Along with the current Global cooling, the economic situation appears to be driving the last nails in to coffin of the Warming Hysteria......except that Australia and NZ standing alone, appear willing to kneecap (carbon cap) their economies to show the World some (questionable) leadership - an exercise one would hope will lead to new political leadership ASAP !
(1) GRIM PROSPECTS FOR CLIMATE PACT, CHINA WARNS
CHINA: October 7, 2008
BEIJING - Negotiations seeking a global pact to tackle global warming are troubled and could end in disastrous failure, China's top climate change envoy warned on Monday, saying rich countries are failing to deliver on promises.
China is emerging as the world's top emitter of the greenhouse gases that stoke dangerous global warming and plays a key role in talks to address the threat. These are supposed to culminate in a new deal in Copenhagen, Denmark, late next year.
But Yu Qingtai, China's special representative for climate change talks, told Reuters he was gloomy about the discussions to create a treaty building on commitments laid out in the Kyoto Protocol's first phase, which expires at the end of 2012.
"As far as the Copenhagen process is concerned, my personal assessment is unfortunately fairly pessimistic...things have moved forward in an extremely difficult way and the progress achieved is extremely limited," Yu said in an interview.
In preliminary talks, rich nations had failed to flesh out their promises to give technology and financing help to poorer countries, he said.
The global financial turmoil draining government budgets should not be "used as an excuse by the developed country governments for not meeting their commitments", he added.
China's rising greenhouse gas emissions, which experts believe have already or will soon surpass those of the United States, have prompted many Western politicians and experts to argue that Beijing must accept mandatory caps if the United States and other reluctant countries are to agree to emissions cuts.
Under current agreements, China and other developing countries need not take on greenhouse gas caps under Kyoto.
Yu rejected calls for this to change, instead blaming foot-dragging by richer nations and leaving little doubt that talks leading to Copenhagen will be combative.
But failure to reach agreement by late next year could exact a terrible price, he said. Scientists have warned that growing levels of solar heat held in the atmosphere by a blanket of carbon dioxide and other pollutants are stoking droughts, melting glaciers and intensifying wild weather.
"I would not even try to contemplate," he said. "If we fail, the consequences would be disastrous for everybody."
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said last week the market difficulties would make it harder to agree a climate deal, while US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has said he might be forced to scale back his planned investments in energy.
Spelling out China's demands, Yu said any final deal must reflect rich countries' responsibility for gases emitted during production of the many Chinese-made goods they consume.
He also firmly rejected calls for global emissions caps across high-polluting industrial sectors, such as steel-making.
These are favoured by Japan and some Western nations as a way of curbing emissions from developing nations without clamping down on more vulnerable sectors of the economy, but Yu said they were little more than an attack on China's competitiveness.
"You don't need to measure the efficiency level of a European country against the efficiency of a developing country. The result would be obvious. It would not be fair to use a so-called benchmark," Yu said.
Technology transfer is a particularly sore issue, with China frustrated by rich nations' attitude towards one element Beijing considers vital for any deal. Yu was dismissive of arguments that Western governments cannot mandate the transfer of patented technology held by companies.
"As national governments, once you make a commitment it is up to you to find the ways and tools to ensure that your commitments are met," he said.
China argues it is owed help to move towards a low-carbon economy.
It says despite high annual emissions, per-capita greenhouse pollution is well below that of rich peers and historically it pumped out much less than rich nations over the past two centuries since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
With little over a year until the negotiators gather to seek final agreement, Yu also said he hoped the United States under a new president would take "a more constructive and positive approach to the fight against climate change".
(Additional reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Story by Chris Buckley and Emma Graham-Harrison
Copyright 2008, Reuters
(2) RISKS MOUNT FOR GLOBAL WARMING TREATY, DE BOER WARNS
By Gerard Wynn and Alister Doyle
LONDON/BARCELONA (Reuters) - The struggle against climate change must not follow world trade talks into limbo as risks mount that the credit crisis will sap commitment to the fight, the U.N. climate chief said on Monday.
Yvo de Boer said he was worried about the impact of the credit crisis on international action to fight climate change, as U.S. and European governments pour cash into keeping commercial banks afloat.
"You can only spend a dollar or a euro once," he said.
"I certainly think it's a worrying development. It's more a matter of the past couple of days than the past couple of weeks," de Boer told Reuters, referring to a call over the weekend by European automakers for money to help them cope with emissions curbs.
"There's growing pressure ... from the point of view of competitiveness," he said.
De Boer said that U.N. negotiations were still on track but, in the worst case, there were risks of failing to meet an internationally agreed deadline for a new U.N. climate treaty by the end of 2009 in Copenhagen.
"For me there is no Plan B," he said. "I have the sense that it's a huge and daunting task but we're still on track, there's still commitment to reach an agreement in Copenhagen."
"One alternative would be that we don't manage to meet a deadline in Copenhagen and that we slide into a WTO-like process that goes on without a clearly agreed deadline, or perhaps even worse that you get a highly fragmented approach to climate change," he said.
In climate talks so far rich nations had failed to flesh out their promises to give technology and financing help to poorer countries, China's climate change ambassador Yu Qingtai told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
Yu was pessimistic about the prospect for agreement on a new global climate treaty meant to avert more droughts, floods, extinctions of species and rising sea levels.
That split between rich and poor nations resonates with a collapse in July of the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) Doha round of free trade talks -- partly following a dispute between the United States and emerging economies.
FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
China wants the West to do more to finance the fight against climate change, but financial commitment from the United States and Europe may be diverted by bailouts of the banking sector.
"There's a risk that less public money will be available in the North for cooperation with the South on technology and capacity building," said de Boer. "Taken together there's a risk that short-term concerns will prevail."
"I hope that this doesn't result in people in the South waiting for (climate change) adaption money having to wait for mortgages and credit card debts to be paid off in the North."
In a "Super Tuesday" vote this week, key European Parliament lawmakers will vote on whether to back ambitious, unilateral goals for the European Union to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
While they are expected to back the overall target to cut greenhouse gases, they are under intense lobby pressure to cut the costs of meeting those goals for industry.
Poland said on Monday that it was assembling a minority of member states sufficient to block cost impacts on coal-fired electricity generation from EU energy and climate proposals -- in growing signs final agreement may be delayed.
"I certainly hope the EU manages to finalise its climate and energy package by the end of the year," said de Boer.
Copyright 2008, Reuters
(3) POLAND LEADS CHARGE TO DELAY EUROPEAN CLIMATE POLICY
By James Kanter
The E.U. created the world's largest emissions trading market in 2005 to force heavy industries to cap their pollution levels. Next on the E.U. agenda: switching to 20 percent renewable energy and cutting greenhouse gases by 20 percent by the end of the next decade.
While the E.U.'s efforts to date have not really helped to cut emissions very much, policymakers in Brussels have been doggedly trying to improve the system by making it even more expensive to burn fossil fuels — and coal in particular.
The most contentious part of the reforms currently under consideration would make the industries covered by the system buy the majority of their permits to pollute by 2013.
Unsurprisingly, European industries for which this would be most costly — like steel manufacturers — have been strenuously lobbying to water down the measures. But what is more ominous for the future of European climate leadership is that some countries, led by Poland, are now putting up a fight themselves.
Poland generates almost all its electricity from highly polluting coal. If the price of emitting goes up dramatically, that would force Polish utilities to spend more on complying with the regulations than utilities in, say, France, where the majority of electricity comes from nuclear power, which produces little CO2.
A week ago, Poland reached an accord with Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania that called for a more gradual approach to the reforms.
In a joint statement, ministers from those five countries said that making it too expensive to use coal (which can be mined domestically in some EU countries) would only serve to weaken their energy security by pushing them to use natural gas. While natural gas may be less polluting than coal, it would make these countries — former Soviet bloc states — more reliant on gas imports from Russia.
Furthermore, the countries said that utilities in their countries would be at a disadvantage to Western European utilities, which are wealthier and could more easily afford to buy their pollution permits. The measures threatened the "external competitiveness of the European industry, labor market and financial situation of households," the ministers warned.
(4) OPINION: BRUSSEL'S SUPER TUESDAY
Crowding in on an already impossibly burdened news agenda, the greenies, euro-weenies and sundry other "climate vandals" will be out in force today, gathering in the Capital of Darkness (which yesterday, with the rest of Belgium suffered a general strike).
They will be there for what Reuters is calling "Super Tuesday", as the EU parliament in Brussels tries to ram through a record number of environment laws, thus attempting to deliver the coup de grass, so to speak, to the tottering economies of the EU member states.
During the morning session, MEPs will consider the EU parliament position on how the estimated €30 billion (but probably a lot more) from carbon allowances auctioned under the EU's emission trading scheme, should be spent.
Already highly controversial, with many member states – not least the UK – regarding this money as tax income, with each nation putting their take in their own general pots, the MEPs want the money hypothecated and spent on greenie projects like forest conservation, green technology development and funding "climate change" adaptation schemes in developing countries.
Other proposals on the table include partial exemptions of certain industries from the ETS scheme altogether, plus a blocking vote to try to prevent clean development mechanism carbon credits being used to offset EU emissions.
The big bone of contention, though, is how the burden of reducing carbon emissions to the EU's 20 percent level will be shared amongst the different member states. That should keep the gathering throngs entertained for some time.
Then, in the afternoon, if there are any economies left to wreck, the MEPs will move on to deal with the madcap idea of carbon capture, and a proposal to throw public money at trial schemes in a bid to develop this technology for full-scale plants.
Buried in that will be a bid to make the generation of electricity from coal-fired plants conditional on their being fitted with carbon capture equipment, a none too subtle attempt to enforce the Greenpeace agenda and ban coal use altogether – or make its use prohibitively expensive.
The voting, says Reuters is not the parliament's final say, but it will set the tone for negotiations with "EU leaders" ahead of a final agreement seen later this year – they hope.
However, the greenies are not going to get it all their own way. A powerful coalition, led by Poland aims to block the package, not least because it would render Poland dangerously reliant on Russian gas to replace the coal it would not be allowed to use.
The refuseniks are getting some support from Germany with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, saying last week, "This [financial] crisis changes priorities … One cannot rule out that interest in protecting the climate will change because of such a crisis" – and that was before the current meltdown.
Nevertheless, attempts are being made to buy off Poland which, on past form, will make a lot of noise and then cave in. On the other hand though, if the MEPs pause for one moment to listen to what is happening in the real world, they might even back Poland and ditch this whole ridiculous charade.
The chances of that, though, are about as good as our still having a functional economy by the end of the week. However, we are always open to being pleasantly surprised.
(5) FINANCIAL GLOOM CLOUDS CLIMATE TRUST FUND
By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The world financial crisis could cast a pall on the Global Environment Fund, which uses billions of dollars in government money to tackle ecological problems, the fund's climate change chief said on Monday.
The agency gets money from various governments, but funding has essentially been flat over the 17 years of its existence, barely keeping up with inflation, Robert Dixon told the Reuters Global Environment Summit.
Now, as the science of global warming becomes more conclusive and the predictions for world temperature rise more extreme, Dixon is keenly aware of the tough economic picture that could choke funding.
"We're hopeful for a significant replenishment (a new round of donations)... We'll see," he said. "We're mindful that our money comes from treasuries around the world, public sector treasuries ... it's a gloomy time."
Despite the gloom, Dixon suggested a way forward through public-private partnerships.
"Perhaps the financial crisis reinforces this: maybe we shouldn't necessarily just look to governments to provide the financial solution and to find all the solutions necessary for a sustainable energy future, an environmental future," he said.
GREEN TECH'S "VALLEY OF DEATH"
That is especially true of emerging environmental technologies, he said:
"Let's face it -- the technology's in the private sector, and it's the private sector that holds patents, it's the private sector that creates things, it's not governments."
(6) GREEN BAIL-OUT: GREENS TRYING TO SAVE STATE HANDOUTS IN $700 BN RESCUE
By Bryan Walsh
Environmentalists are often accused — not always unfairly — of overplaying the fear card. With apocalyptic references to melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels and widespread species extinction, the driving message of environmentalism is that the future is doomed, unless we act now to save it.
But what happens when another more alarming, more immediate catastrophe co-opts people's fear? That's the predicament greens find themselves in now, with what is potentially the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression scaring Americans out of their wits. With the tanking economy dominating the news, and the government willing to virtually bankrupt itself to bail out the financial sector, it could be hard to push the climate change agenda — and possibly hard to find any money left to support it. "If this crisis consumes all of our attention, it might definitely impact the speed at which [global warming] legislation could be passed," says Wiley Barbour, the founder of the American Carbon Registry.
Already this election season, concerns about the economy have trumped those about the environment. The 2008 Presidential election was supposed to be the first one in which global warming would be the front-and-center issue, but that hasn't been the case. (Though it is worth noting that for the first time, both candidates are on record supporting cap-and-trade legislation for greenhouse gases.)
As panic over rising gas prices outplayed fears of melting Arctic ice, the Republican call to "drill, baby, drill" got louder and more popular, eventually pushing Democrats, including Barack Obama, to publicly support some amount of offshore drilling. The flip-flopping came on the heels of the Senate's defeat of the Warner-Lieberman bill — the first real attempt to pass federal cap-and-trade legislation — thanks in part to fears raised by Republicans that a carbon cap would further increase energy prices. "America's growing dependence on fossil fuels, once viewed as a Democratic trump card...has become a lodestone instead," wrote the green pollsters Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus in a recent piece for the Los Angeles Times. The ensuring financial meltdown hasn't helped. Since the climate bill was defeated on June 6, the Dow industrial average has lost some 2,000 points. "I think the financial crisis will strengthen the hand of opponents of carbon trading on both the left and right," says Nordhaus.
The credit crunch is also crunching funding for new clean-energy projects. When the global economy was surging over the past several years, fossil fuel prices were surging as well; the cost of oil exceeded $150 a barrel at one point this year. The economic slowdown has shrunk those prices just as quickly, with oil now dipping below $95 a barrel. That makes renewable energy projects like wind and solar, which have to compete with fossil fuels on straight cost until a carbon price is passed, less attractive. Michael Liebreich, the chairman of the research group New Energy Finance, argued in a recent briefing that the financial crisis might make governments less willing to extend preferential subsidies and incentives for clean power, as a sinking economy makes high energy prices sting a little more. "In country after country, the web of support mechanisms for clean energy is now under review," he wrote.
So what should greens do to avoid irrelevance, now that Hank Paulson is replacing Al Gore as the nation's chief scold? First, tie environmental rescue to economic recovery, by "greening the bailout," as columnist Tom Friedman of the New York Times has put it. As the new Administration — whether Democratic or Republican — searches for ways to stimulate the economy, green infrastructure spending could be the way to go. More money for high-speed rail, tax credits for new solar systems, increased federal funding for renewable energy — these are policies that might not only help stimulate a flagging economy, but directly contribute to slowing the growth in America's carbon emissions. (Not to mention promoting green jobs at a time when unemployment is on the rise.) The challenge will be tactical: convincing Americans that curbing climate change is as much about overhauling a failed economy as it is about limiting carbon emissions. That message didn't get across during the debates over Lieberman-Warner; the next President and Congress will need to do better. "Addressing greenhouse gases and addressing the economy are all part of the same problem," says Barbour. "This is absolutely a top priority. It can't be postponed forever."
The good news is that Congress has already added a tinge of green to the bailout. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Oct. 3 and should be signed soon by President George W. Bush, includes a long-awaited extension of tax credits for the clean energy sector, which had been due to expire at the end of the year. But if this really is the Great Depression 2.0 and we all end up on the street selling apples and iPods, well, at least our carbon emissions will fall.
Copyright 2008, Time
========== e-mails ===========
(7) CCNet IN BRUSSELS
Roger Helmer, MEP [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I don't know whether you're aware that I circulate CCNet briefs to the European parliament's Temporary Committee on Climate Change. Whether they read them is another matter ...!
(8) GREEN STOCKS PLUMMET
Today, 'Global Warming Politics' examines what is happening to Green stocks and shares during the credit crunch:
'Green Stocks Fall Even Faster'
... In these dark days, the NEX is not having a happy ride, and, according to the latest report in the 'Scientific America'n ['Climate change stocks fall more than wider markets', Scientific American, October 3], "shares in companies specializing in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, including energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, have tumbled faster than wider markets this year." Figures for the last full quarter (June 30 to September 30) show that they fell by 30.3%, and that they are down by as much as 39% over the year so far.....
(10) RE: THE ASTROPHYSICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Dear Benny Peiser,
As I go through some of my CCNet backlog - unread gems from long ago - I'm startled in CCNet 27/07 from 7 February 2007 to read INTERSTELLAR DUST: A SIGNIFICANT DRIVER OF CLIMATE CHANGE? from Dendrochronologia, Volume 24, Issues 2-3 , 9 February 2007, where E. Kasatkina, O. Shumilov, N.V. Lukina, M. Krapiec and G. Jacoby write:
The stardust is embedded in the local galactic cloud through
which the Sun is moving at a speed of 26 km/s (Fig. 4) (Frisch,
2000). Within about 50,000 years, the solar system could enter
a cloud that's 1 million times denser. It will have a significant
impact on the Earth's atmosphere and climate (McCrea, 1975; McKay
and Thomas, 1978; Frisch, 2000).
I say! About ten years ago it was announced that the solar system 5,000 or so years from now will enter an interstellar dust cloud with density 10 times up on to-day's benign environment. A quick calculation assured me that the heliopause will likely be pushed inside the orbit of Jupiter as a result.
I dare not calculate where the heliopause may relocate to, if we hit "a cloud that's 1 million times denser". Luckily the authors seem speculative, using the word 'could'. Are any readers of CCNet able to dismiss this horrid threat? Or confirm it, in which case AGW will be an absolute non-worry?
Jens Kieffer-Olsen, M.Sc.(Elec.Eng.)
(11) AND FINALLY: THERE'S A GOLD MINE IN ENVIRONMENTAL GUILT
By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
This is strange territory. The Dow is down. Wall Street needs a bailout. But in the Washington area and across the country, there is still a bull market in environmental guilt.
Sales of carbon offsets -- whose buyers pay hard cash to make amends for their sins against the climate -- are up. Still. In some cases, the prices have actually been climbing.
In other words, when nearly everything seems to be selling for less, thousands of individuals and businesses are paying more for nothing, or at least nothing tangible.
Experts say this is possible, in part, for economic reasons: The financial crisis has not yet reached those upper-middle-class consumers who are willing to pay $12 to offset a cross-country flight, $80 for a wedding or $400-plus for a year of life.
But there is also a cultural factor, the legacy of a complicated decade defined by a "green" awakening and a national splurge in consumer spending. Many people have learned to pay to lessen their climate shame -- and, at least for now, they don't think of it as a luxury purchase.
"I was feeling really guilty because I was basically traveling to three continents in the last month: 'I've spent basically six days on an airplane. I've got to fix this,' " said Michael Sheets, 27, who lives in the District's Logan Circle neighborhood.
So a few days ago, Sheets paid $240 to a Silver Spring-based vendor, Carbonfund.org, choosing its offsets because they were more than $100 cheaper than a comparable package from another offset seller. He got back an e-mail saying that the 52,920 pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions attributable to him for the entire year, including his trips to Trinidad, Thailand and Argentina, had been canceled out.
"I feel much better about it," said Sheets, human resources director for an online-education company in Northern Virginia. "I don't feel as guilty about flying to Vegas tomorrow for the weekend."
On the surface, offsets sound like a simple transaction. Generally, the buyer uses an online tool to calculate the carbon footprint -- the amount of harmful emissions -- of a car, a flight or a year's activities. Then the buyer pays an offset vendor to cancel out that footprint. This is done through projects that stop emissions from occurring or remove pollutants from the air.
Some offsets are sold like stocks on the Chicago Climate Exchange. Other groups sell them directly to consumers. One study last year found that offset prices ranged from $1.80 per ton of emissions to $300, with most about $6.10.
Watchdog groups say offset vendors sometimes do not deliver what they promise. Some offset projects, such as mass tree plantings aimed at absorbing carbon dioxide, deliver climate benefits that are difficult to measure. In other cases, it is unclear whether offsets funnel money to existing projects or to projects that might have been done anyway.
Despite those concerns -- and despite continuing turmoil in world financial markets -- offset sales are strong. And offsets are selling for more.
(1) ITALIAN MINISTER SAYS EU CO2 TARGETS TOO COSTLY
MILAN, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The global financial turmoil has made European plans to cut carbon emissions steeply by 2020 too costly and its burden should be shared with other countries, Italy's Environment Minister was on Tuesday quoted as saying.
By 2020 the European Union aims to cut greenhouse gases emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels and have 20 percent of energy coming from renewable sources with overall costs estimated at about 0.5 percent of gross domestic product a year.
'In this period of international economic difficulties it is absurd that Europe alone should take on a heavy burden of costs to achieve very modest environmental benefits,' Stefania Prestigiacomo told Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore in an interview.
Meeting the EU targets, including debated car emission reductions, would cost Italy 'unsustainable' 20-25 billion euros ($27.18 billion to $33.98 billion) a year, while its contribution to the overall carbon dioxide reduction goal was a tiny 0.3 percent, Prestigiacomo said.
Italy would like to 'improve' the EU package by scrapping binding mechanisms and clarifying criteria on how target burden is distributed among the countries, she said.
The EU also should get the world biggest polluters, such as the United States, China and India, involved more actively in fighting climate change to make it really efficient, she added.
'We are ready to accept sacrifices if they bring real benefits, not virtual,' she said ahead of European ministers' meeting on climate change and energy policy on Oct. 15.
Copyright 2008, Reuters
(2) PART 1 OF CLIMATE U-TURN: EU LAWMAKERS SAVE FACTORIES FROM CARBON COST (Part 2 to follow soon)
By Pete Harrison
BRUSSELS, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Influential EU lawmakers sought in a key vote on Tuesday to ease the cost for factories of meeting greenhouse gas emissions limits from 2013 as much of Europe heads for recession.
But the European Parliament's environment committee backed an EU executive Commission plan to wipe out utility windfall profits from carbon trading and transfer up to 30 billion euros ($40.76 billion) to member state coffers.
Factories and power plants participating in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) get most of their carbon permits free now.
The committee backed a phased-in approach for energy-intensive sectors vulnerable to competition, and staring at a global economic slowdown to pay for just from 15 percent of carbon permits in 2013 rising to 100 percent in 2020.
"The clear political message from us to the (EU executive) Commission is we want these energy-intensive industries looked after," Avril Doyle, the MEP steering EU ETS legislation for the European Parliament, told Reuters.
Tuesday's vote set the legislature's position in energy and climate negotiations with EU leaders ahead of a final agreement expected later this year or early in 2009.
"The greens weren't very happy and those on the side of industry weren't very happy, so I reckon I got it somewhere right in the middle," Doyle added.
The panel backed full auctioning for power plants from 2013, meaning generators would have to pay for every tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, a move likely to dent coal plant profits.
"One hundred percent auctioning for power generators was not contested here at all," said Doyle.
"Some of our Polish colleagues were nervous, we have to show solidarity, if there are real problems for some of our newer member states I think they'll be looked after," she said.
Coal-dependent Poland has tried to assemble a blocking minority to delay adoption of the step.
Climate change could cause more heatwaves, floods, droughts and higher sea levels, the U.N. Climate Panel says.
In a surprise move, the EU lawmakers backed billions of euros of aid to fit carbon capture technology to power plants, in what would be the world's biggest backing for a fix many scientists see as the nearest thing to a climate silver bullet.
The European Parliament member in charge of legislation on carbon capture and storage (CCS), Chris Davies, has previously estimated that could raise up to 10 billion euros ($13.59 billion) to fund 10 to 12 CCS test plants by 2015.
The EU lawmakers also threw the spotlight on more domestic action to fight climate change, cutting import limits on carbon offsets from developing countries through 2020.
Carbon offsets are generated from funding emissions cuts in developing nations, for example through projects to improve energy efficiency or destroy greenhouse gases, and are a cheaper alternative from doing the same in Europe.
The panel vote cut the cap on industry imports of offsets compared to the European Commission's proposals in January, a Commission spokeswoman said. But Doyle said that "I was prepared to be more generous than the Commission's proposal."
The lawmakers also backed more domestic climate action by member states, voting to cut their import limits, too. (Additional reporting by Nina Chestney and Dan Fineren in London; writing by Gerard Wynn; editing by James Jukwey)
Copyright 2008, Thomson Reuters
(3) GREEN BAIL-OUT: CARMAKERS ASK EU FOR $55 BILLION CO2-LOAN
By Joshua Chaffin in Brussels and John Reed in London
Carmakers facing falling sales asked Brussels for a €40bn ($55bn, £31bn) loan package yesterday.
But the request from Acea, the European carmakers' lobby group, for low-interest loans to help fund investment in lower-emission technology and incentives to scrap vehicles more than eight years old, drew a cool response from policymakers.
The US Congress last month approved a $25bn (€18bn, £14bn) loan package for green car investments, prompting European manufacturers to call for similar help from Brussels.
Incentives to scrap old vehicles introduced by EU states such as Spain and Italy have provided a short-term boost to car sales.
Acea said that replacing cars eight years old or more would have a "clear environmental benefit" by saving 20 megatonnes of carbon dioxide a year, or 4.5 per cent of total car emissions.
The European Commission declined to comment on the proposal. But an official, speaking anonymously, said the EU was "not a bank". The official took issue with the industry's numbers and said carmakers were in lobbying mode after last month's European parliament vote on carbon dioxide targets for cars.
Carmakers are still smarting from parliament's decision to hold them to a four-year timetable of emissions cuts, which they say is unrealistic and will cost the industry jobs.
After seeing vehicle sales fall as petrol prices rose this year, carmakers worry that collapsing consumer confidence could further imperil their businesses. "Carmakers face increasingly hesitant consumers and call on governments to respond, stimulate the economy, relieve the credit crunch and restore consumer confidence," Acea said.
Car sales in western Europe fell 9.2 per cent in September to an annualised rate of 12.75m, JD Power and Associates, the industry consultancy, said yesterday.
The soft-loan request from carmakers comes at a time when corporate lobbies are citing the slowing economy and financial crisis as reasons to water down or delay environmental regulations.
Britain's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders yesterday called on Gordon Brown, the prime minister, to ease CO 2 -based car taxes after news that UK car sales had slid 21.2 per cent in September.
The weight of those arguments could become clear today, when the European parliament's environmental committee votes on proposals that form the pillars of the EU's efforts to claim global leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The measures include expanding Europe's emissions trading scheme, accelerating the deployment of carbon capture and storage technology, and setting emissions levels for member states.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008
(4) OPEL, BMW CALL TEMPORARY HALT TO GERMAN CAR PRODUCTION
Berlin - German carmakers Opel and BMW said Tuesday they were calling a temporary halt to production, following a fall-off in demand triggered by the global credit squeeze. Opel announced it was halting production in nearly all its European plants for periods of up to three weeks from October 13.
Luxury carmaker BMW said production at its Leipzig plant in the eastern part of Germany would stop for four days in the last week of October, affecting 2,800 vehicles.
Opel said it would halt production at its plant in Bochum for two weeks from Monday and at Eisenach for three weeks from the same day.
Some 6,800 workers are affected by the move, which the company said was part of a plan to slash vehicle production by 40,000 up to the end of the year.
Opel sold 1.74 million vehicles in Europe in 2007, but this year there has been a dramatic slump in sales, particularly in Spain, Britain and Germany.
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