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Average Chinese person’s carbon footprint now equals European’s. The per capita emissions of the world’s largest national emitter is almost on a par with the European average, new figures show.


China became the largest national emitter of CO2 in 2006, though its emissions per person have always been lower than those in developed countries such as Europe. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

The average Chinese person’s carbon footprint is now almost on a par with the average European’s, figures released on Wednesday reveal.

China became the largest national emitter of CO2 in 2006, though its emissions per person have always been lower than those in developed countries such as Europe.

But today’s report, which only covers emissions from energy, by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) show that per capita emissions in China increased by 9% in 2011 to reach 7.2 tonnes per person, only a fraction lower than the EU average of 7.5 tonnes.

The figure for the US is still much higher – at 17.3 tonnes – though total Chinese CO2 emissions are now around 80% higher than those of America. This widening gap reflects a 9% increase in total emissions in China in 2011, driven mainly by rising coal use, compared with a 2% decline in the US.

Total emissions in Europe and Japan also fell last year, by 3% and 2% respectively. But emissions rose across much of the developing world, including India, which saw a 6% increase. As a result, OECD nations now account for only around a third of the global total.

The figures published on Wednesday – like most official data on carbon emissions – are based on where fossil fuels are burned. A recent UK select committee report argued that it was also important to consider the import and export of goods when considering national responsibility for climate change. This would affect today’s data, because previous studies have suggested that almost a fifth of Chinese emissions are caused by the production of goods for export.

In addition, the new county data exclude international travel, which accounts for 3% of the global total and is likely to be heavily weighted towards richer countries. Non-CO2 greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide are also excluded.

For these reasons, the total carbon footprint of the average European most likely remains substantially higher than that of the average Chinese person. In addition, Europe, the US and other developed countries have contributed a disproportionate share of the historical emissions that have caused the warming to date and will remain in the atmosphere for decades or centuries to come.

But a recent study showed that even when imports and international travel are taken into account, the developed world now accounts for less than half of current global emissions. Moreover, China’s emissions may be even higher than reported today according to another study showing that the country’s official energy statistics were as much as 20% lower than they should be.

Owing to factors such as these, precise national emissions figures will remain the subject of debate. Globally, however, the picture is clear. Total emissions from fossil fuels and cement increased by 3%, leaving global emissions at a record 34bn tonnes of CO2. That is less than the rise in 2010, when emissions shot up by 5% as the world economy bounced back from recession, but higher than the average annual increase for the past decade, which stands at 2.7%. This suggests that efforts to curb global emissions have so far failed to make any impact.

The continued steep rise in global carbon emissions will make it even more difficult for the world’s nations to fulfil their stated aim of limiting temperature rise to 2C, considered a danger threshold after which the risks of irreversible climate change increase.

According to the report, if global emissions continue on their current trend, the world will commit itself to 2C of warming within two decades.

Author: Duncan Clark
Source: The Guardian
Original: http://goo.gl/LBDrF


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Administradores do estado de Nova Iorque adotaram na quinta-feira limites, mais rígidos dos que as propostas em nível federal, sobre as emissões de dióxido de carbono de usinas de energia novas e ampliações, tornando quase impossível a construção de novas unidades.

Não existem usinas a carvão sendo desenvolvidas em Nova Iorque, que atualmente abriga cerca de duas dúzias delas, algumas muito antigas, pequenas e raramente ativadas, capazes de gerar cerca de 2,8 mil megawatts (MW) de energia.

“Ao evitar novas fontes de energia intensas em carbono, este padrão de desempenho servirá para minimizar ainda mais a contribuição do setor de energia às mudanças climáticas, que impõe uma ameaça substancial à saúde pública e ao meio ambiente”, comentou Joseph Martens, comissário de Conservação Ambiental do Departamento de Estado de Nova Iorque.

A nova regra, que entra em vigor em 12 julho, estabelece um limite de CO2 de 925 lbs por MWh para grande parte das instalações novas e ampliadas de usinas movidas a combustíveis fósseis, e um teto de 1.450 lbs/MWh para turbinas a combustão de ciclo simples. Um megawatt pode fornecer energia para cerca de 1 mil residências.

Analistas do setor de energia disseram que as usinas a carvão produzem mais de 1000 lbs/MWh de CO2, portanto, as regras evitariam a construção de novas unidades a menos que elas tenham sistemas de captura e armazenamento de carbono instalados.

As usinas de base, que historicamente foram supridas por carvão e fontes nucleares, geralmente operam 24 horas por dia, sete dias por semana. As turbinas de ciclo simples a gás natural geralmente operam durante o verão e picos de inverno.

Mas com os preços do gás natural em baixa, muitas companhias optaram pelas unidades de ciclo combinado a gás para geração de energia ao invés do carvão.

Após a proposição da regulamentação em janeiro pelo estado de Nova Iorque, a Agência de Proteção Ambiental (EPA, em inglês) dos Estados Unidos também sugeriu o ‘padrão de desempenho para novas fontes de CO2’ em nível federal, submisso ao Clean Air Act. A iniciativa da EPA contem um padrão inicial de 1000 lbs/MWh para as emissões de CO2.

As maiores usinas a carvão de nova Iorque são de propriedade da NRG Energy Inc, que está buscando reenergizar suas unidades. As outras, da AES Corp e Dynegy Inc, estão envolvidas em processos de falência.

Traduzido por Fernanda B. Muller, Instituto CarbonoBrasil

Autor: Scott DiSavino
Fonte: Reuters
Original: http://goo.gl/WhfRd


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IT WAS MEANT TO BE one of the key planks of the government’s carbon policy – a floor price of $15 when emissions trading starts in 2015.


The price of carbon needs to be high enough to encourage businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Credit: Ilya Naymushin (Reuters)

But Federal Labor is now secretly negotiating to dump – or dramatically rejig – the proposed three year floor price.
Three separate sources have confirmed for Radio National Breakfast that the government wants to walk away from the price floor.

One said that negotiations are at “a pretty sensitive stage”.

Crossbench MP Rob Oakeshott said two months ago that he wanted to abandon the floor price.

He said yesterday: “There are rights and wrongs on both sides of this argument. In the end, what I am interested in is how we can get full bang for our buck in regards market confidence, how we can get bi-partisanship built into the Australian emissions trading scheme, and how we can link internationally as soon as possible.

“I am watching closely and listening closely to where a carbon floor price may be working against market confidence rather than for it, and where it may be working against international linking, rather than for it.”

Despite the passing of the original Clean Energy Act in November 2011, it’s now understood that to impose a price floor, new regulations need final sign off by both houses of parliament. So is it a dead duck?

Rob Oakeshott is not sure. “Not necessarily. I think we are still having a conversation amongst friends of an emissions trading scheme rather than any attempt to rip apart emissions trading in Australia or cause political trouble.”

What’s not widely known is that the government has hit a ‘perfect storm’ in trying to nut out the practicalities of delivering a floor price on carbon once trading starts. And it’s not just because business is lobbying furiously to ditch it. In fact, in some ways it’s hard to believe that last year Labor ever agreed to implement one.

It was opposed by Treasury, and the Department of Climate Change – and still is. But the real problem for the government at the moment is what’s called “international linkage” – Australia trading its carbon credits with the rest of the world. Put simply, these markets just don’t like a floor price.

Rob Fowler is the representative for Australia and New Zealand from the International Emissions Trading Association. “There is a really practical challenge in trying to impose a floor price on an internationally traded commodity. The units that are included in the Australian mechanism are often traded overseas, there are many people who own them or trade them on a daily basis. So for Australia to provide a floor price on those units is very difficult from a practical perspective.”

So does this mean Australia can’t impose a floor price on what is an internationally traded commodity?

Rob Fowler: “It’s very complex, it involves a lot more intervention in particular companies activities than what most people like in Australia and so imposing some sort of floor price there is very difficult. There is however the opportunity to impose some form of reserve pricing on the options for domestic units. And that could have a similar impact while not creating the challenges of an international floor price.”

Richard Denniss, an economist with the Australia Institute, says a two-tiered system – domestic credits with a price floor and international credits at a floating price – is fraught.

“It’s going to make the scheme even more complex, administratively and economically, rather than people being able to swap permits that they don’t need with someone who does need them, if there are two classes of permits floating around the market is not going to work as efficiently, so I hate to say it but I think the scheme is turning into a bit of a Frankenstein.”

But Rob Fowler has let the cat out of the bag. He says in 2015, Australia will have different prices for domestic and overseas credits.

“There is an opportunity to be more sophisticated about splitting those two. At the moment we expect that in 2015 if the current policy settings are maintained, we’ll see dual price in the Australian market, with international units trading one way and domestic units trading at a different level.”

Richard Denniss says one of the problems with a $15 floor price is that it’s never been clear what it was meant to deliver. “A price floor can work, but a price of $15 in this instance isn’t going to deliver [greenhouse gas abatement] for the environment and it’s not actually going to lead to more renewable being built … wind or solar. If $29 doesn’t encourage solar, $15 certainly won’t.”

What’s not clear at this stage is why – after digging in their heels initially on a floor price – the Greens may be open to changing their mind.

The speculation is that they will demand a deal to fix the problem with the 2020 Renewable Energy Target of 20 per cent overlapping as it does with the new Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Renewable energy credits – or RECs – from the Corporation’s $10 billion war chest threaten to further flood the REC market, keeping prices low and making it harder to get up ambitious projects that the Greens want to see, such as big solar. For example, the problem helped contribute to the recent collapse of the $1.2 billion Solar Dawn project near Chinchilla in Queensland.

The EU doesn’t have a price floor, and there’s been considerable debate about the need for one.

Last year, the UK Government announced a carbon price floor of £16 per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2013, rising to £30 by 2020 in 2009 prices. The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said last year that the aim of the UK carbon price floor is to provide a stronger, more certain carbon price for investors in the face of the weakness and volatility of prices in the EU ETS.

John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute, said a price floor was emerging as international best practice – California already has one, and China is considering it, with the International Monetary Fund recommending it. Connor says that business who see the opportunities in low- and zero-carbon technologies also support it, including the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) and energy companies like AGL.

Author: Gregg Borschmann
Source: ABC Environment
Original: http://goo.gl/qxNxI


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Os dados referentes às emissões mundiais do setor de energia em 2010, último ano com números consolidados, já eram ruins, com a Agência Internacional de Energia (AIE) estimando que 30,6 gigatoneladas (Gt) de gases do efeito estufa haviam sido liberados na atmosfera, um recorde histórico.

Agora, a Administração de Informação sobre Energia dos Estados Unidos (EIA, em inglês) divulgou que as emissões teriam sido ainda maiores, alcançando as 31,8 Gt. Trata-se de um aumento de 48% em relação aos dados de 1992, quando foi realizada a Eco92 no Rio de Janeiro.

De acordo a EIA, as emissões norte-americanas voltaram a crescer, depois de uma breve queda entre 2008 e 2009 por causa da crise financeira. Os EUA teriam sido responsáveis por liberar 5,6 Gt na atmosfera.

Porém, a entidade aponta a China como a grande responsável pelo aumento nas emissões globais. O país ocupa o topo do ranking tendo emitido 8,3 Gt, um crescimento de 15,5% em relação a 2009 e mais de 240% desde 1992.

As informações da EIA sobre a China confirmariam a suspeita de que o país estaria emitindo muito mais do que reconhece oficialmente. No começo deste mês, uma pesquisa publicada na Nature Climate Change afirmou que a quantidade de dióxido de carbono sendo liberada pela China poderia ser 1,4 bilhão de toneladas maior do que o anunciado.

Pelo ranking da EIA, o Brasil aparece em 13º, com a emissão de 454 milhões de toneladas métricas em 2010.

Imagem: Infográfico do jornal britânico The Guardian, elaborado com base no levantamento da Administração de Informação sobre Energia dos Estados Unidos.

Autor: Fabiano Ávila
Fonte: Instituto CarbonoBrasil
Original: http://goo.gl/YZyHg


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Dez companhias aéreas chinesas e indianas infringiram a legislação da União Europeia que exige que compensem suas emissões de carbono enquanto todas as outras empresas que voam para ou da Europa cumpriram a regulamentação, disse a chefe de mudanças climáticas da UE na terça-feira.

A lei europeia que obriga as companhias aéreas a participar do esquema europeu de comércio de emissões tem despertado muitas reclamações e ameaças de guerra comercial.

Porém, apenas oito empresas chinesas e duas indianas levaram a cabo as ameaças de não cumprir com o esquema, sendo que mais de 1,2 mil companhias seguiram as regras da UE.

“Demos a eles (Índia e China) até o meio de junho para nos relatar seus dados”, disse a comissária Connie Hedegaard.

A Comissão, braço executivo da UE, tem a opção de multar as companhias que infringirem a lei e até mesmo de impedir quem repetir o erro de pousar em seus aeroportos, apesar de que isto seria um último recurso.

Para reduzir as tensões, a comissão buscou a Administração Internacional de Aviação Civil (ICAO, em inglês) para que elabore uma abordagem com vistas à redução das emissões do setor. O órgão deve se reunir no mês que vem para revisar os avanços.

“Estamos usando muito tempo e energia na tentativa de garantir uma solução global através da ICAO”, comentou Hedegaard. “Ninguém ficará mais feliz do que a UE se isto for alcançado”.

A comissão diz que só decidiu sobre o plano após o fracasso de mais de uma década de discussões com a ICAO sobre um esquema global para combater as crescentes emissões do setor. Além disso, o executivo declarou que modificará a sua legislação caso a ICAO chegue a um acordo.

Multas

As penalidades pelo não cumprimento da legislação começam em €100 por tonelada métrica (1.1023 toneladas) de carbono extra que as companhias não pagarem. O custo de cumprimento das medidas é estimado em cerca de €2 por passageiro em um voo de Xangai para Frankfurt.

Opositores acusam a UE de impor uma taxa extra-territorial e dizem que isto é um precedente perigoso.

Mais de vinte países contra o esquema se reuniram na chamada ‘coalizão dos relutantes’. O seu último encontro foi em Moscou, quando concordaram sobre possíveis medidas retaliatórias e disseram que se reuniriam novamente na Arábia Saudita, apesar da data ainda não ter sido definida.

“Não é possível impor leis fora da sua área soberana. As implicações são imensas”, disse à Reuters Ajit Singh, ministro indiano de aviação civil.

“Agora se fala em aviação, amanhã será sobre navegação. A ICAO está aí, estas coisas precisam ser feitas de forma multilateral”.

O tribunal superior da UE decidiu em dezembro de 2011 que a lei é válida e não quebra tratados internacionais. A corte também concorda com a comissão que o esquema de comércio de emissões europeu é um mecanismo de mercado, não uma taxa.

Traduzido por Fernanda B. Muller, Instituto CarbonoBrasil

Autor: Barbara Lewis
Fonte: Carbono Brasil / Reuters
Original: http://bit.ly/KwTY2L


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O ministro da Aviação Civil da Índia, Ajit Singh, proibiu que as empresas aéreas do país divulguem informações sobre suas emissões de gases do efeito estufa para a União Europeia (UE), vetando assim que elas participem do Esquema de Comércio de Emissões Europeu (EU ETS).

Singh afirmou que a Índia vai resolver a questão das emissões de suas empresas dentro da Organização Internacional da Aviação Civil (ICAO) e que não vê com bons olhos a intromissão europeia no assunto.

Desde janeiro, companhias aéreas que utilizam aeroportos europeus precisam contabilizar suas emissões para criar o padrão de referência que deverá ser utilizado a partir de 2013, quando passarão a ser obrigadas a comprar créditos de carbono se ultrapassarem sua cota. Para minimizar o impacto inicial, a Comissão Europeia (CE) definiu que 85% dos créditos deverão ser distribuídos gratuitamente. Além disso, a CE afirma que o custo para as companhias é aceitável, pois varia entre € 4 e € 24 adicionais em uma passagem de longa distância.

Se a CE proibir as empresas indianas de voar na Europa, a Índia deve retaliar com medidas semelhantes ou taxando de forma agressiva os voos europeus sobre o país.

“Temos muitas ações que podemos considerar se a UE não voltar atrás em suas demandas. Não estamos enfrentando uma crise econômica como a Europa e uma guerra comercial agora só traria ainda mais problemas para eles”, afirmou à Reuters uma autoridade indiana não identificada.

Diversas empresas europeias perderam contratos recentemente por causa de possíveis retaliações de países contrários ao EU ETS. A francesa Airbus, por exemplo, afirmou que três estatais chinesas estão se recusando a finalizar um pedido de 45 aviões A330, uma negociação que era dada como certa e que é estimada em €9.6 bilhões.

A União Europeia defende que a inclusão do setor aéreo no EU ETS vai evitar a emissão de 183 milhões de toneladas de CO2 por ano.

Autor: Fabiano Ávila
Fonte: Instituto CarbonoBrasil/Agências Internacionais
Original: http://bit.ly/KsKhDj


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Group of nearly 30 countries resolves that each would take its own measures against the emissions trading scheme


Retaliatory measures against the EU may include halting negotiations over new routes for member states’ airlines. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Countries opposed to the inclusion of airlines in Europe’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) have vowed to take retaliatory measures against the EU, which may include halting negotiations over new routes for member states’ airlines.

A group of nearly 30 countries, including the US, China and India, met in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss what actions they would take. They resolved that each country would take its own measures against the scheme. These could include sanctions against European airlines or the opening up of a trade war.

But Europe’s climate chief, Connie Hedegaard, criticised the meeting for failing to agree to any alternative way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.

Valery Okulov, Russia’s deputy transport minister, told Reuters news agency: “Every state [represented at the meeting] will choose the most effective and reliable measures which will help to cancel or postpone the implementation of the EU emissions trading scheme.”

Ongoing discussions over new routes and landing rights in the countries represented could be one casualty of the talks.

Some governments, including China, have told their airlines not to participate in the scheme. However, the EU said that airlines from the countries represented had complied with the rules so far, by submitting the data needed for their inclusion in the scheme.

The governments opposing the ETS argue that the trading scheme constitutes a tax, which would be forbidden under longstanding international agreement, but the EU says a trading scheme is different, in part because companies can avoid paying for carbon permits by reducing their emissions.

Europe’s top court ruled last December that the extension of the emissions trading scheme to airlines based outside the EU was legal.

Hedegaard has repeatedly called for the countries opposing the inclusion of aviation in the emissions trading scheme to bring forward a proposal for an alternative, which she said the EU would be willing to consider. Talks under the International Civil Aviation Organisation have for years failed to produce agreement on a worldwide method of pricing carbon for airlines, or for reducing their emissions by other means.

Without such an agreement, Hedegaard argues that the EU is justified in demanding that airlines with flights taking off or landing within its borders should participate in the scheme, under which they must submit carbon permits for every tonne of CO2 they produce on those flights. A proportion of the permits are granted to the airlines for free but the rest must be bought at auction or from other companies with spares.

She told the Guardian: “The EU will not be threatened into changing our law.”

Estimates show that the cost to airlines is likely to be between €5 and €10 for each passenger, which represents only a small addition to ticket prices for international flights.

Author: Fiona Harvey
Source: The Guardian
Original: http://bit.ly/whWv7d


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