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End use of fossil fuels in 20 years, UK warned

Juliette Jowit, The Guardian
Britain must abandon using almost all fossil fuels to produce power in 20 years’ time, the government’s climate change watchdog will warn today.

The independent Climate Change Committee will publish its advice to the government that the UK should set a 2050 target of cutting all greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% – including the emissions from aviation and transport, which were previously excluded.

Because it is unlikely that emissions from aviation and shipping will be cut so dramatically, other sectors, particularly power generation, would have to reduce emissions by much more, with big increases in energy efficiency, wind and tide power, and probably new nuclear generators, Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, the committee chairman, told the Guardian.

“We have to almost totally decarbonise the power sector by 2030, well before 2050,” he said…
(7 October 2008)

First council since Second World War set up to look at food security

Louise Gray, The Daily Telegraph
The production, supply and consumption of food in Britain is to be investigated by a dedicated Government council.

The Council of Food Policy Advisors will sit alongside the National Economic Council set up last week to address the financial crisis.

Hilary Benn, the environment secretary, has set up the council to advise the government on the affordability, security of supply and the environmental impact of food production.

He said the growing world population, climate change and rising fuel costs were all leading to an unprecedented threat to Britain’s food security.

There is also concern about the nutritional content of many people’s diet in Britain.

It is the first time since the Second World War that Britain’s food industry has been examined in this way…
(7 October 2008)

EU climate change cuts: Poland leads revolt over Russia fears

Michael Levitin, The Guardian
Poland has claimed that it has assembled enough votes to block a landmark EU climate change agreement after spearheading a revolt by Eastern European states that fear the package would increase their dependence on Russian natural gas supplies.

A six nation bloc on the EU’s eastern fringes signed a pact to fight a proposal designed to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by a fifth by 2020.

The target represents the EU’s landmark initiative to address the pressures of climate change and would return the continent’s output of CO2 to 1990 levels.

Poland has led efforts to fend off adoption of the package. An aide to the country’s environment minister, Maciej Nowicki said Greece had joined the opposition, alongside Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria,

“Poland’s Environment Minister signed in Greece an agreement referring to the climate package,” Joanna Mackowiak, a ministry spokeswoman said. “We have the blocking minority.”…
(3 October 2008)

Dirty coal power hit by Euro vote

Juliette Jowit, The Guardian
Plans for a new generation of heavily polluting coal-fired power stations were dealt a blow today in Europe when MEPs voted for tough regulations which would force energy companies to fit expensive equipment to trap the emissions.

The carbon dioxide emissions limit set by the European Parliament environment committee is the same as that set by California – 500 grams of CO2 per kilowatt/hour. Anti-coal campaigners in the US claim this has effectively outlawed coal power being sold to the state.

However the committee also voted for a €10bn (£7.8bn) fund to pay for trials of the carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which could trap most emissions. This could enable some coal stations to be built, using the EU funds to pay for the massive expected costs of CCS.

The amendments to the draft Directive on Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide still have to pass at least two further levels. One is the powerful European council of environment ministers, where there is likely to be strong lobbying by some states, including coal-rich Poland. But environment campaigners hailed the decision as a “huge development”…
(7 October 2008)