12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

 

Heating homes with oil - consumers' choice?

‘Heizen mit Öl’ (Heating with Oil) subsidises installation of oil heating systems in Austrian homes. These are the most CO2-intensive system on the market, but this self-proclaimed “efficiency & climate initiative” supports each installation by €2,500-5,000!

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‘Heizen mit Öl’ (Heating with Oil), backed by a state-owned mineral oil corporation, subsidises installation of oil heating systems in Austrian homes. Around 5,500 new oil heating systems are subsidised every year with a budget of around €15 million per year. Between 2012 and 2016, €61 million were used to subsidise new oil heating systems. This subsidy is misleading consumers into installing the most CO2-intense heating systems by telling them they are doing something positive for the climate.

The “Heizen mit Öl” Initiative was founded by the Mineral Oil Industry in 2009 - just one year after the Austrian Government decided to phase out oil heating systems and federal states committed to end subsidies for oil heating systems. At the same time, Austria was failing to meet its climate goals under the Kyoto Protocol and had to pay around €500 million for CO2-certificates.

The dodgy funding for these polluting systems remained unclear for many years. But in the beginning of March 2018, NGO GLOBAL 2000 published research uncovering the details. Oil traders pay €10 per 1,000 liters of heat oil in a fund that serves “Heizen mit Öl” - and the biggest trader of oil in Austria is OMV, a part state-owned mineral oil corporation. After Austria adopted the landmark Paris Agreement, leading energy experts demanded a phase out of oil heating systems. In response “Heizen mit Öl” (Heating with oil) decided to increase the amount to €11 Euro per 1,000 liters and retaliated by launching a campaign using TV ads, advertisement in newspapers and slots on the radio, to attempt to clean up oil’s dirty image. It worked, and in early 2018 “Heizen mit Öl” celebrated installing the 50,000th subsidised system in the federal state of Lower Austria - despite the fact this state had announced a ban on oil heating systems in new buildings a year before.

Right now the Austrian Government is discussing a climate and energy strategy for Austria. One of the burning issues? How to phase out oil heating systems! One of the easiest ways to progress would be to end this harmful subsidy for oil heating systems.

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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

 

All the gifts for gas and oil 

The Italian government provides gifts of around €8.9 billion a year in small fees, ridiculous royalties and public financing for the oil & gas sector. These subsidies are transforming Italy into Texas and preventing the transition to a 100% renewable energy future!

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Payouts for the oil and gas in Italy are simply huge! The sector enjoys direct and indirect subsidies at an estimated value of €8.9 billion each year. Among the gifts are discounts and exemptions for drilling fossil fuels at a value of €1.4 billion each year. In fact, since 1996 Italian law has provided tax exemption for royalties for the first 20,000 tons of oil extracted from the mainland (or 50,000 tons offshore) and the first 25 million cubic meters of mainland natural gas (or 80 million cubic meters offshore). According to Legambiente's estimates, based on data from the Ministry of Economic Development, from 2004 until today 32% of the gas extracted in Italy has been exempted from the payment of royalties, and 8% of oil. All of this generated a loss of income of about €88 million in 2016 alone.

In addition there are multiple Italian public investments in national and international fossil fuel projects, financed or guaranteed by SACE and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. Italy provided an annual average of $2.1 billion between 2013 and 2015, eighth place among the G20 countries. Between 2014 and 2015 €643 million went to natural gas projects and between 2013 and 2015, seven projects for the extraction and exploration of oil and gas were funded at €1.2 billion. One billion was also allocated to five projects for the production of electricity from fossil fuels.

On top of this are the plans for the construction of the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP) which will cross Puglia - one of the largest European fossil fuel projects with a contribution from the European Investment Bank, equal to €1.6 billion.

So aside from investments and loans, Legambiente has counted €8.9 billion as the amount intended to support the production and consumption of fossil energy in Italy. Instead of investing in pollution and harm to our health and the environment, these resources should be invested in the green transition - for example the much-needed redevelopment and refurbishment of Italian building stock, and into supporting the public to live in an efficient and sustainable way.

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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

 

Tax break for polluting diesel

France gives tax breaks to diesel for heavy lorries which cost taxpayers €1 billion per year. At the same time freight transport is responsible for 22% of France’s transport emissions and a huge source of health-damaging air pollution!

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This tax break works by giving a 20% tax deduction for diesel consumption by freight transport companies using vehicles over 7.5 tons. That equates to a reimbursement of about €0.11 per litre. It has existed since 1999 and estimates show that the tax break will overrun €1 billion by 2018.

The sector already has it easy. Commercial road transport is exempted from France’s carbon tax, which is normally included in all fuel taxes, and a toll on commercial road vehicles was abandoned in 2014.

And not only is this polluting road freight transport more damaging to the climate - it is responsible for 22% of the overall CO2 transport emissions - it is also a source of air pollution with increasing impacts on human health. Lorries emit one third of the NOx emissions attributed to the transport sector. A recent study shows that air pollution is responsible for 48.000 premature death each year. At the same time 54% of public transport investments benefitted road transport in 2016 and 73% of the overall expenses linked to the transport sector were absorbed by road transport.

Freight transport needs to be transferred from road to rail for a successful green transition within the transport sector. But road transport companies continue to enjoy preferential treatment over lower carbon options like rail and water transport. This subsidy should be transformed into a tax credit for investing in sustainable transport solutions - during the energy transition - to safeguard the transport sector and its employees.

In May 2018, the government will table a new mobility act in France to drive cleaner mobility and plan funding for transport infrastructure in the future. It’s high time the government stopped using tax-payers’ money on health damaging diesel. This is a unique opportunity to  stop this tax break before it reaches its 20th anniversary in 2019.

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You can find out more about RAC France and their campaign here

Follow @RACFrance on Twitter and @ReseauActionClimate on Facebook

 

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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

 

The state and coal: an unhealthy marriage

An unhealthy marriage between the Bulgarian government and nineteen coal companies sees these companies receiving huge subsidies while trampling over employee rights.

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Nineteen polluting companies (recognised internationally as heavy polluters) active in coal mining, electricity and heat production, and linked to the energy tycoon Hristo Kovachki, are being propped up by the Bulgarian government.  Firstly they receive a subsidised price for ‘efficient energy’ because the electricity production accompanies industrial production of briquettes and heat energy. In reality these old coal burning power plants are not so efficient and by contrast clean solar plants and wind farms in Bulgaria receive 15 to 30 percent less for electricity production.

But this lightly covered up form of state aid is not the only benefit the “coal empire” receives from public funds. The energy system operator also pays the power plants for in case the system needs back-up – a so called “cold reserve” which is activated only when a deficit in the system emerges. All of thе plants included in the empire failed when it became necessary to activate the cold reserves during the bitterly cold January of 2017. In spite of that, the companies still received public money.

This murky network is highly indebted, with an accumulated loss of close to 200 million as well as delayed payments of taxes, salaries and social contributions nearing113 million. Repeated employee rights violations have emerged, accompanied by protests of humiliated workers who have had to wait for months to receive their earned wages of 300 or, in exceptional cases,400. What is more, the working conditions are extremely dangerous: between 2007 and the first half of 2017, the National Social Security Institute of Bulgaria registered 693 work-related injuries, with 23 dead and 17 permanently disabled in the coal extraction industry. In the near future, it is likely that mass dismissals of employees will lead to unemployment of entire municipalities, with rehabilitation of old mines doubtful. The vested interests in these businesses mean that the public is likely to lose out once again once the business structure’s demise emerges.

Aside from their employees, the coal empire is having a devastating impact on health and air pollution: the European Environment Agency listed some of these coal companies among the thirty biggest air polluters in the European Union in 2011, with aggregate annual damage costs of pollution between €664 million and over €2 billion.

Greenpeace CEE would like to see an end to subsidies for coal or fossil fuel power plants. Instead there should be incentives for small scale renewables for households and communities and democratization of Bulgaria’s energy system.

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Find out more about Greenpeace Bulgaria and related campaigns via the links below:

Follow Greenpeace Bulgaria on:

Facebook: Greenpeace Bulgaria / Грийнпийс България

Twitter: @GpBulgaria

Instagram: greenpeace_bulgaria

YouTube: Greenpeace Bulgaria

Google+: Greenpeace Bulgaria

 

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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

 

Silver prize winner!

King Coal wants to keep his crown

This subsidy, mysteriously named ‘the capacity mechanism’ was designed to maintain Poland’s dirty coal-based energy system. It will use the public’s money to invest in coal-fired plants - keeping them running well past their viable life-time!

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The capacity mechanism means power plants get paid twice - once for feeding electricity into the grid and once for claiming their ability to feed it in the first place. In theory this subsidy is open to competition in Poland, but it is clear to many independent experts that it’s just another mechanism for channelling money into coal.

A recent report shows that between 1990 and 2016 the Polish government contributed nearly €53.5 billion directly to the coal-based energy sector and mining industry - or €460.6 billion if you count all the costs to people’s health and damage to the natural environment. Conservative estimates (not even counting health and environmental costs) show that if the government continues with its current approach and including also the capacity mechanism, between 2017–2030 the coal mining and power sectors will absorb over €36 billion. According to the regulatory impact assessment capacity mechanism alone till 2027 will amount to net €6.3 billion of subsidies (WiseEuropa estimates that this category will reach over €8.9 billion by 2030).

Businesses and households will have to pay additional fees on their electricity bills to cover the capacity market. The biggest financial burden will be carried by small and medium businesses, paying out €3.5 billion, and households at €1.6 billion. According to some experts the final costs of the capacity market could be even higher.

Coal plants are already struggling to comply with air pollution limits, and air pollution is having toxic effects on health in the country. Polish coal plants are cause around 5 000 premature deaths per year as well as other health as well as other health impacts like chronic bronchitis, asthma and also generate massive external health costs.[1]

Poland’s energy sector is over 80% dependent on coal, and more and more of it is being imported, mainly from Russia. While the Polish government claims that they are acting to safeguard energy security, the truth is the capacity market is only deepening problems for Poland’s energy system. This was clearly visible in August 2015. High temperatures, low water levels (necessary for cooling the blocks in coal plants) combined with planned summer renovations led the energy system to the point where the system operator imposed power restrictions on the biggest companies. At the same time in Germany there was an energy surplus, mainly thanks to solar!

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[1]Source: Europe Beyond Coal, calculations based on 2015 emission data https://beyond-coal.eu/data/ , also see Europe’s Dark Cloud Report http://www.caneurope.org/docman/coal-phase-out/2913-dark-cloud-report/file

 

 

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Find out more about Greenpeace Poland and their work on coal via the links below:

  • Read about a report showing Poles pay €2 billion of coal subsidies annually
  • A Superbiz news article on the same report (in Polish)
  • An update on proposed EU restrictions to subsidies to coal, gas and nuclear.

Follow @Greenpeace_PL on Twitter and @greenpeacepl on Facebook.

 

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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

 

Bronze prize winner!

Coal blocks solar on sun-kissed islands

The Balearic Islands have abundant sunshine, but the coal-fired power station Es Murterar on Mallorca is the main source of energy for the islands. Rather than investing in clean renewables, the Spanish government is wasting taxpayers’ money on this obsolete fossil fuel.

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The sun-kissed islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera have an ambitious plan to become sustainable holiday destinations and power themselves from renewable energy. However, the Spanish Government continues to direct subsidies to coal-fired electricity generation from the Es Murterar power station on Mallorca, skewing the market and hampering the roll out of clean energy. The Energy Minister is even altering legislation in an attempt to give himself more powers to stop power station closures - and pour in even more taxpayers’ money to prop them up.

In the Balearics (as well as other extra-peninsular regions of Spain like the Canary islands) electricity is subsidised - but mainly electricity produced from fossil fuels. Wealthy energy companies like Endesa are paid whatever the energy production cost and for investments in their infrastructure. The costs are charged to bill payers and to taxpayers across the whole country.

Because of this system Endesa ends up earning three times as much for producing electricity in the Balearics as they do on the mainland, with no incentive to reduce costs. On average, Spanish citizens have to cough up an extra €400-500 a year just for Endesa’s Balearic operations and the coal shipped in from overseas, while residents lose out on new jobs in a sustainable domestic renewables sector.

The Balearic Islands government is committed to the energy transition and has an aim to be 100% renewable by 2050. They have set out a clear energy transition plan with a phased shut down of the coal-fired power station. Infuriatingly, the Spanish central government has rejected this phased closure.

It is not just the carbon emissions that anger locals. Their health and environment suffer from the polluting process of burning coal. It has been calculated that in 2015 the plant caused 54 premature deaths by its emissions of NOx, SO2 and dust. The local area around it endures one of the highest levels of tropospheric ozone (created by a combination of combustion processes and hot weather) in the whole of Spain, a significant cause of respiratory diseases.

The Balearics are not the only ones in conflict with the central government over coal power. In the north of the country, the Energy Ministry is preventing Iberdrola energy company from shutting its two  last coal plants.

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Find out more about GOB Mallorca and IIDMA via the links below:

  • Read this report showing the risk of stranded assets from Endesa coal investments.

  • Read IIDMA’s blog on the power station and IIDMA in the news

  • More information on the use of coal in Spain from IIDMA [in Spanish].

Follow @GOBMallorca on Twitter and on Facebook.

Follow @iidma_ecolaw on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

The 2018 European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards!

 

The European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards expose financial support for dirty energy in countries across Europe. Subsidising fossil fuels threatens our health and economies, pollutes our air, and undermines action on climate change. Governments may be talking up their action on climate change, but they’re pouring billions into dirty energy.

The public has spoken! Eight shortlisted nominations were ranked by a public vote in March, and a special prize was awarded to the EU by CAN Europe.

12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

 

EU climate commitments gassed by toxic subsidies

European politicians may be talking up their climate action, but in reality the EU is still subsidising new gas infrastructure that will lock Europe into the fossil fuel age for decades. The gas projects are also associated with human rights violations, corruption, and environmental destruction.

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Gas is a fossil fuel with substantial emissions of carbon dioxide and methane. Yet in 2014-16 the EU provided an average of €4bn spending on fossil fuels, most of which went to gas infrastructure, and the subsidies keep coming through an array of funding mechanisms.

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is part of the EU budget and under direct management of the European Commission. It has already provided over €1.3 billion to fossil gas infrastructure projects including the Croatian Krk LNG terminal, the Southern Gas Corridor, the Midcat pipeline between Spain and France, and the EastMed pipeline. The future of the CEF will be discussed soon as negotiations on the next EU budget kick-off in May. It is unacceptable that this first post-Paris Agreement CEF contain any future gas funding.

Another source of fossil fuel subsidies comes from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Despite showcasing its engagement in the fight against climate change on international stages, the EIB is financing huge gas pipelines that will lock us into a disastrous fossil future for decades.

In February the EIB granted Europe’s largest ever loan to a fossil fuel project, doling out EUR 1.5 billion to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the western leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, a 3,500km pipeline crossing six countries from Azerbaijan to Europe. There has been no full climate impact assessment of the project. Reports have even demonstrated that this mega pipeline could be as emissions-intensive as coal power - or even more so.

Amid fierce NGO criticism in March the bank channelled another EUR 932 million into the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP). This funding is not only disastrous from a climate perspective, but involves the authoritarian regimes in Turkey and Azerbaijan, linking an EU infrastructure project to regimes with flagrant democracy and human rights violations.

All EU bodies should be focused on making public money available for genuine climate action, including ambitious energy efficiency measures, the transition to 100% renewables, and resilience to climate impacts. 2018 is a decisive year as the EIB will be updating its Energy Policy. The negotiations on the post-2020 EU budget are also well underway amongst EU decision-makers. It’s time for the EU to show that it takes its climate commitments seriously and guarantee that there will be no place for gas in EIB lending or in the next EU budget.

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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

The 2018 European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards!

 

The European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards expose financial support for dirty energy in countries across Europe. Subsidising fossil fuels threatens our health and economies, pollutes our air, and undermines action on climate change. Governments may be talking up their action on climate change, but they’re pouring billions into dirty energy.

The public has spoken! Eight shortlisted nominations were ranked by a public vote in March, and a special prize was awarded to the EU by CAN Europe.

14.10.2016 | Event & Actions

Here is a list of the activities which CAN Europe is hosting and co-organising with other organisations during COP22 in Marrakech. The information in the list will be updated when details are being confirmed.

Contact Network Team

Tom

Tom Boyle
Fundraising and Network Outreach Coordinator
tom/at/ caneurope.org
+32 2894 4676

MATHIAS

Mathias Claeys Bouuaert
Network Outreach Officer
mathias /at/ caneurope.org
+32 2893 0827   

Latest Publications

  • Coal is out. Are the Western Balkans in?

    Are EU member-states in Southeast Europe ready for timely and just transition beyond coal? For the Western Balkans, membership hopefuls, the question is how much longer can public subsidies and Chinese loans keep coal zombie alive at growing cost to health, livelihoods, and the environment?
  • Submission - Feedback on ENTSOS' Proposals for TYNDP 2022 Storylines

    Future energy infrastructure planning in Europe needs to be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement. CAN Europe recommends to increase variation of TYNDP 2022 storylines by assessing higher ambition of greenhouse gas emission reductions. In order to reach the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement, a trajectory towards net-zero emissions in 2040 should be assessed. Instead of primarily opposing “decentralised” and “global” solutions in the TYNDP 2022 storylines, at least one scenario should analyse how to prepare European energy infrastructure for a 100% renewable energy system in the most efficient way, combining the best out of both “decentralised” and “global” futures.
See All: Climate & Energy Targets