Diesem Blog präsentiert verschiedene meiner privat verfassten Texte . Die Herangehensweise ist multilingual und interdisziplinär. Die Themen sind international und betreffen vor allem Politik, Nachhaltigkeit, soziale Aspekte und eine Auswahl bestimmter Wirtschaftszweige.
Viel Vergnügen! - JJ Bürger -

Ce blog rassemble une partie de mes textes, créés en dehors de mes activités professionnelles. L'approche est plurilingue et interdisciplinaire. Les sujets sont internationaux et concernent notamment la politique, la durabilité, des aspects sociaux et certains secteurs de l'économie. Bonne lecture! - JJ Bürger -

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Qui paie pour l’efficacité énergétique européenne?

Par JJB



A en croire la Commission européenne, la directive qu’elle propose pour dynamiser l’efficacité énergétique en Europe permettra la création de près de 280.000 emplois, et des économies à hauteur de 50 milliards d’euros par an. En effet, l’augmentation de 20% de l’efficacité énergétique était le seul objectif non-contraignant des trois orientations énergétiques fixées par la Commission à l’horion de 2020. Avec la nouvelle directive, l’efficacité énergétique deviendrait contraignante, tout comme les 20% d’énergies renouvelables et les 20% de réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre.
Pour défendre cette proposition, la Commission renvoie non seulement aux créations d’emplois et aux économies environnementales et financières, mais aussi à l’insuffisance des mesures entreprises jusqu’à présent par les Etats-membres. 

Cependant, avant de profiter des bienfaits de l’efficacité énergétique, il faut y investir. Et justement, les opinions sont divisées en ce qui concerne les contraintes qu’il convient d’imposer aux règles du marché. Ainsi, le « Green Deal », actuellement étudié par le législateur au Royaume-Uni, prône un investissement facilité dans l’efficacité énergétique des bâtiments, grâce à un crédit à taux préférentiel, qui serait ensuite facile à rembourser par le donneur d’ordre (notamment des particuliers) par les économies d’énergie réalisées. Particuliers, professionnels du bâtiment, environnement, emploi – tout le monde se trouverait ainsi dans une situation de gagnant-gagnant. 
Contrairement aux partisans de ce genre de modèle, qui favorise les engagements optionnels, d’autres préfèrent des modèles plus contraignants, par exemple en ce qui concerne la cogénération. Néanmoins, l’association Eurelectric met en avant qu’il serait contreproductif de rendre obligatoires certaines technologies de production d’énergie. Selon ce lobby, une telle intervention augmenterait les obstacles financiers et administratifs qui empêchent d’ores et déjà l’investissement énergétique.

Après les controverses sur les conséquences financières de l’efficacité énergétique sur le marché de quotas de CO2, ainsi que sur la participation du secteur privé au Fonds européen pour la promotion de l’efficacité énergétique, les enjeux pécuniaires de l’efficacité énergétique continueront donc à faire débat…

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Merci vielmals!

Déjà 800 visiteurs au cours des 8 premiers mois du blog, et les abonnements sur Twitter s'approchent des 200! EUplanet vous remercie de votre confiance et passe en revue les images de ses partenariats et citations...

Already 800 visitors during the first 8 months of this blog, and the number of followers on Twitter is close to 200! EUplanet would like to thank you for your confidence and revisits the images of its partnerships and quotations...

Bereits 800 Besucher in der ersten 8 Monaten dieses Blogs, und die Zahl der Twitter Follower nähert sich den 200! EUplanet dankt allen Lesern für ihr Vertrauen und läßt die Bilder seiner Partnerschaften und Zitate Revue passieren...

EUplanet two times on Urban Wire's Eco-News

EUplanet on ISO26000 journal
EUplanet on Twitter

EUplanet quoted on Twitter

EUplanet on Théâtre Transparent
EUplanet on Halbzeitvegetarier

EUplanet on Europe Direct Leeds
EUplanet's origins: Board management and writing for "Barbarie", the journal of the Sorbonne's Master in European Affairs, from April 2010 to April 2011 


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Biofuel : European Commission in the battle between "Renewable" and "Sustainable"

By JJB


Source



"Renewable" and "Sustainable" do not always go together. Even though biofuels are universally defined as renewable energy sources, they might, in some cases, turn out to be quite unsustainable. Crises of food prices are one example where biofuels have been accused by some NGOs of causing economic and humanitarian disasters. Others rather blamed several years' bad weather conditions for the 2007 food crisis (s. Vernier p. 88). But the general question of social acceptability of biofuels is not solved yet. The controversy goes on as biofuel production has recently been said to cause a humanitarian disaster to the native people of the Ethiopian Omo-valley, which is why the European Investment Bank and the World Bank withdrew their financial support.

But apart from the controversial issue of social damage, environmental damage might occur, too. The designation of biofuels can be misleading: it doesn't mean these fuels are necessarily perfectly eco-friendly. It only means that they were generated by agricultural (and therefore biological) production. Therefore, biofuels are renewable. But just as any other kind of agriculture, biofuel production might imply greenhouse gas emissions, decrease of biodiversity and intensive use of pollutants.
In this case, biofuels are not really environmentally sustainable, even though they are renewable.
It is true, though, that biofuel-plants capture CO2 during their growth before releasing it later, when being consumed as fuel. This is an advantage compared to crude oil, which cannot be reproduced as quickly as it is spent. This way, biofuel production recycles a certain part of its emissions, which cannot be done by fossil fuel production. Yet, this positive effect might not be sufficient to assure carbon neutrality for the entirety of biofuel processing and transport. And it doesn't solve the problem of biodiversity being threatened by biofuels, either.
Source: Jacques Vernier : Les énergies renouvelables. Cinquième édition mise à jour. Que sais-je? 18e mille. Presses universitaires de France, Paris, 2009. Page 88-90.


Therefore, apart from the alleged (but still controversial) social and economic damage caused by biofuels, negative impacts on nature could be expected, too, if there were no guidelines as to how biofuel production should take care of the environment. 

This kind of guideline is what the EU Commission wants to provide. According to Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for energy, the EU has "set the highest sustainability standards in the world" for biofuels. In deed, several Sustainability Schemes for biofuels have recently been recognised by the EU Commission. This step is considered as a very important contribution to set EU-wide standards for the definition of truly sustainable biofuels. The Sustainability Schemes were chosen by the European Commission out of numerous propositions, which had been submitted by private companies and institutions responding to an initiative of the Commission. These schemes can be used for certifying the sustainability of any biofuel producer on the European market (including imports). In order to obtain such a certification, an independent audit has to confirm the product chain's compliance with the Sustainability Scheme. Given that the entire product chain will be assessed, the audit will also examine whether natural areas of rich biodiversity (especially forests) have previously been destroyed for the sake of biofuel production. Another important aspect of the audit are greenhouse gas savings: biofuel production will have to emit 35% (50% in 2017 and 60% from 2018 on) less greenhouse gases than petrol production in order to meet the criteria of European sustainability certification. In fact, this is a direct consequence of the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive. The soil's capacity to absorb and stock greenhouse gases will also be evaluated (again, soils of high biodiversity such as forests might be protected this way). This might encourage the further development of highly soil-efficient biofuels. So-called second generation biofuels use for example wooden plants or different parts of plants, or they process plants like the Jatropha, which grows on soils of marginal arable quality (therefore not interfering with food production or biodiversity).

Overall, the European Union is moving closer towards a shared vision of what should define truly sustainable biofuels. However, national systems and standards will continue to exist and might offer an alternative to European recognition, even though their scope is evidently limited to member states.




Jatropha plants (Paraguay)

European Union : Lack of transparency?

While the European Union is oftentimes criticised for its supposed lack of transparency, many institutions like the DG ENER put their cards on the table... or at least some of them. For example this overview of the DG's legislative decisions and the factsheets and country files about energy consumption and production of each member state compared to the EU. Of course, complete transparency for the average citizen is still a long way ahead. Yet, these are quite interesting starting points for anyone who, unlike the average citizen, wants to do some research on EU energy issues.