EU ditches subsidies for unsustainable biofuel technologies

By John Parnell

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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– Updated from 0830-1700 BST (GMT+1)

Thursday 18 October

Last updated: 1710

CBD COP11 in Hyderabad: Negotiators at the biodiversity talks in Hyderabad have agreed on a set of restrictions for geoengineering experiments. Tests will not be limited to the laboratory as had been proposed previously, however. The document encourages climate action through emissions reductions and the promotion of natural sinks rather than through “deliberate intervention in the planetary environment of nature”.

Qatar: Organisers of the upcoming UNFCCC climate talks in Doha recently announced that the Gulf state would be aiming to produce 20% of its growing electricity demands from renewable sources. Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) has backed the pledge and will produce its own polysilicon, the key ingredient to solar panels, in its own manufacturing facility on the peninsula. (Gulf Times)

EU: The EU has mapped out its emissions reduction plan up till 2020 for those sectors not covered by its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Targets for member states up till 2020 have been set out covering most forms of transport, waste, agriculture and buildings. (Platts)

CBD COP11 in Hyderabad: More interesting material from Achim Steiner, the head of UNEP. He has said that developing nations are putting more money on the table to tackle environmental issues than more developed economies.

“The contribution of developing nations to conserve bio-diversity is significant. Developed nations cannot argue that they are putting more money on the table,” said Steiner. (Khaleej Times)

EU: The rise in occurrences of a number of exotic diseases not previously common in Europe is being attributed to climate change. The Usutu, Dengue and Chikugunya viruses have all been found in the EU recently thanks to the northward expansion of mosquito breeding grounds. (Public Service Europe)

CBD COP11 in Hyderabad: The head of UNEP, Achim Steiner, has said dismissed claims that talks on finance have stalled. Steiner told journalists that it was the purpose of the COP to reconcile difficult positions.

“What is happening right now is rational, logical and chronologically correct – I would say this COP is at work and that is exactly what it should be doing,” he said.

EU: The EU published its new regulation for biofuels with earlier, less sustainable forms of the technology set to become ineligible for EU support.

“Climate-wise, some of the biofuels [currently receiving EU subsidies] are as bad as, or even worse than the fossil fuels that they replace,” said EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. (EurActiv)

China: A Chinese company suing President Barack Obama after its US-based wind farm was blocked on security grounds, has said it will takes its resultant legal action all the way. Ralls Corp’s project was vetoed by the President owing to its proximity to a military base and was the first business transaction blocked by the Whitehouse on security grounds since the cold war. (Reuters)

UK: The British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has reiterated that the country’s impending overhaul of its energy infrastructure will be done so in-line with its legally binding climate change targets. Ed Davey also dismissed claims of “a conspiracy to develop a secret nuclear energy subsidy”. The coalition government pledged not to subsidise nuclear power but some say its guaranteed prices for power suppliers amount to just that.

South Korea: The board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is holding its second meeting in South Korea this week. With procedural matters dominating the first meeting in August, the flagship international climate fund will turn its attention toward finding a host city. Namibia, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico and South Korea are in the running.


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