Saturday, 25 October 2008

Plug points in street will boost battery car revolution

Electric cars have a short range. Recharging points will extend this to not show enlarge option --
Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

Charging points for electric cars are to be installed in thousands of car parks and on streets as part of a government plan to convert drivers from petrol and diesel to electricity.
Under the scheme, motorists will be able to plug in and recharge their batteries while shopping or at work. In the longer term, those who are unable to wait will be able to exchange their empty battery and drive on with minimal delay.
Ministers plan to kick-start mass production of electric cars with a £100 million package that will include incentives for manufacturers and tax breaks for drivers.
They intend to borrow ideas pioneered in Israel, where half a million recharging points are being installed in a scheme known as Project Better Place.

Renault and Nissan are developing an electric car with a range of more than 100 miles and plan to mass-produce them from 2011.
There are fewer than 3,000 electric cars on the roads in Britain – less than 0.1 per cent of the total.
The lack of range is the main drawback of existing models. They need recharging after about 30 miles, making them suitable for only short journeys within cities.
The Government believes that many more drivers can be persuaded to go electric by a combination of easy-access recharging points and the new generation of longer-range, higher-performance, battery-powered cars.
The Israeli scheme, which is being closely studied by officials from the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, involves building battery switching stations for drivers travelling farther than the 100-mile range of future electric cars.
Under the scheme, drivers will be able to pull into a station and, without having to get out of their car, have their depleted battery replaced within five minutes with a fresh one.
However, most of the recharging of electric cars will be done at home overnight, when there is excess capacity in the grid. The average motorist drives less than 30 miles a day and would only occasionally need to exchange batteries or recharge away from home.
Britain’s electric car programme will be launched on Monday by Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, and Ian Pearson, the Business Minister. Mr Pearson, said: “The Government is committed to bring lower carbon vehicles to Britain’s roads as soon as possible. We need to act now to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of this new industry.
“The development of electric vehicle technology is an opportunity for the UK to take the lead and, given the current state of the global economy, we need to seize that opportunity now.”
He added: “I am looking forward to discussing with experts from around the world how we can move forward one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century – the transformation of cars and the car industry.”
Current affairs
— The Scottish businessman Robert Anderson is credited with inventing the first crude electric carriage some time between 1832 and 1839
— There are 18 different makes of electric car ranging from the CityCom AG 39mph CityEL to the 110mph Venturi Fétish
— The best-selling electric car in the world is the REVA G-Wiz i, which costs around £9,500
— The Tesla Roadster goes from 0 to 60mph in under four seconds
— All electric cars use an electric motor. Hybrids use a combination of an internal combustion engine and electric motor
— It costs about £1 per 60 miles to run an electric car compared with £3 per 60 miles for a petrol version of the same vehicle
— Car batteries are recharged just like mobile phone batteries, typically overnight
Source:, Times database

The Matrix Overloaded: Clean Energy Will Depend on a New, 'Smart' Grid


Wind turbines and solar panels have become the icons of renewable energy. But renewable energy is only as effective as the infrastructure that moves it around: the electrical grid.
Cool devices to harness pollution-free energy won't do much to lessen the country's fossil-fuel dependence unless aging and unsophisticated infrastructure is vastly updated to transmit it.

Life on the Smart Grid
Explore how energy might flow through a modernized electrical grid.
Even at today's levels, renewable energy is straining an electrical grid already showing signs of fragility, as evidenced by the 2003 blackout that turned out the lights from Connecticut to Michigan. In Texas, which has more installed wind-power capacity than any other state, wind turbines sometimes are ordered shut off because the state's electrical lines can't handle the surge of fresh juice. In California, energy from strong solar rays are stranded far from thirsty markets because of a shortage of transmission lines.
The challenge of modernizing the electrical grid to accommodate cleaner energy rivals the monumental task of extending the grid into rural America in the 1930s and building a fleet of new power plants in the wake of World War II.
"We may need to do it again in a different way if we're really going to take advantage of these resources," says Dan Reicher, who directed the Department of Energy's alternative-energy programs in the 1990s and now heads up renewable-energy policy and investment at Google Inc.'s nonprofit foundation, Renewable energy, he says, "will indeed remain a boutique industry unless we build out the transmission lines."
Falling oil prices and the financial crisis threaten the renewable-energy effort, too. Still, the long-term push for cleaner energy is likely to continue.
The current electric grid has two basic shortcomings. It's not big enough to accommodate all the new electricity the nation is likely to need in coming decades,regardless of how that electricity is produced. And it's not flexible enough to handle the inconsistencies of renewable energy, which is less steady than the workhorses of coal and natural gas; the wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine.
In other words, it's dumb. It's not sophisticated enough to minimize electricity waste by allowing, for instance, power companies and consumer appliances to communicate about fluctuations in energy supply and demand.
An updated electrical grid is also crucial to realizing a "green" car. Such a car will depend on an improved power network as much as today's cars depend on the ubiquity of gas stations.

The jury's out on what might sit under that car's hood. Some, like Google, foresee "plug-in" hybrid cars, which, unlike today's hybrids, plug in to an outlet for recharging. The vehicles would run on electricity much of the time, using their downsized gasoline-powered engines only when necessary. But the cars would amount to a real environmental win only if their electricity were produced in a way that didn't pollute the atmosphere as much as power plants that burn coal or natural gas.
Others, like Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, envision what might be called indirect-electric vehicles. These vehicles would burn natural gas, and a greater percentage of the gas used in the U.S. is produced domestically, compared with oil. To free up the gas for vehicles, the country would have to stop burning it in power plants. Thus, the other part of the oilman's plan: producing much of America's electricity from wind.
Both these visions could be dismissed as shameless self-interest. Google makes software it wants to sell to help run a bigger and more sophisticated electrical grid. Mr. Pickens plans to develop a huge wind farm in Texas to feed the grid. But the two visions expose an often overlooked weakness in the nation's energy system.
The U.S. electricity industry, too, stands to gain from plug-in hybrids, which would represent a big new market. The industry's research arm, the Electric Power Research Institute, says the grid will have to be expanded to handle the energy from renewable sources.
At its current size, the network could accommodate many new plug-in hybrid cars -- but that would require making the grid smarter. The vast network needs new controls that sense and communicate information about energy load and consumption to ensure, for example, that cars are recharged at night, when there's plenty of unused capacity available. Parts of the current grid are over a half century old, predating the personal computer.
"Maybe the biggest technology hurdle we have right now -- it sounds funny -- is the ability to exchange information seamlessly, because there is no common language," says Arshad Mansoor, a vice president at the Electric Power Research Institute.
The grid will become far more complex since so much will depend upon it. Many more varied sources of energy will feed power into it while many more electrical appliances will draw power from it. Tomorrow's car "is less about the vehicle," says Google's Mr. Reicher. "Now it's about the grid."
Write to Jeffrey Ball at

Windmill Mishap Weighs on Suzlon


India's Suzlon Energy Ltd., the world's fifth-largest wind-turbine maker by unit sales, is facing additional questions about its technology after a 140-foot-long blade broke off a tower in Illinois.
News of the blade detachment, at a project financed by Deere & Co., drove Suzlon's shares down 39% to 47.25 rupees, or 93 U.S. cents, Friday in Mumbai trading.
Karen Newby/Journal Star
A Suzlon turbine shows the stub of a blade that snapped off and landed in a cornfield about 150 feet away.

The accident is the latest in a series of cracking windmill blades and other technical problems in the U.S. and India that have hurt Suzlon's image. The share-price decline Friday also reflected investor concerns that Suzlon will be unable to raise the money it needs in coming months to fund an ambitious global expansion plan and may be forced to sell assets, analysts said.
In a statement, Suzlon said the Illinois incident was "extremely rare and unusual." The company added, "Other turbines owned by that customer and our other customers at various locations in the U.S. are operating without interruption." It gave no further details.
Richard Schertz, a farmer from near Wyanet, Ill., said he found the blade in one of his cornfields Tuesday, 150 feet away from the turbine's tower.
Stewardship Energy LLC, an Illinois.-based wind-farm developer, began operating four 2.1-megawatt Suzlon turbines on Mr. Schertz's and a neighbor's farmland in mid-2007. The project was financed by John Deere Wind Energy, a unit of Deere, according to Stewardship Energy's Web site. A spokesman for Deere didn't respond to requests for comment.
Earlier this year, Suzlon, of Pune, India, said it would strengthen or replace 1,251 blades -- almost the entire number it has sold to date in the U.S. -- after cracks were found on more than 60 blades on turbines run by Deere and Edison International's Edison Mission Energy.
To overcome its technology problems, Suzlon has moved to take over big European wind-turbine and component producers. But investors are increasingly worried about Suzlon's plans to raise $390 million by mid-December to complete its $1.7 billion takeover of REpower Systems AG, a German wind-turbine producer, analysts said. Suzlon had lined up euro-denominated bank loans for the purchase before the credit crisis but late last month said it was instead planning a rights issue to raise the cash, sparking a major drop in its share price.
Suzlon already has a majority stake in REpower, but, under German corporate laws, needs to acquire one more large block of shares and offer to buy out minority shareholders before it can transfer technology out of the German company.
The market is nervous that Suzlon may have to sell stakes in other units, like Belgian gearbox maker Hansen Transmissions International NV, says one analyst who covers Suzlon. Both shares in REpower and Hansen have also fallen sharply since Suzlon announced its rights issue.
Write to Tom Wright at

Imagining a low-carbon future must begin today, declares think tank

Published Date: 25 October 2008
By Charles Henderson

IMAGINE yourself living in Scotland in 2050.
We all now exist in a world where mankind’s carbon pollution has been cut back to the emission levels of 100 years ago in the mid-20th century. We each participate in daily democratic debates through an online virtual parliament, and monitor how our carbon footprints rise as we buy consumer products, and fall as we plant trees. The world is now home to around 9.5 billion people, which has put increased pressure on natural resources, and the climate. Despite this, the UK has managed to meet the 80 per cent carbon reduction targets announced four decades ago, in 2008, by the SNP Government at Holyrood, and Labour at Westminster. The average Scottish per capita emissions have dropped from 11 tonnes to two tonnes of carbon dioxide. The threat of dangerous runaway climate change is monitored carefully by the most sophisticated network of satellites ever conceived. Thankfully, the signs are positive that global temperature have stabilised.Now, ask yourself, how did we make the critical changes and steps to realise this low-carbon transformation?Do you think, in common with Ian Marchant, the chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, that 2008 went down in history as the year of excessive indulgence – and proved a turning point, paving the way for a flourishing of green industries in Scotland?Perhaps, like Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP, you welcome the fact that Scotland backed renewable energy rather than nuclear. As a result, its economy and position as European energy provider of choice was secured.Or maybe, you saw the sobering interviews with scared children in 2008, imploring the grown-ups to make the world nice for their future, and you decided it was time to get campaigning.Imagining this low-carbon world of the future was the task set a group of academics, leaders and thinkers by the David Hume Institute, a Scottish think tank.The inaugural lecture of a series was held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh earlier this month.The Institute hopes the series will contribute to the climate change debate and raise awareness. So now’s your chance to have a say. How do you think Scotland can meet its 80 per cent carbon reduction target by 2050? Should it concentrate on one energy source more than another? Should this be nuclear? Wind? Biofuel? Or should the country concentrate its efforts on energy efficiency, and avoid the need for new, large power stations altogether? As Anne Glover, the chief scientific officer for Scotland says: “Human survival on the planet depends upon our ability to imagine, to be aspirational in what we want for our future and then to apply our thinking to develop the means of how we might get there.” We need all the bright ideas we can get. • Charles Henderson is director of Climate Futures. •

Rebels to force climate change Bill concessions

Labour MPs want targets for aviation and shipping carbon emissions included
By Ben Russell, Home Affairs CorrespondentFriday, 24 October 2008

Ministers are preparing concessions to head off a Labour rebellion over plans to exclude aviation and shipping from new targets to cut Britain's carbon emissions.
Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, is working on amendments to the Climate Change Bill which pledges that the UK will reduce emissions by 80 per cent before the middle of the century.
But emissions from international shipping and air traffic were originally excluded from the calculations, prompting MPs to stage a rebellion. Mr Miliband is understood to be working on a form of words to ensure that the key areas of aviation and shipping can be included on the face of the Bill when it is debated by MPs next week.
He is also preparing to strengthen the Bill – which introduces the world's toughest legally binding targets for cutting emissions – to force most companies to declare their annual carbon emissions as part of efforts to drive down energy consumption.
Fifty-six Labour backbenchers are threatening to defy the Government if ministers do not include the two industries in the Bill when it is debated on Tuesday. The group – enough to overwhelm Gordon Brown's majority of 62 – have signed a rebel amendment designed to ensure aviation and shipping are included on the face of the Bill.
Ministers are understood to be working on a compromise to meet the concerns of Labour MPs but are anxious not to commit the Government to a binding target to cut emissions from air and sea travel when there is no international agreement on how to measure pollution from the two industries.
One senior government source said: "We want to make sure what we do is something that works. We don't want to write something into the Bill which makes it impossible to implement."
Nigel Griffiths, the former minister who tabled the rebel amendment, said: "I'm confident the Government will make concessions. I have had very fruitful discussions with Ed Miliband and [the climate change minister] Joan Ruddock who have left me in no doubt of their concern to ensure that every possible source of carbon dioxide emissions will be included."
Environmentalists have been pressing ministers not to exclude aviation and shipping from targets to cut carbon emissions, arguing that if international agreements cannot be reached, domestic greenhouse gas targets should be strengthened to compensate for the impact of planes and ships.
In January, a Commons motion calling for aviation and shipping to be included in CO2 targets was signed by more than 250 MPs, including 164 Labour MPs. A similar motion tabled earlier this month has been signed by 74 Labour MPs. Martyn Williams, Friends of the Earth's parliamentary campaigner, said: "If ministers get this right they will have introduced a world-class climate change bill we can all be proud of."

Supermarkets come in from cold as part of low carbon revolution

Rising energy prices and green campaigns persuade firms to open ecostores
Juliette Jowit
The Guardian,
Saturday October 25 2008

It was a small but chilling symbol of 20th century consumerism. Obsessed with choice and convenience at any cost, supermarkets for years refused to put doors on fridges because they might get in the way of customers reaching in.
Now a small but very 21st century revolution is under way. On Monday Asda will open what it claims is Britain's first superstore with doors on every freezer, fridge and chill cabinet. The initiative is part of a £27m new "low carbon" store in Bootle, Liverpool, and this one measure alone is expected to save 8% of the building's electricity bill - and emissions.
Asda is not alone. With electricity bills rising fast and campaigners and regulators turning up the heat on companies to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, supermarkets are opening ecostores to test a hotchpotch of improvements, from renewable energy to recycling plastic bags into kerbstones, animal-friendly products, and seeking out the green pound of more environmentally-friendly shoppers.
With tens of millions of shoppers a week and £85 out of every £100 spent on food in the UK, the supermarket chains could be a force for transforming the way people shop and encouraging suppliers around the world to reduce energy use, waste and exploitation of people and land. "It's a healthy competition which is moving us all faster and faster," said Katherine Symonds, Tesco's sustainability manager.
Others claim the very notion of an "ecosuperstore" is a contradiction in terms. "While green technology can improve the environmental footprint of a building, this is a small part of a supermarket's impact, which includes emissions from food freight and customer travel to stores," said Helen Rimmer, campaigner for Friends of the Earth.
Walking around the huge (recycled) brick and (sustainable) wood Bootle store, Bob Simpson, Asda's head of project development, pointed out two geothermal pumps to bring up hot water from underground aquifers and a wood pellet-burning boiler to help heat the store.
Passing through wafts of warm bread from the bakery test on to a shopfloor busy with shelf stockers, Simpson showed off ventilators recycling "ambient air", sun pipes in the roof, and translucent bricks to bring in natural light but keep out the heat of the sun - and, of course, the omnipresent fridge doors.
The fridge doors are, admitted Simpson, a leap of faith. At one store the electricity bill fell 14%, but in two sales dipped. "I think here it will be slightly different, and that's why we've not changed them; also it's a bit late [to change] because we open on Monday," he said.
The mantle of Britain's greenest supermarket changes almost monthly: in August Sainsbury's opened what it claimed was the greenest store in Dartmouth, Devon, promising to reduce emissions by 40%; Asda says Bootle will cut energy use and emissions by up to half; but Tesco claims to have already trumped that, with a 60% cut at Shrewsbury.
Nor is carbon the only battleground: all the supermarkets have targets to cut the distance goods travel, emissions from vehicles, waste and a range of other unpopular byproducts of their business.
One key driver has been rising electricity bills, which account for about 40% of store costs and 60% of the companies' direct emissions. "We have seen a dramatic upturn in price that's changed the energy environment in the UK ... that's driving a totally different set of behaviours than even was the case two years ago," said John Ashford, head of engineering for Sainsbury's.
The other is customers, though evidence that shoppers are lobbying for greener goods is hard to find, especially since the threat of recession.
But supermarkets see green values as a way of winning or at least retaining customer loyalty, said Ronan Hegarty, news editor of The Grocer industry magazine: "It's a bit of a trump card to say 'who's the greenest'."
At the same time, retail bosses see the opportunity to use the cost savings to win more customers by bringing down prices, said Julian Walker-Palin, head of corporate policy for sustainability and ethics for Asda. "Anything a supermarket does, we do for our customers.
"For 17 million people who shop [in Asda] each week, the majority don't understand climate change or carbon, and they don't want to. But they understand there's this issue we need to do something about; they very much [say to] their supermarket 'you have the experts, I want you to help me do the right thing'," she said.
The tension between sustainability and price-profit ethos has raised serious doubts about how much supermarket greening is greenwash. Critics point out there is only a handful of ecostores although all chains have less ambitious group-wide energy and emissions reduction targets.
Fairtrade and organic products and local supplier deals make up a tiny fraction of total product lines and contracts.
A host of other accusations are also levelled at supermarkets: bullying of suppliers, vast, oil-dependent freight networks, ruination of high street shops, millions of car miles driven by shoppers to out of town stores, promotion of unhealthy food, and the whole notion of trying to sell as many disposable consumer goods as possible.
In what could be a turning point, Wal-Mart's chief executive, Lee Scott, this week said that on occasions the company might pay more for more sustainable products. "We don't want to rule that out," said Walker-Palin. At the same time, Simpson admitted that if the fridge doors do act as a barrier to sales, some might be removed: "It's about being brave, not stupid."
· Halve emissions from existing stores and distribution centres worldwide by 2020
· Halve greenhouse gas emissions per case of goods delivered worldwide by 2012 (compared with 2006)
· Cut the number of carrier bags by 50% by the end of February 2009 (compared with 2006)
· Reduce energy consumption of
existing stores by 20% by 2012 and new stores by 30% by 2010 (compared with 2005)
· Send zero waste to landfill by 2010
· Sell only 100% sustainably sourced fish by 2010
· Reduce carbon footprint cumulatively by 36% by 2010 (from 2005)
· Reduce road miles travelled per pallet of stock by 6% by 2010
· 15% reduction in water use by 2010 (from 2005)
Marks and Spencer
· UK & Irish operations carbon neutral by 2012
· Send no waste to landfill by 2012
· Reduce carrier bag use by 33% by 2010
· Reduce CO2 emissions a square metre by 25% by 2012 (from 2005/06)
· Reduce CO2 emissions per case of goods transported by 5% by March 2009 (from 2005/06)
· Reduce waste sent to landfill by 50% relative to sales by 2012 (from 2005/06)
· Reduce carbon dioxide emissions for UK operations by 10% by 2010, 20% by 2020 and 60% by 2050 (from 2001)
· Reduction of 15% in energy-related transport CO2 emissions from stores deliveries by 2013 (from 2005)
· Recycle 75% of all waste by 2012
Research by Holly Bentley

Greenwash? Let's start with the screen you're looking at

It's great to have a new column exposing greenwashing. The computer industry alone could keep it filled for a year, says Charles Arthur

Charles Arthur,
Friday October 24 2008 15.48 BST

The inevitable result of us all buyng the latest computer models Photograph: Bernard Bisson/Corbis Sygma
It is a delight to have Fred Pearce's new Greenwash column starting over on the environment site. Not just because Pearce (who I've known for about 20 years) always brings a forensic, perception-changing approach to environmental matters; but also because there're so many rich pickings for us to provide him with from the computing industry. Hell, on our own we could probably give him enough claims to fill the column for the first year.
What sort of things? Well, first of all there's the underlying assumption that chucking away your old computer or data centre in favour of something newer is going to be more "environmental". Thus Apple touted its new portable computers last week as its greenest-ever – "highly recyclable and even more energy efficient". OK, but that's relative, isn't it? Carved from a block of aluminium they may be (watch the video), but that aluminium probably wasn't made by collecting discarded kitchen foil; it'll have been extracted as bauxite, and then turned into aluminium blocks, which in energy-intensity rivals running a particle collider. So they're "greener" if you don't mind all the fossil fuels burnt to extract the contents and put them together. (I'm assuming the bauxite mines and smelters aren't powered by windmills – though Norway is a favoured location for aluminium smelting because of its plentiful, and green, hydroelectric sources.)
I've also enjoyed the past 18 months or so in which Dell has tried to transform itself into a "green" company. The most amusing part has been its "Plant a tree for me" plan, which tries – apparently not hard enough – to persuade people buying a new computer to purchase carbon offsetting, in the form of one-third of a tree planted per machine, for its first three years. The prices aren't high – £1 per laptop, £3 per desktop – but people aren't biting. The best numbers I can calculate, based on what the company doles out, is that less than 1% of purchased machines are offset.
The point is that Dell does seem to me to understand the need to reduce its impact on the environment. Todd Arbogast, its director of sustainable business, explained that Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, is powered by a mixture of wind, solar and "methane capture" sources, and it is pushing its suppliers to use more renewable sources of energy, and recycle more. All laudable aims; it's only a pity that its customers don't seem to share them.
There's plenty more, of course. Is it really "green" to use cloud computing? You might think so – after all, it's all happening somewhere else, isn't it? – but if you consider that it means your computer is running, as well as lots of other computers all over the world, then it doesn't. Nick Carr, author of The Big Switch, calculated a while back that each avatar in Second Life, for example, has a carbon footprint as big as the average Brazilian – and that's in addition to their real-world personae, who probably aren't Brazilian, but American.
Or the more recent case, noted by technology journalist Chris Edwards, of a company spotted by the consultancy Ovum which, in Edwards's words, found that "when it came to their [carbon] footprint, some were forced to wear supersized carbon clown shoes: 'One of the delegates, who had travelled from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam, had been told that he had to fly there as it was not company policy to reimburse train fares – despite the fact that in this case there is no direct air service and flying was both considerably more expensive and slower! As this journey involved two relatively short flights, the fuel consumption per passenger was probably about 10 times that of the rail option.'"
Ah, yes, the manifold ways in which we can be tripped up by our own good intentions.
But the question behind it all – and which the latest economic news might make us consider even more carefully – is: why do you need a "new" anything? Isn't there enough computer equipment in your home or business to do what you need? Isn't the real solution to speeding things up or making work easier actually in the software, not the hardware? I suspect that the coming year is going to see some dramatic slowdowns in spending (Gartner has already slashed its forecasts for 2009) and a lot of reevaluation. The question, "Why do you want that again?" is a good one when it comes to hardware. Because the nice thing with software is that it's completely green: you're just reusing the electrons in the wires and magnetic domains on the hard drive. Now that's what I call green.

EU votes to limit airlines' emissions

By James Kanter
Published: October 24, 2008

European Union governments on Friday gave formal approval to a potentially costly system capping greenhouse gases from any airline flying into or out of the trade bloc - just as the airline industry reported new evidence of its business being hit by a worsening economy.
Airline chiefs immediately blasted the EU decision, saying it would cost the industry at least €3.5 billion each year to comply. The EU was "acting in a bubble - even in the middle of a global economic crisis," said Giovanni Bisignani, the director general of the International Air Transport Association.
EU justice ministers meeting in Luxembourg approved the greenhouse gas measures, which oblige airlines, regardless of nationality, landing or taking off from an airport in the EU to join the emissions trading system from January 1, 2012.
The system, created in 2005, already includes heavy industries like cement makers and electricity generators in Europe.
Industries have complained bitterly about the costs of complying with the system, especially as the global economic situation has worsened. Many airlines also have fought hard to avoid inclusion in the system, saying they could ill-afford the extra costs after a period of record high fuel costs.

The United States has also harshly criticized attempts to apply the EU rules to U.S.-based carriers, insisting the rules violate international aviation agreements.
The decision Friday was expected, however, after European governments reached a political agreement with the European Parliament in June.
It came as the International Air Transport Association reported global airline-passenger traffic fell 2.9 percent in September, compared with a year earlier. It was the first monthly drop since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003.
A drop in air freight of 7.7 percent was the first since the market for technology stocks crashed in 2001, the transport association said.
In another sign of gloom in the industry, the largest European airline, Air France-KLM, warned its earnings would suffer as a result of the financial crisis, sending its shares down sharply.
The airline said it was struggling to reach a full-year operating-profit goal of €1 billion for the 12 months through March 2009. Air France-KLM vowed to curb capacity and freeze costs, but said it would "remain comfortably in profit as long as market conditions do not deteriorate any further."
The inclusion of aviation in the carbon trading system will raise costs for airlines, which pay for a portion of their emissions permits to comply. The system also will raise costs for passengers if airlines, as expected, pass on the costs by raising ticket prices.
EU climate officials say it is vital to regulate greenhouse gases from aviation because the sector is growing so quickly.
Low-fare carriers like Ryanair, based in Ireland, have made short hops by air accessible for many more Europeans. Even so, the measures approved on Friday include special provisions that could ease the rules on start-up airlines in faster growing EU economies, like those in Eastern Europe.
New airlines or airlines growing at more than 18 percent annually would be eligible for a once-only limited supply of additional free permits. That measure would ensure that countries "with initially very low but increasing mobility rates are not penalized by the scheme," EU governments said in a statement. The airline industry says its gases represent a small fraction of greenhouse gas emissions and that the European measures will be ineffective without a global agreement. Environmentalists say the effect of vapor and emissions from jet engines at altitude could magnify their effect on the climate.

Eco-worrier: Why can I recycle some kinds of plastic but not others?

You can't bunch plastics together and recycle them. There are hundreds of varieties, all made from different polymers, and you'd end up with a low-quality, useless material. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic - used in plastic bottles - is the easiest to recycle because it is made from a less complex mixture, according to Paul Davidson, the plastics sector manager at WRAP, the Waste and Resources Action Plan. “Plastic bottles are less likely to have any residue that could cause a problem for the machinery or affect the quality of the material coming out the other end,” he says.
Look for the number inside the triangular symbol on the bottom of plastic bottles; this is your guide to whether they can be recycled. Contact your local authority or check on its website to find out which numbers it is able to recycle. Most recycling centres take any bottles with numbers 1 to 3.
The problem is mixed plastics, due to the number of polymer types within them, such as in yoghurt pots, plastic meat trays and other materials that few doorstep collection schemes will take. If you're lucky, your council may have found a way of sending its low-grade plastic to a reprocessing unit where it will turn waste into insulation material or more packaging. But for most of us, this is the stuff we send to landfill.
It's fair to say that plastic recycling is not a green success story, but there is hope. WRAP has announced that it aims to have the UK's first mixed plastic reprocessing plant running by 2011. It also published research that proved for the first time that it was economically viable to recycle low-grade plastic as well as there being clear environmental gains. This at least answers cynics who claim that recycling plastic is a waste of money and energy since plastic is so cheap to make.
Anna's book How Green Are My Wellies? (Eden Project Books) is available at
DO IT The latest offering from the eco-active clothing company Finisterre has a story behind it. The Storm Track jacket, a waterproof, breathable parka, is made by former drug addicts and prostitutes working with a charity in Colombia. Nuns run the project, which trains 320 women a year. Visit www.finisterre for designs such as jackets impregnated with beeswax and ethically-sourced New Zealand merino wool sweaters.
CLICK IT Wondering where to start Christmas shopping? Try the eco-retailer It has a loyalty card scheme, which earns you points every time you buy something. You can cash them in for items. Once you have 6,500 points, you can exchange them for an eco-kettle. A £26.95 recycled jigsaw earns you 161 points; an eco-stapler, which fastens without staples, earns you 35 points.
SKIP IT Cut back on your grocery shop. According to WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Plan), 40 per cent of the food thrown away in households is fresh fruit and veg. It cites “buying and cooking too much” and “not using them in time” as the main problems. To inspire you to use veggies and fruit creatively, The Use-It-All Cookbook (Green Books, £12.95), by Bish Muir, contains an A-Z of leftover ingredients, plus more than 100 recipes and tips on storing food and planning ahead.