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Dutch environment minister Jacqueline Cramer presented on 27 April the final report of an expert group on biomass use. The “Cramer Commission” has defined criteria for the sustainable use of biomass in transport, electricity and chemicals production. The European Union is preparing similar criteria for Europe-wide application. The report is available in Dutch only. Reuters… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

Germany’s environment minister Sigmar Gabriel announced a new 8-point plan to reduce his country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% before 2020 (compared to 1990). Energy efficiency, renewables, modernising coal and gas power plants and CHP (combined heat and power) are the key solutions put forward in the plan. Social-Democrat Gabriel sees no chances for a… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

While Brussels is basking in the April summer heat and citizens are out on the streets enjoying the “friendly face” of climate change, members of the European Parliament are feverishly trying to position themselves as important players on the climate policy battle field. To “co-ordinate” the parliament’s position on these issues, the MEPs decided on… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

A new study published in the journal Chemistry and Industry concludes that biodiesel made from rapeseed will increase rather than reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional diesel. Looking at the full lifecycle emissions of biodiesel and conventional diesel, the authors of the study concluded that biodiesel produces two thirds of its greenhouse gas emissions… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

China puts economic growth before climate security. Although global warming will threaten China’s development, Beijing is not willing to constrain its economic growth, says a 400-pages official report published by the Chinese government. Who can blame them when their big capitalist brother, the United States, lives by the same rules and when lots of European… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

Since it launched its Ecomagination campaign in May 2005, General Electric (GE) has managed to catapult itself on to the list of forward-thinking “green” corporate giants. So when Lorraine Bolsinger, GE’s Mrs. Ecomagination herself visited Brussels this week, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to witness first hand whether her presentation would convince me that… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

Robert L. Hirsch, author of the famous US Department of Energy report that carries his name, has written a new and excellent overview of the peak oil and investment challenges on WorldOil.com. The article has an interesting table with the different scenarios on peak oil, and makes the case that, besides peak oil itself, underinvestments… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

The first ever UN Security Council debate on the security aspects of climate change, has led to serious divisions as China, Russia and other developing countries criticise the UK initiative. For more, see International Herald Tribune. Germany’s infamous Bild Zeitung has started a huge information campaign to fight climate change. In a surprising coalition with… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

I am not a big fan of Thomas Friedman’s ideas on globalisation (“The World is Flat”), but his analyis on the “power of green” in the International Herald Tribune (a reprint from the NY Times Magazine) on Sunday 15th is certainly worth spending a few words on. In the 10-page article, Friedman argues that the… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

France’s lost chance

With the first round of the French presidential elections coming up on 22 April, the Economist this weekend features a lead article anointing Nicolas Sarkozy as France’s great hope for reform. Unfortunately, the Economist’s definition of reforms (“to get the economy growing faster”) lacks any awareness of the real challenge our “spaceship Earth” faces: to… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer