CEmailvision Issue 8, Winter 2009
- Biomass at the Copenhagen climate summit
- Biofuel crops and where to grow them
- Flexible capacity: key to a sustainable energy supply
- Emissions trading in the transport sector
- Vattenfall CO2 storage
- Infrastructure measures for transport CO2 reductions
- Shipping and climate
- Helping Amsterdam achieve its climate aspirations
- Conserving biodiversity
- Impact of CO2 emissions trading on Dutch industry
Biomass at the Copenhagen climate summit
For more information, contact Bettina Kampman: +31 15 2150 150.
Biofuel crops and where to grow them
Greenpeace also commissioned CE Delft to draw up a manual for calculating the carbon balance of biofuels, so the organisation can get a more quantitative handle on the issue. As part of the study three illustrative case studies were elaborated. One of the things these show is that it makes a world of difference to the carbon balance on what kind of land the biofuel crops are grown. Palm oil production is currently associated with a range of negative impacts, for example, partly because it is all too often accompanied by deforestation and the carbon emissions to which that gives rise. The CE Delft study shows, however, that palm oil grown on grassland can have a laudable carbon balance.
For more information on this project, contact Harry Croezen: +31 15 2150 150.
Flexible capacity: key to a sustainable energy supply
For more information on this project, contact Frans Rooijers: +31 15 2150 150.
Emissions trading in the transport sector
CE Delft first assessed the benefits and drawbacks of introducing emissions trading for road transportation. We then assessed the pros and cons of a combination of this policy instrument with CO2 emissions standards for passenger cars. The results, summarised in the report ‘Emissions trading and fuel efficiency in road transport, An analysis of the benefits of combining instruments’, show that combined use of the two strategies has many advantages. "If the two policies are rolled out together, they cancel out one another’s drawbacks," says project leader Bettina Kampman. "On their own, CO2 emissions standards for cars do not lead to sufficient cuts in overall emissions. This measure does create a powerful incentive to buy fuel-efficient vehicles, though. What emissions trading does is set a cap on overall emissions. If this were the only approach adopted, however, the incentive to buy an efficient vehicle would be limited, while it’s precisely here there’s plenty of scope for progress." The secret thus lies in combining the two strategies. Perhaps this result can reverse the trend of ever-rising CO2 emissions in the transport sector.
The report ‘Emissions trading and fuel efficiency in road transport, An analysis of the benefits of combining instruments’ can be downloaded from our website.
For more information on the project, contact Bettina Kampman: +31 15 2150 150.
Vattenfall CO2 storage
In return, the delegation informed Vattenfall about the LNG Oxy-Fuel concept and ongoing developments in the ports of Rotterdam and Eemshaven and the pilots being run by E-On and Essent/Gasunie in Groningen and the Maasvlakte industrial zone, respectively. CE Delft has prepared a report on the trip.
The study trip was organised by CE Delft at the request of Deltalinqs, the association of industries operating at Rotterdam port. The idea for the trip to Vattenfall came up during a workshop organised by Deltalinqs in December 2007 on the integration of LNG and oxy-fuel combustion.
For more information on the project, contact Ab de Buck: +31 15 2150 150.
Infrastructure measures for transport CO2 reductions
The results indicate there are minor gains to be achieved with modifications to existing infrastructure or with new infrastructure. One change that would have a substantial impact, for example, would be to install generating plant in or along road infrastructure, in the form of roadside wind turbines, say, or heat collectors embedded in the tarmac. Another option that could help cut emissions are heat exchangers to harness geothermal heat. While these may count as infrastructure measures, though, they do not lead to any reduction of vehicle emissions.
One surprising result concerns the impact of measures designed to improve traffic flow. The study shows that it is a misconception that this automatically leads to a decrease in environmental burden. Although faster-moving traffic means a reduction in the fuel burned by individual vehicles, in the longer term it also leads to greater mobility and more traffic. On balance, this generally means a rise in CO2 emissions. For specific vehicle categories like lorries or buses, though, smoother traffic flow can help reduce CO2 emissions. One option here would be to reserve certain lanes specifically for heavy vehicles. Other measures that would prove effective include improving cycling infrastructure and building edge-of-town distribution centres and parking facilities at train stations.
For more information on this project, contact Huib van Essen: +31 15 2150 150.
Shipping and climate
CE Delft is currently engaged in three studies relating to maritime shipping and climate policy, The studies are being carried out for the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the German environment ministry (BMU) and the European Commission and DG Environment.
Until now ocean shipping, like aviation, has not been included in greenhouse gas reduction targets in the Kyoto protocol. One of the main reasons is that these emissions cannot be easily allocated to specific countries as they take place outside national borders. The future climate agreement which could be concluded in Copenhagen later this year could include these sectors. The EU wants to see both ocean shipping and aviation included in the new agreement. Should those efforts prove unsuccessful, the EU intends to roll out its own policies. The studies in progress at CE Delft will help elaborate whichever of the policy options is ultimately decided.
What the European Union would most like to see is a global climate policy regime for maritime shipping. At the request of the German environment ministry, CE Delft is heading a consortium of parties engaged in research on the ways in which such a global regime might be elaborated. The challenge lies in bringing the developing nations on board. At present these countries have no climate targets to meet, and changing this would be costly to them. This study is therefore focusing on ways to minimize the costs and maximize the benefits of a global policy for this group of nations. It does so by designing a policy that has the least impact on developing countries. The benefits can be maximized for example by using revenues from an auction of emission allowances to fund adaptation in developing countries. If it emerges that the policy and the revenues will allow dikes to be built in Bangladesh, for example, or irrigation schemes in Africa, developing countries will benefit, too, and perhaps be more willing to cooperate on worldwide policy.
It is not only Germany that is investigating the pros and cons of a global climate regime for ocean shipping. The International Maritime Organisation, a United Nations body, is also thinking the issue through and has commissioned the Norwegian agency MARINTEK to carry out a study. CE Delft is acting as a subcontractor responsible for the policy analysis work. The study is considering various aspects of ocean shipping, including the emissions caused by different types of vessel. CE Delft reviews the benefits and drawbacks of alternative policy options.
Unilateral European policy
If efforts to reach global agreement prove unsuccessful, the European Union intends to introduce its own climate legislation for maritime shipping. CE Delft has been asked to assess the scope for this kind of unilateral European strategy and is heading a ten-strong consortium from across Europe that is elaborating policy options and assessing their estimated impact. The study will ultimately lead to draft legislation and a European impact assessment, unless the world reaches a global agreement first.
Each of the three studies run for a year and are scheduled for completion in autumn 2009.
For more information on these projects, contact Jasper Faber: +31 15 2150 150.
Helping Amsterdam achieve its climate aspirations
As both parties were very happy with the collaboration, Amsterdam city council and CE Delft have now signed a small framework contract under which the city can direct all its queries relating to heat issues to CE Delft and expect a rapid reply. CE Delft will also be helping the Amsterdam Climate Office set up a system for monitoring the results of all the various efforts. In addition, CE Delft is providing expertise on possible implementation of large-scale solar cell projects and is involved in elaborating the vision of a ‘Smart Energy City’. Amsterdam wants to let its citizens and others experience what it will be like when the city is ‘climate-friendly’ in 2040. CE Delft’s task is to provide the technical substance for this appealing perspective.
Though 2040 is still a long way off, we’re already eager get there!
For more information on these projects, contact Cor Leguijt: +31 15 2150 150.
One possible strategy may be Steven de Bie’s idea to introduce a system of ‘tradable biodiversity rights’. Such a system would provide scope for generating income with which to develop ecologically sustainable uses for biodiversity resources. Conservation of biodiversity is of global importance and the EU is presently working on European policy to address the issue. CE’s task is to indicate what steps the EU can take in preparing for the forthcoming European policy package. The study is a 'practical exploration' of the idea of Steven de Bie for ways to implement biodiversity trade within the EU learning from EU-ETS for CO2.
For more information on this project, contact Geert Bergsma or Martijn Blom: +31 15 2150 150.
Impact of CO2 emissions trading on Dutch industry
At the end of 2008 the Council came to a decision on how European climate targets are to be achieved, with the European CO2 emissions trading scheme serving as one of the key elements. In the run-up to finalisation of these policies there was considerable opposition from industry to the plan to auction emission rights rather than issuing them free of charge. Companies feared a loss of competitiveness and a worsening of the investment climate.
The CE Delft study shows such fears are largely unfounded. For Dutch industry, auctioning European emission rights is likely to lead to an average cost price increase of 0.6%. It is anticipated that on average half this increase can be passed on to customers. This puts the net increase in costs to industry at around 0.3%. For the Dutch economy as a whole this means a direct loss of welfare of only about 0.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The study does sound a word of caution, though, about the possible indirect impact of auctioning on GDP. Sectors like aluminium and steel as well as certain parts of the chemical industry may face above-average cost price increases that cannot be (entirely) passed on to customers. For these industries, then, the study also considers options for flanking policy to reduce impacts on competitiveness. Among the options available are border tax adjustments, free issue of emission rights and targeted redistribution of auctioning revenues.
For more information on this project, contact Sander de Bruyn: +31 15 2150 150.