Climate Change News Roundup - EU agrees to slash carbon emissions / Shipping emissions set to soar

Tuesday 28th October

The latest climate change and carbon news from EcoCognito...

EU member states have agreed to slash carbon emissions with a deal being reached at a summit in Brussels early this morning (24th October 2014).

The deal consists of a binding 27 percent renewable energy target accompanied by a voluntary energy savings goal in order to reach an overall target of 40 percent carbon emissions reduction by 2030. This in turn should offer an opportunity for continued investment in the renewable energy sector and might also stimulate a global treaty on climate change in 2015. If an ambitious agreement is concluded in Paris next year, the target could even be raised again to a 50 percent cut by 2030, a target favoured by the UK and Germany.

The summit was marred somewhat by disagreements over energy efficiency targets and climate policy. A number of countries, including Poland and Portugal, asked for their ‘special circumstances’ to be taken into consideration. They also threatened to veto the agreement if their demands were not recognised. For example, Poland remains heavily dependent on coal. For this reason, the Polish government requested 15 billion to 20 billion euros (£12 billion to £16 billion) in concessions 2020 to 2030.

Connie Hedegaard, the outgoing Climate Action Commissioner, said that she was proud of the EU deal and that it was an ‘ambitious step forward’ given that the new target requires a transformation in our society and the difficulties that entails. However, green pressure groups and charities such as Greenpeace and Oxfam condemned the agreement for being too weak.

Renewable energy investors welcomed the deal although they noted that a number of ‘vague clauses’ would create difficulties when it comes to writing ‘big cheques’.

A ‘cap and trade’ approach was adopted in order to address Danish concerns such as agriculture, transport and buildings, sectors which contribute around 31 percent of total EU emissions.

Emissions from shipping could soar by 250 percent by 2050

In 2012, emissions from the shipping sector represented 2.2 per cent of the total global emissions, compared to 2.8 percent in 2007. However, a new UN-backed report has found that the sector’s emissions are likely to climb again, as a result of increasing global trade, unless remedial action is taken.

The report by the International Marine Organisation (IMO) found that the sector emitted 796 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2012, compared to 885 million tonnes in 2007. However, this was most likely to have been the result of a slowdown in international trade, which means that under a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario they are likely to rise by between 50 percent and 250 percent by 2050.

The IMO has now adopted a series of important guidelines intended to support the mandatory measures already in place to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This will also pave the way for other regulations to be introduced by governments and the industry.


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