Friday, 21 December 2007

European Council Agree to Include Aircraft Emissions in Trading Scheme

The European Council has agreed to include aircraft emissions in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012. The Council reached a political agreement yesterday, 20 December 2007. Aviation emissions will be capped at 100% of the average 2004-2006 levels, beginning in 2012.

The agreement will be adopted as a "common position" during 2008, before a second reading by the European Parliament.

Read the press release from the European Commission.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

House of Lords Science Committee Launch Inquiry into Systematics and Taxonomy

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has launched a follow-up inquiry focussing on systematic biology research and taxonomy. The call for evidence follows the Committee's 2002 report "What on Earth? The Threat to the Science Underpinning Conservation."

The Committee is seeking detail on progress made since 2002 and how far the recommendations made by the Committee in their original report have been taken up.

Written submissions are required by 4 February 2008.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

EFRA Committee announces launch of Nitrates Inquiry

The EFRA Select Committee has announced an Inquiry into the implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England. The Committee is seeking evidence further to that provided to DEFRA in its consultation into implementation of the 1991 Directive, which closed on 13 December 2007.

Evidence is requested on several areas including the effectiveness of the Nitrates Directive in reducing nitrate pollution.

The Committee will use written evidence as the basis for a single evidence session. Written submissions are required by 21 January 2008. Details on how to submit evidence can be found at

Government publishes response to "Climate change: the citizen's agenda"

The Government has published its response to the EFRA Select Committee's report, "Climate change: the citizen's agenda." Since the launch of the Inquiry in June 2005, the Select Committee has examined the actions which individuals can take in their everyday lives to combat climate change.

The Select Committee has expressed disappointment at the Government's response to the Inquiry and has stated that it will call the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hilary Benn, to question him on the Government position. The Committee will reiterate their view that there is a worrying lack of both engagement with the public over climate change and policies to encourage a change in behaviour to help tackle CO2 emissions.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Proposals for a Scottish Climate Change Bill

The Scottish Government today launched a consultation on proposals for a Scottish Climate Change Bill, including setting a target to reduce emissions by 2050. Feedback is requested by 31 March 2008.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Ministerial Launch of Science Budget Allocations to 2011

The science budget is to rise to £4 billion by the end of the Government's current spending period in 2011. The Rt Hon John Denham, Secretary of State for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), today announced that cross-cutting programmes bringing together the UK's Research Councils to focus on key areas of national importance, including climate change and energy security, would attract £1.3 billion of this extra funding.

Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) is one such interdisciplinary partnership, bringing together researchers and policy makers to tackle environmental change and the societal challenges it poses. LWEC benefits from £363 million of Government funding over the CSR period, outlined in the science budget allocations.

DEFRA Launches 'Ecosystem Approach'

Today, Joan Ruddock, Minister for Climate Change, Biodiversity and Waste, launched a new DEFRA action plan, 'Securing a healthy natural environment', which aims to embed an 'ecosystems approach' into the Department's policy making and, ultimately, more widely, across the whole of government. This integrated, holistic approach to policy making and delivery on the natural environment is in line with calls from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and Convention on Biological Diversity that administrations adopt such measures to ensure sustainable development within environmental limits.

The report is accompanied by the launch of 'An introductory guide to valuing ecosystem services', aimed at policy-makers and economists and including a checklist of ecosystem services, with suggested ways of assessing their value.

Within the action plan, DEFRA has outlined 37 actions to be carried out within the next two years and against which progress will be evaluated in a report planned for 2009.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Bali - Climate Change Declaration by Scientists

Over 200 scientists from around the world have signed a declaration to urge politicians meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali to commit to cutting emissions by more than half, amid fears that politicians will take less strong action than needed to halt global warming. The Bali Climate Declaration by Scientists stresses that emissions should be cut to 50% of 1990 levels by 2050 and that emissions should peak and then decline within the next 15 years in order to keep warming due to climate change below 2 degrees celcius.

The UN Climate Change Conference 2007 is being held in Bali between 3rd - 14th December bringing together representatives from over 180 countries. It is hoped that the conference can result in a "road map" towards reaching agreements on targets, to be signed in 2009 and implemented as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol in 2013.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Europe - Call for Evidence on Biodiversity Loss

The European Commission is supporting Germany with the preparatory work for a Review on the Economics of Biodiversity Loss, the results of which will bepresented at the Ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn in May 2008.

The Review aims to improve understanding of the the economic costs which may result from present and future trends of biodiversity loss and related declines in ecosystem services, along with the economic challenges associated with halting these trends. The Review will be conducted by an independent economist, yet to be appointed. 

Evidence must be submitted to the Commission by 31 December 2007.

BiodivERsA - £14 Million for Biodiversity Research

BiodivERsA, a new network of 19 public research funding bodies, across 14 European countries, has launched a joint call for international research projects on biodiversity, linking scientific advancement to policy and practice. Almost £14 million is available under the scheme, with DEFRA and NERC as the UK partners.

The call is open to research on all ecosystems and organisms addressing at least one of three thematic areas:
- Global change and biodiversity dynamics
- Ecosystem functioning
- Ecosystem services
Both science and policy aspects must be addressed within the proposal.

Applications are invited from those employed by an eligible organisation in one of the countries participating in BiodivERsA, whose work involves at least three countries also part of the network.