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In the headlines: 12 stories you may have missed

03 September 2012
In the headlines: 12 stories you may have missed

Here's a global snapshot of some of the biggest clean technology, economy and policy headlines, from the week commencing September 3, 2012.


Australia and the European Union on Tuesday agreed to link their carbon trade schemes by 2018, allowing Australian firms to immediately buy cheaper EU carbon credits in a move expected to boost demand for EU carbon allowances. Australia will also scrap its planned A$15/tonne ($15.58) carbon floor price when its emissions trading scheme starts in July 2015. Currently, Australia's carbon tax is fixed at A$23 a tonne. Reuters, August 28. 

A new global fund on climate change that aims to channel $US100 billion a year in aid to poor countries selected officials from Australia and South Africa as its leaders at its first meeting. The Green Climate Fund, created as part of a deal struck in December 2011 at the 194-nation climate talks in Durban, South Africa, will be led by Ewen McDonald, deputy head of Australia's international development agency, and Zaheer Fakir, head of international relations for South Africa's environment agency, the fund said in a statement on Thursday. It would receive and distribute $US100 billion that rich nations have pledged annually by 2020 to help poorer countries adapt to changing climate conditions and to move toward low-carbon economic growth. Herald Sun, August 24.


A contentious EU trade case targeting Chinese solar panel companies should be resolved through negotiations, Germany’s chancellor said on Tuesday, reflecting Beijing’s growing clout with its European trading partners. Angela Merkel’s reluctance to support a trade action instigated by a German company was communicated at a meeting in Beijing with Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, and appeared to put her on a collision course with Karel De Gucht, the EU trade commissioner who has taken a harder line against Beijing for what he contends are unfair trading practices. Financial Times, August 30.

A report by the UK Energy and Climate Change (ECC) committee says China's burgeoning low-carbon markets are worth around £430bn a year and are poised to grow rapidly as the state begins to deliver on a 12th five year plan that promises to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy, deliver new climate legislation, and introduce carbon trading. The MPs acknowledge this surge in low carbon growth represents a huge opportunity for UK clean tech businesses, but warns the government's current approach to China lacks strategic direction, focusing on a large number of small, discrete projects, rather than a few key areas tailored to appeal to Chinese priorities. BusinessGreen, August 29.


India is expected see renewable energy capacity addition of 30,000 MW, with significant contribution from wind power, over the next five years. "At the end of 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), the country is expected to have total renewable energy generation capacity of 55,000 MW," Joint Secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Tarun Kapoor said. India has renewables generation capacity of about 25,000 MW, he said at a conference on the power sector. Of the projected 30,000 MW capacity addition, around 15,000 MW would be from wind power., August 30.

India's government has approved a 230 billion rupee ($4.13 billion) plan to spur electric and hybrid vehicle production over the next eight years, setting itself an ambitious target of 6 million vehicles by 2020. India's target to produce 6 million green vehicles by 2020, of which 4 to 5 million are expected to be two-wheelers, comes as China aims to have 500,000 electric and hybrid cars on its roads by 2015. Reuters, August 29. Read our story, India approves US$4.1 billion plan to put 6 million vehicles on roads by 2020.

North America

Californian officials have completed a successful trial of its much anticipated carbon trading scheme, which will be launched in November in an attempt to put a price on emissions from industrial facilities and power plants. The state's Air Resources Board staged a mock greenhouse gas auction late last week, in which heavy emitting companies pretended to bid for carbon permits in order to test out the system ahead of its official launch. California will roll out the platform for real on November 14, when more than 400 companies will be able to buy and sell tradable carbon credits through quarterly auctions. A statewide cap on carbon emissions will then be imposed from 2013, before being gradually lowered year-on-year, providing firms with a financial incentive to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. BusinessGreen, September 3.


Scotland's emerging marine energy sector has taken another leap forward, after the government awarded nearly £8m in funding to five wave and tidal power projects. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the winning bidders of the second round of the WATERS (Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development and Demonstration Support) grant scheme. The second round of funding totalling £7.9m will support five projects on the path to commercialisation. BusinessGreen, August 30.

Electric vehicles

A new report from Pike Research the global market for electric drive buses is expected to grow steadily over the next six years, with a compound annual growth rate of 26% from 2012 to 2018. By 2018, the report concludes, more than 75,000 electric drive buses will be in service around the world. The report can be viewed in full here, August 22.

A new global racing series is launching with hopes of rivalling Formula One, but there is one major difference -- the cars will all have electric engines. The Formula E series has been backed by Jean Todt, president of motorsport's world governing body the Federation Internationale del'Automobile (FIA). The former Ferrari F1 chief has signed an agreement with a group of investors to stage a series of races on city-centre tracks. The investors, who already have Rio de Janeiro signed up as a host city, plan to have 10 teams and 20 drivers ready to race in 2014, following a year of testing. CNN, August 29.

LED lighting

Up to 400 jobs could be created over the next five years as part of a £2bn programme to improve Sheffield's streets. The council said the main contractors, Amey, could employ 170 people for the first phase; improving roads, footpaths and street lights. Steve Robinson, head of highway maintenance, said 50-150 new jobs could also be created in the supply chain. As part of the work, all 68,000 of Sheffield's street lights would be replaced with white LED lights pointing at the ground rather than into the sky. BBC News, August 29.

The final phase of a ban on traditional light bulbs which has now come into effect means retailers are no longer able to order new stock. Consumers will soon be unable to buy 40W or 25W bulbs in what is the last stage of a phased programme which began in 2009 and has already seen 100W and 60W bulbs banned. DIY chain B&Q said it supports the shift away from traditional bulbs. A spokesman said: "Modern energy-saving bulbs are now much more stylish and highly cost-effective across their whole lifetime. The next generation of energy-saving light bulbs are LEDs which use even less electricity, last longer and reach full brightness instantly." The Independent, September 1.

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