Jos, could I just confirm one point?
Did you say that European cars are twice as clean now as they were five years ago?
About 15 years ago, in 1998, did I say five years…it should have been 15 years, sorry.
Yes. In ’98 the average CO2 per kilometre was 186g. And we go to 95g by 2020.
And has that investment or that invention or whatever it would be,
has that been shared with other manufacturers in other parts of the world?
Or were their cars already cleaner anyway?
Yes, it does. Because our European manufacturers are major players, in particular in Asia.
Think about the German car manufacturers, but also all European car manufacturers,
which are attractive, because of the technology they bring.
The transfer of technology really happens there in real time.
And it’s sold into the other manufacturers. Is that it? Yes.
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes.
Yes, whoever is nearest the microphone.
Hi, Tom McGovern, renewable energy finance consultant.
Can I just ask you?
Is there surely a case for a tax on coal in Europe given the circumstances you have just outlined?
And purely even on health grounds alone.
We would prefer the carbon market to cater for the carbon price.
For the reason that the carbon market is one uniform single price for the entire European Union.
But what I see in case the European Parliament would vote against,
which I do not think is going to happen….but we will see.
You know you never know.
That is if the low carbon prices would continue I anticipate more member states going for carbon taxes
on top of the carbon price that is generated through the ETS.
We see it in the U.K. We may hear it from other member states.
I understand also Ireland went to a debate.
I hear the French for example are also considering the additional tax
on the carbon market price that we are currently seeing.
It’s not our favourite option, because the risk it triggers
is that it re-nationalises a policy that through the carbon market has been for the entire E.U.
And I think that led to significant efficiencies, but at the same time,
if the E.U. level cannot sort it out, then we have difficulties to argue against
the valid interests that member states may find in taxing the carbon.
Taxation is not, unfortunately, on the agenda of the E.U.
We tried that in the 1990s. We were then 12 member states.
Now we are 28 in a few weeks. So unanimity is what exists on taxation.
So I think that realistically speaking the tax route is not a route that the E.U. would develop.
David Healy, Oxfam Ireland.
Under the Doha decision the E.U., like the other Kyoto Protocol countries
has to make a decision more or less by this time next year, early 2014,
on stepping up its level of ambition from 20% which is its current commitment to a higher level of ambition,
consistent with the IPCC advice.
What’s the process whereby the E.U. is going to undertake that review?
And when will it start? Because it doesn’t seem to have started yet.
Well we tried it twice. And we did not get as far as we would have liked.
So I think that in the policy debate in Europe there is no big appetite to try it a third time.
But what we do succeed in is intensifying the measures that we are using.
For example on energy efficiency, we know that if the commitments we have taken on energy efficiency,
renewables, and the cap that is set under the carbon market,
that those three are going to lead us in 2020 beyond the 20% reduction.
In our calculations we may easily get up to 25%, not 30%, but up to 25%.
We have a problem in reviewing the target from 20% that we agreed in 2020 to the 30%,
because there is an important minority in the E.U.
that is coming from the new member states, in which fossil fuels,
coal, is more important than in other countries.
So we have to face up to questions related to the coal mining activity
in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and other member states.
And I think that’s the reality of what we are facing in this debate.
So the target discussion may be not an easy one to try again.
But intensifying the measures through which we are in practice reducing our emissions
may well work out and bring us half way - the optimal path, which is 25%.
Jos, thank you for that.
My question would be whether you personally think Europe are showing enough leadership,
genuine leadership on this topic.
And I would contextualise that by saying that everything we spoke about here today,
about the success of Europe in reducing emissions was based on a decoupling of emissions from GDP growth.
Now that GDP growth can only be decoupled from emissions after years
and years of historically emissions much higher than the rest of the world.
Our differentiated responsibility is surely to show leadership
in assisting the developing world in their right to develop
and putting in place the mitigation strategies that will save lives
and prevent maybe a huge burden with regard to climate refugees.
And this is where Europe should be.
I think there’s a certain self-congratulatory tone to this, that is not really genuine.
Because the bar is set terrifyingly low.
So I would just like your comment on the leadership Europe can show. Can it go further?
Well for sure we can do much more.
The real issue is that we have democratic institutions.
And you have to have majorities voting for the proposals that we bring on the table.
So I think that’s the brutal reality we are in.
We saw it last week when we came with a reasonable proposal on the carbon market,
where the first attempt in the European Parliament was not voting favourably.
So that’s the reality.
You have to have your majorities in the Parliament as much as in the Council.
And that is what is so crucially important to explain to the people what we are doing,
and to explain to people that the efforts that we are doing are reasonable,
but bringing about success. It’s not about self-congratulation.
But what is important is to show that you can do through policy a number of things.
And I think we did that under the ETS.
Now we have to find a solution for the problem we are facing.
We did that on the cars.
On the cars we still have a debate on when to knock off the 95g. for 2020.
But we know you know and we have to explain to people
when you go to the showroom and you are in doubt of buying a car x, y and z,
that we say, well look whatever the car is you are buying 25% in energy consumption
has been shaved off since your last time you bought your car.
And that is thanks to policy.
Because otherwise people get into a passive mood.
You cannot do anything about it.
And that’s exactly not what is close to reality.
It’s not about self-congratulating us, but it is creating a kind of belief.
If we act together in Europe we can change the course of things.
And I think that is also what the Chinese are expecting from us.
I can tell you that in the pilot scheme that the Chinese are now putting up on ETS
our young people in the Commission they are travelling backwards forwards
between Beijing and Brussels almost every two to three weeks.
Where all our intelligence is being shared in terms of benchmarks and registries
and how do you do monitoring and reporting, the whole infrastructure of ETS.
The Chinese are very eager to learn that.
Because they have seen for the manufacturing sector that’s the way to go.
And they are very intrigued by the fact that we could do it for around 30 countries
which are in fact very different in terms of economic development,
in terms of industrial specialisation, in terms of population, in terms of geographical environment.
So they, China, looks at the provinces that are also very different.
It makes a hell of a difference whether you are in Beijing or in Tianjin
compared to Mongolia or whatever. So they see the charms of this.
And we share that with them.
But if you cannot demonstrate that it helps then you have nothing to share.
So it’s not about self-congratulation, but it is about the confidence you can make it if you want,
but if you want you have to bring around the majorities in a democratic institution,
a problem that the Chinese do not have, for the time being.
I was just going to ask you that.
Is it easier to get results in this field if you are not a democracy?
I am sure it is. But there is also the risk of making mistakes.
So you are not guaranteed that you do the right thing.
We are preaching with the Chinese that they do the right thing.
But his question was about leadership.
Now how about the issue?
I mean a lot of the change that we have seen in Europe has been led by capitalism,
by private enterprise within Europe.
And that is a huge research and development investment and there are huge profits.
Is there any way in which on a pragmatic basis that can….
given that we are all in the boat….the planet itself, we are all in the same boat, and it’s a crisis.
Is there any way in which we can accelerate the sharing of those changes
which are driven by capitalist investment in research and development,
and share them with the third world…with the developing world?
I think in reality it’s going much faster compared to what we think.
I visited several think tanks in China, the sectors, the steel sector,
the non-ferrous sector, they have their think tank.
And they have a big map of China, and they plan their investments.
It’s a real planning economy.
And they say, x million tonnes here by year such and so,
and they have a map all over China.
And then they ask us about the technology and we know that today according to current statistics
for one tonne of steel in Europe there are two tonnes of emissions of CO2
with the average in China it’s three and a half tonnes.
But they know pretty well that we are doing on average two tonnes.
And there is co-operation amongst investments.
And I think also a part of industrial espionage and things like that,
where they know that technologically we are better,
and they are very eager to learn where we are better.
And so I think in practice it happens, and it happens much faster.
And I would even say the things we are deciding in the United Nations context,
transfer of technology is a standard item on the programme.
You do not go much further than coming together in a room like this one,
but you bring the people together.
And they start talking to one another,
and they start exchanging important expertise with one another.
So I think I am as far as that is concerned much more optimistic
compared to where I was say three/five years ago.
Raul Empey, Low Carbon Engineer with Sustineo.
Thank you very much for a wonderful presentation.
I have two succinct questions. The first is on non-conventional gas.
We have sustainability criteria for biofuels,
because there is a lot of concerns over whether they are good or bad.
Do we need sustainability criteria for all sources of energy?
And in particular I am thinking of hydraulic fracturing and the potential risks to water resources.
And a second short question is,
we have another climate change bill on the map for this year in Ireland.
The last one sort of collapsed in 2011.
I think partly due to the collapse of the government and partly due to not carrying the
farming and business communities along with it.
But this E.U. budget for climate related activities sounds very interesting.
Is there a possibility that could help Ireland implement its Climate Change Act?
Or would there be any incentives if Ireland did that as a sort of role model for Europe?
Well just to start with the last part of the question.
It is for national authorities to plan how they are going to use
the support schemes that are available from Brussels. So it is bottom up.
The national authorities have to do that.
But what we are saying, and that is why I am saying today to you,
there is this commitment of 20%.
And there are topping ups in the regional funds
if you go for an investment in renewables or in grids or in whatever.
Then you can ask for more funds compared to a normal scenario.
And so the 20% is earmarked,
but it’s not earmarked legally it’s earmarked to the extent that bottom up,
the member states are asking it.
So there is an important go-between,
and that’s why we are investing quite a bit of effort to trumpet around there is this 20%.
And also to have a tracking system when we would not come close to
where we have to land or where we see gaps or where we see member states not claiming the funds,
that we can remedy along the way.
On the shale gas, we are doing lots of work in Brussels.
Colleagues from the Environment Department, the Climate Department,
the Energy Department, the Research Department, we are looking into this.
And the tentative conclusion we are reaching for shale gas
is that our current environmental legislation is sufficient to take care of the problem.
We have a water directive and ground water is regulated.
We have quite extensive legislation on chemicals.
And we are looking and following up and monitoring very closely
if there would be lacunae that we have been overlooking.
But gas could be an important player for Europe.
I am not saying for all member states, but some member states are motivated to go into that.
We know from Poland for example, we know that there is some activity going on in Denmark, in Germany.
We will see. It’s a geographical thing.
You cannot locate in advance where you are going to find it.
There will be good stories, bad stories.
But what we think is that for the coming decade shale gas for Europe
may not have such a spectacular rise as we have seen in the United States.
In the United States it’s only the last five years,
but there has been a long period of growing into this shale gas exploration.
And the United States is very different. It’s not densely populated.
And it has different property rights.
So to put it a little bit squarely, in the United States, there is a lot of place.
And if you spot an area it’s very easy to get a permit and to get the drilling going,
which is very different in Europe. And I am not talking particularly about Ireland.
But when I look at central Europe it’s quite densely populated,
and you cannot start an activity anywhere.
So I would not think that the shale gas future for Europe
is going to be similar to that of the United States.
My name is Joe Devlin. I am a retired environment analytical chemist.
Thank you for your very interesting talk Mr. Delbeke.
I may have misinterpreted a graph that you showed,
but I think it showed the emissions from the energy sector by the year 2050
to be virtually zero or thereabouts.
Now is that due to a wholesale swing to renewables
or are there built in assumptions vis-à-vis some developing technologies
such as carbon capture storage?
In other words, will we see disappearance of conventional power stations?
Yes, and I should have brought that clearer to the fore.
It is the assumption that as of 2030 CCS investments,
carbon capture and storage are becoming the rule for conventionally fuelled power stations.
And I think that is why we want to have this technology demonstrated,
but it is a very expensive technology.
And the crisis really was flying squarely in our face.
Because we had good talks with the European Investment Bank,
we had private sector players who were ready to go,
but with the crisis in the banking sector it was not going as we planned.
And perhaps the most important setback that we have,
because of the recession, may be this one, that on carbon capture and storage.
Because we talk about 500m, 1 billion projects at least
that they are delayed until the economic conditions are going to be much better.
Michael Hayes, Carbolea Research Group, University of Limerick.
Mine is a comment rather than a question.
You rightly did indicate that biomass, energy from biomass
is the least well performing of the three major sources of renewable energy.
Now that’s so at this time. But things are changing very rapidly.
There is a huge future I would say for chemicals from biomass replacing petroleum.
Can I give you an example?
No, don’t give us an example. Give us a question.
This is a sort of questioning session. And I have four or five questions in the room.
It’s a comment.
I think it’s informative.
OK, we thank you for that comment.
But I do want to stay with questions, because we are in the last five minutes. Yes here.
Just representing the agricultural sector in Ireland who are really looking forward to
if you like expansion of agriculture as a driving force for the Irish economy.
There’s a conflict though of the carbon emissions from the bovines in particular.
And we are nervous about that.
So what’s the view of the European Commission
on a country that really wants to focus on agricultural expansion
through dairy and beef as distinct from reduction of carbon emissions?
We have had several discussions on that.
And it’s a well-known point from Ireland.
So I will try to remain diplomatic in my reply.
I think there are several options out there.
One of the options could be, and that’s the charm of the carbon market,
that while there are caps you can grow through the caps.
You have to cater for the carbon emissions one way or the other.
So that is certainly an option that we may consider for the period
coming after the current period on emissions trading.
We are certainly open to do that.
The real thing that needs to be catered for before we are open to plug in new sectors
into the ETS is monitoring, reporting and verification.
Because a sector like agriculture is so different compared to a sector
like the power sector or the transport sector.
And so the particularities of the sector need to be well taken into account in order to avoid that.
Also you have an overly complicated system,
because agriculture is fairly decentralised.
But I think it’s doable.
But I would invite very much you as a country making that point,
and other countries in the world like New Zealand making the same point.
Making the proof that MRV systems can be developed and can be reliable.
And we have no preset idea in favour or against.
It’s just that we are very wary that a carbon market
is dependent on the trust that is in that market.
So monitoring, reporting and verification is absolutely of capital importance.
Thank you for your speech.
It’s a great presentation so far.
Could you please comment on the role of energy efficiency and
marine renewables and what role you see for them.
Well two questions I get.
On marine renewables I think that’s a promising sector.
I am told it’s the third generation of biofuels.
So it still has to mature because it’s still expensive.
But the charm of marine biofuels is that they are not land based.
Because on a lot of renewable like the classic biofuels you need a lot of space for that.
And that is exactly what we do not have in Europe
contrary to other places in the world.
But the marine biofuels could sort that problem out.
On energy efficiency, the difficulty with energy efficiency
is that you have to undertake in most cases
fairly high upfront investment and capital.
Say a house. A house you can say,
how come that this house is not better insulated and things like that.
You hardly renovate a house only for the sake of energy efficiency.
But when you renovate a house then you have to have the strictest norms etc.
Because you are taking a quite fairly high capital investment
that is being paid off over a long period of time.
So that is where I think it pays off.
But the upfront investment can be relatively high.
And that is where time is a major variable.
I mean if we all were to replace our old cars for new cars
we would be much more energy efficient.
But that’s a fairly expensive thing to do, to just dispose all your old cars.
So the rational thing to do is to use your car, and when it is really ready,
or you decide to get rid of your old car, then to go for the best energy efficient new car.
But you don’t replace your cars only for the sake of energy efficiency.
But when you replace your cars then is the moment to be ambitious in what you are doing.
Thanks Jos. Frank Convery. Two very quick questions.
I heard this morning somebody saying that aviation,
the solution to the aviation issue could also, if it works,
be a template for global type agreements.
So I didn’t understand what that point was. You might clarify.
The other is, we have our former President here, Mary Robinson,
with her foundation pushing the climate justice agenda,
and essentially giving a voice to the voiceless that are impacted by climate.
And I just wondered where you see that voice fitting in the European policy framework. Thanks.
Well to start with the second part of the climate justice,
I think that we are now ….
and I regret only now opening up with our colleagues from the development services that agenda.
And in fact good work is being done through that.
The indigenous people and the people who are very much affected
for example through biofuels or biomass and things like that.
So it’s an agenda still to be widely developed.
And we welcome very much the work that your former President is doing on that.
On aviation, I am more pessimistic on aviation compared to the comment that you are referring to.
Why is it that I am somewhat more pessimistic?
Not…that we are not going to end up with something useful.
But where we embarked on was a system that was fairly simple to implement.
That is that for every flight departing from an airport
that flight shall be incorporated into the E.U. ETS.
So you can perfectly well calculate an aircraft, the engines,
how heavy it is, etc. how much CO2 it’s going to emit.
We work with Eurocontrol and others. You can perfectly calculate that.
The problem that we were encountering is,
that the United States and the emerging economies were saying this is extraterritoriality.
So you embark say from Dublin and as soon as you are out of the territorial airspace of Ireland
you are either in another country or in no man’s land.
And there was a whole heavy criticism
that over no man’s land you cannot do anything.
So the international airspace, the international waters are international
and nobody can regulate them.
And we said it’s exactly for that reason that you have to find a fix that is workable.
Hence our scheme on departing flights. So that was creating quite a bit of a row.
Vested interests of course were mingling in.
And a high level group was created in the international civil aviation organisation.
So the body in Montreal managing aviation.
And that high level group of 17 persons around the globe came together.
And I was one of these 17. It was not great fun I have to tell you.
I mean because all this extraterritoriality concerns came to the fore.
What is Europe thinking? That you can charge, regulate, whatever, outside your territory.
And we said it’s not for the sake of us.
It’s for the sake of climate, which is a global good, a global common.
So it’s not because of selfish interests.
It’s because of us trying to do something good for the planet.
But that was not cutting as much ice as I would have hoped.
And the discussions continue, and we will have a major assembly of the IKO in September,
in which I hope we will find a solution that is going to be a solution on extraterritoriality.
Because one of the major players,
India, says for whatever flight that is being undertaken from India
there must be a bilateral agreement that that flight can be covered through an ETS.
And our view is if you go into the bilateralism
then you no longer are in a United Nations or a worldwide context.
It’s not doable and administratively speaking it’s a nightmare.
And on top of that you risk distortions of competition and things like that.
So mutual recognition as incorporating aviation and bilateral agreements we strongly object to that.
So that’s the first line.
The second line is the geographical scope, your territorial airspace.
I don’t know how far we are going to land there.
But a third element that is perhaps of some hope is that IATA,
which is the worldwide federation for airlines seems to agree on an international initiative
where the sector as such would take responsibility for the CO2 emissions of their aircraft.
And that would be a novelty.
That would be an absolutely novelty that we would have a worldwide regime
agreed by the private sector, doing the right thing,
but with a wake-up call, where are the public authorities on that.
Because it is the public authorities who are the players in the United Nations context.
While in that sense it would be the private sector.
I wouldn’t mind if it is being done it is being done.
But these are perhaps the models that we will have to see
and take for value also in the future discussions on a multilateral regime.
In particular for aviation, if the private sector would come forward with a meaningful scheme
I would take it and I would build from there.
Perhaps you can do something similar for other sectoral activity.
But it puts a little bit of a different light on what can be done in the United Nations context
as we have seen it under Kyoto.
And that’s the pragmatism I think we have to have.
If it works it could be a building stone of a new regime that we may need in 2050.
On that point, I know there are further questions in the room, but I am getting conflicting signals.
And our time, I have to close it there.
I would like to thank the audience for such expert questions,
and particularly to thank you for such expert answers.
Thank you very much.
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Jos Delbeke,Director-General, DG Climate Action, European Commission: EU Climate and Energy Policy - Moving to a competitive low-carbon economy
EU Climate & Energy Policy - Q&A