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EU Environment Ministers Agree to 20% Cut in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2020

20 February 2007

EU environment ministers meeting in Brussels today agreed in principle to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU to at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 with the intent of contributing to holding global warming to a maximum 2°C over the next century.

They also agreed to commit to reducing collective GHG emissions to 30% by 2020, with a view of a cut of 60-80% from 1990 levels by 2050, “ provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and economically more advanced developing countries adequately contribute according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities.

Negotiation of such a global agreement—the follow-on to the Kyoto Protocol, the emission targets of which expire in 2012—is critical, according to the council of ministers.

The Council’s position is an affirmation of the EU’s leadership and determination to prevent climate change from reaching dangerous levels. But we can only succeed if the international community moves urgently to strike a comprehensive agreement to reduce global emissions after 2012. The EU has demonstrated its seriousness by committing to an emissions cut of at least 20% even before negotiations start. We now look to other developed countries to show responsibility and follow our example.

—European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas

The conclusions from the Environment Council meeting serve as input to the Spring European Council meeting next month. The European Commission had outlined the proposals in January.

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February 20, 2007 in Climate Change, Europe, Policy | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)

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In 1990, they promised to reduce pollution by around 12 % by 2005, and they have not achieved it.

Now they are scaling upto 20 %. They better got to tell, how they are going to do it.

These could be the ways
1 - Phasing out incandescent bulbs, just like Australia is trying to do.
2 - Deploying Nuclear Reactors the same way France did in 1970's and 1980's.
3 - Moving the vehicles to bio-fuels and also promoting hybrids and slowly phasing out Gasolene / Diesel vehicles starting from the V12 engines.

Instead, if they plan to phase out Nuclear (like Germany is trying to do), they may end up in a Coal dump with all of Alpine Snow getting wiped out.

I will believe this when I see it happen , the EU president drives a V10 VW SUV maybe that should go to start with , and the rest of the EU comisioners are up in arms beacause the enviroment comissioner has chosen to be driven in a PRIUS instead of the usual merc 350 . plus they seem to leave all the lights on well into the night at the comission building
I am afraid like all politicans they are just a bunch of lying two faced ******** looking after their own intrests , rather than the good of the people of europe as they are payed to do , and another thing why when they are so concerned are they slashing all the bugets for enviromental reasearch , including reasearch into climate change !

It is true that the EU has not achieved the goals it had set for itself. It will also find it difficult to achieve these new goals. European culture, for the most part, is in fact distinct from the Anglo-Saxon variety. For example, international law is generally perceived as a set of honest hopes and aspirations rather than the stuff of crime and punishment.

Past failures to achieve policy goals, however, are no reason not to just give up. The scientific evidence now available suggests very strongly not only that the earth's climate is in fact warming but that it is doing so at an accelerating rate because of anthropogenic emissions. It is this high rate of change that represent significant economic risk, because entire economies cannot turn on a dime.

It is quite possible that the EU's emphasis on reducing and eventually reversing the rate of climate change will prove futile, if only because the US, China, India et al. are not following suit. If so, the only alternative will be to adapt to global warming, i.e. changed rainfall patterns, agricultural yields etc. and the additional migration from e.g. Africa all that entails. That is a bridge the EU may have to cross a number of years down the road.

Meanwhile, the emphasis on reducing CO2 emissions, coupled with deep reservations about nuclear power, is forcing both EU governments and consumers to deal with the reality that a rising proportion of their primary energy is in fact imported from politically dicey places like Russia and the Middle East. If the macroeconomic requirement to limit Europe's dependence on these sources needs to be sugarcoated in terms of limiting environmental damage so voters will swallow the medicine, so be it.

The firt part was easy as most eu coutries had a slump after 1990 and thus some asrated off well ahead of others. Now they are hitting hard rock and I doubt they have the metal in them to break it.

Rafael:

Climate accelerates warming only in fraudulent summaries of IPCC, which relies on cherry-picked and doctored data. South hemisphere is not warming for more than 25 years, Antarctica and Global Ocean are cooling slightly for a couple of years, and Northern Hemisphere after reaching high temperatures of 1930-s in about 1997 and record hot 1998 (due to severe El Nino event), is since fluctuating at about same level for 8 years.
Plenty of data could be found if one desire to know real picture; best compilation I bumped into is presented here:

http://www.john-daly.com/cause/cause.htm

Only two things need to be done to reverse the increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations recently seen:

1) Allow widespread iron fertilisation in Pacific by simple spray devices attached to existing trans-pacific cargo ships by means of government subsidy. (Slight danger of triggering an ice-age if CO2 levels are not monitored and allowed to plummet, though!)

2) Develop algae based biofuel to point where it is considerably cheaper than fossil equivalents, not just as a transportation fuel, but also for home heating and chemical industry feedstocks.

The science behind both of these approaches are proven and ready to go.

Andrey -

it's not surprising that the Southern hemisphere is not warming by as much - weather patterns don't mix much across the equator and there are fewer people and a lot less industry down there. As for cherry-picking, it is true that the summary of the IPCC report was worded by representatives of governments, ostensibly to translate scientific language into something politicians can use to justify their policies. However, I am not aware of a large number of contributing scientists who have distanced themselves from the conclusion, which at this point is mostly that global warming is in fact going on right now and we had better think about what that will mean for us.

Clett -

why not combine the two and use iron fertilization to create algal bloom way out on the open ocean near the equator, enclosed by a really long floating skirt made of several layers of very tough material. The skirt would have to extend some way into the water and also rise above its surface, to limit the amount of algae that escape. Harvesting and processing the algae out at sea yields biofuel, which is periodically transferred to tankers which bring it to shore.

For example, to enclose an area of 10,000 square km (3860 square land miles), you'd need a skirt ~360 km (220 land miles) long. Obviously, you would need a whole fleet of tug boats tow it into position as a linear structure and then configure it into a roughly circular shape when you get there. You'd also need additional ships inside doing the harvesting and processing. Every once in a while, you'd probably want to move the whole shebang a hundred miles or so east or west because the algae will deplete the CO2 dissolved in the water.

The whole thing would be a rather massive engineering project, but then again so were the Great Wall of China and the Apollo program. Chances are, this would actually be a lot easier.

Note: if you pick a location where hurricanes are known to spawn, the change in local albedo might just be enough to reduce the risk or severity of such storms. If so, the insurance industry might be persuaded to foot part of the R&D bill.

Rafael:

Most (not all) scientists prefer to keep quite, receive fat research grants, and do their job of conducting research and writing articles. It is down the pipe where their results are cherry-picked, exuberated, and misinterpreted.

For real state of the climate research you can scan this web site (maintained by two prominent scientists):

http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/Index.jsp

You may disagree with their comments, but mind you their summaries of currently published articles are accurate. Look at Subject index for tons of factual information.

For a glance of what is cooking behind the scene in scientific “community”, you can look at:

http://www.climateaudit.org/

It is not easy to dig in, but you can find priceless bits of information on the subject.

And just for fun:

http://personals.galaxyinternet.net/tunga/DefectiveGlobalWarming.pdf

The guy names RX J0852.0-4622 supernova explosion responsible for Little Ice Age, explains Venus GW controversy (with details of loud case of NASA distorting Venus albedo readings), and fields hypothesis that current CO2 increase in atmosphere is caused mainly by suppressed activity of phytoplankton in global ocean (NASA satellites routinely monitor global activity of plankton). Funny thing, he blames international shipping on demise of plankton: 10 B of tons of ballast water displaced annually spread invasive species which affect phytoplankton balance.

Worth reading.

Rafael,

Farming the algae for fuel is certainly something I'd thought of, but I'd pictured it without nets. Rather, a fleet of "scooper" vessels would pass over the surface of iron blooms, filtering it out into large storage tanks and expelling the seawater, just like a basking shark does.

If the bloom drifts somewhere by the currents, the ships can move accordingly. Fischer-tropsch, or some similar kind of Choren-style sunfuel process would probably be the best way to process the material to the different oil-fractions.

Either way, the potential for farming from blooms is certainly in the gigatonne range.

When I read something like "create algal bloom way out on the open ocean near the equator" the first thing that comes to my mind is the law of unintended consequences. I'm not saying I'd reject it out of hand, but there could be serious unforeseen environmental problems.

That's why algal blooming is currently being blocked.

However, iron-fertilisation is a natural process and occurs every now again typically as a result of dust blown by certain winds from arid countries, but occasionally a large bloom occurs in response to dust deposited from volcanos.

For example, in 1991 Mount Pinatubo deposited a large amount of iron that led to obvious blooms and a measurable reduction in global CO2 concentrations.

no or few dazed techies not even knowing how to approach much less solve an ODE can't admit that, by virtue of the universe's natural laws such as conservation of mass & energy, the solution is reduce triple, quad, quintuple fold everywhere, that would
make a difference !
where is the tech for that ?

unconspiringly cryogenic semipyritic malease phigalian presentiveness litterateur grisoutine
Interior Designers of Nova Scotia
http://www.buttonwoodcamp.com

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