict emissions from the shipping sector. Other matters discussed include the withdrawal of micro-plastics that harm the marine environment and the banning of non-biodegradable plastic bags.

    A change adaption working group involving all the states has been instituted in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the reform, and it will work on issues such as water management and renewable energy opportunities.

    Also, at the moment the health costs of air pollution cost Australia up to $24.3bn a year, and current standards don’t protect enough human health, so the decision to launch a new policy has been hailed by many as it could help the country save billions of dollars, too.

    The federal environment minister Greg Hunt showed himself satisfied by the “remarkable cooperation” between all institutions, and declared that the national clean air agreement could be put into effect by July 2016.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Friday, 27 February 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • EU WILL HAVE TO FACE OBSTACLES TO REACH ENERGY UNION

    EU energy ministers will soon discuss the Commission’s plan for energy union, but despite the good signs there are serious barriers to overcome.

    During the months to come, EU energy ministers will discuss the Commission’s plan to harmonise the energy systems of member states, and will have to take a formal position at the Luxembourg energy council on 11-12 June.

    Energy unionhas been under discussion for years, and most business groups, consumer representatives and political parties believe it should become effective, as it could bring benefits such as cost savings, energy efficiency, lower carbon dioxide emissions and greater ability to bounce back on the occasion of threats to energy supply; however, the plan faces serious practical and political obstacles, and there are strong disagreements over the details of what it would involve and the consequences it could bring.

    At the moment energy supplies are spread unevenly across Europe and the systems are not well-integrated, and this is causing high difficulties and costs to transport energy from a nation to another. An energy union could solve many of these problems and would involve wide changes to the way energy systems currently work, allowing power to move more freely across borders and long distances; this could bring efficiencies and economies of scale and also harmonize prices for consumers.

    Energy union is not only a practical and technological project, but has also a relevant political dimension; in fact, member states own many energy companies and are reluctant to give up their power over them, and at the same time energy companies are comfortable with agreements that let them act differently in relation to every national markets, with a wide range of pricing structures to maximise profits.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Thursday, 26 February 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • EUROPE STRENGTHENS EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME FROM 2019

    EU carbon market reform will start at the end of 2018, helping to boost carbon prices and encouraging a switch to green energies.

    In February, the European Parliament has approved a reform that will become effective at the end of 2018 and will prop up the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS), the world's biggest carbon market, by taking 1.6bn surplus allowances off the market and putting them into a market reserve. The reform comes as a reaction to the current 2bn allowances flood that has led to an excessively low carbon price of €7 per tonne, which doesn’t encourage power companies to switch to greener fuels, and could drive carbon prices up to €20 per tonne by 2020.

    Many believe that the reform should enter into force earlier and that delays will only create uncertainty among investors and allow further carbon allowances surpluses to stockpile, but, as Labour MEP Seb Dance has pointed out, the deal represents a significant improvement on the start date of 2021 previously proposed by the Commission.

    Seb Dance also guaranteed that the number of unallocated allowances will be reduced and won’t be brought back into the market, but environmentalists object that 400m carbon credits will slowly return on to the market by 2030, and 300m allowances will go to an innovation fund with no proven low carbon credentials.

    The EU expects carbon markets to play a major part in international emissions cutting efforts, and is counting on the coming up Paris summit to create a system to guarantee that left-over carbon allowances can’t prejudice emission reduction targets.

    In the UK, there is a carbon floor price of £18 a tonne from April, and this gets British prices closer to the €30 a tonne price that had been imagined when the ETS came into force, facilitating a switch from coal to gas.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Wednesday, 25 February 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • NEW DOCUMENT SHOWS EU PLANS FOR PARIS CLIMATE SUMMIT

    EU aims for a significant carbon emissions cut of 60% by 2050 to be agreed at the UN climate summit in Paris later this year.

    According to a leaked EU document, the new Paris Protocol which is due to be agreed later this year should require signatory states to commit to a legally binding carbon emissions cut of 60% by 2050, with five-yearly reviews.

    However, many observed, although, it is remarkable that the EU is trying to keep emissions cut within the rubric of a legally binding deal, the document specifies that the 60% cut would be compared to 2010 levels, consequently leading to the same results as the previous aspiration of a 50% cut compared to 1990 levels.

    In the document, the EU also states that the new Protocol should become effective as soon as states with a share of 80% of current global emissions have ratified it, and wishes for major economies to do so as early as possible.

    The communication also urges public sector climate finance to continue to play an important role in preventing dangerous global warming; in particular, developed countries have pledged to mobilise climate finance of $100 billion a year by 2020, but at the moment only $10 billion have been provided, and this risks lowering the chances of an effective deal. In fact, even though the EU is currently not giving it enough prominence, finance will be one of the key topics of the Paris summit.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Tuesday, 24 February 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • UK ON COURSE TO REACH EU ENERGY AND CLIMATE GOALS

    The recent increase in wind power’s use gets the UK on track to meet 2020 renewable energy goals.

    According to reports from the European environment agency, the UK is one of the few big member states in the EU that is likely to meet all of its energy and climate commitments, as wind power is gradually substituting for gas and coal use and is reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    New analyses from the Office for National Statistics highlight that 15% of the UK’s electricity came from renewable resources in 2013, and this brings the UK closer to the overall target to produce 15% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020. The target includes - along with electricity generation - transport and heating, and in order to meet it electricity generation from renewable resources is expected to boost to at least 30% by 2020.

    For most of the past twenty years, gas has been the main source of electricity generation, but lately a quick change to different sources of energy has been registered and clean energy’s use has increased, which underlines the competition that renewables represent to gas. Also, many in the green sector insist on the need to prioritise renewable energies over gas, even if gas companies keep emphasising that the fuel could represent a way to move to a low-carbon economy alongside the use of renewables.

    Gordon Edge, director of policy of Renewable UK, the trade association for the wind industry, showed himself pleased with the results that UK wind farms are achieving in clean electricity production, and wished similar outcomes to be reached in the heat and transport fields as well; however, he also stated that the government will have to accelerate the development in renewable electricity production in order to meet the 2020 goal.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Monday, 23 February 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • DIRECTIVE BANNING TAR SANDS FROM EUROPE GETS A REPRIEVE

    The European Commission shows its willingness to look again at the clean transport fuel issue by granting a reprieve to EU fuel quality directive with the potential to price tar sands out of the European market.

    Unlike what had been thought, the fuel quality directive (FQD) to encourage greener road fuels will not be discarded at the end of the decade, paving the way to higher tax rates for tar sands oil, which could be basically banned from Europe.

    Transport fuelsare the only European sector in which a decrease in emissions has not occurred yet, but the FQD could guarantee progress in this field, as it has set the goal to provide 10% of Europe’s transport fuel from low carbon sources (mostly biofuels) and to reach some 6% reduction in emissions’ greenhouse gas intensity by 2020.

    Meanwhile, Canada has taken a clear position against these measures, and has threatened trade retaliation if - acting on scientific advice - tar sands oil are taxed at a higher rate because they are more polluting than conventional oil. Complaints have come also from environmentalists, who assert that the 10% target for biofuels was increasing product prices and helping deforestation.

    However, the intent to renew the directive’s validity has been hailed by many as a deterrent to European imports of polluting tar sands and damaging crop-based biofuels, and it could also influence the European Parliament’s vote on sustainability criteria for biofuels.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Friday, 20 February 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

     

  • BP DEMANDS TOUGHER REGULATIONS TO REDUCE UNSUSTAINABLE CO2 EMISSIONS

    The new BP Energy Outlook 2035 declares CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels to be “not sustainable”, and forecasts their increase unless severe regulations are introduced.

    BP’s new outlook for global energy markets has warned that carbon dioxide emission levels from burning fossil fuels will increase by 1% per year, or 25% in total, through to 2035, following a trajectory significantly above the path recommended by scientists to avoid extreme negative effects on climate change.

    To abate carbon emissions further will require tougher binding regulations on atmospheric pollution, and according to BP chief executive Bob Dudley, “the projections highlight the scale of the challenge facing policy makers at this year’s UN-led discussions in Paris”; in fact, the United Nations has set out to limit the increase of the average global surface temperature to a maximum of 2°C to limit climate change, and has convened a meeting in Paris in December to agree on a binding system for restricting emissions.

    Recently, China and the US, which play the lead in CO2 emission, clinched a significant deal on strict targets to limit pollution, but there’s still uncertainty around which approach should be favoured in order to encourage lower fossil-fuel energy consumption and a switch to renewables, especially in the rapid growing Asian economies, where renewables will have a hard time keeping pace with the ever-increasing demand for energy. According to BP’s report, “The rapid growth of renewables currently depends on policy support in most markets, as renewables tend to be more expensive than coal or gas-fired power. To maintain rapid growth, the costs of renewable power need to keep falling, reducing the subsidy required for unit of power”.

    However, last year BP forecasted that CO2 emissions from energy use would increase by 1.1% annually or 29% to 2035, so the new projection is slightly lower than the preceding prevision.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Thursday, 19 February 2015

    (Source: Telegraph)

  • EUROPEAN BIOFUELS REFORM ENDANGERED BY GROWING DISAGREEMENTS

    According to a new report, advanced biofuel industry could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, but opposing positions in the European Parliament could endanger the success of biofuels reform.

    The new International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) report states that creating biofuels from waste generated by industry, farms and households could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, save 37m tonnes of annual oil use and replace 16% of European’s road transport fuel by 2030. Advanced biofuels, which can come from agricultural residues, industrial waste, woody crops or algae, could also be used to replace first generations biofuels, which are produced by growing crops (such as rapeseed) and have been criticised for displacing food crops and increasing product prices.

    As stated by the ICCT, a mandatory advanced biofuels goal is fundamental to give investors long-term signals, and Europe is required to put in place a policy framework that allows investment and progress in the area. An opportunity to fulfill these targets could originate from the vote that the European Parliament’s environment committee had to cast on a biofuels reform package; in fact, the new bill would impose a goal of advanced biofuels providing 1.25% of Europe’s transport fuel by 2020, introduce criteria to evaluate biofuels’ sustainability, and limit the amount of first generation biofuels that could be used to reach the EU’s 2020 goal of providing 10% of road transport fuel from low carbon sources.

    However, disagreements within the European Parliament are decreasing the chances for the bill to become effective, and many industry figures are skeptical about the actual benefits of a reform such as the one that is being now discussed; among others, Eric Sievers, CEO of Ethanol Europe Renewables, underlines the unattractiveness of a large capital investment in a regulatory regime that expires 2020.

    In any case, a rather efficient alternative to renewable targets could be represented by carbon intensity fuel standards or fiscal measures imposed by European states.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Wednesday, 18 February 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • UK POLITICAL LEADERS SIGN A JOINT CLIMATE COMMITMENT

    Three UK party leaders have pledged to work together to tackle climate change regardless of general election’s outcome.

    David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband released a joint pledge to combat climate change, giving an unusual show of unity within a general election campaign that is becoming increasingly intense.

    Despite having shown different opinions on green issues in the past, the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour leaders agree upon the importance of a joint climatic policy in order to protect not only the environment, but also national and global security. The joint declaration also states that “acting on climate change is an opportunity for the UK to grow a stronger economy”, and in fact it has been hailed by multinational business leaders as a sharp message that the UK is a good place to do low-carbon business.

    The three leaders have pledged to work together to achieve three main targets: they will seek “a fair, strong, legally binding, global climate deal which limits temperature rises to below 2°C” within the UN climate summit in Paris in December, they will work together to agree UK carbon budgets, and will “accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy-efficient, low carbon economy” and “end the use of unabated coal for power generation”.

    The joint statement was released the same day that the Go Fossil Free movement held a global day of action. The divestment campaign endorsed by Go Fossil Free already persuaded 180 institutions - worth a combined $50bn - to get rid of their fossil fuel investments, and on the day of action banks that fund fossil fuel investments are also being targeted, with at least 1400 people that will switch their accounts away from them, in protest at the £66bn they invested in fossil fuel extraction in 2012.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Tuesday, 17 February 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • UN ADOPTS DRAFT TEXT FOR A DEAL TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

    UN climate talks in Geneva result in agreement on a formal draft text for a climate summit in Paris later this year.

    Almost 200 countries gathered in Geneva for the first official meeting since the Lima climate summit in December 2014, and adopted an 86-page draft text with the aim to expedite the achievement of the global climate agreement which should be approved in Paris in December 2015.

    Instead of being shortened, the document has been more than doubled in size as compared with the Lima Draft, but Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), showed herself encouraged by the work done at Geneva, and highlighted that now countries are fully aware of each other’s positions, as the new text contains the concerns and requests of all of them.

    On the other hand, delegates acknowledge that more conflicts are likely to arise when negotiators will have to make a real progress and to decide what the better option is in order to limit a damaging rise in temperatures.

    The key political test is the period from March to June, when governments are expected to submit national plans to reduce emissions.

    The next meeting will be held in Bonn in June.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Tuesday, 15 February 2015

    (Source: BBC Environment)

  • INDIA MAY TAKE FLEXIBLE APPROACH ON CONTENTIOUS ISSUES IN INDIA-EU FTA

    Marking a shift from its initial hard line approach, India is likely to be flexible in dealing with 28-nation bloc of the EU regarding to tariffs on wine/spirits and automotive components. The negotiations of India-EU FTA which came to an abrupt stop after the Italian Marines Fiasco got back on agenda of the both sides and negotiations are set to restart.

    India has already raised FDI in insurance from 26% to 49% which was one of the demands of the EU. EU wants customs duty on wines and spirits which are at 150% to be reduced to nil in five years. Considering last year majority stake acquisition by London based Daigeo of Bengaluru based United Spirits, India is likely to propose a differential duty structure, with high duty on low-cost wines and lower tariff on expensivewines. On spirits like whiskey, lower tariffs could be proposed if it is bottled locally.

    The automotive sector is highly protected in India; therefore a more gradual approach could be taken. The proposal is to reduce duties on high tech auto components to bring down import costs for manufacturers, whereas low-tech maybe kept at existing levels. EU has been demanding to reduce customs duty on cars to zero which is currently 80% for small cars to 130% for luxury vehicles.

    India will reiterateits long standing demand for more access to its professionals and labour mobility as specified under Mode 4 WTO GATS agreement. It is further seeking more market access for it agricultural, pharmaceuticals and textile products. Following the economic crisis EU has added sectorial safeguard clause under Mode 4 to bind its limit at 20%. One talks resume the agreement which will be EU first with a large emerging economy could be concluded with a year.           

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Thrusday, 19 March 2015

    (Source: Economic Times)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • APRIL SUMMIT BETWEEN INDIA AND EU TO RESUME FTA TALKS CANCELLED

    Efforts to reboot India-EU FTA are in a limbo after the planned April summit was cancelled. Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal is however of the opinion that cancellation could be in benefit of discussion as it could allow negotiators to narrow differences.

    Negotiations for the bilateral trade agreements first commenced in 2007 and even after seven rounds of talk there is still no consensus on broad ranging of issues. The renewed urgency in finishing talks could be attributed to the recent boom in trade between India and EU28. According to EU statistics, between 2003 and 2013, bilateral trade nearly tripled from €28.6 billion to €72.7 billion.

    Change in leadership on both sides could also be credited for the recent push, with observers counting on Modi’s ability to get things done and leave behind the issue of Italian Marines case, which was one the leading factor for drop in a momentum of talks in 2013.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Thursday, 19 March 2015

    (Source: ICTSD)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • RCEP PACT TO SOUR INDIA-ASEAN TRADE TO $200 BILLION BY 2022

    A top government official in the External Affairs Ministry, Anil Wadhwa, said the RCEP negotiations that are likely to be concluded later this year boosts trade between India-ASEAN to USD200 billion by 2022.

    The India-ASEAN FTA signed for implementation in 2009 has translated significant increase in bilateral trade from under USD 44 billion in 2009/2010 to over USD 74 billion in 2013-14.

    Addressing the Delhi Dialogue at New Delhi, Deputy Secretary General, ASEANSecretariat Dr AKP Mochtan reiterate that an successful RCEP will further boost trade between this two jurisdictions.

    Wadhwa further highlighted that signing agreements on Trade in Services and Investment last September and its coming into force this year could boost economic engagement. He also informed that drawing of a vision document for proposals for future directions of trade between India-ASEAN is in its final stages.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Wednesday, 11 March 2015

    (Source: Economic Times)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • INDIA INFORMS WASHINGTON ABOUT CHANGES IN ITS LEGISLATION WITHIN 15 MONTHS

    New Delhi informed Washington that it shall take no more than the stipulated time of 15 months to change its legislation in line with the WTO ruling on hot-rolled steel disputes.

    Indian companies such as Jindal, Tata Steel and Essar that had stopped their export to the US due to hefty steel penalties, in some cases as high as 577 per cent, are likely to be the biggest beneficiary of the WTO verdict.

    Late last year, the WTO had ruled against the imposition of the countervailing duties on hot-rolled steel products from India. The WTO ruled in India’s favour stating that the US practice of culmination while calculating the injury suffered was faulty.

    Further on the appeal, it was also ruled that National Mineral Development Corporation, cannot be categorised as a public body as it did not have government authority or discharged governmental function.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Friday, 06 March 2015

    (Source: Economic Times)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.