Posts tagged “European Union”
Europe’s Emissions Cap
This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in particular, and the nature of a market-based emissions cap (AKA cap-and-trade) system in general.
Granted, the ETS is an imperfect cap because it only covers about 45% of total emissions in the EU – most notably it does not include emissions from home heating or automobile transportation. Importantly, though, it does cover major industrial emitters and utility-scale electricity production, which are the major users of coal.
(Read More: Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures)
However, the articles continually say things like this, in Friday’s Washington Post: “Green-friendly Europe has a dirty secret: It is burning a lot more coal.” The schadenfreude exhibited in these articles is unrelated to Europe’s actual record on climate policy.
A recent article by George Monbiot explains one of the potential ramifications of diverting grains into fuel. Thanks to extreme weather around the globe:
”…this is also a year of food deficit, in which we will consume (31 million tons) more grain than farmers produced. If 2013′s harvest does not establish a new world record, the poor are in serious trouble.”
His main point is that thanks to a growing demand for food driven by an increasing population and improving standards of living, along with the conversion of grains into fuel, the world has to break harvest records every year to keep up. Thanks to grain reserves, humanity can weather years that don’t break records, but failing to break records for two or three years in a row means hunger for hundreds of millions because the price of food will spike as speculators capitalize on the fact that low supply relative to demand equates to higher prices. If weather extremes become more and more common, the odds of running out of reserves becomes more and more likely. (See more: Midwestern Drought, Ethanol, & Renewable Fuel Standard)
The European Union announced a major change in its biofuel policy earlier this week, making clear that new laws aimed at limiting crop-based biofuels to only 5 percent of transport fuel used in the region will soon be introduced, putting the biofuel industry itself in peril.
The decision is being made in order to allow room for so-called “advanced biofuels,” a source of energy made from waste products that the EU hopes will take the lead in the industry. This would allow more crops, such as grains and sugar, to be used to feed the world’s population, a cause that has been championed by groups influential enough to paint a negative public image of the biofuel industry at large. (See also: Are You Looking to Invest in the Google of Biofuels?)
EU revs up to prepare for mass adoption of electric cars while Better Place launches the Tokyo Electric Taxi Project.
The European Union has signed an agreement with four nations to move ahead on creating new gas pipelines to reduce its energy dependence on Russia.