November 10, 2011

Australia Announces First Carbon Legislation

Filed under: Australasia, climate — inece @ 1:50 am

On November 8, 2011, Australia’s parliament passed the country’s first carbon legislation, known as Clean Energy Bill 2011.  The new law establishes a tax on carbon emissions at a fixed level for a three-year period beginning in July, 2012, after which the carbon tax will be transformed into an emissions trading scheme.  Initially, only about 500 of the country’s largest emitters will be covered by the new regulation, but this will gradually expand to cover broader segments of the economy.

Under the new legislation, covered entities will be issued a limited number of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) and must surrender a certain number of units for each tonne of emissions for which they are liable or make payment to cover the shortage.  Covered entities may purchase additional units from the government, but may only satisfy up to 5% of their total emissions obligations by surrendering ACCUs.

Transition to an emissions trading system

Following the initial three-year period, the carbon regime will transition into an emissions trading system.  During the first three years of the trading scheme, there will be a transitional price ceiling and price floor. The intent is that these be set at a level significantly higher than the expected price for the price ceiling and lower than the expected price for the price floor.

Linkage to international trading markets

The new regulation anticipates that liable entities will eventually be able to use both eligible ACCUs and eligible international units to meet their liabilities to provide emitter with additional flexibility under the mechanism. Covered entities may exceed the emission cap if they offset the excess emissions with eligible ACCUs or eligible international units. The use of international units will be subject to qualitative and quantitative restrictions in order to ensure the environmental integrity and ongoing credibility of the emission trading system.

Official Australian carbon legislation site

link to: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/government/submissions/clean-energy-legislative-package.aspx

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October 28, 2011

Report from the Exchange of Nigerian Inspectors to Antwerp and Bremen Ports

Inspector Exchange Participants

From 10-14 October 2011, Nigerian officers visited their colleagues in Antwerp, Belgium, and Bremen, Germany. This exchange was facilitated by INECE in collaboration with the involved authorities in Antwerp, Bremen, and Nigeria.

The objective of the event was to learn mutually about the procedures and practice regarding the inspection of international waste shipments in the ports. Such inspections are important to detect and prevent those shipments that are illegal.

Through a mixture of presentations, discussions and practical demonstrations and exercises, the involved officers got acquainted with several essential approaches and the challenges they present.

Important recurring issues were the following:

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October 26, 2011

European Commission proposes legislation to bolster security in the carbon spot market

Filed under: climate, Europe — inece @ 9:01 pm

After completing an extensive review, the European Commission has proposed legislation to bring transactions for the immediate delivery of carbon allowances (spot trading) under the same stringent regulatory scheme for financial markets that already applies to other EU allowance  transactions, the vast majority of which consist of derivatives (futures, forwards, and options).

Citing repeated market abuses associated with the spot market for EU allowances (EUAs) and weak oversight mechanisms, the Commission seeks to enhance the overall transparency and integrity of the carbon market which is at the core of the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS).  Classifying allowances as financial instruments would place them within the scope of the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) and Regulation (MiFIR).  In addition, proposals for a new Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) and a Criminal Sanctions for Market Abuse Directive (CSMAD) specifically address insider trading and market manipulation issues. The combined MiFID/MAD regime would exempt individual ETS compliance buyers and certain other non-financial entities.

The Commission weighed the impacts of classifying emission allowances as financial instruments with the idea of creating a tailor-made regulatory system, taking into account the unique attributes that characterize allowances.  After engaging in a dialogue with industry leaders, Member States, carbon traders, and other stakeholders, the Commission concluded that the regulatory framework governing the secondary market for securities was closely aligned with those of the spot market for EUAs.  In addition, the fact that the lion’s share of carbon transactions automatically fell under the purview of EU financial regulation because of the high proportion of derivatives traded meant that considerable effort would be expended in administering a parallel system. Finally, the use of two systems might lead to conflicting and inconsistent regulation of transactions.  The inclusion of all EU allowance trading covered under the new regulatory regime is expected to provide the high level of integrity and stability that the ETS will require as reliable engine of economic growth.

Ban on Export of Hazardous Waste to Developing Countries To Become Law Earlier Than Previously Agreed

Filed under: Chemicals & Waste — inece @ 6:34 pm

After years of deadlock over treaty interpretation, the 178 countries that are Parties to the Basel Convention agreed to speed up the entry into force of the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits all exports of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries. The Basel Convention is the global treaty regulating the transboundary movement of hazardous waste.

In 1994 the countries who were party to the convention at the time adopted a decision agreeing to prohibit immediately all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes which are destined for final disposal operations from OECD to non-OECD States. At the next meeting of the Parties in 1995, they adopted a further decision IIII/1 as an amendment to the Convention. Since then, there has been disagreement over ratification of the amendment. A diplomatic working group known as the Country Led Initiative was formed to address the disagreement surrounding the Ban Amendment.

It has now been decided that the Ban Amendment will go into force when 68 of the 90 countries that were Parties to the Convention in 1995 ratify the agreement. It is expected that this can be achieved in 2-3 years.

October 18, 2011

Report from UNEP’s Rio+20 Civil Society Consultations

Filed under: INECE Secretariat, UN System — inece @ 10:34 am

The UNEP Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) meeting, “Rio+20 Civil Society Consultations,” took place on 13-14 October 2011. This meeting offered an opportunity for civil society to provide input to the 12th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, which will focus on the main themes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place 4-6 June 2012.

The meeting brought together individuals from the United States and Canada, as well as all aspects of civil society. INECE’s Managing Director, Mr. Ken Markowitz, spoke briefly to the group about the importance of good governance and how this will be a major focus of the agenda at Rio+20. Mr. Markowitz then introduced Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, who joined the meeting via video conferencing. Justice Benjamin highlighted the two main pillars of the Rio+20 agenda, governance and the green economy. He then focused on the third pillar, emerging issues, which consists of the issue of the regression of environmental policies and legislation and the issue of compliance and enforcement.

Following Justice Benjamin’s speech, the group broke into smaller working groups and discussed how Rio+20 could focus on international and domestic issues as well as the transition to a green economy. The outcomes of this meeting were summarized in a comprehensive list of “key messages,” among which the importance of national governance, accountability, and enforcement were highlighted.

October 14, 2011

Nigerian Port Inspectors Exchange with Colleagues in Antwerp and Bremen

Filed under: Africa, Europe, seaports — Tags: , , — inece @ 6:25 pm

Port of Antwerp by Serge Van Cauwenbergh

Together with Belgian and German authorities, INECE currently is co-facilitating a 4 day exchange of Nigerian inspectors to the ports of Antwerp, Belgium, and Bremen, Germany. Due to its central location, the port of Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe, in terms of total freight shipped, and the port of Bremen is the fourth largest.

The objective of this event is to learn mutually about the procedures and practices with regard to illegal export and import of waste commodities. Important aspects covered during the exchange will be issues like discrimination between waste and reusable materials, effective collaboration between involved authorities, and return of illegal shipments to country of origin.

Sharing the practical experiences, know-how and challenges, and exchanging the relevant information, are important steps to become more effective in the international fight against illegal waste shipments and dumping.

October 10, 2011

Ghana’s Akoben Program Releases Facility Ratings

Filed under: Africa, Strategic Management & Indicators — Tags: — inece @ 7:44 pm

On 6 October, Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency disclosed the environmental and corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings of fifty manufacturing and eleven mining companies using a five color performance scale (Gold-excellent, Green-very good, Blue-good, Orange-unsatisfactory and Red-poor). This initiative is called the AKOBEN environmental rating and disclosure program which was officially launched last year. These ratings are annually disclosed to the public and the general media, and it aims to strengthen public awareness and participation.

In moving forward, the Ghana EPA has enlisted fifty new companies in the rating program and further plans to expand the coverage of the AKOBEN program to hotels, hospitals and oil suppliers. It is also developing an environmental rating system for clean cities. Additionally, the Ghana EPA plans to add resource management and climate change aspects to the criteria for GREEN rating. As a result, performance evaluation will also include specific indicators of energy use, energy efficiency, CO2 emissions from energy use and land use changes, water use, water conservation and land management.

For more information, see:

September 26, 2011

INECE Mourns Loss of Environmental Visionary Wangari Maathai

Filed under: Africa, INECE Secretariat — inece @ 7:48 am

Washington, DC, September 26, 2011 – Wangarai Maathai, climate luminary and Africa’s first female Nobel Peace Prize winner passed away on September 25th, 2011.

Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

She was 71 years old. Ms. Maathai was recognized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for her “contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.”

INECE Director Durwood Zaelke stated, “The environment lost one of its most heroic defenders with the passing of Wangari Maathai. She inspired so many of us to protect our planet. Wangari gave us courage and she gave us hope and even humor. While her work and her memory will carry on, we will all be a bit lonelier and sadder without her infectious spirit and radiant smile that always made us want dance or sing while we worked to fought on.”
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September 17, 2011

Criminal Charges in Major US E-Waste Exporter Case

Filed under: Asia, Chemicals & Waste, North America, seaports — Tags: , , — inece @ 7:39 am

The owner and chief executive officer of an electronic waste recycling buisness in Colorado, USA,  have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire and mail fraud, environmental crimes in connection with the failure to file a notification to export hazardous waste, exportation contrary to law, and destruction, alteration, or falsification of records.

“The investigation confirmed that Executive Recycling repeatedly exported used cathode ray tubes to China. In addition, Executive Recycling also made false promises to its customers who believed that Executive Recycling was properly disposing of their electronic waste. Homeland Security Investigations stands ready to prevent any company from circumventing U.S. controls to export hazardous waste,” said David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Denver, Colorado.

The indictment is the result of an ongoing 30 month investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division.

Excerpted from the U.S. Department of Justice Press Release. For the full press release, see http://www.justice.gov/usao/co/press_releases/2011/September2011/9_16_11.html.

August 10, 2011

East African Network Launches New Website

Filed under: Africa, INECE Secretariat — Tags: — inece @ 3:30 pm

The East African Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (EANECE) has launched a new web site,  http://www.eanece.org/index.php, to promote the activities and results of the network.

Please visit the new site to learn more about this important initiative.

You also can follow EANECE on Facebook.

EANECE is an informal network of government agencies which have in their mandate environmental management, compliance and enforcement responsibilities in the East African nations of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. EANECE was established in May, 2010 at a conference held at the United Nations Complex, Gigiri, Nairobi. 

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