The European Union will exceed its target of meeting 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, a report by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said on Tuesday.
Of the bloc’s 27 member states, 25 expect to meet or exceed their national targets, EWEA said, based on its analysis of national action plans submitted by EU governments to the European Commission.
“Taken together, the action plans show that the EU-27 will meet 20.7 percent of its 2020 energy consumption from renewables,” said Justin Wilkes, policy director at EWEA.
Of the 15 EU countries which expect to exceed their 2020 target, Spain predicted it would surpass its goal by 2.7 percentage points. Germany said it would exceed the target by 1.6 percentage points.
Luxembourg and Italy, which are predicted to fall short of their national targets by 2.1 and 0.9 percentage points respectively, said they plan to import renewable energy from other countries to make up the shortfall. (Reporting by Charlie Dunmore; editing by Keiron Henderson).
A reader of the annual report of Siemens, the German engineering giant, could easily get the idea that the company was investing in wind energy because management wants to save the planet.
“All our actions and decisions are informed by the principle of sustainability,” Siemens said in the introduction to its 2010 report, a few pages after the obligatory photograph of the chief executive, Peter L¶scher, and the rest of the management board.
In smaller type on Page 90 is the fact that clean energy is a big moneymaker for Siemens. The renewable energy division, which consists mostly of the wind power business, recorded a bigger sales increase than any other unit in the quarter ended Sept. 30, rising 48 percent, to 977 million euros ($1.3 billion). New orders rose 85 percent, to 1.45 billion euros, also a company best.
Still, the unit’s operating profit margin of 10.6 percent lagged that of more conventional businesses, like providing equipment for fossil-fuel power plants, and fell short of Siemens’s goal of a 12 percent to 16 percent margin. The unit made 103 million euros for the quarter, and 368 million euros for the fiscal year.
That was about 5 percent of the total yearly profit for Siemens, whose array of products includes trains, factory equipment and X-ray machines.
JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd., a vertically integrated solar product manufacturer with operations based in China, recently announced that it has entered into a commercial agreement with Innovalight, Inc., a privately-held company that manufactures proprietary silicon ink and licenses proprietary processing technology to solar cell manufacturing companies. Under the terms of the agreement, JinkoSolar will purchase silicon ink from Innovalight and license Innovalight’s processing technology to produce solar cells with higher conversion efficiencies.
The Obama administration filed a case against China with the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, siding with an American labor union, the United Steelworkers, in accusing Beijing of illegally subsidizing the production of wind power equipment.
The decision is the second time in less than four months that the United States has accused China of violating world trade rules.
It represents an escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China over clean energy, viewed by the Obama administration as a frontier in which American companies are struggling to remain competitive.
The United States is challenging a special Chinese government fund that awards grants to makers of wind power equipment. The Americans say the fund provides subsidies that are illegal under W.T.O. rules because the grants appear to be contingent on manufacturers using parts made in China.
Deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico could resume within weeks under a policy announced Monday by the Obama administration, which has come under increasing criticism from the oil industry and politicians in the region over the impact of the drilling halt.
Oil and gas exploration in the Gulf’s deep waters has been stopped since May, when President Barack Obama announced a six-month drilling moratorium in the wake of the April explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
At the current rate of progress it will take 300 years to turn back China’s advancing deserts, a senior official said on Tuesday, bemoaning the low level of investment in fighting a serious environmental problem.
Over a quarter of China’s land area is covered by desert, or land which is turning into desert in which soil loses its fertility, putting crops and water supplies at risk for the world’s second-largest economy.
“The area of land being desertified is enormous, and prevention work most hard,” Liu Tuo, head of China’s anti-desertification efforts, told a news conference.
“There is about 1.73 million square km of desertified land in China, and about 530,000 square km of that can be treated. At our present rate of treating 1,717 square km a year, I’ve just calculated we’ll need 300 years,” he added.
“Investment is seriously insufficient, with a huge gap existing for our needs at present,” Liu said.
In the past, Upton””the incoming chair of the House energy and commerce committee””has advocated taking action on global warming. “I strongly believe that everything must be on the table as we seek to reduce carbon emissions,” he once stated on his website. But that statement recently vanished from his site””along with, it seems, his concern about global warming. Following a tea party-aided Republican takeover of the House and a heated fight for the chairmanship of the powerful committee, Upton’s position on climate change has veered closer to those of his global-warming-denying caucus-mates. And he’s now vowing to use his new role to thwart efforts to cut emissions.
Late last week, Upton coauthored a Wall Street Journal op-ed with Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that has opposed action on climate change. In it, the pair wrote that a new EPA regulation to curb greenhouse gas emissions, which took effect on Sunday, “presumes that carbon is a problem in need of regulation. We are not convinced.” They also decried the carbon rules as “an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs.”
Will the Obama administration’s controversial greenhouse gas regulations wreak havoc on the nation’s economy or help usher in a new era of clean-energy technologies?
The Environmental Protection Agency will roll out Clean Air Act regulations this week that will gradually require major polluters like power plants, oil refineries, and factories to obtain permits for the greenhouse gases they emit. On January 2, new and upgraded industrial facilities must begin installing technology aimed at reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. And later this year, the agency will propose carbon pollution standards for all coal- and oil-fired power plants and oil refineries.
Japan’s government took a step back from plans to start carbon trading in 2013 amid opposition from industries that say emission-trading rules would add to costs and limit their ability to compete against rivals in China and India who don’t face the same restrictions.
Environment Minister Ryu Matsumoto declined to commit to the 2013 date in a press conference today after a meeting with other ministers to discuss the nation’s emissions trading plans. In August, an environment ministry panel recommended starting emission trading in fiscal 2013.
“We will continue to study carbon trading taking into account various opinions,” Matsumoto said at the press conference. When questioned on when Japan’s carbon trading market would start, he wouldn’t give a date.
The ministers agreed that while a carbon trading scheme is a “pillar” of anti-global warming efforts, there are concerns it will deter investments in growing industries, said Masato Okawa, an official at the National Policy Unit of the Cabinet Secretariat who attended the meeting.
A September survey by Keidanren, Japan’s largest business lobby group, found that 61 of the 64 companies that responded said they oppose carbon trading, citing competition from countries like India and China that are not bound by similar pollution limits.
The report evaluates 10 judicial, regulatory, legislative and other actions that significantly affect humans and the natural world.
“We can continue our short-sighted addiction to fossil fuels or we can adopt innovative, healthier, more sustainable practices,” said VLS Dean Jeff Shields. “The Environmental Watch List will help improve public understanding of how to use the law to take action on the critical issues of our time.”
1. Congressional failure to enact climate change legislation: Professor Gus Speth, a pioneer of the environmental movement, explores what went wrong and whether the EPA and state and local lawmakers will step forward in 2011.
2. The nation’s worst oil spill: Associate Professor Betsy Baker, an expert in the law of the sea, examines the legal and policy fallout from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
3. First U.S. greenhouse gas rules: Professor Pat Parenteau, whose expertise includes climate change, looks at whether the EPA’s efforts to restrict global warming pollutants will survive judicial and political challenges.
4. Climate change in the courts: Associate Professor Martha Judy, an expert in environmental liability, delves into a Supreme Court case that would allow public nuisance lawsuits against major air polluters.
5. California’s climate law dodges a bullet: Professor John Echeverria, whose expertise includes climate change, looks at what’s next for the Golden State’s landmark anti-global warming law that survived a challenge at the ballot box.
6. EPA clamps down on mountaintop removal coal mining: Professor Mark Latham, an expert in environmental enforcement and regulation, examines the EPA’s crackdown on the coal industry’s practice of tearing off mountain peaks.