Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Government rules will make new conservatories kinder to the environment

Government rules due to come into force soon will make new conservatories more energy efficient, writes Andrew Warren.

Last Updated: 6:02PM GMT 02 Dec 2008

There will be no more conservatories built using just single panes of glass. New government rules, to be consulted upon in the New Year, should mean that these home extensions will need to be built using energy efficient glass – to stop them wasting so much energy.
This will bring conservatories into line with the energy saving requirements which apply to all other newly constructed parts of a home.
At present any conventional extension to a home must be constructed to conform with the building regulations which apply to any new building. That means that the windows have to be made of highly efficient glass, which helps to keep a home warmer – and fuel bills down.
Up till now, conservatories have never been subject to the energy parts of the building regulations. That was because the official assumption had been that these were only used occasionally, mostly in the summer when there would usually be no need to consider heating them.
But new research undertaken by the Building Research Establishment has revealed that 90 per cent of conservatories are being used all the year round. This makes them rather like any other conventional house extension.
Further evidence for them being "just another part of the home" emerged from the same study. Four out of five conservatories are heated to between 20 and 22ºC each day during winter.
Frequently the heating is on for a similar length of time to the rest of the house.
Just to add to the growing integration of conservatories within the conventional living space, it has been established that in two out of five homes, there is absolutely no thermal separation from the main part of the house.
Either any doors provided at the time of construction are left semi-permanently open. Or they have been removed altogether post-installation.
The consequence is that the boiler is having to work so much harder, to keep the conservatory warm. And the heat loss for the entire building just grows.
With sales approaching 200,000 per year, conservatories are big business. Almost 10 per cent of new glass last year went into the construction of conservatories.
And the problem is that, once constructed, it is mightily expensive to attempt to upgrade the thermal performance of a conservatory.
Effectively, if it is built with very thin, single-glazed glass, it is likely to stay that way throughout its lifetime.
Around one-third of energy can escape through poor windows in a home. That is why for the past fifteen years, there have been building regulations which require that more energy efficient glazing is installed.
The glazing industry has set up a rating scheme which enables prospective purchasers to tell how effective any new or replacement window is likely to be.
It runs from A to G, and it is likely that new government requirements will mandate that level C becomes the minimum. Some of the larger window firms are ahead of such requirements, installing only A or B rated windows as the norm.
That is excellent news for anybody looking to minimise cold drafts, and so stop wasting fuel. But such regulations only apply to the conventional use of glass in a house.
So far as conservatories are concerned, the rules to date have really related to the safety and security of its basic construction.
There is a proud record for the conservatory industry to boast about in that connection – and it is well known that the vast majority of households that have acquired one genuinely appreciate having a conservatory.
Were they to be – as originally perceived – for just occasional, temporary, summer usage, there would be little reason to worry about conservatories wasting energy. But it is very clear that, if we ever did, this is no longer how we use our conservatories.
Our homes currently consume far more energy than our cars do. Even than our manufacturing industry does.
Leaving aside the familiar ecological arguments for saving energy, the less fuel any household consumes, the more money is left in people's pockets.
Let's face it. A new conservatory never comes cheaply. Sadly at present those who spend the many thousands of pounds necessary to construct one can also land themselves with hefty fuel bills to heat it long into the future.
The new rules – which should be in force in less than 18 months time – won't reduce the initial construction costs. But they should at any rate ensure that running a conservatory will cost an awful lot less in future. And be far kinder to the environment.

How changes in daily routine may become second nature

Juliette Jowit
The Guardian, Tuesday December 2 2008

You step out of the solar-heated shower, only fill the kettle for one cup of coffee, and wince at the latest electric bill while it boils. In the background, the radio news reports that renewable energy has passed one-third of UK electricity supply. Before going out you turn off the master switch for all your appliances. Then you climb into your electric car for the drive to work. The roads are noticeably quieter, and there have been studies showing asthma admissions are falling as petrol and diesel cars are replaced.
This is a vision of life just over a decade away, painted yesterday in a report by the government's climate change committee. On the surface, life would go on almost as it does now, but underlying the daily routine things could look rather different.
Electricity would increasingly come from renewable sources - at first mostly wind, then later tidal power, biomass burning and geothermal energy. Homes and offices would be insulated to minimise energy loss, and efficient appliances would become the norm. Clean electricity would take over home heating and power a growing number of electric vehicles.
Subtle changes to behaviour would be second nature: turning off appliances, driving a bit slower, wearing a jumper at home, using the cold washing machine cycle, choosing unusual meat cuts over carbon-intensive meats such as beef.
David Kennedy, the climate change committee's chief executive, said: "Let's not underestimate the energy efficiency that gives you more [savings] than lifestyle change, but there are things that can really make a difference, such as simply switching lights off when you leave the room and turning the thermostat down."
There would likely be visible and audible changes: quieter streets, more wind turbines on the horizon, but also, as farmers use less fertiliser, more trout and salmon in rivers, while countryside bird populations should flourish.
Living conditions would not be reduced, said Kennedy. "It's not a question of undermining standards of living; it's not saying don't drive your car or go on holiday. It's about small modifications, and that's useful from a climate change perspective and a personal perspective."

Small U.S. automakers vie for 'green car' loans

By Leslie Wayne
Published: December 2, 2008

WASHINGTON: Detroit's automakers are focused this week on convincing Congress to provide them $25 billion in U.S. government aid.
But there is another $25 billion auto industry loan program, set up by the Department of Energy to quicken the development of fuel-efficient cars.
Because it is open to any company with a promise and a plan to make more fuel-efficient cars, it has set off something of a gold rush, as a number of companies besides the Big Three, including Silicon Valley firms and old-line Detroit auto suppliers, angle for a piece of the program.
Many of the companies flocked to Washington for a meeting Monday sponsored by the Energy Department to review the rules governing the direct loans, which the government is expected to start making in coming weeks.
"The government is saying, 'Here, come and get it,' and we will," said Curt Brainard, a spokesman for EcoMotors International, a Troy, Michigan, company that is developing a two-stroke diesel engine that it says will allow compact cars to get 100 miles to the gallon. "It will give us a tremendous benefit to have the government behind us and as we ramp up with investors."

In addition, Tesla Motors, a privately held company in San Carlos, California, has applied for $400 million in two loans. One would be used to develop an advanced battery and power train for the company's electric car — currently Tesla makes an electric roadster with a $109,000 price tag. The other loan would be to develop a lower-priced midsize sedan, the "Model S," using the same technology.
Another application has come from XP Vehicles, based in San Francisco, which is seeking $40 million to develop two electric cars, a two-seat runabout and a four-seat mini utility vehicle.
Scott Redmond, chairman of XP, said the government loans were an important source of financing, given the economy.
"Venture capital money is frozen and that has put us in dire straits," said Redmond, who added that it cost "hundreds of millions" to develop a new car. "We have a glut of customers, we just don't have enough credit. Financing is dead. We are facing the same problems as the Detroit companies. Everyone is really counting on this money."
Lachlan Seward, director of the Advance Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, said that five applications had been received to date, but declined to disclose details.
The three Detroit automakers have, so far, applied for at least $22 billion of the program's money, according to Michael Carr, counsel to the Senate Energy Committee, which initiated the legislation. Carr, who had been briefed on the loan program's status, said he was concerned that smaller companies might be left to fight over an disproportionately small share. The deadline for the first group of loan applications is Dec. 31.
Large auto suppliers also attended the briefing Monday, including representatives of Tenneco, Delphi, Visteon and Goodyear. Many asked questions about environmental impact studies, and requirements that companies meet criteria regarding their financial strength to receive a loan.
The Energy Department rules favor domestic automakers and suppliers. Manufacturing facilities eligible for the loans must be in the United States, along with all engineering and retooling. Preference is also given for modernization of manufacturing plants that are more than 20 years old, and most of the foreign automakers' plants in the United States are more recent than that.
The program is aimed at supporting the development of cars at least 25 percent more fuel-efficient than those made in 2005.
General Motors has said the money it is applying for — it would not give an exact amount — would be directed toward the development of the Chevrolet Volt, an electric car that is expected to need $2 billion for development costs. Ford Motor, which has said it will seek $7 billion in funds, is looking to convert three large plants that make large trucks and SUV's into making smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.
Some have raised concerns about the program, including raising the possibility that the Detroit automakers will try to use the funds to cover everyday expenses.
"This program would be a failure if the Big Three used it as a way to fund business as usual and deprive money that could be used for innovative technologies," said Carr.
William Kohler, head of the automotive practice at the Detroit law firm Butzel Long, said the program should broadened to finance projects still on the drawing board.
"The program is not oriented at funding for fundamental research, but to facilities and engineering for existing components," said Kohler.
Craig Fitzgerald, an auto industry consultant at Plante & Moran in suburban Detroit, also noted that fuel-efficient gains were often made in small increments, not in the major breakthroughs that the government was seeking to support.
"They need to give weight to medium-range achievements as well as to breakthroughs," said Fitzgerald.

Welcome back USA we've missed you

Barack Obama has put the environment at the top of his agenda and that's exciting, writes Bryony Worthington from, part of the Guardian Environment Network
From part of the Guardian Environment Network, Tuesday December 2 2008 19.20 GMT

I was in Washington DC last week and the sense of excitement amongst the environmental community is palpable – not only does the country have an iconic new leader but he has put climate change and energy at the top of his agenda.
The optimism this has created is infectious. Obama's second ever policy statement laid out a very clear plan of action. His administration will use investment in a low carbon economy as a way of combating recession.
State funds (around $15bn per annum) will be invested in reducing demand for energy and cleaning it up; and a federal cap and trade system will be introduced to redirect private capital.
The targets: return to 1990 levels by 2020 and cut by 80% by 2050 – though this could become even more ambitious, thanks to a key change Waxman replacing Dingell) in the influential Energy Committee of the House of Representatives.
There is no doubt that America is back in the climate protection game. And, as the original architects of emissions trading, they will no doubt observe some of the mistakes made in Europe and do things slightly differently.
Some thoughts on things they could do better:
• Start with a clear path in mind – it is the sum of emissions over time that increases the risk of climate change so the trajectory towards zero emissions is as important as the end target.
• Turn that path into annual emissions targets – make sure targets are minima (ie they can be tightened but not loosened), last for at least twenty years and start lower than existing emissions.
• Base decisions about targets on hard data about the past, not projections about the future which introduce unnecessary uncertainty and environmental risk into the policy (when optimistic forecasts are not forthcoming).
• Cover as much of the economy as possible but think about sectors carefully – start with the sectors not exposed to international competition and where costs can be more easily born. Ability to pay is more important than abatement potential in any given sector since reductions can be bought wherever they are cheapest. Transport fuels and electricity are key sectors.
• When handing out permits make full use of auctioning to decide who gets what – don't get dragged into painful negotiations with industry about 'grandfathering' or 'benchmarking' for free handouts – let them decide how many permits they think they need.
• Use auction proceeds to protect low income households from rising energy bills (by weatherising their homes) and give them access to public transport.
• If you decide to introduce safety valves to mitigate any potential price spikes, such as 'offsetting' or borrowing from future periods, or price caps (please don't do all three!) then make sure there are appropriate triggers and limits on how much they can be used (they should not be the first actions taken by participants but be genuinely used to mitigate unacceptably high prices).
• Explain to civil society what is happening, engage them in the debate and make sure people are empowered to take action that goes further than the cap (ie encourage them to cancel emissions permits).
This article was shared by our content partner, a member of the Guardian Environment Network.

Brazil sets target to slow Amazon deforestation

David Ljunggren, Associated Press in Sao Paulo
The Guardian, Wednesday December 3 2008

Brazil plans to boost spending and programmes to significantly slow the rate of destruction of the Amazon rainforest by 2017, aiming to reduce global warming by slashing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted when trees are burned.
The plan, announced by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Monday, is the first time Brazil has set specific goals regarding deforestation reduction.
Environment minister Carlos Minc said the plan would slow the rate of destruction by 72% when compared with the 7,330 square miles lost on average each year between 1996 and 2005.
The new proposal would boost federal patrols of forested areas, replant forest, and finance sustainable development projects to give locals alternative work in areas where illegal logging dominates the economy.
"We need to offer help them with one hand, but with the other we have to tell them there will be punishment if they don't pay attention to environmental preservation," Lula said, without describing those penalties.
He did not say how much the plan would cost.
Deforestation - both the burning and rotting of Amazon wood - releases an estimated 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, making Brazil at least the sixth biggest emitter of the gas in the world.
The country slowed deforestation by 60% between 2005 and 2007, but officials said last week that destruction had accelerated slightly in the past year, as rising soy and beef prices prompt farmers to carve more fields and pastures from the rainforest.

Co-op opens Britain's first hydro-powered store

The Co-op has underlined its green credentials by opening what it claims to be the Britain's first hydro-powered store. The food shop at New Mills, Derbyshire, is running its electricity through a link with the nearby river Goyt. The small-scale hydro scheme is expected to generate 240,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to provide more than half of the 7,340 sq ft (680 sq metre) store's needs. The project is probably the first in Britain owned and funded by locals through a share scheme. It led to the community forming an industrial and provident society to control the scheme. Terry Macalister

Europe's biggest wind farm switches on

Portugal reinforces its reputation as a renewables champion with 120 new windmills
Giles Tremlett, Tuesday December 2 2008 14.43 GMT

Europe's biggest onshore wind farm plugged itself into the grid today to provide enough electricity for up to a million people in northern Portugal.
A total of 120 windmills are dotted across the highlands of the Upper Minho region of Portugal as one of western Europe's poorer nations continues to forge its reputation as a renewables champion.
"Europe's largest onshore wind farm is now fully operational," a spokeswoman for France's EDF Energies Nouvelles, which co-owns the farm, announced this morning.
The two megawatt turbines on each windmill deliver electricity to a single connection point with the electricity grid and should supply around 1% of Portugal's total energy needs.
A second, smaller wind farm is already functioning nearby, giving a combined output of 650 gigawatt hours per year. "That is above 1% of national consumption," said Nuno Ribeiro da Silva, head of the VentoMinho company that runs the farm.
That would provide enough energy for 300,000 homes, or most of the northern city of Viana do Castelo and its surrounding districts, he told the Publico newspaper.
Portugal's mixture of government enthusiasm, subsidies and special tariffs has turned it into one of the focal points of renewables development in Europe over the past five years.
The world's largest solar photovoltaic farm is being built near the southern town of Moura. The Moura solar farm, which will include a research centre, should be twice the size of any other in the world when it is fully up and running in two years time.
Portugal also recently inaugurated the world's first commercial wave power plant in the Atlantic Ocean off Aguçadoura, using technology developed in Scotland.
The country is heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels and has set a target of obtaining 31% of energy needs from renewables by the year 2020. That is more than twice the UK target. It also uses its subsidies policy to insist that manufacturers of turbines and solar panels set up production plants.
"By 2010 we will have 5,000MW of wind energy installed, meaning we will have increased it tenfold in just five years," economy minister Manuel Pinho said. "This is another step towards putting our country in the vanguard of what is being done with renewable energy."
Portugal, which claims to be one of the world's top five renewable energy countries, provides subsidies of up to 40% for new projects.
The world's largest onshore wind farms are in the United States, with the Horse Hollow farm in Texas providing more than 700MW.
These will soon be dwarfed by proposed offshore wind farms of up to 5,000MW each.

Chrysler Proposes Joint Venture to Improve Energy Technology


WASHINGTON -- Chrysler LLC's plan for a government rescue includes a proposal that the auto makers and federal government establish "an independent joint venture" to develop improved energy technology, such as batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. At the same time, Cerberus, its private-equity owner, is offering concessions to secure a $7 billion bridge loan.
In his testimony before Congress later this week, Chrysler Chief Executive Bob Nardelli will suggest that part of the $25 billion energy-security fund be put into this new entity, rather than having each of the Big Three try to develop the same critical component. "Then each company would take the technology and add its own branding and styling" and other features for its own models, a Chrysler executive said.
Mr. Nardelli has already spoken to congressional leaders about the idea. His pitch, for an industry driven by intense competition, is based on the need to develop technology in the U.S. now, rather than allow Asia to develop vehicle batteries. "We don't want to trade oil dependence for technology dependence," this Chrysler executive said.
Moreover, such a joint venture would represent a major cost savings for all three companies and recruit "the best and brightest minds" to develop the latest technology.
Chrysler late Tuesday submitted a 14-page document seeking a $7 billion bridge loan based on a "plan that demonstrates viability and accountability." Mr. Nardelli, who is leaving Tuesday to drive himself in one of Chrysler's new hybrid sports-utility vehicles, plans to ask Congress: "Please give us a chance."
Burning through $1 billion a month, Chrysler will have only $2.5 billion in cash at year's end. The company will be "dangerously low" in cash and "liquidity will be an issue" within a few weeks, this executive said. Chrysler already has curtailed every expense and just completed buyouts for 5,000 employees who left before Thanksgiving.
Cerberus has already put in a "significant" amount, as well as funding the separate company, Chrysler Financial. However, "just like banks, there's a limit to what it can invest," this executive said. To demonstrate its willingness to make sacrifices for the federal money, Cerberus will tell Congress that it's willing to convert its debt to equity.
Write to Monica Langley at

Hawaii Makes Big Bet on Electric Cars


Hawaii's governor unveiled a plan to create an electric-car network for the islands by 2012, part of an ambitious effort to wean the state from near-complete dependence on oil for its energy needs.
The plan, put forth by Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, calls for creating a public-private partnership with closely held Better Place to create 70,000 to 100,000 recharging points that would support plug-in electric cars expected to be available after 2011. Hawaii's biggest utility, Hawaiian Electric Co., also will aid in the rollout, and may offer special recharging rates, but doesn't intend to be an investor.
Gov. Linda Lingle aims to wean Hawaii from its dependence on oil.

Better Place, a Palo Alto, Calif., company founded in 2007 by former SAP AG executive Shai Agassi, is pursuing similar arrangements in Israel, Australia, Denmark and the San Francisco area. The challenge of building a huge number of recharging points is daunting, and Better Place has yet to line up financing, estimated at $75 million to $100 million, for the Hawaii venture.
Under the plan, consumers would buy or lease electric cars, and Better Place would supply recharging services and batteries. Consumers would have a choice of buying mileage plans -- which would include recharging services and battery swaps -- or being guests on the network and paying for each battery charge. Mr. Agassi said his firm will buy renewable electricity to cover his network's needs.
Gov. Lingle said Tuesday the arrangement with Better Place will "help Hawaii get off its extreme oil addiction," which costs the state $7 billion a year.
Under the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, created in January, the state intends to cut its dependence on oil to 30% from 90% by 2030. To do so, it must ramp up electricity production from renewable resources, like the wind and sun, and use electricity to displace gasoline in some portion of its 1.1 million vehicles. The state also sees a big role for biodiesel to fuel cars and power plants, especially if made by returning fallow land to agricultural use.

Hawaiians pay high electricity prices because costly oil is burned to produce power. The price of electricity ranges from 24.9 cents per kilowatt hour on Oahu to 38.5 cents on Hawaii, the big island, compared with an average of 8.9 cents in the continental U.S. Such high prices should encourage the development of renewable energy. But there has been a big impediment: Electricity can't be moved among the six major islands, because there aren't adequate transmission lines.
That could be changing. There are now proposals to build large wind farms on Molokai and Lanai, and to turn those two islands, along with Maui, into a single grid, with the help of undersea cables. Surplus energy would be sent to Oahu, which consumes 80% of the state's electricity, on another undersea transmission line. These transmission upgrades could cost $750 million to $1 billion.
Other structural impediments could be removed. In late October, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission opened proceedings that will change the way utilities are compensated for electricity sales, in an attempt to sweep away financial rewards for selling more kilowatt hours. The regulatory body is considering creating wholesale prices for power purchased by utilities from green sources.
Write to Rebecca Smith at

Ford Will Speed Green-Car Launches

CEOs of Ford, GM Will Accept $1 Salaries in U.S. Bailout; UAW Leaders to Meet to Discuss Labor Pacts

The Big Three auto makers will submit recovery plans to Congress on Tuesday that emphasize cost-cutting, downsizing and renewed emphasis on higher-mileage cars in a bid to win support for a federal bailout.
Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Alan Mulally plans to tell Congress he is accelerating his company's development of hybrid and electric vehicles and is willing to cut his salary to $1 a year if Ford uses any federal funds.

Alan Mulally
General Motors Corp. is expected to focus on efforts to lighten the company's heavy debt load and consolidate or sell at least one of its eight automotive brands, most likely Saab, people familiar with the matter said. GM CEO Rick Wagoner also will take a $1 salary, those people said. Chrysler LLC is likely to emphasize its need for cash to stabilize the company and eventually join an alliance with one or more foreign auto makers, a person close to Chrysler said.
Meanwhile, top leaders and consultants for the United Auto Workers union, under pressure to deliver concessions, will meet Wednesday in Detroit to discuss potentially tweaking labor agreements, people familiar with the matter said Monday.
Key UAW leaders, including local union presidents representing GM, Ford and Chrysler, will travel to Detroit for the meetings.
In addition, the union will have outside consultants on hand to help evaluate the union's role in Detroit's attempt to secure a so-called bridge loan from the government. A UAW spokesman couldn't be reached for comment. The meeting was reported by Bloomberg News.

The Big Three are hoping to persuade Congress to provide $25 billion in low-cost loans to help them weather the deep downturn in auto sales. They were rebuffed in their first appeal to Congress in November. Lawmakers expressed skepticism the three could survive even with federal aid and told them to submit plans by Dec. 2 explaining how they would use taxpayer money to "become viable."
In a phone interview Monday, Mr. Mulally said Ford will explain to Congress it is rushing to launch new hybrids and electric vehicles by 2011, including a battery-powered commercial van and compact sedan. A plug-in electric vehicle that can be recharged from a standard electrical outlet should follow in 2012, he said.
In a separate interview, Ford Chairman William Ford Jr. said the company is looking beyond survival to opportunity. "We want to come blasting out as a global, green, high-tech company that's exactly where the country and the Obama administration want us to head," he said. Ford's recovery plan "isn't just about slashing -- we've already done that slashing and burning -- but about building for the future."

Robert Nardelli
Mr. Mulally added that he would work for $1 a year if Ford received any federal loan or other aid, a change from the view he expressed last month. While testifying before Congress, he was asked if he would be willing to cut his annual salary to that amount and responded, "I think I'm OK where I am." He took home $21.67 million in 2007.
In another symbolic move, Mr. Mulally plans to drive a Ford Escape hybrid to Washington, where he and his GM and Chrysler counterparts are set to appear later this week. They were criticized by Congress for flying private jets to the hearings last month. GM's Mr. Wagoner plans to drive a Chevrolet Malibu hybrid to the hearings, while others in his group will travel in a Chevy Cobalt hybrid and a Buick Lucerne that can run on 85% ethanol, said a GM official. Chrysler said CEO Robert Nardelli -- who told Congress last month he would take $1 in salary -- has ruled out flying by private jet this time but didn't say how he would travel.
For both GM and Chrysler, a federal bailout may be all that stands between them and bankruptcy protection. GM has said it could run short of cash by the time President-elect Barack Obama takes office next month; Chrysler said it could face the same trouble as soon as the end of this year. A bankruptcy filing by either could force the other as well as Ford and many of their suppliers to follow suit, and potentially leave the United Auto Workers union permanently crippled.

Richard Wagoner Jr
The future of Mr. Wagoner may also depend on whether Congress agrees to help Detroit. People familiar with the matter said the company's board could consider replacing him if GM doesn't secure a bailout this time. "Everything is in a state of flux right now for this board," a person close to the board said late Monday afternoon.
The Detroit CEOs are expected to appear Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee and Friday before the House Financial Services Committee. If Democratic leaders decide to move forward with assistance, Congress would be called back to Washington.
Ford is in a somewhat better position than GM and Chrysler because it mortgaged nearly every asset it had in 2006 -- including its blue, oval-shaped logo -- and now has a heftier cash cushion than its rivals.
Along with detailing its electric car strategy, Ford will outline its plan to introduce new fuel-efficient, turbocharged gasoline engines across its lineup and plans to bring popular, high-mileage cars from its European operations to the U.S. "Half of the Ford-Lincoln-Mercury lineup will qualify as advanced technology by 2010," justifying government funds under a new energy law, Mr. Mulally said.
On Monday, Ford also announced some downsizing news, saying it would weigh a sale of its Volvo unit.
GM's presentation, meanwhile, will include moves to restructure its balance sheet, including an offer to some bondholders asking them to exchange debt for equity, and possibly salary and bonus cuts for Mr. Wagoner and other top executives, people familiar with the matter said.
GM will also say it is considering consolidating or selling at least one brand, most likely Saab, these people said. GM has also talked with Chinese auto maker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., its partner in China, about the sale of at least a portion of Buick, they said.
GM board members spent time Sunday and Monday reviewing and tweaking the plan. "They're definitely stepping up, definitely putting the pressure on [management]," one person familiar with the board's deliberations said Monday. "They know the clock is running out."
In November, Mr. Wagoner told Congress that bankruptcy is not a viable option for GM, saying customers will not buy cars from an auto maker in bankruptcy court. The board as a whole supports this argument. But unlike Mr. Wagoner, they have left the door open to exploring all options as they become needed.
Chrysler, which is a private company controlled by private equity group Cerberus Capital Management LP, is likely to argue before Congress that Chrysler can be a viable company if it gets loans to carry it through the current crisis and wins time to find one or more foreign auto makers willing to form an alliance, people familiar with the matter said. A Chrysler spokeswoman declined to comment.—Mike Spector, Matthew Dolan and Greg Hitt contributed to this article.
Write to Monica Langley at and John D. Stoll at

Greener methods 'could be profitable for farmers'

Published Date: 03 December 2008
By Dan Buglass

SCOTLAND'S farmers and foresters can play a major role in hitting government targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report published by the Scottish Agricultural College.
The two largest rural industries could cut emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 at very little cost, according to the report. Some farmers could actually find themselves in pocket.Dominic Moran, of SAC, said: "There always comes a point when the cost of reducing emissions is greater than any benefit gained. However, up to that point some relatively straightforward measures offer the possibility of substantial cuts at low costs. Potentially it is a win-win situation."The SAC report suggests that farmers growing arable crops or grass who pay close attention to fertiliser management, make better use of manures and reduced ploughing through minimal tillage techniques, could cut their emissions and reduce input costs.At the same time, breeding cattle that release less methane should be a target, but this is a complex issue where there are no easy solutions.That much was acknowledged by John Gilliland, a farmer from Northern Ireland and a leader in the UK government's drive for a cleaner environment.He said: "Some methods of cutting methane production by cattle are effective, but would have animal welfare implications. Policymakers will need to balance priorities."Cuts as much as 25 per cent may not be required, but the land-based industries should be part of any programme for cutting emissions."

Miliband hoping for strong commitments to battle global warming

By Emily Beament, PATuesday, 2 December 2008

Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband today called for a European deal on renewable energy and reducing emissions as the "only route" to securing an international agreement on global warming.
Mr Miliband is joining ministers from across Europe at meetings over the next two weeks as part of talks to secure an agreement on an energy and environment package for EU up to 2020.
It is hoped the deal will be agreed by heads of state at the European Council at the end of next week, coinciding with the end of the latest round of international climate change negotiations in Poznan, Poland.
Mr Miliband said there was a need for strong commitments from EU countries to tackle their emissions in order to secure a new global deal to cut greenhouse gases - which it is hoped will be agreed in Copenhagen next year.
In a speech at the CBI climate change conference in London today, he also said that US president-elect Barack Obama's commitment to a low-carbon economy was a "massive opportunity".
"With the prospect of a global deal, with the run-up to the European deal, with carbon budgets driving good policy making at home, I believe we can create the path to a low-carbon, high growth economy with confidence," he said.
And he said that, with 12 months to go to a global deal and less than 12 days to Europe's deal, the moment that American action was promised on climate change would be the "wrong time to hesitate and fail to act".
"We need the European deal, both because it's right and it's the only route to the global deal we need," he said.
British officials have acknowledged the importance of securing an ambitious green deal in Europe to send a strong message to the UN negotiations in Poland.
Today Mr Miliband said a global deal would need commitments from developed countries to cut emissions, pledges from developing nations to move away from "business as usual" greenhouse gas output and funding for poorer countries to cope with climate change and cut their emissions.
At the conference in Poznan, aid agency Oxfam called for the new treaty to include a scheme in which polluters would pay for the right to emit greenhouse gases.
Oxfam wants richer countries which have done the most to create the problem of climate change to pay for poorer countries to cope with the impacts - which will hit them hardest.
To raise funds, a proportion of the emissions credits which would be allocated to rich countries should be auctioned off to polluters rather than given away free, Oxfam said.
Some £33bn could be raised to help the world's poor this way without hitting taxpayers in developed countries, the aid agency said.
Heather Coleman, Oxfam's senior climate change policy advisor, said: "With a global financial crisis unfolding, these mechanisms could raise enough money from polluters without governments having to dip into national treasuries."
She said billions of pounds could be raised to help poor people survive droughts, floods and food shortages already being caused by climate change.

Shell buys Canadian carbon capture firm

By Sarah ArnottWednesday, 3 December 2008

Shell has bought a Candian company that specialises in technology for cleaning up gas emissions. Cansolv, which also has offices in China, has a scrubbing system to remove sulphur dioxide from combustion gases as well as carbon dioxide capture technologies.
Greg Lewis, the president of Shell Global Solutions International, said: "We must 'learn by doing' in order to reduce costs, accelerate technology development and ultimately make carbon capture and storage commercially viable on the back of emissions trading schemes."

Victory for BMW and Jaguar over climate change targets

Luxury car makers including Jaguar-Land Rover and BMW have wrung a major concession from Brussels over carbon emissions.

By David Millward, Transport Editor Last Updated: 1:45PM GMT 02 Dec 2008

A deal reached between Euro-MPs and the Council of Ministers has watered down the targets they will be expected to meet.
Under the proposals from the European Commission all car makers were told that they would have to bring the average emissions for all new cars down to 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
Manufacturers including BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar-Land Rover described such targets as unrealistic and claimed they were being set a stiffer hurdle than their mass market rivals.
The deal was the one glimmer of good news for the industry after months in which car makers have been forced to lay staff off and cut shifts.
Under the new agreement they have been given the option of cutting their emissions by 25 per cent of their 2007 levels by 2015 – six per cent more than the industry average.
At the same time the agreement has given mass car manufacturers a three year stay of execution before they are expected to meet the 130 gram target.
This must now be achieved by 2015, rather than 2012. But in a concession to the environmental lobby, a new ambitious 95 gram target for 2020.
In addition the penalties for failing to reach the new benchmarks have been stiffened.
Car makers who fail to reach the amended 2015 targets will be fined £80 per car for every gram of CO2 above this level.
The agreement comes after years of haggling with Germany in particular fighting hard to protect its manufacturers, who specialize in the "top end" of the market.
At the same time environmentalists have fiercely opposed any attempts to water down the climate change targets.
Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, described the agreement as protecting both the environment and the motor industry.
"This agreement represents a good deal for the environment and a good deal for UK business. It will drive fuel efficiency improvements in new cars, helping to tackle CO2 emissions and reducing running costs for drivers," he said.
"The challenging long term target for 2020 was a principle that the UK was amongst the first to call for earlier this year. This has potential to be the biggest CO2 saving measure in transport.
"At the same time it also takes account of the needs of UK manufacturers.
"It makes sure that smaller or niche manufacturers, who provide employment to thousands of people around the UK, play their part in reducing CO2 emissions but are not put out of business by targets they will just not be able to meet."
But the agreement was condemned by Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth's senior transport campaigner.
"This is a depressing outcome on a vital piece of climate legislation - it's riddled with delays, loopholes and concessions.
"This was an opportunity to force the car industry to put its foot down and speed up progress in making smarter cars that use less fuel - but EU politicians have caved in to industry lobbying and allowed it to coast along at its own pace for a few more years.
"Along with other nations, the UK Government's key priority was to get a good deal for its own car industry - the interests of the planet and its people have clearly come a poor second."

UK accused of hypocrisy over European renewable energy targets

The UK has been accused of hypocrisy for its efforts to have aviation removed from European renewable energy targets while calling for tougher international measures on climate change.

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent Last Updated: 7:23PM GMT 02 Dec 2008

The EU is due to decide on a new energy directive on Wednesday to produce 20 per cent of power, including fuel and electricity, from renewables by 2020.
At the same time more than 190 countries have gathered for a UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland to decide an international deal on climate change.
Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change minister, said it was incredibly important that the EU come to an agreement in order to set an example to the rest of world.
"We need the European deal, both because it's right and it's the only route to the global deal we need. That's my position and that's what Britain will argue for," he said.
However environment groups are angry that the minister is arguing for a deal while behind the scenes the UK is pushing to have aviation removed from the EU 2020 target.
A spokesman from the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed that the UK is arguing for aviation to be excluded because biofuels have not been developed for aeroplanes.
But Robin Webster, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, said the target, including aviation, was possible for the UK if other sectors boost renewables.
She added: "It is hypocritical to argue for aviation to be excluded at the same time as arguing we need a deal to lead the way on climate change. It is a challenging target for the UK but we can do it. "
The Government also faced pressure from business groups for failing to move fast enough on climate change.
The CBI said the long term commitment to cut greenhouse emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 must be matched with short-term action including consulting on how sites for nuclear sites should be selected, approval for more than 300 on and offshore wind farms, and more support for clean coal, electric cars and energy efficient buildings.

Oxfam calls for £34 billion per annum to help poor cope with climate change

Green taxes on pollution, aviation and shipping should contribute to a £34 billion annual fund to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, according to Oxfam.

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent Last Updated: 7:38PM GMT 02 Dec 2008

The charity say the fund should be set up as part of this week's UN Climate Change conference in Poznan, Poland, to help people coping with floods and drought in the wake of climate change.
Charging heavy industry and transport for emissions is controversial but representatives said business would welcome the money going toward the environment rather than straight to governments.
In a new report, "Turning Carbon into Gold," Oxfam said that rather than asking taxpayers to foot the bill for climate change, polluters should pay.
The organisation claims £34 billion could be raised every year by 2015 through charging the most carbon heavy industries around the world for the right to pollute. This would remove the need for the UK to find at least £1.8bn of its fair share towards the adaptation fund.
The money would go towards helping countries vulnerable to flooding to develop early warning systems and providing seeds for "drought tolerant" crops.
Heather Coleman, Oxfam's senior climate change policy adviser, said: "With a global financial crisis unfolding, these mechanisms could raise enough money from polluters without governments having to dip into national treasuries.
"Billions of dollars can be raised and invested to prevent future climate change and to help poor people adapt to the negative impacts of global warming."
Michael Carrivick, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives, said the industry was expecting to pay for carbon emissions past 2012 and would welcome the money going toward the world's poor rather than into governments' pockets.
The two week conference in Poznan will decide on what shape a new deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol will take. Delegates are expected to decide on whether the world should commit to binding targets to cut carbon emissions, new measures to halt deforestation and an adaptation fund to help poorer countries cope with climate change.

Long, detailed, impressive - but futile in the face of runaway climate change

This environmental state of emergency demands a bolder answer than Lord Turner's. We could start by taking six critical steps

George Monbiot
The Guardian, Tuesday December 2 2008

Lord Turner has two jobs. The first, as chair of the Financial Services Authority, is to save capitalism. The second, as chair of the committee on climate change, is to save the biosphere from the impacts of capitalism. I have no idea how well he is discharging the first task, but if his approach to the second one is anything to go by, you should dump your shares and buy gold.
His climate change report, published yesterday, is long, detailed and impressive. It has the admirable objective of trying to cap global warming at two degrees or a little more. This, it says, means that greenhouse gas pollution in the UK should fall by 80% by 2050 and by 31% by 2020. But there's a problem. There is no longer any likely relationship between an 80% cut and two degrees of warming. This gets a little complicated, but please bear with me while I explain why Turner's proposal is about as likely to stop runaway climate change as the Maginot Line was to hold back the Luftwaffe.
The 80% cut he recommends for the UK more or less matches a global target of 50% by 2050. A 50% global cut, the report says, would make roughly two degrees of warming a "central expectation" and would reduce the probability of four degrees (which it calls "extremely dangerous climate change") to less than 1%.
Turner claims that to keep the temperature rise close to two degrees, the world's greenhouse gas emissions must peak in 2016 then fall by either 3% or 4% a year. A 3% rate of decline is most likely to deliver a temperature rise of 2.2 degrees this century; a 4% annual cut would produce about a 2.1 degree rise. That's more or less consistent with his 2050 targets.
So far so good. But a recent paper in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, using the same sources, comes to completely different conclusions. It agrees that to deliver a reasonable chance of preventing more than two degrees of warming, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere need to stabilise at a maximum of 450 parts per million, carbon dioxide equivalent (ppmCO2e). But it shows that to achieve this, global emissions of greenhouse gases from the parts of the system we can control need to peak by 2015, then fall by 6%-8% a year between 2020 and 2040, leading to "full decarbonisation sometime soon after 2050". Even this, it shows, relies on an optimistic reading of the current data. Turner's suggested cuts are more likely to produce four degrees of warming than two degrees.
The difference between the two reports comes down to this: Turner assumes that greenhouse gases can rise to 500 ppmCO2e before falling back to 450. The other paper shows that this is a dangerous assumption. Not only does this mean that the cut comes far too late but, far from falling back, the enhanced levels in the atmosphere are likely to trigger more emissions as the biosphere starts producing more greenhouse gases than it absorbs. We cannot afford to overshoot.
Last week a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters produced what could be the first hard evidence that runaway global feedback has begun. In 2007 methane levels in the atmosphere, which had previously levelled off, began rising again. The most likely reason is that the Siberian permafrost is melting, as a result of the runaway warming of the Arctic. This wasn't supposed to begin for another 80 years. The great global meltdown appears to have started, yet Turner proposes that we carry on with the old plan as if nothing has changed. We're still digging trenches, even as the sky fills with bomber planes.
My reading of the new projections suggests that to play its part in preventing two degrees of global warming, the UK needs to cut greenhouse gases by roughly 25% from current levels by the end of 2012 - a quarter in four years. But how the heck could this be done? Here is a list of measures that could be enacted almost immediately. They require no economic or technological miracles; but they do demand that the government is brave enough to govern.
1 Immediately renegotiate the European Emissions Trading Scheme, imposing a lower cap on carbon pollution and the mandatory sale of all emissions permits to the industries covered by the scheme (currently over 90% are given away).
2 Use the money this raises for:
a. A crash programme for training builders. As the major component of a green new deal - delivering jobs as well as carbon cuts - the government will immediately launch training schemes for tens of thousands of specialist builders, insulators, window-fitters, plasterers and decorators.
b. A home improvement scheme like Germany's, but twice as fast. Every year between January 2010 and 2020, 10% of homes will be fully insulated and fitted with good windows or secondary glazing, at state expense. Landlords will have a legal obligation to join, or lose their right to take tenants. Announce that when the scheme is complete, gas and electricity bills will be subject to an escalating tariff: the more you use, the more you will have to pay for every unit.
3 Announce that incandescent lightbulbs will no longer be sold in the UK from next April. Announce that no fridge or freezer with an energy rating below grade A++, and no other appliance rated below grade A, will be sold from next July.
4 Increase vehicle excise duty for the most polluting cars to £3,000 a year (from the current £400). Use the money this raises to:
a. Start closing key urban streets to private cars and dedicating them to public transport and cycling.
b. Increase the public subsidy for bus and train journeys. Oblige the bus companies to sign contracts providing a wider range of services. Give us the integrated low-carbon transport we have long been promised, in which buses are scheduled to meet trains, buses and trains carry bicycles, and safe cycle lanes connect with each other across entire cities.
c. Train thousands of new coach drivers and public transport operators. Create coach lanes on all motorways and start moving coach stations from the city centres to the motorway junctions, to enable coach travel to become as fast and efficient as car travel. Link them to city centres with dedicated bus lanes.
d. Scrap the airport expansion programme. Set a cap on the number of landing slots, which will fall every year until it reaches 5% of current capacity.
5 Stop the burning of moorland because this exposes and oxidises peat. Grouse shoots (which are mostly responsible) produce a staggering proportion of the UK's emissions.
6 Stop all opencast coal mining and rescind planning permission for new works. Impose stonking taxes on the extraction of all fossil fuels.
Is this enough? No. But it puts us on the right track. It's all a gamble from now on: the only reliable advice is that we shouldn't start from here. But two decades of procrastination ensure that only emergency measures now have a chance of preventing a climate disaster. What Turner's report - polite, measured and impressive as it is - proposes is more procrastination.

CBI calls for incentives to protect climate

Terry Macalister
The Guardian, Wednesday December 3 2008

The CBI warned yesterday that government would not meet its ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions unless it introduced bolder policies including new financial incentives, but said the global economic crisis was no reason for either side to slam the brakes on.
Richard Lambert, the director-general of the main employers' body, said he supported a ministerial drive to tackle climate change and cut greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 but the right framework for investment needed to be in place if the private sector was to develop the necessary technologies.
"We must not let the global economic crisis become an excuse for inaction on climate change. Now more than ever, we need to secure a binding EU climate change deal, or the opportunity to make the transition to a low-carbon economy will slip through our fingers," he added.
The government had made a promising start by setting up a new Department for Energy and Climate Change plus creating a new planning act. But 300 wind farms still awaited planning approvals, companies needed incentives to cut non-carbon emissions and further financial help was needed to speed-up the insulation of homes, Lambert said at a special climate change conference organised by the CBI and attended by Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary.
Miliband praised Lambert and other business leaders for setting the pace on green initiatives. Britain would continue to lead the way on climate change and he insisted it was not the time now for the European Union to row back on previous commitments when it met to discuss climate change at Poznan in Poland next week.

EU reaches compromise deal on car emission caps

Deal gives European car makers more time to cut CO2 emissions from new vehicles and relaxes penalties for pollution but ties them into a more ambitious longer-term target
Ian Traynor in Brussels, Tuesday December 2 2008 15.35 GMT

European leaders have agreed a deal relaxing new rules to cut car pollution and reduce the penalties for the automotive industry if their vehicles continue to spew out high levels of carbon dioxide, while setting a more ambitious longer-term target for slashing emissions from new cars.
Under the deal reached by French officials and members of the European parliament late on Monday, the big European car companies will be given a longer leeway to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars while fines levied on those breaking the new law have been dramatically cut.
Green pressure groups denounced the deal as capitulation to the powerful car lobby led by Germany. But EU officials, MEPs and European governments hailed the agreement as a breakthrough in a crucial part of the EU's ambitious climate change package.
"This is one of the most important results the EU is bringing to the [UN climate change] conference in Poznan," said Guido Sacconi, an Italian socialist MEP who led the negotiations with the French government that currently holds the EU presidency.
Monday night's agreement comes the week before a major EU summit which is supposed to approve the European climate change package aimed at cutting greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020. The complex negotiations surrounding four pieces of legislation which are to make the targets binding for 27 countries and European industries have hit several hurdles.
Frantic mediation is going on in Brussels, with the French haggling with the parliament and with the 27 governments over renewable energy commitments, the EU's emissions trading scheme, the auctioning of permits for the scheme, whether or not they should be free or which industries should be exempted. Another thorny issue is over how to finance around a dozen pilot carbon capture and storage schemes, which would bury the emissions from coal-fired power stations.
Poland and eight other central European countries are in an insurrectionary mood, complaining that wealthy western Europe should bear the brunt of the package, that their electricity bills will rocket if they sign up for the scheme and that Poland in particular is being unfairly penalised because 94% of its electricity is coal-based.
Italy is also threatening to block agreement on the grounds that the package will prove too expensive at a time of economic recession. Germany is also driving a hard bargain.
"This will go down to the wire at the summit," said an EU diplomat.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France is to go to Gdansk on the Baltic coast at the weekend to try to finesse a compromise with the nine central European countries in what a senior Polish official described as "the moment of truth".
Despite the air of tension and nervousness in Brussels, the agreement on car pollution suggests that Sarkozy will cobble together an overall package that preserves the key targets – a 20% reduction in greenhouse gases with 20% of Europe's energy mix also coming from renewable sources by 2020.
The conflicts are not over the targets, but over how to achieve them and how to divide the costs and burdens.
In the case of the rules for car emissions, the initial proposals from the European commission last year called for all new cars were to emit 130g/km of carbon dioxide by 2012, as an average across a manufacturer's fleet. That compares to current levels of almost 160g. Cars are responsible for around 10% of Europe's CO2 emissions.
Under the compromise now reached, the targets are being staggered over three years – two=thirds of cars are to reach that target by 2012, three-quarters by 2013, 80% by 2014 and all by 2015.
Fines on companies exceeding the target were to have kicked in at €20 per excess gram on a rising scale, but are now to start off at €5.
Yesterday's deal also set a new and lower target of 95g/km for emissions by 2020 - that had not been stipulated in the draft legislation.
Smaller or niche car manufacturers that produce only high emission vehicles, such as the UK's Jaguar and Landrover, will be able to ask for special "derogations" exceeding the mandatory targets as long as they reduce emissions by 25%.

Ex-bad boy China praised at climate talks

The Associated Press
Published: December 3, 2008

POZNAN, Poland: Once global warming's bad boy, China is now winning praise for its upbeat role in climate talks, a turnaround perhaps brought on by the effects of carbon emissions on its choking cities, shrinking water resources and increasingly flooded lowlands.
U.S. Sen. John Kerry recalls meeting the Chinese in the early days of negotiations in the 1990s on a treaty to control greenhouse gases emissions blamed for climate change. "Usually, we just stared at each other," said the Massachusetts Democrat.
"They just wouldn't hear of anything. They saw this effort as a Western conspiracy to prevent them from growing," Kerry said in a conference call with reporters last week.
That changed a year ago when China agreed developing countries would help contain carbon emissions — as long as the wealthy industrial countries gave them the needed technology and finances.
"Now there is a transformation in China that opens up possibilities," said Kerry, who is in line to become chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee which closely monitors international climate issues.

China has a long way to go.
It depends on carbon-laden coal for 70 percent of its power, and has plans to build more than 550 coal-fired power stations. Its capital is so polluted that it had to close much of its industry and order cars off roads last summer so athletes could compete in the Beijing Olympics.
Last year, China overtook the United States as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, and accounted for two-thirds of the global increase in carbon emissions in 2007.
Yet the Chinese still emit about one-fourth as much carbon per person as the average American.
China insists it won't sacrifice development to convert speedily to a low-carbon economy.
"In this world, there are still some people who are living in abject poverty. For them, subsistence comes first," said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, speaking Tuesday in Hong Kong.
But the Chinese compromise last year broke a long-standing deadlock between industrial and developing countries on sharing a burden that has been shouldered until now only by industrial nations.
"That was a very big step," said Li Yan, of the environmental group, Greenpeace. "Now the challenge is not to say what is the next step, but to implement" policy with Western financial help.
Delegates beginning another two-week session in this medieval Polish city say China's more open policy is critical to an agreement on a treaty that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 accord, which requires 37 countries to reduce greenhouse gases by an average 5 percent by 2012.
That accord was rejected by the United States because China, India, Brazil and other big-polluting economies were exempt from any obligations to curb their own emissions.
"If we are to achieve a comprehensive climate deal we need a very strong Chinese engagement," Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday. "I am pleased to note a strong Chinese commitment to mitigating climate change," said the Danish leader, who visited Beijing last month. The new treaty is due to be completed next December in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.
While more flexible than in the past, the Chinese still balk at accepting specific targets, like industrial countries. They also want the rich countries to commit to donating 1 percent of their gross domestic product to help poor countries fight global warming.
Jake Schmidt, of the Washington-based Natural Resources Defense Council who visits Beijing regularly, says the Chinese have been saying privately for a long time what they refused to say publicly.
"When you came to these formal negotiations they took a different tone," Schmidt said in an interview. "They're tough negotiators. They're good."
Last month China issued a revealing "white paper" that laid out its policies and the reasons behind them.
It said China has had 21 warm winters since 1986, the flow of water in its northern rivers has slowed while its southern rivers have experienced more floods. Its glaciers are melting, threatening future run-off and water reserves. The sea level is rising along its 11,200-mile (18,000-kilometer) coast, damaging wetlands, coral reefs and marine life.
China is ready to do its share on climate change, the document said, while working to ease poverty among its 1.3 billion people.
"Climate change arises out of development, and should thus be solved along with development," it said.
"Both developed and developing countries are obligated to adopt measures to decelerate and adapt to climate change," it added, but insisted industrial countries have a historic responsibility to lead the way.
About 70 percent of China's carbon emissions are produced by heavy industry, compared with 20 percent in the United States where the bulk of emissions comes from cars, home heating and service industries.
Yet the Chinese have adopted progressive measures to control pollution.
Their vehicle emissions standards are among the world's most stringent, and they have resolved to use less power to produce goods. Last year alone, the white paper said, China used 3.7 percent less energy to produce one unit of gross domestic product.
In each of the last two years China has more than doubled its renewable energy capacity, and is now the world's fifth largest user of wind turbines, said Li, the Greenpeace activist.
"Green energy is booming," she said, but added China still must move away from coal faster. "Even at such unprecedented growth, considering the challenge of climate change, a lot needs to be done on a far larger scale."
China has closed 11,200 small coal mines and 2,000 inefficient and heavily polluting paper and dyeing mills and chemical plants.
Schmidt, the environmental analyst, said he expected China's policy to continue evolving.
"One of the stumbling blocks was the lack of U.S. leadership." With the climate-friendly policies of President-elect Barack Obama, "you'll notice the change in the rhetoric and tone will continue," he said.
"They'll still be hard negotiators."