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In the headlines: UK and Japan pledge joint action and Russia claims 2C climate goal shouldn't dictate carbon pledges

Date
06 May 2014
In the headlines: UK and Japan pledge joint action and Russia claims 2C climate goal shouldn't dictate carbon pledges

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Global

Russia Says 2C Climate Goal Shouldn’t Dictate Carbon Pledges
Russia said the United Nations-endorsed goal of keeping global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) shouldn’t dictate countries’ emission limits in a new climate treaty. The “only reasonable” method is for countries to make emissions pledges according to economic development, natural and geographic characteristics, and financial and technical capacity, the country said in a statement yesterday on the website of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Climate talks have stalled as developed and developing nations debate who should make the most effort to cut heat-trapping emissions from fossil fuels. Scientists on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last month recommended the world cut emissions as much as 72 percent from 2010 levels by 2050 to keep temperatures within the 2-degree limit. “Countries’ c ommon goal of not allowing the global average temperature to rise above 2 degrees Celsius should not become the point of departure for a ‘top-down’ delineation of who pledges what,” Russia said in a translation of its statement. Bloomberg, May 2

UN set to target HFCs at Abu Dhabi climate meeting
A fresh initiative to cut the use of potent climate warming gases used in fridges and air conditioning units will be launched at a UN climate summit in Abu Dhabi this weekend. A coalition of countries and leading multinationals will present plans to phase out the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), gases with warming potentials thousands of times stronger than carbon dioxide. If left unchecked, the UN-backed Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CACC), which is supported by over 30 countries, says HFCs could account for 19% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050.“Fast action to address HFCs would also catalyze gains in energy efficiency in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, thereby greatly reducing electricity use and carbon dioxide emissions, along with emissions of the HFCs themselves,” says the CACC’s submission ahead of the Abu Dhabi meeting. RTCC, May 1

Fossil fuel free investment goes mainstream with FTSE index
Today the global campaign against fossil fuels entered the financial mainstream as the world’s largest fund manager BlackRock teamed up with London’s FTSE Group to help investors avoid risky coal, oil and gas companies. The new set of standards, created by FTSE, will exclude companies that extract or explore for fossil fuels. This is believed to be the first time a leading index group has opted to specifically bar such companies. Kevin Bourne, a FTSE managing director said the move was in response to the growing debate around the concept of the ‘Carbon Bubble’ – “one of the fastest-moving debates I think I’ve seen in my 30 years in markets.” Tcktcktck, April 29

China

Stronger enforcement won't be enough to solve China's environment and health problems
Over the last year or so, people living in China have been bombarded almost daily by media reports about the health impacts of environmental pollution, including air, soil and water pollution, as well as an alarming array of food-safety problems. This groundswell of public attention marks a turning point for environmental protection in China. But where do we go from here? What difference does the new focus on health make? And what will it take to deal with these problems over the long term? Environmental health is a notoriously challenging policy area in any country because pollution-related health impacts have complex causality and require a multi-faceted governance response. They also often provoke conflicts of interest and contestation over responsibility not just between communities and polluting industries but also between whole jurisdictions and regions. Chinadialogue.net, April 30

Asia-Pacific

Ben & Jerry's referred to consumer watchdog over save-the-reef campaign
A Queensland senator elect has referred Ben & Jerry’s to Australia’s consumer watchdog for its advocacy efforts against development around the Great Barrier Reef. The international ice-cream company has been campaigning against dredging and dumping near the reef. The company has been going on the road delivering free ice-cream around the country to raise alarm about the future of the reef. Queensland LNP senator elect Matthew Canavan said he wrote to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Tuesday to consider the company’s conduct. “Australia has strict laws to protect consumers against misleading and deceptive behaviour,” he said. “These mistruths could cost jobs and development in regional Queensland. It’s irresponsible behaviour from a company that should know better.” The Guardian, May 2

Kathmandu adaptation conference ends with declaration on finance
Delegates meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal to discuss the role of community-based adaptation have signed a declaration calling for a radical shift in flows of finance to ensure vulnerable communities can deal with the impacts of climate change. The Kathmandu Declaration calls for climate funding to reach local communities, target the most vulnerable, and prioritise disadvantaged groups including the poor, women, children, indigenous people and landless people. Only be putting these vulnerable communities at the heart of community-based adaptation will such measures succeed, the declaration argues. The declaration also says stakeholders must be able to access information about the availability, deployment and utilisation of adaptation funding to ensure accountability and transparency. It calls for strong environmental and social safeguards and robust stakeholder processes to ensure adaptation does not increase community vulnerability or limit the well being of future generations. tcktcktck, May 1

Europe

EU Carbon Drops Most in a Week as Offset Swap Misses Estimates
European Union carbon permits fell the most in a week as data showed emitters exchanged fewer United Nations offsets than estimated for the EU contracts, signaling lower future demand. Emitters swapped 133 million metric tons of Certified Emission Reductions and Emission Reduction Units through the end of April under a system begun about March 18, the European Commission said today in a statement on its website. That was less than half of the 300 million tons projected by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Factories, power stations and airlines in the EU carbon market, the world’s biggest by traded volume, can use cheaper offset credits for part of their compliance needs. The slower pace of offset use means more of the contracts will be available for use in later years, trimming demand for EU permits, said London-based analyst Richard Chatterton at New Energy. “The delay in implementing the exchange process led to less credit-EU allowance exchanges by end-April than we had expected,” he said today by e-mail. Bloomberg, May 2

Sweden delays $45m Green Climate Fund contribution
Delays in setting up the UN’s green bank have forced Sweden to postpone a promised US$ 45million contribution, which the government had pledged to deliver by the end of 2014. Sweden will now have to split its donation of 300 Swedish krona (SEK), equal to around $45m, with only half going towards the Fund this year. The other half will be delivered in 2015, conditional on the GCF becoming ready to receive the money. Tanja Rasmusson, State Secretary for International Development Cooperation, told RTCC that delays to the Fund’s establishment have made it difficult for Sweden to schedule the delivery of the money. “Since the Fund is not yet operational and since it has yet to be decided when the initial resource mobilization of the Fund will take place, it is not possible to establish at this stage exactly when the Swedish contribution will be disbursed,” she said. RTCC, May 1

India

Climate change research gets Norwegian aid
Research on climate change and biodiversity in India received a boost on Tuesday with a Rs. 14-crore grant from the Norwegian Embassy to Bangalore-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) for five years. While climate change research in India tends to focus on “adaptation measures” such as crop diversity or groundwater storage, these new resources will help ATREE look at “mitigation”, including an assessment of emissions and land use change, said Ganesan Balachander, director of ATREE. The institute would launch a programme that consolidates their climate change research, which comprises independent projects on subjects such as hydrology and forestry, he said. The Hindu, April 30

Indian solar equipment manufacturing industry demands 35% anti-dumping duty on solar cell imports
Demanding an anti-dumping duty to the tune of 30 to 35% on import of solar cells, the Indian solar equipment manufacturing industry said that they have suffered a loss of Rs 1,000 crore due to below market priced import of photovoltaic cells. "The thin-film and silicon photo voltaic cells and modules imported into India from the USA and other Asian countries are being sold at ridiculously low prices bleeding the local industry and violating international fair trade regulations," said H R Gupta, managing director, Indosolar Ltd. A group of around 25 manufacturers including Tata PowerBSE 2.43 % Solar, Moser Baer, Indosolar etc have appealed to the government that in wake of increasing import at ever decreasing prices, it should safeguard the interests of the domestic industry. Indian Times, May 1

North America

Obama Power-Plant Pollution Rule Upheld by Top U.S. Court
President Barack Obama garnered his second legal victory this month in his effort to clean up coal-fired power plants, as the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a rule designed to cut pollutants that cause smog and acid rain. The justices, voting 6-2 to overturn a lower court, backed an Environmental Protection Agency rule targeting air pollution that crosses state lines. Advocates for utilities and coal producers argued that the EPA’s approach was too intrusive and would force plants to clean up more pollution than necessary to deliver clean air in downwind states. “This is a big win for the nation’s public health and a proud day for the agency,” Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the EPA, said in a statement. Bloomberg, April 29

Pipeline push-back: What's behind the rising opposition to Canada's big oil pipelines
High-stakes oil pipeline projects have taken a public lashing lately, whether in a plebiscite in British Columbia, more protests in Washington, D.C., or from a former U.S. president and several Nobel laureates coming out strongly against billion-dollar plans to move the diluted bitumen from Alberta's oil sands to international markets. The anti-pipeline pressure has been mounting for a while, but observers say that the ramped-up opposition to the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL proposals is no coincidence. Rather, the turmoil is a result of a confluence of issues ranging from deep-seated environmentalism and concern about climate change to the aggressive tactics of energy companies and governments that want to see the pipes in the ground sooner than later. Toss in some politics — midterm elections in the U.S. this fall, and anticipation of the federal decision on Enbridge's $5.5-billion Northern Gateway project within a few weeks — and conditions have become ripe for ever more public push-back. CBC News, April 30

UK

UK and Japan pledge joint climate action
The UK and Japan have pledged to "work closely" on international climate change and energy security issues, as well as maximise opportunities for partnerships between low carbon businesses in the two countries. A joint statement released yesterday to mark Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's two day visit to the UK outlines the potential for British and Japanese companies to tap into the $5tr global low carbon goods and services market, which is growing at around four per cent a year. "We share the view that without ambitious national and international action, climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to current and future generations and the planet," the statement says. "We also recognise the huge economic opportunities of moving to a low carbon economy as a new driver of growth and jobs, and for greater security of energy supply." BusinessGreen, May 2

UK political uncertainty undermining carbon targets
Political uncertainty risked derailing Britain’s low-carbon ambitions, says a major new report from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), published on Wednesday. The research body said it supported the decarbonisation of the nation’s power grid by 2030, piling pressure on the Coalition government which last year deferred supporting such a target. UKERC is a publicly funded body which coordinates, funds and commissions British university energy research. Their latest report concluded that energy objectives to achieve affordability and security of supply risked undermining the country’s third main energy target, to cut carbon emissions. “In a challenging economic climate, UK energy futures have become more uncertain and contested,” the report found. “Contrasting energy priorities are being articulated in public policy and in the private sector, exacerbated by controversies over energy prices and bills, shale gas development, onshore wind power and new nuclear power stations.” Britain has set itself some of the world’s most challenging climate legislation. RTCC, April 30

Innovation

Toyota Joins California Hydrogen Push in Station Funding
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) is funding a startup led by General Motors Co.’s former marketing chief to speed up the opening of hydrogen-fuel stations in California needed for zero-emission cars. Toyota is backing FirstElement Fuel, led by Joel Ewanick, with at least $7.2 million, according to letters filed with the California Energy Commission and obtained by Bloomberg News. FirstElement, based in Newport Beach, California, plans to operate pumps and sell hydrogen for passenger cars from at least 19 new stations in California. The Japanese automaker’s support for the closely held company comes as California provides grants worth $46.6 million for hydrogen-fuel stations that will help companies including Toyota, Hyundai Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. build a market for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles arriving this year and next. Bloomberg, May 2

GE - Focusing On The Growing LED Lighting Market
The LED light market is one of the fastest growing markets as the conventional incandescent light is being replaced by LED lights. The global LED lighting market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 35.6 percent over the period 2012 to 2016. One of the key factors contributing to this market’s growth is the declining price of LEDs and also the various energy saving benefits offering lower operational costs. Various rebate schemes offered by the government have also leveraged the growing acceptance of LED lights in the home lights segment. To ride on this growth market, General Electric (GE) is now a lot more focused on this market to leverage its top and bottom lines. GE’s focus on the growing LED lights market is fortified by its acquisition of various LED lights and fixtures companies in the recent past. The buy outs in the past are assisting GE to attain a bigger share of global LED lighting market. The LED lighting market was worth $4.8 billion in 2012 and is anticipated to go to $42 billion by 2019. The company operates in various divisions which contribute to its total revenue. LED lighting is part of GE lights and appliance sections. The appliance and light division reported revenue of $1.857 billion with segment profits of $53 million. LED light was the only segment of the lighting and appliance division which recorded growth of 33%. This further goes on to strengthen the LED segment of GE. Guru Focus, April 29

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