Europe Works to End Oil Addiction and Reap Financial, Social and Environment Advantages – Officials say

Developed World Must Agree to Greater Emission Reductions – 40 per cent cuts by 2020, experts say

Stephen Leahy

BONN, Jun 20, 2011 (IPS)

If we’re lucky, by the time a tough but fair international treaty to meet the climate change challenge is finalised, it will be largely unnecessary. The snail’s pace of negotiations certainly gives countries plenty of time to understand the financial, social and environmental advantages of kicking their dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.

That may be a cynical optimist’s hope, but the European Union is already moving in that direction.

Climate change is now seen as an opportunity to deal with the economic downturn in Europe,” said Jürgen Lefevere, a European Commission negotiator at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating session that ended late Friday in Bonn.

“It is no longer just an environmental issue for us,” Lefevere said at a final press conference.

China also understands the opportunity.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar now account for 11.4 percent of China’s electricity, and that figure will be 20 percent by 2020, says Liu Qiang, a researcher at the Energy Research Institute of the National Development Reform Commission, China.

“China takes this very seriously,” Qiang said, noting that there are significant investments and research in smarter electrical grids and energy storage in China.  Continue reading

Biofuels Worse Than Paying People to Use More Gasoline – European Study

I’ve done several articles previously about the problems of biofuels. (see below). New report out today shows Europe’s biofuel policy completely wrong headed.

European plans to promote biofuels will drive farmers to convert 69,000 square km of wild land into fields and plantations, depriving the poor of food and accelerating climate change, a report by green groups warned.

…extra biofuels that Europe will use over the next decade will generate between 81 and 167 percent more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels,

— read Reuters take

My previous articles listed below cover much of the same ground although the report is more specific reading impacts of EU policy than anything to date.  — Stephen

Europe’s Green Energy Portfolio Up in Smoke?

“Europe is going to cook the world’s tropical forests to fight climate change; it’s crazy” — Millions of Trees Burned for ‘Green Energy’

Ethanol and Biofuels – Everything (Almost) You Need to Know

Ethanol: The Great Big Green Fraud

gsi-biofuel.jpg

Subsidising biofuels is just about the dumbest way to go.” – Todd Litman, director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute — Subsidies for 2007 est $13-$15 billion

…increasing biofuel production is a “total disaster” for starving people Jean Ziegler, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

By Stephen Leahy

Oct 20 2007 (IPS)

A raft of new studies reveal European and American multibillion dollar support for biofuels is unsustainable, environmentally destructive and much more about subsidising agri-business corporations than combating global warming.

Not only do most forms of biofuel production do little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, growing biofuel crops uses up precious water resources, increasing the size and extent of dead zones in the oceans, boosting use of toxic pesticides and deforestation in tropical countries, such studies say.

And biofuel, powered by billions of dollars in government subsidies, will drive food prices 20-40 percent higher between now and 2020, predicts the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute.

“Fuel made from food is a dumb idea to put it succinctly,” says Ronald Steenblik, research director at the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Biofuel production in the U.S. and Europe is just another way of subsidising big agri-business corporations, Steenblik told IPS.

“It’s (biofuel) also a distraction from dealing with the real problem of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he asserts. Continue reading