Thursday, 17 September 2009

EU seeks to take lead in green energy research

Yesterday, 11:47 am 2020, the contribution to the EU energy mix from cost-competitive, sustainable bioenergy could be at least 14 percent.

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The European Union's executive will next month publish its strategy for promoting hi-tech solutions to climate change, aiming to give European businesses a head start as the world switches to low-carbon energy. Skip related content
A draft document obtained by Reuters gives insight into the European Commission's priorities.
Billions of euros will be needed and thousands of jobs created, but officials are still calculating the exact figures and what proportion of spending will come from the public purse or from industry.
The windpower industry must reduce costs faster and build more wind farms offshore where the wind is more reliable and planning constraints are smaller, the report says.
To deal with the tough marine environment, turbines will have to become more powerful and resilient, with new types of substructure to support them.
This will require up to 10 new testing facilities for turbine components, up to 10 demonstration projects of next generation turbines and at least 5 prototypes of offshore substructures.
The goal is fully competitive wind power capable of contributing up to 20 percent of EU electricity by 2020 and a third by 2030.
The photovoltaic sector must reduce costs and enhance performance and lifetime. It must automate and speed up manufacturing. New, visually appealing concepts for integrating photovoltaic systems into the urban fabric need to be developed.
This will require up to 5 pilot plants for automated photovoltaic mass production and several demonstration projects for both decentralised and centralised power production.
The concentrated solar power sector must reduce costs, improve system efficiency, develop storage systems and reduce water consumption. Up to 10 large "first of a kind" power plants must be built.
The programme envisages that up to 15 percent of EU electricity could be generated by solar power in 2020.
The focus will be on building "smart grids" that can balance the fluctuating supply of electricity from renewable energy sources with fluctuating consumption by EU citizens. Up to 20 real-life scale demonstration projects will be needed.
The goal is that by 2020, half of networks in Europe would allow the seamless integration of renewable energy.
Smart cities will glean renewable energy from the sun and wind and from their own waste, feeding it into the electricity network and to trams and cars in the street.
Between 25 and 30 pioneer cities will transform their buildings, energy networks and transport systems.
The bioenergy sector must demonstrate its technology at greater scale, from pilot plants to full industrial scale.
Up to 30 such plants will be needed across Europe to take full account of differing geographical and climate conditions and logistical constraints.
The European Union has laid out plans to have 12 Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) pilot plants up and running by 2015.
The target is to reduce the cost of CCS to 30-50 euros per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) captured by 2020, making it cost-effective within a carbon pricing environment.
The industry will have to move towards a new generation of reactor type -- the so-called Generation-IV nuclear reactor.
Commercial deployment of Generation-IV reactors is foreseen for 2040, but to achieve that target, work has to start now. Solutions for nuclear waste must be identified.
About 470 million euros ($690 million) has already been earmarked for developing fuel cells and hydrogen-powered vehicles during 2008-2013 -- to be matched by industry contributions.
Larger scale demonstrations and infrastructure will be needed, plus more research funding.
(Reporting by Pete Harrison, editing by Anthony Barker)

China Carbon Truths

Authoritarian government makes greenhouse emissions worse.
China is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, and countries around the world from the United States to Japan are pressuring Beijing to lower emissions and to introduce an absolute cap on emissions. But asking China's central government to impose a carbon cap is the wrong approach. Even if Beijing wanted to do so, such a decision would be almost impossible for the central government to enforce. Greater political freedoms are the key for real environmental improvements in China.
Since economic reforms began in China 30 years ago, local governments have been given wide autonomy in pursuing economic growth. One widely noted result is the inability of Beijing to implement tough planning, tax or environmental policies that might constrain that growth. To some extent, public pressures have forced the hand of local governments on environmental issues that have a direct impact on everyday quality of life air and water quality, waste disposal or food toxins, for instance.
But greenhouse gases, the most common of which is CO2, are different. Like the protection of a threatened animal or plant species, reducing greenhouse gases has little noticeable impact on the communities concerned. Reducing CO2 is rarely a pressing public priority in a country like China, where rapid development is a top goal and other pollution problems are more tangible. Add to that the fact that local governments are autonomous of top-down regulation from Beijing. In essence, the most critical government actors for controlling global carbon emissions are insulated from both top-down and bottom-up political pressures.
There are a few reasons why local governments in China may get more serious about climate change on their own, although these are probably insufficient to control emissions nationwide. One is the lucrative "clean development mechanism" administered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under which polluters in one country can buy carbon-emission credits from another country. China is expected to rake in about 59% of the global revenues (likely worth several billion dollars, depending on carbon prices) from this mechanism through the end of 2012, according to the U.N. Local governments and their companies will get most of this revenue. There are also first-mover advantages for cities and provinces that develop the technologies that will likely prove a growth industry in future. The city of Yangzhou, for instance, is pushing ahead with a low-carbon "eco-city" development model that, unusually, includes an immediate reduction in absolute emission levels, something the national government has not embraced.
Beijing itself could take the lead by making greenhouse-gas mitigation efforts one criterion in the evaluation of local cadres, who are currently judged mainly by their economic records and ideological rectitude. In April, the State Council required that all provincial and local governments consider climate change initiatives in their economic and social development policies. But the well-known ability of local governments to evade such top-down mandates is unlikely to be any different in the case of climate-change efforts.
Better yet would be to open up political space at the local level so that citizens and advocacy groups can create a public consensus on the need for action. While Beijing talks about "public participation" in its response to climate change, so far that has meant mainly authoritarian-style efforts to educate the public and encourage greater obedience. In a few places, however, citizens and groups have been brought into the making of policy. The northeastern city of Shenyang, for instance, has been experimenting with participatory approaches to environmental policy since passing a law in 2005 under which citizens must be included in the making of all environmental laws. So far, this has meant mainly public consultations on laws, but the city also tolerates an active community of environmental nongovernmental organizations. One result: its air quality has improved faster than almost any other similar city in China.
Another approach being considered is meetings of representative groups of citizens who deliberate on the best policy approach and then deliver their findings as binding policy mandates to the government concerned known in China as minzhu kentanhui or "sincere democratic forums." In China, experiments with this system, mainly in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang province, have demonstrated that Chinese citizens place a high priority on environmental protection when asked to rank different government projects. In one forum in Wenling in 2005, citizens selected six environmental protection projects among the top 10 projects they wanted the government to fund.
Deliberation not only expands information but also expands the sense of common responsibility on which the willingness to embrace potentially costly carbon emission programs depends. If Beijing were to start targeting environmental performance in cadre promotions and expand political freedoms that would generate social pressures, more local governments would have an incentive to embrace this bottom-up approach to emissions control.
Despite these signs of progress on locally driven initiatives, many foreigners continue to misunderstand the causes of China's environmental-policy failures. Most foreign assistance, whether government-to-government or private sector, has replicated the top-down approach by giving money to Beijing. This aid has centered on helping central bureaucrats to develop national policy, transferring technology to energy users, or improving policy monitoring.
That's a mistake. While some well-known commentators have praised China's authoritarian approach to climate change, the truth is that Beijing is failing on the environment precisely because of the lack of political freedoms. Rather than leaning even more heavily on Beijing, the critical need is to invest in approaches that will hold local governments accountable to their citizens. Only then can China really tackle CO2.
Mr. Gilley is assistant professor of political science at Portland State University and principal investigator of the Portland State University-Lanzhou University Global Warming Initiative.

Investors call for action on global warming

More than 180 of world's biggest investors aim to overcome opposition in US and elsewhere to climate change legislation
Suzanne Goldenberg, Wednesday 16 September 2009 21.16 BST
More than 180 of the world's largest investors, with collective assets of $13tn, put their combined weight behind a passionate call for strong US and international action on global warming in New York today.
"We cannot drag our feet on the issue of global climate change," said Thomas DiNapoli, who heads the $116.5bn New York state pension fund. "I am deeply concerned about the investor risks climate change presents, and the human cost of inaction is unthinkable."
The summit drew together managers of the world's leading investment funds, including those from HSBC, Henderson, Schroders, Société Générale and Scottish Widows, and pensions funds from California public employees to the BBC and Church of England. It was aimed at overcoming entrenched opposition within the US and elsewhere to climate change legislation, by showcasing the scale of investor support for climate change action and the potential for mobilisation of private capital.
"For anybody who suggests that regulating carbon or acting on climate change is impractical, here is appropriate contradiction," said Mindy Lubber, the president of Ceres, the green investor network that helped organise the conference. However, she warned: "Investors are ready to put money into green tech, but they are not going to act until the government acts and makes clear that the right incentives are in the right place."
The investors' endorsement for action on climate change comes amid signs of a loss of momentum in the final stretch of negotiations towards a deal to tackle global warming in Copenhagen in December. The group warned that failure to act effectively would have disastrous consequences in human and economic terms.
In contrast to inaction, Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the 2006 Stern report on the economics of climate change, said: "Building a low carbon economy creates opportunities for investment in new technologies that promise to transform our society in the same way as ... electricity or railways did in the past." He added: "Unmitigated climate change poses a threat to the global economy."
In their joint statement the investors supported the tougher targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions put forward for negotiation at Copenhagen, including cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries of 25-40% by 2020.The conference was held amid rising frustration that the US Congress and the international negotiations are faltering in the final days before Copenhagen. Stern, in his remarks, said it was time to move away from the "quarrelsome stupid politics" surrounding climate change.

Chinese government adviser warns that 2C global warming target is unrealistic

China's emissions unlikely to fall low enough because 2C target 'does not provide room for developing countries'
Jonathan Watts, Asia environment correspondent, Wednesday 16 September 2009 15.13 BST
Don't expect China to keep global warming below 2C, a senior government adviser warned in Beijing today at the launch of an influential report on the nation's prospects for low-carbon growth.
Even in a best-case scenario with massive investment in solar energy and carbon capture technology, Dai Yande, deputy chief of the Energy Research Institute, said China's emissions were unlikely to fall low enough to remain below the temperature goal recommended by the G8 and European Union.
His prediction will alarm those governments and scientists who warn that a rise more than 2C risks disastrous consequences in terms of food security, migration, sea-level rises and extreme weather events.
"You should not target China to fulfill the two degree target. That is just a vision. Reality has deviated from that vision," said Dai. "We do not think that target provides room for developing countries." China argues that its priority must be economic growth to relieve poverty among its vast population.
Dai – whose think tank works under the government's powerful National Development and Reform Commission – blamed rich nations for excessive consumption and for failing to reach the targets set at Kyoto.
"Twenty percent of the world's population takes 80% of wealth and emits 70% of greenhouse gases," he said. "I think two
degrees is a vision that is difficult to fulfill because few countries have reached Kyoto protocol targets, except the UK and some others in the EU."
Dai stressed that his comments are not official government policy, but they are consistent with a hardening of positions ahead of the Copenhagen climate change summit in December.
Dai was speaking at the launch of the most influential study ever carried out in China on the possibility of the country moving toward a low carbon path of development.
The detailed study, which was conducted by 10 institutions including universities and the World Wildlife Fund, was built on a preparatory study published last month.
Under its most ambitious scenario, China's overall emissions would peak between 2030 and 2035, assuming generous financial assistance from rich nations, technological transfer, changed consumer habits, enormous investment in renewable energies and large-scale economic restructuring.
Dai said he thought it was unlikely that the two most optimistic scenarios could be achieved because of the huge cost of expanding solar and wind power and capturing carbon. Even under the least ambitious scenario China would have to invest 89.9 trillion yuan by 2050.
Professor He Jiankun, a co-author and the former executive vice president of Tsinghua University, said China faced huge obstacles in moving to a low carbon path because it was still in the midst of development. "There are a huge number of cities to be built. They will consume a large amount of steel and cement. This means that emissions will not be reduced for some time."
He said the report was not national policy, but it was a blue-print for change.
The WWF signed the recommendations and Yang Fuqiang, director of global climate solutions at the China office of WWF, said developing nations were making a "heroic" effort to reduce carbon. He added that governments in richer countries used the excuse of democracy to claim it was "politically impossible" to make bigger cuts.
He said China would suffer more than any other country as a result of climate change, but it was unlikely to shift direction on emissions any time soon.
"China emits most carbon in the world. We don't want this hat, but we may have to wear it for many more years," he said.
The Chinese state council is currently debating a major new plan for renewable energy and there is speculation that it will also announce a carbon intensity target in its economic plan for the first time, but they have yet to show their hand ahead of Copenhagen.
President Hu Jintao is expected to outline some measures at a major United Nations summit on climate change next week.
Until now, Beijing has focused its efforts on technological development. Dai said this was a hope, though it was a wild card.
"Technological innovation is hard to measure," he said. "Nobody could imagine in the 1960s that everyone would have a cellphone and internet access."

Sceptics seize on climate cooling model

Research suggesting that global temperatures may fall is being used by deniers and sceptics to dismiss the entire canon of climate science

Professor Latif's model suggested that the long-term warming trend could be masked - perhaps for as long as 10 or 20 years - by a temporary cooling.
Could it be true that global temperatures will fall before they rise? That's the thrust of a presentation at last week's World Climate conference. Mojib Latif of Kiel University in Germany suggested that cooling caused by natural factors could suppress global temperatures for several years, after which they will start to rise again.
His presentation, first reported by the eagle-eyed Fred Pearce in the New Scientist, has been seized upon by sceptics and deniers all over the blogosphere. It was picked up this morning by the BBC's Today programme, which invited my old friend Philip Stott (who spends his time championing such dubious productions as The Great Global Warming Swindle and Michael Crichton's State of Fear) to raise questions about the global warming thesis.
Professor Latif suggested that the long-term warming trend could be masked - perhaps for as long as 10 or 20 years - by a temporary cooling caused by natural fluctuations in currents and temperatures called the North Atlantic oscillation. "Thereafter," he told the Today programme, "temperatures will pick up again and continue to warm."
Could Latif be right? Who knows? As far as I can tell, his paper has not yet been published, so other scientists haven't had the opportunity to see how strong it is. Vicky Pope of the Met Office suggested this morning that his model might not be as accurate as hers, as it measures only sea-surface temperatures, while the Met Office also takes temperatures below the surface into account.
We know that the world's climate system is a noisy one, in which natural variations of all kinds jostle constantly with the man-made warming signal. No one ever proposed that the global warming trend would be a smooth one, in which temperatures move up a notch every year. What we have seen so far are minor fluctuations weaving around a solid long-term trend. Nor does anyone claim that climate models are perfect. They need to be constantly refined and updated as new information comes to light. But in seeking to predict the future, you have only two options: wild guesswork, supported by a feeling in your bones, or models incorporating all the data scientists can lay their hands on. Those who reject modelling altogether must propose a better means of prediction. Seaweed, entrails and crystal balls don't qualify.
But Latif's presentation is being used by the deniers to dismiss the entire canon of climate science. They choose to overlook the inconvenient fact that he is also a climate scientist, who believes that the warming trend caused by human actions will bounce back as the oscillation moves into another phase.
People demand certainty, but the future resists it. All we can do is to make use of the best available information. And this tells us that we must act.

What we urgently need is a new mindset on climate change

Worsening climate change means the world is facing 'a global health catastrophe' that will hit the poorest people on earth the hardest, the British Medical Journal and the Lancet warn today. In an unusual move, the two journals simultaneously publish the same editorial calling for dramatic changes in policy and behaviour to greatly reduce carbon emissions. We reproduce it with the journals' kind permission.
Expectations are running high for the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen this December. But will we get the global commitment for radical cuts in carbon dioxide emissions that the world so urgently needs?
The scientific evidence that global temperatures are rising and that man is responsible has been widely accepted since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report in 2007. There is now equally wide consensus that we need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to at most 50% of 1990 levels by 2050 if we are to have even a 50% chance of preventing temperatures from exceeding preindustrial levels by more than 2 degrees, considered by many to be the tipping point for catastrophic and irreversible climate change.
The economic argument that taking action now rather than later will be cheaper has also been widely accepted since the Stern report in 2006. The election of President Obama has shifted policy in the US from seeking to block an agreement to seeking to find one.
So the chances of success should be good, but the politics are tough. The most vocal arguments are about equity: the rich world caused the problem so why should the poor world pay to put it right?
Can the rich world do enough through its own actions and through its financial and technological support for the poor to persuade the poor to join in a global agreement? The present economic climate doesn't help, giving sceptics from the rich world arguments for not acting—or at least not acting now. And the sensitive issue of population stabilisation continues to slip off the agenda but is crucial to achieving real reductions in global carbon dioxide emissions.
These arguments need to be tackled head on. Climate change is global, and emissions know no frontiers. The necessary measures should be seen not as a cost but as an opportunity.
Coal-fired power stations and internal combustion engines pollute the atmosphere and worsen health, and deforestation destroys biodiversity, whereas saving energy helps hard-pressed household budgets, and drought-resistant crops help poor farmers. So even without climate change, the case for clean power, electric cars, saving forests, energy efficiency, and new agriculture technology is strong. Climate change makes it unanswerable.
The threat to health is especially evident in poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, as the recent Lancet and University College London report shows. These countries are struggling to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Their poverty and lack of resources, infrastructure, and often governance, greatly increase their vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Warmer climate can lead to drought, pressure on resources (particularly water), migration, and conflict. The conflict in Darfur is as much about pressure on resources as the desert encroaches as about the internal politics of Sudan.
And the implications for the health of local populations are acute: on the spread and changing patterns of disease, notably water-borne diseases from inadequate and unclean supplies; on maternal and child mortality as basic health services collapse; and on malnutrition where food is scarce. And population stabilisation will not be achieved if, for want of resources, girls are not educated and contraceptives are unavailable.
Climate change is causing other kinds of extreme weather events too: storms, floods, and rising sea levels affecting coastal populations and islands. Every such event has adverse consequences for health. The poorer the country and its infrastructure, the worse are the consequences and the poorer the chances of meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Crucially for winning hearts and minds in richer countries, what's good for the climate is good for health. The measures needed to combat climate change coincide with those needed to ensure a healthier population and reduce the burden on health services. A low-carbon economy will mean less pollution. A low-carbon diet (especially eating less meat) and more exercise will mean less cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Opportunity, surely, not cost.
This is an opportunity too to advance health equity, which is increasingly seen as necessary for a healthy and happy society. If we take climate change seriously, it will require major changes to the way we live, reducing the gap between carbon rich and carbon poor within and between countries.
The Commission on Social Determinants of Health said that action to promote health must go well beyond health care. It must focus on the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age, and in the structural drivers of those conditions—inequities in power, money, and resources. These insights give further confirmation that what is good for the climate is good for health.
A successful outcome at Copenhagen is vital for our future as a species and for our civilisation. It will require recognition by the rich countries of their obligations to the poor; and recognition by the poor countries that climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution in which we all have to play a part.
It will require a new mindset: that the measures needed to mitigate the risks of climate change and adapt to its already inevitable effects provide an opportunity to achieve goals that are desirable in their own right – the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the poor countries and a healthier more equal society in the rich world and globally. Failure to agree radical reductions in emissions spells a global health catastrophe, which is why health professionals must put their case forcefully now and after Copenhagen.
• Michael Jay, chair, Merlin; Professor Sir Michael Marmot, director, International Institute for Society and Health

Copenhagen begins in Beijing. The world waits

It could be the most crucial question we face today: just what is China's climate change strategy?
Ian Katz, Wednesday 16 September 2009 18.59 BST
What is China playing at on climate change? That may be the most important question in the world right now, thanks alone to its status as the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gasses. But what Beijing is – or is not – prepared to do will also determine whether the rest of the world can reach a deal on combating global warming that is worth the paper it's written on.
So it's hardly surprising that reading the Chinese approach has become the latterday equivalent of cold war Kremlinology. Britain alone has more than 20 diplomats in Beijing devoted to monitoring and nudging the Chinese position ahead of December's United Nations Copenhagen summit. The United States has twice as many.
A flying visit to Beijing (3.9 tonnes of CO2 to offset, before you ask) does not fill you with optimism about the prospects for a deal. For some months now, the mood music from China has been distinctly upbeat: a massive renewable energy drive that could see it surpass Europe's challenging targets for clean power by 2020, a climate change resolution passed for the first time by the country's top legislative body, the beginnings of a public debate about when Chinese emissions should peak and begin to fall. Beijing even retained London PR firm Freuds to try to polish its image on the issue.
But at a conference on reporting climate change last week, senior Chinese scientists and negotiators were in an altogether less emollient mood. The official Chinese position is snappily summarised as "shared burden, differentiated responsibilities", which roughly translates as: We're all in the same boat but it's your fault that it's taking on water, so you'd better do most of the baling.
And both publicly and privately, Chinese officials seemed at pains to emphasise just how differentiated those responsibilities should be. "The developed countries have the money, they have the technology and they think it's an important issue," one told me. "So why don't they do something about it?"
As the Guardian reports today, a leading government adviser has sounded another disconcerting note. China will not sacrifice its economic growth, he warned, to prevent the world from warming by more than 2C, the threshold beyond which scientists warn we could face disastrous effects.
European diplomats say they have noticed a hardening of the Chinese position during the summer. "In the past they used to refer to rich countries cutting their emissions by between 25% and 40% [by 2020]," said one. "Now they only talk about 40%." Some speculate that it is little more than pre-summit gamesmanship, designed to increase pressure on developed countries desperate for a deal. But it may also reflect a deeper ambivalence about the issue within the Chinese leadership, the diplomat suggested. "They are caught between a fairly recent understanding that climate change is real, and going to do them real damage, and the competing idea that they don't fully believe that it's possible for industrial economies to grow without producing lots of carbon."
Understanding China's approach to climate change involves negotiating a number of apparent contradictions. The country that insists it can only begin to tackle its emissions with the help of western technology and cash is the same one that is spending billions on an ambitious space programme, an industrial behemoth intensely proud of its technological prowess. Meanwhile it is, as my colleague Jonathan Watts puts it, on course to become "both a green superpower and a black superpower" – simultaneously the world's green energy giant and its carbon villain.
One western expert who advises the Chinese on climate policy says the messages from Beijing may not be as contradictory as they seem. China's talk of decarbonising is genuine, he says. "They are bloody serious about this. Their planning is more advanced than anywhere in the world." But at the same time, Beijing is determined to make the rich countries cut deeper and hand over more technology and cash to developing nations.
Some of this may have more to do with strategic powerbroking than climate change. According to the senior diplomat, China's aim is to emerge from Copenhagen as the protective uncle that brings home the bacon for the developing nations – which just happen to have a lot of the resources that China needs to fuel its continued economic growth. But there are less calculating reasons why most Chinese do not consider CO2 emissions the burning (sorry) issue we do – they are more worried about the noxious pollutants they face every day. At the Beijing conference a Chinese journalist pointed out that there were 20,000 chemical plants along the course of the Yangtzee river. A year or so ago I asked a leading Chinese environmentalist why he was not making more noise about greenhouse gas emissions. "Because I'm more concerned about whether my son is going to be able to breathe in the morning," he replied.
No one is expecting Beijing's negotiators to undergo a Damascene conversion during the late nights of cajoling and compromise in Copenhagen. Instead, it is hoped that China will make a unilateral move in the run-up to the summit, probably spelling out targets to cut its carbon intensity (the amount of greenhouse gases produced per unit of GDP, rather than the total emissions) under its next five-year plan. This would theoretically allow China to continue to enjoy the economic growth it maintains it is entitled to, while beginning to move in the right direction.
Then the hard wrangling will switch to the question of how binding any such commitments are: too strong and Beijing will balk at them, too weak and the deal will look toothless in Washington, London and Berlin.
What does all this mean for those of us trying to decide whether to do our own humble bit to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as the 10:10 campaign urges, for instance? The relentless rise of Chinese emissions is often cited as a reason why small-scale unilateral efforts, or even large-scale ones in small countries like Britain, are pointless. If the new power plants that China is building between now and 2020 alone will produce about 25bn tonnes of carbon over their lifetime, what is the point of me saving one tonne by not flying to Málaga on holiday?
The answer is that small signals can matter, even to very big countries. Again and again last week I heard Chinese officials bemoan the failure of the west to lead by example on tackling emissions. There had been no shortage of targets, they complained, but precious little action. After one session with a group of Chinese science journalists, one young reporter approached me looking quite angry. How could westerners tell Chinese people that they would have to make sacrifices in future to tackle climate change? "And how are you getting to the airport – by taxi or on the Airport Express?"

Oxfam: 4.5 million children at risk of aid 'raids' to pay for climate change

People already go hungry, take children out of school or sell livestock because of climate-related problems, says agency
Press Association, Wednesday 16 September 2009 11.28 BST
At least 4.5 million children could die and tens of millions more could miss out on schooling if rich countries "raid" existing aid funding to pay for measures to help poor nations cope with climate change, Oxfam warned today.
The aid agency believes $50bn a year (£30bn) is needed to help developing countries cope with the impacts of global warming including droughts, floods, storms and rising sea levels.
And it says the money must be provided in addition to the 0.7% of GDP developed nations have pledged as aid to improve the lives of people in some of the world's poorest countries – or efforts to tackle poverty will stall.
A report by Oxfam warns that diverting $50bn from existing aid pledges to fund climate measures would lead to the death of 4.5 million children, while 75 million fewer youngsters would be likely to go to school and 8.6 million fewer people would have access to HIV/Aids treatment.
It could prove a major setback to efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals which aim to end hunger and poverty and boost education, health, gender equality and environmental sustainability by 2015, the report warns.
Oxfam said it was already seeing people going without food, pulling their children out of school or selling livestock to pay for debts caused by failing crops and other climate-related problems.
According to the aid agency, just three countries including the UK are in favour of additional funding for climate measures – and the issue could prove to be a deal breaker in the upcoming crunch talks aimed at agreeing global emissions cuts in Copenhagen in December.
A failure by developed countries to address the problems surrounding adaptation funding has led to distrust between the two sides and could undermine efforts to secure a deal to cut emissions.
Oxfam is also concerned that a Conservative government in the UK would divert existing aid provisions to pay for measures such as flood prevention and the introduction of drought-resistant crops.
Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam Great Britain, said: "Forcing poor countries to choose between life-saving drugs for the sick, schooling for their children or the means to protect themselves against climate change is an unfair burden that will only exacerbate poverty.
"Stealing money from tomorrow's schools and hospitals to help poor people adapt to climate change is neither a moral or effective way of rich countries paying their climate debt.
"Funds must be increased, not diverted," she said.
Oxfam wants to see a carbon market in which rich countries have to buy allowances to cover national emissions under a new global deal to slash greenhouse gases, with the money going towards paying for adaptation measures.
The scheme, similar to one which has been proposed by the Norwegian government in advance of Copenhagen, would avoid the "familiar problem" of developed countries failing to meet aid promises, the Oxfam report's co-author Robert Bailey suggested.
A spokeswoman for the Department for International Development (DfID) said: "Climate finance will be one of the most important and most challenging issues to be addressed over the coming years and that is why the UK are leading the way by offering new investment in addition to our existing aid commitments.
"In June the UK became the first country to publicly address the issue with the proposal for an annual $100bn global fund, to help developing countries both prepare for the impacts of climate change and build for a low-carbon future."
The shadow international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said: "We must tackle both the causes and the consequences of global climate change.
"As well as setting the framework for carbon markets, international agreements will be key to establishing additional support for adaptation.
"We believe that Britain must work towards an ambitious global deal at Copenhagen that will limit emissions and see substantial financial resources made available for adaptation."

Barack Obama and EU 'clash over climate change'

The European Union has clashed with Barack Obama's administration over climate change amid fears negotiations on regulating greenhouse gases could break down, according to reports.

By Chris IrvinePublished: 8:16AM BST 16 Sep 2009

The disagreement focuses on the way national carbon reduction targets would be counted. While Europe wants to retain systems set up under the current Kyoto Protocol, America wants to replace it with a system of its own.
The US is pushing for each country to set its own emissions rules and decide how to meet targets target rather than an international system.

Kyoto has remained a delicate issue in the US, ever since George W Bush's administration rejected signing the climate change treaty, while the country has not ratified a major international environmental treaty since 1992. European officials had hoped while the Obama administration may be reluctant to embrace Kyoto, they could at least use it as a framework for a new agreement.
Europe is reportedly reluctant to publicly criticise the Obama administration, partly because he has engaged them in climate change discussion in a way his predecessor did not, but they are allegedly privately worried that America's reluctance could derail the Copenhagen summit in December. The Denmark meeting has been billed as the last chance to save the planet from a temperature rise of 3.6F (2C).
Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General admitted that negotiations had stalled and needed to "get moving", ahead of a UN climate change summit that will be attended by almost 100 heads of government in New York next week.
"We are deeply concerned that the negotiation is not making much headway [and] it is absolutely and crucially important for the leaders to demonstrate their political will and leadership," he said.
There are now concerns that should Kyoto be scrapped, it could be half at least five years before a new proposal is in place, but according to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), world emissions need to peak by 2015 to give any chance of avoiding a rise.
"If we end up with a weaker framework with less stringent compliance, then that is not so good for the chances of hitting 2C", A European official told The Guardian.
"In Europe we want to build on Kyoto, but the US proposal would in effect kill it off. If we have to start from scratch then it all takes time. It could be 2015 or 2016 before something is in place, who knows."

Trafigura offers deal to 31,000 Africans over dumped waste

From The Times
September 17, 2009

A British oil trader has offered to settle a court case brought by 31,000 Africans who say that they were injured by the dumping of waste — the largest personal injuries class action mounted in an English court.
The company, Trafigura, confirmed yesterday that “a global settlement is being considered by the parties”.
A settlement, which would be without any admission of liability on the part of the company, would avoid a lengthy, costly and highly embarrassing court action that was due to begin at the High Court in London next month.
The claimants’ lawyer, Martyn Day, of Leigh Day & Co, confirmed that the two sides were in talks. “We have reached a point where we are now in the process of putting a global deal to the claimants,” he said, adding that the sum being discussed was based on the range of short-term symptoms claimed by his clients.
The action resulted from the dumping of 400 tonnes of waste in the Ivory Coast by an oil tanker, the Probo Koala, in 2006 — one of the worst pollution disasters in recent history.
Trafigura used an independent contractor, which dumped the black sludge, or slops, in rubbish tips, drains, abattoirs and lagoons in and around the capital Abidjan. The waste, a mixture of gasoline, water and caustic soda, was alleged by the claimants to have given off toxic fumes. They allege they suffered a variety of illnesses and their lawyers had sought damages totalling £100million.
Trafigura denied liability throughout and also disputed that the waste dumped by the local company it hired could have caused the symptoms alleged.
In a joint statement issued with Leigh Day yesterday the company said that both sides since August 2006 had “expended considerable time and money investigating the events in Abidjan in 2006 and over 20 independent experts have been appointed”.
The statement adds: “In view of that expert evidence, and the fact that claims are not being made in this litigation for deaths, miscarriages, still births, birth defects and other serious injuries, the parties are exploring the possibility of compromising the claims which have been made.”
The company offered last October to compensate any claimants who could demonstrate injury caused by exposure to the waste slops, but without admitting any liability. It has insisted throughout that it sought to comply with all relevant regulations and procedures concerning the offloading of the slops by the Probo Koala and that it could not “have foreseen the reprehensible and illegal way” the contractor then dumped the slops.
Media coverage of the waste dumping and pending litigation has been dogged by threatened or actual litigation against media organisations. A new report from the UN human rights special rapporteur has criticised Trafigura for potentially “stifling independent reporting and public criticism”.
The rapporteur, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, viewed “with great concern reports that the company has filed or threatened to file lawsuits against various civil society and media institutions that have reported ... in a critical manner.” He says: “According to official estimates, there were 15 deaths, 69 persons hospitalised and more than 108,000 medical consultations ... there seems to be a strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping.”
Trafigura issued a damning response yesterday, labelling the report premature, inaccurate, potentially damaging and poorly researched.
Trafigura, which claims to the world’s biggest oil trader, also “utterly rejected” claims that it had tried to suppress reports, adding: “Every statement that has been made ... has been made in good faith.” It also repeated its denial that the slops could have caused death or serious injury, or that they were highly toxic.

Trafigura case: toxic slop left behind by caustic washing

Waste from process used to clean fuel can pose deadly threat to human health
Ian Sample, science correspondent, Wednesday 16 September 2009 17.55 BST
Caustic washing is used to remove corrosive and pungent sulphur compounds from poor quality crude oil so that it can be blended into petrol and diesel. The processed fuel smells better and is kinder to engines.
The procedure involves pumping caustic soda into tanks of dirty fuel and separating the two substances once they have reacted. If done properly the technique cleans the fuel but leaves a highly toxic waste "slop" of caustic soda that is contaminated with harmful sulphur compounds, including hydrogen sulphide, organic disulphides and volatile compounds called mercaptans.
In refineries, specialised equipment is used to turn the waste into chemicals that can either be reused or disposed of safely. One widely used procedure converts the highly acidic hydrogen sulphide into solid sulphur, a substance that can be stored or used again.
Modern refineries have made the process more environmentally friendly by adding a catalyst that converts mercaptans into less noxious compounds. If the procedure is done without the right equipment the waste slop will have high levels of the chemicals in it.
Waste from caustic washing dumped without being treated properly is a serious threat to human health and the environment. Much of the waste slop is caustic soda, which can be fatal if ingested and which causes burns on contact and possibly blindness.
Many of the sulphur compounds in the waste are highly volatile and will be blown downwind of dumped waste. Hydrogen sulphide can kill if inhaled, and a single breath of air that carries just 0.1% of the acid is enough to induce a coma in an adult. At low levels the substance damages the sense of smell, so vast numbers of people could be exposed to dangerous levels of the gas without realising it.
Mercaptans are highly volatile and are likely to be gradually released from dumped waste as it breaks down in the environment. The gases given off are severe irritants that are extremely toxic if inhaled. The substance can also leach into water courses, where it is fatal to aquatic life.
The slop contains a variety of disulphides, which cause severe irritation to the eyes and are extremely dangerous to inhale.

Energy 'Sprawl' and the Green Economy

We're about to destroy the environment in the name of saving it.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced plans to cover 1,000 square miles of land in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah with solar collectors to generate electricity. He's also talking about generating 20% of our electricity from wind. This would require building about 186,000 50-story wind turbines that would cover an area the size of West Virginia not to mention 19,000 new miles of high-voltage transmission lines.
Is the federal government showing any concern about this massive intrusion into the natural landscape? Not at all. I fear we are going to destroy the environment in the name of saving the environment.
The House of Representatives has passed climate legislation that started out as an attempt to reduce carbon emissions. It has morphed into an engine for raising revenues by selling carbon dioxide emission allowances and promoting "renewable" energy.
The bill requires electric utilities to get 20% of their power mostly from wind and solar by 2020. These renewable energy sources are receiving huge subsidies all to supposedly create jobs and hurry us down the road to an America running on wind and sunshine described in President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address.
Yet all this assumes renewable energy is a free lunch a benign, "sustainable" way of running the country with minimal impact on the environment. That assumption experienced a rude awakening on Aug. 26, when The Nature Conservancy published a paper titled "Energy Sprawl or Energy Efficiency: Climate Policy Impacts on Natural Habitat for the United States of America." The report by this venerable environmental organization posed a simple question: How much land is required for the different energy sources that power the country? The answers deserve far greater public attention.
By far nuclear energy is the least land-intensive; it requires only one square mile to produce one million megawatt-hours per year, enough electricity for about 90,000 homes. Geothermal energy, which taps the natural heat of the earth, requires three square miles. The most landscape-consuming are biofuels ethanol and biodiesel which require up to 500 square miles to produce the same amount of energy.
Coal, on the other hand, requires four square miles, mainly for mining and extraction. Solar thermal heating a fluid with large arrays of mirrors and using it to power a turbine takes six. Natural gas needs eight and petroleum needs 18. Wind farms require over 30 square miles.
This "sprawl" has been missing from our energy discussions. In my home state of Tennessee, we just celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Yet there are serious proposals by energy developers to cover mountains all along the Appalachian chain, from Maine to Georgia, with 50-story wind turbines because the wind blows strongest across mountaintops.
Let's put this into perspective: We could line 300 miles of mountaintops from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Bristol, Va., with wind turbines and still produce only one-quarter the electricity we get from one reactor on one square mile at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Nuclear Plant.
The 1,000 square-mile solar project proposed by Mr. Salazar would generate, on a continuous basis, 35,000 megawatts of electricity. You could get the same output from 30 new nuclear reactors that would fit comfortably onto existing nuclear sites. And this doesn't count the thousands of miles of transmission lines that will be needed to carry the newly generated solar power to population centers.
There's one more consideration. Solar collectors must be washed down once a month or they collect too much dirt to be effective. They also need to be cooled by water. Where amid the desert and scrub land will we find all that water? No wonder the Wildlife Conservancy and other environmentalists are already opposing solar projects on Western lands.
Renewable energy is not a free lunch. It is an unprecedented assault on the American landscape. Before we find ourselves engulfed in energy sprawl, it's imperative we take a closer look at nuclear power.
Mr. Alexander is a Republican senator from Tennessee and a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Ed Miliband announces boost for green jobs

Energy and climate change secretary announces funding for a new factory that will make the largest offshore windblades in the world
Hélène Mulholland and agencies
The Guardian, Thursday 17 September 2009 02.09 BST
The energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, today announced a boost for green jobs including government funding for a new factory in the north-east, which will make the largest offshore wind blades in the world.
Miliband unveiled the £4.4m grant to Clipper Windpower to develop offshore wind turbines, with blades 70m long, 175m high, and weighing over 30 tonnes – "the size of a jumbo jet" – in a speech to the TUC in Liverpool.
"With strong government backing, the UK is consolidating its lead in offshore wind energy. We already have more offshore wind energy than any other country, we have the biggest wind farm in the world about to start construction, and now we'll see the biggest turbine blades in the world made here in Britain," Miliband said. "Our coastline means the offshore wind industry has the potential to employ tens of thousands of workers by 2020."
James Dehlsen, chairman of Clipper Windpower, said the government grant would accelerate planning and delivery of the project. The move was welcomed by Friends of the Earth as "exactly the sort of development the government should be supporting".
As part of the £120m investment the government has promised over the next two years, Artemis Intelligent Power will also be given £1m to transfer existing technology from automotive to wind energy. Siemens Wind Power will receive £1.1m in developing power converters for their larger offshore turbine.
Clipper, a US company listed as the UK's only wind turbine maker, will start work at a new plant near Blyth, Northumberland, next year to develop the blades for its giant turbines. It is expected to employ 60 people by the end of 2010. Ministers are keen to redeem themselves after the closure of Vesta, the wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight, which led to the loss of more than 600 jobs in August.
Miliband told the TUC conference it was a tragedy that workers at Vesta had lost their jobs, prompting a standing ovation from delegates for a number of former Vesta workers present.
"We spent months working with the company," Miliband said. "They told us money wasn't a problem. They said their problem was that they didn't have enough orders for onshore wind turbines, because some councils wouldn't let wind turbines go up." He accused Tory councils of blocking planning applications for turbines.

BP sells windfarm operation in India

Oil company's sale signals further retreat from renewables
Terry Macalister, Wednesday 16 September 2009 16.41 BST
BP has signalled a further retreat from its international renewable business by selling off its wind operation in India today.
The oil group, which recently shut down its alternative energy headquarters in London, said it would concentrate its wind interests in the US.
BP has sold three operational windfarms in India for just under $100m (£61m) to Green Infra Limited, an independent energy provider owned by private equity.
The business controls a relatively modest 100MW of power in locations such as Maharashtra but has a vital foothold in one of the world's fastest-growing renewable markets.
"Following a strategic review in 2008, BP decided to concentrate its global wind development activities on the portfolio of onshore wind development projects and opportunities that it had built up across the US," it said in a prepared statement.
The company will continue with its solar joint venture in India and has no intention of selling any of its petroleum-related businesses there.
BP employs over 1,500 staff in India and says it is continuing to "actively explore new opportunities and long-term material growth options" for its Castrol automotive lubricants and other sectors.
The company was recently awarded operation of a deepwater oil exploration block in the Krishna-Godavari basin off the east coast of India.
It says it remains committed to its Tata BP Solar joint venture which is a leading manufacturer and supplier of photovoltaic power systems.
But since Tony Hayward took the helm at BP from John Browne in the spring of 2007, critics have detected a marked retreat on the renewables front.
There has also been a move into more carbon-intensive activities such as tar sands.
But Hayward and BP deny any major change of direction, insisting that the company is just marshalling its resources better in an economic downturn.
They point out that over the past three years, BP has built a wind business in the US with interests in over 1,000MW of installed gross generating capacity and more than 1,000MW gross capacity at an advanced stage of development. In total, BP's US wind energy portfolio contains almost 100 projects, with a total potential generating capacity of up to 20,000MW.
Critics of the company's record on renewable energy point to the decision to close the independent London office of BP Alternative Energy and the exit of managing director, Vivienne Cox in June. In April, BP axed 620 jobs from its solar power business, closing two plants in Spain and phasing out module assembly at one in the US. There has also been confirmation that the 2009 budget for the clean energy division will be cut from $1.4bn (£850m) to anywhere between $1bn and $500m but the company has insisted that its original spending target of $8bn by 2015 remains on track.

Green surge gives carbon trade hub its first profit

By Sarah Arnott
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Carbon passed a milestone on the road to acceptance as a tradeable commodity yesterday as the Climate Exchange recorded its first ever profit.
The company – which runs the European Climate Exchange in London and its US counterpart – recorded a near-doubling in volumes in the first half, pushing it to pre-tax profits of £1.5m compared with last year's £300,000 loss.
The market for "green" products is taking off, boosted by schemes such as Europe's emissions trading scheme and the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the US.
Climate Exchange trading volumes came in some 96 per cent higher in the first six months of this year than last. The jump was sharpest in Europe, where the half-year total of 2.7bn tonnes was up by more than 250 per cent year on year. In the US, trading also more than doubled.
But despite the strong growth, there is considerable uncertainty in such a young market. Both the Copenhagen global climate change conference in December and the impact of Barack Obama's Climate Bill with have a significant impact on the group in the coming months, Richard Sander, the executive chairman, said.
"Both Europe and the US are going very well," Mr Sander said. "But we face near-term uncertainty from Copenhagen and also from the legislative stance of the cap and trade programme in the US."

Climate Exchange

The European Climate Exchange may have been a target of environmental protests in London last month, but shareholders in the screen-based carbon-trading bourse have little cause to complain.
Yesterday’s first-half figures showed the AIM-listed Climate Exchange (CE), which also owns America’s dominant carbon market, producing a maiden first-half profit exactly to plan. More impressive, when volumes of exchange-traded products have fallen across the world, CE’s have more than trebled in the six months to June 30, up 211 per cent in Chicago and up 252 per cent in London. Those gains come despite continued uncertainty over the direction of American environmental legislation that has caused prospective customers to drag their feet.
CE’s overwhelming attraction is as a geared play on America’s embrace of mandatory emissions trading. At an estimated six billion tonnes a year, the US carbon market is three times that of Europe. And a potential breakthrough is tantalisingly close, whether through the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which will be debated in the Senate this month, or the Copenhagen summit in December, when President Obama has the chance to sign up to the post-2012 phase of the Kyoto Protocol. Second-guessing the outcome of either is hazardous, especially given the difficulties to date of US healthcare reform.
The other worry is persistent moves by the New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to launch rival contracts, which, if successful, could force CE to cut its fees. At 880p, or a stock market value of £420 million, more than 80 times this year’s forecast pre-tax profits, the shares already discount stellar growth. There should be better times to buy.

World Bank warns 2C rise will cripple development efforts

The World Bank yesterday issued its clearest warning to date that development efforts in poorer nations will be derailed without a huge increase in funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
From, part of the Guardian Environment Network, Wednesday 16 September 2009 11.08 BST
The World Bank yesterday issued its clearest warning to date that development efforts in poorer nations will be derailed without a huge increase in funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
The Bank's annual World Development Report warns that even if the G8 group of industrialised nations achieves its target of limiting global warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels, the increase in global average temperatures will still result in shrinking levels of GDP for many African and Asian countries.
In a move that is likely to bolster the negotiating position of emerging economies, such as China and India, World Bank president Robert Zoellick echoed their view that the onus was on rich nations to deliver an "equitable deal" at the upcoming UN climate change conference in Copenhagen that acknowledges their historic responsibility for global warming.
"Developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change - a crisis that is not of their making and for which they are the least prepared," he said.
The report recommends that by 2030 rich nations will need to invest $400bn a year to help developing nations cut emissions through the adoption of new low carbon technologies and $75bn a year to help them adapt to the impact of climate change, in addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars of R&D investment that will be required to develop cost-effective clean technologies.
The scale of the sums involved are an order of magnitude higher than those currently being considered by many rich nations. For example, to date the only offer of climate change investment made as part of the Copenhagen process is UK prime minister Gordon Brown's proposal that rich nations invest $100 billion a year to help poorer nations cut emissions.
Justin Lin, World Bank chief economist, warned that without increased investment from developed economies poorer nations would find themselves unable to cope with the impacts of climate change. "Developing countries, which have historically contributed little to global warming, are now, ironically, faced with 75 to 80 per cent of the potential damage from it," he said. "They need help to cope with climate change, as they are preoccupied with existing challenges such as reducing poverty and hunger and providing access to energy and water."
The report also claims that such investments will make economic sense for industrialised economies, arguing that the cost of addressing climate change will only rise as "more and more investments are made in the wrong kinds of infrastructure and energy".
The report is likely to be welcomed by green groups, many of whom have long complained that the World Bank has been guilty of undermining investment in low carbon technologies in the developing world by favouring carbon intensive projects.
For example, the bank has faced consistent criticism for funding coal projects and it recently suspended investment in the palm oil sector after an investigation found that it had provided financing to a company allegedly linked to rainforest deforestation.
The Bank said that it has improved its record of investment in clean technologies, increasing financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries by 24 per cent in the fiscal year 2009 to over $3.3bn, a record high. It added that renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects last year made up over 40 per cent of the $8.2bn of energy financing provided by the bank, although critics will point out that 60 per cent of fina ncing is still funnelled into conventional energy projects.

Testing environmental pollution liability rules take effect

New environmental liability rules could catch you out. Steve Coates from Allianz advises

By DoctorBiz Published: 7:36PM GMT 16 Mar 2009
Q: I run a small waste management company in Yorkshire and I've heard that a new environmental liability directive came into force on 1 March. What are the implications for me and what precautions should I take?
A: The Environmental Liability Directive sets out requirements that member states must enact to prevent and remedy environmental damage, specifically damage to habitats and species protected by EC law. It aims to hold companies, whose activities have caused environmental damage, financially liable for remedying the damage.

The existing UK pollution liability regime, which includes the Environmental Protection Act 1990, already imposes significant responsibilities on polluters. The directive extends the liability of polluters beyond property damage and into areas of environmental damage and un-owned property such as rivers, countryside and wildlife.
If you or your workforce causes any environmental damage, the new directive imposes a wide range of responsibilities and will cost your company money if you are responsible for a pollution incident. Alarmingly, research commissioned by Allianz has shown that 77 per cent of businesses are unaware of the new law and its implications. It is therefore crucial that businesses talk to their brokers to fully understand the insurance cover that is required and make sure suitable cover is in place.
A proposal to make it compulsory for operators to take out insurance was not included in the final version of the directive. Instead, it suggests that member states encourage the use and development of insurance products or other forms of financial security. The implications are that traditional liability policies are ill-equipped to meet the challenges posed by the new legislation because of the different nature of directive's liability. Therefore, those companies in the UK who rely on existing public liability may find their policy does not provide the protection they require.
A standard public liability policy, for instance, will cover an insured party's legal liability to pay damages to a third party for accidental injury, damage to property, nuisance or interference with some other right. Although statutory clean costs and remediation are likely to be the most costly aspect of many pollution incidents, a standard public liability policy will not normally cover these costs.
Provision of cover via traditional third party liability insurance is difficult; some liability insurers might be willing to extend policies to cover certain directive liabilities, although a proper environmental liability policy will usually provide a more cost-effective solution.
Businesses need to take relevant steps to understand how their activities might expose them to the risk of pollution. Risks must be assessed and understood from which risk management techniques can be deployed to remove or reduce the risk. Insurance arrangements should be re-evaluated in the light of the more onerous responsibilities placed on businesses to ensure cover remains appropriate. Your insurance broker/adviser should be able to provide advice on cover available.
Steve Coates, head of Property & Casualty, Allianz