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EU proposes global aviation and shipping targets for Copenhagen

The EU has proposed a specific global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and shipping, but it has stepped back from committing the money that could be the key to making it happen. Last month, EU environment ministers agreed to put forward a proposal to cut emissions from aircraft by 10% and from shipping by 20% over the next 10 years (relative to 2005). The proposal, which has been approved by EU heads of government, is now a negotiating mandate for next month’s international climate change summit in Copenhagen.

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Biofuels reports: separating the good from the bad and the ugly

The worst biofuels can emit 2000% more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels, while the best can genuinely cut down on emissions. Those are two conclusions of a new United Nations report, one of several papers published in the last month that reaffirm that only certain biofuels can be environmentally beneficial – and only then if produced in certain ways.

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Bank warning on scrappage

The European Central Bank has expressed doubt about the economic value of car ‘scrappage’ schemes. Its monthly bulletin for October looks at the effects of incentives for car owners to trade in an old car for a newer one. It says such schemes have been of limited benefit and may ‘undermine overall income and employment prospects in the longer term’. It also says the rise in car sales under scrappage schemes has to be viewed alongside a corresponding drop in sales of other goods.

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Offsetting is ‘a distraction’ that will not meet reduction targets

The reputation of ‘carbon offsetting’ as a legitimate way to reduce environmental impact suffered a further blow last month when a leading on-line environmental travel company removed the option for its customers to offset their carbon emissions. Responsibletravel.com was one of the first travel promoters to offer its customers the chance to pay for environmental projects to offset the emissions caused by their trips, but now it says offsetting is a distraction from the need to reduce emissions as ‘it allows people to behave in the same way or worse’. A spokeswoman for the company said, ‘Too often offsets are used by the tourism industry to justify growth plans on the basis that money will be donated to projects in developing countries – global reduction targets will not be met this way.’

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