"Energy and Global Warming News for June 3rd: European climate and energy policy boosts growth, Rise of a Chinese ‘low-carbon’ dragon?"
This is one of the most detailed studies ever performed of the economic and jobs benefits of a strong renewable energy and climate policy.
The European Commission on Tuesday issued a study showing that its climate strategy – including its fiercely contested cap-and-trade system – would boost growth and generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs by the end of the next decade.
The study appeared to be aimed at squelching concerns that policies designed to cut greenhouse gases would compound economic hardship.
It showed that the “benefits of renewables in terms of security of supply and fighting climate change can go hand-in-hand with economic benefits,” according to the European Union’s energy commissioner, Andris Piebalgs….
The consultancies and research groups that carried out the work stressed that their findings represented the “net effects” of climate policies. They said their calculations included “reduced investments, operation and maintenance costs in the conventional energy sector” and “increasing energy costs and their effects on the economy due to reduced competitiveness” from climate policies in Europe….
But they concluded that an additional 410,000 jobs would be created if the E.U. met its goal of generating 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
“China intends to lead the low-carbon race and is already beginning to unleash a low-carbon dragon – unlocking investment and generating green-collar jobs and profits,” said Steve Howard, the chief executive of the Climate Group, a non-profit environmental organization.
According to the Climate Group, which published a report called “China’s Clean Revolution” last year (PDF), the country has so far invested some $12 billion in renewable energy “” more than than any other country in the world except Germany. And it plans to double the proportion of renewable energy to 15 per cent by 2020….
China is already a leading manufacturer of solar photo-voltaic technology, according to the report, with 820 megawatts of production in place by the end of 2007, second only to Japan. Output of solar panels has doubled for each of the last four years, and by the end of 2009, China is expected to become the world’s leading exporter of wind turbines.
It is also taking a lead in production of solar water heaters, energy efficient home appliances, and rechargeable batteries….
The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, reports that about 40 percent of China’s $586 billion stimulus package has been allocated to green business and infrastructure, including environmental protection, transportation and power grids.
The Financial Times has put this figure at 38 percent and HSBC’s “A Climate for Recovery” report, released last February, has estimated it at 37.8%.
In terms of pure monetary value, however, the roughly $221.3 billion green stimulus package is the largest in the world.
The American Congress, by comparison, approved roughly $112 billion worth of green initiatives as part of its $787 billion stimulus bill.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will convene Thursday to assess the prospects for cooperation on climate change between the United States and China.
Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) traveled to China over the Memorial Day recess, where he met with top Chinese officials to discuss the future of global climate change negotiations. Kerry said last week that he believed China is ready to enter into substantive discussions leading up to the global climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.
The role of nuclear power in Senate energy legislation continues to be in flux as lawmakers prepare for tomorrow’s much-anticipated Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup on the renewable electricity standard.
Yesterday, the only Republican on the committee who has confirmed his support of the renewable electricity standard said Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) is willing to exclude new nuclear from the baseline.
Auto industry analysts warn that the Volt, often touted as the savior of GM, could get trapped between the Obama administration’s environmental policy goals and the dire business realities of the bankruptcy court trying to salvage the fallen auto giant.
Crop residues are viewed as a low cost and readily available source of material since more than 50% of crop production is residues. However, crop residues should not be considered simply a waste or benign material. They possess a critical role in sustaining soil organic matter. Consequently, extensive removal of crop residues for ethanol production””or for other industrial purposes””may impact the long-term productivity of soils.
Renewable energy’s sliver of the multi-trillion dollar economic stimulus announced by the world’s biggest economies falls far short of the investment needed to meet carbon emissions targets, the head of the International Energy Agency said on Monday.
The IEA, which advises 28 industrialized countries on energy, estimates that only about $20 billion out of a total of $2.6 trillion in economic aid announced in the economic crisis by the G20 countries will go toward renewable power, with only $100 billion or 5 percent for the wider goal of cleaner and more efficient energy use.
Some 160 villages in northern Syria were deserted by their residents in 2007 and 2008 because of climate change, according to a study released on Tuesday.
The report drawn up by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) warns of potential armed conflict for control of water resources in the Middle East.
“The 2007/8 drought caused significant hardship in rural areas of Syria. In the northeast of the country, a reported 160 villages have been entirely abandoned and the inhabitants have had to move to urban areas,” it said.
A new study by researchers from the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the United Kingdom’s Waen Associates has found that by 2050, hotter conditions, coupled with shifting rainfall patterns, could make anywhere from 500,000 to one million square kilometers of marginal African farmland no longer able to support even a subsistence level of food crops. However, the land, on which some 20 to 35 million people currently live, may still support livestock.=
Compiled by Austin Davis