Monday, July 17, 2006

The G8 Statement on Global Energy Security

"Группa Восьми 2006"
Sunday, 16 July, 2006
09:20 GMT 13:20 Moscow
Local Time: 13:20
G8/2006 RUSSIA

Global Energy Security

St. Petersburg, July 16, 2006

Global Energy Challenges

1. Energy is essential to improving the quality of life and opportunities in developed and developing nations. Therefore, ensuring sufficient, reliable and environmentally responsible supplies of energy at prices reflecting market fundamentals is a challenge for our countries and for mankind as a whole.

2. To tackle this overarching goal we have to deal with serious and linked challenges such as:

  • high and volatile oil prices;
  • growing demand for energy (estimated to rise by more than 50% by the year 2030, approximately 80% of which would still be met by fossil fuels, which are limited resources);
  • increasing import dependence in many countries;
  • enormous investment requirements along the entire energy chain;
  • the need to protect the environment and to tackle climate change;
  • the vulnerability of the critical energy infrastructure;
  • political instability, natural disasters and other threats.

The global nature of these challenges and the growing interdependence between producing, consuming and transiting countries require strengthened partnership between all stakeholders to enhance global energy security. We agree that development of transparent, efficient and competitive global energy markets is the best way to achieve our objectives on this score. We recognize that governments and relevant international organizations also play an important role in addressing global energy challenges.

3. Neither global energy security, nor the Millennium Development Goals can be fully achieved without sustainable access to fuels for the 2.4 billion people and to electricity for the 1.6 billion people currently without such access in developing countries. They cannot be forgotten or marginalized.

Response of the International Community

4. Given political will, the international community can effectively address three interrelated issues: energy security, economic growth and environmental protection (the "3Es"). Applying fair and competitive market-based responses to the global energy challenges will help preclude potentially disruptive actions affecting energy sources, supplies and transit, and create a secure basis for dynamic and sustainable development of our civilization over the long term.

5. We will pursue energy security through a comprehensive and concerted approach consistent with our common environmental goals. Last year in Gleneagles, we agreed to enhance our work under the Plan of Action for Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development and resolved to take forward the dialogue on these issues whose results will be reported at the 2008 G8 Summit in Japan. We reaffirm this commitment.

We also reaffirm our commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to meet our shared multiple objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the global environment, enhancing energy security, and cutting air pollution in conjunction with our vigorous efforts to reduce energy poverty. We also agree to work to improve access to energy in developing countries.

Statement on Global Energy Security Principles

6. Recognizing the shared interest of energy producing and consuming countries in promoting global energy security, we, the Leaders of the G8, commit to:

  • strong global economic growth, effective market access, and investment in all stages of the energy supply chain;
  • open, transparent, efficient and competitive markets for energy production, supply, use, transmission and transit services as a key to global energy security;
  • transparent, equitable, stable and effective legal and regulatory frameworks, including the obligation to uphold contracts, to generate sufficient, sustainable international investments upstream and downstream;
  • enhanced dialogue on relevant stakeholders' perspectives on growing interdependence, security of supply and demand issues;
  • diversification of energy supply and demand, energy sources, geographical and sectoral markets, transportation routes and means of transport;
  • promotion of energy saving and energy efficiency measures through initiatives on both national and international levels;
  • environmentally sound development and use of energy, and deployment and transfer of clean energy technologies which help to tackle climate change;
  • promotion of transparency and good governance in the energy sector to discourage corruption;
  • cooperative energy emergency response, including coordinated planning of strategic stocks;
  • safeguarding critical energy infrastructure; and
  • addressing the energy challenges for the poorest populations in developing countries.

7. Based on the above objectives, principles and approaches, we will implement our common global energy security strategy through the following Plan of Action. We invite other states, relevant international organizations and other stakeholders to join us in these efforts.

ST. PETERSBURG PLAN OF ACTION GLOBAL ENERGY SECURITY

1. We reaffirm our commitment to implement and build upon the agreements related to energy reached at previous G8 summits. We will enhance global energy security through actions in the following key areas:

  • increasing transparency, predictability and stability of global energy markets;
  • improving the investment climate in the energy sector;
  • enhancing energy efficiency and energy saving;
  • diversifying energy mix;
  • ensuring physical security of critical energy infrastructure;
  • reducing energy poverty;
  • addressing climate change and sustainable development.

I. Increasing Transparency, Predictability

and Stability of Global Energy Markets

2. Free, competitive and open markets are essential to the efficient functioning of the global energy system. Efforts to advance transparency; to deepen and spread the rule of law; to establish and strengthen predictable, efficient fiscal and regulatory regimes; and to encourage sound energy supply and demand policies all play significant roles in maintaining global energy security. By reducing uncertainty these efforts improve understanding of energy market developments, and therefore sound investment decisions and competitiveness. Regular exchanges of timely and reliable information among all market participants are also essential for the smooth functioning of world energy markets. Transparent, predictable national energy policies and regulatory environments facilitate development of efficient energy markets. We invite the International Energy Forum (IEF) to study ways of broadening the dialogue between energy producing and consuming countries on these issues including information exchange on their medium- and long-term respective policy plans and programs.

3. We welcome the beginning of implementation of the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI) and will take further action to improve and enhance the collection and reporting of market data on oil and other energy sources by all countries including through development of a global common standard for reporting oil and other energy reserves. In this respect, we will invite the IEF to work on the expansion of JODI membership and to continue to improve the quality and timeliness of data.

4. As a critical tool in the fight against corruption, we will also take forward efforts to make management of public revenues from energy exports more transparent, including in the context of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the IMF Guide on Resource Revenue Transparency (GRRT).

5. Clear, stable and predictable national regulatory frameworks significantly contribute to global energy security, and multilateral arrangements can further enhance these frameworks. We support the principles of the Energy Charter and the efforts of participating countries to improve international energy cooperation.

6. Concerted actions of energy producers and consumers are of critical importance in times of supply crises. We encourage further efforts under the IEA aegis to promote international best practices related to emergency response measures, including establishment, coordination and release of strategic stocks, where appropriate, as well as measures to implement demand restraint and fuel-switching. We note constructive steps by major producing countries to increase oil output in response to recent tight market conditions and support additional actions.

II. Improving the Investment Climate in the Energy Sector

7. Ensuring an adequate global energy supply will require trillions of U.S. dollars in investment through the entire energy chain by 2030, a substantial share of which will be needed by developing countries. We will create and maintain the conditions to attract these funds into the energy sector through competitive, open, equitable and transparent markets. We understand that governments' environmental and energy policies are critical for investment decisions. In producing, consuming and transit states, therefore, we will promote predictable regulatory regimes, including stable, market-based legal frameworks for investments, medium and long-term forecasts of energy demand, clear and consistent tax regulation, removal of unjustified administrative barriers, timely and effective contract enforcement and access to effective dispute settlement procedures.

8. We shall take measures both nationally and internationally to facilitate investments into a sustainable global energy value chain to:

  • further save energy through demand-side measures as well as introduce advanced energy-efficient technologies;
  • introduce cleaner, more efficient technologies and practices including carbon capture and storage;
  • promote wider use of renewable and alternative energy sources;
  • expand the hydrocarbon proven reserves in a way that would outpace their depletion and increase the recovery of energy resources;
  • increase the efficiency of oil and gas production, and develop resources on the continental shelf;
  • establish, expand and improve the efficiency of oil-refining, petrochemical and gas processing industries' capacity;
  • develop global LNG market;
  • establish or upgrade infrastructure for energy transport and storage;
  • develop efficient power generating facilities; and
  • expand and improve the efficiency, safety and reliability of electricity transmission facilities and power grids and their international connectivity including, where appropriate, in developing countries.

9. We encourage construction and development of hydrocarbon-processing facilities to increase energy market flexibility and confidence, as well as expansion, where economically viable, of trade in hydrocarbon products. We will work with all stakeholders to improve energy regulatory regimes, inter alia, through feasible technical standards harmonization. We will ask the International Standards Organization to study ways and means of harmonizing relevant standards in this context.

10. We consider it important to facilitate capital flows into power generation, including to build new, more efficient power plants, upgrading existing plants to include wider use of renewables, and to construct transmission lines, develop interregional energy infrastructure and facilitate exchange of electrical power, including trans-border and transit arrangements. We encourage the development of competitive power markets, interregional energy infrastructure, and exchange of electrical power.

11. Rapidly growing LNG trade is gradually supplementing the existing regional systems of pipeline gas supplies. To reduce huge investment risks and facilitate smooth functioning of the emerging global LNG market, we will seek to create appropriate investment conditions.

12. High and increasing investment exposure calls for better risks sharing between all stakeholders in energy supply chain which will ensure reliable and sustainable energy flows. Economically sound diversification between different types of contracts, including market-based long-term and spot contracts, could contribute to such risks mitigation, as would timely decision-making and appropriate adherence and enforcement of contractual agreements.

13. We will work to reduce barriers to energy investment and trade. It is especially important that companies from energy producing and consuming countries can invest in and acquire upstream and downstream assets internationally in a mutually beneficial way and respecting competition rules to improve the global efficiency of energy production and consumption. Market-based investment flows between and among nations will also enhance energy security by increasing confidence in access to markets or sources of supply.

14. Ensuring the long-term availability of skilled workforce throughout the energy sector is critical to energy security. We encourage institutions of higher learning and the private sector to take the necessary steps in providing appropriate training to adequately develop human resources in the energy sector, including new and innovative energy sources and technologies needed for ensuring longer-term energy security.

III. Enhancing Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving

15. Energy saved is energy produced and is often a more affordable and environmentally responsible option to meet the growing energy demand. Efforts to improve energy efficiency and energy saving contribute greatly to lowering the energy intensity of economic development thus strengthening global energy security. Increased energy efficiency and conservation reduce stress on infrastructure and contribute to a healthier environment through decreased emission of greenhouse gases and pollutants.

16. We will move forward with timely implementation of the Gleneagles Plan of Action. We have instructed our relevant ministers to continue the Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development and report its outcomes to the G8 Summit in 2008. We call upon other states, especially fast-growing developing economies, to join the corresponding G8 initiatives. These outcomes can also be relevant to the dialogue on long-term cooperation to address climate change under the UNFCCC. Those of us who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol recognize the role of its flexibility mechanisms in promoting energy efficiency. It is important to engage the private sector and other stakeholders in achieving these ends.

17. A comprehensive approach within the international community to energy saving, energy efficiency and the extension of relevant efforts, including sharing best practices, to the entire energy value chain are important in this respect. For this purpose, we shall undertake to:

  • strengthen and elaborate the system of national and multilateral energy efficiency statistics;
  • consider national goals for reducing energy intensity of economic development to be reported by the end of the year;
  • for energy intensive products, encourage the development, extension and deployment of best practice energy efficiency labeling programs, and increase efforts to adopt the most stringent energy efficiency standards that are technically feasible and economically justified. Individual countries should set these standards taking into account national conditions. In this context the IEA initiatives on standby power ("1 Watt" initiative), minimum efficiency standards for television set-top boxes and digital television appliances, energy efficient lighting and fuel-efficient tire program are promising and should be examined in more detail;
  • take necessary measures, including financial and tax incentives at home for the promotion of energy-efficient technologies, and the actual use of those available technologies on a wide-scale basis;
  • demonstrate leadership at the national level by incorporating energy efficient technologies and practices in government buildings and drawing upon alternative energy resources to help power them;
  • raise public awareness about the importance and benefits of energy efficiency and energy saving.
  • encourage relevant actions taken by multilateral development banks (МDBs), including EBRD and the World Bank;
  • increase the Global Environment Facility's involvement in energy efficiency projects.

18. We will invite the World Bank, the IEA, and other organizations as appropriate to work on improvement of internationally accepted standards, labeling and best practices, and public awareness campaigns, in accordance with their respective mandates and comparative advantages.

19. As part of an integrated approach to the entire resource cycle we reaffirm our commitment to comprehensive measures to optimize the resource cycle within the 3Rs Initiative (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). In furthering these efforts, we will set targets as appropriate taking account of resource productivity. We will also raise awareness of the importance of energy efficiency and environmental protection through national as well as international efforts.

20. Increasing energy saving and efficiency we will pay more attention to the energy sector itself, which can contribute significantly to this end by reducing losses in production and transportation. Our priority measures in this area will include:

  • raising the environmental and efficiency levels for processing hydrocarbons;
  • reducing gas flaring to minimal levels and promoting utilization of associated gas;
  • improving energy infrastructure, including minimizing oil and oil products losses in transportation and gas emissions from gas systems;
  • using methane otherwise released in the atmosphere from coal mining, landfills, and agricultural operations.

21. Since 2/3 of world oil is consumed by the transportation sector and its fuel consumption is outpacing general energy consumption we will pay special attention to this sector of energy demand. For making transportation more energy efficient and environmentally advanced we shall:

  • share best practices to promote energy efficiency in the transportation sector;
  • develop programs in our respective countries, consistent with national circumstances, to provide incentives for consumers to adopt efficient vehicles, including clean diesels and hybrids; and introduce on a large scale efficient public hybrid and/or clean diesel transportation systems, where appropriate;
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  • promote diversification of vehicle energy systems based on new technologies, including significant sourcing from biofuels for motor vehicles, as well as greater use of compressed and liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and synthetic liquid fuels;
  • promote wider use of modern technologies, materials and devices on traditional vehicles, leading to lighter, more aerodynamic and more efficient engines and other transport components such as transmission and steering systems, tires, etc.;
  • increase research to develop vehicles using gasoline/hydrogen fuel and hydrogen fuel cells to promote the "hydrogen economy";
  • facilitate the development of trans-modal and trans-border transportation, where appropriate;
  • study further the Blue Corridor project by the UN Economic Commission for Europe;
  • continue to consider the impact of the air transport sector on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions noting international cooperation on these issues.

22. We call upon all countries to offer incentives to increase energy efficiency and to promote energy conservation.

IV. Diversifying Energy Mix

23. Diversification of the energy mix reduces global energy security risks. We will work to develop low-carbon and alternative energy, to make wider use of renewables and to develop and introduce innovative technologies throughout the entire energy sector.

Alternative, Cleaner Low-Carbon Energy

24. We shall further encourage the activities of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) aimed at preparing and implementing demonstration projects on CO2 capture and storage and on the development of zero emission power plants. In this context we will facilitate development and introduction of clean coal technologies wherever appropriate.

25. We encourage all oil producing states and private sector stakeholders to reduce to minimal levels natural gas venting or flaring by facilitating the use of associated gas, including its refining and processing into fuels and petrochemical products. In this respect we support the efforts of Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) and Methane-to-Markets Partnership (M2M) to implement projects on the production of marketable methane from landfills, agriculture waste and coal-bed methane, particularly in developing countries.

26. We support the transition to the Hydrogen Economy, including in the framework of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE). A critical part of this effort is to develop common international standards in the field of commercial development of hydrogen power, infrastructure and security requirements.

Nuclear Energy

27. We recognize that G8 members pursue different ways to achieve energy security and climate protection goals.

28. As we meet on the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, we reiterate the commitments made during the 1996 Moscow Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security, and the paramount importance of safety, security and non-proliferation.

29. Those of us who have or are considering plans relating to the use and/or development of safe and secure nuclear energy believe that its development will contribute to global energy security, while simultaneously reducing harmful air pollution and addressing the climate change challenge:

  • The development of innovative nuclear power systems is considered an important element for efficient and safe nuclear energy development. In this respect, we acknowledge the efforts made in the complementary frameworks of the INPRO project and the Generation IV International Forum.
  • Until advanced systems are in place, appropriate interim solutions could be pursued to address back-end fuel cycle issues in accordance with national choices and non-proliferation objectives.
  • Benefits will stem from improving the economic viability of nuclear power. We recognize that independent effective regulation of nuclear installations is essential for the development of infrastructure supporting safe and secure nuclear energy.

30. We are committed to:

  • further reduce the risks associated with the safe use of nuclear energy. It must be based on a robust regime for assuring nuclear non-proliferation and a reliable safety and security system for nuclear materials and facilities;
  • ensure full implementation of the international conventions and treaties in force today which are a prerequisite for a high level of safety and a basis to achieve a peaceful and proliferation-resistant nuclear energy use. The responsibility of all nations to support the work of the IAEA and all measures to implement these conventions and treaties in these fields is emphasized;
  • continue to consider nuclear safety and security issues in the Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG).

31. We reaffirm the objective set out in the 2004 G8 Action Plan on Non-Proliferation to allow reliable access of all countries to nuclear energy on a competitive basis, consistent with non-proliferation commitment and standards. Building on that plan, we intend to make additional joint efforts to ensure reliable access to low enriched uranium for power reactor fuel and spent fuel recycling, including, as appropriate, through a multilateral mechanisms provided that the countries adhere to all relevant international non-proliferation commitments and comply with their obligations.

32. In this respect, we take note of recent potentially complementary initiatives put forward in the IAEA framework regarding multilateral fuel supply assurances, as well as the proposals made by Russia and the U.S., aimed at further development of peaceful nuclear energy, in a manner that promotes proliferation resistance of the nuclear fuel cycle, including preventing the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies.

Renewables

33. A large-scale use of renewable energy will make a significant contribution to long-term energy supply without adverse impact on climate. The renewable solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and geothermal energy resources are becoming increasingly cost competitive with conventional fuels, and a wide variety of current applications are already cost-effective. Therefore, we reaffirm our commitment to implement measures set out in the Gleneagles Plan of Action.

34. We welcome the work of interested parties in international mechanisms and programs dealing with renewable energy, including the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program (REEEP), the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), and the Mediterranean Renewable Energy Partnership (MEDREP). We welcome the establishment of the Global Bio-Energy Partnership (GBEP). We will work in partnership with developing countries to foster the use of renewable energy.

35. We will continue enhancing international cooperation in using the potential of biomass, and advanced sustainable forest management practices. Both help to diversify local energy consumption and make an important contribution to carbon sequestration, as well as furthering a wide range of economic and environmental benefits.

36. We shall promote international cooperation in the area of forest management, primarily in addressing deforestation and forest degradation, the trade in illegally harvested timber and forest fires. We note that deforestation has a significant impact on climate change (resulting, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in an actual 25% increase in yearly greenhouse gas emissions).  We reaffirm the importance of tackling illegal logging and agree to take further action, with each country taking steps where it can contribute most effectively. This should include the promotion of sustainable forest management and the incorporation of appropriate measures to address illegal logging in relevant national policies of both timber-producing and consuming countries. We welcome recent international forest-related policy initiatives including the St. Petersburg Ministerial Conference Declaration on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance in Europe and North Asia, and initiatives of the United Nation Forum on Forests (UNFF), UNFCCC, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and Asia Forest Partnership (AFP).

Innovative Energy Technologies

37. We will work in partnership with the private sector to accelerate market entry and utilization of innovative energy technologies by supporting market-led policies that encourage investments in this area.

38. Despite the increased role of alternative sources in the energy mix, hydrocarbons are expected to continue to play a leading role in total energy consumption well into this century. Therefore we will work with the private sector to accelerate utilization of innovative technologies that advance more efficient hydrocarbon production and reduce the environmental impact of its production and use. These include technologies for deep-sea oil and gas production, oil production from bitumen sands, clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage, extraction of gas from gas-hydrates and production of synthetic fuel.

39. We will take measures to develop other promising technologies including construction of advanced electricity networks, superconductivity, nanotechnology, including nanobiotech, etc. We welcome recent initialing ITER agreement by the participating countries and take this opportunity to encourage R&D programs on fusion energy within its framework.

40. We shall facilitate closer ties between fundamental and applied research to promote the earliest economically viable market entry of these technologies.

V. Securing Critical Energy Infrastructure

41. The security of the world's energy infrastructure is connected and mutually dependent. Given the global nature of the energy infrastructure, we recognize that no country can insulate itself from danger elsewhere. Hence, we are committed to ensuring the security of the global energy network, and will work to gain a better understanding of its vulnerabilities and ways to improve our efforts to prevent disruptions by deliberate attack. We support a coordinated, international process to assess risks to energy infrastructures, and a more effective means of sharing energy infrastructure security best practices and expertise.

42. We commit ourselves to address threats and vulnerabilities to critical energy infrastructures, and to promote international cooperation in this regard. We instruct our experts to meet as necessary to examine and make recommendations on addressing the many challenges in securing energy infrastructure and deliver to the Russian Presidency at the end of this year a comprehensive report on:

  • defining and prioritizing the most important vulnerabilities among energy infrastructure sites, and share methodologies for assessing and mitigating them;
  • assessing potential risks of terrorist attacks;
  • developing a compendium of effective security response best practices across all energy sectors within our countries;
  • developing, implementing, and providing to other countries a checklist for the physical security of critical energy infrastructure;
  • encouraging international cooperation on R&D for technologies to enhance critical infrastructure protection;
  • establishing points of contact for coordination of technical assistance in this area;
  • continuing to advocate the adoption of export controls on radioactive sources and new initiatives to prevent terrorists' access to radioactive sources.

43. We call upon governments to fully implement the International Ships and Ports Facility Security Code and encourage attention to the management of maritime security.

VI. Reducing Energy Poverty

44. We confirm our commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals, including through facilitating a better access to energy. It is impossible to drastically reduce general poverty, support health services, provide clean drinking water and sanitation, promote more productive agriculture and food yields, and secure investment in job-creating enterprises in developing countries without addressing the challenge of energy poverty. We will help vulnerable countries overcome the macroeconomic shocks related to energy prices, and the longer term challenge of facilitating access to energy for the poorest populations.

45. A sound strategy to address energy poverty should be linked with:

  • development of national and local institutional capacities and management improvements in the area of energy policy and related infrastructure needs, including training of local staff;
  • facilitation of public participation in and public understanding of, energy policies and practices;
  • national energy investment and access targets linked to poverty reduction policies;
  • expansion of existing frameworks, such as the EU Energy Initiative (EUEI), the MEDREP, GBEP, the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP); the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), for private-public partnerships to foster investment that increases access to affordable energy services;
  • establishment of an energy efficiency program and development of decentralized technologies, where economically justified, and geared toward reducing the cost of energy for the poor;
  • a targeted and transparent social safety net system that can help poor and vulnerable customers pay for energy.

46. The majority of energy investment will need to come from the private sector. Assistance programs for developing countries should work towards promoting the improved policy and regulatory structures necessary to attract that capital.

47. The international financial institutions (IFIs) have an important role to play in tackling these challenges. We welcome the progress of the multilateral development banks to re-invigorate their efforts to promote investment in alternative energy sources, increased energy efficiency and adaptation in developing countries. We also welcome the launching of the International Monetary Fund's Exogenous Shocks Facility, and invite other non-G8 countries to contribute to it. We call upon other countries and IFIs to facilitate access to energy in the poorest countries by promoting private-public partnerships.

48. To improve access to reliable, modern, and sustainable energy services to the populations of energy poor developing countries, we will enhance existing bilateral and multilateral development mechanisms. We welcome the EU's Energy Facility, which will use grants to co-finance projects aimed at filling the energy gap, especially in Africa, as well as activities by Japan in partnership with AfDB to promote the "Enhanced Private Sector Assistance" (EPSA) for Africa. We look forward to the outcome of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development's two-year cycle of work (2006-7) devoted to the review/policy discussion of the Energy for Sustainable Development issue.

49. We will facilitate development of local energy resources, including those based on core generation technologies and on renewable energy, such as hydropower, wind power, geothermal power, biomass, and the effective use of solar energy, to contribute to poverty reduction and long-term energy sustainability in developing countries. These measures include developing energy infrastructure capable, inter alia, of reducing vulnerability to energy shocks. 

50. We instructed our experts to work together with other countries, international and regional financial institutions (World Bank, Regional Development Banks, UN agencies, etc.), the private sector and other stakeholders to facilitate technology transfer in the areas of energy efficiency, energy saving, renewable energy and decentralized local sources to reduce energy poverty thereby improving energy access and enhancing energy efficiency in developing countries. Building on the Gleneagles Plan of Action, such concerted efforts may help improve energy efficiency and promote energy conservation in developing countries through the following actions:

  • supporting the development of infrastructure to improve energy access tailored to specific needs and targeted towards energy efficiency;
  • assisting in policy and institutional capacity building for improving energy access, enhancing energy efficiency and promoting energy conservation and diversification of energy sources;
  • promoting renewable energy;
  • encouraging rural electrification, using both grid and non-grid connected solutions;
  • developing human resources in cooperation with the private sector.

51. We look forward to the completion and implementation of the World Bank Clean Energy Investment Framework and underline that it should give increased attention to improving access to energy services.

52. We share the view that strengthening national financial management and accounting systems, making government budgets, procurement procedures and concessions more transparent, taking specific measures to combat corruption, ensuring good governance, mobilizing domestic resources and progressively improving the business climate for private entrepreneurs and investors are essential for resolving effectively the above mentioned challenges in developing countries. In this context we also refer to the Gleneagles decision concerning Africa.

VII. Addressing Climate Change and Sustainable Development

53. We reaffirm our intention to deliver on commitments made in Gleneagles in order to meet our shared and multiple objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the global environment, enhancing energy security and cutting air pollution in conjunction with our vigorous efforts to reduce poverty. We also affirm our commitment to the UNFCCC's ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

We will continue to work to reduce greenhouse gas and deal effectively with the challenge of climate change.

We are undertaking a number of approaches to deal with the interrelated challenges of energy security, air pollution control, and reducing greenhouse gas associated with long-term global climate change. With respect to climate change, we reaffirm our shared commitment under the UNFCCC and its related mechanisms.

Those of us committed to making the Kyoto Protocol a success underline the importance we attach to it, view Clean Development Mechanism and the Joint Implementation Mechanism as central elements of this, and look forward to the process to develop it further.

Some or all of us are participating in the following other initiatives to address these challenges: Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, the Methane to Markets Partnership, the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy, the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership and the Global Bio-Energy Partnership.

We welcome the progress made at the XI Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (Montreal, December 2005) where we committed to engage in a dialogue on long-term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the convention; and the progress made at the UN Climate Change meeting last May in Bonn.

We reaffirm the importance of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and look forward to its 2007 report.

All these undertakings are the foundation of our current efforts to address climate change, and will form the basis of an inclusive dialogue on further action in the future, including the period beyond 2012.

54. We welcome the progress made by the World Bank and the IEA on developing a framework for clean energy and sustainable development and on identifying alternative energy scenarios and strategies to support and implement elements of the Gleneagles Plan of Action.

55. We welcome the progress made at the first meeting of the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development, held on 1 November last year. We look forward to the next Ministerial meeting in Mexico in October 2006, where we will continue to identify opportunities for greater collaboration to tackle climate change, while pursuing energy security and sustainable development through deployment of cleaner, more efficient and low-carbon energy technologies, finance and market mechanisms, including, as appropriate, Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation, emissions trade, and adaptation.

July 17, 2006 in Air Quality, Asia, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, International, Sustainability, US | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 7, 2006

G8 summit focus will be on energy supply security, not replacing fossil fuels

Planetark World Environmental News reports:

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[G]lobal warming has been sidelined by concerns on how the world can satisfy its growing appetite for energy....Russia, chairing the Group of Eight for the first time and hosting a summit starting July 15, has been ambivalent about global warming which leaders at last year's G8 summit called "a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the planet"...Russia has made "energy security" the main theme of the July 15-17 St. Petersburg summit. High oil prices and a stand-off between Russia and its European customers this year over gas supplies have thrown the issue to the top of the agenda....an early draft of the summit declaration concentrates mostly on the challenges of developing supplies of energy in a volatile market rather than tackling the threat of global warming posed by an increasing use of fossil fuels. 

The draft does encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, but not enough to satisfy environmentalists who were appalled to see the text promoting more development of fossil fuels including coal and bitumen, both potentially major sources of CO2.

July 7, 2006 in Asia, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, International, Sustainability, US | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Shell States Moral Objection to Biofuel from Food Crops

 

Planet Ark World Environmental News:

Royal Dutch Shell, the worlds top marketer of biofuels, considers using food crops to make biofuels "morally inappropriate" as long as there are people in the world who are starving...Eric G Holthusen, Fuels Technology Manager Asia/Pacific, said the company's research unit, Shell Global Solutions, has developed alternative fuels from renewable resources that use wood chips and plant waste rather than food crops that are typically used to make the fuels...Holthusen said his company's participation in marketing biofuels extracted from food was driven by economics or legislation."If we have the choice today, then we will not use this route....We think morally it is inappropriate because what we are doing here is using food and turning it into fuel. If you look at Africa, there are still countries that have a lack of food, people are starving, and because we are more wealthy we use food and turn it into fuel. This is not what we would like to see. But sometimes economics force you to do it."

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The world's top commercially produced biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel.  Ethanol, mostly used in the United States and Brazil, is produced from sugar cane and beets and can also be derived from grains such as corn and wheat. Biodiesel, used in Europe, is extracted from the continent's predominant oil crop, rapeseed, and can also be produced from palm and coconut.

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Holthusen said Shell has been working on biofuels that can be extracted from plant waste and wood chips, but he did not say when the alternative biofuel might be commercially available...

Shell, in partnership with Canadian biotech firm Iogen Corp., has developed "cellulose ethanol", which is made from the wood chips and non-food portion of renewable feedstocks such as cereal straws and corn stover, and can be blended with gasoline.

 

July 6, 2006 in Africa, Agriculture, Economics, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, International, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 3, 2006

WELCOME

WELCOME to Environmental Law Prof Blog.  Please feel free to use this post as an open thread to raise issues relevant to environmental law, policy, science, and ethics.                                                                           

The royalties from this blog and my other professional royalties are devoted to assuring that everyone in the world has clean safe drinking water.  This is my part helping meet the Millenium Development Goals.  Our children's children will thank you if you find a way to achieve the MDGs.  Even now, they are watching.... Eyes_hispanic_1

Find YOUR way to make the Millenium Development Goals reality.

Places to Start:
ONE: www.one.org
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July 3, 2006 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Movie Reviews: Tom Brokaw's Global Warming: What You Need to Know and Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth

On July 16, 2006, 9-11 pm ET/PT, Discovery Channel, BBC News and NBC News present a two hour special on global warming hosted by Tom Brokaw.

On Friday, I previewed the Discovery Channel special and saw An Inconvenient Truth.  Below I review both from a teaching perspective.

The bottom line of both Global Warming and An Inconvenient Truth are the same -- global warming is threatening to massively change our planet with severe impacts on our lives and the rest of creation; we have the knowledge and technology to reduce those changes; the real question is whether we have the collective will to do what we need to do before it is too late.

Both Global Warming and An Inconvenient Truth seek to acquaint the audience with the fundamentals about global warming: the causes of global warming, the evidence that convinces scientists why this is not simply part of a natural cycle of warming and cooling, the magnitudes of impacts that we can expect,  the technical solutions that can slow global warming, the outrageously large contribution of the U.S. to the problem, and the loomingly enormous potential of China and India if they pursue our development path.

Neither program makes the mistake of trying to be "balanced" in presenting the "skeptics" point of view.  Brokaw notes the change in scientific opinion over the last two decades and the agreement of 99.9% of scientists that global warming is real.  Gore uses the results of the sample of scientific literature on climate -- where the score is roughly 978 to 0 -- every study assumed that global warming is occurring.

Global Warming is a powerful statement in three respects.  First, it is presented by a respected journalist rather than a respected, but partisan, politician.  Second, it has an absolutely amazing, all star cast of scientists to help narrate the story.  Third, it has some great footage of glacial rivers, rainforests, pacific islands doomed to disappear, and most of all, cute, little polar bear cubs who, along with the rest of their species, are destined to die within the next few decades as the polar ice disappears.

An Inconvenient Truth, on the other hand, has other wonderful qualities.  First, it gains traction from Al Gore's droll sense of humor (yes, really) as well as his deep, visible commitment to the issue.  Second, it has some incrediblely vivid footage interspersed between the Gore narrative of his life and the Gore global warming slideshow.  Third, it conveys the scientific information in more depth, addressing the questions that people have, and illustrating answers with extremely sharp graphics on how temperature tracks CO2, the 650,000 year natural cycles of both temperature and CO2 and how dramatically the present CO2 levels and temperature exceed historical levels, how hurricanes and other natural storms gain intensity from warming temperatures, how global warming can bring both droughts and floods, how El Nino works, how the ocean conveyor belt works, and how the North America glacier melt affected Europe's climate.  Fourth, it has some unforgettable visual models of the 2002 collapse of Larson B in Antarctica and what will happen to sea level in NY, Florida, Shanghai, Bangladesh, and elsewhere if either a significant portion of Greenland or Antarctica melts [in the only obvious scientific error of the movie, Gore mixed up the sea level change expected from Greenland melting with that of the Antarctic].

So, which one would I have my students see?  Both...they both have unique aspects that are worth a student's while.  I'd give An Inconvenient Truth an edge on content, but only if students can get past the fact that An Inconvenient Truth is a great commercial for why we should all wish that the Supreme Court had selected Al Gore, instead of George Bush as our President.

What I wish someone would do is blend both -- take Gore's slideshow, the great scenic footage from both, the Hansen discussion and other scientists from Brokaw and put them together...but, lacking that, see them both!


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July 2, 2006 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, North America, Physical Science, South America, Sustainability, US, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 30, 2006

UK Takes the Lead on Reducing Carbon Emissions

Yesterday, David Miliband, UK Environmental Secretary, and Alistair Darling, UK Trade and Industry Secretary, spoke to Parliament regarding Britain's commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.  The UK will limit permits to electric power generators to 238m tonnes of annual CO2 permits for 2008-12, representing a 3% reduction from the first Kyoto implementation period, which ends next year.  The Financial Times Limited reported their statement:  FT report

On Thursday the government made a critical decision on Britain’s contribution to tackling climate change. The decision reflects three principles: our ambition to be world leaders in creating a low-carbon economy and to balance environmental and economic objectives; our commitment to do this through collective action at a European level; and our determination to use market mechanisms to enable businesses to find the cheapest way possible of meeting our objectives.

Our ambition to reduce emissions is balanced alongside the need to enable Britain’s economy to do business. We faced a clear choice over our contribution to the European Union’s emissions trading scheme – the most innovative attempt to reduce carbon emissions in the world. In March we began a consultation on how far we should reduce our emissions, setting out a range from 3m-8m tonnes of carbon a year.

We could have taken the easy option. In the first phase, we set tighter limits than other countries. While they struggle to meet their international obligations to reduce carbon emissions under the Kyoto treaty, our emissions of greenhouse gases are projected to fall by 23-25 per cent by 2010, nearly double the target set by Kyoto.

However, the human suffering that will result in the next 100 years from climate change could be greater than the suffering yet seen in this world. We owe it to humanity in the future to act. Across the globe, we have to be far more ambitious. That is why we have decided to adopt a carbon cap that will reduce emissions by 8m tonnes – the most ambitious figure within the range discussed. This is roughly equivalent to the carbon emissions produced by 4.5m households each year. It is a significant step towards our long-term objective of a 60 per cent reduction by 2050.

We have also decided to auction 7 per cent of our carbon allowances. The final amount raised by the auction cannot be determined in advance, as it depends on the price of carbon, but it will be substantial. We believe there is an opportunity for the UK not just to invest in renewable energy, other non-nuclear low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency, but also to build successful businesses in these fields. We will establish a new environmental transformation fund to help grasp this opportunity. The final details of the fund will be announced in the spending review for implementation, like the emissions trading scheme, in 2008.

Our decisions on emissions trading give business a framework in which long-term clean and greener investment decisions can be made. They highlight not only the level of our ambition, but the distinctive means by which we can achieve our objectives.

It is clear we must act within European institutions. The EU could be as important to the environment in the next 50 years as it has been to European peace and economic growth in the last 50. By negotiating as one block, the EU is a powerful driver of change. By creating an emissions trading scheme across Europe, we can create a framework that gives member states the confidence to act together. By enabling member states to buy project credits from outside the EU we are providing financial investment to help developing countries develop low-carbon economies and bind them into a global climate change policy framework. That is why we will support the European Commission in its efforts to enforce tough caps on member states.

But while governments and international institutions must specify the outcomes we seek in relation to carbon, we must allow businesses to find the most innovative ways of achieving these cuts. Indeed, when the Corporate Leaders Group, which represents businesses such as Shell and Tesco, met the prime minister recently, it argued that business could gain a first-mover advantage in new global markets for low-carbon technology. That is why we believe the best way to cut carbon emissions is through market mechanisms such as the emissions trading scheme.

In the twentieth century, social democrats demonstrated that greater ambition in tackling social justice must be pursued through two principles: collective action through the state and international action; and individual freedom through markets. In the 21st century, the social justice challenge is the environment – the potential human suffering we will cause to other countries and to future generations. The same combination of more ambitious goals delivered through collective action and markets will be needed. It is one we are determined to apply.

June 30, 2006 in Climate Change, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, Law, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Movie Review: Gore's Inconvenient Truth

Seth Borenstein of AP reported today: AP story

The nation's top scientists give An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy. The former vice president's movie — replete with the prospect of a flooded New York City, an inundated Florida, more and nastier hurricanes, worsening droughts, retreating glaciers and disappearing ice sheets — mostly got the science right, said all 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie or read the book and answered questions from The Associated Press.  The AP contacted more than 100 top climate researchers by e-mail and phone for their opinion. Among those contacted were vocal skeptics of climate change theory. Most scientists had not seen the movie, which is in limited release, or read the book.But those who have seen it had the same general impression: Gore conveyed the science correctly; the world is getting hotter and it is a manmade catastrophe-in-the-making caused by the burning of fossil fuels.  "Excellent," said William Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. "He got all the important material and got it right."  Robert Corell, chairman of the worldwide Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group of scientists, read the book and saw Gore give the slideshow presentation that is woven throughout the documentary. "I sat there and I'm amazed at how thorough and accurate," Corell said. "After the presentation I said, `Al, I'm absolutely blown away. There's a lot of details you could get wrong.' ... I could find no error."

June 27, 2006 in Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Law, Legislation, North America, Physical Science, South America, Sustainability, US, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Oregon State Rules!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Global Warming Attitudes

Americans express relatively little concern over global warming, especially when compared with publics of other major nations. Barely half of the Americans who have heard of global warming say they personally worry about the issue a great deal (19%) or a fair amount (34%). Nearly as many say they worry only a little (26%) or not at all (21%). The Japanese express the highest level of concern over global warming among the publics of major industrialized nations. Fully 66% of Japanese say they worry about this a great deal, while another 27% say they worry a fair amount. In France, a combined 87% express a great deal (46%) or fair amount
(41%) of concern. Roughly the same percentage in Spain (85%) says they worry at least a fair amount about global warming.  Smaller percentages in Great Britain (67%) and Germany (64%) voice significant concern about global warming. The American public is deeply divided politically in
concerns over global warming. Only about a third of Republicans (34%) say they worry a great deal (10%) or a fair amount (24%) over global warming, based on those who have heard about the issue. About two-thirds of Democrats (66%) and 57% of independents express at least a fair amount of concern over global warming. Roughly four-in-ten white evangelical
Protestants (41%) express have at least a fair amount of concern
about global warming; that compares with 53% of white mainline Protestants, and 64% of seculars.  Pew Global Attitudes Survey

June 21, 2006 in Africa, Asia, Climate Change, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, International, North America, South America, Sustainability, US | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

World Scientists Address Disease Surveillance and Energy

The national science academies of 12 nations [G8 nations, Brazil, China, India, and South Africa] issued two joint statements to the leaders of the G8 countries who meet at their annual summit in Russia next month. One endorses reinvention of the world's disease surveillance system; the other urges major expansion of energy research to address the global crisis in energy supplies.

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The academies argue that global efforts in both infectious diseases and energy sourcing are tremendously inadequate given the scale of the problems. Current systems of national and international disease surveillance are fragmented and uncoordinated.  The world needs a tightly coordinated global system with animal and human health experts working closely together, in light of the bird flu and other pandemic threats that we are likely to face.  Similarly, the academies argue that G8 must address serious inadequacies in funding and incentives for energy research.

    In particular, the academies recommend:

Reinventing disease surveillance

Efforts to coordinate disease surveillance across national and international agencies and research bodies

Independent audit to recommend how to develop global surveillance

Research into more rapid vaccine production methods

Greater cooperation between human- and animal-health communities

Better collection and sharing of clinical and epidemiological data Investing in energy R&D

Investing in energy R&D

Highlight 'reality and urgency' of global energy supply

Big, long-term infrastructure investments in cheap, clean, sustainable energies

Boost developing countries' capacity in innovative energy technologies

Incentives to develop clean fossil, nuclear and renewable technologies

Focus public research and technology efforts on energy efficiency, non-conventional hydrocarbons and clean coal, innovative nuclear power, distributed power systems, renewable energy sources, and biomass production.

The academies' statements seek to build on the seeming influence that their statements had last year on G8 commitments for African aid.

The joint statements are described in more detail and linked below.
<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/[environment]" rel="tag">[environment]</a>

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June 21, 2006 in Africa, Asia, Climate Change, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, International, North America, Physical Science, South America, Sustainability, US | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Results of the Vienna Summit

The U.S. - EU summit concluded in Vienna.  The joint statement contained a substantial discussion of energy policy.  The most significant commitment is the US agreement to conduct a high level dialogue on long range climate change policy.

Promoting Strategic Cooperation on Energy and Energy Security, Climate Change and Sustainable Development

We recognise the strategic role of security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability in the energy sector. In this connection, we strongly reaffirm our commitment to the energy security principles enunciated by the International Energy Agency. We have agreed to reinforce our strategic energy cooperation to:

• support diversification of energy sources and supplies;

• secure our energy infrastructure;

• promote market-based energy security policies that ensure competition, transparency, respect for contracts, and non-discriminatory trade, transit, and access;

• speed development of new lower-pollution and lower carbon technologies;

• accelerate investment in cleaner, more efficient use of fossil sources and renewable sources in order to cut air pollution harmful to human health and natural resources, and reducing greenhouse gases associated with the serious long-term challenge of global climate change. 

We will cooperate to ensure sufficient, reliable and environmentally responsible supplies of energy at prices reflecting market fundamentals, facilitating sustained global economic growth as well as expanding access to energy in developing countries. Thus, we agree to:

UkraineU.S.

• Improve energy security by enhancing the dialogue with the main transit, producer and consumer countries and by promoting diversification of energy sources and supply routes worldwide and notably in the Caspian sea region, Middle East, continental Africa and Latin America;

• Analyse geopolitical implications of the worldwide energy situation as it develops, its impact on our external policies and to develop mutually reinforcing policies where appropriate;

• Promote energy security policies in key third countries by encouraging a gradual transition to market pricing and behaviour, and coordinate capacity-building assistance to emerging economies, including to increase energy efficiency, adopt clean technologies and build strategic stocks;


• Support maintenance and improvement of pipeline infrastructure to ensure uninterrupted deliveries and facilitate diversification of investments in large transnational projects by ensuring convergence of legal and regulatory frameworks and
supporting collaboration among energy regulatory authorities, notably with Ukraine;

• Coordinate where appropriate technical assistance to improve energy legal and regulatory frameworks and investment climates in third countries;

• Improve the security of global energy networks and develop standards for physical security of critical energy infrastructure;

• Facilitate development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG);


• Increase our coordination within international fora, notably the G8, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Energy Forum (IEF);


• Use energy in a more efficient and environmentally responsible manner, and in particular cooperate on improving the efficiency of world-wide traded products. In this context we have just initialled a new Energy Star Agreement;


• Make more and better use of renewable energy sources and reinforce technological cooperation and partnerships, notably on environmentally-friendly low emission power generation technologies, hydrogen energy, carbon sequestration, cutting gas
flaring and biofuels;

• Promote diversification of fuel sources in the transportation sector, including through increased use of biofuels;

• Continue cooperation through the International Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy and increase collaboration over regulatory, standards and trade issues affecting alternative fuels and emerging technologies, especially hydrogen;


• Cooperate on developing efficient, transitional transport technologies, and fuel standards, such as plug-in hybrids or efficient diesel engines;


• Continue scientific exchanges among EU and  US
research and development organisations focused on energy efficiency in buildings;

• Promote, consistent with national energy policies, safety standards in the production of nuclear energy.

To monitor and guide this process, we will conduct an annual strategic review of EU-U.S. energy cooperation.

We also agreed to promote energy security worldwide by applying the following Energy Security Principles:

a. Contractual commitments should be upheld and market-based principles should prevail at all stages of the energy supply chain.

b. Diversifying sources of energy and modes/routes of transit and ensuring nondiscriminatory third-party access to transit infrastructure will improve the functioning of energy markets worldwide.

c. Open, transparent, non discriminatory and stable legal conditions that ensure fair and equitable treatment for energy investment and trade are essential to helping producing and transit countries meet market demands.

d. Further development of production and export capacities in producer countries in a safe and secure environment, and the upgrading of existing and development of new energy transportation infrastructures by producer and transit countries as well as further development of refinery capacity in all countries are critical.

e. Bolstering and ensuring the highest levels of physical and environmental security and safety of energy infrastructures, as well as the highest level of nuclear safety, is crucial to the durability and sustainability of the global energy system.

f. We should encourage the most economic and efficient use of energy worldwide notably through the use of market-based instruments to minimise negative environmental consequences, and should promote in particular the use of cleaner and more efficient use of fossil fuels and the development of economically competitive non-fossil energy sources based on appropriate policies and market-based instruments.

g. We should promote continued research, development and deployment of alternative energy sources and the facilitation of technological and industrial cooperation.

h. Supporting effective implementation of transparency and data sharing initiatives, such as the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI), including on the evaluation of oil reserves, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) will improve transparency and predictability of the market for all stakeholders.

i. Addressing energy poverty endured by many of the world’s poorest people who will still lack access to modern energy services is a priority.

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We will work more closely to address the serious and long-term challenge of climate change, biodiversity loss and air pollution and will act with resolve and urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will continue our dialogue and efforts under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including work on long-term cooperative action in the process established in Montreal in December 2005. To this end, we have agreed to establish an EU-U.S. High Level Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development to build on existing bilateral and multilateral initiatives and further advance implementation of the G-8 Gleneagles Plan of Action for Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development. This dialogue will be guided by the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC and will initially meet in fall 2006 in Helsinki. Among topics of importance for this dialogue will be experience with different market-based mechanisms to promote cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, advancing the development and deployment of existing and transformational technologies that are cleaner and more efficient, producing energy with significantly lower emissions, efficiency and conservation, renewable fuels, clean diesel, capture of methane, lower emitting agricultural operations and energy production and distribution systems, as well as other environmental issues.

 

 

 

June 21, 2006 in Air Quality, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, International, Sustainability, US | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 19, 2006

EU Sustainability Strategy

EU sustainability strategy.pdf

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The EU heads of government adopted a revised  EU sustainable development strategy in Brussels on Friday, which focuses on the need for short-term action to counter Europe’s “unsustainable consumption and production patterns”.  The strategy is a revision of the one adopted in Gothenburg in 2001.  The new strategy details objectives, targets, and more detailed targets, objectives, and initiatives to meet seven “key challenges” – climate change and clean energy; sustainable transport; sustainable consumption and production; conservation and management of natural resources; public health; social inclusion, demography and migration; and global poverty and sustainable development challenges.

The strategy calls for the commission to produce an EU action plan on sustainable consumption and production by 2007. It sets a target of bringing average level of EU green public procurement up to the standard currently achieved by the best performing member states by 2010.

The strategy signals the preeminence of sustainability as a focus for EU policy.  It shifts the relationship between the sustainability strategy and the EU’s Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs -- underscoring the need to achieve the economic development goals of Lisbon within the framework of sustainability.

June 19, 2006 in Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Science of Global Warming: Are we reaching the "tipping points?"

Gabrielle Walker reported in Nature last week on whether we are reaching the tipping point in climate change.  The phrase "global warming" suggests to the uninitiated a gentle, linear increase in temperature with predictable linear effects on the earth.  But both the complex system that is climate, and the more subtle and difficult to identify biological systems affected by climate, cannot be captured by neat linear equations.  They have non-linearities: cliffs that are points of no return and tipping points when internal dynamics start to propel changes and small changes produce exponential impacts.  See Real Science post on tipping points. (tipping point post)  Are there tipping points or cliffs in climate change?  When will they be reached?  When and if they are reached, are they not just tipping points, but cliffs -- points of no return? 

Although there's no strong evidence that the climate as a whole has a point beyond which it switches neatly into a new pattern, individual parts of the system could be in danger of changing state quickly, and perhaps irretrievably. And perhaps the most striking of these vulnerable components are in the Arctic. Farthest north is the carapace of sea ice over the Arctic Ocean. South of that is the vast ice sheet that covers Greenland. And then there is the ocean conveyor belt, which originates in a small region of the Nordic seas and carries heat and salt around the world.  All three seem to have inbuilt danger zones that may deserve to be called tipping points. And the outside forces pushing them towards those points are gathering.

Even as it published the piece on tipping points, Nature noted in its editorial that there are dangers in focusing on those concepts:

there are three dangers attendant on focusing humanity's response to the climate crisis too much on tipping points. The first is the uncertainty of the science; the second is the tendency of such an emphasis to distort our responses; the third is the danger of fatalism.

The models through which our understanding of the climate system are channelled into assessments of how it might behave in the future are impressive by the standards of human investigation, but crude with respect to the details of the Earth system. All sorts of phenomena, from the formation of clouds to the respiration of soils, are hard to capture accurately, and it is on such details that an understanding of possible tipping points depends. Anyone claiming to know for sure when a particular tipping point will be reached should be treated with suspicion — and so must anyone who suggests that no tipping point will ever be reached.

The second problem is that an emphasis on tipping points not yet reached increases the focus on the future. Such an increase tips the balance away from adapting to climate change and in favour of trying to avoid it. A rational response to the challenge of the twenty-first century's climate is to do both: to reduce the rate at which greenhouse gases force climate change, but at the same time build up the ability to cope with adverse climates.

The third issue is that tipping points can induce fatalism. The concept may encourage the belief that a complete solution is the only worthwhile one, as any other course may allow the climate system to tumble past the crucial threshold. This sort of all-or-nothing approach is already over-stressed in climate policy by the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which calls for the complete avoidance of dangerous anthropogenic climate change, rather than the more reasonable and more feasible goal of minimizing and controlling it.

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June 19, 2006 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, North America, Physical Science, South America, Sustainability, US, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

EU Soil Strategy Redux

SOIL strategy update 6/13/06

The EU delayed release of the soil strategy last week due to objections by the EU Enterprise Commissioner.  He seeks to limit contaminated site inventories to transboundary sites and to restrict public access to the inventories.   The draft had required member states to identify areas at risk of degradation within five years based on common criteria. Member states would have two years to adopt an action plan with targets to reduce risks.  The draft required

national inventories of contaminated sites and remediation strategies, to be made publicly available and reviewed regularly. According to the EU consultation survey of organizations and citizens, contamination is seen as the greatest threat to soil. 

original post 6/1/06

On June 7, the European Commission is scheduled to adopt the thematic strategy on soil protection.  The strategy calls for creating a framework directive requiring the 25 EU member states to meet soil remediation targets. The framework directive also would require sellers of contaminated land to provide soil reports to potential buyers. The thematic strategy for soil protection includes targets for other threats to soil such as compaction, decline in organic matter, declining biodiversity, erosion, landslides, salinization, and sealing. The strategy calls on member states to create stabilization strategies and action plans. EU link

June 13, 2006 in Biodiversity, EU, Governance/Management, Land Use, Legislation, Toxic and Hazardous Substances | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Goodbye Cowboys: World Opinion Favors UN Power or Balanced Regional Power

The majority of people in nine major nations, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan, Russia and the United States, do not believe that a world system dominated by a single world power is  the best framework for ensuring peace and stability in the world. Instead they favor multipolar systems, either led by the United Nations or by a balance of regional leaders. They also disfavor a bipolar system where power wasdivided between two world powers.
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World Public Opinion reports:

Despite their status as the world’s sole super power today, Americans also rejected the model of a world order based on a single world power. Nor did they want to return to a world dominated by two great powers. Instead, they indicated that they would prefer an international system where power was shared among nations. A majority (52%) thought a balance of regional powers was the best framework but a third (33%) said they would like the UN to lead the world. Only ten percent favored either a system led by a single power (6%) or two powers (4%).

These results are consistent with other polls showing that Americans are uncomfortable with their country’s role as the world’s supreme power. A 2004 poll commissioned by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and conducted by Knowledge Networks found that 80 percent of Americans agreed the United States was “playing the role of world policeman more than it should be.” Asked to choose the statement closest to their own position, only eight percent said that the United States should “continue to be the preeminent world leader in solving international problems;” 78 percent said instead that the United States should “do its share in efforts to solve international problems together with other countries.”

Among the other eight nations, most also favored some system where power was shared among several nations. The Germans (68%) and the Chinese (51%) were the most enthusiastic about UN leadership. Pluralities also favored the UN in Great Britain (47%) and France (46%) while they supported a balance of regional powers in Brazil (45%) and India (37%). The Russians and the Japanese were more closely divided, with about a third in each country choosing the UN and a third picking a balance of regional powers. But a quarter of the Russians said they preferred a world system dominated by one or two superpowers. And more than a third of the Japanese either did not know which system to pick or choose not to answer the question.

June 12, 2006 in Asia, EU, Governance/Management, International, North America, Social Science, US | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 9, 2006

French Investigate Chernobyl "Cover-up"

Link: Twenty Years After Chornobyl, Legal Fallout Lingers

In another round of the nuclear power debate in France, a French court has begun an investigation of the French government's response to Chernobyl, amidst allegations that the former head of the French nuclear safety agency minimized dangers and the government therefore failed to take precautions such as banning produce from affected areas,

June 9, 2006 in EU | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Sometimes Governments Listen: Threat to Lake Baikal Averted

Last week, while I was still away, President  Vladimir Putin ordered the rerouting of a Siberian oil pipeline to avoid the northern shore of Lake Baikal, a world heritage site.  See  UNESCO site on Lake Baikal

                                        Graphic: Route of Proposed Pipeline
Putin reversed a controversial government decision in March to allow Russia's pipeline company Transneft to build the line within a half mile of Lake Baikal. The 2600 mile pipeline will provide oil to markets in Asia at a cost of $11.5 billion, which reportedly will be closer to $ 12.5 billion after the rerouting.

Russian environmental groups had protested the initial routing decision.  Pacific Environment  The NY Times  wrote about the impact of public protests on the routing decision: NYTimes link

Rare public protests followed the approval in March of the initial route, with rallies from Moscow to Irkutsk, the Siberian region bordering the lake.  "It was not a huge wave," Aleksandr Shuvalov, deputy executive director of Greenpeace Russia, said of the protests, "but it was a wave."  The pipeline's route, so close to Lake Baikal, raised concerns that an oil spill in the seismically active region could contaminate Lake Baikal, which holds more than 20 percent of the world's fresh water and an abundance of unique wildlife species. Not only environmental groups, but also Russian scientists opposed Transneft's planned route.  A commission of specialists from the Russian Academy of Sciences initially opposed the route on environmental grounds. Its recommendation was rejected and a new review ordered with new specialists. 

Mr. Putin's decision on Wednesday was an unexpected reversal and appeared choreographed for state television networks. Meeting with federal and regional officials in Tomsk, a Siberian city, he publicly chided Transneft's director, Semyon M. Vainshtok, after asking if there was an alternative to the contested route. "Since you hesitate, it means that there is such a possibility," Mr. Putin told a visibly uncomfortable Mr. Vainshtok. "If there had not been such a possibility, you would have said 'no' without any doubt."

Mr. Putin then ordered that the route hew more closely to one previously recommended by the Academy of Sciences but rejected by a regulatory agency. He said a new route should be charted at least 40 kilometers, or nearly 25 miles, from Lake Baikal. That would put it outside of Baikal's watershed, environmental groups said. 

Mr. Shuvalov called it "a victory of common sense."  The reversal underscored Mr. Putin's highly centralized power and his penchant for dramatic gestures. Wielding a pen in front of an oversize map of the Baikal region, he swept aside decisions by several government agencies, as well as those by Transneft, which had warned that finding another route would be prohibitively expensive.

Mr. Vainshtok and other officials from Transneft could not be reached for comment. They had said that the planned route would be safe and that moving it could add nearly $1 billion to the cost of the pipeline. When Mr. Vainshtok, in the televised exchange, suggested that the pipeline would have to move "much farther north," Mr. Putin responded curtly.  "If there is at least a tiny chance of polluting Baikal," he said, "we, thinking of future generations, must do everything not only to minimize this threat, but to exclude it." 

May 4, 2006 in Asia, Biodiversity, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Governance/Management, International, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Mangroves Crucial to Global Carbon Cycle

Although the days when mangrove swamps were cleared without thought are past, recent research highlights a new reason why mangroves are important:

The global carbon cycle is currently the topic of great interest because of its importance in the global climate system and also because human activities are altering the carbon cycle to a significant degree. This crucial biogeochemical cycle involves the exchange of carbon between the Earth's atmosphere, the oceans, the vegetation, and the soils of the Earth's terrestrial ecosystems.

Since the oceans stand for the largest pool of carbon near the surface of the Earth, their role is of particular importance in the global carbon cycle. Indeed, the organic matter dissolved in the oceans contains a similar amount of carbon as is stored in the skies as atmospheric carbon dioxide. Consequently, in order to understand global carbon cycle, and its effects on climate, it is crucial to quantify the sources of marine dissolved organic carbon (DOC).

German researchers have investigated the impact of mangroves, the dominant intertidal vegetation of the tropics and a source of terrestrial DOC, on marine DOC inventories. The study was performed on the scale of an entire mangrove-shelf system that integrates information of about 10,000 km² of north Brazilian mangroves. A combined approach of stable carbon isotopes and nuclear magnetic resonance was used to quantify mangrove-derived DOC on the North Brazilian shelf....Mangroves are the main source of terrestrial DOC in the open ocean off northern Brazil. Even at the outermost stations, where intrusion of Amazon River water could not be excluded, the mangrove-derived DOC concentrations were almost two-fold more important than the estimated riverine DOC concentration....DOC export from mangroves is more than 2 trillion moles of carbon per year which is similar to the annual Amazon River discharge and nearly triples the amount estimated from previous smaller scale estimates of the carbon released to the oceans. According to these estimates, mangroves probably account for more than 10% of the DOC globally transported from the continents to the ocean while covering less than 0.1% of the continents.

Since mangroves play a major role for the dissolved organic matter (DOM) exchange between continents and oceans, their rapid decline over the recent decades may already have reduced the flux of terrestrial DOM to the ocean, impacting one of the largest organic carbon pools on Earth. Mangrove foliage, however, has declined by nearly half over the past several decades because of increasing coastal development and damage to its habitat. As the habitat has changed, ever-smaller quantities of mangrove-derived detritus are available for formation and export of dissolved organic matter to the ocean. The researchers speculate that the rapid decline in mangrove extent threatens the delicate balance and may eventually shut off the important link between the land and ocean, with potential consequences for atmospheric composition and climate.

Dittmar, T, et al., (2006) « Mangroves, a major source of dissolved organic carbon to the oceans », Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 20(1).
Contact:
dittmar@ocean.fsu.edu   Reported by EU Science for Environment Policy service

March 9, 2006 in Biodiversity, Climate Change, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, International, Physical Science, South America, Sustainability, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Climate Change to Affect European Production of Bioenergy Crops

The EU Science for Environment service reported on bioenergy crop research:

Changes in European agricultural productivity and subsidy policies are expected to reduce land devoted to food production and make land available for bioenergy crop production.  Because European policy depends on increasing use of renewable energy, including bioenergy, research has been done to assess the impact of climate change on bioenergy crops.  Recent research indicates that southern Europe's ability to produce bioenergy crops will be severely reduced in the future unless Europe undertakes measures to adapt to climate change, such as breeding for temperature and drought tolerance and alternative agricultural practices such as early sowing.

Tuck Gill et al. (2006) « The potential distribution of bioenergy crops in Europe under present and future climate », Biomass and Bioenergy 30: 183–197.
Contact:
gill.tuck@bbsrc.ac.uk

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March 9, 2006 in Agriculture, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, Physical Science, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

EU Commission Publishes Green Paper on Unified EU Energy Strategy

Yesterday, the European Commission published a Green Paper on developing a European Energy Policy. EU Energy Green Paper  The green paper will be reviewed by EU energy ministers on March 14 and by EU heads of state on March 23-24.  EU green papers are discussion papers, though, not concrete legislative proposals.  Nonetheless, since the EU has 50% more energy consumers than the US, everyone is watching as Europe attempts to develop an energy strategy.

Energy is a realm traditionally reserved to the national policy of EU member states.  Two previous green papers were largely ignored.  However, because the EU member states unanimously requested preparation of this third green paper, many hope that a unified European energy strategy is in the making.  Furthermore, a recent Eurobarometer poll indicated that a sizable majority of Europeans consider energy policy to be best handled at the EU level.  The green paper responds to this by proposing a new EU energy regulatory body, measures to complete the EU single energy market, energy efficiency measures, and research on renewable energy sources.

The green paper establishes sustainability, competitiveness, and supply security as the primary goals for European energy policy.  However, the emphasis of strategies in the paper is on the latter two as opposed to the environment.

The first priority is completion of the EU single market, currently liberalized to allow business to choose suppliers throughout the EU.  However, lack of interconnections and supply lines prevent completion of the market.  The green paper suggests an energy "grid" code, a priority European interconnection plan, i.e. constructing natural gas pipelines, a European energy regulatory agency, and mandatory unbundling of networks. 

The second priority is security of supply in the internal energy market and a commitment to "solidarity among member states." The green paper proposes a European Energy Supply Observatory and revision of the existing EU oil and gas legislation to deal with potential supply disruptions.

The third priority is external EU energy policy, including long-term agreements with Russia, which currently supplies most of EU's natural gas.

While the EU has had remarkable decreases in energy intensity and increases in GDP, EU energy demand and energy imports continue to grow.  Energy Demand, Intensity and GNP in EU25  Although EU energy efficiency is extremely high, the green paper on energy efficiency proposed improving it by 20%.

But overall the EU will need to move towards renewable energy sources.  According to the Eurobarometer polls, EU citizens favor solar and wind, with nuclear a very distant third.  Ironically, the green paper provided supporters of nuclear power with solace when it noted that national energy supply decisions (alluding to bans on nuclear power in Germany, Austria, Italy, Ireland, and Spain) can interfere with EU supply security and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Many EU citizens are willing to pay a small premium for renewable energy sources, up to 5%.  But that limited willingness to pay underscores the need for research and development that will provide renewable energy sources at prices that Europeans are willing to pay.

March 9, 2006 in Climate Change, Economics, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, Legislation | Permalink | TrackBack (0)