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The 7th issue of Cleantech magazine concentrates on the environmentally friendly building and construction sectors. Also in the issue: a recap of the Warsaw COP19 climate conference, analysis of the new proposal to support renewable energy, and much more.
Cleantech Magazine | by Wojciech Kość

OP-ED: Stifled Climate Ambitions

OP-ED: Stifled Climate Ambitions

Facts and figures speak for themselves. The world seems re-united in dodging action to reduce humans’ imprint on increasingly fragile natural environment.

From the Cleantech magazine's Spring 2014 issue.

Those lobbying for a decisive action on the shape of the support framework for the renewable energy sector were flabbergasted by the government’s new idea that development of new renewable capacity will be based on auctions, where companies will bid to pay the lowest price per MW.

The three-year debate about a system of feed-in tariffs differentiated by technology type and installations size went down the drain.

From a political point of view, one has to congratulate the Polish government. Dodging the issue for more than three years, Poland’s approach to energy policy has gone from being backward to mainstream in the EU.

Recent climate and energy proposals from the European Commission are more appropriate for “current economic and political realities,” the Commission said in late January.

“There is a need to progress towards a low-carbon economy which ensures competitive and affordable energy for all,” the Commission also said, as if copying from the Polish leaders who have been saying the same for years now.

"New realities" means that the EU will have a new target for renewable energy of 27 percent by 2030. How this target will be achieved is not clear because there will be no binding national targets.

As for climate-related ambitions, the Commission proposes to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2030, relative to 1990. This will comprise a 43 percent emissions cut in sectors falling under the EU’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) and 30 percent reduction in non-ETS sectors. These cuts are relative to 2005.

Europe is only a part of what seems to be a global move towards less ambitious climate action. During last year’s UN climate conference in Warsaw, Japan reduced its emissions targets, while Australia repealed its carbon tax. The conference itself has been criticized for watering down climate action as well (though it rather was a price paid for the process to move on).

Finally, cleantech investment figures are falling. The total value of private equity, venture capital and development capital investments in global cleantech companies declined by 50 percent last year to USD 8.35 billion, according to Bureau Van Dijk, a business intelligence firm.

If you’re in the environmental business or advocating environmental policy, you’re probably feeling that you’ve been making two steps backward for every step forward. That’s hardly progress at all.


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