July 17, 2006
The G8 Statement on Global Energy Security
Sunday, 16 July, 2006
09:20 GMT 13:20 Moscow
Local Time: 13:20
Global Energy SecuritySt. 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;
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
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;
transparent, efficient and competitive markets for energy production,
supply, use, transmission and transit services as a key to global
- 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;
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;
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
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
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;
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
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
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
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;
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;
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
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;
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
- share best practices to promote energy efficiency in the transportation sector;
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;
- 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;
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;
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
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.
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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;
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;
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;
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
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
- assisting in policy and institutional
capacity building for improving energy access, enhancing energy
efficiency and promoting energy conservation and diversification of
- 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
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
July 07, 2006
G8 summit focus will be on energy supply security, not replacing fossil fuels
|Planetark World Environmental News reports:|
[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
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July 06, 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
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
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
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July 03, 2006
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....
Find YOUR way to make the Millenium Development Goals reality.
Places to Start:
MILLENIUM PROMISE: www.millenniumpromise.org
MILLENIUM CAMPAIGN: www.millenniumcampaign.org
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
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July 02, 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!
Scientists Galore in Global Warming
The Discovery Channel special presents an impressive array of international experts discussing the current realities of global warming and the future of the planet, featuring Dr. James Hansen, Chief, NASA Institute for Space Studies; Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Princeton University; and Dr. Stephen Pacala, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University.
Hansen is the world's most prominent climate modeler. He is perhaps best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s, which helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. Dr. Hansen was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1995 and he received the prestigious Heinz Environment Award for his research on global warming in 2001. The Bush Administration recently created an outcry when it attempted to rein in his public appearances.
Oppenheimer has researched potential effects of global warming, including the impact of warming on atmospheric chemistry, ecosystems, the nitrogen cycle, ocean circulation, and the ice sheets. Oppenheimer and other scientists organized two UN workshops that helped catalyze negotiations on the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol. He co-founded the Climate Action Network and co-authored Dead Heat: The Race Against the Greenhouse Effect.Pacala has focused on problems of global change with an emphasis on the biological regulation of greenhouse gases and climate. He is co-director of the Princeton Carbon Mitigation Initiative and directs the Princeton Environmental Institute. His writing includes research on maintenance of biodiversity, ecosystem modeling, ecological statisticsand the dynamics of vegetation and animal behavior.
Other scientists presented in the special include: Dr. Daniel Nepstad, Ecologist, Amazon researcher, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center; Dr. Mark Serreze, Senior Research Scientist, National Snow and Ice Data Center, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Dr. Greg Holland, Director, Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division, NCAR; Dr. Nick Lunn, Research Scientist, Canadian Wildlife Service; Dr. Stephen Harrison, Director, Climate Change Risk Management, Glaciologist/Senior Research Associate, Oxford University Centre for the Environment; Professor Bob Spicer, Director of the Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space, and Astronomical Research; Professor Peter Cox, Science Director, Climate Change, Center for Ecology and Hydrology, Execter; Dr. John Hunter, Researcher, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania; Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Marine Biologist, University of Queensland; Professor Lin Er Da, Director, Agrometeorological Institute, China Academy of Agricultural Sciences; and Hila Vavae, Senior Meteorologist, Director of Meteorolgy Office, Tuvalu Island.
The Contents of Global Warming
The Discovery Channel special aims to
"decode the buzzwords and arm viewers with an arsenal of clear definitions and visual depictions to explain the greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide emissions, CFCs, and effects on weather and rising sea levels. Visceral CGI and cutting edge climate computer models will help viewers see into the future at a world significantly changed by unchecked global warming."
The special features global warming hot spots most affected by climate change: sub-surface rivers in Patagonian glaciers, the drought-stricken Amazon river basin, and the Great Barrierl reef. The special presents a graphical timeline of global warming throughout history, addresses the contention that current global warming is simply part of the natural warming and cooling climate cycles, and demonstrates the contribution of the average American family to global warming. It identifies the mega-technical solutions from ocean CO2 injection to building green cities or "ecopolis." It also address the small fixes -- what ordinary Americans can do to slow global warming.
Here's an interesting perspective on Gore from a conservative Christian perspective: God, Gore and Global Warming
by Ken Connor
Posted Jul 03, 2006 in Human Events
It is pretty rare for a documentary to make a million dollars at the box office, so the fact that Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" has already brought in more than $10 million is impressive. Not only that, but Gore's movie will probably be one of the five best-selling documentaries of all time by the end of its run. The former Vice President clearly sees himself as a prophet, and he is warning Americans that the end is near.
Is it true? Are we living in the end times—not so much because of an impending Rapture, but because of melting ice caps? At CJS, we certainly don't have the scientific expertise to assess rival global warming claims. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure: the debate should be settled on the basis of merit, not personality. Some conservatives will dismiss Al Gore's arguments simply because he is Al Gore. That would be a mistake.
Christians are often concerned about the lazy relativism that has become so popular in America. To compete against the post-modern mentality, we often talk about "truth-claims," and challenge others to take our truth-claims seriously. Al Gore is making a set of truth-claims, and many scientists support his theories. That does not necessarily mean Gore is right, but we should also resist the urge to let politics get in the way of an honest assessment.
Our responsibility as citizens is to look at all the evidence and make the best assessment we can. After collecting and interpreting the data, what if we determine that global warming is not a threat, or that humans are not responsible for increased temperatures? Does that automatically mean that we should proceed with the environmental policies we have now?
Not at all. Whether or not we face impending doom, Christians need to remember that human beings have a responsibility toward the environment. In the last few decades we certainly have not been as conscientious about taking care of our natural resources as we should be. Like it or not, Al Gore is helping to remind Christians of an important duty.
The great evangelical apologist, Francis Schaeffer, wrote a book in the 1970s called Pollution and the Death of Man. In it, Schaeffer carefully analyzes the claims of the environmental movement. Basing his arguments on some profound theological truths, Schaeffer argues that Christians have an important obligation to the environment.
For example, Schaeffer reminds Christians that God created the material world—including trees and chipmunks and flowers and whales—and that upon creating these things he called them good. In other words, God saw something worthwhile in these things, in and of themselves. The material world is valued in God's eyes, it ultimately belongs to Him, and therefore we should treat it with a measure of reverence.
Schaeffer recognizes that the environment, along with everything else, has suffered as a result of the Fall. Pollution, disease, and even global warming, are evidence of a fallen world. However, we should keep the three-part Christian worldview in mind: Creation, Fall, Redemption. Christians are always and everywhere called to be agents of Christ's redemption. Though the earth groans, we have an opportunity to work with a resurrection mentality, for Christ has made all things new.
Along the same lines, Schaeffer reminds us that mankind has a certain union with the creation, since we are actually a part of the creation. Along with sparrows and lilies, we are all the handiwork of the same God. For this reason, we ought to have some sense of solidarity with the created world. Beware, however: this point can be abused, as we've seen with the Spanish effort to confer fundamental human rights upon apes.
While we enjoy exalted status as creatures made in God's image (Gen. 1:27), we also have a sobering responsibility that accompanies this status. Under the so called "dominion mandate" (Gen 1:28), God has placed His global garden in our hands, and he has given us the charge: "Take good care of the world until I return." That is a major responsibility, and Christians should be especially concerned about disappointing the Gardener who created this garden in the first place.
We live in a consumer driven age, and selfishness abounds. It is easy to fall into the consumer mentality ("me, me, me, take, take, take"). Even Christians have been tempted to consume resources without considering future generations or our responsibility to God. Al Gore's prophesies may or may not be true, but they do provide us with an opportunity to stop and think about whether or not we—individually and collectively—have been faithful stewards of the environment. This is a discussion worth having, and at the very least we can thank Al Gore for inspiring it.
Mr. Connor is chairman of the Center for a Just Society. He is a trial and appellate attorney, known for his successful representation of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. He is a past president of the Family Research Council.
Some of the Materials from Global Warming
The Facts About Global Warming
WHAT IS IT?
- Global warming is the gradual rise of the earth's surface temperature, thought to be caused by increased emissions of greenhouse gases (the “greenhouse effect”), specifically from human activities. -Environmental Protection Agency
THE HEAT IS ON
· The average temperature in the U.S. in 2005 was almost one degree above the 1895-2004 mean, which will make 2005 one of the 20 warmest years on record for the country. -NOAA (based on preliminary data)
· Of the top 20 hottest years on record, 19 have occurred since 1980.
· Computer models suggest that average global surface temperatures will rise between 2.5°F and 10.4°F by the end of this century, a rate much larger and faster than any climatic changes over the past 10,000 years. -National Academy of Sciences
· Many scientists believe that temperatures are rising so fast, the Earth’s climate may reach a threshold – the tipping point – when there will be nothing we can do to ‘undo’ global warming.
AROUND THE WORLD
· In 1980, sea ice covered nearly 1.7 billion acres of the Artic, about the size of the
. In the last two decades alone, the Artic has lost an area roughly twice the size of
. If the melting continues at this rate, computer models predict that by 2060 there will be no sea ice at all during the Artic summer.
· One hundred years ago, there were more than 150 glaciers at
Glacier National Park in Montana. Today there are fewer than 30.
· The Patagonian glaciers at the Southern tip of South America
have lost 10% of their ice in the last seven years.
· If just the Greenland
icesheet melts into the ocean, it could raise global sea levels by 23 feet over the next few hundred years. Coastal cities, including New York and London, would be completely flooded. Low lying countries such as Bangladesh – with much of its land mass at sea level – would be nearly wiped out.
· Every year, nearly a thousand square miles of farmland in China
turns to desert. Since the 1950s, the rate has doubled.
· In a study of the polar bear population in the Arctic town of Churchilll,
Manitoba , the number of bears has declined from about 1200 back in the 1980s to less than 950 today. This 22% decline is directly related to early break-up sea ice in the region.
FACT OR FICTION:
· Some scientists argue that the increase in greenhouse gases has not made a measurable difference in the temperature. They say that natural processes have caused global warming. –World Book Encyclopedia
· “There is no reason to believe that this 10,000-year-old cycle of solar-induced warming and cooling will change, said Dr. Sallie Baliunas, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “I believe that we may be nearing the end of a solar warming cycle. Since the last minimum ended in 1715, there is a strong possibility that the Earth will start cooling off in the early part of the 21st Century.” National Center for Public Policy Research
FUELING THE FIRE: GREENHOUSE GASES
· Earth’s greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that helps regulate the temperature of our planet. The sun heats the Earth and some of this heat, rather than escaping back to space, is trapped in the atmosphere by clouds and greenhouse gases, keeping the Earth at a sustainable temperature for human life.
· While many greenhouse gases occur naturally, human activities are adding gases to the natural mix at an unprecedented rate.
· More than 5 million acres of Amazon rainforest are lost every year to loggers and farmers.
· In the century between 1850 and 1950, human activities burned up 60 billion tons of carbon fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas. Today we burn the same amount every 10 years.
· The United States pumps more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other country in the world. Each of us contributes about 22 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, whereas the world average per capita is about 6 tons. - Environmental Protection Agency
· Right now the U.S.makes up only five percent of the world’s population, yet we are responsible for a staggering 25% of the carbon dioxide that’s released into the atmosphere.
· Unless we reduce emissions and develop new energy alternatives, the blanket of greenhouse gases that surrounds the planet will double in the next 50 years, and triple in the next hundred.
WHAT ARE WE TO DO?
· Alternative energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide include the wind, sunlight, nuclear energy, and underground steam. Alternative sources of energy are more expensive to use than fossil fuels. However, increased research into their use would almost certainly reduce their cost. -World Book Encyclopedia
· Everyday steps:
o High-efficiency appliances can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 450 pounds a year.
o Recycle aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic, cardboard, and newspapers. Recycling can reduce your home's carbon dioxide emissions by 850 pounds per year.
o When running errands, combine trips so that you are not using your car for single-purpose trips.
o Carpool: Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds per year. - Environmental Protection Agency
o Turning the thermostat down three degrees not only saves money – it keeps one ton of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
o If every American household switched just one traditional light bulb to a long lasting energy-efficient fluorescent bulb, it would be the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road.
Global Warming Timeline
254 Million Years Ago
- Global warming of just a couple of degrees at the end of the Permian era led to mass extinction.
55 Million Years Ago
A several degree warming period at the end of the Paleocene era triggered a mass extinction.
10,000 Years Ago
During the last ice age, the Earth was just 9-16 degrees cooler than it is today.
- Climatologist Charles Keeling was the first to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on a continuous basis, and he was the first to report that global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide were rising. His documentation was graphed, and became known as the Keeling Curve.
- At this time, the science of global warming consisted of a few determined scientists whose predictions about the fate of our planet were either furiously debated or widely ignored.
- The four strongest El Niños on record have all happened since 1980.
Larson B is the largest expanse of ice on earth, located on the eastern end of the Antarctic Peninsula. This plate of ice has been in deep freeze for the last 12,000 years. During periods of warmth, parts of the shelf have melted away, and small icebergs have splintered from its edges. But in the summer of 2002, something unprecedented happens. A chunk the size of Rhode Island falls into the sea.
Northern China has been gripped with severe drought since 2002.
China inhabits 21% of the Earth’s population, yet the country only has 7% of the world’s water.
- More than 30,000 perish when a record-breaking heat wave grips an ill-prepared
January 1: Across Southern Australia, the New Year blasts its way into the record books. In the capital of Sydney, temperatures top 113 degrees. By the end of January, the most destructive brush fires in 20 years rage throughout the country, killing nine people.
August 29, 2005: Katrina is the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Gulf States reaching speeds of 175 miles an hour and ravaging 100 miles of coastline. In only a few hours, the tourist town of Gulfport,Mississippiis nearly leveled by the category 4 storm. Nearly 80% of the city of New Orleans floods. Thousands are killed.
- Australia recorded the hottest year on record.
- The Amazon rainforests recorded the driest year on record.
- The worldwide record for number of hurricanes is smashed with 28 officially designated storms, including the most deadly to hit the U.S. in nearly 100 years.
- The Kyoto Protocol is ratified by more than 160 nations. It sets legally binding target dates for many industrialized countries to cut their global-warming emissions. Despite the United State’s role in drafting the treaty, the current administration has yet to sign the Kyoto treaty. Also reluctant to sign is Australia, the 14th largest producer of greenhouse gases, and the world’s largest exporter of coal.
- February: The island ofTuvalu in the South Pacific saw the highest tide they’ve ever seen at 11 feet. If the oceans continue to rise, many of these small island countries will simply vanish into the sea.
- April 16: A sandstorm blows more than 300,000 tons of sand on the capital of Beijing
- May: Canadian wildlife officials were astonished to find the first polar bear/ grizzly hybrid in the wild.
Glacier National Park in northern MT is seeing the ice melt faster than at any time in recorded history. As the ice melts, more ground is exposed. That ground absorbs more of the sun that used to be reflected by the ice. As the ground warms up, the ice melts even faster.
- The Great Barrier Reef experiences the third bleaching event in the last eight years. Three thousand individual reefs join together to cover more than 135,000 square miles of the ocean floor. Currently, the warm temperature of the water is preventing the algae from provided the nourishment and protection the corals need. The coral is repelling the algae, resulting in a colorless, dying coral reef.
- Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere today are higher than anything we’ve seen in the past 600,000 years. Never, since human beings first walked the Earth, have carbon dioxide levels been this high. This shows that the present day climate is very unusual.
- If temperatures continue to rise at their current rate, in 2100 the Earth may hit the 4-degree mark, known as the tipping point. This is the point at which Earth’s climate will reach the threshold of no longer being able to ‘undo’ global warming. [see Tipping Point post]
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
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June 30, 2006
UK Takes the Lead on Reducing Carbon Emissions
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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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
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June 26, 2006
Oregon State Rules!
In case any of you have been out of the loop or failed to watch the big game, humble Oregon State just won the College World Series!!! Go Beavs!
June 26, 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
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
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
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
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>
Joint science academies’ statement: Avian influenza and infectious diseases
14 Jun 2006
The national science academies of the G8 nations and Brazil,
China, India and South Africa have signed a statement on avian
influenza and infectious diseases.
The statement stresses that the world faces the possibility
of a new human influenza pandemic caused by the spread of avian
influenza. All countries of the world should cooperate to
address the present issues surrounding avian influenza, as well
as continuing with long term global strategies to address other
major and emerging infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria. The statement calls on world leaders,
particularly those meeting at the G8 Summit in St Petersburg in
July 2006, to implement the following recommendations.
- Provide support to developing nations in the
implementation of their own national strategies to address
avian influenza and other infectious diseases.
- Improve the coordination of global surveillance for the
control of emerging and zoonotic diseases.
- Mobilise global scientific and medical communities in
order to develop new vaccines and drugs and new more rapid
methods for the production of vaccines. Governments and the
scientific community should also promote international
cooperation between human health and veterinary experts to
elaborate new methods for detection, diagnosis, prevention
and treatment of infectious diseases.
- Encourage Governments to collaborate in the collection of
clinical and epidemiological data implement strategies that
allow clinical data to be accessed and shared, particularly
in the early stages of a pandemic.
- The world community must ensure that the focus on avian
influenza does not compete with, but rather motivates the
development of broad-based and sustainable infrastructure
with the capacity to address an array of infectious disease
The Royal Society issued a press release highlighting this statement on 14
Joint science academies’ statement: Energy Sustainability and Security
G8 countries bear a special responsibility for the current
high level of energy consumption, and should play a leading
role in assuring global energy sustainability and security. The
national science academies of the G8 nations and Brazil, China,
India and South Africa, have signed a statement on this
The statement calls on all countries of the world,
especially those meeting at the G8 summit in July 2006, to
cooperate in identifying common strategic priorities for
sustainable and secure energy systems, in implementing actions
towards those strategic priorities, and to:
- Articulate the reality and urgency of global energy
- Plan for the massive infrastructure investments, and lead
times required for a transition to clean, affordable and
sustainable energy systems
- Intensify cooperation with developing countries to build
their domestic capacities to use existing and innovative
energy systems and technologies, including transfer of
- Promote by appropriate policies and economic instruments
the development and implementation of cost-competitive,
environmentally beneficial, and market acceptable clean
fossil, nuclear, and renewable technologies
- Ensure, in cooperation with industry, that technologies
are developed and implemented and actions taken to protect
energy infrastructures from natural disasters, technological
failures, and human actions
- Address the serious inadequacy of R&D funding and
provide incentives to accelerate advanced energy-related
R&D, also in partnership with private companies
- Implement education programs to increase public
understanding of energy challenges, and to provide for
energy-related expertise and engineering capabilities
- Focus governmental research and technology efforts on
energy efficiency, non-conventional hydrocarbons and clean
coal with CO2 sequestration, innovative nuclear power,
distributed power systems, renewable energy sources, biomass
production, biomass and gas conversion for fuels.
The Royal Society issued a press release highlighting this statement on 14
This statement follows on from the statement on climate change released by the G8
academies in the lead up to the 2005 G8 summit in
June 21, 2006 in Africa, Asia, Climate Change, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, International, North America, Physical Science, South America, Sustainability, US | Permalink
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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June 19, 2006
EU Sustainability Strategy
EU sustainability strategy.pdf
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
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.
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
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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The first tipping point is Artic ice, which shrank 20% in the last 20 years of the 20th century:
"There is near-universal agreement that we are
now seeing a greenhouse effect in the Arctic," says Mark Serreze from
the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. Serreze
studies sea ice, the member of the arctic triumvirate that has had most
recent attention. In the winter, sea ice more or less covers the Arctic
Ocean basin. Summer sun nibbles at the pack ice, shrinking it at the
edges and creating patches of open water within. Open water reflects
much less sunlight than ice — it has what is known as a lower albedo —
so the greater the area of dark open water, the more summer warmth the
ocean stores. More stored heat means thinner ice in the next winter,
which is more vulnerable to melting the next summer — meaning yet more
warmth being stored in the open water in the following year, a cycle
known as the 'ice–albedo feedback'. "Once you start melting and
receding, you can't go back," says Serreze. It
seems that some of this process is under way. Serreze and his
colleagues have found that the summer sea ice has shrunk by an average
of 8% a decade over the past thirty years2.
The past four years have seen record lows in the extent of September
sea ice, and in 2005 there was 20% less ice cover than the 1979–2000
average, a loss of about 1.3 million square kilometres, which is more
than the area of France, Germany and the United Kingdom combined. It
was this finding that triggered a raft of alarming headlines. The
ice's volume, rather than its extent, would be a more useful figure,
but this is hard to estimate. Radar measurements showing how proud the
ice sits with respect to nearby water would help, but the European
Cryosat mission intended to provide these data was lost on launch in
October 2005. A reflight is planned, but at present the only way to
determine the pack thickness is from below. In 2003 Andrew Rothrock and
Jinlun Zhang of the University of Washington in Seattle analysed
results from a series of submarine cruises from 1987–97 and concluded
that the ice thinned by about one metre during that period3.
natural swing in wind and weather known as the Arctic Oscillation may
have played a key role in the decline.In 1989, this index began to
approach its positive mode,in which a ring of strong winds circles the
pole. Zhangand his colleague Roger Lindsay, also at the University of
Washington, believe these winds flushed large amountsof thick ice out
of the Arctic through the Fram Strait, eastof Greenland. Last year,
they published a model suggesting that because the replacement ice was
thinner and morevulnerable to the ice–albedo feedback, this extra loss
pushed the Arctic over the edge. Their paper's title: "The thinning of
Arctic Sea Ice, 1988–2003: Have We Passed a Tipping Point?"4.
given that sea ice was disappearing even before the Arctic Oscillation
lurched into its positive state, it is unlikely to have been the sole
trigger. "The Arctic Oscillation was a strong kick in the pants," says
Serreze, "but if we hadn't had it we would still have seen the ice
the precise mechanisms, the decrease in ice seems to be warming the
atmosphere, as heat pours from the open water into the air above it.
Springtime temperatures began rising throughout the Arctic basin in the
This year, the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard experienced a remarkable
heatwave. January was warmer than any previously recorded April, and
April was more than 12°C warmer than the long-term average.
and Zhang suggest that the ice–albedo effect has indeed passed a
tipping point, with the internal dynamics more important than external
factors. But neither observations nor models suggest that the effect
will now run away without outside help. According to climate modeller
Jason Lowe of the UK Met Office in Exeter, the relationship between sea
ice and temperature is reassuringly linear. "When you plot sea ice
against temperature rise, whether from observations or models, it forms
a remarkably straight line," he says. "It's not a runaway effect over
the sorts of temperature ranges that we're predicting here." Lowe says
that although the planet will almost certainly lose more ice, it does
not have to lose it all. But if current trends in greenhouse-gas
emissions and global warming continue, a planet that used to have two
permanent polar caps will have only one.
the sea ice would be bad news not only for polar bears and other
charismatic megafauna, but also for some of the Arctic's smaller
inhabitants. Photosynthetic plankton that live in pores and channels
within the ice are the foundation of the area's food supply, and are
not well adapted to ice-free life. Open-ocean plankton might benefit,
but the Arctic is so poor in nutrients that this would probably not be
with the overall scale of human-induced climate change, the additional
warming expected if the ice–albedo feedback goes all the way would not
be immense. The 4.5% of the Earth's surface above the Arctic Circle is
simply too small to make a radical difference to the planet's energy
balance. There are, however, some hints that the loss of sea ice may
have more far-reaching effects beyond the simple number of watts
absorbed per square metre. Tim Lenton, an Earth-systems scientist at
the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, points out that our
current, relatively stable pattern of winds, which is caused by three
circulatory air systems in each hemisphere, depends in part on a white
and cold North Pole.
air in the Arctic is an integral part of an air system called a Hadley
cell; there is another Hadley cell over the tropics. Between these two
cells are the fierce westerlies and the high-altitude jet streams that
drive storms around the middle latitudes. "If any part of the current
structure broke down, that would be profound," says Lenton. "If the
system starts to switch seasonally between three cells and a less
stable structure, you change the position of the jet streams, you
change everything." Models of this possibility are scarce, but Jacob
Sewall and Lisa Sloan of the University of California, Santa Cruz, have
shown that an ice-free Arctic could shift winter storm tracks over
North America, drying the American west7.
The second tipping point, with much more potential to dramatically change life on Earth, is the melting of Greenland ice.
local warming caused by less sea ice could also affect the second
tipping point, the size of the Greenland ice sheet. Here the effects
could be dramatic, although delayed by centuries; there is enough ice
on Greenland to raise sea levels by seven metres. "After hurricane
Katrina, the deepest water in New Orleans was six metres," says
glaciologist Richard Alley from Penn State University. "Greenland is
more than that for all the coasts of the world. Do you move cities, do
you build seven-metre walls and hope they stay, or what?"
recently, nobody had painted a convincing portrait of how Greenland is
responding to Arctic warming. A glacier here may recede while one over
there grows; ice may be accumulating inland and eroding near the coast.
But in the past couple of years, almost all of the indicators have
started to point in the same direction. Greenland is melting...
satellite measurements of Greenland's interior suggest that snow has
recently been accumulating there, the margins are receding8.
Laser measurements taken from planes suggest that this coastal melting
is probably enough to outweigh the build-up of snow inland9.
Also, Greenland's glaciers seem to have been speeding up. A few months
ago, Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and
Pannir Kanagaratnam of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, published
satellite evidence that between 1996 and 2000, Greenland's more
southerly glaciers had begun to accelerate, and that by 2005 the
northerly ones had followed suit10.
They estimate that over the past decade this lurching has more than
doubled Greenland's annual loss of ice, from 90 to 220 cubic kilometres
the past decade there has been a lot of warming," says Alley. "There's
plenty of room to argue whether that's a natural fluctuation or not,
but there's a clear relation between Greenland getting warmer and
Greenland getting smaller."
by Jonathan Gregory from the University of Reading and his colleagues
suggests that it would require an average warming worldwide of 3.1 °C
to drive this shrinking to its ultimate conclusion of an ice-free
This climatic point of no return is around the middle of the range
foreseen by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but is
higher than a previous estimate made by the same group12. ...
these models do not take into account the dynamism of Greenland's
glaciers. In 2002 Jay Zwally from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Maryland, found that as soon as summer meltwater appeared on
the surface of west-central Greenland, the ice began to slip more
This is surprising, as slip rates should depend on processes at the
base of the ice rather than at its surface. But Zwally points out that
the great lakes of water produced by the melting could slip down
conduits in the ice and be delivered directly to the bed.
result doesn't necessarily make a big difference to the fate of
Greenland, as the increase in the ice's speed was relatively small. But
it points to a new way in which the ice sheet could react to climate
change quicker than anyone had realized. "In places inland where the
ice is frozen to its bedrock, if you warm the surface and wait for heat
to get conducted to the bottom it takes 10,000 years," says Alley. "But
if you send water down through a crack it takes maybe 10 minutes, maybe
10 seconds." If this process started to move inland, even the interior
of Greenland's ice sheet could be vulnerable to warmer air. That could
point to the sort of self-sustaining feedback that tipping points are
models don't incorporate this mechanism, because they can't. The cliff
fronts of many Greenland glaciers are shot through with bright blue
conduits, but nobody knows how widespread these veins are inside the
ice. Still, the responsiveness of Greenland's glaciers makes that
point-of-no-return figure of 3.1 °C even less comforting. What's more,
a lot of damage can be done without losing all of the ice. The ice
sheet did not vanish during the last interglacial, around 130,000 years
ago, when temperatures in the north were a few degrees higher than they
are today. And yet the latest analyses suggest that meltwater from
Greenland increased the sea level by between two and three metres. The
only good thing about such an increase is that it would take centuries....
The third tipping point is thermohaline
circulation, the ocean conveyor belt that distributes heat and salt in the ocean.
Thanks to its cold temperatures and high salinity, water
in the Nordic seas between Greenland and Scandinavia is unusually dense
and sinks. Surface water is drawn northwards to replenish this. One
result of this flow is that Britain is warmer than its latitude would
seem to deserve.
sinking process sets a global mass of water in motion, transporting
vast amounts of heat around the oceans. In the 1980s, models began to
suggest that melting ice in the north could weaken this system, by
putting a plug of fresh water over the sinkhole. This led to fears of
abrupt climate change and snap ice ages in Europe and eastern America.
These days most scientists think that the power of this flow to affect
European temperatures under current conditions, or in a globally warmed
future, has been overestimated14.
But changes in the system could still have far-reaching implications.
And models suggest that the thermohaline circulation has its own
the output from 11 different ocean and climate models, ocean modeller
Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
(PIK), Germany, has concluded that it would take between 100,000 and
200,000 cubic metres of fresh water per second to shut down the
thermohaline circulation — similar to the outflow from the Amazon River15.
And once the circulation is stopped, restarting it would take a lot
more cooling than just reversing the system into the conditions in
which it was previously working.
good news is that although the Arctic does seem to be getting fresher,
it is nowhere near the danger point. Add together the increased output
from disappearing sea ice (which moves fresh water from the point where
sea water freezes to the point where the ice melts), the melting of
Greenland and increased Arctic river flow and you still have barely a
quarter of the lower bound of the model threshold.
measurements of flow in the deep ocean suggest that the circulation
might be fluctuating in ways not considered by the models16.
And if the melting of Greenland were to gather pace, the thermohaline
circulation would be vulnerable. If the lower bounds of the models turn
out to be right, a rate of melting that would get through the ice in
1,000 years would trouble the ocean overturning in centuries. "The fate
of the thermohaline circulation will be decided by Greenland," says
Rahmstorf. "If that goes quickly it will be bad news for the deep-water
formation. But if Greenland is stable, the risk of shutting down the
circulation completely is very small."
such shutdown would probably have only a small effect on European
temperatures. But thanks to the Coriolis effect, says Rahmstorf, such a
large shift in the ocean circulation would redistribute sea water so
that the North Atlantic rose by up to a metre17. There are also suggestions that Atlantic fisheries could collapse.
the biggest danger would come farther south. In the past, similar
changes in ocean circulation seem to have led to significant shifts in
tropical rainfall. "If you switch off the thermohaline circulation, the
tropical rainfall belts shift. All the models show this. It's quite
simple robust physics," says Rahmstorf. General circulation models,
which try to simulate the workings of the climate system as a whole,
often including the ocean, predict at least some weakening of the
thermohaline circulation by the end of the century, with a knock-on
effect on tropical rainfall — the system that provides much of Asia
with food. And as with Greenland, the change doesn't have to be
complete to have consequences. "Just weakening the system is by no
means harmless," says Rahmstorf. "You'd get the same pattern of effects
as for a total shutdown, but just a smaller amplitude."
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
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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
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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.
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
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
June 09, 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
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May 04, 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
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
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
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.
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
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March 09, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
European scientists explored the potential distribution of a range of bioenergy crops under current conditions and under future climate -- with the goal of determining which bioenergy crops can be used to meet the demand for bioenergy now and in the future. Researchers derived maps of the potential distribution of 26 promising bioenergy crops in Europe based on suitable climatic conditions and elevation. Crops suitable for temperate and Mediterranean climates were selected from four groups: oilseeds (e.g. oilseed rape, sunflower), starch crops (e.g. potatoes), cereals (e.g. barley), and solid biofuel crops (e.g. sorghum, miscanthus). The impact of climate change under different scenarios and general circulation models on the potential future distribution of these crops was determined, based on predicted future climatic conditions. Climate scenarios were based on four IPCC SRES² emission scenarios, implemented by four main global climate models. Overall, the results have shown that the potential distribution of temperate oilseeds, cereals, starch crops, and solid biofuels is predicted to increase in northern Europe by the 2080s, due to increasing temperatures, and decrease in southern Europe (e.g. Spain, Portugal, southern France, Italy, and Greece) due to increased drought. Mediterranean oil and solid biofuel crops, currently restricted to southern Europe, are predicted to extend further north due to higher summer temperatures. These effects become more pronounced with time and are the greatest under the highest emission scenario and for models predicting the greatest climate forcing. All models predict that bioenergy crop production in Spain is especially vulnerable to climate change, with many temperate crops predicted to decline dramatically by the 2080s.
March 9, 2006 in Agriculture, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Energy, EU, Governance/Management, Physical Science, Sustainability | Permalink
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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