Germany, Mexico, US top smart energy list

November 5, 2009
Two vintage beetle Volkswagen taxies pass by a new "Metrobus" in Mexico City. Germany, Mexico and the United States have crafted some of the world's smartest policies for improving energy use, according to a study released on the sidelines of the UN climate talks here.

Germany, Mexico and the United States have crafted some of the world's smartest policies for improving energy use, according to a study released on Thursday on the sidelines of the UN climate talks here.

Making buildings more energy-efficient and providing tax breaks and tariff guarantees for topped the "green new deal" policies scrutinised by two environment groups.

The scorecard examined energy initiatives launched by the European Union and six EU countries plus Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States.

The schemes were measured chiefly for their capacity to reduce or save greenhouse-gas emissions, for their cost and their spur to economic activity.

grabbed the top two spots with a programme to beef up in buildings through tougher construction standards supported by loans and grants, and with a "feed-in tariff" by which suppliers of renewable energy enjoy guaranteed price levels for 20 years.

The two initiatives scored 17.2 and 15.0 points out of 20, respectively.

Mexico came next with an urban bus system launched in City in 2005 tha started to phase out creaky old buses.

Even though the programme was low technology, its environmental and economic effectiveness was extremely high when compared with the investment, earning 14.2 points out of 20.

In third place was the , which won plaudits for its "weatherisation assistance programme" to insulate the homes of low-income families, and for its tax breaks for from wind, solar, geothermal and bio-energy. These rated 13.8 and 13.7 points respectively.

China gained a medium score of 10.2 points for its "1,000 Enterprise Programme," which aims at getting the country's 1,000 most energy-intensive companies to reduce carbon emissions by 250 million tonnes during the 2006-2010 five-year plan.

The best policies not only help combat the greenhouse effect, they also stimulate economies and create thousands of new jobs, said the report, compiled by WWF International and E3G.

"The economic recovery packages put forward by many countries involve very large sums of money. But economic recovery packages so far have not generated a green new deal," it said.

"This report clearly shows that a well-designed climate policy will not adversely affect economic welfare."

On the downside, the report dished out "minus" scores for subsidies for coal mining and energy-gobbling industries, branding these the least effective both environmentally and in economic spinoffs.

It also said that arguments for supporting nuclear power to help mitigate emissions from fossil fuels were undermined by the hidden cost of dealing with long-term storage of radioactive waste.

It gave only 10.3 points to the EU's carbon market, the much-trumpeted outcome of the Kyoto Protocol

The emissions trading scheme was flawed for its start-up phase, which delivered windfall profits to power producers and other companies enrolled in the scheme yet provided "little environmental impact."

"Although the policy has considerable potential to achieve emissions reductions in the long-term, the short-term implementation of the scheme led to little reductions so far," the report said bluntly.

(c) 2009 AFP

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not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
These listings of best performers are invariably heavily ideologically biased by those opposed to nuclear power.
Two recent examples are the WWF and Allianz producing a report which gave Germany as the best performer in reducing CO2 emissions - in the small print it said that they did not much fancy nuclear, and so had arbitrarily altered France's actual CO2 emissions from nuclear to the same as they would have been if it had been produced by Natural gas!
More recently and equally absurdly 'Scientific' American had an article purportedly comparing CO2 emissions - included in the figures for nuclear were an allowance for the emissions from a nuclear war, which according to them would inevitably be the result of the use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes!
No allowance was made for the emissions from a conventional war which might result due to energy shortages in non-nuclear scenarios.

Germany has been almost wholly ineffective in reducing CO2 emissions,France is the clear leader

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