Friday, 3 April 2009

New household goods to meet energy efficiency grade

Published Date: 03 April 2009
By Jenny Haworth

FRIDGES, freezers, televisions and washing machines are to have minimum energy standards and energy labels following an EU ruling.
Minimum standards will ensure that only energy-efficient products are sold in the European market. Mandatory energy labelling will help consumers choose the most efficient products for their homes.According to the Defra these measures will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by about 2 million tonnes a year. They will also deliver a net benefit to the UK economy of about £150 million annually, mostly in the form of reduced householders' annual energy bills. It is the first time that minimum energy efficiency standards and labelling have been set for televisions. It will be brought in from mid 2010. Labelling has appeared on white goods for ten years but has not been updated in that time.Lord Hunt, Defra minister for sustainability, welcomed the move, but criticised the labelling being difficult to understand.

Senate Sets Climate Bill Procedures

WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Wednesday against sheltering White House-backed climate-change legislation from procedural delays, signaling the initiative will require 60 votes for passage.
The Senate, on a 67-31 vote, decided against conferring so-called reconciliation protection on cap-and-trade legislation sought by President Barack Obama. Such protection ensures a bill can't be filibustered. Wednesday's vote effectively guarantees that any measure designed to combat climate change adopted this year will require at least 60 votes to break a filibuster.
Controlling greenhouse-gas emissions is a top priority for Mr. Obama and his allies in the Democratic congressional leadership. But Republicans and many rank-and-file Democrats have concerns about the costs that would be imposed on businesses and consumers.
The vote came amid debate on Mr. Obama's $3.6 trillion budget for fiscal 2010, which begins Oct. 1. In a flurry of action Wednesday, the Senate added $4 billion for development projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in hopes of bolstering U.S.-led efforts to stabilize the region.
The Senate also approved an amendment that would commit $550 million to new security measures along the border with Mexico, where gang violence is drawing growing concern in Washington. The Senate also added $1.9 billion to help low-income families pay heating bills.
Write to Greg Hitt at

Mitsubishi Shares Jump After Electric Car Report

Reuters, Friday April 3 2009
* Mitsubishi Motors to raise electric car capacity -- Nikkei
* To make more lithium ion batteries in JV -- Nikkei
* Shares rise as much as 7.3 pct
TOKYO, April 3 (Reuters) - Shares of Mitsubishi Motors Corp jumped to a three-month high on Friday after a newspaper said the automaker would double its annual production capacity target for electric cars in the business year to March 2012.
The Japanese carmaker will aim to build up to 20,000 of its i-MiEV electric cars and more than double the output of lithium ion batteries, the Nikkei business daily said.
Its shares opened up 7.3 percent at 147 yen before ending morning trade at 144 yen.
Mitsubishi Motors is up against bigger rivals Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co, the Franco-Japanese alliance that is aiming to be the first to mass-market zero-emission electric cars, starting with an initial limited roll-out in 2010.
Renault has said it wants to sell 20,000 to 40,000 electric cars in 2011, while Nissan has disclosed no target.
Other global automakers have joined the race, with Toyota Motor Corp saying this year it plans to roll out pure electric cars by 2012.
Mitsubishi Motors, the only mass-volume carmaker with an electric car prototype on the road, is on track to begin selling its egg-shaped i-MiEV electric car to corporate customers in Japan from July.
President Osamu Masuko, who is chauffeured around in the i-MiEV daily, has said production will be doubled to 4,000-5,000 cars in the second year as exports begin, moving up to 30,000 to 50,000 by the middle of the decade.
A Mitsubishi Motors spokesman would not confirm the report, saying the company stood by its target of hitting 10,000 units as soon as possible.
Mitsubishi Motors is focusing on small and fuel-efficient cars to ride out the global slump, and has lined up requests from companies such as Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc and Japan Post for its first batch.
It also has a deal to supply electric cars to France's PSA Peugeot Citroen for the Peugeot brand.
"Still, 20,000 seems a little steep," said the spokesman.
A lithium ion battery joint venture between Mitsubishi Motors, GS Yuasa Corp and Mitsubishi Corp will invest roughly 3 billion yen ($30 million) to more than double capacity at a plant in Shiga Prefecture, western Japan, to 5,000 units a year by autumn 2010, the paper also said. ($1=99.53 Yen) (Reporting by Mayumi Negishi and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Michael Watson)

Wind could supply enough power to meet US electricity needs

• US interior secretary Ken Salazar addresses 25x25 Summit• Biggest potential for wind power lies off Atlantic coast

McClatchy newspapers, Thursday 2 April 2009 22.40 BST

Wind turbines off US coastlines could potentially supply more than enough electricity to meet the country's current electricity demand, the US interior department reported today.
Simply harnessing the wind in relatively shallow waters - the most accessible and technically feasible sites for offshore turbines - could produce at least 20% of the power demand for most coastal states, interior secretary Ken Salazar said, unveiling a report by the department's minerals management service that details the potential for oil, gas and renewable development on the Outer Continental Shelf.
The biggest wind potential lies off the Atlantic Coast, which the report estimates could produce 1,000 gigawatts of electricity - enough to meet a quarter of the national demand. The report also notes large potential in the Pacific, including off the California coast, but in much deeper waters that could pose increased challenges for turbines.
Salazar told the attendees at the 25x25 Summit, a collection of agriculture and energy representatives exploring ways to cut carbon dioxide emissions, that "we are only beginning to tap the potential" of offshore renewable energy.
The report is a step in the Obama administration's process to chart a course for future offshore energy development, an issue that crested last year amid high oil prices with the chants of "Drill, baby, drill" at the Republican National Convention.
Critics have accused Barack Obama and Salazar of dragging their feet on new oil and gas drilling, and today's report does little to rebut them. It includes no new estimates of potential oil and gas reserves offshore and notes that some of the existing estimates are based on 25-year-old seismic studies.
Meeting with reporters after his speech, Salazar said he would wait to decide whether to commission new seismic studies until after he convenes a series of offshore energy hearings, which begin next week in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Drilling advocates say updated estimates could show even more offshore oil potential.
In contrast, Salazar said he expected a push to expedite offshore wind development to be one of the most significant aspects at the hearings. He pledged to finalise rules guiding such development, which the Bush administration failed to complete before leaving office, within about two months.

China's E6 electric car: 'We're not trying to save the world – we're trying to make money'

Its release imminent, BYD Auto's revolutionary E6 electric car is integral to China's plan to dominate the global market for 'clean-transport'. Jonathan Watts reports

Jonathan Watts in Shenzhen, Thursday 2 April 2009 16.05 BST

When BYD Auto launches one of China's first mass produced fully electric sedans later this year, it will be trying to conquer the world rather than save it. But such is the explosive growth of China's car market and thirst for petrol that the two goals are likely to become ever more synonymous.
The E6 plug-in is currently under wraps at the company's sprawling industrial complex in Shenzhen, but it will soon be at the vanguard of a company's – and a nation's – plans to dominate the global market for "clean-transport".
Senior government leaders have initiated a major push for hybrid and electric vehicles in a bid to bypass car makers overseas and avoid an environmental meltdown at home.
The consultancy McKinsey estimates that China's car market will grow tenfold between 2005 and 2030, which will drive up demand for diesel and petrol from 110 million tonnes to 500 million tonnes. That will mean a sharp rise in carbon emissions from a country that has already overtaken the US as the world's biggest source of greenhouse gases.
Hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles could ease the burden, but they will not solve the problem because at the moment more than 70% of China's electricity is powered by coal, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. Even if there is a large scale take up of the new technologies, which could cut emissions by 19%, McKinsey estimates that the combined emissions from road transport would still increase more than fourfold within the next two decades.
Faced by this nightmare, the authorities recently announced plans for 50,000 yuan rebates for electric and hybrid cars, encouraged city taxi fleets to buy vehicles with the new technology, and prompted state and regional grids to set up charging stations.
BYD is likely to be a major beneficiary. The initials stand for Build Your Dreams, which prompted snickers when the company debuted in US car shows last year, as did the soaring ambitions of the founder Wang Chuanfu, who has stated that BYD will be the biggest carmaker in China by 2015 and the biggest in the world by 2025.
Despite it making a third of the world's mobile phone batteries, until recently few people outside of China had heard of BYD. But the company exploded into the international consciousness late last year by beating Toyota and General Motors to launch the world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid.
At the company's sprawling headquarters in Guangdong province, there is little outward sign that BYD is a world beater. Apart from the golden pillars at the entrance, the company's offices are as grimly utilitarian as any other factory in the workshop of the world.
But style is not the point. The company has built an empire by offering cheap, high-quality batteries and now it aims to do the same for cars.
In February, just six years after its was formed, the firm sold 28,000 gasoline and diesel cars in China, more than any foreign or domestic rival. Its 10,000 research engineers have also designed the ferrous battery technology of the E6, which will be released before mass-produced electric cars from Honda and Nissan.
The plug-in five-seater will reportedly be able to travel 400km on a single charge and reach a top speed of 160km/h. "We are trying to make an electric car that people can use like a normal car," says Henry Li, the head of BYD Auto's export and trade division, as we drive around the company's car park in the BYD's other new breakthrough vehicle, the F3DM.
Like the company, the hybrid starts out so quietly you barely notice it moving. At low speeds, the battery-powered engine makes only a fraction more noise than the tyres on the road. But put your foot on the pedal and the vehicle roars to life as the gas kicks in.
Acceleration from 0-60km/h in 10.5 seconds will not win any Formula One races. Neither will the hybrid's current sales scare
rivals. The company says orders are only in the "several hundred" range, mostly from the Shenzhen local governments and BYD's main bank.
Analysts are withholding judgment on whether BYD can achieves its ambitious targets. "BYD's battery technology is good and that is important, but cars are more complicated than that," says Zhao Junhua of CSM Worldwide in Shanghai. "BYD will need more experience. Chinese firms are still behind Japanese rivals like Toyota, Honda and Nissan."
There are also many questions about the environmental benefits of electric cars, given China's reliance on coal.Electric vehicles drive down carbon emissions best if they are charged at night with wind or other forms of renewable energy, but this is not currently possible in China.
But they do use energy more efficiently than both petrol and diesel driven cars, and environment groups says electric vehicles can at least reduce the huge negative impact from the spread of car culture in China.
"Electric cars would be a big step forward," said Greenpeace executive director Gerd Leipold on a visit to Beijing this week. "Hybrid cars have a better reputation than their ecological performance merits."
BYD may lead the pack in China, but the government is encouraging others to move into clean transport manufacturing – an area where it hopes domestic companies can overtake bigger foreign rivals.
At an exhibition of clean energy technology in Beijing last week, the science and technology minister, Wan Gang, said the country aimed to come out of the economic downturn greener and more advanced than it went in. "Accompanying every financial crisis is a revolution in technology that serves as an engine for economic development. This time, new energy technology will probably be the new driving force."
Every few weeks there is fresh news that China is upgrading its transport and energy infrastructure. Last month, Chery Auto unveiled a battery electric vehicle – the S18EV – that it says has a range of 150km on a single charge. Shortly before that, Xinri Electric Vehicle started building an industrial park capable of producing five million electric scooters and bicycles per year. And Tianjin-Qingyuan has recently announced that it may precede BYD with the autumn release of a fully battery-powered Saibao sedan.
More than a dozen other firms have begun manufacturing electric buses. However, the gusto with which many Chinese people have embraced the idea of clean energy was most evident however in a display of a sanlunche – the boxed three-wheel scooters that are a familiar sight in Beijing's alleyways – fitted with wing-like solar panels.
But, so far, none have gone as far as BYD. Li says it is simply a matter of business. "We are not trying to save the world, we are making money. Our strategy aims to give value to shareholders. If we can help the planet at the same time, all the better."

Clean-Energy Industry in the Doldrums

Investment in renewable energy has hit a lull as private-sector money is drying up, but the bulk of government funding has yet to arrive.
There was $13.3 billion in new investments in clean energy -- the term used to describe alternative energy such as wind farms, solar power and biofuels facilities -- in the first three months of 2009, down 53%, from a year earlier, according to a report Thursday from research firm New Energy Finance Ltd. The drop came mostly in bank-based financing for building new projects, the report says, as the credit crunch has caught up with this once high-flying sector.
Meanwhile, government stimulus money that promises to restart renewable-energy activity has been slow to materialize. About $150 billion in global government stimulus spending has been proposed for clean energy projects, about half from the U.S. for loan guarantees, research grants, tax incentives and other investments.

"We're officially now in the doldrums," says Ethan Zindler, head of North American research at New Energy Finance.
The sudden dearth in financing is hitting equipment manufacturers especially hard. OptiSolar Inc. of Hayward, Calif., laid off more than 100 workers in January, and Clipper Windpower Inc., a Carpinteria, Calif.-based maker of turbines, laid off 90 workers, mostly at its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plant.
Investments by venture capitalists in early-stage companies also plunged 48% to $1 billion in the first quarter, according to Cleantech Group LLC. "There may be some good companies that might not get funded, but that doesn't mean they won't get funded six months from now or 12 months from now," says Cleantech research director Brian Fan. "For the industry as a whole, this is a pause."
Companies that were able to secure financing before last summer are in the best position to survive until government stimulus money becomes available, say industry executives.
"Having the best balance sheet may be the differentiator at the moment," says Joseph A. Muscat, a partner at Ernst & Young LLP and director of the firm's clean-technology advisory services in the Americas.
Companies are hoping that government stimulus money flows out of Washington, D.C., as quickly as possible, but some government support requires private lenders to step up -- a lot to ask in the current environment.

Investment in renewable-energy projects, such as wind farms and solar power, plunged 53% in the first quarter from a year earlier.

Last month, California-based solar module maker Solyndra Inc. said it was the first company to qualify for an Energy Department loan guarantee under a long-delayed clean energy program created in 2005. It plans to use the $535 million guarantee to expand solar-panel manufacturing capacity. But the loan is contingent on Solyndra raising about $100 million from private sources, estimates New Energy's Mr. Zindler. "That may not be easy to do at this point in time," he said.
Kelly Truman, vice president of marketing at Solyndra, declined to discuss the private company's financial situation. "If we do have to raise additional money, having the government loan offer will make that easier," he said.
Write to Russell Gold at

G20: A big green disappointment

To postpone further debate on climate change until Copenhagen would be a major missed opportunity

Dan Roberts, Thursday 2 April 2009 15.20 BST

The big disappointment of the G20 so far is that green issues have been acknowledged, but not embraced. Something will be in the communiqué, but it will mainly be a commitment to hold more talks in Copenhagen.
Ed Miliband put on a brave face this afternoon arguing there had been huge progress convincing world leaders that tackling climate change was not in conflict with rescuing the economy. This is much is true. Even a few months ago, there was a real fear that the worsening financial crisis would force politicians to chose between saving jobs or saving the planet.
President Obama's election is probably the single biggest reason why this attitude has changed. By talking about specific green stimulus measures such as making aid to the car industry conditional on fuel efficiency gains, he has reminded the world that industrial innovation is one of the most powerful forces for environmental change.
But postponing further discussion on cutting carbon emissions until Copenhagen is a major missed opportunity. Given how much spending is being talked about at the G20 (whether new money for the IMF or existing national fiscal stimulus) this was the ideal moment to link the two issues more explicitly. Sadly, the difficulty of reaching agreement on other thorny issues such as regulation has kicked climate change into the long grass at just the wrong moment.

G20 forgets the environment

Climate breakdown, peak oil and resource depletion all dwarf the financial crisis in financial and humanitarian terms

Here is the text of the G20 communique, in compressed form.
"We, the Leaders of the Group of Twenty, will use every cent we don't possess to rescue corporate capitalism from its contradictions and set the world economy back onto the path of unsustainable growth. We have already spent trillions of dollars of your money on bailing out the banks, so that they can be returned to their proper functions of fleecing the poor and wrecking the Earth's living systems. Now we're going to spend another $1.1 trillion. As an exemplary punishment for their long record of promoting crises, we will give the IMF and the World Bank even more of your money. These actions constitute the greatest mobilisation of resources to support global financial flows in modern times.
Oh - and we nearly forgot. We must do something about the environment. We don't have any definite plans as yet, but we'll think of something in due course." The G20's strategy for solving the financial and economic crisis, in other words, is detailed, innovative, fully costed and of vast scale and ambition. Its plans for solving the environmental crisis are brief, vague and uncosted. The environmental clauses - which contradict almost everything that goes before - have been tacked onto the end of the communique as an afterthought. No new money has been set aside. No new ideas are proposed; just the usual wishful thinking: let's call the whole package green and hope for the best.
So much for the pledge, expressed in different forms by most of the governments present at the talks, to put the environment at the heart of decision-making. Though the economy is merely a measure of our engagement with the environment; though, as most of the leaders acknowledge, continued prosperity is impossible without sustainability, the communique shows that the environment still comes last. No expense is spared in saving the banks. Every expense is spared in saving the biosphere.
This suggests to me that our leaders have learnt nothing from the financial crisis. It was caused by allowing powerful agents (the banks) to exploit a common resource (the global economy) without proper control or regulation. Governments deployed a form of magical thinking: that the boom would go on forever, that a bunch of predatory psychopaths would regulate themselves, that profits, dividends and share prices could grow indefinitely even though they bore no relation to actual value.
They treat the environmental crisis the same way. Climate breakdown, peak oil and resource depletion will all dwarf the current financial crisis, in both financial and humanitarian terms. But, just as they did with the banks, the G20 leaders appear to have decided to deal with these problems only when they have to - in other words, when it's too late. They persuade themselves that getting the economy back to where it was - infinite growth on a finite planet - can somehow be reconciled with the pledge "to address the threat of irreversible climate change".
Next time this magical thinking fails, there'll be no chance of a bail-out.

Prince Charles warns world leaders of climate change 'misery'

The consequences of the global financial crisis could pale into insignificance when compared with the human misery caused by failing to address climate change, the Prince of Wales told world leaders on Wednesday.

Last Updated: 11:34AM BST 02 Apr 2009

Prince Charles warns world leaders of climate change 'misery'
In a meeting at historic St James's Palace in London, the Prince told a number of heads of state attending tomorrow's G20 summit that more must be done to protect the rainforests as a means of slowing the rate of climate change.
Opening the meeting, the Prince said: "As important and concerning as the global financial crisis is, its challenges and consequences will pale into insignificance when compared with the scale and extent of human misery and suffering, social and economic if our actions to tackle climate change are too little or too late or both."

Among those attending were US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The heir to the throne used the opportunity provided by the G20 Summit to convene the meeting of British cabinet ministers, leaders from Europe, rainforest nations and international bodies to build a consensus of support for ideas developed by his Prince's Rainforest Project.
The Prince's organisation has developed an "emergency funding package" to provide the much needed cash to encourage rainforest nations in Asia, South America and Africa to change their practices and stop de-forestation.
One proposal is for a bond to be sold to pay for the protection of rainforest - an idea first announced by the Prince in Indonesia last November during a tour of the Far East.
The Prince explained: "Listening to the advice of scientists and other experts I like many of us around this table have come to the conclusion that the first and essential step in the battle against climate change is to help rainforest nations curb tropical rainforest destruction.
"Stopping de-forestation is the most readily achievable and cost-effective action we can take in the short-term. It is the low-hanging fruit which we must grasp as soon as possible."

EU aid designated for environment 'used to buy Ferrari'

European Union aid designed to protect the environment was instead used to buy a Ferrari Testarossa, according to documents just published in Brussels.

By Justin Stares in Brussels Last Updated: 12:13AM BST 03 Apr 2009
Funds intended to boost the use of solar panels were used to buy the Italian sports car, the documents claimed.

An unnamed dentist from Consenza, in Italy, is under investigation for allegedly siphoning off cash from the EU's regional development fund, to which Britain contributes, the European commission has confirmed.

He was discovered after going on a spending spree which included the Testarossa.
"A dentist in the town of Cosenza misused EU funding that was intended for the development of solar panels," wrote Nils Lundgren, a Swedish MEP, in a parliamentary question.
"However, the project never materialised and instead the dentist bought items including a Ferrari Testarossa sports car with the money he had received from the EU," Mr Lungren wrote.
The document did not specify how the dentist got the money.
In her reply, Danuta Hübner, the EU commissioner for regional policy, said Brussels had asked Italy for the money back.
She said Italy's Guardia di Finanza, the national finance police, were examining the incident.
Mr Lundgren, who sits in the European parliament's Euro-skeptic bloc, is developing a reputation for blowing the whistle on misuse of EU funds. Earlier this year, he revealed that the EU was spending millions building swimming pools in the Caribbean.

Climate change numpties: Simon Singh's guide for the perplexed

What is a climate change numpty? What should you do if you come across one? Here are some simple guidelines

Simon Singh, Thursday 2 April 2009 13.52 BST

Having been a fan of Franny Armstrong's previous film, McLibel, I was keen to see her latest documentary, The Age of Stupid. While Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth was a rather dry and semi-academic look at climate change, The Age of Stupid is an emotional attempt to rally the troops. The fact that it preaches largely to the converted is not necessarily a bad thing if it encourages those who believe in climate change to become more vocal and more active.
But what about those who still do not believe in climate change? Who are they and how can they be persuaded to see sense?
I suspect that climate numpties (numpty (noun): a reckless, absent-minded or unwise person) are far more common than we might think, and they can be found in the most surprising of places.
This became apparent to me when I was having lunch one day with five physics undergraduates from a London college. They were clearly bright, devoted to physics and fully paid-up fans of the scientific method. However, not one of them was committed to the notions that climate change was happening, that it was largely caused by human activity (eg the burning of fossil fuels) and that there would be trouble ahead unless something changed.
I was baffled – why would little versions of me (for I was a physics undergraduate over two decades ago) not accept manmade climate change when it was backed by overwhelming evidence and endorsed by the vast majority of climate experts, Nobel Laureates and even David Attenborough?
Some of the students were simply suspicious of the media and seemed to think that the most sensible option was to take a contrary view to everything that appeared in the press. After all, the same press caused distress and spread misinformation about the MMR vaccine. Other students were suspicious of the government, believing that ministers always have an ulterior motive, such as finding a pretext to raise taxes.
In short, these students believed that it was smart to take the opposite view being pushed by the press, the government and the establishment in general. I suggested that the truly smart approach would be to examine the science and base their conclusions on the best available evidence, at which point I was astonished to learn that none of the students had seriously looked at the evidence for and against climate change.
After a short speech of admonishment that started with 'When I was your age …', I urged them to get up to speed on arguably the most important scientific issue of our age and pointed them to a few sources of information. My recommendations included The Hot Topic by Sir David King (the former chief scientific adviser to the UK government) and Dame Gabrielle Walker (well, she should be a dame, and she is certainly a brilliant science journalist). I also pointed them towards the New Scientist's special issue 'Climate change: a guide for the perplexed'.
And, as they were part of the YouTube generation, I encouraged them to devote nine and half minutes to watching Greg Craven's Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See, which is much more reasoned than it sounds. In fact, Craven, a high school physics teacher from Oregon, has created an entire library of witty and informative videos discussing climate change, which have been watched by millions of people around the world. I am now looking forward to his book What's the Worst That Could Happen? which will be published in the summer.
If these students looked at the evidence from these and other reliable resources, then I assume that they would see that severe manmade climate change is indeed a reality.
However, those who continue to deny this conclusion (confirmed climate numpties) may wish to consider my revised version of an observation made by the technology journalist Kenneth Cukier in a different context. I would suggest that people who take part in the climate change debate are all intelligent, honourable and reject manmade climate change, but they never possess more than two of these qualities at once.
For example, columnists who regularly reject climate change possess the third quality, which means they cannot be both intelligent and honourable. Next time you read a climate numpty columnist you might want to think about whether he or she is dishonourable or unintelligent. The divide is probably 50/50.

Global warming forecast says Spain will run dry

The Times
April 3, 2009

Graham Keeley in Barcelona

The rain in Spain no longer falls mainly in the plain.
Global warming could cause rainfall in the Iberian peninsula to fall by up to 40 per cent by the end of the century, according to a European Commission report.
Spain and Portugal could be the hardest hit by climate change, according to the commission white paper, which predicts that food harvests could fall 30 per cent in the region because of a lack of water.
There has been an increase in the number of heat waves as in 2006, when thousands of people died and reservoirs such as the one in Ancora, Spain, right, dried out.

“For Europe as a whole heat waves are expected to increase in frequency, intensity and duration,” the report said.
The reduction in agricultural production could have a dramatic social impact, the report said, “where whole local rural populations could be affected if the local farmland was abandoned or if the local farming profitability was reduced substantially”.
The report warned that global warming could affect tourism, agriculture and energy sectors.
Spain currently gains about 10 per cent of its GDP from tourism but the sector is under pressure, partly because of the recession.

In Confronting Its Biggest Foe, Green Movement Also Fights Itself

The modern environmental movement is having an identity crisis. Staring down its biggest enemy yet, it's fiercely divided over how to beat it.
The global challenge of climate change is tougher than the localized problems the green movement has spent decades fighting. To some environmentalists, it requires chucking old orthodoxies and getting practical. To others, it demands an old-style moral crusade.
The pragmatists have the upper hand. One sign is that the movement is moving beyond small-scale backyard wind turbines and rooftop solar panels. It's calling for technological change at industrial speed and scale -- sometimes to the detriment of local ecologies.

In Europe, environmental groups are backing proposals for massive collections of wind turbines off the continent's Atlantic coast that would amount to seaborne power plants. In California, they're endorsing huge solar-panel installations on farmland and in the desert. In Washington, they're lobbying for more spending to develop "clean coal," resigned to the conclusion that scrubbing coal is more plausible than killing it.
"There's a kind of reality check," says Stephan Singer, the Brussels-based director of global energy policy for WWF, an environmental group also called the World Wildlife Fund. The only clean-energy options likely to matter are "large, centralized solutions," he says. "That's the way it is."
Karen Douglas feels the pressure from both sides of the divide. She has spent her career as a green activist in California, and her success has helped move her from outside agitator to inside policy maker. After California passed a law curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tapped Ms. Douglas early last year to join the California Energy Commission, which has to help figure out how to comply with the law. Recently, she was named chairman.
The commission is trying to figure out where big new solar-energy installations and electric-transmission lines should go. The process is pitting locally oriented environmentalists, whose priority still is to protect California's wilderness, against globally oriented environmentalists whose focus is to get big renewable-energy projects built. "I am in an interesting spot," she says. "It's hard."
Mr. Singer of the WWF is in a similar fix. In Europe, the prospect of large-scale renewable energy means the construction of hundreds of wind turbines off the coast. His organization "strongly supports" that move, he says, despite opposition from some local environmentalists who contend such installations might harm birds or fish.
"We all grew up with this kind of mantra that small is beautiful," he says. But that "is not a model for a highly modernized, global world."
Nothing underscores the green movement's soul-searching more than its conflicted view of coal, which provides about half the world's electricity. Should society pour billions of dollars into trying to perfect a way to turn coal into electricity without emitting greenhouse gases? Or should it reject coal as inalterably dirty and try to replace it entirely with renewable sources like the wind and sun?
Late last year, the influential Natural Resources Defense Council helped sponsor ads ridiculing coal-industry ads boasting about progress toward cleaning up coal. "In reality, there's no such thing as clean coal," said a print version of the ad.
But last month, the NRDC, along with the Environmental Defense Fund, another prominent group, hosted workshops advocating more spending on clean-coal research. The rationale: Coal will remain a crucial fuel for decades, so it makes sense to try to clean it up.
"If NRDC had written all the ads by itself, we probably would have had a more nuanced ad," says NRDC climate expert David Hawkins. "But it probably would have been a nuanced ad that doesn't get noticed."
Industry claims that coal already is clean are "misleading," says Mr. Hawkins. Still, the technology to generate electricity from coal and capture the carbon-dioxide emissions "is both needed and feasible," he says. That was the point of the workshops, he says: that government should implement policies to deploy the technology.
Now, a backlash is building within the movement. Rather than push certain technological fixes, critics say, environmentalists should simply push government to slap industry with a tough cap on greenhouse gases -- and let industry figure out how to meet the mandate.
"It's like we're pushing to invent a better cotton gin as a way to reduce slaveholding instead of just banning slaveholding," says the Environmental Defense Fund's John DeCicco. "The environmental movement has become insiders. Is that actually to our benefit now? Or is that to our detriment?"
Write to Jeffrey Ball at