Os políticos da UE rejeitaram um banimento do gás de xisto e pediram por um regime regulatório rígido para lidar com preocupações ambientais e outras em uma série de votações na quarta-feira no Parlamento Europeu.
Uma revolução do gás de xisto varreu os Estados Unidos, reduzindo os preços do gás e ajudando a diminuir a poluição do carvão.
A Europa está observando isso com interesse, se não com inveja, já que os Estados Unidos estão caminhando para uma independência energética e estão conseguindo um impulso econômico com o combustível barato.
Mas a perspectiva de desenvolvimento extensivo do gás de xisto na Europa é complicada por causa de regras de propriedade de terra, alta densidade demográfica e preocupações ambientais acerca do processo de fracking, usado para extrair gás natural do xisto.
O fracking, ou fraturamento hidráulico, envolve o bombeamento de água que contém químicos nas formações rochosas de xisto a uma alta pressão, e críticos dizem que o processo arrisca contaminar aquíferos, assim como pode causar tremores de terra.
Embora as votações de quarta-feira tenham rejeitado um pedido de banimento das atividades de fracking, afirmando que os estados membros da União Europeia têm o direito de explorar suas reservas, elas também seguiram uma linha cautelosa.
As votações, em dois relatórios separados, eliminaram sentenças que estimulavam o desenvolvimento rápido do gás de xisto.
As sentenças eliminadas incluíam uma em que o gás de xisto poderia “ter um papel essencial” na transição para a geração de energia de baixo carbono e outra de apoio “a um nível elevado na produção sustentável de gás de xisto”.
A Comissão Europeia deve no próximo ano criar um quadro sobre gerenciamento dos riscos e supressão de deficiências na regulamentação da UE.
“Estudos realizados indicam que há uma série de incertezas ou falhas na atual legislação da UE”, disse o comissário ambiental Janez Potocnik em uma declaração.
“Enfrentar riscos de saúde e ambientais será de suma importância para que a indústria ganhe ampla aceitação do público.”
As votações parlamentares de quarta-feira não foram obrigatórias, mas são um sinal político aos legisladores da Comissão.
Os partidários do gás de xisto parabenizaram os parlamentares, enquanto os ambientalistas e políticos do Partido Verde elogiaram o clima de cautela, mas teriam preferido um banimento.
“Isso implica que os estados membros deveriam pensar duas vezes antes de permitir que qualquer projeto dessa tecnologia controversa vá em frente”, declarou Carl Schlyter, do Partido Verde sueco e membro do Parlamento Europeu.
A Shale Gas Europe, um novo órgão apoiado por firmas de petróleo e gás, incluindo a Chevron, a Statoil e a Royal Dutch Shell, comentou que o parlamento pediu pela exploração do gás de xisto, garantindo que isso seria feito sustentavelmente.
“A Shale Gas Europe apoia totalmente essas metas e continuará o envolvimento com cidadãos e tomadores de decisão, ouvindo e atendendo às preocupações relacionadas ao gás de xisto”, observou a porta-voz Monica Cristina.
Traduzido por Jéssica Lipinski
Autor: Barbara Lewis
The Conoco Phillips refinery in Rodeo, Calif. (Getty Images)
A free-market auction has established a price for pollution in California: for each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, businesses, utilities and industries that bought allowances last week will pay just $10.09.
The results of the first auction, announced on Monday, came as both a relief and a bit of a disappointment, although state officials put the best face of it. In a statement, Mary D. Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said, the auction was “a success and an important milestone for California as a leader in the global clean-tech market.” She added, “By putting a price on carbon, we can break our unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels.”
Among traders and regulators, there was relief that all of the 23.1 million allowances covering 2013 emissions that were up for auction were sold. The number of bids exceeded the total allowances by about 3 to 1. Polluters do not have to submit the allowances to cover their emissions until November 2014.
“Given the lack of short-term requirements to purchase anything, I would say market participants that we spoke to were surprised that the full volume cleared and that it was three times oversubscribed,” said Lenny Hochschild, the managing director of global carbon markets for the advisory and brokerage firm Evolution Markets.
And Thad Huetteman, the president of Power and Energy Analytic Resources, said: “It closed close to the minimum, but clearly there was demand for the allowances. Since we defeated that expectation — that the market would be undersubscribed — that caused a sigh of relief.”
But some analysts had expected a higher final price — at least between $11 and $12, not a bare nine cents above the $10 floor.
Mr. Hochschild suggested that the outstanding legal challenges to the cap and trade program, one of which was filed by the Chamber of Commerce on the eve of the Nov. 14 auction, made investors skittish about the program’s long-term viability and thus depressed the price.
While proponents of the new market feel that it will become more robust once financial firms actively take part, the overwhelming majority — 97 percent — of the allowances sold in California’s first auction went to what the air regulators refer to as “compliance entities” — the companies that must account for their greenhouse gas emissions.
Most of the nearly $300 million in auction proceeds is likely go back to investor-owned utilities in the state like Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric Company, to be directed back to their customers. On Friday, the California Public Utilities Commission announced a proposed division of these spoils: 85 percent to households, which would receive a “climate dividend” of $30 on their bills twice a year; 10 percent to small businesses; and 5 percent to help industries whose out-of-state competitors do not have to pay for the pollution they generate.
On the other side of the country, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a coalition of Northeastern states that has imposed a cap and trade system on the electric utility sector, has so far had 17 auctions of emissions permits. The administrator for that program recently told Point Carbon that the system has lowered electricity bills overall in the Northeast by $1.3 billion since 2009.
In the first eight RGGI (pronounced reggie) auctions, the subscription of current permits sold out. But that has only happened once more in the ensuing nine auctions held since the fall of 2010. The clearing price for an allowance after the most recent auction was $1.93.
All 23.1 million allowances in California’s first cap and trade auction found buyers. (California Air Resources Board)
Author: Felicity Barringer
Source: The New York Times
Mais de US$ 300 milhões já foram prometidos para o plano do Equador de evitar a extração de petróleo do solo da reserva Yasuní Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT). A ideia, apresentada em 2007, é arrecadar US$ 3,6 bilhões em 13 anos para que o petróleo não seja retirado do subterrâneo da reserva, o que alteraria seriamente o local, colocando em risco os ecossistemas da região.
Apesar do ceticismo em relação ao projeto, desde que o plano foi lançado formalmente, em 2011, cerca de US$ 300 milhões já foram prometidos por governos, empresas, ONGs e indivíduos da sociedade civil.
A Alemanha, por exemplo, ofereceu US$ 50 milhões ao longo de três anos, enquanto dez regiões da Europa prometeram contribuir com US$ 150-250 milhões, juntamente com instituições como a Coca-Cola, companhias aéreas, bancos e fundações brasileiras, norte-americanas e russas.
Apesar de apenas US$ 64 milhões terem sido depositados, pelo menos US$ 187 milhões vindos da Bélgica, Brasil, Catar, Espanha, França, Indonésia, Líbano e Turquia devem ser destinados ao projeto em breve.
O capital não é dado diretamente para o governo equatoriano, mas colocado em fundos e administrado pelo Programa de Desenvolvimento da ONU. Esse dinheiro deve ser destinado a projetos de energia renovável e ao apoio ao reflorestamento e à conservação, além de projetos sociais na região.
“O que temos na terra de Yasuní é muito mais do que temos no subsolo. Passamos por apenas um ano e já estamos a caminho de salvar a floresta. O que estimulou governos como a Alemanha e a França foi o povo. Na Alemanha mais de 100 mil pessoas assinaram a petição em uma semana”, comentou Ivonne Baki, diretora do comitê de negociação da Yasuní-ITT.
“O Equador não quer depender do petróleo e essa é uma forma de fazer isso. Os países petrolíferos são amaldiçoados. Países emergentes costumam apostar tanto no petróleo que não desenvolvem nada mais. Produzem corrupção e os pobres pagam o preço. O único benefício vai para as elites”, concluiu.
Crédito Imagem: Comitê de negociação da Yasuní-ITT
Autor: Jéssica Lipinski
Fonte: Instituto CarbonoBrasil
(Reuters) – A top Mexican government official said Thursday that the long-awaited but highly controversial approval of genetically modified (GM) corn fields on a commercial scale will drag into next year.
Mariano Ruiz, a deputy agriculture secretary, said in an interview that the regulatory approval process won’t be finalized under the outgoing government of President Felipe Calderon, but instead will fall to his successor to see through sometime next spring.
President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party is set to take office on December 1.
Ruiz said he does not expect permits to be approved for four to five months but that the new government led by Pena Nieto is likeminded in its support for the introduction of large-scale GMO corn cultivation in Mexico.
“I think we are in agreement generally over the importance of having this instrument, and that farmers have the tool of genetically modified organisms,” said Ruiz.
“But like they say, the devil is in the details,” he added.
Scientists recognize Mexico as the birthplace of corn, and opponents of GM corn have argued that genetically modified varieties pioneered by companies like Monsanto will contaminate native strains and irrevocably harm the grain’s biodiversity.
Ruiz said the government still had to designate so-called “centers of origin” where GM corn cultivation will be banned as well as set other safety regulations.
Mexico, Latin America’s second-biggest economy, plants 7.2 million hectares (17.8 million acres) of corn annually to grow mostly white corn which is used for human consumption, including the country’s staple tortillas.
Domestic corn production this year will total nearly 22 million tonnes, according to agriculture ministry data.
But the country relies on imports of yellow corn for animal feed, including about 9 million tonnes in 2012.
Backers of GM corn say it produces yields between 10 and 15 percent larger than conventional strains, which could boost production and curb Mexico’s dependence on imports.
The delay will leave five applications for commercial-scale GM corn fields totaling about 2.5 million hectares in limbo.
Agribusiness giant Monsanto has submitted two applications, both of which seek 700,000 hectares for GM corn in Mexico’s western Sinaloa state, the country’s largest corn producer.
The Mexican subsidiary of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, part of DuPont, has three applications each of which would cover about 350,000 hectares in northeastern Tamaulipas state.
Meanwhile, Dow Agrosciences de Mexico, part of Dow Chemical, has one application for 40,000 hectares also in Tamaulipas state.
(Editing by Ed Davies)
Author: David Alire Garcia and Adriana Barrera
A coleta e o tratamento adequado dos resíduos ainda é um desafio tão grande para o país quanto o tamanho da pilha de detritos que produzimos
Autor: Vanessa Barbosa
In this Nov. 14, 2012 photo, Mexican immigrant Maria Lucero stands in front of the home she rented which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island, New York. After the storm, Lucero and her family moved in with friends, but Lucero says it is a temporary situation and will feel more at peace when they have their own home again. Superstorm Sandy has plunged many immigrants living illegally in the United States into darkness, and even deeper into the shadows. Tho
NEW YORK — Superstorm Sandy plunged some immigrants living illegally in the U.S. into darkness and even deeper into the shadows.
Some of those who need help to get temporary housing and food are afraid to come forward because they risk deportation. And many have returned to damaged, powerless, moldy homes because they have no other place to stay.
“My son has asthma and now he is worse. The house has this smell of humidity and sea water,” Mexican immigrant Miguel Alarcon Morales said while holding his 2-year-old son, Josias. “It is not safe to live there. I am starting to feel sick, too.”
Advocates are stepping up their efforts to get help to immigrants in hard-hit areas, in some cases going to door to door.
“If you are here illegally and you are at your home and see the National Guard and people in military uniform, going up and down, sure, you are going to be afraid,” said Gonzalo Mercado, executive director of El Centro del Inmigrante, a nonprofit that helps day laborers and their families in Staten Island.
“To not be informed means to be afraid. That is why we are here, to inform immigrants of resources available to them,” Mercado added.
The New York City area is home to more than 2.3 million Hispanics, according to census numbers, and some places hardest hit by the storm are known as landing spots for Mexican immigrants. Nonprofits that work in the area calculate at least 20,000 Mexicans in hard-hit Staten Island.
Officials from the Mexican government have visited shelters in New York and New Jersey looking for immigrants to help, informing them on how to obtain food stamps, financial assistance from FEMA or the Mexican government.
More than 735 people have signed up to receive economic help from the government of President Felipe Calderon, but there is only $180,000 so far to distribute, said the Mexican consul in New York, Carlos Sada. As of this week, 66 checks had been written to victims of the hurricane, totaling $110,000.
More than three weeks after Superstorm Sandy, the five members of the Morales family still live at their rental home in Staten Island, where floodwaters reached the second floor. Although the home has power now, there is no heat. The family uses only an electric heater.
Because Morales’ children were born in the United States, he can apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency help, but he has been hesitant to do so.
“When one has no legal documents, that person will always think that there can be repercussions,” said Morales, who lost his job at an ice cream store in New Jersey that closed after the storm. He now works part-time at a bakery.
Asked whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement had conducted immigration enforcement in the area in the aftermath of the storm, Luis Martinez, ICE’s spokesman in New York, said the agency has been conducting “limited street enforcement operations.” ICE director John Morton and deputy director Daniel Ragsdale visited New York and New Jersey at the beginning of the month “to survey efforts.”
The agency will be “resuming normal enforcement activity, with continued emphasis on at-large criminal aliens, in the near future,” an ICE statement to The Associated Press said.
Emilio Hector Gloria Fuentes, a 49-year-old immigrant from Morelos, said he is staying with some relatives in the home of a priest because they can’t return to the basement where they lived in Staten Island.
Fuentes, who works in a pizzeria, is not eligible for FEMA help because of his immigration status.
“I had my savings, in cash, in that basement. I lost them all,” he said. “A disaster like this is much worse for an undocumented person than for a United States citizen or someone with some money.”
As Maria Lucero dealt with construction workers ripping down the walls of her living room, she lamented that her landlord said it will be at least a month before her family can return to their Staten Island home. Her family is fortunate to be able to stay with friends, Lucero said, but “I’m not comfortable without having my home.”
Because they get paid in cash, immigrant workers lost money for the days they did not work after the storm. Without access to credit, their main hope now is to join reconstruction efforts as day laborers.
Mexican day laborer Eberto Silva didn’t have to look far for such a job – his landlord hired him at $14 an hour to do cleaning and demolition work at an apartment complex in Coney Island.
“There is going to be more work for immigrants like me now,” he said. “We may see that in the next few weeks.”
Groups that are part of the National Day Labor Organizing Network have also brought day laborers to do volunteer cleanup activities on weekends. El Centro del Inmigrante is trying to become a hiring center for day laborers, making sure that they work in safe and secure conditions.
“A center like that is urgently needed,” Mercado said. “We feel that now, after Sandy, this is the right moment to do it.”
Author: Claudia Torrens
Source: Huff Post Green