Archive for the ‘Express 89’ Category

Profiles: President Obama & Premier Wen

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Profiles: President Obama & Premier Wen

There’s no doubt these two leaders played the most critical role in getting an acceptable global climate deal in Copenhagen. US President Barrack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met at the crucial late stage to clear the air on the three most contentious issues: verification guarantees, financing for global warming action and permitted emission levels.

US ABC News’ Jim Sciutto and Sunlen Miller report:

President Obama touted that “for the first time in history, all major economies have come together to accept their responsibility to take action to confront the threat of climate change,” calling the late-hour agreement struck in Copenhagen, Denmark an “unprecedented breakthrough.”

The President noted that the countries came to the Copenhagen climate change conference with an “ambitious target” to reduce emissions – reaffirming the three components he called for in his speech before leaders earlier today: transparency, mitigation and finance.

Mr. Obama noted that he had a meeting with the leaders from China, India, Brazil, and South Africa before an agreement was reached.

“And that’s where we agreed to list our national actions and commitments, to provide information on the implementation on these actions through national communications, with international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines,” Mr. Obama said, “We agreed to set a mitigation target to limit warming to no more than 2 degree Celsius, and importantly to take action to meet this objective consistent with science.”

The accord is not legally binding, but Mr. Obama said that the hope is that the “we’re in this together” mentality will be a watch-dog of sorts among the countries.

“The way this agreement is structured, each nation will be putting concrete commitments into an appendix of the document and so will lay out very specifically what each country’s intentions are. Those commitments will then be subject to a international consultation and analysis….. it will do is allow for each country to show to the world that they are doing. And there will be a sense on the part of each country that we’re in this together. And we’ll know who is meeting and who is not meeting the mutual obligations that have been set forth.”

While expressing hope for a legally binding agreement in the future, the first goal of the summit which had to be scaled back, Mr. Obama admitted that it is going to “be very hard,” and “take some time.”

“It is still going to require more work and greater confidence building between emerging countries, the least developed countries and the developed countries before I think you are going to see another legally binding treaty signed. I actually think that is necessary for us to get to such a treaty, and I am supportive of such efforts but this is a classic example of a situation where if we just waited for that then we would not make any progress. And in fact I think there might be such frustration and cynicism that rather than taking one step forward, we ended up taking two steps back.”

As he often does, Mr. Obama’s message at the summit was to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

“This is hard within countries, it’s going to be even harder between countries and you know one of the things that I felt very strongly about over the course of this year is that the hard stuff requires not paralysis but it requires going ahead and making the best of the situation at this point.” 

The President said the progress did not come easily but that this alone is not enough.

“Going forward we are going to have to build on the momentum that we established here in Copenhagen to ensure that international action to significantly reduce emissions is sustained and sufficient over time. We have come a long way but we have much more to go.”

Mr. Obama will depart the conference earlier than the rest of the leaders due to the massive winter storm headed for Washington, D.C. But, Mr. Obama said that he’s confident with the status of agreement and can leave before an official vote.

“Because of weather constraints in Washington I am leaving before the final vote, but we feel confident that we are moving in the direction of a significant accord.”

He added, “What we have achieved in Copenhagen will not be the end, but rather the beginning. The beginning of a new era of international action.”


Report on ABC Australia news:

 US President Barack Obama has told the world to stop bickering and embrace even an imperfect new climate deal or risk a disastrous split that would let global warming advance unchallenged.

Mr Obama, addressing other world leaders at Copenhagen, did not offer new American commitments to cut emissions that some see as crucial to a deal.

But he called for transparency from other countries in how their emissions curbs are checked and said his country would continue to fight global warming regardless of what happened at the summit in Denmark.

“The time for talk is over,” he said.

“The question is whether we will move forward together, or split apart.

“This is not a perfect agreement and no country would get everything that it wants.

“I believe we can act boldly, and decisively, in the face of a common threat. That’s why I come here today – not to talk, but to act.”

The President says if the two-week summit falls short, the result will be a slump back to “the same divisions that have stood in the way of action for years”.

“We will be back having the same stale arguments month after month, year after year – all while the danger of climate change grows until it is irreversible.”

Mr Obama’s presence in Copenhagen has been seen as all that stood between the climate change summit and failure.

Soon after landing in the Danish capital, he met with a number of world leaders, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in a final push to produce a global deal on climate change.

The deadline for an agreement is only hours away and after exhaustive talks overnight negotiators came up with a draft text, however major differences remain to be resolved.

The draft text is said to have abandoned the controversial goal of limiting temperature rises to two degrees Celsius.

There is thought to be a clause committing industrialised countries to a fund worth $US10 billion ($11.2 billion) a year for three years rising to $US100 billion a year by 2020.

China and the US have indicated in the past 24 hours that they will make key concessions and be part of a global agreement that has the best interests of the planet involved.

Mr Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met for 55 minutes on the sidelines of the conference, with officials saying the session was “constructive” and “made progress”.

The two leaders discussed three of the most contentious areas blocking the path to a climate deal, verification guarantees, financing for global warming action and permitted emission levels.

Addressing the summit before Mr Obama, Mr Wen defended his country’s climate commitments.

China has been criticised for not offering stronger carbon emissions targets and resisting international monitoring of its actions.

Mr Wen told delegates that China would honour voluntary targets of reducing its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 per cent.

“We will honour our word with real action,” he said.

“Whatever outcome this conference may produce, we will be fully committed to achieving and even exceeding the target.”


Transcript of President Obama’s final Copenhagen address, delivered on 18 December 2009:

“Good morning. It’s an honor to for me to join this distinguished group of leaders from nations around the world. We come together here in Copenhagen because climate change poses a grave and growing danger to our people. You would not be here unless you – like me – were convinced that this danger is real. This is not fiction, this is science. Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies, and our planet. That much we know.

So the question before us is no longer the nature of the challenge – the question is our capacity to meet it. For while the reality of climate change is not in doubt, our ability to take collective action hangs in the balance.

I believe that we can act boldly, and decisively, in the face of this common threat. And that is why I have come here today.

As the world’s largest economy and the world’s second largest emitter, America bears our share of responsibility in addressing climate change, and we intend to meet that responsibility. That is why we have renewed our leadership within international climate negotiations, and worked with other nations to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. And that is why we have taken bold action at home – by making historic investments in renewable energy; by putting our people to work increasing efficiency in our homes and buildings; and by pursuing comprehensive legislation to transform to a clean energy economy.

These actions are ambitious, and we are taking them not simply to meet our global responsibilities. We are convinced that changing the way that we produce and use energy is essential to America’s economic future – that it will create millions of new jobs, power new industry, keep us competitive, and spark new innovation. And we are convinced that changing the way we use energy is essential to America’s national security, because it will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and help us deal with some of the dangers posed by climate change.

So America is going to continue on this course of action no matter what happens in Copenhagen. But we will all be stronger and safer and more secure if we act together. That is why it is in our mutual interest to achieve a global accord in which we agree to take certain steps, and to hold each other accountable for our commitments.

After months of talk, and two weeks of negotiations, I believe that the pieces of that accord are now clear.

First, all major economies must put forward decisive national actions that will reduce their emissions, and begin to turn the corner on climate change. I’m pleased that many of us have already done so, and I’m confident that America will fulfill the commitments that we have made: cutting our emissions in the range of 17 percent by 2020, and by more than 80 percent by 2050 in line with final legislation.

Second, we must have a mechanism to review whether we are keeping our commitments, and to exchange this information in a transparent manner. These measures need not be intrusive, or infringe upon sovereignty. They must, however, ensure that an accord is credible, and that we are living up to our obligations. For without such accountability, any agreement would be empty words on a page.

Third, we must have financing that helps developing countries adapt, particularly the least-developed and most vulnerable to climate change. America will be a part of fast-start funding that will ramp up to $10 billion in 2012. And, yesterday, Secretary Clinton made it clear that we will engage in a global effort to mobilize $100 billion in financing by 2020, if – and only if – it is part of the broader accord that I have just described.

Mitigation. Transparency. And financing. It is a clear formula – one that embraces the principle of common but differentiated responses and respective capabilities. And it adds up to a significant accord – one that takes us farther than we have ever gone before as an international community.

The question is whether we will move forward together, or split apart. This is not a perfect agreement, and no country would get everything that it wants. There are those developing countries that want aid with no strings attached, and who think that the most advanced nations should pay a higher price. And there are those advanced nations who think that developing countries cannot absorb this assistance, or that the world’s fastest-growing emitters should bear a greater share of the burden.

We know the fault lines because we’ve been imprisoned by them for years. But here is the bottom line: we can embrace this accord, take a substantial step forward, and continue to refine it and build upon its foundation. We can do that, and everyone who is in this room will be a part of an historic endeavor – one that makes life better for our children and grandchildren.

Or we can again choose delay, falling back into the same divisions that have stood in the way of action for years. And we will be back having the same stale arguments month after month, year after year – all while the danger of climate change grows until it is irreversible.

There is no time to waste. America has made our choice. We have charted our course, we have made our commitments, and we will do what we say. Now, I believe that it’s time for the nations and people of the world to come together behind a common purpose.

We must choose action over inaction; the future over the past – with courage and faith, let us meet our responsibility to our people, and to the future of our planet. Thank you.”


Was Cop15 a Cop Out?

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Was Cop15 a Cop Out?

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed Copenhagen a success on five out of six measures but most observers united in damning the meeting a grave disappointment. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd praised the outcome, but some developing nations have attacked the agreement. The Guardian newspaper chronicles what was agreed and what was left out.

ABC News, Australia report:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has praised the outcome of the Copenhagen climate summit, but some developing nations have attacked the agreement and are refusing to support it.

The statement world leaders agreed upon is not legally binding and has already been rejected by some of the countries involved in the United Nations process.

Under the accord, all countries – including China – would have to submit written plans for curbs in carbon dioxide emissions by January 2010.

All countries have also signed up for a plan to provide developing nations with $US100 billion a year in aid by 2020.

But even the leaders of the world’s biggest countries admit that the provisions in the final document will not protect the planet from dangerous changes in global temperatures.

Mr Rudd says there is still a lot of work to be done to arrive at a more robust agreement that binds the international community to a legally enforceable framework

He hopes to achieve that at the Mexico climate change conference next year.

But small island nations including Tuvalu, as well as most of the South American countries, have already rejected the accord.

Tuvalu representative Ian Fry, whose country is one of the most at risk from global warming, said the agreement amounted to Biblical betrayal.

“It looks like we are being offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our people and our future,” he said to applause in the chamber.

“Our future is not for sale. I regret to inform you that Tuvalu cannot accept this document.”

Nevertheless, Mr Rudd says the agreement represents progress and recalled seven times in the final stretch when the 194-nation summit could have broken up in disarray.

“There was a grave risk that these negotiations would collapse altogether and we would have had a triumph of inaction over action,” he said.

“Instead we had a result that underpins action. That represents substantial progress.”

He said the summit provided the greatest consensus yet on the need to stop the planet from heating up 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

“The test that I’ve applied is what was before and what was after,” he said of agreements on climate change.

The negotiations were hampered by key disputes, including rich nations’ demands that emerging economies verify that they are carrying out their pledges on the climate.

“The attitude taken by various countries in these negotiations has been particularly hardline,” Mr Rudd said, declining to name specific nations.

Mr Rudd, who has closely aligned himself with President Barack Obama, praised the US leader for helping break impasses in the negotiations.

“[At key moments] the President of the United States walks in, rolls up his sleeves and says, ‘Okay, let’s have a go on this,’ and you make some progress. That produced a magical result,” M Rudd said.



Allegra Stratton in Copenhagen for (19 December 2009):

The UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen broke up last night with Gordon Brown hailing the night a success on five out of six measures but most observers united in damning the meeting a grave disappointment.

Last night, the talks wrapped up with countries agreeing that rather than using Copenhagen to announce how they would curb their carbon emissions, instead over the the “next few weeks” they would publish their targets and another meeting would be convened to discuss the legality of the measures agreed.

Europe’s pledge to move from 20% to 30% — trumpeted as likely all week — failed to materialise suggesting that the European leaders believed the outline agreement on offer not sufficient to merit the higher commitment.

“It is not sufficient to combat the threat of climate change, but it’s an important first step … No country is entirely satisfied with each element,” said a US official.

The deal said little on the major sticking points of the last few days — whether or not the US or China and other heavy polluters were serious about curbing their emissions.

In a press conference held at 11pm immediately after talks had broken up, Brown himself said the agreement was just a “vital first step” and accepted that there was a lot more work to do to before it could become a legally binding agreement. In questions afterwards he declined to call it an “historic” conference.

He said that one of the outcomes of the day’s negotiations was that Angela Merkel would be announcing shortly a conference in Germany to deal with the issue of monitoring emissions targets. This body would be tasked with developing the most effective means of monitoring whether a nation is cutting its emissions without intruding on its sovereignty – a major stumbling block in this week’s negotiations.

Brown said: “This is the first step we are taking towards a green and low carbon future for the world, steps we are taking together. But like all first steps, the steps are difficult.”

“I know what we really need is a legally binding treaty as quickly as possible.”

However Brown brushed off a suggestion that Europe hadn’t gone from 20% to 30% in its carbon emission target because of the paucity of other agreements on the table.

Instead he said it was the first time so many countries had come together to agree a 2C target by 2050.

NGOs gathered in Copenhagen were severely disappointed. Senior climate change advocacy officer at Christian Aid, Nelson Muffuh said: “Already 300,000 people die each year because of the impact of climate change, most of them in the developing world. The lack of ambition shown by rich countries in Copenhagen means that number will grow.”

Kate Horner from Friends of the Earth said: “This is the United Nations and the nations here are not united on this secret back-room declaration. The US has lied to the world when they called it a deal and they lied to over a hundred countries when they said would listen to their needs. This toothless declaration, being spun by the US as an historic success, reflects contempt for the multi-lateral process and we expect more from our Nobel prize winning President.”

Tim Jones, climate policy officer at the World Development Movement said: “This summit has been in complete disarray from start to finish, culminating in a shameful and monumental failure that has condemned millions of people around the world to untold suffering.



“What was agreed at Copenhagen – and what was left out

Jonathan Watts in The Guardian (19 December 2009):

National leaders and sleep-deprived negotiators thrashed out a text late last night that could determine the balance of power in the world and possibly the future of our species. The list below gives a breakdown of the key points:


“The increase in global temperature should be below two degrees.”

This will disappoint the 100-plus nations who wanted a lower maximum of 1.5C, including many small island states who fear that even at this level their homes may be submerged.

Peak date for carbon emissions

“We should co-operate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognising that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries …” This vague phrase is a disappointment to those who want nations to set a date for emissions to fall, but will please developing countries who want to put the economy first.

Emissions cuts

“Parties commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 as listed in appendix 1 before 1 February 2010.”

This phrase commits developed nations to start work almost immediately on reaching their mid-term targets. For the US, this is a weak 14-17% reduction on 2005 levels; for the EU, a still-to-be-determined goal of 20-30% on 1990 levels; for Japan, 25% and Russia 15-25% on 1990 levels. The accord makes no mention of 2050 targets, which dropped out of the text over the course of the day.


“Substantial finance to prevent deforestation; adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity.”

This is crucial because more than 15% of emissions are attributed to the clearing of forests. Conservation groups are concerned that this phrase lacks safeguards.


“The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources amounting to $30bn for 2010-12 … Developed countries set a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn a year by 2020 to address needs of developing countries.”

This is the cash that oils the deal. The first section is a quick financial injection from rich nations to support developing countries’ efforts. Longer term, a far larger sum of money will be committed to a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. But the agreement leaves open the questions of where the money will come from, and how it will be used.

Key elements of earlier drafts dropped during yesterday’s negotiations:

An attempt to replace Kyoto

“Affirming our firm resolve to adopt one or more legal instruments …”

This preamble, killed off during the day, was the biggest obstacle for negotiators. It left open the question of whether to continue a twin-track process that maintains Kyoto, or whether to adopt a single agreement. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada are desperate to move to a one-track approach, but developing nations refused to kill off the protocol.

Deadline for a treaty

“… as soon as possible and no later than COP16 …”

This appeared in the morning draft and disappeared during the day; it set a December 2010 date for the conclusion of a legally binding treaty. The final text drops this date, but small print suggests it will still be next year.


From Copenhagen With Love!

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

From Copenhagen With Love!

After years of negotiations we now have a declaration of will which does not bind anyone and therefore fails to guarantee a safer future for next generations, says WWF, while Reuters collects together other reactions to the deal which fell far short of the ambitions for the Copenhagen summit. It is Mexico’s turn to come up trumps.

Copenhagen, Denmark: by Kim Carstensen, the leader of WWF Global Climate Initiative:

“They tell us it’s over but it’s not. Copenhagen produced a snapshot of what leaders already promised before they arrived here.

“The biggest challenge, turning the political will into a legally binding agreement has moved to Mexico (where COP16 will meet in December 2010).

“After years of negotiations we now have a declaration of will which does not bind anyone and therefore fails to guarantee a safer future for next generations.

“What was good about Copenhagen was the level of national pledges for climate action in most countries.

“Politically, we live in a world that agrees to stay below the danger zone of two degrees but practically what we have on the table adds up to 3 degrees or more.

“Such a gap between the rhetoric and reality could cost millions of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars and a wealth of lost opportunities.

“We are disappointed but remain hopeful. Civil society will continue watching every step of further negotiations. The leaders have to get back to work tomorrow.

“Getting a strong outcome of the follow-up process will take a lot of bridge- building between rich and  poor countries. We expect that the Mexican hosts will be ideally placed to play that role.”



By Reuters from Copenhagen (18 December 2009):

U.S. President Barack Obama reached a climate agreement on Friday with India, South Africa, China and Brazil. The deal outlined fell far short of the ambitions for the Copenhagen summit.

Here are reactions:


“The mountain goes on and on, it seems. I do think we need to see how this text is received by the broader group of countries. It’s great that small group of leaders gets together and tries to advance the process. But ultimately the way things work here it has to be acceptable to every country.”

“If this makes it through the meeting in a couple of hours’ time then I see it as a modest success. We could have achieved more.”


“A deal is better than no deal. What could be agreed today, falls far below our expectations. But It keeps our goals and ambitions alive. It addresses the needs of developing countries. It was the only deal available in Copenhagen.”


“It’s very disappointing I would say but it is not a failure…if we agree to meet again and deal with the issues that are still pending.”

“We have a big job ahead to avoid climate change through effective emissions reduction targets and this was not done here.”


“The meeting has had a positive result, everyone should be happy. After negotiations both sides have managed to preserve their bottom line. For the Chinese this was our sovereignty and our national interest.”


“The city of Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport. There are no targets for carbon cuts and no agreement on a legally binding treaty.

“It seems there are too few politicians in this world capable of looking beyond the horizon of their own narrow self-interest, let alone caring much for the millions of people who are facing down the threat of climate change.”


“The most striking thing, it’s incredible, virtually unprecedented, is that heads of state sat down in a room together and did the negotiations themselves.”

“It’s less than many people had hoped for and expected even two weeks ago. What was needed was to bring the rapidly growing economies and that’s what was achieved. The deficiency we all knew from the time of Kyoto was that rapidly growing key emerging economies were not included.”


“On the basis of drafts I’ve seen so far … standing on its own a political declaration like that doesn’t do much other than paper over the fact that that governments have failed to keep the promises they made to each other (in Bali, Indonesia two years ago at the launch of the two-year climate talks meant to agree a climate pact).”


“Given where we started and the expectations for this conference, anything less than a legally binding and agreed outcome falls far short of the mark.”

“On the other hand though I’m a bit of a realist so I do realise that perhaps the bar was set too high and the fact that there’s now a deal – I haven’t seen the details I saw earlier versions I haven’t seen the latest one — the fact that there’s now a deal perhaps gives us something to hang our hat on.”

“I hope it sets the stage for serious work in 2010 so that we can conclude what we originally set out to do here in Copenhagen we can conclude that perhaps as soon as June, failing that by December 2010.”


“This summit has been in complete disarray from start to finish, culminating in a shameful and monumental failure that has condemned millions of people around the world to untold suffering.

“To say that this deal is in any way historic or meaningful is to completely misrepresent the fact that this deal is devoid of real content. It is actually meaningless.”


“Copenhagen has been an abject failure. Justice has not been done. By delaying action, rich countries have condemned millions of the world’s poorest people to hunger, suffering and loss of life as climate change accelerates. The blame for this disastrous outcome is squarely on the developed nations.”


“The world’s nations have come together and concluded a historic if incomplete agreement to begin tackling global warming. President Obama and the rest of the world paid a steep price here in Copenhagen because of obstructionism in the United States Senate.

“Now that the rest of the world, including countries like China and India, has made clear that it is willing to take action, the Senate must pass domestic legislation as soon as possible.


“It sounds very vague. There’s no next step, nothing to link through to how to get a final deal done.”


“Today’s agreement takes the first important steps toward true transparency and accountability in an international climate agreement. The sooner the U.S. speaks through Senate legislation, the sooner we can set the terms of engagement for talks to come.”


“This toothless declaration, being spun by the U.S. as an historic success, reflects contempt for the multilateral process and we expect more from our Nobel prize winning President.”


The deal will “get big countries moving in the right direction” on reducing their carbon emissions.


Hot Under the Collar at Cool Cop15

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Hot Under the Collar at Cool Cop15

Queensland Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones hit the ground running in Copenhagen attending a major forum on the plight of the Great Barrier Reef and signing the Montréal Declaration for regional and business leaders to agree on state government action on climate change. But our resident engineer on the spot, David Hood, didn’t have everything his way.

From David Hood reports from Copenhagen:

Standing in a queue for over an hour in the cold (2C) on Monday was just a fore shadow of the mismanagement here by the UN.     Snow is now falling in Copenhagen and the queues at the Bella Centre, for those allowed in, involve up to 5 hours wait.   Monday was the last day that all COP 15 registrants were allowed into Bella Centre.   It’s now shut to all but the Government Parties, press, and a handful of observers, with NGOs allowed only 1 representative each.  

So, our crew WBCSD (Australian) are now ensconced at the Crown Plaza where there are some excellent side events, and the occasional important person wandering by (eg. chatted with Al Gore last night, and sat next to Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy in a session – it’s that informal once in past v strict security).  

This morning all busses were an hour late due demonstrations all over the city (there’s a lot of pissed off registrants, and locals, in Copenhagen).

Interesting observations include the largest ever (claimed) petitions from people of the world to the leaders urging serious binding targets, and the massive demonstration of over 100,000 people in Saturday’s walk against warming.    There is a lot of noise and rumours over texts and who’s walking out on who, but for us now locked out, you probably know more about the proceedings from local press than we do because the press IS allowed in to observe at the Bella Centre.  

Meantime, here at the Crown Plaza I am getting into some interesting discussions over rainforests and the REDD scheme, and getting a little over the constant bragging by US speakers about how great they are in moving fast on climate change since Obama was elected – yeah, (but they don’t want Kyoto to carry through (obviously) and 17% cuts is all they offer), but the alliance of Western States led by Arnie, has made great progress, and stands way out in front of the coal/manufacturing belt Ohio/Indiana that is only concerned about their economy and keeping jobs linked to coal mining and burning (so CCS is their favourite item here).  

Great session and demonstration yesterday of Kompass’ Podcars – they are being rolled out in Sweden, Heathrow, and at Masdar City (strongly supported by Swedish Government).

One worrying element for me is the strong presence of the carbon market entrepreneurs and big banks all here looking for ways to capture profits out of whatever deal is struck (one session was just full of talk on derivatives, hedging arrangements, futures, and other strange (to me) market mechanisms that will make a motza for them with seemingly little or no impact on emissions).

I think I’ll go for a refreshing wander out in the snow……….

David Hood

Kate Jones addresses climate leaders summit in Copenhagen (16 December 2009):

Queensland has reaffirmed its commitment to urgent global action on climate change at a major gathering of the world’s state and territory leaders in Copenhagen.

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones signed ‘the Montréal Declaration’ overnight at the Climate Leaders Summit which saw regional and business leaders from around the world engaged in discussions on state government action on climate change.

Ms Jones, as the official Queensland representative, addressed the Summit which saw other speakers including the California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Prince Albert II of Monaco, and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

She said the agreement between state and territory leaders put on the international public record Queensland’s resolve to fight climate change through initiatives that build a sustainable economy while reducing harmful greenhouse gases.

“The United Nations estimates states and territories will be responsible for implementing up to 80 per cent of the actions required to reduce emissions under a new global agreement,” Ms Jones said.

“Queensland has been working closely with the Australian states on climate change through COAG and Council of Australian Federation – now we’re working with international states and territories to make a global difference.”

The text to the Montréal Declaration was negotiated during the inaugural Climate Leaders Summit in 2005, which was held to coincide with the 11th Conference of the Parties (CoP11) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Montréal. Since then, more than 30 regional governments from around the world, including the United States, Canada, South Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom have signed the declaration.

Like the Montréal event, the Copenhagen Climate Leaders Summit will coincide with a Conference of the Parties – CoP15 – which is hoped will deliver major progress towards a new global agreement on climate change.

Ms Jones said the timing of Queensland’s signing of the Montréal Declaration was important given the ongoing UN negotiations in Copenhagen.

“Queensland’s position as the Australian state most vulnerable to unmitigated climate change means we have a particularly strong interest in a global agreement being reached,” she said.

“By signing the Montréal Declaration, we’re send a strong message to those negotiating that regional and business leaders are ready to deliver the concrete actions needed to achieve the commitments set out in a new agreement.”

The Climate Leaders Summit in Copenhagen brought together Premiers, Governors, Ministers, Mayors and CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies. The Climate Leaders Summit is being held by The Climate Group, an internationally-renowned not-for-profit organisation.

It is the culmination of a series of events The Climate Group has coordinated around the world to build momentum towards a global agreement, including Queensland’s own major climate summit which was attended by more than 100 high-level delegates at Queensland Parliament House on 4 November.

Ms Jones is attending Copenhagen as a member of the official Australian delegation. She is addressing a number of forums and attending several engagements as the Queensland representative.

Queensland brings a strong record of achievement in taking action to reduce the state’s emissions, including:

  • An end to broadscale clearing of remnant vegetation and new laws to protect high value regrowth;
  • Queensland Gas Scheme requiring retailers to source at least 18% of electricity from gas;
  • $196 million ClimateQ strategy;
  • Queensland Renewable Energy Plan;
  • SmartEnergy Savings Fund requiring large businesses to undertake energy audits and prepare energy efficiency plans; and
  • $900 million investment in carbon capture and storage demonstration projects.


Quick start to Copenhagen talks for Queensland (15 Decemnber 2009):

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones has hit the ground running in Copenhagen, immediately attending a major forum on the plight of the Great Barrier Reef upon arrival.

Overnight Ms Jones attended the Ocean Day Reception – Perspectives from World Leaders which focused on jurisdictions with responsibility for important reef ecosystems.

“As custodians of the world’s largest coral reef, Queensland needs to galvanise international action on climate change to protect the Great Barrier Reef long-term,” Ms Jones said.

“Not only is our reef environmentally significant, it’s worth about $6 billion to our economy.

“At the forum, I highlighted the climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef and action the Queensland and Australian Governments have taken to tackle these impacts. 

“Both levels of Government have done a lot of heavy lifting to give the Reef a fighting chance but without international action to back that up, the Reef will continue to suffer from climate change.

“That is why I’m pushing Queensland’s case for a meaningful international agreement out of Copenhagen.

World renowned reef scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland is also in attendance joining Ms Jones at Copenhagen to address reef nations.

Ms Jones said “Later this week, I’ll be attending Australia’s contribution to Copenhagen’s Climate Change cultural program – a film showcasing the Great Barrier Reefs uniqueness.

“I congratulate Aqua’s Australian filmmakers Toni Houston and Bettina Richter on their stunning film and their contribution to global education of the Reef’s importance,” she said.

“This will raise international awareness of the vulnerability of the Great Barrier Reef and help argue the case for an international deal that will help heal the Reef.

“Queensland and Australian Governments can not save the Reef by ourselves. The world needs to act universally if the Reef is to have a healthy future.”


Choice to Educate on Emissions & Energy

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Choice to Educate on Emissions & Energy

What’s needed is a Choice type organisation to educate and protect consumers about products, services and solutions to tackle climate change, help consumers switch to renewable energy and manage energy efficiency, says ABC Carbon’s Ken Hickson, as he submits his proposed strategy for Australia to meet a 25% emissions reduction target.

Media release: A real green Choice needed to curb emissions, and inform consumers

15 December 2009:

Australians need a one stop shop to inform and protect them as the nation moves towards the new low carbon economy, author Ken Hickson said today.


“What’s needed is something like the Choice organisation, which can specially aim to educate and protect consumers – independent from Government – for products, services and solutions to tackle climate change, help consumers switch to renewable energy and manage energy efficiency,” Hickson, the author of The ABC of Carbon said.


“Right now we have a tangled web of information and advice on what individuals and businesses can do, coming from Governments – at the Federal, State and Local levels – as well as from many new companies in the market place, many of which are no doubt well meaning and genuine. Then there’s a polarising public debate thrown in. No wonder the average Australian is confused.


“Consumers and businesses need and deserve a body like Choice, which can act as a clearing house to inform, advocate and protect them as well as help in the decision making process”, Hickson said.


His call comes as he urges political and business leaders to consider an innovative multi-pronged approach to reduce emissions through a five strand strategy – 5% reduction from each of five key sectors of the economy  – to achieve 25% emissions reduction overall on 2000 levels by 2020.


Hickson has been sending through his strategy to Government Ministers, officers and leaders of the main political parties in the hope that it may prompt some to rethink their positions by providing a simple yet effective way to achieve substantial cuts to Australia’s emissions.


His book The ABC of Carbon is an illustrated, alphabetical digest with an encyclopaedic approach to climate change – the lonely planet for a carbon reduced future. It’s full of case studies and examples of what countries and companies around the world are doing to face up to climate change.

Hickson has long been an enthusiast for the environment, currently serving as a Governor of WWF Australia. He is now setting up a new non government organisation (NGO) called Green Earth Communicators (GECO) to provide a network and resource centre for individuals and organisations communicating conservation, sustainability, energy and environment issues and opportunities.

He also currently edits and produces a weekly climate change e-newsletter abc carbon express - the 88th issue was distributed last weekend – and he runs his own consulting business, ABC Carbon. He is regularly called on to speak on climate change solutions at conferences and events around Australia.



ABC Carbon’s 5 X 5 = 25 Climate Change Strategy submitted to Government, parties, business and media 15 December 2009:

Ken Hickson calls on all parties and all sectors to contribute equally and effectively to climate change action


Could this be the way to get a water-tight commitment to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020?

It is a simple and easy to understand formula – 5 times 5 equals 25 – to deal with emissions from five key sectors of the economy which account for a more or less proportionate amount – around 20% – of the nation’s emissions.

Some of the actions included to this strategy are already occurring, but for some reason it has not been viewed or presented this way.

Through this approach, each sector is able to bring to the table a 5% emissions reduction towards the total to provide an overall 25% achievement.

It can be visualised as a big pie with five generous slices of emissions. They are:

  1. Industry emissions reductions  


This includes industrial production, all manufacturing and mining. This sector approximately accounts for 20% of our total emissions now. We have excluded energy production, as that’s counted in the energy sector.


These are the big emitters, or polluters, if you like. And they are the major industries that targeted by the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Many observers realise that with all the concessions and allowances already proposed, it is unlikely to achieve a significant reduction in emissions.


But with the stick and carrot approach, along with putting a price on carbon through an emissions trading scheme, it is very realistic to expect that this major economic sector could achieve the 5% reduction in emissions on its own.


The cement industry – one of the world’s biggest emitters which accounts for around 5% of emissions of greenhouse gases globally – has already said it could reduce its emissions by 3% by 2010 and longer term up to 18%.


BHP has stated in its latest sustainability report that its target is for a 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per unit of production across the board.


  1. 2.     Buildings and energy efficiency


Existing buildings account for around 20% of the nation’s emissions, primarily through use of energy, waste and inefficiencies. New buildings, which can achieve a high 6 star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, are designed to use less energy and thereby reduce emissions.


The big challenge is to deal with existing buildings – offices, homes, shops and factories – and this involves taking steps to reduce the energy used in every area. In some cases, this will involve major retrofitting, but for many, particularly in the home, this can be achieved by better management of the electricity we use, smart metering, cutting wastage, as well as taking advantage of the Government insulation package. It might also mean lower settings for air conditioning and heating units.


Power management systems are readily available for businesses. A power management study for one Australian University, for example, found that by having an automatic cut off after hours for its 30,000 computers it could reduce electricity use by 52% and save $1.74 million a year.


Dealing with standby power used on household appliances could save 10% on an average household’s energy use.


There’s a new product coming onto the Australian market (from South Korea) which guarantees to reduce electricity use by 5% by cutting power wastage. It has been known to provide energy savings of up to 20%.


So gaining a 5% reduction overall through energy efficiency measures alone would not be difficult to achieve, particularly if Government promoted the right sort of incentives and interest free Green loans.


  1. 3.     Switching production to renewable energy


Australia already has in place a renewable energy target to get 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. There is already considerable investment going into solar, wind, wave, geothermal, as well as to enhance what we’re already getting from hydro sources.


Even though the Government has not set out a detailed renewable energy strategy to give a breakdown of the ideal mix of renewables, or provided as much as many other countries have by way of incentives, it is happening all the same.


There are large scale projects in the wind (and from the sun) as well as a groundswell of desire by the population at large to fit solar panels to the roofs of their homes. Think of how much more could be done to utilise all the wasted roof space on our airport terminals, factories and shopping centres.


In California, energy supply companies are paying to rent all available roof spaces so they can fit thousands of solar photo voltaic panels to generate power for the grid.


For homeowners and businesses, it would really help them make the switch to solar energy if all state governments would provide a gross feed in tariff to give a realistic return for producing additional energy for the grid. In Germany this applies to all and works very well. In New South Wales and ACT, this is now applicable to householders only.


We shouldn’t belittle the genuine efforts of people to clean up their energy act, particularly through paying extra for Green Power or buying into voluntary offsets to reduce their carbon footprints. Government recognition for this is proposed in the CPRS legislation, but it would be wise for authorities (as well as energy providers) to act sooner to acknowledge and reward the worthy citizens.


There are many other ways to reduce our dependence on coal fired power, including a switch to natural gas (which we also have plenty of and it emits far less CO2) and by incorporating effective ceramic fuel cells in our homes and businesses.


So achieving a 5% reduction in emissions from energy by switching to renewable sources should be very easy to achieve. If the country does better than that by 2020 that’s a bonus.


  1. 4.     Land use, farming and forestry


Even without incorporating agriculture in an emissions trading scheme, by encouraging (and rewarding) farmers to be more productive in their use of land and utilise “carbon farming” can achieve a significant reduction in emissions from this sector. Agriculture, when combined with all land use and forestry is a major emitter, accounting for at least 20% nationally and even more globally, so this needs to be approached in a positive, constructive way.


Environment Business Australia has brought together a coalition of carbon farming organisations. Soil carbon and biochar are not pies in the sky but practical means of retaining (or restoring) carbon dioxide in the soil and thereby improving its productivity.


By combining effective land use – less land clearing – with carbon farming and undertaking more tree-planting, this sector could achieve a significant 5% reduction in emissions.


Forestry could be expected to make an even bigger contribution to emissions reductions on its own, particularly when you see the size of investments by the likes of Origin Energy and BP in tree planting through the Western Australian business of Carbon Conscious.


Retaining as much as possible of the country’s old growth forests and rainforests will continue to provide a major carbon sink. Just as we’re conscious of plans to invest in “avoided deforestation” in places like the Amazon and Indonesia, we need to ensure we protect and retain our own trees as a means to keep our emissions in check.


Remember too, that it was through a major cut back  in land clearing in Queensland a few years back which gave Australia a distinct advantage, enabling it to meet it Kyoto commitments (even before it ratified the international agreement).


  1. 5.     Transportation comes clean


Private and public transport could easily account for 20% of a nation’s emissions of green house gases. So a switch to cleaner and more energy efficient transport – natural gas powered buses, electric or hybrid cars, taking more freight by rail than road – could all go towards achieving a 5% reduction in this important sector’s contribution.


Getting more of the population to use public transport, walk or ride bicycles would all help, particularly if our cities become less congested and polluted by cars. Instead of giving disproportionate tax incentives (and subsidised parking) for people to buy and drive cars to work, Government (and employers) should be finding ways to incentivise those of us who take public transport or use our own energy to move about.


Electric vehicle infrastructure is one very obvious way to go and other countries – notably France, Denmark and Israel – have taken giants steps in this direction. Australia has made a move with its Green Car Fund, an Australian made Toyota Hybrid Camry,  and has already got Better Place (the innovative electric vehicle infrastructure company) looking at what’s required to help Canberra go electric on the road. 


At a recent Electric Vehicle conference in Brisbane, delegates were told that one standard wind turbine could produce sufficient electricity to charge and power 1200 electric cars.


Shipping and air transport is also coming in for a lot of energy efficient/renewable energy attention, as together these forms of transport globally account for up to 10% of emissions. Jet bio fuels are being developed – and there is even an opportunity for Australia to get in on the ground-floor for this development, using plants and algae.




Is it all really that simple? When you consider the contribution to our total emissions on a sectoral basis like this, yes, it is simply a matter of employing every available technology and existing means at our disposal to make changes.  What is lacking is a strategic approach by Government to effectively set out and communicate these and other similar solutions to show how it is possible to attain an overall 25% reduction in the nation’s emissions. 


If we bundle all the emissions producing sectors together as we have and come up with a plan it will show that it is feasible – even achieveable – to commit to a target of reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases  by 25% (on 2000 levels) by 2020. 


Conceivably, it could also be adjusted up to relatively and painlessly achieve a 50% overall reduction in emissions by 2050, getting each sector to cut its contributing emissions in half. Not impossible. It does require a commitment to action by Government and business. And it does necessitate having a clearly set out strategy.


Admitted this proposed approach is not costed, but a lot of the economic information is readily available from existing sources, including the Garnaut Review as Federal and State studies. We need to be reminded of the now famous words of Nicholas Stern in his 2006 UK Review:

“Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more. In contrast, the costs of action — reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change — can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year’.


So action in a concerted, coordinated fashion – to analyse and produce emissions reductions sector by sector – is proposed as the way Australia must move forward. This is an opportunity for true leadership from all Governments, political parties and business/industry groups. Otherwise Australia will be seen as a laggard and not a leader when it comes to climate change action.  




Green technology, transport & energy

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Green technology, transport & energy

The Australian Academy of Science will call on the government to give priority support to geothermal and solar thermal energy as major national energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while it was announced from Copenhagen that Cairns in North Queensland will host the 2011 Greenhouse Conference.

Cheryl Jones for Higher Education in The Australian (16 December 2009):

THE federal government has the opportunity to switch the nation’s power to renewable energy but favours attempts to make “dirty coal clean”, according to the Australian Academy of Science.

Next month the academy will call on the government to give priority support to geothermal and solar thermal energy to make them major national energy sources, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The recommendation is among 25 development options contained in the academy’s highly anticipated renewable energy report, according to Higher Education in The Australian, which also will call on the government to introduce a national seven-star energy rating standard for new houses by 2015 and a nine-star rating for houses built after 2020.

The academy also wants to see smart meters installed in all households, the phasing in of time-of-use electricity pricing and legislation to limit stand-by power consumption by domestic electrical appliances.

Its renewable energy report calls for a national system of feed-in tariffs, the price paid for green energy by householders and businesses into the grid. It recommends a coast-to-coast liquefied natural gas distribution network to replace petrol and diesel with this cleaner energy source, and incentives for motorists to buy green cars.

The academy also calls for an upgrade to the interstate rail network, and more federal and state government funding to push clean energy research through the development and commercialisation phases.

In an exclusive interview ahead of the report’s release, academy spokesman Michael Dopita told  Higher Education geothermal and solar thermal energy could soon replace coal as Australia’s main source of electricity generation, if the government chose to stimulate the development of green technology and invested in efficient long-distance electricity transmission.

“At the moment, the government is concentrating seed funding in things like geosequestration, which is trying to make dirty coal clean,” said Professor Dopita, co-editor of the renewable energy report.

Geothermal energy, which taps the heat of rocks deep within Earth’s crust to generate electricity, could fast-track Australia’s route to a low-carbon economy, he said.

The technology was mature enough for the government to act now to promote its take-up.

Solar thermal concentrating technology, which focuses the sun’s energy to heat fluids and generate steam to drive turbines, also had great potential as Australia pursued its emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.

“Both technologies can provide the reliable and sustained energy flow needed for home and industry,” said Professor Dopita, an astrophysicist at the Australian National University.

The report, titled Australia’s Renewable Energy Future, puts the scientific might of the academy up against sceptics claiming that renewables cannot meet baseload energy needs.

It challenges assumptions underlying an economic model of renewable energy take-up developed by the CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics on the grounds they are too conservative. In the virtual futures generated in the modelling, geothermal and solar thermal would remain as only minor components in Australia’s energy mix until 2040.

The model could not capture recent technological advances and the stimulatory impact of government intervention, Professor Dopita said.

In the real world, it risked becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, helping to reinforce a focus on fossil fuel in policy formulation.

“We can change the way we do business entirely by stimulating those new industries, getting them past the economic thresholds that make them appear to be uncompetitive with coal,” he said.

“If you give the appropriate financial incentives early on, the whole thing snowballs.

“As the technology accrues the advantages of scale, it becomes self-sustaining and provides new employment and export opportunities.”

The academy estimates Australia has enough accessible geothermal energy to meet 26,000 years of its power needs.

More than 30 companies aim to deliver geothermal energy to the grid, the renewable energy report says.

However, the accessible geothermal resource is concentrated in granite formations in the outback. To cut energy losses in getting the hot rock power to the cities, the government would need to invest billions of dollars in a high-voltage direct current long-distance electricity transmission system.


By Darrell Giles in the Courier Mail:

COPENHAGEN might have collapsed, but Cairns could be cordial.

Many of the world’s leading experts who have been in Denmark will attend the next major climate change conference, Greenhouse 2011 in Cairns.

Presidents, prime ministers and premiers will be absent from the Queensland event, but that might ensure real work is done on climate change negotiations.

State Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones made the Greenhouse 2011 conference announcement as the Copenhagen summit came to a close.

Ms Jones, a member of the 120-strong Australian Government delegation, said the April 3-8 meeting would attract up to 600 international and national experts.

“The conference will provide the opportunity to showcase not only Queensland and its iconic natural attractions, but also our leading edge climate science research, policies and programs,” she said.

“Our playing host is fitting given Queensland is the most vulnerable of all the states to the impacts of climate change. We have a world-famous Great Barrier Reef, treasured rainforests, a diverse landscape, a decentralised population, our traditional industries are carbon-intensive and 80 per cent of our population lives on the coastline.”

Ms Jones said the conference would focus on Queensland’s $200 million ClimateQ strategy.

“ClimateQ contains a wide range of programs supporting Queensland’s industry, business and households to reduce the impacts of climate change,” she said. “ClimateQ also contains projections for Queensland’s regions of what they can expect in terms of changes in temperature, rainfall and evaporation and what impacts these changes are likely to have on their communities.”

Ms Jones said the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence had been working on global climate modelling experiments with the CSIRO and it would present findings at the Cairns conference.


Electric Plans for Renault & Daimler

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Electric Plans for Renault & Daimler

Queensland Government has joined a new international initiative to accelerate the take up of electric vehicles (EV) when Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones test drove a new Renault Fluence ZE electric vehicle in Copenhagen. Meanwhile Daimler is working on a test drive for an electric version of its Smart minicar for China.

By Patricia Jiayi Ho and Norihiko Shirouzu for Wall Street Journal (14 December 2009):

BEIJING — Daimler AG plans to start a pilot program for an electric version of its Smart minicar in China next year, joining a growing list of firms evaluating the potential for next-generation clean-energy vehicles in the world’s biggest automobile market.

Daimler is currently considering which cities to test the cars in, said Ulrich Walker, chairman of Daimler Northeast Asia, in a year-end briefing with reporters. “We have to see the acceptance of this car,” he said.

The move follows an announcement by the central government last week that it will subsidize private purchases of alternative-energy vehicles in five cities.

Chinese auto makers such as BYD Co., which plans to market all-electric battery cars and other clean-energy cars, say government subsidies are key if pricey alternative-energy vehicles are to be feasible in China on a large scale for consumers and producers.

The German auto maker’s move highlights the potential it sees in China for all-electric and other new-energy cars. “We think there are opportunities for electric [vehicles] in China and we are exploring opportunities,” Beijing-based spokesman Trevor Hale said.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit currently sells the S400 Hybrid in China, which is based on conventional hybrid technology. Electric vehicles and plug-in cars use newer technology that allows vehicles to be driven exclusively or primarily on electricity.

Nissan Motor Co. said in November it plans to test-market its Leaf electric in China in 2011 by making it available to government agencies and other fleet customers in the city of Wuhan.

General Motors Co. intends to launch the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle Chevrolet Volt in China, starting in 2011. The Volt is powered by lithium-ion batteries and is supplemented by a gasoline engine.

Toyota Motor Corp. has also said it will likely test-market a plug-in hybrid in China.

Meanwhile, Daimler said more Mercedes-Benz buyers are turning to financing rather than cash for their purchases, perhaps reflecting a slowly growing acceptance of credit use. Mr. Walker said Mercedes-Benz’s financing portfolio for retail customers and dealerships in China has doubled to 4 billion yuan ($586 million) from the end of 2008.

About 12.5% of Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold in China were bought on credit, as opposed to cash, Mr. Walker said, without giving last year’s rate. In smaller cities, financing rates were as high as 30%, he said. Those rates are still relatively low and compare to 50% in the U.S. and Europe, according to the company.

Daimler received regulatory approval to offer vehicle leases in February, but Chinese customers have been slow to embrace the concept, Mr. Walker said.

Mr. Hale said Mercedes-Benz expects its sales in China next year to be “much better” than the overall market’s estimated 15%-20% growth. Mercedes-Benz sales in China in the January-November period rose 68% to 59,150 units.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Qld steps into the future of decarbonised transport

The Queensland Government has overnight joined a new international initiative to accelerate the take up of electric vehicles (EV). 

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones overnight test drove a new Renault Fluence ZE electric vehicle in Copenhagen. 

Minister Jones also met with Shai Agassi, CEO of Better Place in relation to a future roll-out of electric cars in Queensland with a particular emphasis on application to the taxi fleet. 

The EV20 initiative brings together over 20 leading cities, states and nations with the most ambitious players in the electric vehicle industry. 

Ms Jones said the aim of EV20 was to fast track the development and deployment of electric vehicles and identify pathways to making them commonplace around the world. 

“The initiative recognises that market transformation will require a combination of public policy and business innovation,” Ms Jones said. 

“Electric vehicles combined with smart grid technology and increased renewables has the potential to significantly reduce generation. 

“Electric vehicles can only occur with increased renewable energy. 

“The Commonwealth Government has a renewable energy target of twenty per cent by 2020 and this initiative can help Queensland move to a low carbon economy. 

“Internationally, many jurisdictions are already investing in the expansion of greater numbers of electric vehicles or are actively encouraging a rapid uptake. 

“The EV20 initiative will facilitate international exchange so that Queensland can learn from the experience of other countries.” 

EV20 was announced at the 2009 Climate Leaders Summit in Copenhagen to coincide with international climate change talks. 

Ms Jones attended the Climate Leaders Summit as the official Queensland representative. 

“Joining this initiative steps up Queensland’s focus on transport technologies of the future,” Ms Jones said. 

“It aligns with the current work of the Premier’s Council on Climate Change on opportunities and policy needs associated with greater adoption of EVs in Queensland. 

Ms Jones will be meeting with Better Place in the near future to discuss opportunities for Queensland. 


Measuring Sustainability Leads to Action

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89

Measuring Sustainability Leads to Action

Leading sustainability analysts Connection Research is looking at developing a new sustainability rating and ranking for cities and businesses in Australia.  Metrics, frameworks and benchmarking sustainability needs more measurement tools, says Graeme Philipson, as metrics, he argues, are a prerequisite to action.


Article specially written for abc carbon express by Graeme Philipson of Connection Research:

I spent most of my adult life – more than 25 years – as an analyst in the computer industry. IT has a large and mature sub-industry of journalists and analysts who dissect it, measure it, comment on it, and categorise it. The computer industry has more market research and market analysis than probably any other.

Such is not the case with sustainability. While not a clearly defined industry like IT, sustainability is similar in that it encompasses a range of technologies and practices which have the potential to affect every part of business, and indeed of life. But sustainability is almost devoid of the sort of rigorous market analysis that we find in the IT industry, and in many other industries.

We started Connection Research to bring some of the techniques and disciplines of IT industry market analysis into sustainability. As we move into a carbon-constrained world, the issues of the measurement and management and reporting of energy and of carbon emissions is becoming more important, but what is still lacking is a way of analysing the effectiveness of many of these systems.

This year we introduced a number of methodologies to help us analyse and understand what is happening in various aspects of sustainability in Australia. Most of these draw on our experience as IT industry analysts – in benchmarking, measuring, categorising, and the like. The old business maxim says “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. Very true – and you certainly can’t measure what you can’t even define.

Here are some example of what I mean, drawn from some of the work Connection Research has done in 2009:

  • We have developed a Green IT Framework, a two-dimensional overview of the many aspects of the sustainable usage of Green in medium to large organisations. One dimension looks at the scope – end user, departmental and data centre, purchase and disposal, and the very important aspect of using IT as an enabling tool to reduce the carbon footprint of the whole organisation. The second dimension looks at the approaches to each of these – attitude, policy, behaviour, technology, and metrics.
  • From this framework we have developed a benchmarking tool, which allows us to measure an organisation’s maturity, or readiness, in each area compared to other organisations in the same industry sector or of the same size. This benchmark, called the Green IT Readiness Index, is based on a database of over 300 Australian organisations.
  • We built a taxonomy, or categorisation, of the types of work covered by the much-abused term “green collar workers”. This taxonomy, which we developed for the Environment Institute of ANZ and the NSW Department of environment, Climate Change and Water, is the first attempt we are aware of to look at the different types of green collar worker, by categorising them by their skill set, the organisations they work for, and by their level of training. The report can be downloaded at no cost from our website (
  • We have conducted an analysis of the emerging Carbon Emissions Management Software (CEMS) market, categorising the 70 or so tools now available international for carbon emissions reporting by their capabilities and their scope. We have developed a website listing all the products ( and written a 70 page report on the subject, which is freely available at the website.
  • Recently we have conducted an analysis of the views of Australian consultants, farmers and academic on carbon sequestration in soil. As part of this process we are developing a taxonomy of the different techniques, which will be available in the new year. This area will be huge!

Connection Research is in the process of developing a number of other benchmarking tools and categorisation systems in various aspects of the sustainability sector. We and our clients find them useful ways of understanding what is happening. Our corporate mantra is “Measure, Monitor, Manage, Mitigate”. You can’t have one without the other!

Graeme Philipson is founder and research director of Connection Research.

In November 2009 Connection Research announced that it launched the most comprehensive analysis available on the energy consumption of the Australian business market, based on a direct survey of over 1000 companies.

The survey covered business attitudes towards such issues as:

-   Climate Change

-   Contestability

-   Smart Meters

-   Consumer Attitudes, Actions and Trends

-   The Built Environment

-   Carbon Emissions Reporting and Trading

-   Education and Awareness

-   What the Australian business sector wants from energy retailers and governments

The Business Energy Consumption in Australia report comprises the latest round of analysis in Connection Research’s Consumer and Community Sustainability portfolio “The evolving energy market impacts the consumer, the utility, the state and federal governments, and consultants in the field”, said Cassandra Phillips, Sustainability Portfolio Manager of Connection Research.

“We have investigated the strategies in place for the reduction of energy consumption and determined the affects of the rising price of energy on the Australian business market. We have asked the need-to-know questions about what Australian businesses are doing to measure and monitor their environment and what they are doing to reduce carbon emissions.”

The state and federal governments are now developing new initiatives and incentives to educate Australian business on how to reduce their power bills and carbon pollution. Consultants are struggling to keep abreast of the fast-changing issues. The big winners are supposed to be Australian businesses and consumers – but are they?

The size of the overall market, and many of the initiatives, are well documented. What is not understood is the relative importance of each of the drivers of and barriers to energy consumption, and how this varies to the relative size, type and nature of Australian businesses.

“The purpose of this research is to measure the importance of these drivers and inhibitors across a broad spectrum of organisations, to identify patterns of energy consumption behaviour, and to understand better how to develop long term relationships with the Australian business sector by knowing what they want and how to deliver on their expectations” said Ms Phillips.

“Sustainability and best practice within all consumer and community environments is what we investigate on a regular basis in our Consumer and Community Sustainability portfolio. Connection Research is in the process of developing the 2010 research platform which includes primary research in the areas of Energy, Water, Waste, Sustainability, Residential Energy Management, The Digital Home, and Climate Change”, said Ms Phillips.

“Over the next twelve months we aim to provide the most comprehensive market research available, we have delivered on these initiatives over the past twelve months and we are currently looking for interested parties to participate in the 2010 subscription model either by way of sponsorship or investment in the research platform.”


Ultra Savings on Electricity

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89


A Queensland business eNerwise has won the national distribution rights for a unique power saving device produced by the South Korean firm of Keseco, which cuts electricity wastage (and costs) by between 5% and 20%. Ken Hickson went to Mackay to find out what it’s all about.

Report from Ken Hickson:

I flew from Brisbane to Mackay on Tuesday morning to be met at the airport by Dion Borg, who I’d met a month ago at the Sustainable Townsville event. He was the first to tell me about the energy saving device that his company eNerwise was about to launch on to the Australian market.

Before I caught my flight I sent an email to a few of my media contacts telling them that a Mackay business eNerwise – run by a Phillip Surch – has invited me up to witness the signing up with a South Korean company for Australian wide distribution of an energy efficiency device. What’s interesting is it guarantees to achieve 5% saving in electricity – for home, business, office, factory – but could achieve up to 20% saving.

Only one enterprising journalist took up the story. News producer and journalist Ebony Cavallaro at Seven News Mackay responded and did an Australian exclusive on the announcement.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First I met one of the men of the moment. Mackay businessman Phillip Surch who runs eNerwise. We had talked on the telephone a few times but this was the first face to face.

Soon I was to hear all about his plans to market this unique product throughout Australia.

I was also honoured to meet the man who had invented Ultra – South Korean Eun-Kuk Kim, who’s happy to go by the English name of James. He is Chairman and CEO of the company Keseco.

With him was his international sales manager Douglas Jang and his very able technical sales and assistant manager Ashley Park.

On Keseco’s own website Ultra is described as “the World’s 1st new technology of saving power by improving current without dropping voltage. In other words, Ultra is patented product developed to be safer and more effective of power saving through current improvement. It is possible to install without the influence of production line and there is a little danger of fire because of its heatless type.”

Talking to the South Korean experts and eNerwise people, as well as seeing a demonstration of the product, I was soon to appreciate the value and importance of this device. Of course, exactly how it works is beyond even the most scientifically-inclined electrical or chemical engineer – which is what Mr Kim is – so I had to make do with a description from the 70 page Ultra Service Manual.

This sums it up to me:

“Ultra is the power saving device that reduces the loss of heat energy by improving the current flow so that the electric power consumption is saved.”

Exactly how it does this is Mr Kim’s secret. He has world-wide patents on his “chemical super conductor process” and up until now no-one has been able to duplicate what he has with Ultra.

I also saw how the hotel where I was staying – Ocean International – has an Ultra device fitted alongside its massage meter boards. There are many businesses putting Ultra to the test and many more who will be willing to save themselves  considerable amount on their electricity bill.

Phillip Surch is in the process of setting up a national distribution network for the device. He knows what he’s doing and his enthusiasm is matched by his attention to detail and marketing knowhow.

More information is available on eNerwise and Keseco on their respective websites, but be warned – you’ll be hearing more of this unique Ultra device as eNerwise makes sure it gets about the country into businesses and homes to save electricity and money.

Just think what this can do, if at the same time, householders and businesses also introduce energy efficiency measures – power management of computers and all electrical devices.

There is no reason why Green Loans could not be applied to the cost of installing an Ultra device in every home and business in Australia. This is something that local, state and federal Government agencies should seriously consider supporting.

I left Mackay the next day, impressed by the hospitality and enthusiasm of Phillip Surch and this team at eNerwise. And equally impressed by the ingenuity and enterprise of Mr Kim and his Keseco team.

Source: and

How to Cut Coal Fired Emissions

Posted by admin on December 20, 2009
Posted under Express 89


Researchers have developed a new type of engine that generates energy using heat already produced in power stations, allowing a coal-fired power station to halve its emissions, while a new agreement between the governments of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) and Queensland will create a world-class research alliance for the development of viable clean coal technologies.

Report in The Australian (16 December 2009): 

AUSTRALIAN researchers say they have found a way to slash carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations by doubling their efficiency, opening the way for the long-term survival of the coal industry.

They have developed a new type of engine that generates energy using heat already produced in power stations but lost into the atmosphere, allowing a coal-fired power station to halve its emissions.

Former mining union official John Maitland and his company ourSun announced the development yesterday to coincide with the international climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Mr Maitland told The Australian he had registered a patent for the new engine, which had been proved viable in computer simulations and was now moving to a prototype stage with commercial viability expected by 2013.

“The IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) wants the world to reduce its emissions by 50 per cent by 2050,” Mr Maitland said.

“Here we have a new engine that can deliver close to that just using energy efficiency. Successful development would secure coal generation jobs and those in energy-intensive industry while addressing climate change.”

Researchers around the world are racing to develop technology to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Development of so-called clean-coal technology will be crucial for Australia, which relies heavily on its coal exports.

Much of the push for clean-coal technology has been based on so-called carbon capture and storage — a yet-to-be proven technology that would capture carbon emissions from power stations and bury them in undersea formations.

But Mr Maitland said his company’s engine attacked the problem by increasing the efficiency of existing power stations.

It was also designed to be retrofitted to any power station using any energy source — nuclear, solar, gas or biomass.

Mr Maitland said most power stations lost two-thirds of the heat they generated into the atmosphere.

The ourSun engine would harness some of this energy, increasing the thermal efficiency rates up to more than 60 per cent.

The company was applying to the state governments of Queensland, NSW and Victoria for grants being offered to commercialise technologies that would clean up the coal-fired power industry.

Mr Maitland is a former national secretary of the mining division of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and was previously on the board of Eraring Energy in NSW.



Queensland signed an agreement this week with the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia to work together on projects to drive change in the energy sector

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones signed the new agreement during a meeting with North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Energy, Dr Jens Baganz in Düsseldorf.

“North Rhine-Westphalia faces many of the same challenges as Queensland in reducing emissions – it is Germany’s most energy-intensive state and its largest producer of black coal,” Ms Jones said.

“Queensland has long recognised what we have in common with NRW, but this new agreement strengthens our relationship at a time when the task of transforming the energy sector is reaching a critical phase.”

Queensland has had a formal relationship with NRW, collaborating in the areas of power plant technologies, renewable technologies and energy efficiency.

Ms Jones said the goal of the new agreement was to speed up the delivery of outcomes by committing both governments to support a number of specific projects.

“Our research institutions in each state have been investigating new areas of cooperation such as coal gasification and carbon capture and storage,” she said.

 “With a new global agreement on climate change imminent, there is a strong imperative for our governments to support these new areas of interest and help deliver results.”

“For example, this new agreement provides for the Government of North Rhine-Westphalia to work with the Queensland and Australian governments on a proposal to create a world-class research alliance aimed at solving obstacles to the development of viable clean coal technologies.

“And although research and development is important in demonstrating new technologies, the new agreement recognises that technical skills are also important in taking ideas out of the lab and into the field.

“Under this new agreement, the Queensland and North Rhine-Westphalia governments will also jointly fund a new exchange program aimed at sharing the technical and engineering skills needed to commercially demonstrate clean coal technologies and equip our energy networks for the future.”

Ms Jones said the timing of the new agreement with North Rhine-Westphalia was significant as it was ahead of a major gathering of international state and territory leaders in Copenhagen.

“The UN estimates that states and territories will be responsible for implementing up to 80 per cent of the actions required to reduce emissions under a new global agreement,” she said.

“We want outcomes under this memorandum to stand as an example of how other states and territories can work together to make this happen, and that’s the message that my North Rhine-Westphalia counterpart and I will be presenting at the Climate Leaders Summit in Copenhagen tomorrow (Tuesday, December 15).”

The Climate Leaders Summit will bring together Premiers, Governors, Ministers, Mayors and CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies in the critical days leading up to the final negotiations in Copenhagen.