Friday, 17 October 2008

Trading Emissions cautions on pipeline

By Fiona Harvey, in London
Published: October 16 2008 19:43

Shares in Trading Emissions bucked the falling London market as annual profits at the Aim-listed carbon trader rose 28 per cent and it confirmed it would pay a dividend next year.
The company, which generates carbon credits from projects such as renewable energy installations in developing countries, reported pre-tax profits for the year to June 30 up from £152m to £194m. Turnover was £4m and the company’s portfolio of carbon credits rose in value from £171m to £218m.
The company was also boosted by the news that the “transaction log” – a link between the European Union’s emissions trading scheme and the UN – was now running after months of delay. This would enable carbon traders to buy and sell UN credits within the EU system. “It will bring more people into the market,” said Simon Shaw, a carbon credit investor adviser to the company.
However, its pipeline of carbon credit projects is slowing, which could constrain revenues.
Carbon credits are issued by the UN to projects, such as wind farms, which cut emissions in the developing world.
The credits, fetching between €15 and €20 a tonne, are bought by developed country governments, to count towards their Kyoto protocol targets, or by companies in the EU’s emissions trading scheme, which use the credits to enlarge their quota of emissions.
The current provisions of the Kyoto protocol expire in 2012 and, with no new framework as yet to replace it, developers have become reluctant to bring forward new projects.
Mr Shaw added: “This is constraining our horizons. We are still doing projects, but more mature projects than earlier stage projects.”
Shares rose 15¾p to 118p.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

Tesla Motors to Cut Staff, Delay Vehicle


Tesla Motors Inc., the Silicon Valley electric-car start-up, said it is cutting staff and delaying the introduction of its second battery-powered vehicle, the Model S, until 2011, a move that reflects tougher financial markets.
In an additional change, Tesla chairman Elon Musk, one the firm's chief financial backers, said he would assume the post of chief executive, replacing Ze'ev Drori, who served less than a year. Mr. Drori will stay on as vice chairman.
In a blog posting on Tesla's Web site, Mr. Musk said the effects of the global financial crisis "are only beginning to wind their way through every facet of the economy...and this is especially true for Silicon Valley."
He said Tesla would focus on its roadster model, introduced in 2006, and on sales of its electric power train; it will delay additional costly engineering and design work on its next model until it has secured funding. The company is seeking a federal loan guarantee that would allow the firm to get a low-cost loan to cover most of the Model S program costs. Mr. Musk said he expects federal loan approval by the middle of 2009.
The five-seat Model S was to have been assembled at a new production facility in San Jose, Calif., to be built with the help of concessions from the state such as a waiver of sales tax on equipment. The Model S sedan was to have carried a base price of about $60,000, far less than the $109,000 base price of the roadster that is being produced today.
Mr. Musk, the multimillionaire co-founder of PayPal, sought to reassure the firm's customers that the company is not in danger of failing. He said Tesla is "not far" from being profitable and that "even if that threshold ends up being further than expected, I will do whatever is needed to ensure that Tesla has more than sufficient capital."
The company, named for Serbian electrical genius and radio inventor Nikola Tesla, intended to begin with an annual production of 15,000 units of the Model S, rising to 30,000.
Write to Rebecca Smith at

Off-grid data centre powered by tidal energy planned for Scotland

Morgan Stanley scheme sidesteps major barrier to renewables – the long wait for connection to the national grid
Tricia Holly Davis,
Thursday October 16 2008 12.00 BST

A plan to build a large, off-grid computer data centre in Scotland, powered directly by tidal energy, is set to be announced by the US investment bank Morgan Stanley.
The scheme sidesteps one of the biggest barriers to installing renewable energy — the long wait for connection to the national grid. It also addresses the need to find low-carbon ways of powering fast-expanding and power-hungry data centres which house large arrays of servers.
The data centre will be located in Scotland's Pentland Firth, which separates the Orkney Islands from the Scottish mainland, and has huge potential tidal energy resources. The data centre would require about 150 megawatt hours of power, equivalent to that needed to power a city the size of Bristol.
Morgan Stanley, working with Atlantis Resources Corporation, a Singapore-based developer of tidal current turbines, proposes to install an array of tidal turbines in the Pentland Firth. They say the first series of turbines would be operational in 2011. The project's estimated cost is between £250m-£300m.
Initially, the data centre would run on power drawn from the grid. However, once the turbines were installed, the energy would be transferred to the data centre via a private cable, also funded by Morgan Stanley,, bypassing the queue of renewable energy projects awaiting grid connection.
"If you bring industry to northern Scotland you overcome the electricity transmission constraints, while benefiting the environment," said John Woodley, co-head of Morgan Stanley's European and Asian power, gas and related businesses. "Given that data centres need to be built somewhere, it makes sense to place them as close as possible to renewable energy sources that are currently grid-constrained."
Morgan Stanley is aiming to attract customers such as Google, who have fast growing computing capacity needs. Google would not comment specifically on discussions with Morgan Stanley, but said it is actively exploring options to power its data centres with renewable energy.
"The data centre is the key to the tidal project," said Roy Kirk, area manager for the Highlands & Islands Enterprise, the Scottish government's economic development agency for the region. "The biggest barrier for any large-scale renewable energy project is grid transmission."
However, Morgan Stanley and Atlantis must still secure planning permission, another hurdle for renewable energy projects. To date, no large-scale tidal energy project has made it past the concept stage in Britain, while projects a fraction the size of the Pentland Firth proposal, have taken years to come to fruition.
"There are a number of barriers to entry in the tidal market," said Gareth Zahir-Bill from Triodos Renewables.
The specialist investment bank helped to finance the small-scale Marine Current Turbine project, which recently went live in Northern Ireland. "That was 13 years in the process," he said.
A spokesman at the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: "Data centres are significant users of energy, they are responsible for 3% of electricity use in the UK and this is expected to double by 2020."
He acknowledged that grid connection and planning issues hindered the development of renewable energy. "The planning bill currently before parliament will streamline the consent system and our renewable energy strategy to be published in the spring will be aimed at overcoming barriers such as grid connection."
Atlantis can apply for a seabed lease from January 2009. Leases will be awarded next summer. Atlantis must also receive consent from the Scottish government. Morgan Stanley will also need approval from the Highlands Council to construct the data centre and lay the private cable to transmit power from the turbines.
But the ongoing financial crisis will not derail the plan, said Woodley: "The longer term risks and opportunity presented by climate change and energy security remain. We will continue to seek investments that promise scale and commercial viability."

Philip Sellwood: Man with a mission to reduce energy use

Carly Chynoweth

Philip Sellwood could be forgiven if he feels a tiny bit pleased every time he hears of electricity suppliers increasing prices or double-digit percentage rises in gas bills. Not because he has solar panels and a sense of Schadenfreude, but because it makes his life - his working life, at least - a little easier.
As chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust (EST), which next week hosts Energy Saving Week, his job is to persuade householders to draw their curtains, switch to low-energy light bulbs and generally do whatever they can to reduce the energy they use.
“There is a big downside, of course, but there is no doubt that the price of oil and fuel going up ... certainly concentrates people's minds,” Mr Sellwood, chief executive since 2003, said. “They are much more aware of what they are using and it is making our messages easier to get across.”
It is not simply recent market shifts that have led to this change; there has also been a turnaround in the general public's attitude to climate change. Mr Sellwood, who has a private sector background in retailing and company turnarounds, said: “Five years ago, I felt like a man in the dark shouting out with a big megaphone and hoping that people were listening. People were happy to give you a polite response but they did not really see it as central to what they should be thinking about. Now, people largely do get it. It doesn't mean that everybody is doing what they should be doing but I don't spend too much time these days persuading audiences that this is an important agenda.”

People seem to be listening; since last month, when the Prime Minister announced measures to help households to reduce their energy bills, calls to the EST's advice line have doubled. Although some callers are driven by a desire to cut their carbon footprints, most are more interested in the prospect of cost savings of about £300 a year. The EST says that even people who have to pay the full cost of cavity wall insulation or other energy- efficiency measures (the government package helps those on low incomes) should recoup the cost in lower bills within a few years and continue to see savings for many more years to come.
However, lining up against the publicity advantages of a downturn is the possibility that current economic upheavals could lead to governmental belt-tightening that could affect the EST - which receives 97.5 per cent of its funding from government - or the climate change agenda more broadly. “Clearly there will be a real strain on resources from a government perspective but the general view is that this [climate change] is not a short-term fix,” Mr Sellwood said.
Recent statements by Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and indeed the creation of his new post, suggest that the Government understands this.
Mr Sellwood said: “We will be fighting very hard to keep our share of the resources. The other thing that suggests that [cuts] won't happen is that we are now talking about nearly 6 million households in fuel poverty and so I think that politically it might be very difficult for them to cut it at the moment.”
Clearly the organisation will face pressure to be ever more effective and efficient - “There is no question that everybody will be looking at us and saying ‘we want more for the same or probably even more for less'” - but Mr Sellwood does not expect his organisation to merge with the Carbon Trust, which has the apparently related task of helping organisations and industry to reduce their carbon emissions.
“There are always people looking to see whether the organisations being brought together could be more efficient,” he said. “They have looked at the idea in the past couple of years, but came to the conclusion that a merger would end up creating more bureaucracy; the trusts' different remits mean that a merged organisation would need two separate teams to get the work done, with another layer of management over the top.”

Areva in talks with TVO over EPR delays

By Peggy Hollinger in Paris
Published: October 16 2008 23:34

Areva is weighing the need for further delays to its flagship nuclear reactor in Finland, which could result in new provisions for a project already running two years behind schedule and an estimated €1.5bn ($2bn) over budget.
The French nuclear operator is in discussions with its Finnish utility client TVO over the need to adjust the timetable for the fourth time in two years on the world’s biggest nuclear build project. This means that the new generation, heavy-duty EPR reactor might now not enter service until 2012, against an initial target of 2009 and will cost far more than the original estimate of €3bn.

A new delay will also be a big blow to France’s hopes to dominate the nuclear revival with the world’s first new generation reactor in service. Both TVO and Areva admitted yesterday that the current timetable, under which the EPR is due to enter service in 2011, could be difficult to meet. “In terms of timing it is still challenging,” said Philippe Knoche, Areva’s former strategy boss who was drafted in to help resolve the delays.
Jouni Silvennoinen, the TVO senior vice-president appointed to oversee the construction works last month, stressed the calendar remained “challenging”.
Another Areva official said that despite three earlier delays there remained “no margin for manoeuvre” in the highly complex construction process, which employs 4,000 people working in shifts around the clock six days a week at the Olkiluoto nuclear site on the western coast of Finland.
The two sides are already locked in a dispute over who is responsible for the previous delays and more importantly for the final cost overruns. The construction of the EPR is being overseen by Areva, leader of a consortium with Germany’s Siemens. The dispute could extend through the consortium and down to suppliers such as French construction group Bouygues, which has come under fire for the organisation of work under its responsibilities.
The dispute and problems that have beset Europe’s first reactor in almost 20 years offer a vivid illustration of the challenges facing governments as they seek to relaunch nuclear power.
The Areva-designed 1600 MW reactor has been a favourite to lead Europe’s nuclear revival, as it is the first of a new generation of reactors that promises to increase safety and reduce waste.
Britain has in effect made the EPR its reactor of choice after it agreed last month to sell British Energy to French electricity group EDF. The French nuclear operator intends to build four EPRs in the UK as part of a global series to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.
But skyrocketing raw material costs and scarce nuclear skills have pushed up costs. Moreover, the Finnish experience has highlighted the widely differing approaches to nuclear regulation in different countries, which make the final investment costs of the EPR as yet uncertain.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

So a Model T was greener than a modern car? No way

Even a gas guzzler could trundle along using less fuel than the 100-year-old Ford, says Andrew Noakes

Andrew Noakes
The Guardian,
Friday October 17 2008

George Monbiot decries loans made by the US government to US car manufacturers to help them develop more environmentally friendly vehicles, and similar loans proposed in Europe (This green subsidy for car makers is just a disguised corporate bail-out, October 7). He says the motor industry has, in the past, deliberately sabotaged new technologies and has missed targets for CO2 output and fuel consumption. These points are worth debating.
But Monbiot then uses preposterous comparisons and dubious "facts". For instance, his assertion that "the average car sold in the States today is less efficient than the 1908 Ford Model T". This is based on a Detroit News report which claims the Model T could achieve 25mpg, and data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which says the average consumption of 2008 "light duty vehicles" (ie cars and light trucks) in the US is 20.8mpg. A reasonable comparison? Not even close.
In what way is fuel consumption a measure of efficiency? Which of these is more efficient: a bus, carrying 50 people, which consumes fuel at 7.3mpg; or a car, carrying four people, which consumes 20.8mpg? In terms of fuel use per passenger per mile, the bus wins by a wide margin.
The Model T has poor weather equipment, poor brakes, poor road-holding, nonexistent secondary safety and a hopeless lack of reliability - not to mention minimal performance. Give any major car manufacturer the chance to build a car to the same specification and it would trounce the Model T for fuel consumption - and generate far fewer harmful emissions.
Then we have to consider whether the fuel consumption figures for modern cars and the Model T have been arrived at using comparable methods. And there's no evidence that they have. I would guess a Model T would return about 25mpg trundling along - but that's not the same as an EPA real-world estimated figure. Trundle along in a modern car - even a gas-guzzling V8 - and you'd get the same, or better.
Then there's Monbiot's assertion that, "Cars were taxed at £1 per horsepower ... a far higher rate for gas guzzlers than today's." Monbiot cites a report from the UK government's Environmental Audit Committee on vehicle taxation as his source. Indeed the report says: "The tax disc was introduced in 1920, and the tax charged at a graduated rate of £1 per horsepower."
However, cars were rated using the "RAC horsepower" system - which calculates horsepower from a formula taking into account the bore of the engine and the number of cylinders. Because the formula made a number of assumptions about engine performance, it quickly became outdated as engine development progressed. Vauxhall's famous sporting car of the 1930s, the "30/98", had an RAC rating of 30hp but actually produced 98hp. It is misleading, therefore, to suggest that cars were taxed on horsepower without offering further clarification.
Monbiot has some interesting things to say. But he does his arguments no favours by using dubious data.
• Andrew Noakes is a freelance motoring writer and senior lecturer in automotive journalism at Coventry School of Art and Design

Australian leader holds firm on climate change

The Associated Press
Published: October 17, 2008

CANBERRA, Australia: World leaders must deal with the costly threat of global climate change despite the spreading "cancer" of the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Friday.
Rudd backed the majority view that the 27-nation European Union reached in Brussels on Thursday that deep cuts must be made in greenhouse gas emissions despite slowing world economies.
Ahead of a crisis meeting with Australian business leaders in Sydney, Rudd told Sky Television that the economic problems made it "tougher for dealing with what is already a tough set of negotiations" on countering climate change.
"What I'd say to leaders around the world and to the community here in Australia is that the problem of climate change and global warming doesn't disappear because of the global financial crisis," he said.
"Unless we deal with this, the roll-on consequences for the economy over time ... is huge," he added.

Referring to unpaid U.S. sub-prime mortgages, Rudd said "the cancer didn't just stay local: it spread across the world to all the other institutions that had been wrapped up in it."
Rudd is listening to the views of business leaders Friday on how the government can help stave off Australia's first recession in years after this week announced a 10.4 billion Australian dollar (US$7.4 billion) surge in spending.
Rudd plans to introduce a national levy on carbon emissions in 2010 and is hoping for a new United Nations agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions at a climate change meeting in Copenhagen next year.

Government pledges to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050

New climate change secretary Ed Miliband sets new goal to replace former target of 60%
Deborah Summers, Damian Carrington and agencies,
Thursday October 16 2008 14.57 BST

Eggborough power station, near Selby. Photograph: John Giles/PA
The government today committed the UK to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions by 80% by the middle of the century in a bid to tackle climate change.
In a move that was widely welcomed by environmental campaigners, Ed Miliband, the new energy and climate change secretary, said that the current 60% target would be replaced by the higher goal in the climate change bill.
Miliband told MPs that the tough economic conditions were not an excuse to "row back" on the commitment to tackle global warming.
He accepted the recommendations of the government-appointed Climate Change Committee, chaired by Lord Turner, which said last week that the UK ought to commit to an 80% reduction from 1990 levels for all greenhouse gases and covering all sectors.
He also pledged to amend the energy bill to create "feed-in tariffs", allowing small-scale energy producers – such as homes with wind turbines or solar panels – to sell electricity at a guaranteed price.
And he issued a warning to energy companies to act "in a satisfactory way" to reduce charges for customers with pre-payment meters and those not connected to the gas main.
He said the government expects "rapid action or explanation to remedy any abuses" and warned if the firms do not act then ministers would consult on legislation to prevent "unfair pricing".
Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace's chief scientist, said: "This is a hugely encouraging first move from the new climate change secretary. In a decade in power Labour has never adopted a target so ambitious, far-reaching and internationally significant as this.
"To meet it will require determined action from Gordon Brown and every one of his successors for the next four decades. Hard choices will be made that will touch every Briton, but it can and must be done."
He added: "Ed Miliband obviously understands the urgency of the threat we face from climate change. He is absolutely right to say Britain should set an example to the rest of the world in tackling this issue, and we will support him wholeheartedly if the decisions he takes in the coming weeks and months genuinely reflect this ambition."
Ruth Davis, the head of climate change at the RSPB, said: "This is one of the most far-sighted and far-reaching climate change initiative any government could take and is testament to the efforts of campaigners."
Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth's executive director, said: "Miliband's admission that pollution from international aviation and shipping will be dealt with outside the bill is a sign that these industries are being picked out for special treatment yet again."The Committee on Climate Change made it clear that we have to reduce all carbon emissions by 80%. We cannot leave the cuts in aviation and shipping emissions to chance."Greg Clark, the shadow climate change secretary, also welcomed the announcements. He said: "The choice between aggressive and ambitious action on carbon reduction and a successful, powerful economy is, in fact, not a choice at all - they are one and the same."
Miliband, making his first statement to the Commons as head of the newly created department, said: "In tough economic times, some people ask whether we should retreat from our climate-change objectives.
"In our view it would be quite wrong to row back and those who say we should misunderstand the relationship between the economic and environmental tasks we face."
The 2006 Stern report showed that the costs of doing nothing "are greater than the costs of acting", he said.
The climate change bill would be amended to set the higher target, which "will be binding in law".
Miliband said: "However, we all know that signing up to an 80% target in 2050 when most of us will not be around is the easy part. The hard part is meeting it and meeting the milestones that will show we're on track."
The Climate Change Committee will advise on the first 15 years of carbon budgets in December, "national limits to our total emissions within which we will have to live as a country".
The announcement on feed-in tariffs will be welcomed by Labour backbenchers, who staged the biggest revolt of Gordon Brown's leadership over the issue.
In April, 35 backbenchers rebelled on the issue during debate on the energy bill, with two more Labour MPs acting as tellers.
Miliband said: "Having heard the debate on this issue, including from many colleagues in this house, on this side of the house and on others, I also believe that complementing the renewables obligation for large-scale projects, guaranteed prices for small-scale electricity generation – feed-in tariffs – have the potential to play an important role, as they do in other countries."
Last week Ofgem, the energy regulator, highlighted "unjustified" higher charges for 4 million customers without mains gas.
The regulator also believes that many homes using pre-payment meters - often the poorest customers - are being "overcharged".
Miliband said: "Unfair pricing which hits the most vulnerable hardest is completely unacceptable. I made that clear to the representatives of the big six energy companies when I met them yesterday.
"I also told them that the government expects rapid action or explanation to remedy any abuses. I will meet them again in a month to hear what they have done."
He added: "If the companies don't act in a satisfactory way, and speedily, then we will consult on legislation to prevent unfair pricing differentials."
Miliband said the measures announced today were part of an energy and climate change policy "that is fair and sustainable, which meets our obligations to today's and future generations".
Clark said there had been a "decade-long void" in the government's policy towards energy, in which "successive ministers have looked the other way rather than address the issue of future energy needs".
He welcomed the acceptance of Turner's 80% target, saying: "We have always said that we should be guided by the science on that matter."
But he called for the target to be kept under constant review, saying that just eight years ago 60% was considered to be the right number.
Clark also pressed Miliband to "lead the world" on carbon capture and storage by committing to three UK-based demonstration projects and said smart metering should be introduced for microgeneration.

EU pledges to lead climate change fight despite financial crisis

The French president warned EU leaders they will face ridicule if they renege on their low-carbon targets
David Gow,
Thursday October 16 2008 18.11 BST

European Union leaders have reasserted their ambition to lead the world in fighting climate change despite the growing economic recession and mounting rifts among its 27 governments.
The French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who chaired the two-day meeting, warned EU leaders they would be held in ridicule if they abandoned their 18-month-old target of creating the world's first low-carbon economy.
In March 2007, a few months before the sub-prime crisis provoked financial turmoil, EU governments pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, take 20% of primary energy from renewables and reduce energy consumption through efficiency by 20% – all by 2020.
But several heads of government, including Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and Poland's Donald Tusk, insisted during the fractious meeting that they were not in office then and threatened to refuse to be bound by the targets given the enveloping economic gloom.
Insisting, however, that he had achieved unanimity, Sarkozy said the two-day summit had stuck to its timetable of agreeing the climate change package before the end of the year. "I can confirm that the objectives remain unchanged and the calendar remains the same," he said.
He told journalists: "We cannot use the financial and economic crisis as a pretext for dropping it (the package)." José Manuel Barroso, EC president, added: "We're not going to let up in the battle against climate change and there's no question of picking between the financial crisis and climate change. The two go together."
Both Sarkozy and Barroso admitted they had "an awful lot of work" to do in persuading the 27 governments to agree on the fine details of the package by mid-December.
The foreign secretary, David Miliband, declared: "In a number of countries there's a bit of buyer's remorse over March 2007." Insisting there was no going back on the December deadline, he added: "There's going to be some hard talking over the next few weeks."
Eastern European countries, ex-communist states, want the richer nations in western Europe to carry more of the cost of cutting emissions and protection for their industries which are heavily dependent on fossil fuels, notably coal. Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia wanted at one point to scrap the December deadline.
Germany and others want their heavy energy-intensive industries such as steel to be given a greater number of free pollution permits under the EU's flagship emissions trading scheme, rather than having to pay for them.
Faced with a squeeze on their budgets as key economies move into recession and unemployment increases, most governments are worried by the sheer cost – amounting to tens of billions of euros – that the climate change package entails.
A final summit communiqué masked these problems by declaring that the 27 leaders would decide in December on "appropriate responses to the challenge of applying that package in a rigorously established cost-effective manner to all sectors of the European economy and all member states, having regard to each member state's specific situation."
Sarkozy gave a sign of encouragement to the European car industry, which has been fighting EC plans to cut carbon emissions from all new cars to 120g/km from 2012 and has asked for a €40bn (£31bn) bailout scheme to enable the shift to "green" technologies.
The French president pointed out that the US government had given its three leading car-makers – General Motors, Ford and Chrysler – a $25bn (£15bn) soft loan to re-equip their plants to produce more fuel-efficient, less polluting cars.
Sarkozy insists that this puts the European industry at a competitive disadvantage. He said: "Can you ask the European car industry to produce clean cars, change the whole industrial apparatus within a few months, without giving them a helping hand?"

Europeans split over goals to cut emissions

By Stephen Castle
Published: October 16, 2008

BRUSSELS: Confronted by fears of a sharp economic slowdown, Europe's ambitious climate-change reduction plans were called into question Thursday when several countries threatened to veto proposals unless they are made more affordable.
At an European Union summit meeting dominated by the fallout from the financial crisis, discussions on how to achieve cuts in carbon emissions within the 27-country bloc led to fierce exchanges among European leaders.
Italy and several eastern European countries said that they could not accept current proposals, insisting on the right to veto them. That promises to make the process of agreement the contentious measures more difficult than ever.
At stake is the credibility of the European claim to lead the push to combat global warming. Officials say that a failure to reach a deal in December would be particularly damaging because it would undermine Europe's ability to negotiate with a new administration in the United States, which is expected to be more open to efforts to tackle climate change.
Against a backdrop of mounting economic gloom, an effort by France, which holds the EU presidency, to expedite the climate change plans backfired as countries refused to commit themselves to a French target of striking a deal in December. France insisted that its targets remain in place.

In order to meet a 20 percent target, the legislation would tighten EU emission ceilings on energy and manufacturing companies beginning in 2013. The package would also set renewable-energy targets for individual countries aimed at driving the EU to adopt cleaner power.
"We have to find a solution before January," said President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, the chairman of the two-day summit meeting. "We are not going to hide behind the crisis. Europe must set an example."
But combative exchanges at a dinner for heads of government Wednesday night set the scene for a protracted battle over who will shoulder most of the cost of the goal - the reduction of CO² emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
The EU talks are based on a package of draft laws proposed by the European Commission, which spell out how the 20 percent reduction target would be achieved by each of the 27 countries. Swift agreement is needed because the legislation will have to be approved by the European Parliament which reaches the end of its mandate in June.
Moreover a failure in December would hand the task of clinching agreement to the Czech Republic, which takes over the EU presidency in January and whose governing coalition is divided over climate change.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy led the assault on the package, saying that he was not in office last year when it was agreed on. "We don't think this is the moment to push forward on our own like Don Quixote," he said. "We have time."
The Italian foreign minister, Franco Frattini, welcomed a concession, implicit in the conclusions of the meeting Thursday, that decisions will be taken by leaders under a rule that requires each country to agree. "The EU will decide by the unanimity rule," Frattini said.
Backed by seven of the newer EU member states, Poland led a concerted move to weaken the text of the summit conclusions that initially stressed the need for a deal in December.
The group of skeptics includes Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia. Like Berlusconi, Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland also said that the targets had been set before he was in government.
Tusk underlined the problems confronted by Poland's reliance on coal-fired power stations, compared to countries like France that have a bigger nuclear-based component in their energy mix. "We don't say to the French," said Tusk, "that they have to close down their nuclear power industry and build windmills, and nobody can tell us the equivalent."
"We have achieved this veto right in order to use it if there is no other possibility," he said.
Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis of Latvia said that his country would veto the package unless there were more concessions for countries that joined the EU in 2004. And Germany has already made clear its concern about the competitive impact of the EU emissions trading system on energy-intensive industries should other blocs not adopt similar arrangements.
But David Miliband, the British foreign secretary, accused countries of trying to wriggle out of commitments they had made just last year. "There is no setback," Miliband said, emphasizing that he expected an agreement on the current timetable.
"A number of countries have shown buyer's remorse for the agreement in 2007," he said. "There is no going back. No going back on determination to have agreement by the end of the year."
The scale of the backlash against the proposals has caused concern including in Denmark which will host crucial climate change talks next year. "There is not reason to hide the fact that we face some very difficult negotiations up to December," Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark said.
In an effort to assuage concern over the impact of the economic slowdown on industry, Sarkozy called for consideration of a stimulus package for the economy. Sarkozy pointed particularly to the automobile industry, which has asked for a multi-billion euro bailout fund.
"Can you ask the European car industry to provide clean cars, change the whole industrial apparatus, without giving them a helping hand?" he asked.
He said European automakers might need help similar to that being offered by the U.S. government to its auto sector. This weekend Sarkozy and the European Commission president, José Manuel Barroso, will meet with President George W. Bush to discuss proposals to revamp global financial structures.
Sarkozy said there was a need to "recast the capitalist system" and questioned the future of credit-rating agencies which, he said, had failed to prevent the recent financial meltdown.
EU leaders have backed calls for a meeting of economic powers - including China, Russia and India - to plot an overhaul of the financial markets similar to the meeting in Bretton Woods in 1944 that set out the rules of international trade and financial relations.
James Kanter contributed reporting from Brussels.

EU climate change push in disarray as Italy joins Iron Curtain revolt

From The Times
October 17, 2008
David Charter and Rory Watson in Brussels

Europe’s commitment to ambitious green goals became the latest victim of the global financial crisis yesterday when a growing number of EU countries rebelled, claiming that the plans were now too expensive.
Plans for binding European legislation by December were dropped as the EU watered down the carbon dioxide blueprint that it had announced with a fanfare 18 months ago.
The revolt by eight countries, led by Italy and Poland, left the EU’s self-proclaimed mission to shape a global, postKyoto agreement on greenhouse gases in disarray.
President Sarkozy of France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, led the way in appealing to all 27 countries to stick to their targets.

But tempers flared at the quarterly European Council in Brussels, with Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, clearly furious at the pressure being applied. During a stand-up row behind the scenes, he told Mr Sarkozy that the targets would crucify Italian industry.
“Our businesses are in absolutely no position at the moment to absorb the costs of the regulations that have been proposed,” Mr Berlusconi said later.
Donald Tusk, the Polish Prime Minister, said: “We don’t say to the French that they have to close down their nuclear power industry and build windmills, and nobody can tell us the equivalent.”
In an extraordinary break with EU protocol, both leaders said that they did not have to stick to the deal because neither had been in office when it was signed by their predecessors in March 2007.
The eight countries have the voting power to form a blocking minority, should they choose to do so.
Under the original deal, EU countries would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 – rising to 30 per cent if it encouraged global agreeement. Mr Sarkozy succeeded in preserving the overall goal but he faces an increasingly uphill task to hold various countries to their individual contributions.
The row erupted at the same time as Britain strengthened its policy. Giving his first speech to the Commons as Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband said that Britain would increase its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from 60 per cent to 80 per cent.
The target, which is to be written into the Climate Change Bill, brings Britain into line with scientific advice. Mr Miliband said that tackling global warming was too important to be watered down even in a recession. “In tough economic times, some people will ask whether we should retreat from our climate change objectives,” he said. “In our view, it would be quite wrong to row back.”

Mr Sarkozy is desperate to fix each country’s share of the EU effort before January 1, when the European presidency is passed to the Czech Republic.
The Czechs have promised to use the presidency to scale back environmental demands. President Klaus has publicly questioned the existence of man-made climate change.
In the next few weeks there are likely to be a series of concessions and opt-outs offered to get everyone on board. Most of those trying to wriggle out of the targets are former Iron Curtain countries, which argued yesterday that they had already cleaned up the heavy-polluting industry that they inherited from the communist era.
Mr Tusk said that Poland, along with Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia, would resist any attempt to railroad the targets through. “We want to build an energy-climate package which poorer EU states can survive,” he said.

Mr Berlusconi directed his anger in particular at the Emissions Trading Scheme, which from 2013 will mean that all big EU industries have to buy permits to emit carbon dioxide in a bidding process. “It is ridiculous that we are selling the right to pollute,” the Italian Prime Minister said.
Mr Sarkozy and José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, wanted agreement yesterday to ensure that four significant pieces of legislation needed to implement the targets were in place by December. These would set targets for each country’s commitment to boost renewable energy by 20 per cent by 2020; set out how the burden of other carbon dioxide cuts would be taken up by individual countries; enforce the latest version of the Emissions Trading Scheme; and envisage a 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency.
Unable to secure agreement, Mr Sarkozy and Mr Barroso managed to get all 27 nations to sign up to a summit conclusion that merely “confirms its determination to honour the ambitious commitments”. All mention of legislation in earlier drafts was banished and instead it proposed “appropriate responses to the challenge . . . having regard to each member state’s specific situation”.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said that some of the EU leaders were experiencing “buyers’ remorse”.
Robin Webster, Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner, said: “The EU must continue to resist shortsighted efforts to wreck its plans for tackling climate change – urgent action is essential to safeguard our economy and our environment.”
Sarkozy’s demands
— Cut CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels (This would rise to 30 per cent if there is a global climate change agreement)
— Ensure that 20 per cent of fuel comes from renewable energy sources by 2020
— Increase energy efficiency by 20 per cent by 2020, and ensure that 10 per cent of transport runs on biofuels by the same year

Gulf state rescues £3bn wind farm in the Thames Estuary

Robin Pagnamenta

The Government of Abu Dhabi has stepped in to help to fund the world’s biggest offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary after the withdrawal of Royal Dutch Shell from the project.
Masdar, a $15 billion (£9 billion) clean-energy investment fund controlled by the Gulf state, said yesterday that it would buy a 20 per cent stake in the London Array project from E.ON, the German energy giant.
The scheme to build up to 271 wind turbines 12 miles off the Kent and Essex coasts is expected to cost £3 billion. Once complete, it will generate up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 750,000 homes.
The Government said last year that it planned to generate 33 gigawatts of electricity from offshore wind power by 2020, an initiative that would require 7,000 turbines and be sufficient to power all of Britain’s homes.

The announcement was welcomed by environmental groups and by Gordon Brown. He said: “This is an excellent example of the partnership that we need between oil-producing and consuming countries to develop new energy sources and technologies, diversifying their economies and reducing our dependence on carbon.”
The Danish energy group Dong controls a 50 per cent stake in London Array while E.ON now retains a 30 per cent share.

Thames windfarm project gets boost

By Chris Bryant in Berlin
Published: October 16 2008 15:28

Plans to construct the world’s largest offshore windfarm in London’s Thames estuary received a much-needed boost on Thursday after Abu Dhabi acquired a stake in the project through Masdar, its renewable energy initiative.
E.on, the German energy giant, sold 40 per cent of its half share in the London Array project for an undisclosed sum. The deal leaves E.on owning 30 per cent of the project, Masdar with 20 per cent and Denmark’s Dong Energy controlling the rest.

The British government signalled its approval of the deal which may put the 271-turbine project on a surer footing after a difficult few months.
The viability of the scheme was thrown into doubt in May when Royal Dutch Shell pulled out and E.on declared that the economics of the deal were “marginal at best”.
The cost of the project has more than doubled to around £2.5bn over the past five years as a global rush to wind energy has pushed up the cost of components.
E.on’s chief executive Wulf Bernotat said the project was set to raise “important challenges”, adding that “the lessons we learn will be vital for the development of the next generation of offshore projects.”
If constructed, the London Array could generate 1,000 megawatts of power, enough electricity to power around 750,000 homes and representing a big contribution towards a EU target of generating 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.
The UK’s share of this target means it must generate about 40 per cent of its electricity from renewables. The importance attached to offshore schemes has increased as plans to construct onshore wind farm have stalled because of planning objections.
“This is an excellent example of the partnership we need between oil producing and oil consuming countries to develop new energy sources and technologies,” British prime minister Gordon Brown said.
E.on plans to invest €6bn in renewable energy projects by 2010 and indicated that it would announce further joint ventures with Masdar in the coming months.
Masdar represents an ambitious and expensive bid by Abu Dhabi to become a leader in the renewable energy sector. Earlier this year its sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development Company said it would invest $15bn in the the sector, including plans to construct world’s first carbon neutral city.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008