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CCNet 03/09/14

No Show: World Leaders To Skip UN Climate Summit 

UN’s Green Agenda A Chaotic Mess, New Report 


 
 
Chinese president Xi Jinping has decided to skip a meeting of world leaders on climate change in New York, according to climate insiders, casting doubt on the summit’s potential to make progress ahead of next year’s major UN climate summit in Paris. The news will be a blow to summit organisers, coming swiftly after the announcement that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi [and German Chancellor Angela Merkel] will also miss the meeting. --Joydeep Gupta, The Guardian, 2 September 2014
 
 
 
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the world's third-largest greenhouse gas-emitting nation, won't join his U.S. and Chinese counterparts at a United Nations climate summit next month in New York. Modi's absence is a bit of a blow to the summit. --Zack Colman, The Washington Examiner, 14 August 2014



German daily TAZ reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel isn’t going to bother attending the Ban Ki-Moon initiated climate conference in New York this coming September. The TAZ adds this has been “confirmed by a government spokesman“. Merkel’s decision to snub the event is likely another sign that efforts to forge a climate agreement are already dead in water. The TAZ writes: "Ultimately only Europe and very few other countries remain on board. Canada for example has opted out. Japan and Russia are also no longer taking part.”--Pierre Gosselin, No Tricks Zone 26 May 2014


 

UN flogging wind farms
 


This month, the United Nations will double down at another climate summit on calls for sweeping and costly global action on a wide array of environmental fronts, as part of a drive for “sustainable development” and a comprehensive new global climate control treaty.  But an important U.N. investigative unit is warning that the world organization’s management of environmental programs and treaties is a chaotic mess that has not improved much in years. --George Russell, 
Fox News, 2 September 2014




Donald Tusk’s nomination as the next Mr. Europe is a major game changer for the European energy and climate policy. And it is not a good one. Stronger activity of the other governments will be needed to balance Poland’s tendency to obstruct European energy and climate targets. Otherwise the 30 August 2014 will be remembered as a dark day for the European renewable energy industry, climate protection and thus the fate of the future generations. --Andrzej Ancygier, EurActiv, 2 September 2014
 
 
 
 
Emergency measures will be introduced to prevent the lights going out this winter. Offices and factories will be offered compensation to undergo 1970s-style energy rationing and shut down for up to four hours a day to prevent households being plunged into darkness. In addition, owners of old power stations will be asked to switch them back on to meet the country’s demands. National Grid had not planned to use this option until next winter. But yesterday it revealed a series of fires and setbacks had knocked some of the UK’s biggest generators out of service. --Peter Campbell, Daily Mail, 3 September 2014


 
 
 
Throughout the 1970s, Britain was repeatedly shaken to its core by social mayhem and political chaos caused by disastrous energy crises. These traumatic upheavals badly hurt families and UK industries. They also brought down governments and the entire economy. I believe Britain’s ruinous green energy policy is now threatening to bring about a comparable and wholly unnecessary energy crisis. The current set of political leaders are too young or were too sheltered to remember the trauma of the calamities of the 1970s.  It is doubtful they realise the enormous political risk their green energy gamble involves. --Benny Peiser, Mail on Sunday, 13 October 2013
 
 
 
 
Germany’s flagship green energy policy is in tatters, according to a new report by the consultancy firm McKinsey which says many of its goals are “no longer realistic”. “Despite the massive expansion of renewable energies, achieving the key objectives of the energy revolution in Germany by 2020 is no longer realistic” says the report. “If you can’t achieve your own targets, you can hardly be a credible advocate for stricter CO2 cuts in Europe or elsewhere in the world,” said a comment piece in Welt newspaper. --Justin Huggler, The Daily Telegraph, 2 September 2014
 
 
 
 
While Americans were celebrating the long Labor Day weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw the groundbreaking of major pipeline that will carry natural gas from Russia to China. The Power of Siberia pipeline being built by the state-owned energy giant Gazprom could eventually bring $400 billion worth of natural gas to China, which has been trying to meet more of its energy needs with natural gas. But while Putin is pushing for more energy exports, President Obama has not yet made a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which is seen as a major economic opportunity for the U.S. and Canada. The pipeline has been awaiting approval for more than five years and has been subject to heavy opposition from Democrats and environmentalists who argue the project will contribute to global warming. --Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 2 September 2014
 



 
European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger warned on Tuesday he was not ruling out "worst case scenarios" on Europe's energy security due to Russian President Vladimir Putin's "lies" amid Moscow's actions in Ukraine. "That Putin would use false information, lies and weapons was beyond my imagination," Oettinger said at an event of German energy utility RWE in Brussels. "That's why I am not ruling out worst case scenarios any more," he added. --Reuters, 2 September 2014

 
 
The European Union could ban gas exports and limit industrial use as part of emergency measures to protect household energy supplies this winter, a source told Reuters, as it braces for a possible halt in Russian gas as a result of the Ukraine crisis. --Henning Gloystein, --Reuters, 1 September 2014
 
 
 
 
 
1) No Show: World Leaders To Skip UN Climate Summit - The Guardian, 2 September 2014
 
2) UN’s Green Agenda A Chaotic Mess, New Report - Fox News, 2 September 2014
 
3) Britain On Blackout Alert: Factories Face 1970-Style Electricity Rationing - Daily Mail, 3 September 2014
 
4) Germany’s Flagship Green Energy Policy ‘In Tatters’ - The Daily Telegraph, 2 September 2014
 
5) Europe Drafts Emergency Energy Plan - Reuters, 1 September 2014
 
6) EU Energy Commissioner Not Ruling Out 'Worst Case Scenarios' On Energy Security - Reuters, 2 September 2014
 
7) Putin Overseas $400 Billion Russia-China Pipeline Project While Obama Dithers On Keystone - The Daily Caller, 2 September 2014
 
8) New Mr Europe: A Game Changer For Europe’s Climate & Energy Agenda? - EurActiv, 2 September 2014
 
 
 
 
  
1) No Show: World Leaders To Skip UN Climate Summit
The Guardian, 2 September 2014
 
Joydeep Gupta
 
Chinese president Xi Jinping has decided to skip a meeting of world leaders on climate change in New York, according to climate insiders, casting doubt on the summit’s potential to make progress ahead of next year’s major UN climate summit in Paris.
 
President Xi had been expected to attend the 23 September summit called by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, but is now set to send another senior Chinese politician in his place, though Beijing officials are yet to confirm this.
 
The news will be a blow to summit organisers, coming swiftly after the announcement that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi [and German Chancellor Angela Merkel] will also miss the meeting. Modi is scheduled to go to New York on 26 September and his decision not to advance his trip by three days to appear at the informal climate summit has created further paralysis among bureaucrats. Most of them do not even know if the environment minister is planning to go instead.
 
In this situation, the statement issued after the recent New Delhi meeting of environment ministers from BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries assumes added significance. The joint statement stuck to the long-held stand of developing nations. [...]

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s informal summit comes as climate negotiations are heating up because a comprehensive global treaty to tackle climate change is expected by the end of 2015. Industrialised countries – led by the US and the European Union – are pressing for all 192 nations to take on legally binding obligations to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. India has so far opposed this strongly.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
2) UN’s Green Agenda A Chaotic Mess, New Report
Fox News, 2 September 2014
 
George Russell
 
This month, the United Nations will double down at another climate summit on calls for sweeping and costly global action on a wide array of environmental fronts, as part of a drive for “sustainable development” and a comprehensive new global climate control treaty. 
 
But an important U.N. investigative unit is warning that the world organization’s management of environmental programs and treaties is a chaotic mess that has not improved much in years.
 
Among other things, the U.N. investigators warn of:
 
  • Large-scale duplication of effort and unnecessary competition between 28 U.N. organizations and the managers of 21 international treaties that deal with vital environmental issues;
  • A sense of environmental priorities that focuses on issues “that are often accompanied by mass media attention, such as climate change and green economy,” giving less attention to other important priorities;
  • The related lack of “a clear division of labor” among U.N. development organizations and a welter of U.N. treaty bodies that slops over into definitions of the boundaries between “environmental protection and sustainable development;”
  • Huge, uncoordinated overall increases in environmental spending—the inspectors report that as of 2012, U.N. spending on environmental issues was increasing faster than its spending on anti-poverty efforts—that also failed to make a distinction between “normative” and “operational” spending, i.e., between generating mandates to protect the environment and various types of actual activity;
  • Lack of a “transparent” U.N.-wide framework to track spending “in a manner that would pave the way for more efficient allocation of resources,” not to mention clarifying the distinction between spending on conservation and other actions.
 
Evidence of what the report calls a “conflict of interest” by project managers of the United Nations Environment Program, the ostensible flagship of U.N. environmental action, in hiring outside evaluators to examine their own projects.
 
The updated “review of environmental governance in the United Nations system” was published over the summer by a Geneva-based organization known as the Joint Inspection Unit, or JIU, which is charged with examining management issues across the entire sprawling U.N. system, and submitting findings to the U.N.’s top leadership.
 
It is a return to an examination that JIU made of the same topic in 2008, when the unit found a lot to be concerned about, much of it linked to the U.N.’s tendency since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to link “sustainable development” with environmental preservation, leading to the same kind of organizational confusion that the JIU still finds today.
 
In its 2008 report, the JIU made a dozen recommendations on how the U.N. needed to refocus itself on separating environmental conservation from “sustainable development” by giving greater authority to the Nairobi-based United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), separately tracking environmental and development spending, and otherwise clarify the expanding and expensive confounding of development and environmental priorities. Almost all of the recommendations were accepted at the time by the U.N.’s top brass.
 
 
Since then, however, the number of U.N. global conferences merging the environment and “sustainable development” has only multiplied, culminating in last year’s 20-year anniversary gathering to commemorate the original Earth Summit—and push the “sustainable development” agenda still further. [...]
 
CLICK HERE FOR THE REPORT
 
Meantime, UNEP has produced a dizzying tally of some 285 environmental goals that exist across the U.N. system that the inspectors call “the first step towards the identification of common goals and system-wide planning for results in the environmental area.”
 
The list includes “goals and objectives drawn from existing international treaties and non-legally binding instruments” and includes everything from promises to monitor and coordinate action against forest fires to “substantially increase the global share of renewable energy resources.”
 
The list, however, is just that: a list—albeit one that gives some indicator of the staggering array of targets and priorities that have been tucked away in a host of international agreements over the years. As the JIU report sardonically notes, additional progress “cannot be achieved without coordinating responsibilities and efforts.”
 
CLICK HERE FOR THE EXISTING GOALS
 
As for UNEP’s increased role in global management of the environment, the JIU noted that its scientific findings were, at times, questionable.
 
Different divisions of UNEP “sometimes produce separate scientific assessments outside the [UNEP] Office of the Chief Scientist,” the report notes. That office was founded, according to UNEP’s website, “to help strengthen the interface between global environmental science and policy while making the science base of UNEP’s activities stronger.”
 
Moreover, those outside assessments are used by project managers to assess their projects supported by UNEP’s Environment Fund, which is described on the UNEP website as “is the main source of funding for UNEP to implement its Program of Work and Medium Term Strategy.”
 
(Current UNEP budgeting calls for “voluntary” contributions to the Environment Fund of $118 million for 2014, and $134 million in 2015. The U.S. contribution in both years is still apparently undefined; in the past, it has ranged between roughly $6.2 million and $6.6 million.)
 
Full story
 
 
 
3) Britain On Blackout Alert: Factories Face 1970-Style Electricity Rationing
Daily Mail, 3 September 2014
 
Peter Campbell
 
Emergency measures will be introduced to prevent the lights going out this winter.
 
Offices and factories will be offered compensation to undergo 1970s-style energy rationing and shut down for up to four hours a day to prevent households being plunged into darkness.
 
In addition, owners of old power stations will be asked to switch them back on to meet the country’s demands.
 
National Grid had not planned to use this option until next winter. But yesterday it revealed a series of fires and setbacks had knocked some of the UK’s biggest generators out of service. Two nuclear power plants are also offline, and are unlikely to be running in time for the start of the colder weather.
 
Fires at coal stations in Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire and Ironbridge, Shropshire, have put the sites out of action, while a gas station in Barking, Essex, has been closed since the summer.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
4) Germany’s Flagship Green Energy Policy ‘In Tatters’
The Daily Telegraph, 2 September 2014
 
Justin Huggler
 
Germany’s flagship green energy policy is in tatters, according to a new report by the consultancy firm McKinsey which says many of its goals are “no longer realistic”.
 
Angela Merkel was hailed as the ‘Klimakanzlerin’, or ‘Climate Chancellor’ in 2010 when her government placed Germany at the forefront of the battle against climate change and announced ambitious plans to move to renewable energy sources.
 
But the McKinsey report says Germany is so far behind its key commitment to cut CO2 emissions that it is no longer realistically achievable.

Mrs Merkel’s government has committed to cut CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. To achieve that, McKinsey argues, Germany would have to cut emissions by an average of 3.5 per cent a year.
 
But so far, they have only fallen at an average of 0.7 per cent a year, leaving Germany so far behind it would have to increase emissions cuts by a factor of five to reach its target on time.
 
“Despite the massive expansion of renewable energies, achieving the key objectives of the energy revolution in Germany by 2020 is no longer realistic” says the report.
 
“If you can’t achieve your own targets, you can hardly be a credible advocate for stricter CO2 cuts in Europe or elsewhere in the world,” said a comment piece in Welt newspaper.
 
A major factor in the failure to achieve targeted cuts has been Germany’s increased use of “dirty” brown coal, or lignite, to make up the shortfall in power generation caused by its decision to phase out all its nuclear power stations by 2022.
 
Full story
 
 
 
5) Europe Drafts Emergency Energy Plan
Reuters, 1 September 2014
 
Henning Gloystein
 
The European Union could ban gas exports and limit industrial use as part of emergency measures to protect household energy supplies this winter, a source told Reuters, as it braces for a possible halt in Russian gas as a result of the Ukraine crisis.
 
Russia is Europe’s biggest supplier of oil, coal and natural gas, and its pipelines through Ukraine are currently the subject of political manoeuvering – not for the first time – as Europe and Moscow clash over the latter’s military action in Ukraine.
 
Kiev is warning that Russia plans to halt gas supplies while Moscow says Ukraine could siphon off energy destined for the European Union – which has just threatened new sanctions if Moscow fails to pull its forces out of Ukraine.
 
While buyers of oil and coal can find new suppliers relatively quickly, southeast Europe receives most of its gas from Kremlin-controlled Gazprom.
 
Tankers from Qatar and Algeria bring liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe via ports along the Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans, but European buyers often re-sell those cargoes abroad for higher prices rather than supplying their domestic market.
 
A source at the EU Commission said it was considering a ban on the practice of re-selling to bolster reserves.
 
“In the short-term, we are very worried about winter supplies in southeast Europe,” said the source, who has direct knowledge of the Commission’s energy emergency plans.
 
“Our best hope in case of a cut is emergency measure 994/2010 which could prevent LNG from leaving Europe as well as limit industrial gas use in order to protect households,” the source said. [...]
 
Whatever the bloc does, it will struggle to compensate fully if Russian gas stops coming to Europe, political and industry sources say. Gas prices have risen 35 percent since July due to this threat.
 
LIMITED ALTERNATIVES
 
Russia meets around a third of EU demand for oil, coal and natural gas, according to EU data. In return it receives some $250 billion a year, or around two-thirds of government revenue.
 
The problem with a potential cut is that continental Europe’s pipeline infrastructure was built from East-to-West in order to import Russian gas.
 
Efforts to build more supplies going the other way, such as LNG from Atlantic terminals, are not sufficiently developed to meet this winter’s demand in southeast Europe.
 
European energy suppliers could use more coal: that market is over supplied as a result of slowing Asian demand and improvements in mining output from exporters in Colombia, Australia and South Africa. U.S. coal miners are also looking for new buyers since the North American shale gas boom has pushed most coal out of the U.S. market.
 
All this has caused a 40 percent coal price drop in the past three years.
Again however, the problem is infrastructure: large parts of central and eastern Europe rely on district gas heating, which means burning coal to generate electricity will not help keep households warm this winter.
 
Full story
 
 
6) EU Energy Commissioner Not Ruling Out 'Worst Case Scenarios' On Energy Security
Reuters, 2 September 2014
 
European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger warned on Tuesday he was not ruling out "worst case scenarios" on Europe's energy security due to Russian President Vladimir Putin's "lies" amid Moscow's actions in Ukraine.
 
"That Putin would use false information, lies and weapons was beyond my imagination," Oettinger said at an event of German energy utility RWE in Brussels.

"That's why I am not ruling out worst case scenarios any more," he added, referring to Europe's energy security.
 
The war in Ukraine, which has led to the worst stand-off between Russia and the West since the Cold War, has heightened fears in Europe of gas shortages in the winter.
 
Russia is Europe's biggest supplier of oil, coal and natural gas, and its pipelines through Ukraine are currently subject to political manoeuvring, not for the first time, as the West and Moscow clash over the latter's military action in Ukraine.
 
Oettinger is mediating talks between Russia and Ukraine to resolve a gas pricing row and avert a damaging supply cut in the winter.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
7) Putin Overseas $400 Billion Russia-China Pipeline Project While Obama Dithers On Keystone
The Daily Caller, 2 September 2014
 
Michael Bastasch
 
While Americans were celebrating the long Labor Day weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw the groundbreaking of major pipeline that will carry natural gas from Russia to China.
 
The Power of Siberia pipeline being built by the state-owned energy giant Gazprom could eventually bring $400 billion worth of natural gas to China, which has been trying to meet more of its energy needs with natural gas. The pipeline will extend 2,500 miles and symbolizes Russia’s new strategy to “wean itself off dependence on European markets that account for most of its exports,” according to Reuters.

 
 
“Just now, we along with our Chinese friends are starting the biggest construction project in the world,” Putin told a Chinese delegation on Monday, adding that the pipeline “[w]ill not only allow us to export gas, but to develop gas infrastructure in our country, to speed up (economic) development, not only in this region, but in the whole country.”
 
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put pressure on European countries to rethink their dependence on Russian natural gas. Europe gets about one-third of its gas from Russia, about half of which flows through Ukrainian pipelines.
 
Fears that Russia could shut off gas supplies to Europe have sparked calls for the U.S. to speed up approvals for liquefied natural gas terminals which could supplant Putin’s hold over the continent.
 
But Western sanctions have already spurred the Kremlin to look elsewhere for energy exports, especially in gas-hungry Asia. Reuters reports that on Putin’s command “two workers lowered their protective visors and welded the first segment of the black pipeline with flaring blowtorches. The Kremlin leader then signed his name on it.”
 
But while Putin is pushing for more energy exports, President Obama has not yet made a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which is seen as a major economic opportunity for the U.S. and Canada. The project will carry 800,000 barrels a day of oil sands from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
 
The pipeline has been awaiting approval for more than five years and has been subject to heavy opposition from Democrats and environmentalists who argue the project will contribute to global warming.
 
Full story
 
 
 
8) New Mr Europe: A Game Changer For Europe’s Climate & Energy Agenda?
EurActiv, 2 September 2014
 
Andrzej Ancygier
 
Donald Tusk’s nomination as the next president of the European Council is a major game changer for the EU’s energy and climate policy. And it is not a good one, writes Andrzej Ancygier.
 
The impact of Tusk’s nomination on one of the most important positions in the EU on the European energy and climate policy depends on three main factors: his standing in the Council, evolution of his perspectives on the renewable energy and climate policy and, last but not least, developments in Poland after he has been replaced by a less marked personality. [...]
 
Tusk versus renewables and climate
 
Donald Tusk’s fierce opposition to climate policy and development of renewable sources of energy has led to Poland’s miserable progress on both. It is however not clear, to what degree this opposition has been caused by domestic factors, i.e. the pressure from the coal industry and the willingness to save Polish state-owned energy companies from the fate of their German counterparts, or whether this opposition resulted from his personal convictions. But independently from the reason, both factors will change. When in Brussels Tusk will not be held hostage to Polish coal miners demanding state support to save unprofitable coal mines. Also the close connections with the Polish energy companies will be cut.
 
At the same time as President of the European Council Tusk will be approached by a number of different stakeholders: not only lobby groups defending coal and nuclear energy but associations and organizations representing renewable energy sector and fighting for climate protection. This will give Tusk a chance to take a broader look at the developments in the EU and globally. Whether or not he will use this opportunity to broaden his horizons remains to be seen. [...]
 
A black day?
 
Although possibly positive in some other areas, Tusk’s nomination as the next Mr. Europe is a major game changer for the European energy and climate policy. And it is not a good one. At least initially coal and nuclear lobbies in Brussels may hope for a friendlier ear to their arguments and Poland’s opposition to renewable energy and climate policy may become even more decisive after conservative Law and Justice takes over power in Poland. Stronger activity of the other governments will be needed to balance Poland’s tendency to obstruct European energy and climate targets. Otherwise the 30 August 2014 will be remembered as a dark day for the European renewable energy industry, climate protection and thus the fate of the future generations.
 
Full post
 
 
 



 
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