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    A new Agency to manage Britain's commitment to biofuels was established today by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be responsible for the day to day running of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, coming into force in April next year. By 2010, the Obligation will mean that 5% of all the fuels sold in the UK should come from biofuels, which could save 2.6m to 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. eGov Monitor - November 5, 2007.

    Prices for prompt loading South African coal cargoes reached a new record last week with a trade at $85.00 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) for a February cargo. Strong Indian demand and tight supply has pushed South African prices up to record levels from around $47.00 at the beginning of the year. European DES/CIF ARA coal prices have remained fairly stable over the past few days, having traded up to a record $130.00 a tonne DES ARA late last week. Fair value is probably just below $130.00 a tonne, traders said. At this price, some forms of biomass become directly competitive with coal. Reuters Africa - November 4, 2007.

    The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications. New Kerala - November 1, 2007.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Global survey: most people willing to make 'green sacrifices' to tackle climate change

In what may be seen as a message to politicians, a large survey [*.pdf] of 22,000 people in 21 countries reveals that most are ready to make personal sacrifices to address climate change, including paying more for polluting forms of energy. The poll, conducted by GlobeScan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) for the BBC World Service, asked questions about lifestyle choices and changes, carbon and energy taxes, and the need for more efficiency. U.S. citizens are just as climate conscious and willing to act than their European counterparts. Likewise, majorities of people in some developing countries - especially China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases - are ready to spend money on climate mitigation.

A total of 22,182 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States were interviewed face to face or by telephone between May 29 and July 26, 2007. In eight of the 21 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.4 to 3.5 percent.

Lifestyle changes
The countries with the largest percentages saying that lifestyle and behavioural changes needed to tackle climate change will be definitely necessary are Spain (68%), Mexico (64%), Canada (63%), Italy (62%), and China (59%). The countries with the largest numbers saying that such changes will not be necessary are Nigeria (33%), Egypt (29%), Kenya (25%), the United States (19%) and India (18%).

Energy Costs

Large majorities in most of Europe and the Americas believe that it will also be necessary to “increase the cost of the types of energy that most cause climate change, such as coal and oil, in order to encourage individuals and industry to use less:” Chile (79%), Great Britain (77%), Canada (72%), Germany (70%), United States (65%), Brazil (64%), Mexico (61%), France (61%) and Spain (53%). Australia is the developed country where the largest majority (81%) believe energy costs will need to increase.

There are two exceptions, with 50 percent of Italians and 50 percent of Russians leaning toward the belief that such increases will not be necessary. Italy’s energy costs are already among the highest in Europe in part because it bans nuclear technology. Although Russia is a major oil producer, its consumershave faced rising energy prices in recent years.

Attitudes to increased energy costs in Asia range from the overwhelming 83 percent majorities in China and Indonesia to the divided views in South Korea and the Philippines. Indians lean toward the view that higher costs are needed: half (50%) say that increasing the cost of energy will be necessary and only 27 percent say it will not, though large numbers (23%) do not answer.

The only country with a majority (52%) against increasing the cost of fuels that produce greenhouse gases is Nigeria.

Tax Increases
Reactions are mixed on whether people would favour the raising of taxes on energy sources that contribute to climate change. Overall, only 50 percent are in favour and 44 percent opposed.

Urban Chinese have the largest majority (85%) who would support raising taxes on the fuels that contribute most to climate change.

The proportion of Chinese favouring higher energy taxes is 24 points greater than the next largest majorities in Australia and Chile (61% in both). This is followed by Germans (59%), Canadians (57%), Indonesians (56%), Britons (54%) and Nigerians (52%):
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Publics lean toward this measure in Mexico (50% to 46%) and are divided in Kenya (50% to 48%), Spain (49% to 47%), France (47% to 48%), Turkey (42% to 43%) and India (38% to 36%).

Majorities in Italy (62%), South Korea (59%), the Philippines (58%), Brazil (55%), Egypt (52%) and the United States (51%) are initially opposed to higher energy taxes. The poll then tested the relative influence of two different design options for an energy tax by asking those who initially did not support a higher energy tax whether they would favour this tax under one of two different conditions: if the revenues were “devoted only to increasing energy efficiency and developing energy sources that do not produce climate change” and if at “the same time as your other taxes were reduced by the same amount, keeping your total taxes at the current level.”

Combined with those who initially supported an energy tax, the percentage who change their position under each condition produces a large majority in every country ready to favour an energy tax.

In the six countries where majorities initially oppose higher fuel taxes, adding the condition of devoting revenues to improving efficiency and seeking out new sources produces large majorities in favour: Italy (78%), South Korea (70%), the Philippines (69%), Brazil (65%), Egypt (73%) and the United States (74%).

The six countries that were somewhat divided about tax increases also become supporters if revenues would be earmarked for energy programs: Mexico (74%), Kenya (81%), Spain (86%), France (79%), Turkey (75%) and India (60%).

The same holds true, but to a slightly lesser extent, if those initially against higher energy taxes are told their other taxes would be reduced so their total tax bill would remain the same. Countries that were opposed to tax increases then become supporters: Italy (69%), South Korea (70%), the Philippines (66%), Brazil (65%), Egypt (82%) and the United States (64%). And countries that were divided also show large majorities in favour: Mexico (64%), Kenya (78%), Spain (73%), France (79%), Turkey (78%) and India (66%).

Again, China stands out as exceptionally willing to consider higher taxes as a means of combating climate change. When those against or uncertain about higher taxes are asked whether they would support them to increase efficiency or develop new sources, the total in favour of tax increases becomes a nearly unanimous 97 percent. And when asked whether they would favour such increases if their total tax bill remained the same, 93 percent say yes.

GlobeScan Incorporated is a global public opinion and stakeholder research consultancy with offices in Toronto, London, and Washington. GlobeScan conducts custom research and annual tracking studies on global issues. With a research network spanning 50+ countries, GlobeScan works with global companies, multilateral agencies, national governments, and non-government organizations to deliver research-based insights for successful strategies.

The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) is a joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland. PIPA undertakes research on attitudes in publics around the world on a variety of international issues and publishes the website/webzine WorldPublicOpinion.org.

BBC World Service is an international radio and online broadcaster delivering programmes and services in 33 languages. The radio output reaches 183 million weekly listeners around the globe, on platforms that include SW, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels. It has around 2,000 partner radio stations which take BBC content, and numerous partnerships supplying content to mobile phones. Its international online sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to feedback directly and discuss world events. They receive over 704 million page impressions monthly, attracting 38.5 million unique users per month.

BBC World Service: Climate change poll - detailed results [*.pdf] - November 2, 2007.


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