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10 Dec, 2007

Coming Soon: Millions of “Green-Collar” Jobs

Despite the detrimental effects brought on by climate change, new industries to combat global warming could spur employment, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.

A series of dispatches from the UN Framework on Climate Change Conference in Bali.

In this dispatch:














Dec 6 2007 — Despite the detrimental effects brought on by climate change, new industries to combat global warming could spur employment, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said today. “Millions of new jobs are among the many silver, if not indeed gold-plated linings on the cloud of climate change,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director.

He pointed out that research shows that these are not just ‘green collar’ jobs targeted at the middle classes, but that opportunities abound for workers in areas ranging from construction, sustainable forestry and agriculture, engineering and transportation.

“Talk of environmental sustainability and climate change often emphasizes the costs, but downplays the significant employment opportunities from the transition to a global economy that is not only resource efficient and without the huge emissions of greenhouse gases, but one that also restores environmental and social values,” Mr. Steiner said.

The research is part of a draft report entitled “Green Jobs: Can the Transition to Environmental Sustainability Spur New Kinds and Higher Levels of Employment?” that was commissioned by UNEP [http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=523&ArticleID=5717&l=en]. It found that the United States environmental industry in 2005 generated over 5.3 million jobs, ten times the number in the country’s pharmaceutical industry. Delhi, it noted, is introducing new eco-friendly compressed natural gas buses that will create 18,000 new jobs, while Brazil’s ethanol programme has lead to half a million new jobs.

Meanwhile, the top UN climate change official today said that greater efforts are necessary to extend the benefits of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – which allows projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and contribute to sustainable development to earn certified emission reduction credits (CERs) – to Africa.

“There are 850 clean development mechanism projects in 49 developing countries, but only 23 of those projects are in Africa,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “It’s time that the benefits of this important Kyoto Protocol mechanism were expanded in Africa.”

Last November, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the Nairobi Framework aimed at spreading the spreading the benefits of the CDM. Since then, several projects have been launched in Africa, but the total number of CDM initiatives on the continent comprise only 2.6 per cent of the some 800 registered projects.



Dec 8 2007 – Renewable energy is increasingly being used as a mainstream alternative to the fossil fuels which are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says in a new report. The REN21 Renewables Global Status Report 2007 says that out of a total global power capacity of 4,300 Gigawatts (GW), renewable energy (without large hydro) now provides about 240 GW of clean power, avoiding some 5 gigatonnes per year (Gt/year) of carbon emissions.

“What’s needed now are binding targets in an international agreement to establish polices that can rapidly accelerate the large-scale deployment of renewable energy to replace fossil fuels”, said Mohamed El Ashry, head of the global policy network REN21 that produced the report with the Worldwatch Institute.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which houses the REN21 secretariat, said renewable energy “can make a significant contribution to de-carbonizing the global economy” and called on Governments “to send market signals that will accelerate the use of renewable energy even further.” He also said States should “reverse the declines in research and development spending so as to accelerate the commercialization of other renewables waiting in the wings.”

The new report follows two earlier Global Status Reports in 2005 and 2006, and shows that renewable energy sources like wind, grid-tied electricity from solar photovoltaic technology and solar hot water systems continue their strong double-digit growth in 2007.

More than 50 countries worldwide have adopted targets for future shares or amounts of renewable energy, including 13 developing countries, all EU countries, and many states or provinces in the United States and Canada. At least 56 countries now have some type of renewable energy promotion policy, and 44 countries, states and provinces have enacted renewable-portfolio-standards

The 2007 Renewables Global Status Report concludes that current trends are set to continue as the costs of renewable energy technologies decline and the sector continues to diversify production and technology development to a broad base of countries, including emerging economies.



Dec 7 2007– Global air transportation has brought millions of jobs, a major boost to the world economy and valuable savings in time for many people, but its benefits may be in jeopardy unless the industry takes more steps to improve its environmental performance, the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said today.

In a joint message to mark the annual International Civil Aviation Day on 7 December, ICAO Secretary-General Taïeb Chérif and the President of its Council Roberto Kobeh González said that while recent innovations have made aircraft engines cleaner and greener, they are not enough to counter the projected substantial growth in air traffic worldwide in the years ahead.

Delegates at the ICAO Assembly in September called for a series of stepped-up measures to monitor and improve the environmental performance of civil aviation, and Dr. Chérif and Mr. González said governments and individuals must also play their part in ensuring that aviation does not make progress “at the expense of the environment.”


Seeing a giant jet aircraft take off or land still inspires awe in many of us. It also triggers dreams of escapes to distant lands or trips to visit family and friends. As the holiday season approaches, the airplane carries greeting cards and gifts to loved ones who cannot be with us on this special occasion. Captured by the magic of flight, we seldom stop to think of the enormous benefits of air transport on the economic well-being of millions of people around the world.

In 2006, 2.1 billion passengers traveled on scheduled flights alone. To this must be added charter and other aircraft operations. At the same time, nearly 40 million tonnes of freight were carried by air, from fresh produce for the dining room table to computer equipment for the home and office.

Today, some 32 million jobs are linked to civil aviation. Employment in airlines, airports, air navigation services and aerospace industries (5.5 million jobs), plus indirect and induced multiplier effects, account for about 15 million jobs. Some 17 million additional jobs are supported in a wide range of industries related to trade and tourism such as hotels, restaurants and many more.

Civil aviation’s extended global economic impact is estimated in the order of US$ 3.5 trillion, equivalent to nearly 8 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product [Estimates by the Air Transport Action Group]. All of this has been made possible because air travel today is safe, secure, efficient and accessible.

The mission of ICAO and of the other members of the world aviation community is to continuously improve the performance of the global air transport system in all of these areas, so that it continues to provide the immense socio-economic benefits our global society has come to need and expect. These benefits, however, may be jeopardized if they are achieved at the expense of the environment.

For more than forty years, ICAO has exercised its leadership in developing and constantly updating standards and recommended practices for aircraft engine emissions. Thanks to technological and operational innovations, today’s modern aircraft are about 75 per cent more fuel efficient in terms of carbon dioxide intensity than first-generation turbo-jet aircraft, nitrogen oxides emissions have been reduced by some 40 per cent, and soot and hydrocarbons virtually eliminated. Such achievements are quite remarkable, yet not enough to counter the effects of projected traffic growth around the world.

At the last ICAO Assembly in September of this year, delegates recognized that aviation environmental protection is a complex endeavour involving a number of interconnected technical, operational, economic, social and political factors. Delegates requested ICAO, among other things, to continue assessing the impact of aircraft engine emissions on the environment, proposing related policy options, and updating standards and related guidance for Contracting States on the application of measures aimed at reducing or limiting the environmental impact of emissions.

The Assembly also called for the creation of a group of senior government officials to recommend, by the end of December 2009, a wide-ranging Programme of Action on International Aviation and Climate Change expected to lead to vital improvements in the environmental performance of international civil aviation.

As we move towards greater sustainability, we must ensure that action is taken in a cooperative and harmonized manner. We all share the responsibility of maintaining an appropriate balance between the development of aviation and environmental protection – governments, industry and individuals, so that future generations can also enjoy the economic, social and cultural benefits of air travel.



Dec 7 – Climate change talks in Bali aimed at charting a roadmap for action moved ahead today with focused negotiations on the key elements aimed at guiding the process that will continue after the Conference ends. Delegates, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and conference officials generally agreed that there were signs of progress in the discussions, although no firm decisions have yet been reached. Hans Verolme, Director of WWF, said that while the conference “should get on it,” there had been progress and that some countries had put forward a number of good proposals.

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, reported that countries had held useful discussions on future action on climate change, particularly on the objectives and principles. He said there was a strong focus on providing incentives for developing countries to limit their growth of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as recognizing the efforts those countries were already making in that area.

Talks also continued on ways to provide developing countries with newer and cleaner technologies and on the issue of deforestation, where delegates have agreed to conduct work on methods on issues that include how to assess forest cover and emission reductions.

Special negotiating groups created at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali are discussing the elements of a future roadmap for tackling the problem, technology transfer, deforestation and practical action on adaptation strategies for countries coping with adverse effects.

Countries are looking at the possibility of starting a round of pilot projects to reduce deforestation, which is claiming 13 million hectares each year, Mr. de Boer said. On the talks on technology transfer, he welcomed the fact that the private sector is involved in offering solutions on the way forward.

Responding to press questions on whether Bali would yield a concrete reduction in targets, de Boer said industrialized countries needed to continue to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and there was agreement that emissions needed to be reduced in the range of 25 – 40 per cent against 1990 levels to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.

At the same time, he said it would be more constructive for the parties to agree on the necessary tools for reaching emission reductions instead of becoming bogged down in discussions over targets in Bali.

Meanwhile, the UN Climate Change Convention, the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced a new project to bring larger numbers of clean development projects to Africa. Building on a framework launched by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan last year in Nairobi, the new projects aim to make clean investment opportunities in Africa more attractive.

Trade ministers from more than 30 countries will be in Bali to discuss climate change issues this weekend and about two dozen finance ministers will meet early next week. It is the first time that these ministerial groups have organized meetings in connection with a climate change conference.

The meeting could help the development of a financial response to climate change, which Mr. de Boer said was essential for the new deal to tackle the problem. “It is the oil that will make the machinery run.” He said that investments of around $20 trillion would be needed by 2030 to meet the world’s hunger for energy, with more than half of that demand coming from developing countries.

Developing countries, he added, would need incentives to alter the course of an “investment super tanker.” Those incentives would need to be agreed as part of post-2012 climate change deal under the auspices of the UN for which negotiations need to be launched at Bali. The meeting could help the development of a financial response to climate change, which Mr. de Boer said was essential for the new deal to tackle the problem. “It is the oil that will make the machinery run.”



Bangkok (United Nations Information Services) — According to a recent UN study, paperless trade could save businesses more than half a billion dollars a year globally. The savings would come from streamlined customs procedures, thereby reducing delays at border crossings.

However, paperless trade requires trained customs and trade officials and traders in order to be effective. For this reason, The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) will hold a workshop at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Bangkok from 10 to 14 December. The workshop will provide hands-on training to customs officials, among others, on the use of electronic trade documents.

National case studies in e-single windows–a closely related trade facilitation measure–will also be featured at the workshop. E-single windows are a tool that allows traders to file documents at one location, which will then be shared by all regulatory agencies. Because they are standardized and computerized, trade documentation can be cleared faster, streamlining the process of releasing goods at the border.

“Skilled human resources are paramount to the successful implementation of e-single window and paperless trade environments, which are being largely implemented in the Asia-Pacific region. Such successful initiatives from our region could be internationalized and serve as good practices for other regions in the world.” stated Xuan Zengpei, Director of the Trade and Investment Division (TID) of ESCAP.

The participants at the workshop are expected to recommend establishing a regional network of experts on paperless trade to encourage the development of this expertise. Paperless trade requires the adoption of standardized electronic documents which can be processed before cargo even arrives at an international border. The UN has developed international standards and tools for such documents, including the UN Layout Key for Trade Documents and the UN electronic Trade Document (UNeDocs).

In addition to numerous trade benefits, electronic trade documents can increase transparency, helping to fight corruption. For further information, please contact: Maria MisovicovaEconomic Affairs Officer, Trade and Investment Division of ESCAP, Tel: (662) 288 2118. Email: Misovicova@un.org



[How those left out of the communication loop stand to be affected by climate change. Rod Harbinson, The Panos Institute, 3 December 2007]

Earlier this year I visited farmers in southern Madagascar and heard their concerns about the challenge of providing enough food for their families. The drought gripping the region is nothing new and the area has been plagued by periodic famine for as long as people can remember.

For these farmers the question of whether this drought might be caused by climate change was irrelevant. The most pressing issue for them was how best to cope with the day-to-day situation.

In their discussions they weighed up the pros and cons of different farming practices. They described how in recent years the cattle-drawn plough had become commonplace, largely replacing the labour-intensive method of using a stick to drill individual holes for seeds.

One young man explained he could plant a much larger area of land using a plough, and this in turn produced a bigger harvest. To which an elderly farmer responded that short-term results were indeed attractive, but this was quickly reduced by the loss of topsoil swept up from ploughed fields by the southerly gusts of wind rushing off the Indian Ocean.

These people live an isolated existence far away from the sphere of influence of central government, and were eager to tell me their concerns. They wanted to be heard by those who make decisions and those able to offer support.

Until eight years ago, there was no national or local media available. High illiteracy rates and local dialects make newspapers inaccessible for many, assuming the atrocious roads can be negotiated to deliver the papers in the first place. Few have the means to afford a television and, in any case, there is often no signal and in the villages no electricity.

The local market still plays an invaluable role as a forum for information, and regular market-goers are keenly interrogated for news upon their return home.

Local radio stations are beginning to transform the region’s media landscape, however. Signal coverage is still piecemeal and many people don’t have access to a radio, but that is changing fast, with wind-up radios distributed in some areas where there is no electricity.

The founders of ‘Radio Cactus’, for example, started broadcasting from the town Abovombe in 1999, with a tiny five-watt transmitter. Now they raise income from government, NGOs and local businesses to operate a 500-watt transmitter with a range of 100 kilometres.

Tuning into the airwaves opens up enormous opportunities for people. Sometimes this can transform their lives – from information about HIV and AIDS to discussions about water sanitation and crops.

Speaking on climate change recently, UN envoy Anwarul K Chowdury warned that the international community’s development agenda would lose credibility if the people most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change are unable to get the information they need to add their voices to the debate.

By urging the media, among others, to pay attention to the needs of the so-called voiceless, Chowdury drew attention to a critical issue. Climate change scientists and policymakers now place almost exclusive faith in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide the evidence for, and likely impacts of, climate change.

The IPCC’s fourth assessment report, published in stages throughout 2007, is a culmination of the last five year’s scientific findings. According to the report, it is people in the global South who are likely to suffer most from climate change. People like the farmers in Madagascar. But how much of relevance from the IPCC findings or the discussions at this month’s UN Summit in Bali will be communicated to them?

In reality, coverage of this Summit will be dominated by journalists from the global North. In fact, only around 10 per cent of the journalists registered to attend the event by mid-November were from developing countries other than the host country Indonesia.

Such a discrepancy of access to the Summit between North and South is likely to lead either to lower volumes of reporting in developing countries or greater reliance on using Northern-based newswire agencies – most likely a mixture of the two.

Millions in the majority world will have little chance to get trustworthy information about climate change, tailored to their context, in a language they understand, delivered by media they can access. It is the fundamental responsibility of the international community to ensure that those most affected by climate change understand what it means for their future and can join the debate. This requires a big push by all in Bali and beyond.



Bali, December 8, 2007 — The world’s largest environmental funding body, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), said it plans to launch the Tropical Forest Account Initiative which will help safeguard forest ecosystems while strengthening sustainable financing for protected areas and for sustainable forest management.

“The window to save the last remaining functioning expanses of tropical forests, which are responsible for the delivery of crucial global environmental services, is closing fast,” said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson. “GEF is teaming up with its partner agencies, governments, business and civil society to address this challenge head on. GEF’s investments are also expected to encourage more robust financing from private investors looking to build environmentally-friendly forest markets.”

GEF would fund projects to stop deforestation in 17 countries of the Amazon, Congo Basin, New Guinea and Borneo. Tropical deforestation is on the rise, and is now responsible for over 20 percent of global CO2 emissions. The fate of tropical forests is also intimately tied to the future of biodiversity, as these forests harbor over one half of all global biodiversity. Habitat loss in tropical forests threatens 74% of endangered mammals, 44% of endangered birds, 57% of endangered amphibians, and 67% of endangered reptiles.

Each of the GEF-targeted areas has over 8 million hectares of wet broadleaf forests, and they collectively harbor an astonishing 54% of tropical forest cover and 68% of tropical forest carbon. More than 70% of the forest remains intact, but man-made threats are mounting quickly.

By focusing on large, intact tropical forest, the GEF can invest in relatively low cost, proactive ways to prevent deforestation in countries where forest cover is high. Intervening in these areas now is much more cost effective than trying to reverse damage in already deforested areas.

“GEF’s investment will fund the strengthening and sustainable financing of protected area networks, the introduction of effective policy and regulatory frameworks for mainstreaming forest conservation in development sectors, and also the fostering of markets for forest goods and services,” Barbut said.

The GEF values the role that tropical forests play in providing global and local environmental benefits. In addition to conserving global biodiversity, and providing spiritual and cultural havens for local and remote populations, these forests are vital for sustainable development in each and all of these countries.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a 178 member-strong international financing body devoted to global environmental issues that support sustainable development. GEF grants flow to projects in developing countries related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants.



Brussels (05/12/2007) – Over 300 participants at the European Organic Congress in Brussels developed clear political recommendations for the future of EU agriculture policy. The high level event, opened by Agricultural Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, identified the future challenges the organic sector is facing, how these can be solved, and how policy makers can ensure that society benefits from the various advantages of organic production.

Speakers from the Commission’s DG Environment and DG agriculture as well as from environmental NGOs recognised the contribution that organic farming can make to addressing climate change, biodiversity protection and water management, all key environmental issues identified as priorities in the current review of the Common Agricultural Policy.

“This is not rocket science”, said Francis Blake, president of the IFOAM EU Group, “organic farming’s foundations in common sense, in the precautionary principle, justify the investment in the only farming system that delivers all the objectives of the CAP and meets the aspirations of EU citizens. We call on the Commission to revise and update the European organic action plan, in order to provide a consistent policy throughout all agri-policy fields that properly promotes this important production system. The current debate about the future of the CAP offers a great opportunity to take serious action.”

During the event, which was oversubscribed, the organic sector demonstrated its strength and maturity, and proved that organic food and farming has reached the centre of agriculture policy debate. The presence of a large number of representatives from the Commission was an indication of the seriousness with which organic farming is now being taken by EU policy makers. The conclusions from the congress identified the following necessary steps:

(1) To make organic farming a specific focus of the environmental measures to be developed as part of the CAP Health Check

(2) To ensure that some of the proposed increase in rural development funding is targeted at organic farming, in particular in regions and member states that have so far given a low priority to organic farming support.

(3) To support the development of a dedicated organic research vision and ideas forum to act as a focus for identifying priorities in research and development and knowledge.

(4) Improve the involvement of stakeholders in the process of reforming the EU regulation defining organic food and farming

(5) Maintain the integrity of organic food with reference to core values to protect against devaluing the concept as the market expands.

(6) Continue to campaign for GMO policies that that protect the GM free status of organic products and ensure that liability for contamination is consistent with the polluter pays principle

(7) Recognise the urgency for rapid adoption of organic production due to rapidly increasing oil prices and the prospect of oil shortages in the foreseeable future.

“The Commission’s organic action plan in 2004 was a good start but major policy areas are insufficiently implemented or are left out”, added Marco Schlüter, Director of the IFOAM EU Group. “In particular, the question of how to safeguard GM-free farming is not addressed, and EU policies on research and on rural development in support of organic farming need significant development.

“The congress has given concrete recommendations for policy makers. It is now time that the EU and member states take serious action.” For more info: [http://www.organic-congress-ifoameu.org]

The Congress “The future of organic food and farming within the reformed CAP – Reviewing the European Organic Action plan and future perspectives” was held in Brussels, December 4-5, 2007. The congress is co-financed by the European Community, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development.

The IFOAM EU Group represents the 330 member organisations of IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) in the EU-27, EFTA and the accession countries. Member organisations include: consumer, farmer and processor associations; research, education and advisory organisations; certification bodies and commercial organic companies.



mobGAS©® is a new mobile phone application available in 21 European languages that allows users to see how their daily choices impact on climate change. This smart technology, developed by scientists working at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, allows users to see the implications of the choices they make every day, in terms of the three major greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Information about everyday activities – cooking, transport, lighting, electronic appliances etc. – is put into the application, and calculations made of individual emissions. A user diary of daily, weekly and yearly emissions can be registered on a secure website, allowing a comparison with national and world averages. The application also includes an animation reflecting the user’s contribution to the Kyoto Protocol target.

Individuals can have a significant impact on reducing emissions. According to recent Eurostat figures, 21% of emissions are related to industrial and associated processes, while 31% are from energy production, 20% from transport, 9% from agriculture and 3% from waste, and the remainder from other sources. All of this shows that individual behaviour, such as how we travel, the appliances we use or the food we eat, can make a real different to emissions. Lifestyle and consumer choices are a key factor, so it is important that people are aware of the implications of their personal choices.

By downloading the application to a mobile phone – something people carry with them almost all the time – it is possible to make use of quieter moments – travelling on a bus, or waiting for an appointment, for example – to input the data for that day. This could include the means of transport they took, how they heated their house, how long they watched television and what they ate.

From today, mobGAS is being made available free of charge to anyone who is interested. Communication networks and mobile phone producers will also be involved in rolling-out the technology at national level. This technology is being demonstrated by scientists of the JRC at the EU pavilion, the UNFCCC. To download the application: http://mobgas.jrc.ec.europa.eu



05.12.2007 (Deutsche Welle) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed on a comprehensive package to slash Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent before 2020. The multi-billion-euro plan calls for more energy efficiency, a greater use of renewable energy and new insulation standards for buildings. The program is designed to limit additional financial burdens on consumers, who are ultimately supposed to benefit from a reduction in energy use.

Another goal of the plan is to rely on renewable energy sources or highly efficient heat and power plants to generate half of the country’s total power needs by 2020. The generation of heat from renewable sources is also to increase from 6 percent to 14 percent. “I think this is the biggest and most ambitious set of laws and guidelines you’ll find anywhere in the world,” German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

The plan is also intended to send a signal to the UN climate change conference currently taking place on the Indonesian island of Bali to discuss a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The 14-point package is the first phase of an overall 29-point program that the government outlined in August. The remaining 15 measures, including stricter controls on vehicle emissions, are up for approval in May 2008 and may also include a CO2 tax on trucks.

Germany is the world’s sixth largest emitter of greenhouse gases and Europe’s biggest polluter. The country accounts for 3.19 percent of the world’s total output of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the DPA news agency. The government’s new plan aims to cut back CO2 emissions by 220 million tons by 2020.

German reductions in CO2 emissions have stagnated since the mid-1990s, according to Reuters news service. The 18-percent reduction achieved since 1990 is primarily due to the end of heavily polluting industry in the former East Germany, which was largely cleaned up after German reunification.

The environmental organization Greenpeace has said the German government is not doing enough and criticized the endorsement of over 20 new coal-burning power plants, Reuters reported. Supporters say the new plants are cleaner than older coal-fired power stations and are needed to fill the power void as nuclear plants are phased out.

The environmental group said that if all the planned power plants were actually built — six are currently under construction — the country would not be able to meet its target of cutting CO2 by 40 percent. Opposition Green party leader Reinhard Bütikofer called the government’s proposals “tepid” and “bogus,” according to DPA.

Transport and Construction Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee has cautioned that implementing the new measures will not be easy, but he stressed that Germany must take a leading role in climate protection in the European Union. The total cost of the new measures is estimated to be around 31 billion euros ($45.5 billion), while energy savings are supposed to amount to around 36 billion euros by 2020.



By Jessica Aldred, Guardian Unlimited

London, December 4 2007 – The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, launched two “green homes” services aimed at providing residents with help and advice to reduce their household carbon dioxide emissions. Under the London Green Homes scheme, people living in the capital will have access to two services – a free telephone helpline and website, and a personalised, paid-for concierge service for those wanting to make more significant changes to their homes.

The programme has been allocated more than £4m for 2007-08 and aims to cut carbon emissions by 500,000 tonnes a year by 2010. The mayor announced the scheme today alongside Nicky Gavron, the deputy mayor of London, and Darren Johnson, a Green party member of the London assembly.

The free telephone helpline (0800 512 012) will allow people to speak to experienced staff and get personalised advice on how the make their homes green, while the London Climate Change website [http://www.londonclimatechange.co.uk/home/] will give Londoners access to information and advice on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

It features interactive tools such as carbon calculators, information on grants and funding available to London residents, a guide to green gadgets, and lists of accredited suppliers. “Londoners want to green their homes but are baffled by the information out there,” Johnson said. “This offers an integrated, comprehensive advice service.”

The green concierge service, meanwhile, will cost £199 a year and is aimed at people who want to make more significant changes to their homes and can afford to pay for advice. Households will get a “energy personal trainer” who will conduct a customised audit of the property (including a thermal image), a report of recommended ways to reduce emissions, competitive quotes, and, as a further option, full project management of a 12-month programme to cut emissions tailored to a household’s individual needs on insulation, appliances, waste, saving water and even personal travel plans.

“In London, energy use in the homes is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions,” said the mayor. “But much of the energy we pay for in our homes is simply wasted, and there are simple changes we can make to cut energy use without any reduction in our quality of life – indeed the average household will save £300 if they carry out the green homes programme.”

The mayor said the idea for the concierge service came from Toronto, and was a result of London’s involvement in the C40 group, which was set up to accelerate big cities’ programmes to combat climate change and share best practice. Delegates from Toronto came to London to work on the scheme together with the Climate Change Agency [http://www.lcca.co.uk/] and ran a pilot successful pilot scheme in Lewisham before rolling out the scheme across the capital.

The launch of the Green Homes scheme forms part of the mayor’s Climate Change Action Plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the capital by 60% by 2025 through a series of initiatives for homes, organisations, transport and energy supply. It complements the Green Home Service announced last month by the environment secretary, Hilary Benn, which offers householders a “one-stop” energy advice service to save on bills and tackle global warming.

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