Archive for the ‘Express 113’ Category

People and Places Deserving Attention

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
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Queen’s Birthday Honours’ went out to thousands of undoubtedly well-deserved recipients all over the Commonwealth of nations but we saw little or no evidence of recognition of those committed to the environment or climate change action. Luckily for some there’s an accolade like the ABC CARBON 50 to claim. Last week, we presented Australia’s 50 most influential. Hope you made it or at least saw who’s there and who’s not. Next up we want to recognise those climate change and conservation communicators – journalists working tirelessly in the media or those directly aiming to make sure you get the message on clean energy, sustainability or all things good and green. Your nominations please! This week we have people’s views and news from far and wide. There’s Bill Gates in Profile and Peter Seligman at Lucky Last. Malcolm Turnbull turns up again, as does Victor Bivell.  Tim Soutphommasane makes his mark and Thomas Sterner shows up. Adrian Macey gets honoured at Bonn but nothing much else happens, while Kate Galbraith of New York Times gets us thinking about oil spill impacts. Scottish and Irish ideas and schemes abound, while French and Spanish investors plug into Arab solar energy. Wizard Power looks for more funds before the sun sets and Australia’s Sustainable Cities gets marked out of 20.See how Germany is upsetting the status quo for Qantas and for food consumers. Is there really climate chaos lurking or do our climate scientists just need to get their act together?  Let us know what you think. – Ken Hickson

Profile: Bill Gates

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
Posted under Express 113

Profile: Bill Gates

Global business leader & Microsoft founder Bill Gates calls for the development of a form of energy, environmentally designed so that it’s not emitting carbon and helps address the climate change problem. “We can develop the low-cost clean-energy technologies so critically needed by the world’s poor and so essential to ensuring a sustainable planet for all of humanity”. The American Energy Innovation Council, on which Gates plays a critical role, immediately asks the US government to increase its annual expenditure on energy research and development by US$11bn to US$16bn a year.

By Jeff Bater in Wall Street Journal (14 June 2010):

Microsoft chief Bill Gates on Sunday called for the U.S. to become less dependent on foreign oil. But he conceded that it wouldn’t be easy.

Last week, the American Energy Innovation Council, a group of business leaders to which Gates belongs, released a report that argued that overhauling U.S. investment in energy innovation was the most critical element to securing America’s future. It recommended that the U.S. government increase annual investments in clean energy research and development by $11 billion.

Asked on ABC News’s “This Week” how receptive lawmakers have been to the pitch, Gates said: “Well, there is obviously a tight budget. And it would be tough to say that this money should come from existing categories.

“The question is, ‘Can the energy sector finance its own revolution and create these great R&D jobs here in America?’”

” He didn’t elaborate.


Bill Gates statement on the American Energy Innovation Council website:

The world faces many challenges, but none more important than taking immediate and decisive action to develop new, inexpensive clean-energy sources that avoid the negative effects of climate change. Low-cost clean energy is the single most important way to lift poor countries out of poverty and create more stable societies. The whole world would benefit from this, and the United States can and should lead the way.

Decreasing our dependence on coal, oil, and natural gas also will reduce the greenhouse gas pollution that is causing the earth to warm. If we do not dramatically reduce CO2 pollution associated with the use of high-carbon fuels, the earth will continue to get hotter, causing the sea to rise and creating unpredictable weather patterns with potentially catastrophic consequences.

While none of us will be immune from these adverse effects, they will be particularly devastating for the world’s poorest people. Increased droughts and floods, for example, could mean the difference between a harvest that sustains life and a crop failure that ends it.

I’m optimistic about our ability to meet this challenge, but the longer we delay, the more difficult it will be. Delay locks in expensive investments that have huge environmental consequences. Around the world, new coal-fired energy plants that will each emit 300 million tons of CO2 over their 50-year lifetime are being built to meet the world’s growing energy demand. At the same time, developing large amounts of low-cost and reliable clean energy will require time: 10 to 20 years of research and discovery, and, at the very least, another 20 years to build our new energy infrastructure. If we are to meet 2050 targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 80 percent, we must begin now.

With innovation and determination, we can develop the low- cost clean-energy technologies so critically needed by the world’s poor and so essential to ensuring a sustainable planet for all of humanity. Increased federal investment in energy R&D is an essential first step. The time for action is now.


Danny Bradbury in BusinessGreen (14 June 2010):

A group of industry leaders, including Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and General Electric boss Jeff Immelt, stepped up calls for a Manhattan project for low carbon energy last week urging the US government to significantly increase investment in energy research and development.

The group of business leaders formally launched a new group, the American Energy Innovation Council, which immmediately called on the government to increase its annual expenditure on energy research and development by $11bn to $16bn (£10bn) a year.

“Innovations in energy technology can generate significant, quantifiable public benefits that are not reflected in the market price of energy,” said the council in a statement, adding that government funding is essential as the level of risk associated with energy R&D makes it difficult to raise the necessary financing from the private sector.

The Council is formed of a number of high-profile executives with Norman Augustine, former chair of Lockheed Martin and John Doerr, partner at cleantech venture capital company Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, joining Gates and Immelt in the group.

“The government investment unlocks a huge amount of private sector activity, ” said Gates. “But the government has to prime the pump here. Basic ideas start with government investment.”

He added that without greater investment in energy R&D the US would struggle to reduce its reliance on oil. “American dependence on oil has only gone up as we’ve gone through various crises, and not invested in R&D,” he said. “We’ll be depending on oil for decades, but only if we start now will we see things like cars run by breakthrough batteries that change things in a dramatic way.”

The Council, which met with President Obama last Thursday, has set out a series of recommendations designed to reinvigorate US energy policy.

First, it has called for the formation of a non-partisan Energy Strategy Board that could co-ordinate a national energy strategy for the US.

Second, the group recommended that the amount spent on energy R&D should almost triple with immediate effect. “If recommendation two is not adopted, our other recommendations will not matter much. Reliance on incrementalism will not do the job,” the Council said.

The third recommendation calls for the creation of centres of excellence in various areas of energy research, backed by adequate funding. Costing between $150m and $250m per year, the group said that the new R&D hubs should be located in close proximity to each other, share operational objectives and be accountable to each other for results.

The Council also wants the government to commit $1bn in annual funding to the ARPA-E initiative, a Department of Energy programme which received $400m in stimulus funding last year. Modelled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program, it was designed to stimulate new thinking in energy research.

Finally, the group said that $20bn should be committed over ten years to fund an energy challenge program, which would be tasked with creating innovative energy pilot projects such as carbon capture and sequestration facilities, and fourth generation nuclear power plants.

The executives behind the new council all have a degree of vested interest in the low carbon energy sector. Gates recently announced that he is working on the development of a new form of nuclear reactor, while both GE and Lockheed Martin have targeted the renewable energy sector for growth in recent years. Meanwhile, John Doerr’s venture capital firm has emerged as one of the world’s top investors in clean tech start-ups.

However, the group is also representative of the growing number of business leaders calling for the accelerated transition towards a low carbon economy, and the American Energy Innovation Council will now join other increasingly vocal green business groups in campaigning for increased investment in low carbon technology.


Courage & Leadership to Avert Disaster

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
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Courage & Leadership to Avert Disaster

The Rudd Government has been forced to defend its position on climate change after former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull unleashed a vitriolic attack on its political cowardice over its rejected emissions trading scheme, the CPRS. But, according to Eco Investor Editor Victor Bivell it’s an environmental disaster that is unfolding in Australia and the clean energy sector is among the victims. Unlike the BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, this one was brought about by the Government’s decision to delay the CPRS.

David McLennan in Canberra Times (14 June 2010):

The Rudd Government has been forced to defend its position on climate change after former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull unleashed a vitriolic attack on its political cowardice over its emissions trading scheme.

The Government also had to quell further speculation about its leadership and whether Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would keep the top job given Labor’s parlous state in the polls, or whether his deputy Julia Gillard should lead the party to the next election.

Mr Turnbull, who crossed the floor to vote for the Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme after being dumped by his party for supporting it, challenged Mr Rudd to call a double dissolution on the issue and accused him of squibbing the challenge by putting the scheme off until at least 2013.

”There is no reason no political, moral, economic or ethical reason for this extraordinary abandonment of responsibility by the Government,” he said at the weekend.

”What we need to become a truly low-emission economy is courage and leadership.

”Our efforts to deal with climate change have been betrayed by a lack of leadership, a political cowardice the like of which I have never seen in my lifetime before.”

He said Mr Rudd who once labelled climate change the great moral challenge of our time could take the issue to a double-dissolution election, but he did not have the guts to do so.

”And he wonders now why people now ask, What do you stand for, Kevin … What do you believe in? If you do not believe in action on climate change what is the substance, the political substance of your leadership? And the answer is, there is nothing there,” he said.

Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner dismissed the comments, which come ahead of the last sitting period before the winter break and, potentially, the election as Mr Turnbull trying to ”rebuild his shattered political brand”.

”We remain committed to dealing with climate change,” he said.

”International circumstances changed dramatically in the latter part of last year and we’ve had to respond to that. And had it not been for the Greens voting with the Liberals in the Senate we would have got our carbon pollution reduction scheme into law.”

This combined opposition meant that the scheme might not even pass at a joint sitting after a double dissolution, he said.


Victor Bivell in The Australian (15 June 2010):

SINCE BP first announced the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, what President Barack Obama is calling the biggest environmental disaster in US history has seen BP’s share price fall from about 650 pence to a low of 366p on Thursday of last week, a fall of 43 per cent.

In a similar time, many Australian clean energy stocks have fallen by a similar amount. Since April 23, shares in carbon sink company Carbon Conscious have fallen by 51 per cent, geothermal energy developer Geodynamics by 42 per cent, hot water company Quantum Energy by 33 per cent, wind energy generator Infigen by 29 per cent, bioenergy developer AnaeCo by 29 per cent, and geothermal company Hot Rock by 28 per cent.

So what have these companies done to be compared to BP? Are they behind a great environmental disaster in Australia? Certainly not. But an environmental disaster is unfolding here and the clean energy sector is among the victims.

The trigger was Kevin Rudd’s April 27 announcement of the delay in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, and the lack of interim measures to take its place. Why the delay may have prompted share price falls equivalent to BP’s — a company that faces potentially multi-billion-pound costs for the clean-up and compensation claims — seems surprising and certainly unfair.

But there are similarities.

The news images of BP’s broken underwater pipe with an unending plume of oil gushing into the ocean is now a classic that will be replayed for years to come. So too BP’s dramatic attempts to cap the pipe — the container, the robot saw, the giant tin snippers. BP’s repeated failure to cap the pipe saw the problem quickly elevated to Obama’s desk; and the President’s inability to quickly end the problem saw his popularity fall just as quickly.

The image of the underwater pipe spewing oil easily morphs into the image of Australia’s coal-fired power station chimneys and Australia’s car exhaust pipes spewing carbon and other pollution into the air. These pipes have been pluming for years and Rudd came into office with a promise and a plan to cap them. The people bought the promise, even if the plan was not perfect. Like BP, Rudd tried a few times to put a cap on these pipes, but when the going got tough his mistake was to walk away from the job as if he didn’t care and without a back-up plan.

If BP said the pipe was too hard to fix and it was delaying the job for three years, the US would be in uproar. If Obama said the spill was too hard and he was putting it on the back burner for three years, the US would riot. Obama is smart enough to know that.

Our Prime Minister was not.

BP shot itself and the ricochet has hurt the President. Rudd shot himself, and the ricochet, instead of hitting the pipe-polluters, has hit the clean energy sector. If Rudd had only waited while the BP disaster unfolded, we may now have been on our way to capping our own pipes and it would be the clean energy providers, instead of the pipe-polluters, making money.

Victor Bivell is editor of Eco Investor Magazine. See


Morals Aside, Practical Approach to Climate Change Required

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
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Morals Aside, Practical Approach to Climate Change Required

The Prime Minister’s dramatic plunge in voter approval, which began when his Government suspended his ETS ambitions, reflects an electorate that doubts Rudd’s credibility as a leader. There is a need to reframe climate debates in more nationally focused terms. Any carbon pricing must be accompanied by co-ordinated policies in infrastructure, skills and training, and employment generation. This from author and philosopher Tim Soutphommasane.

Tim Soutphommasane in The Australian (14 June 2010):

Labor needs a practical, not a moral, approach to climate change

NOW may seem a strange time for progressives to talk about renewing the climate change debate.

With Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s abandonment of ETS legislation, climate change has ceased to be an urgent political concern.

Those who hoped a Rudd government would deliver decisive action may justifiably feel frustration, if not despair. Little wonder there has been a surge of support for the Greens. Rebuilding the case for progressive climate change politics will naturally take time, but it is important to draw the right lessons from the Rudd government’s first term.

The most obvious lesson is that political reform requires courage and conviction. Labor’s current spiral in the polls is vindication of Machiavelli’s maxim that Fortune favours those princes who are audacious rather than cautious. Rudd Labor’s dramatic plunge in voter approval, which began when the PM suspended his ETS ambitions, reflects an electorate that doubts Rudd’s credibility as a leader.

Isn’t climate change meant to be the greatest moral challenge of our time, after all?

At another level, the failure of progressives’ prosecution of the climate change debate demonstrates a philosophical malaise.

There is no doubt that climate change presents some profound ethical challenges and requires an international response.

Yet the temptation has been to conclude that a global problem requires not only a global solution but also a global morality.

Parochial national interests, the argument runs, must be subordinated to those of humanity at large. Global responsibility must trump patriotism. Where we fail to support significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, we are guilty of immorality.

If only it were so simple.

The failure of Copenhagen has underlined, if ever it needed emphasis, that there are grave problems with relying on cosmopolitan ethics. For we may talk about climate change as a moral problem, but how we deal with our inevitably imperfect and ignoble world is another matter.

Any compelling climate change argument must be integrated into a national story and reformist agenda. There is a need to reframe climate debates in more nationally focused terms. Many progressives on the social democratic Left may decry this as a form of nationalistic retreat. But it does little good to build castles in the air and continue appealing to global solidarity. Reform agendas must be based on broad public support and articulated in the prose of national interest, not in the meter of cosmopolitan poetry.

Building a distinctive Australian story on climate change isn’t necessarily straightforward.

Australians have a complex relationship with the environment.

True, we often express our patriotism in terms of a love of the physical aspects of our country; we all love our sunburnt country.

But the national imagination has always regarded the physical environment as something to conquer: the Australian nation was built by felling trees, cultivating land, damming rivers, and laying roads and railways through mountains and across deserts. We have historically made our living from the land. We treat the environment as an economic resource to be exploited rather than an endowment to be protected.

We need only look to the public’s response to the government’s proposed mining resources rent tax to appreciate how powerful such currents run in our psyche. The language of jobs and growth has long ruled our vernacular.

This doesn’t mean that nation-building and climate change action are incompatible. But it does mean that a more integrated approach is needed. Any carbon pricing must be accompanied by co-ordinated policies in infrastructure, skills and training, and employment generation.

This approach would reverse some of the present conventional wisdom, namely, the belief that moving to reduce carbon emissions will lead to “carbon leakage” as investment flows to those countries unencumbered by stringent emissions targets.

At the same time, this approach would involve a more powerful social-justice imperative. The costs of climate change adjustment will be borne disproportionately by low-income households and workers in emissions-intensive industries. Instead of retraining redundant workers down the track to make them fit a new low-carbon economy, the transitional should begin today.

There are compelling reasons for Australian progressives to embrace a more muscular vision of nation-building and social justice as opposed to the grandiosity of cosmopolitan ethics. The moral challenge of climate change – so apparently neat and unambiguous – has for too long been divorced from the political challenge, something so unavoidably messy.

If a moral language can’t motivate us to translate principles into practice, then it does little good for us to parade our virtue.

Emphasising patriotism and nation-building may seem strange to suggest as a response to what is a global problem. Yet, strangely enough, decisive action may require us to be patriotic savages, motivated by working for our national tribe, rather than cultivated cosmopolitan ghosts, moved by a love of humanity.

Tim Soutphommasane gave a keynote lecture on climate change as part of the Alfred Deakin Lectures 2010 on 11 June. He is a political theorist, commentator and author of Reclaiming Patriotism: Nation-Building for Australian Progressives.

A research fellow at Monash University’s National Centre for Australian Studies and a senior project leader at the Per Capita think tank, Tim writes the “Ask the Philosopher” column in The Weekend Australian, which offers a philosophical take on politics, society and public policy. He has written widely for the British and Australian press, among other things as a contributing leader-writer for The Financial Times and The Guardian. His work has also appeared in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Monthly, The Australian Literary Review and The Spectator.

Tim worked on the speechwriting staff of former New South Wales premier Bob Carr and on the staff of then opposition leader Kevin Rudd during the 2007 federal election campaign. He was a junior associate at public affairs firm Hawker Britton and, for two years, was editor in chief of The Oxonian Review of Books, Oxford’s postgraduate literary and political journal.

Of Chinese and Lao extraction, and a first-generation Australian, Tim was raised in the southwest suburbs of Sydney. He recently completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in political theory at the University of Oxford, from where he also holds a Master of Philosophy degree (with distinction). Tim studied at Oxford as Commonwealth and Jowett Senior Scholar at Balliol College. He is a first-class honours graduate of the University of Sydney.


Is The Answer to Increase Taxes on Fossil Fuels?

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
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Is The Answer to Increase Taxes on Fossil Fuels?

It is possible to achieve sustainable economic growth, reduced poverty and an improved climate. Environmental economist Thomas Sterner has found that one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal would be to increase the taxes on fossil fuels. Higher fuel taxes in Europe than in USA has indeed reduced both emissions from the transport sector and the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Eureka Public release (14 June 2010):

Green and fair economic growth with more expensive fossil fuels

Why are the international climate negotiations moving so slowly? Because countries have so far been unable to define what global fairness really is, says Thomas Sterner, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Gothenburg.

Sterner and several other prominent economists including several recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics spoke at the World Bank conference on development economics in Stockholm recently.

Sterner’s research shows that it is indeed possible to achieve sustainable economic growth, reduced poverty and an improved climate – if we make fossil fuels more expensive.

The European countries and USA have emitted more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than anybody else. Yet, in recent years, fast growing economies such as China and India have been picking up the Western pollution habit. In fact, China has even surpassed the rest of the world and currently tops the not very flattering list of the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitters. However, if we look at emissions per capita, then China is still far behind USA. And India’s per-capita level is even much lower than China’s.

‘If there is such a thing as a right to emit greenhouse gases, then people and countries are valuing that right higher and higher. The question is whether some countries have more of a right than others’, says Sterner.

Reducing emissions is very costly, and who is to pay? The answer to this question could be determined, says Sterner, by making all countries reduce their emissions by the same proportion, say by 50 percent. Another way would be to grant each individual in the world the exact same right to emit. If we were to implement the first alternative, so that all countries have to decrease their emission by the same percentage, then USA would get to emit 16 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, while India would have to make do with only 4 percent. If we instead were to implement the latter principle, that all individuals have an equal right to emit, then USA would be allotted 4 percent while India would be able to enjoy the luxury of emitting 16 percent.

‘It doesn’t take a genius to see that India prefers the latter alternative while USA likes the idea of the former. This example clearly illustrates the reason why the international climate negotiations don’t seem to be making much progress’, Sterner explains.

Carbon dioxide emissions need to be reduced

The Copenhagen conference can certainly be viewed as a failure since it did not result in any binding agreements. Yet, one can also think of the situation as ‘negotiations in progress’. The problem though is that the climate issue is urgent.

To successfully manage the climate challenge, the world needs to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions significantly. A climate model developed by Christian Azar and other researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology – the Chalmers Climate Calculator – shows that in order to reach the goal of increasing the global average temperature by no more than two degrees Celsius, the world’s total emissions must decrease by around two percent per year.

Sterner has found that one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal would be to increase the taxes on fossil fuels. Today, these taxes are considerably higher in Europe than in USA, and this has indeed reduced both emissions from the transport sector and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The consumption of petrol goes hand in hand with the income trend, according to Sterner’s research, and this means that the level of a country’s petrol tax is very decisive for that country’s emission level. Italy and the UK, with their relatively expensive petrol, are in this sense more environmentally friendly than USA and Canada, whose low taxes do not do much to help reduce emissions.

Poverty calls for economic growth

At the same time, half of the world’s population suffer from poverty, which calls for significant economic growth. ‘To make the needed economic growth sustainable, we must have instruments in place that make the right sectors and technologies grow. If we again turn to the transport sector, we know that a five percent increase in income leads to the same size increase in emissions. If we want to reduce the emissions by two percent, we must increase the fuel taxes by around nine percent per year at least until the price of fossil fuels reaches the costs of sustainable alternatives’, says Sterner.

A common argument against petrol taxes is that they are said to affect the poor in particular (the tax is regressive). But Sterner’s research shows that petrol taxes instead affect the rich more, especially in poor countries (which makes the tax progressive). One reason behind this finding is that poor people usually do not drive much, and their indirect consumption of petrol (related to public transport) makes up a relatively small share of their household budget.

‘The concern that the petrol tax is regressive and strikes the poor may be due to the fact that the first studies on this issue were conducted in USA in the 1980s and 1990s. But countries differ. In USA, many poor citizens drive a car and public transport is generally not very well developed. If we instead look at the poorest countries, we see that cars and petrol are luxury products. This means that the issue must be studied in countries with different income levels and distributions’, says Sterner.

At the World Bank’s ABCDE Conference (Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics), Sterner spoke on Environmental Commons and the Green Economy.

The annual ABCDE Conference, which dates back to 1989, has become one of the most important yearly conferences for research within the field of developmental economics. This year’s conference was hosted jointly by the Swedish Government and the World Bank and gathered around 600 guests from around the world in Stockholm on May 31-June 2.

The list of speakers included several Noble Prize winners – Elinor Ostrom, Joseph Stiglitz, Eric Maskin, James Mirrlees and Robert Solow – as well as the World Bank’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Justin Yifu Lin.

The conference was concluded with three Nobel Prize winners discussing ‘Development Challenges in a Post-Crisis World’. Stephanie Flanders, economics editor at BBC, lead the discussion.


Bonn Climate Talks Falter On Way To Replace Kyoto

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
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Bonn Climate Talks Falter On Way To Replace Kyoto

Will there ever be a definitive way forward to reach international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Small steps were made at Bonn to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol agreement, which expires in 2012, and New Zealand climate change ambassador Adrian Macey was elected vice-chairman of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations.

By Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent, Financial; Times (13 June 2010):

Christiana Figueres startled delegates when she addressed the United Nations climate conference in Bonn last week: “I do not believe we will ever have a final agreement on climate change, certainly not in my lifetime,” the Costa Rican diplomat told them.

Her words count, and not only because of her 15-year involvement in tackling global warming. Next month, Ms Figueres takes over from the Netherlands’ Yvo de Boer as executive secretary of the UN’s climate change secretariat, based in the former west German capital.

As Bonn’s low, heavy skies pelted delegates with rain, much of the rest of the talk during the long sessions was of technical matters such as the measurement of greenhouse gases. But in quiet conversations in the corridors, in cafes over hurried coffees or while scurrying between thunderstorms, the deeper question some officials were asking was whether there was indeed any point in continuing with this type of negotiation, which had failed for 20 years. Could the UN climate talks be reformed – or were they just too broken to fix?

For more than three years, the chief aim has been to set a deadline for when talks must result in a fully legally binding international treaty, which would replace the flawed Kyoto protocol when its main provisions expire in 2012. Last December’s Copenhagen summit, the most important gathering of world leaders ever to engage with global warming, ended without a firm outcome amid scenes of chaos and acrimonious disagreement. Six months on, the views articulated by Ms Figueres mark an important new stage in UN thinking on how the world’s response to the threat of warming will take shape.

Today’s political atmosphere is, many officials privately acknowledge, even more hostile to a climate deal than it was last December. Leaders around the world, already preoccupied by the aftermath of the financial crisis and recession, are in some cases having to impose painful public spending cuts.

In Europe, keeping the euro intact and shoring up Greece and other wobbling economies has left little time for green policies. When Connie Hedegaard, the European Union climate change commissioner who chaired most of the Copenhagen summit, suggested in May that the bloc’s emissions-cutting target could be toughened, she was greeted with derision by sections of business.

In the US, a bill on climate change that would have brought in a cap-and-trade system to put a market price on emissions was in effect shelved as it lacked support among Democrats. Proposals for a new energy bill are still in flux.

Outside the conference centre, protesters bearing banners and placards acted as a reminder that the real environmental story was happening elsewhere, as they railed against BP and its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which has already resulted in some restrictions on oil exploration. The spill could swing public opinion on the energy industry and the environment in unpredictable ways.

Given these factors, even some of the strongest advocates of a climate treaty have seemed to lose heart. Ms Hedegaard says the hopes of some at Copenhagen – that a treaty could be drawn up at the next meeting, this December in Mexico – are mistaken. Even according to Mr de Boer, architect of the Copenhagen talks, “If we are to get a treaty, a year later [the end of 2011] is much more realistic.”

At Copenhagen, the world’s biggest economies signed up for the first time to limits on their emissions. But partly because of the complex and gruelling nature of the UN negotiation process, by which every nation must agree to every detail of the document before it can be passed, a treaty remained out of reach. When a handful of small countries – chiefly Venezuela, Bolivia and Sudan – refused to co-operate, they scuppered the chances of the agreement being adopted.

But Ms Figueres seemed to be acknowledging that any agreement reached will by its nature be partial and constantly subject to revision, for instance in the light of changing economic circumstances and evolving scientific knowledge. In that case, some in Bonn last week were mooting, countries could still work towards a legally binding treaty but it could be in a less rigid format. For instance, the definition of “legally binding” could be redrawn and a new agreement could include mechanisms for countries to take on a range of emissions targets depending on their circumstances. There could even be opt-outs for some countries on certain minor points.

Officials are also conscious that some flexibility needs to be shown to the US, where President Barack Obama’s ambitions for a legally binding treaty are constrained by domestic politics. At Copenhagen, Mr Obama offered a 17 per cent cut in US emissions, based on 2005 levels – provisional on domestic legislation setting limits on emissions. There is now scant chance of such legislation passing, owing to opposition within his own party and the increased power that the looming midterm congressional elections may give his opponents from November.

Without an emissions cap agreed at home, US officials would find it hard to negotiate a treaty capping global emissions. They also will not repeat the mistake of the Kyoto protocol, whereby the White House signed up to the protocol but Congress never ratified it.

Without the US, any new treaty would fail just as Kyoto did. Accordingly, some developed country officials told the Financial Times they were seeking ways to help the US finesse this point.

For some long-time participants in climate talks – which have been running in various forms for two decades without producing a global treaty that limits emissions – pursuing the holy grail of a comprehensive treaty is anyway a mistake. “I don’t think the most important thing right now is a treaty. It is a distraction,” says Paul Bledsoe of the US National Commission on Energy Policy, a group of experts that advises policymakers. “I’m not saying it isn’t the end goal – it is – but concentrating too hard on a treaty allows bad actors to throw up roadblocks and consumes the time of good actors who could be doing other things.”

A series of partial agreements on key aspects of climate change may be a more realistic way forward, he suggests. One of the more successful parts of the Copenhagen summit was a widespread acceptance of a format called Redd – reduced emissions from forest degradation and deforestation – that seeks to encourage flows of financial assistance from the rich world to poor countries that agree to preserve their existing forests.

Norway demonstrated its enthusiastic support for Redd in May when it signed the first deal under the concept, pledging to pay Indonesia $1bn to preserve large tracts of its forests. Pledges due from other nations, including the UK and Germany, could eventually increase this to $4bn.

Redd has its critics, however – some green campaigners point out that Indonesia still plans to cut down large areas of forest – and in its current form is more of a collection of guidelines on issues such as counting emissions rather than a fully worked-out mechanism for financing, on the model of carbon trading.

But financial assistance from rich to poor countries, to help them cut emissions and cope with the effects of warming, is a bone of contention in the talks. Rich countries have agreed in theory that flows of $100bn a year to poor countries, from public and private sources, will be needed by 2020, without any agreement on how this might be managed. Redd has shown that financing agreements are possible, says Mr Bledsoe.

Copenhagen was not as bad as many liked to present it, says Todd Stern, US envoy for climate change. By the end of the conference, the world’s biggest economies had signed up to an accord that marked the first time both developed and developing countries agreed to place limits on their greenhouse gas emissions.

“From my perspective, there was actually significant progress made at Copenhagen … I think we ought to devote a lot of attention and focus on building on that progress,” he says. Although the US still wants a full and comprehensive treaty, Mr Stern hints that this is not the only possible outcome. “Exactly what form [progress] will take, we don’t know yet.”

For some businesses, however, a move away from seeking a comprehensive climate treaty as soon as possible is a worrying prospect. Mark Kenber of the Climate Group, which represents companies that have made pledges on emissions, says the risk is that business could be left in limbo. For years, some companies have used the lack of a treaty as an argument for holding off on emissions cuts.

“Businesses want a level playing field, and that is what an international treaty provides,” he says. “It is theoretically possible to [have a series of] bilateral agreements and do this from the bottom up, but it is far harder than if you do it through a treaty.”


Report from New Zealand:

New Zealand is one of the few countries to take a positive out of international climate change negotiations in Germany.

Two weeks of talks concluded in Bonn on Friday. They were the first major United Nations event on climate change since last year’s disappointing Copenhagen conference.

Small steps were made to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol agreement, which expires in 2012.

New Zealand climate change ambassador Adrian Macey was elected vice-chairman of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, which “delighted” International Climate Change Negotiations Minister Tim Groser.

“New Zealand is highly respected internationally – a lot of people over many years, from different governments, have been contributing to building that brand of integrity and trust.

“People trust New Zealand to be fair, professional and hard-working.”

Greenpeace New Zealand praised Macey’s appointment.

But the organisation’s political adviser Geoff Keey, who attended the Bonn conference, warned that the Kyoto Protocol “track” contained the biggest tensions in the negotiations and Macey would have to call on all his skills to find an agreement.

Macey’s appointment by the 185 countries at the conference was not without controversy.

The Group of 77 and China, a coalition of 120 developing countries, held crisis talks behind closed doors to discuss whether to support Macey’s bid, which was initially for the chair.

A source who attended the meeting, speaking to The Press on condition of anonymity, said there was real concern in the room – especially from Saudi Arabia and Egypt – about New Zealand’s stance that it did not want extra meetings to be held on the Kyoto Protocol negotiating track.

“That move was interpreted that New Zealand wanted to kill Kyoto,” the source said.

“There’s so much mistrust and a lot of suspicion about the Kiwis.”

Other countries, particularly Pacific island nations, sympathised with New Zealand and opposition faded when Macey was put up for the vice-chairmanship instead.

Groser said New Zealand was unlike other developed nations in that it was relaxed about whether there was a single global deal or separate agreements for developed countries already committed to the Kyoto Protocol, and developing countries and the United States.

“We’re not hardline like some developed countries on this … we’re more interested in the substance of the commitments.”

Veteran trade negotiator Joanne Tyndall has been appointed to replace Macey.

The Bonn meeting seems to have done little to bridge the gap between rich and poor countries.

It produced a streamlined blueprint towards a deal, which has been roundly criticised.

The Group of 77 and China said the text was “unbalanced”, while the United States said elements were “unacceptable”.


Cheers! Irish Ideas and Scottish Schemes Gain Global Attention

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
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Cheers! Irish Ideas and Scottish Schemes Gain Global Attention

The Environment Council in Luxembourg has been told how setting tough emissions reduction targets in Scotland is providing the stability for additional investment in low carbon industries. While the Irish Times points out that phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, of which at least 82 billion Euros goes to oil companies and other producers, could be the very source of funds needed to compensate developing countries for taking action on climate change.

If this could be switched to where it’s needed most, the world would take a quantum leap in the right direction.

UK Public Service Report (14 June 2010):

Scotland’s action to transform to a low carbon economy has been highlighted to Europe as a leading example of climate change.

The Environment Council in Luxembourg has been told how setting tough emissions reduction targets in Scotland is providing the stability for additional investment in low carbon industries.

Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson met Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne to agree on the economic case for setting a Europe wide 30 per cent greenhouse gas reduction target. They also discussed carbon capture and storage and the forthcoming UK Energy Bill.

In a meeting with Ms Lykke Friis, Danish Minister for the Climate, Energy and Equal Rights, Mr Stevenson discussed co-operation opportunities with Denmark in offshore renewables, environmental planning and wind energy. The Scottish European Green Energy Centre in Aberdeen will follow up these discussions up with Danish counterparts.

Stewart Stevenson said: “Scotland’s ambition is already setting an example internationally to cut emissions and it is important to take every opportunity to reinforce the message that a low-carbon Europe is feasible, affordable – and ultimately unavoidable. The Environment Council has today heard our case that moving beyond the current 20 per cent emissions reduction target for 2020 is fundamental for European leadership in this area.

“We are working closely with the UK government and others in Europe to put the case that investment in low carbon technologies and industries can bring new opportunities for economic growth.”

UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: “This is a new start, with the UK Government and Scottish Government working together in making the economic case for going low carbon, including cutting EU emissions by 30 per cent.”


The Irish Times (14 June 2010):

IT WAS never going to be easy for the representatives of 184 countries meeting in Bonn last week to deal with the debris left scattered after the inconclusive result of last December’s UN climate change summit in Copenhagen.

The drafting of its rather non-committal “accord” by the chosen few and its presentation at the eleventh hour on a take-it-or-leave-it basis generated enormous mistrust, especially among developing countries, and even threatened to undermine the United Nations itself as the appropriate forum for negotiating measures aimed at mitigating the impacts of global warming.

Against that unpromising backdrop, the Bonn talks were surprisingly constructive. As outgoing UN climate chief Yvo de Boer noted, countries were “talking to each other rather than at each other” with a view to laying the groundwork for this year’s climate summit in Cancún, Mexico.

Although nothing concrete was agreed, delegates will meet in Bonn again in August and there will be a further week-long round of talks, probably in October – six weeks before they are due to reconvene for the 16th annual Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or Cop 16.

One of the lessons learned from the Copenhagen fiasco is that a more inclusive approach must be adopted – something that “did not happen” at Cop 15, certainly not during the last few chaotic days of high-level negotiations in the Danish capital.

The truth is that the UN is the only international organisation where every country sits at the table as an equal. The UNFCCC has its drawbacks, in that all decisions must be adopted by consensus, but it is the only valid way to proceed. That said, it is quite deplorable that Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries, including leftist Venezuela, used this consensus rule last week to block a perfectly reasonable request by vulnerable small island states for an update on the latest scientific evidence for global warming.

Given that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is not due to complete its fifth assessment until 2014 and that doubts have been cast on some elements of its fourth assessment, published in 2007, any solid peer-reviewed scientific work should be put in the public domain to guide the negotiations.

One of the most pressing matters is to “operationalise” (in UNFCCC jargon) the US$30 billion (€24.7 billion) pledged in “fast-start” aid to help developing countries cope with climate change, from now to 2012. This is a mere token of what is to come; by 2020, according to promises made in Copenhagen, it should rise to $100 billion (€82.5 billion) a year.

In these difficult times, one might well ask where such sums will be found. But there is one very obvious source. Coincidentally, the OECD last week called for the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies worth €459 billion a year, of which at least €82.5 billion goes to oil companies and other producers.

If this could be switched to where it’s needed most, the world would take a quantum leap in the right direction.


Large Scale Arab & Australia Solar Projects Steam Ahead

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
Posted under Express 113

Large Scale Arab & Australia Solar Projects Steam Ahead

French and Spanish companies are key investors in the first utility-scale Consolidated Solar Plant in the United Arab Emirates, the first to be registered under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism which is eligible for carbon credits. In Australia, Wizard Power is seeking additional investment after receiving A$60 million from the Government to develop a concentrated solar power plant in South Australia, utilising locally developed technology.

By Ben Sharples and Susan Li for Bloomberg

Wizard Power, an Australian solar technology company, said it will seek debt and equity financing in addition to government funding to develop a power plant at the town of Whyalla in South Australia state.

“The total project value is A$230 million ($201 million), and besides the government’s contribution there will be both debt and equity finance for this project,” Tony Robey, chief executive officer, said in a Bloomberg Television report last month. He didn’t specify if Canberra-based Wizard Power would sell bonds or take loans and whether equity financing will come from a stake sale or public share offering.

The Australian government will provide A$60 million to help build the 400-megawatt solar power project, Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said May 11. The plant is being developed by the Whyalla SolarOasis Consortium, which includes Wizard, N.P. Power and Sustainable Power Partners. One megawatt can power about 1,000 Australian homes.

“The project is built around the technology, which we have developed with the Australian National University, which is the world’s largest solar concentrating technology,” Robey said. “These are dishes about 500 square meters in area, which concentrate the sun’s rays to over 2,000 times, allowing us to generate very high temperatures for power production.”

Source: and

By Nour Malas in Wall Street Journal

Abu Dhabi government-owned Masdar, the renewable energy initiative, appointed Total SA of France and Abengoa Solar of Spain as partners on a $600 million solar-power project in the Gulf emirate—the world’s largest concentrated solar power, or CSP, plant.

Shams 1 solar-power station will have an approximate capacity of 100 megawatts and will be developed on a build-own-operate basis in a joint venture. Masdar owns 60% of the project, and Total and Abengoa each hold a 20% share, the companies said in a joint news release.

“We expect construction to start in a few weeks,” Mohamed Al Zaabi , the project’s manager, said in a presentation in Abu Dhabi. Commercial operations are due to start in the third quarter of 2012, Mr. Al Zaabi said.

The CSP plant will extend over a one-square-mile area, situated at Madinat Zayed about 75 miles southwestof Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It will have enough capacity to supply 20,000 households.

The project is the first of three CSP plants that will feed green power into the Abu Dhabi grid, Mr. Al Zaabi said. The plant will help meet rising power demand in Abu Dhabiemirate, which is expected to reach up to 20 gigawatts in 2020, from a current eight gigawatts, he added.

Abu Dhabi launched Masdar in April 2006 to establish the sheikdom as a hub for renewable energy and green technologies at a time of rising concerns over global warming, fueled by increased consumption of hydrocarbons. The emirate, the largest of seven that make up the U.A.E. and producer of almost all of the country’s crude oil, has a plan to generate 7% of its power capacity from renewables by 2020.

“We believe it’s the first step in the region, but it will be a cornerstone going forward,” said Abengoa Chief Executive Santiago Seage. “We think that the Mena [Middle East-North Africa] region in general can be a very important part of our generation portfolio, a high percentage.”

Nick Carter, director general of Abu Dhabi’s regulation and supervision bureau, said the project was “a massive leap forward for the sector.”

“This is the first time in the emirate we can supply a significant amount of capacity without relying on fossil fuels,” Mr. Carter said.

Shams 1 will be the first utility-scale, commercial solar-power project in the U.A.E., and the first CSP plant to be registered under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism and is eligible for carbon credits, according to Wednesday’s statement. It will displace about 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off Abu Dhabi’s roads.

The plant has been held back as the global financial crisis hit projects in Abu Dhabi, with contracts for the project originally due to be awarded about a year ago.

Total and Abengoa will invest in the project alongside Masdar according to their respective equity shares, with the plan to borrow via project financing, Masdar Chief Executive Officer Sultan Al Jaber said.

“We always try to leverage on project financing to raise funding,” he said, adding that specific borrowing plans haven’t been outlined yet.

“We are going to start construction in July with our own financing resources, and we will be leveraging in the future,” Mr. Seage said, adding that he believes Shams 1 “will be highly attractive” to banks.

The solar plant is being built under the independent water and power producer model Abu Dhabi already uses for power generation and water desalination.

Under the model, the project company will sell power to state utility Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Co., or Adwec, under a power purchase agreement.

Abu Dhabi’s government will pay a “green tariff” to compensate Adwec for the difference between average domestic power generation cost and generation cost for the CSP project, the Mr. Carter said.

Although the cost of generating electricity from solar plants has come down in recent years, it remains still more expensive than conventionally generated electricity.

“It’s a way for the government to compensate the cost of renewable energy,” Mr. Carter said, adding that the cost gap is expected to narrow over the next 10 to 15 years.

Masdar, which is also building a $22 billion carbon-neutral city on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, has had to review its project plans as the global financial crisis hit the oil-rich emirate.

Mr. Al Jaber said Wednesday that the company wasn’t scaling back its plans—though it has become “more capable” and “smarter about doing business”—and plans for Masdar City remained intact.


Sustainable Darwin Comes Out Ahead in Top 20

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
Posted under Express 113

Sustainable Darwin Comes Out Ahead in Top 20

The Sustainable Cities Index, developed by the Australian Conservation Foundation  tracks the progress of Australia’s 20 largest cities across 15 indicators including air quality, ecological footprint, green buildings, water, biodiversity, health, density, wellbeing, transport, employment, climate change readiness, education, food production, public participation and household debt.

By Environment reporter Sarah Clarke for ABC News (15 June 2010)

Darwin and Brisbane have been ranked as the country’s most sustainable capitals while Perth is the least sustainable in an assessment of the carbon footprint of Australia’s 20 largest cities.

The Australian Conservation Foundation tracked the progress of the nation’s 20 largest cities.

The study looked at key indicators including air quality, climate change readiness, public transport, and water use.

Darwin performed well in all categories, and is the nation’s most sustainable city, followed by Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Brisbane was third, Canberra fifth, followed by Hobart and Melbourne.

Sydney ranked 12th, Adelaide 14th and Perth came in last.

But the Foundation’s Don Henry says the results show even the most sustainable cities need to do more to reduce their ecological footprint.

“We found Darwin, the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane are up there near the top. We found Perth, Geelong, Newcastle are near the bottom,” he said.

“I think the important point is we’re all in a pretty average space and our cities can do a lot better to be more sustainable.”

Mr Henry says Australians use more water and energy and own more cars per person than the citizens of almost any other developed country in the world.


AAP report (15 June 2010):

Darwin has been ranked the country’s most sustainable city in a new index created by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

The Sustainable Cities Index tracks the progress of Australia’s 20 largest cities across 15 indicators including air quality, ecological footprint, green buildings, water, biodiversity, health, density, wellbeing, transport, employment, climate change readiness, education, food production, public participation and household debt.

Darwin topped the list, scoring well with clean air and strong biodiversity but lost marks on health and preparedness for climate change.

It had the lowest unemployment rate at 1.89 per cent and household repayments were the lowest, with less than 23 per cent of household income spent on loan repayments.

Perth was the least sustainable city.

It was dragged down by recording the highest level of water use, ecological footprint per person and car ownership, with 641 private vehicles for every one thousand people.

ACF executive director Don Henry said the index was sure to ignite inter-city rivalries and stimulate debate.

“Australia’s major cities consistently rate among the most liveable, but liveability is not the same as sustainability,” Dr Henry said in a statement.

“In this federal election year it’s up to our political leaders to prove they have the plans to deliver world class public transport systems, clean up Australia’s vehicle fleet and make our cities truly sustainable.”

Queensland had the most cities in the top 20.

The Sunshine Coast came in second, Brisbane third, Townsville fourth, the Gold Coast eighth and Toowoomba 11th.

The Sunshine Coast shares the top of the environmental performance category with Brisbane and it was listed as having the best air quality.

Full report:


As Shoppers Get Real Oil, Fliers May Need To Pay for Emissions

Posted by admin on June 16, 2010
Posted under Express 113

As Shoppers Get Real Oil, Fliers May Need To Pay for Emissions

Why are the Germans upsetting the status quo? German supermarket chain ALDI is the first in Australia to introduce a consumer label that shows the greenhouse gases generated by a product – in this case olive oil – and the German Government plans to levy an emissions tax on airlines flying into its air space has really upset Qantas, in spite of flying its green tinged A380 (pictured).

Aldi first to show impact of products on greenhouse gas emissions

Kerrie Sinclair in the Courier Mail (9 June 2010):

A NEW sticker on a bottle of olive oil may kickstart action to give Australian shoppers clear information about the impact on the environment of the products they buy.

The label  shows the greenhouse gases generated by a product – including its raw materials and manufacturing process – to allow shoppers to compare emissions as part of buying decisions.

The local arm of German grocery chain ALDI has become the first company in Australia to join the labelling program, which operates in 19 countries and is run here by Planet Ark.

ALDI will start the program here later this year when it applies a label to its olive oil range, a move the company says won’t bring any price rise.

ALDI’s managing director for buying, Tom Daunt, said it made good business sense to “protect and promote the environment”.

Planet Ark program manager Diane Mann said the label appeared on hundreds of product categories in UK stores and companies in the US, China, South Korea and Taiwan were getting involved in the program.

“This is the first time full emissions data will be disclosed on a product here and that transparency is going to be a big incentive for business to reduce emissions and for consumers to understand these impacts,” Ms Mann said.

“Australians are looking for this information and we’re aiming to get up to speed with where they are in the UK as soon as we can.”

But it may be some time until shoppers see carbon data on a range of products here.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council queried if emissions data should be disclosed or if there should be a single rating representing global warming, water use and recycling impacts.

AFGC chief executive Kate Carnell said the industry “isn’t negative” to the concept of emissions data on products

but Coles said it had no immediate plans to use the label and Woolworths said any label would add to costs and potentially confuse customers.


Steve Creedy, Aviation writer in The Australian (11 June 2010):

QANTAS has slammed a new German “environmental” departure tax that will mean Australians will pay more to fly to Europe.

The airline also believes the tax will add to what it already sees as an unfair burden from the European Union’s proposed emissions trading scheme.

Angry airlines claim the E1 billion ($1.45bn) that the E14 per person departure tax would pour into government coffers would exceed the combined annual profit of Germany’s carriers.

They are particularly incensed that — as happens in Britain — the new departure tax is in addition to the proposed European emissions trading scheme costs, and they argue that it is really a revenue-raising move designed to help the German government with economic restructuring.

“It is crazy,” said Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who confirmed that the tax would hit Australian travellers on the airline’s Frankfurt route. “We’ve been saying we want a global approach to this because you’re going to have ETSs that are going to overlap, and these types of country-driven taxes that are double dipping.

“And you’ve got an industry that’s made a half a per cent margin, just coming out of the worse period in its history — it can’t afford this.”

Qantas is already unhappy that the European ETS, which is based on sector distance, will create distortions for traffic from Australia. The ETS applies from the last take-off point prior to entering Europe and means that flights from the Middle East will pay less than those originating in Singapore and Bangkok.

“On top of this, you are going to have certain ports that have extra costs associated with them, and all of this is going to impact on which way the traffic flows and what it means to the economics of various routes,” Mr Joyce said. “And the airlines obviously have to continue to look at that, figuring out do they need to adjust schedules, aircraft types and services in order to be able to cope with it.”

News of the tax cast a shadow over the final day of the International Air Transport Association’s annual conference in Berlin.

“This is the worst kind of short-sighted policy irresponsibility,” IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani said. “It’s a cash grab by a cash-strapped government. Painting it green adds insult to injury. There will be no environmental benefit from the economic damage caused.”

Industry officials pointed to an attempt by the Dutch government to introduce a similar tax that cost The Netherlands E1.2 billion in lost business, and they warned it could damage Europe’s already weak economy. The Dutch tax was eventually repealed.

The officials also questioned the timing of the German tax, as Europe remained the only region where the industry was still in the red, and this had been exacerbated by the volcanic ash crisis, which saw 100,000 flights cancelled. Airlines are pushing for a global approach to green taxes and emission trading schemes and are backing a push spearheaded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

But the new tax has sparked fears that other cash-strapped governments might follow the German and British example.

Mr Joyce said decisions by individual jurisdictions to introduce their own taxes was a setback to those attempts.

“I think having multiple taxes from different governments that are going to be in this environmental space means it’s going to be a lot harder to get a global sectoral approach,” he said.