Mixed Greens: EU emissions drop, but something's in the air... | RenewEconomy

Mixed Greens: EU emissions drop, but something’s in the air…

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EU cuts emissions, faces tensions over airline rule; youth group to fund green power transition; China begins ‘world’s largest’ transmission line; new EV charge-point.

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Power plants and factories covered by Europe’s emissions trading scheme managed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2 per cent last year, despite the region’s modest economic recovery. BusinessGreen reports that verified emissions for organisations covered by the EU ETS fell to 1.889 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent in 2011, according to figures released Wednesday, based on data from more than 12,000 installations in 29 countries, as well as airlines flying to and from airports in these countries.

But the relatively good news was dampened by reports that some Chinese and Indian airlines have failed to report their emissions in line with EU rules, further fuelling fears of a trade war between the EU and Asia. In an online statement, the European Commission said that there had been “systematic non-reporting” of emissions to and from Europe from 10 airlines based in India and China. Eight airlines in China and two in India have until mid-June to submit the data, EC Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told journalists in Brussels on Wednesday. Theese airlines represent less than 3 per cent of the sector’s emissions, according to the Comission. The remaining airlines reported last year’s emissions on time to meet the March 31 deadline, with more that 1,200 emissions reports submitted.

The inclusion of flights in Europe’s ETS as of January this year means that airlines must hold carbon allowances to cover their emissions and purchase additional credits if they exceed their pre-set carbon cap, providing them with a financial incentive to cut emissions. The move triggered opposition from countries including the US, China and Russia, says Bloomberg – the latter arguing Europe should let the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization decide on greenhouse-gas limits for the industry. BusinessGreen says that Beijing has reportedly cancelled a $3 billion order for 15 Airbus A330 aircraft as a direct result of the EU’s stance, and has also drafted a retaliatory law, while a group of 23 countries agreed a package of countermeasures at a meeting earlier this year.

Repowering the clean energy debate

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition has today launched a new national campaign – Repower Australia – to switching the nation’s iconic pubs, cafes, schools and sporting clubs to green power. The group says that over 100 businesses opted to be “repowered,” an effort to install solar energy and reduce energy use that will be funded by youth-coordinated events across the country. The AYCC also hopes to use the campaign to show the federal and state governments that there is widespread community support for clean energy. Repower fundraising events will be held in every capital city around the country, with 110 already planned for the next two months.

“When all the rest of us are sitting down, watching The Voice, and avoiding the issues, this group of young people is taking care of business. Repower is a really exciting example of turning passion into action in local communities. Thank goodness for the kids, eh?” said Claire Hooper, who is the celebrity ambassador for the campaign’s Sydney-based event, which is happening at lunchtime today, at Glebe Wine & Tapas Bar Sapphos. Also in attendance there – amid 20+ green hard-hatted AYCC volunteers– will be Environment Defender’s Office Principal Solicitor Kirsty Ruddock, who will be sharing her perspective on the next steps for Australia moving towards a more sustainable future.

China’s long green line

China has this week begun work on two giant ultra-high voltage direct current transmission lines that will connect the country’s wind and solar farms, as well as coal-fired power stations, to population centres on the coast. BusinessGreen reports that work began on Sunday on a 2,210km long, 800kv cable, which is expected to cost 23.39 billion yuan ($US3.7 billion) and has been hailed as the world’s largest transmission line. The cable will have a transmission capacity of eight million kW when completed in 2014 and will connect the Hami prefecture in eastern Xinjiang with the central city of Zhengzhou.

Melbourne EV charging station unveiled

A new electric vehicle charging station was unveiled in Melbourne today, in a show of green transport innovation that was attended by federal Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister, Greg Combet, Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Holden’s executive director of engineering Greg Tyus and ChargePoint chief executive officer James Brown. The EV-charging technology – which will be powered by certified green energy – is installed outside carmarker Holden’s Port Melbourne headquarters, and was demonstrated by the plugging in of a Holden Volt EV, which is due to be released to the Australian market later this year.

Combet told the gathering that the development of low and zero-emissions cars and renewable energy based charging infrastructure showed industry was innovating to meet consumer demand for cleaner motoring. “Transport accounts for 15 per cent of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. That means more fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles will play an important role in moving to a low-pollution future.” He said the Gillard government was working with the automotive industry to reduce emissions through mandatory CO2 emissions standards for new cars and light commercial vehicles sold in Australia from 2015.
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