<body> --------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive »
Nature Blog Network

    The 4th Annual Brussels Climate Change Conference is announced for 26 - 27 February 2008. This joint CEPS/Epsilon conference will explore the key issues for a post-Kyoto agreement on climate change. The conference focuses on EU and global issues relating to global warming, and in particular looks at the following issues: - Post-2012 after Bali and before the Hokkaido G8 summit; Progress of EU integrated energy and climate package, burden-sharing renewables and technology; EU Emissions Trading Review with a focus on investment; Transport Climatepolicy.eu - January 28, 2007.

    Japan's Marubeni Corp. plans to begin importing a bioethanol compound from Brazil for use in biogasoline sold by petroleum wholesalers in Japan. The trading firm will import ETBE, which is synthesized from petroleum products and ethanol derived from sugar cane. The compound will be purchased from Brazilian petrochemical company Companhia Petroquimica do Sul and in February, Marubeni will supply 6,500 kilolitres of the ETBE, worth around US$7 million, to a biogasoline group made up of petroleum wholesalers. Wholesalers have been introducing biofuels since last April by mixing 7 per cent ETBE into gasoline. Plans call for 840 million liters of ETBE to be procured annually from domestic and foreign suppliers by 2010. Trading Markets - January 24, 2007.

    Toyota Tsusho Corp., Ohta Oil Mill Co. and Toyota Chemical Engineering Co., say it and two other firms have jointly developed a technology to produce biodiesel fuel at lower cost. Biodiesel is made by blending methanol into plant-derived oil. The new technology requires smaller amounts of methanol and alkali catalysts than conventional technologies. In addition, the new technology makes water removal facilities unnecessary. JCN Network - January 22, 2007.

    Finland's Metso Paper and SWISS COMBI - W. Kunz dryTec A.G. have entered a licence agreement for the SWISS COMBI belt dryer KUVO, which allows biomass to be dried in a low temperature environment and at high capacity, both for pulp & paper and bioenergy applications. Kauppalehti - January 22, 2007.

    Record warm summers cause extreme ice melt in Greenland: an international team of scientists, led by Dr Edward Hanna at the University of Sheffield, has found that recent warm summers have caused the most extreme Greenland ice melting in 50 years. The new research provides further evidence of a key impact of global warming and helps scientists place recent satellite observations of Greenland´s shrinking ice mass in a longer-term climatic context. Findings are published in the 15 January 2008 issue of Journal of Climate. University of Sheffield - January 15, 2007.

    Japan's Tsukishima Kikai Co. and Marubeni Corp. have together clinched an order from Oenon Holdings Inc. for a plant that will make bioethanol from rice. The Oenon group will invest around 4.4 billion yen (US$40.17 million) in the project, half of which will be covered by a subsidy from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The plant will initially produce bioethanol from imported rice, with plans to use Hokkaido-grown rice in the future. It will produce 5 million liters per year starting in 2009, increasing output to 15m liters in 2011. The facility will be able to produce as much as 50,000 liters of bioethanol from 125 tons of rice each day. Trading Markets - January 11, 2007.

    PetroSun, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, PetroSun BioFuels Refining, has entered into a JV to construct and operate a biodiesel refinery near Coolidge, Arizona. The feedstock for the refinery will be algal oil produced by PetroSun BioFuels at algae farms to be located in Arizona. The refinery will have a capacity of thirty million gallons and will produce 100% renewable biodiesel. PetroSun BioFuels will process the residual algae biomass into ethanol. MarketWire - January 10, 2007.

    BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc, which develops and operates carbohydrate-based transportation fuel production facilities, has secured capital liquidity for corporate overhead and continued project development in the value of US$15 million with Quercus, an environmentally focused trust. BlueFire Ethanol Fuels - January 09, 2007.

    Some $170 billion in new technology development projects, infrastructure equipment and construction, and biofuel refineries will result from the ethanol production standards contained the new U.S. Energy Bill, says BIO, the global Biotechnology Industry Organization. According to Brent Erickson, BIO's executive vice president "Such a new energy infrastructure has not occurred in more than 100 years. We are at the point where we were in the 1850s when kerosene was first distilled and began to replace whale oil. This technology will be coming so fast that what we say today won't be true in two years." Chemical & Engineering News - January 07, 2007.

    Scottish and Southern Energy plc, the UK's second largest power company, has completed the acquisition of Slough Heat and Power Ltd from SEGRO plc for a total cash consideration of £49.25m. The 101MW CHP plant is the UK’s largest dedicated biomass energy facility fueled by wood chips, biomass and waste paper. Part of the plant is contracted under the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation and part of it produces over 200GWH of output qualifying for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), which is equivalent to around 90MW of wind generation. Scottish & Southern Energy - January 2, 2007.

    PetroChina Co Ltd, the country's largest oil and gas producer, plans to invest 800 million yuan to build an ethanol plant in Nanchong, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, its parent China National Petroleum Corp said. The ethanol plant has a designed annual capacity of 100,000 tons. ABCMoneyNews - December 21, 2007.

    Mexico passed legislation to promote biofuels last week, offering unspecified support to farmers that grow crops for the production of any renewable fuel. Agriculture Minister Alberto Cardenas said Mexico could expand biodiesel faster than ethanol. More soon. Reuters - December 20, 2007.

    Oxford Catalysts has placed an order worth approximately €700,000 (US$1 million) with the German company Amtec for the purchase of two Spider16 high throughput screening reactors. The first will be used to speed up the development of catalysts for hydrodesulphurisation (HDS). The second will be used to further the development of catalysts for use in gas to liquid (GTL) and Fischer-Tropsch processes which can be applied to next generation biofuels. AlphaGalileo - December 18, 2007.

    According to the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), Brazil's production of sugarcane will increase from 514,1 million tonnes this season, to a record 561,8 million tonnes in the 2008/09 cyclus - an increase of 9.3%. New numbers are also out for the 2007 harvest in Brazil's main sugarcane growing region, the Central-South: a record 425 million tonnes compared to 372,7 million tonnes in 2006, or a 14% increase. The estimate was provided by Unica – the União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar. Jornal Cana - December 16, 2007.

    The University of East Anglia and the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre have today released preliminary global temperature figures for 2007, which show the top 11 warmest years all occurring in the last 13 years. The provisional global figure for 2007 using data from January to November, currently places the year as the seventh warmest on records dating back to 1850. The announcement comes as the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Michel Jarraud, speaks at the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bali. Eurekalert - December 13, 2007.

    The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced it will launch a new journal in summer 2008, Energy & Environmental Science, which will distinctly address both energy and environmental issues. In recognition of the importance of research in this subject, and the need for knowledge transfer between scientists throughout the world, from launch the RSC will make issues of Energy & Environmental Science available free of charge to readers via its website, for the first 18 months of publication. This journal will highlight the important role that the chemical sciences have in solving the energy problems we are facing today. It will link all aspects of energy and the environment by publishing research relating to energy conversion and storage, alternative fuel technologies, and environmental science. AlphaGalileo - December 10, 2007.

    Dutch researcher Bas Bougie has developed a laser system to investigate soot development in diesel engines. Small soot particles are not retained by a soot filter but are, however, more harmful than larger soot particles. Therefore, soot development needs to be tackled at the source. Laser Induced Incandescence is a technique that reveals exactly where soot is generated and can be used by project partners to develop cleaner diesel engines. Terry Meyer, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is using similar laser technology to develop advanced sensors capable of screening the combustion behavior and soot characteristics specifically of biofuels. Eurekalert - December 7, 2007.

    Lithuania's first dedicated biofuel terminal has started operating in Klaipeda port. At the end of November 2007, the stevedoring company Vakaru krova (VK) started activities to manage transshipments. The infrastructure of the biodiesel complex allows for storage of up to 4000 cubic meters of products. During the first year, the terminal plans to transship about 70.000 tonnes of methyl ether, after that the capacities of the terminal would be increased. Investments to the project totaled €2.3 million. Agrimarket - December 5, 2007.

    New Holland supports the use of B100 biodiesel in all equipment with New Holland-manufactured diesel engines, including electronic injection engines with common rail technology. Overall, nearly 80 percent of the tractor and equipment manufacturer's New Holland-branded products with diesel engines are now available to operate on B100 biodiesel. Tractor and equipment maker John Deere meanwhile clarified its position for customers that want to use biodiesel blends up to B20. Grainnet - December 5, 2007.

    According to Wetlands International, an NGO, the Kyoto Protocol as it currently stands does not take into account possible emissions from palm oil grown on a particular type of land found in Indonesia and Malaysia, namely peatlands. Mongabay - December 5, 2007.

    Malaysia's oil & gas giant Petronas considers entering the biofuels sector. Zamri Jusoh, senior manager of Petronas' petroleum development management unit told reporters "of course our focus is on oil and gas, but I think as we move into the future we cannot ignore the importance of biofuels." AFP - December 5, 2007.

Creative Commons License

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

EU climate package provokes threats of trade war

The EU finds itself on a collision course with its major trading partners after the Commission announced it was considering forcing importers to pay pollution charges on carbon-heavy imports.
There would be no point in pushing EU companies to cut emissions if the only result is that production, and indeed pollution, shifts to countries with no carbon disciplines at all. - José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
Carbon equalisation
The European Commission's plans to tighten Europe's greenhouse gas reduction regime, presented in the dirctive of 23 January 2008, recognised the risk that new legislation would put European companies at a competitive disadvantage compared to countries with less stringent climate protection laws, such as the US, China and India.

According to the Commission, this situation could cause large "carbon leakages", whereby companies move their activities to other regions of the world in order to keep costs down.

To address this threat, the draft legislation includes proposals to impose restrictions on imports unless an international agreement subjecting all industrialised countries to similar climate change mitigation measures is reached.

According to the proposal, such a "carbon equalisation system" could take the form of an obligation for foreign companies doing business in Europe to obtain emissions permits alongside European competitors.

The Commission's threat of climate-related trade sanctions aimed at putting EU and third country producers on a level footing appears mainly targeted at convincing governments in Washington and Beijing to adhere to a global deal on climate change. Indeed, the EU executive has confirmed that it will not decide on the introduction of any such measures before 2011.

However, the mere fact that the EU is considering such action has already caused outrage among its trade partners.

Trade war threats
The United States has warned it would "vigorously" resist any move to introduce a tax on American products based on its position in climate change negotiations. Last week, US Trade Representative Susan Schwab accused the EU of using the climate as an excuse for protectionism.

Legal experts remain divided on whether the EU's proposed measures would be compatible with international trade regulations, as the WTO has no clear provisions on the subject. On the one hand, border adjustment measures could be considered to contravene WTO rules prohibiting discrimination between countries or between "like products". On the other, WTO law also states that countries may deviate from these rules if it is for the protection of animal, plant or human health or for the conservation of natural resources.

A spokesman from the US Mission to the EU told reporters that while the US was encouraged to see that the EU's new climate package does not introduce any trade-restrictive action on imports, the US would be "vigorous in resisting calls for any form of trade protectionism as a response to climate change."

Even though an EU member, Britain seems to side with the US.
We are against any measures which might look like trade barriers […] There is always the danger that the protectionists in Europe - and they do exist - could use this as a kind of secret weapon to bring about protectionism. - British Energy Minister Malcolm
France, however, is continuing to push for protection against unfair international competition to avoid massive delocalisation of EU companies. The establishment of a border adjustment mechanism is a "fundamental element" of the package and France will work "very closely" with the European Commission between now and 2011 on proposals to set up the scheme, insisted French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development Jean-Louis Borloo:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

According to the Financial Times, Ujal Singh Bhatia, India's ambassador to the WTO, warned against the risk of retaliation and litigation from the EU's trade partners if it goes ahead with trade restrictive measures. He said: "Unilateral measures at this stage would create contentiousness and lead to charges of protectionism […] If the countries imposing such measures invoke Gatt provisions to justify them, the dispute settlement mechanism in [the] WTO would face serious challenges and create divisions along North-South lines."

However, British Liberal MEP Chris Davies welcomed the idea of tariffs, saying they would create a level-playing field for business: "It makes more likely an emissions trading scheme on a worldwide basis, if manufacturers in China know they are not going to gain entry."

But business leaders fear that imposing "climate tariffs" could provoke trade retaliation. Folker Franz, a senior policy adviser at BusinessEurope, the European employers' organisation, said: "If you impose import measures on others, the others might do the same." As an alternative, he said the EU should promote the clean development mechanism – a scheme which allows European companies to invest in carbon-reduction projects in the developing world.

Trade Unions within the EU, however, believe that establishing a border adjustment mechanism is essential and are upset that the Commission is delaying the measure. ETUC General Secretary John Monks stressed: "There is a way of keeping employment and the planet from being the losers: a compensation mechanism such as a carbon tax on imports, which would equalise carbon costs for all companies, whether they are based in Europe or outside its borders. Under such a system, a considerable effort could be demanded of European industry while keeping heavy industry and jobs in Europe." He added: "The Commission's postponement of that decision is a mistake, since it has acknowledged the dangers of relocation and 'carbon leakage'."


European Commission: Questions and Answers on the Commission's proposal to revise the EU Emissions Trading System - January 23, 2008.

French Ministry for Sustainable Development: Proposition de la Commission européenne sur les objectifs « climat-énergie » à l’horizon 2020 - January 23, 2008.

American Chanber of Commerce to the EU: Position Paper on Climate Change [*.pdf] - January 23, 2008.

European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC): Climate change package: the Commission makes important proposals but it is necessary also to guarantee jobs in Europe in a globalised context - January 23, 2008.

BusinessEurope: New Energy and Climate Rules: Uncertainties regarding competitiveness must be resolved [*.pdf] - January 23, 2008.

International Institute for Sustainable Development: Unpacking the Wonder Tool: Border Charges in Support of Climate Change [*.pdf] - November - December 2007.

Financial Times: Carbon import tax could provoke trade war - January 23, 2008.


Anonymous ruddyconsult said...

We have issued a call for academic papers on such topics as this, International Trade in Biofuels, www.bionergytrade.org

6:22 AM  
Anonymous ruddyconsult said...

Sorry, let me correct that address for International Trade in Biofuels, www.bioenergytrade.org

8:27 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home