EU divide on surplus carbon credits endangers second Kyoto commitment period

By John Parnell

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Friday 26 October

Last updated: 1310

Cook Islands: A trial in the Cook Islands suggests that the country could be the answer to food security issues in the South Pacific. The climate vulnerable region faces land and water pressures but new hydroponics research on the Cook Islands has proved that food can be successfully grown with minimal water use and no pesticides. (SciDev)

Australia: UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres has called on Australia to sign up to the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Speaking at an event in Sydney she said the move would have little effect on its existing domestic climate policies but would “send a very clear message internationally that what Australia is doing at a national level is actually contributing to global interests.” (Eco-Business)

EU: European Environment Ministers were unable to resolve the issue of what to do with surplus carbon credits from the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Poland is keen to carry them over into the second commitment period (2CP) but this could limit the actual emissions reductions made during this time.

A meeting of Environmental Ministers in Luxembourg could not find a compromise deal meaning the debate will carry on at the UN climate talks in Doha, complicating the bloc’s task of pushing an effective and ambitious 2CP forward.

EU officials told Reuters there was now an “east-west divide” and that the debate could “endanger the second commitment period”. (Reuters)

US: A study in the US into the sustainability of large scale algae-based biofuels has raised several concerns. Serious concerns were raised over the volume of water and nutrients required to grow the algae as well as the land used by the vast algae ponds. The US Department of Energy asked the National Research Council to assess the impacts of the fuel if it represented 5% of the country’s total transportation energy mix. (EarthTechling)

UK: The latest North Sea oil and gas licensing round was concluded yesterday with a record number of applications registered. The UK’s recently appointed energy minister John Hayes said Energy Minister John Hayes said: “We are guaranteeing every last economic drop of oil and gas is produced for the benefit of the UK.” Critics have accused the UK of reneging on a pledge to be the “greenest government ever” and instead embarking on a dash for gas. (BBC)

Friday reading: Should scientists be held to account for the predictions they make? The seismologists that chose not to issue a warning shortly before the L’Aquila earthquake, which killed 300 people, have been fined £6m and sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter. Should the same apply to those predicting climate risks? Science is riddled with uncertainty, is that compatible with the rule of law? If the evidence is ignored do you think policymakers would experience the same swift justice? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or tweet us @RTCCnewswire.

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