Thursday, November 10, 2005
European Parliament leaders agree to REACH compromise, enhancing the likelihood that the EU Council will vote next week on adopting REACH.
Planet Ark reports:
Changes agreed by major political parties bring the Parliament's version of REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) closer in line with the draft being discussed by European Union member states put together by Britain, current holder of the EU presidency.
REACH was designed to protect people from the adverse effects of chemicals found in a wide range of products such as paint, detergents, cars and computers. Chemical makers would have to register the properties of substances with a central EU database. Those of highest concern, such as carcinogens, would require authorisation to be used.
The parliament compromise reduces the number of substances in the low-tonnage category that would require tests for registration from 40% to 30%. That category applies to chemicals that are produced or imported in amounts of between one and 10 tonnes a year, estimated to be between 17,500 and 20,000 substances.
Yesterday, Ms. Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment, the 2005 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate was interviewed on BBC World’s "HARDTalk" programme. The archived interview can be viewed online at the following BBC link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/hardtalk/4421750.stm
Among other things, she discusses growth in India and global warming.
This week, the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP), a market oriented think tank based in Europe and the US initiated a regular series of climate change policy briefings to benefit key European stakeholders. Leading climate change policymakers—including those from U.S. States, European States, China, Mexico, and Canada—will convene in Brussels in 2005 and throughout 2006 to discuss their efforts to address climate change and implications for European climate policy. The inaugural meeting, hosted at the offices of DG Environment of the European Commission, attracted over 50 invited participants to hear representatives from California discuss one of the most important climate change policy initiatives in the United States—California’s regulations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new motor vehicles—and its implications for Europe’s voluntary agreement with automakers to reduce GHG emissions from cars (see below for more details on both programs). The seminar was attended by the key players from different backgrounds, including from various services of the European Commission and the European Council, research centers, environmental think tanks, representatives of the European, Japanese and Korean automotive industry, consultancies, and law firms. Tom Cackette, Chief Deputy Executive Officer and Chuck Shulock, Program Manager for GHG Reduction in the California Air Resources Board, introduced participants to the California GHG Vehicle standards and its implementation. European respondents included: Günter Hörmandinger, representing Clean Air Transport Unit of DG Environment in the European Commission, Aat Peterse, Program Manager Low Carbon Cars in the European Federation for Transport; Environment and Herman Meyer, Director for Environmental Policy in the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
The State of California has undertaken one of the most important climate change policy initiatives in the to address transportation emissions. In September 2004 the California Air Resources Board approved regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles. The regulations, which will take effect in 2006 following an opportunity for legislative review, apply to new passenger vehicles and light duty trucks beginning with the 2009 model year. The standards will result in greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of 22% in 2012 and a 30% reduction in 2016. This regulation will be one component of California’s effort to meet Governor Schwarzenegger’s June, 2005, announcement of statewide GHG emissions targets of 2000 levels by 2010, 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. In Europe, European, Japanese and Korean car manufacturers (associated in ACEA, JAMA and KAMA respectively) entered into a voluntary agreement with the European Commission with a target to reach emissions levels of 140 g CO2 per km by 2008 (ACEA) and 2009 (JAMA, KAMA). While there is uncertainty as to whether 140 g can be reached in the given timeframe, the European Commission is reviewing the EU strategy, whose objective is to achieve a fleet average of new passenger cars of 120 g CO2 per km by 2012. The issue of CO2 emissions is also a part of the CARS 21 process a new initiative of DG Enterprise and Industry developing a roadmap of recommendations to improve the global competitiveness of the European automotive industry.
Upcoming topics for the CCAP BRUSSELS SEMINAR SERIES include: >Chinese Efforts to Reduce GHG Emissions: Current Policies and Future Opportunities >GHG Emissions Trading in U.S. States: the Northeastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Efforts in the Western U.S. >Canadian Large Final Emitters Program: Possibilities for Linkage with the EU Emissions Trading System? >Brazilian Emissions from Deforestation: What Options for Reduction? >Options for the International Response to Climate Change Post-2012: Results of the Future Actions Dialogue >Joint Implementation: Opportunities and Barriers in new EU member states, Accession and candidate countries More information can be found at http://www.ccap.org/international/brussels-seminars.htm
The Corps testified yesterday on the New Orleans levee project. It did not attribute the delays in the project to the NEPA lawsuit and distanced itself from the claim that the revised levee project was less protective than the project designed before the lawsuit. The Corps doesn't appear anxious to jump to hasty conclusions. Corps testimony on New Orleans levee project
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
An IDDRI study indicates that using agricultural land for forest plantations that are harvested on a short rotation basis to provide wood for material can contribute substantially to reducing CO2 emissions through 2050.
A study by Krueggers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science suggests that the impact of climate change on conservation planning may be greater than we thought. Using regional climate modeling, the predicted reduction of current range of two oak species due to climate change was roughly twice that predicted by global climate modeling. Climate change is expected to cut the current range of those species in half. If similar results are found with other species, biodiversity conservation efforts will be vastly more difficult in the face of climate change.Regional climate modeling and range restrictions