Tuesday, 1 September 2009


This is a photoshopped image

Copenhagen mermaid CASTED

This is a photoshop job. I'd love to see what other images we could cast.

Copenhagen mermaid CASTED

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Climate Snippets is taking a break

Climate Snippets is taking a break for a while - but in the meantime the best place to get regular updates with a Kiwi flavor is through the Climate Defence Network's Climate News (done by my wife!)


Thursday, 18 December 2008

Climate Snippets - 19 December

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

To subscribe to regular Climate Snippet emails, contact climatechange@greens.org.nz with subscribe in subject line

Key likens climate goals to Rudd's.

New Zealand's new direction on climate-change policy will be as cautious as that revealed by Australia this week, Prime Minister John Key suggested yesterday.Mr Key was commenting in Parliament following the Australian Government's commitment on Monday to cut carbon emissions by as little as 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020, and at a time when National's priority in Parliament this week is to undo the flagship policy of the previous Labour Government.

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee capped off a series of moves to weaken or overturn Labour's climate change measures by issuing instructions to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to stop any ban on incandescent light bulbs. National has a long-term policy of reducing carbon emissions by 50 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050. But it has no medium-term target of the sort that will be negotiated at Copenhagen. In Parliament yesterday Mr Key confirmed, under questioning from Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, that the National Government would not actually suspend the present emissions-trading scheme as stated in its confidence and supply agreement with Act.

Gas and coal-fired electricity ban repealed.

The new Government has scrapped another Labour climate change measure - passing legislation this week that repeals restrictions on the building of new coal and gas-fired power plants. But Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today labelled the move a retrograde step, which shuts off one of the easiest ways New Zealand could reduce its carbon emissions. The two-page Electricity (Renewable Preference) Repeal Bill passed its third reading by 63 votes to 58. It was opposed by Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party and the Progressives.

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee said the ETS put a price on pollution, providing adequate incentives for power companies to invest in renewable generation. But Ms Fitzsimons said New Zealand's per capita emissions were about five times the global average and electricity generation and urgent measures were needed to reduce them. Power generation contributed about 10 per cent of the country's emissions and was one of the easiest things to clean up because of the abundance of renewable options. She said officials had told the previous government a target of 90 per cent renewable energy could be reached - up from about 70 per cent at the moment - with "negligible cost".

Biofuel obligations repealed under urgency.

Mandatory biofuel obligations have been repealed after Parliament passed legislation under urgency on Wednesday afternoon. The legislation was passed by a slim majority of 62 to 59 because two of the Government's support partners - the Maori Party and United Future - opposed the move. The Biofuels Act, which came into force in October, required a proportion of petrol and diesel sold to be sourced from biofuel. Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee said the mandatory obligation would have loaded unspecified costs on consumers and meant the importation of biofuel with no guarantee that it had been sustainably produced. But the Green Party said there was a clause in the legislation that required biofuels to come from sustainable sources and sustainability standards could have been in place by the middle of next year.
Groser defends NZ climate treaty stance.

Climate negotiations minister Tim Groser has defended the Government's call for better treatment of agricultural emissions in the next global climate treaty. Last week he laid out New Zealand's position for the talks, saying he would be negotiating aggressively to achieve better rules governing agriculture, which contributes about half of the country's emissions. He said New Zealand had a small population which raised public transport issues; an already high proportion of renewable electricity generation meaning scope for gains was small and an already efficient agriculture sector. But the Government's stance has come under fire from non-government organisations which say seeking "favourable" treatment for agricultural emissions runs the risk of weakening the whole agreement and establishing New Zealand as an "international climate pariah".
Australia sets new climate target.

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced new measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include cutting emissions by at least 5% by 2020 and a carbon trading scheme to be implemented by 2010. But the proposals were immediately denounced by critics as inadequate, with the Green Party calling them a "global embarrassment". The new measures announced by Mr Rudd will see:
  • Greenhouse gas emissions cut by between between 5% and 15% by 2020, from 2000 levels
  • A scheme to be implemented by 2010 requiring industrial polluters to bid for government licences to emit carbon. It will cover 75% of emissions and include 1,000 of the country's biggest firms, but will initially exclude Australia's drought-battered farmers.
In Brief

Scientists say they now have unambiguous evidence that the warming in the Arctic is accelerating.

Climate change: 2008 is world's 10th hottest year.

No new coal - the calling card of the 'green Banksy' who breached fortress Kingsnorth.

166 MW solar power plant will be China’s largest.

EARTH MEANDERS: Light REDD: The looming tragedy of carbon markets paying to destroy ancient forests.

Global climate deal? Yes we can, Gore says.

Jonathon Porritt: Press the panic button.

Bill McKibben: The most important number on Earth.

Monbiot: At last, a date.

Gareth Hughes: A Green New Deal for Aotearoa.

Best of the Net

Blog: John Key’s uncertainty principle.

Blog: Putting the ETS “on hold”?

Video: Jeanette gives her opinion of Rodney's Climate Change Denial Select Committee.

Video: George Monbiot meets ... Fatih Birol.

Video: Head in the sand on climate change.

New Project backed by Kiwi sport celebrities.

Interactive carbon atlas.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Climate Snippets - 10 December

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

To subscribe to regular Climate Snippet emails, contact climatechange@greens.org.nz with subscribe in subject line

Poznan progress slow but steady, say officials.

A senior diplomat has defended the lack of progress at UN climate talks in Poland, and insisted that real action in finding a successor to the Kyoto protocol is not required until next year. Insiders say the Poznan negotiations are edging towards the low-level achievements expected from the two-week meeting. A formal work-programme has been agreed to take the talks forward in 2009, which the UN hopes will climax with a new worldwide treaty to curb carbon emissions agreed at the meeting in Copenhagen. Debate remains over how to liberate millions of pounds collected from a levy on the sale of carbon credits, which is intended to help poor nations adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Green campaigners criticised the slow progress. Oxfam said a refusal by rich countries to discuss deeper emission cuts was a "wasted opportunity". Greenpeace said delegates had "taken a year to agree what they already agreed at [2007 talks in] Bali".
Climate Change Select Committee established.

New Zealand needs to build a broader consensus about how to make progress on climate change issues, Climate Change Minister Nick Smith said today in releasing the terms of reference for the select committee to review the Emissions Trading Scheme and related matters. Dr Smith confirmed that the special select committee was being set up to honour the terms of the confidence and supply agreement between National and ACT. "The new government takes a more modest view of New Zealand's role in the global efforts to tackle climate change. "It is appropriate to have a fresh look at our policy response and the Emissions Trading Scheme given the poor track record on emissions, the changed economic environment, and the rushed way the legislation was passed. "The choice of Peter Dunne in the chair is a quite deliberate step to build a broader consensus across the parliament. Mr Dunne had previously taken steps to take such an initiative but these were rebuffed by the previous government.

  • National - Craig Foss, Nicky Wagner, Paul Hitchison, Hekia Parata (4)
  • Labour - David Parker, Moana Mackey, Charles Chauvel (3)
  • ACT - Rodney Hide (1)
  • Greens - Jeanette Fitzsimons (1)
  • United Future - Peter Dunne (1)
  • Maori Party - yet to be named (1)
EU Leaders agree 20% 2020 renewable energy target.

EU leaders agreed yesterday to combat climate change by ordering that a fifth of Europe's energy mix should come from renewable sources within 12 years.
The agreement, hailed as a "landmark" deal and a breakthrough by politicians and the green lobby alike, came before a crucial EU summit opening in Poland tomorrow at which 27 prime ministers and presidents are supposed to finalise an ambitious package to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020.

The agreement reached yesterday paves the way for a law obliging all EU countries to meet national targets for renewable energy. Two points had threatened to derail the legislation: the insistence that biofuels comprise 10% of transport fuel by 2020, and an attempt by Italy to loosen the law by ordering a review of progress on renewables in 2014. The review date was retained, but the compulsory target and national quotas also survived.

In Brief

Green Party Address in Reply 2008 – Fitzsimons ‘Saving the banks while the biosphere collapses.’

Ecoflation, a new worry, could hit consumer goods.

Millions of birds could die from oilsands development: report.

Greenpeace: Don't flush our climate down the John.

Protesters break into secure area at UK airport.

Monbiot: A beardful of bunkum.

Best of the Net

Video: Greens show support for Emission Trading Scheme.

Video: Birds and Canada's tar sands: Why America's number 1 source of oil is removing millions of birds.

Video: Monbiot confronts UN.

Action Alert: climate talks falter as Italy and Poland play politics with global climate's future.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Climate Snippets - 6 December - Global Day of Action on Climate Change Special

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

To subscribe to regular Climate Snippet emails, contact climatechange@greens.org.nz with subscribe in subject line

Poznan climate talks begin.

About 10,600 delegates from 186 governments, businesses and environmental groups will meet in Poznan for two weeks of talks. The meeting marks the halfway point of a two-year push to agree a new climate treaty in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 to succeed the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012 Much of the debate is about trying to agree on an overall emissions cut by developed nations of 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020, though the final target is not likely to be set until the Copenhagen meeting.

Head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, Yvo de Boer, said meeting the climate change targets at the same time as the world was grappling with recession would be a challenge. Mr de Boer praised President-elect Barack Obama for saying that he would seek to cut United States emissions of greenhouse gases back to 1990 levels by 2020 as part of global action to avert more heatwaves, floods, droughts, more powerful storms and rising seas. US emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels in factories, power plants and cars, are about 14 percent above.

In Europe, economic slowdown has exposed doubts about the costs of an EU goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. UN talks host Poland, which gets 93 percent of its electricity from coal, and Italy are leading a drive for concessions in a package meant to be agreed at a December 11-12 summit of EU leaders in Brussels. The talks in Poland will review new ideas for combating global warming, such as handing credits to tropical nations for preserving forests. China is also suggesting that developed nations should give up to 1 percent of their gross national product in aid to help the poor switch from fossil fuels.

NZ Farmer plea at climate talks - Greens say PM risks undermining exports.

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed New Zealand will seek special treatment for its farmers at climate change talks this month, bringing claims from the Greens that the stance could damage agriculture exports. Mr Key said negotiators in Poznan, Poland, would argue aggressively for any targets on greenhouse gas emissions for New Zealand to take account of the significant contribution farming played in the economy. The industry accounts for half of New Zealand's carbon emissions. But Greens co-leader Russel Norman said the stance would undermine international efforts to reduce emissions and could threaten farm exports as other countries focused on high-emitting industries. "If they want credibility in any of these negotiations, they've got to be seen to be taking action domestically," Dr Norman said. "Undermining the ETS undermines that credibility. If we're asking for anything around agriculture, then we need to be seen to be doing stuff domestically. "The problem is that everyone's got a reason for special treatment, and if everyone gets special treatment, then we don't reduce emissions."

Financial crisis no excuse to slow carbon fight: UN climate chief.

The world financial crisis must not become an excuse for backsliding on efforts to curb global carbon emissions, a top UN environmental official warned Thursday. While acknowledging the severity of the financial turmoil, Yvo de Boer, said: "To use the financial crisis as an excuse not to act on climate change would basically amount to setting yourself up for the next financial crisis. For example, within the next five to 10 years we will be replacing about 40 percent of the power-generating capacity worldwide. If, in the light of the financial crisis, a decision is made to go for cheap and dirty technology, as in the past, that technology will still be around in 30 to 50 years," he said. "The challenge for industry is how it can be part of the solution and not part of the problem," he later told reporters.

'World mandate' on climate action.

An opinion poll in 11 countries has produced what organisers term a "global mandate" for action on climate change. About half of the respondents wanted governments to play a major role in curbing emissions, but only a quarter said their leaders were doing enough. In developing countries, a majority of people were prepared to make "lifestyle changes" to reduce climate change. The survey was commissioned by the HSBC Climate Partnership, which includes business and environmental groups. The survey revealed that 43% of people questioned put climate change ahead of the world's financial instability as an issue of current concern, even though the surveys ran in the turbulent months of September and October. However, the numbers saying they would alter their lifestyles to reduce climate change had fallen in the year between the previous survey, in 2007, and this one.

Nielson, Taylor & Clark: Govt should go with emissions trading scheme.

The new Government's decision to put the emissions trading scheme on hold
pending a review came as a bolt from the blue. Stakeholders had been led to expect that there would be some changes to the ETS but the proposal to pass legislation putting it on hold was completely unexpected. The decision has thrown the emerging carbon market into disarray. It has undermined the recent launch of the New Zealand Stock Exchange's carbon trading platform, TZ1. EcoSecurities, one of the largest promoters of emission reduction projects in the world, pulled out from the launch of its New Zealand business. It has brought into doubt the forest sector's investment in large-scale carbon sequestration [storing carbon in forests]. According to one report it led an Asian investor to cancel a 25,000ha afforestation project. There are other indications that investment in new plantings has evaporated.

Dim view of light bulb decision.

The Greens are unhappy with National's decision to overturn the previous government's ban on incandescent light bulbs. Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee has reportedly instructed the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority to prepare the paperwork to reverse the ban. The legislation would have seen incandescent bulbs switched off in October next year. Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says it's par for the course for National which has opposed every energy efficiency proposal she can think of in recent years. She says National has set a climate change target of a 50% reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050 but does not seem to have the slightest idea of how it will get there.

In Brief

Brazil sets plan to cut deforestation by 70 percent over 10 years.

EU agrees to cut car emissions.

Solar cemetery.

Vatican set to go green with huge solar panel roof.

Major Study: Palm oil offers no green solution.

India's humble rickshaw goes solar.

Climate change keeps swans in Siberia.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: NZ red faced over climate change’.

Rod Oram: Can John Key find his compass?

Heinberg: The Food and farming transition.

Monbiot: Whistling in the wind.

Best of the Net

Blog: Don Elder waxed poetic about the prospects for NZ coal this week at Solid Energy’s maiden annual meeting in Auckland.

Blog: Greenpeace climate rescue weblog.

Blog: National rejects expert advice?

Send a Greenpeace e-postcard to Poznan

Don’t be a Rodney – write a letter to key.

UK E.on coal company Google-bombed.

CBC Video: Canada looks to Germany

Video: The Big Ask.

Audio: Norman: Climate science review 'embarrassing'.

Greenpeace has turned it's front webpage into a giant countdown clock leading to Copenhagen to highlight how little time we have left to cut a real deal on climate change.