The EU institutions are currently negotiating far reaching reforms to the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) which look set to make carbon allowances more expensive for polluters including in the gas sector. [Gas in Transition, Volume 2, Issue 7]by: Andreas Walstad
The Council of the EU, representing the EU member states, and the European parliament, recently adopted their respective proposals for EU emissions trading system (ETS) reforms which means negotiations on a final dossier have now begun. The reforms are of high importance for the gas industry. Prices for EU allowances have increased substantially over the years and are currently trading around €80/metric ton. The surge in prices, owing to regulatory reforms and a tighter cap on the supply and availability of allowances, initially gave gas-fired power generators an advantage over coal plants which emit more CO2 and whose operators have to purchase more allowances to cover emissions. However, the sharp rise...
The European Parliament Wednesday voted to advance legislation which would include certain gas and nuclear energy-related activities in the European Union (EU) list of environmentally sustainable activities. This inclusion, subject to strict conditions, aims to enable EU members’ transition to climate neutrality by 2050.
In 2020 the EU passed the Taxonomy Regulation, setting out a classification system of environmentally sustainable activities. The regulation lists six environmental objectives: climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, the sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources, the transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention and control, and the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems. Activities contributing “substantially” to one or more of these objectives while not harming any of them are considered environmentally sustainable.
The taxonomy seeks to guide private investment toward sustainable activities and does not dictate which energy sources EU member states are to use.
The European Commission (EC) passed the first Delegated Regulation in 2021, providing clear criteria for environmentally sustainable activities in sectors such as energy from solar, wind, ocean, geothermal, bioenergy and hydropower sources. However, the EC excluded nuclear power in the 2021 regulation since a scientific assessment of the effects of nuclear power was ongoing at the time. Similarly, gas power was excluded since “further reflection was needed on how to address the role of gas in the decarbonisation of the [EU’s] economy.”
On February 2 the EC presented a Complementary Delegated Regulation covering these two areas in light of a completed scientific analysis by the EC’s Joint Research Centre. While noting that nuclear energy activities were low-carbon and a part of many EU members’ efforts to decarbonize by 2050, the text laid down “clear and strict conditions,” subject to which certain nuclear and gas energy-related activities could be added as “transitional activities,” to the list of activities in the first Delegated Regulation.
These conditions include contributing to the “transition to climate neutrality,” fulfilling “nuclear and environmental safety requirements” (for nuclear) and contributing to the “transition from coal to renewables” (for gas). Moreover, the regulation introduces disclosure requirements to allow investors to make informed choices about investments involving gas or nuclear activities.
The European Parliament and the Council were given four months to veto the regulation. For the Council, this means at least 20 EU members representing at least 65% of the EU population voting against the regulation, while for the European Parliament, it means at least 353 of its 705 members voting against it. Since neither the European Parliament nor the Council has vetoed the regulation, it will enter into force on 1 January 2023.
The EC welcomed the latter’s vote not to veto the regulation, stating it was a recognition of the EC’s “pragmatic and realistic approach” towards climate neutrality.
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The National Peace Council (NPC) says for women to effectively play their expected roles to attain sustainable peace, there should be a structured effort to include them in decision-making processes.
The Council said this could be achieved if beliefs and stereotypes that undermine their roles in peace and security are broken and included in decision-making positions.
Suallah Abdallah Quandah, the Executive Secretary of the Bono Regional Peace Council, stressed that the outcome of the participation of women in peace processes is a durable and better implementation of agreements, hence the need to ensure nothing serves as a barrier to their involvement in the processes.
He made the remarks at the third Gender, Conflict, and Peace-Building seminar in honour of the late Queen-mother of the Sunyani Traditional Area, Nana Yaa Nyamaa II.
The seminar at the auditorium of the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani was themed: “Towards Gendered Peace-building Processes for Sustainable Peace”.
It was attended by women groups from the public services, security services, academia, political heads, NGOs, and family members of the late Queen-mother, among others.
The Executive Secretary said the late Queen-mother, who was a council member, played key roles in conflict resolution and peace-building in the region. He said it reaffirmed their position that when women are part of peace-building processes, sustainable peace is achievable.
He noted that the seminar, which aimed at training women in conflict resolution, also sensitised them on their roles, know their bottlenecks, and how to address their challenges, including low self-esteem.
“We must focus on improving the access to education of girls and all young people, providing a secure environment for them to learn, breaking down gender stereotypes in school curricula and teacher training programs, advancing understanding, tolerance, and solidarity, and ultimately spreading a culture of gender equality which will lead to a culture of peace,” he said.
Abdallah Quandah further charged all stakeholders to work to increase investment in building the capacity of women organizations and local civil society networks, working in conflict and post-conflict settings.
“How do we achieve sustainable peace if half of the population are not deeply involved in peace-building processes”, he asked, and added that they want to bring everybody on board -irrespective of one’s sex, social economic background, and religion since peace-building is the responsibility of all.”
The Bono Regional Executive secretary of the Peace Council noted that if they could fully tap the knowledge, expertise, and strength of women, they would be able to achieve sustainable peace.
He, therefore, said the Peace Council would continue to play a leading role in fostering an environment that recognizes and promotes women’s rights by engaging both genders in their quest for peaceful and non-violent societies.
Speaking on behalf of the Nana Yaa Nyamaa II Foundation, Theresa Adjei Mensah said the Foundation appreciates the continuous effort by the Peace Council to honor the late Queen-mother, who worked towards peace and security.
She assured them that the Foundation would also continue to work to ensure that her legacy lives on.
The Longview City Council spent the longest stretch of its meeting Tuesday talking about how to talk to Longview residents.
The discussion was based on a motion introduced by councilors Christopher Ortiz and Spencer Boudreau. The motion would have directed city manager Kurt Sacha to contract with a media and communications firm to audit the city’s current approach to communication, branding and public engagement.
The motion was voted down 2-4 by the rest of the council.
Ortiz said that one of his goals after being appointed to the City Council is to increase community engagement. He suggested using an outside firm so the current staff wasn’t over burdened during the process.
“That’s what a professional firm would help us to do. How do we brand our city, how do we push information out to constituents in a variety of ways?” Ortiz said.
Several of the other councilmembers said they wanted to hold off on a decision until further into the city’s budget process, which is moving into a higher gear over the next two months. Angie Wean said the money might be better spent by creating a new position for a communications director or public liaison.
“I am personally not in favor of spending the money (on the audit) and actually putting the money towards a solid resource who will actually make a difference for the city staff,” Wean said.
The branding aspect of the audit would include revisiting the idea of creating an official seal and flag for Longview. Boudreau said the Project Longview committee had designed potential city flags in 2018. The city never made a final decision on adapting any of the flags and the committee has not met in the last four years.
Sacha said he would bring back options for communications later in this year’s budget enhancement process.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it will oppose the attempt by the Electoral Commission (EC) to use only the Ghana Card to register prospective voters going forward.
The party insists such a move will disenfranchise many Ghanaians.
This has compelled the NDC to describe the decision as “absurd”.
“The NDC will fully apprise the general public of the implications of the statements made by the Electoral Commission in the coming days on this absurd and unreasonable decision of the EC, it said in a press release issued on Friday, August 5, under the signature of its National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
The main opposition party in the country said it will not agree to any decision that seeks to constrict access to the electoral roll.
“In the meantime, the party wishes to use this opportunity to remind the Electoral Commission that under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, every Ghanaian of eighteen years and above and of sound mind is entitled to register as a voter for the purposes of elections. This right to register and exercise one’s franchise is an inalienable right that should not be denied citizens who qualify to exercise same.”
“Article 45(e) of the Constitution enjoins the Electoral Commission to undertake programmes for the expansion of the registration of voters,” the party said.
Meanwhile, a former Chairperson for the Commission has advised the outfit against the move.
Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, also argued that millions of qualified electorates will be disenfranchised by the decision.
“Ghanaian citizens don’t lose their citizenship if they are 18 years or older but do not have the Ghana Card. So, the moot question is: why make the Ghana Card the only means of identification for purposes of establishing eligibility to register to vote,” he queried in an interview with Graphic Online.
In July, the EC placed before Parliament a draft C.I titled: Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2021, which is expected to regulate continuous voter registration.
Per the new C.I, the EC is seeking to make the Ghana Card the sole form of identification for eligible voters who want to get onto the electoral roll.
The C.I has been referred to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament. By convention, the committee is chaired by a member of the Minority group.
The St. Tammany Parish Council is stepping up pressure on Parish President Mike Cooper to hire an outside company to operate Tammany Utilities East, the government-owned water and sewer utility that some Slidell area residents blame for chronic skin rashes and other health issues.
The council has been publicly pushing the issue for at least a year, council member Mike Smith said. On Thursday it resolved to ask the administration to request proposals from nationally recognized companies to operate the system.
Cooper responded by saying he was committed to considering all options, including selling, leasing or hiring an outside firm to manage the utility. An administration spokesperson said Friday that Cooper will decide what's in line with the best interests of residents and the government.
The resolution follows a failed attempt to switch the water treatment system to free chlorine for 90 days, a step that residents and the Parish Council had urged. After two weeks, the administration reverted to the previous method of disinfection, a more complex approach that uses a combination of naturally occurring ammonia and chlorine, because of difficulties.
The Parish Council didn't agree with abandoning the 90-day chlorine burn, the resolution said, pointing out that the system is the only one in the parish to used what is known as a chloramine system.
Complaints about the utility spiked in the spring of 2021, when a large sewage leak coincided with a power failure and loss in water pressure. Some residents suspected that could have contaminated the drinking water; they pointed to a wave of gastrointestinal illnesses in the Cross Gates subdivision and other neighborhoods served by the system.
Smith, who district includes neighborhoods on the water system, has gathered a thick file of information, including emails from constituents, medical reports, complaints to the Louisiana Department of Health and the Owen & White consultants' report that reviewed the system.
That information suggests Tammany Utilities East is not doing a good job on a day-to-day basis, Smith said. While the St. Tammany has secured $23 million for long-term improvements and is seeking more, Smith said problems need to be addressed now.
Council members praised the work of acting director Chris Tissue but said he needs more resources. Hiring a firm to handle day-to-day operations would let Tissue work on larger issues.
The administration is constantly having to find personnel, and didn't have enough certified operators a couple of months ago, Smith said.
"If you're not a believer, read that book," council member Jerry Binder said at Thursday's Parish Council meeting. "What is the problem? It's operational. It's been operational all along ... . Ninety-nine out of 100 people would read it, and it's simple. But - and I say this respectfully - we've got the one person who doesn't believe it," Binder said, alluding to Cooper.
"I strongly, strongly ask the parish president, in the most respectful way possible, [to] stop denying. Stop with saying the water is safe to drink," Binder said. "We've got families buying $150 to $200 in bottled water a month."
Cooper replied that the state Health Department would tell the local government if the water was unsafe to drink.
"We are losing employees. They are demoralized," Cooper said. "Every time an issue comes up like this in a public meeting, it demoralizes them. You can certainly see why."
Cooper said the administration has met with companies interest in buying, leasing or managing the system, and will continue to look for the best way to manage the system.
But Binder said he wants to see action: "We're demoralizing your staff? We're just simply responding to the public. You said you are interested in public health, safety and welfare. We ask you to act on that."
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