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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

WWF Gloomy On 2050 Targets

Launched at a conference in Brussels today, WWF’s report ‘Climate Policy Tracker for the European Union’ claims that no single EU Member State is even close to reaching the 2050 target of a 85-90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  WWF states that Member States overall will have to triple their efforts to reach this target.  

WWF analyses each Member State’s performance in combating climate change against benchmarks such as the use of renewables and energy efficiency in the policy areas of general climate policy, electricity supply, industry, buildings, transport, agriculture and forestry.   Member States are ranked on a scale of A to G on their efforts to fight climate change.  While the vast majority of countries are to be found languishing in category E, some supposedly high-achievers like Denmark are still only found in category D and others like Romania in group F.     

The findings were both praised and criticised by panel members. The European Commission’s Director General (DG) for Climate Action, Jos Delbeke and the DG for Energy, Philip Lowe said that the report would provide a helpful tool for the EU in the upcoming climate negotiation round in Cancun.  Belgian Federal Minister for Climate and Energy Paul Magnette, representing the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, on the other hand, clearly expressed his disappointment with the findings,  claiming that the report does not reveal anything new.  He called for more accurate assessments which would take into account country-specific conditions and urged the inclusion of an analysis of not only the environmental but also the social impacts of climate change.

Head of EU Climate and Energy Policy at WWF’s European Policy Office Jason Anderson welcomed the different views being voiced, stressing that the aim of the report was to “stimulate discussion” to improve Member States’ climate change policy.

Text: Filip Haugland
Image: utahenergy.org

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Greenpeace Keeps Pressure On

Environmental NGOs have increasingly seen targeting manufacturers and retailers directly as a more effective and faster way of driving change than regulation, or than regulation alone.  The latest edition of Greenpeace’s ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’, highlights the quite significant gap performance between the world’s top 18 electronic manufacturers.  Updated several times a year since 2006, the Greenpeace guide ranks the achievements of electronic manufacturers in eliminating hazardous substances from their products, as well as in take back and recycling and reducing the climate impact of their products and operations.

The latest edition reconfirms Finnish mobile technology manufacturer Nokia as the world’s ‘greenest’ electronic manufacturer, scoring 7.5 out of a possible 10.  Nokia ranks top in 10 of the 16 categories, and has done so for the last two years.  For the third time in a row, Japanese-Swedish mobile technology manufacturer Sony-Ericsson is hot on Nokia’s heels with 6.9. While Korean manufacturer Samsung enjoys the biggest improvement, jumping from position 13 to five, US giant Apple has had the biggest fall, slipping from fifth to ninth place.  As users of Apple products, we will be monitoring this carefully.

At the bottom end of the spectrum, Japanese video game manufacturer Nintendo continues to hold the unflattering last place with a score of 1.8, a position it has held ever since first being listed in December 2007.  Microsoft too is not scoring that highly with 1.9, sliding from 16th to 17th place as a result of troubles surrounding its commitment to phase out brominated flame retardants and PVC by end-2010.       

Used by a substantial and ever-increasing proportion of the world’s population on a daily basis, the environmental impact of electronic products cannot be underestimated.  As our throwaway society becomes ever more hungry for the latest gadget, the greening of electronics is an important step in addressing these issues.  We can only repeat Greenpeace’s question and ask “Who will be first to go [100%] green?”

Text: Filip Haugland/Kathryn Sheridan