Stop climate pollution! Cut Europe's CO2

A couple of days ago I sent this letter to the current EU president:

"With the expected (according to IPCC) climate changes leading to increased occurrences of extreme weathers in Europe the costs for dealing with these extremes will inevitably increase. The single largest cause of these climate changes is the man-made emission of carbon-dioxide. According to the International Energy Agency Coal burning power plants account for 37% of the man-made carbon-dioxide emissions world wide. And many countries subsidise these polluters. At the moment in many parts of EU the carbondioxide emissions are increasing.

There are however some positive currents in EU such as the Emission Trade System (ETS) and the recent proposal in the European Parliament to double the use of renewable energy in the near future.

Even further steps can be taken:

1. Stopping all subsidies for non-renewable energy sources and power plants. The money that is freed should instead be used for:
- R&D regarding increased efficiency of energy use and its implementation in Europe
- R&D regarding renewable energy sources
- Spread of knowledge on renewable energy sources and efficient use of energy
- Schemes to implement renewable energy and efficient use of energy in the EU

2. The cap on the ETS should be even more restricted in the second phase. Plans should be made already now to ensure the continuation of the ETS after the second phase. The ETS will ultimately only be effective if it is allowed to stay on for decades. The ETS is a tool in order for EU to comply with the Kyoto protocol but there is still a very long way to go. The EU was part of the forces that wanted to make sure that the Kyoto protocol stretches beyond 2012. Now it is high time that EU comply with the agreement sofar.

3 Increased energy efficiency in buildings also includes improved heat insulation and passive systems for ventilation. Even if the power industry gets better at supplying green energy it is also important that EU become better, much better, on the using this energy. There is plenty of room for improvement in the energy efficiency of housing, offices, industries and transportation within the EU.

4. Public but also private procurement for buildings (offices, industries and homes) should not only use the cost of constructions as the most important rule. It is already now allowed to take environmental concerns in public procurements. This should be strengthened by taking into account the total cost of the building during its expected life time, including the cost of energy for heating, cooling and equipment. This would be part of a strategy for a more energy efficient EU.

5. Use conversion of EU coal power plants into sustainable energy transformer as a role model for other parts of the world. Use that knowledge as base for a new sustainable energy that can be exported (both energy and know-how).

All 5 points would be an active part of the Lisbon strategy to improve the technological and economic capability of the European Community countries.

These above measures are also in the line with articles 153 and 174 in the Treaty establishing the European Community

As the President of the EU, you can play a significant role in leading the EU to achieve this.

People across Europe want EU governments to ensure that major emitters do their fair share.
I want the major emitters to do their fair share.
I am sure that you also want the major emitters to do their fair share.

I urge you, as the current President of the EU, to put coordination with other EU member states towards a low-carbon future for EU. I urge you to do this by ensuring a stronger ETS (at least 25% lower caps for the second phase), while also working towards a complete abolition of subsidies to non-renewable energy and working towards an energy efficient EU using renewable energy.

If you give in to industry lobbying pressure, the environment, European citizens and future generations will all lose".

This was made as part of the Panda Passport campaign
Stop climate pollution! Cut Europe's CO2.
Of course I wrote my own letter although using their suggestions on what to write.
Personally written letters would probably have better impact the just sending ready-made letters. What do you think and what do you do?


Some key facts about GMO

I just read some key facts about GM crops (pdf file) from the FOE Europe report "Who benefits from GM crops? Monsanto and the corporate-driven genetically modified crop revolution".

In short:
GM crops are almost only modified to have herbicide tolerance or insect resistance. The former has increase the use of pesticide. There are few crops such as maize, soy and cotton that has either of the two traits.

The overall performance seem to be worst then conventional and organic production. GM maize and soy are almost only used for animal feed and heavily processed food.

In no way has GM crops done anything to alleviate hunger or poverty in the developing countries. Except from bribes from Monsanto to selected officials in a number of countries ...

One would then ask: how come they (Monsant, Bayer and Syngenta) still pursue these types of GM crops? Normally when people draw up business plans much of the focus is on the selling point in terms on what the value for consumer/buyer is. In the case of GM crops sofar there is no benefit to neither farmer nor consumer.


Wind power in the Minho Valley and Portal das Energias Renováveis

In Diario do Minho today was news about the inauguration of the first 2 out of 10 wind power parks to erected in the Minho Valley until 2008. The company EEVM aim to make Minho an exporter of electricity.

Quote of the summary:
" Os primeiros dois parques eólicos, dos 10 previstos para o Vale do Minho até 2008, foram ontem inaugurados, sem a pompa anunciada dada a ausência do Secretário de Estado da Industria e da Inovação, mas com reiterados votos de «bons ventos» para o projecto que vai tornar a região exportadora de electricidade. Nuno Ribeiro da Silva, presidente da Empreendimento Eólicos do Vale do Minho, sublinhou que a entrada em funcionamento dos dois primeiros parque do maior investimento europeu em energia alternativa constitui um forte contributo para «mitigar a vulnerabilidade energética que o país tem»." Diario do Minho 2006-02-10.

This is great news!
Don't you think?

I also found the Portuguese Portal das Energias Renováveis.

With the good opportunities in Portugal for both solar and wind power one also would hope that they (the constructors) also start to make energy efficient houses. Everyone knows that the houses in Portugal really are amazingly bad with regards to energy efficiency. (single-glased window with aluminium profiles and complete lack of insulation).

There is a program regarding this O Programa para a Eficiência Energética em Edifícios. One can only hope that the architects, public and private procurers, architect and engineering schools, the constructors and producers take active part in this project.

Looking at ads for apartments and houses in Braga one usually do not see more with this respect than that they have "janelas anti-ruidos" - sound proof windows, especially in the buildings within a few (ca 10) meters from the big roads.

In Portugal ca 13% of the energy consumption is done in private homes:

  • 50% - cooking and heating of sanitation water
  • 25% - lights and electrical appliances
  • 25% - heating and cooling

Eficiência Energética em Edifícios
See the brochure at the bottom the page (in Portuguese).

With better insulation against heat energy transport (= energy loss) the first and the last can be decreased. Only buying "A-labelled" domestic appliances and low-energy lamps would decrease the second.

Currently I guess almost all water heating is done with natural gas (a fossil fuel). Either in bottles or pipes. The first is doubly bad because of the extensive transportation and thus emission of greenhouse gases. The good thing is that Portugal already have infrastructure that can be used for biogas, but this is very far from becoming a reality.


A truckload of packaging ...

Are you also annoyed about the large piles of packaging material that end up in your trash bin after paying a visit to the supermarkets?

Read the article
One family, one month, 50kg of packaging. Why? in the Observer 2006-01-29.

In short:
A lot of the packaging materials used are not necessary
Leaner and eco-smart packaging is quite possible
Laminates are usually not recyclable
It takes a lot of energy and resources to make packaging

Do not buy prepacked fresh fruits and vegetables etc
A loose weght requires less packaging and you probably
will only buy as much as you actually will consume.

Want a afternoon snack with yoghurt and jam?
Buy a 1 litre yoghurt pack and a selection of jams or fresh fruit (organic!).
Probably a lot tastier and with a lot less packaging ( and sugar!)


Transparency in the CAP

According to the EUObserver the EU Commission has just released a Green Paper on making public the information on who are the end-receivers of money from the CAP.

The EU commission is in support of transparency in this issue. A few states already have made that information public. Currently most other EU countries keep that information a secret but many are getting ready to make it transparent or at least are under pressure to make it so.

The FarmSubsidy.Org is working hard to make this information available to the general public.

All this is of course part of the ongoing discussion of what will and should happen to the CAP.

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