Posts tagged European Union

Copenhagen: What matters to Europe

Russia and the industrialized member countries of the European Union (EU) are some of the only nations in the world to have announced tangible emissions reductions targets months ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Although a legally binding climate treaty isn’t likely to happen this year, the EU and Russia stand by their targets and hope for an agreement in the months after the conference. Here’s an overview of their latest plans:

European Union: The EU vowed to slash its emissions by 20 percent by 2020. If other regions agree to major reductions, it will increase reductions to 30 percent, the Associated Press reports. In October, member states agreed to contribute money to a global fund to assist developing countries tackle climate change, The New York Times reported.

Russia: Reuters reported that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev promised that the country would reduce emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. As the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, that is considered a major commitment.

France and Germany: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel jointly expressed concern about diminishing support for global greenhouse gas reductions. Merkel urged countries to commit to “international oversight of each country’s obligations” during the first half of 2010, reported the Associated Press.

When it comes to committing to emissions reductions, it’s clear that Europe is ready for the challenge – and we’re confident that clean coal technology will play a major role in meeting those high standards. In the meantime, tell us what you think of Europe’s emissions commitments in the comments.

The facts: Europe outspends the U.S. on carbon capture

Some of the most advanced clean tech developments are happening in Europe, where the likelihood of impeding carbon regulation is playing a role in the European Union’s (EU) future power generation strategy. Moreover, increased energy demand and a historical aversion to nuclear energy are causing the EU to consider an old standby: coal.

In fact:

•According to a 2008 New York Times article, European countries are expected to put into operation about 50 coal-powered plants through 2013, which will be in use for the next five decades.

•Europe’s first coal plant that captures and stores carbon dioxide debuted in Spremberg, Germany last year. The EU plans to get an additional 10 to 15 carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants in operation by 2015. According to a 2008 article from the MIT Technology Review, the information gained from testing a 30-megawatt test plant will be used to scale up to a 300-to-500 megawatt demonstration plant set to go online by 2015—and up to a further 1,000-megawatt commercial plant between 2015 and 2020.

•Emerging Energy Research analysts estimate more than $20 billion will be spent on CCS projects in 2009 with the EU’s investment ranked number one globally at $11.6 billion, followed by the U.S. (at $6 billion).

The EU is currently testing new CCS technologies at a number of plants to help make the systems commercially viable as quickly as possible. Britain’s first large-scale CCS-equipped power plant—the Powerfuel-run Hatfield plant in Yorkshire is slated for construction for 2010 and will be operational by 2015. The plant may also receive funding from the EU.

It’s easy to get caught up in our own energy debates and challenges. But as the EU and other regions have consistently demonstrated, coal-generated electricity and emerging emissions-reducing technologies are playing an important role in meeting growing energy demands with domestic resources.