Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.
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Different ways different people are helping the climate
Some of the ways people are campaigning to raise climate-change awareness: Walk 1,000 miles,Skateboard across Canada, Row the Pacific, Swim the North Pole, the Baltic, a polluted river. Or,pose nude atop a Swiss glacier.
Climate change: A guide for the perplexed
NewScientist has recently released a guide for the perplexed with a ound-up of the 26 most common climate myths and misconceptions such as how to talk to a sceptic, understanding computer modelling and the link extreme weather events and climate change. There is also a guide to assessing the evidence. In the articles they have included lots of links to primary research and major reports for those who want to follow through to the original sources.
Brown defends government flood plans but says Britain must adapt to climate change.
The Great Flood of July which has affected Gloucestershire and Worcestershire in the UK and has been described as the worst flood to hit the U.K. in modern times and is all the more remarkable for following right on from the Great Flood of June, which caused similar havoc in northern towns such as Doncaster and Hull, after a similar series of astonishingly torrential downpours. The prime minister admitted the UK must be better prepared for the heavy flooding which has devastated many parts of England in recent weeks and has launched a review saying many of the country's 19th century infrastructures may be inappropriate in the face of climate change.
Meanwhile a report released in the journal Nature has linked the increased precipitation with climate change. The study compared records from weather stations around the world going back to 1925 with predictions from 10 computer models of global climate. Some models included the effects of human-induced climate change while others took into account only natural changes or more exotic factors such as volcanoes and the sun's activity. Only models factoring in human-induced climate change could adequately explain the observed changes in rainfall, the scientists found. "The paper is saying there is a significant human influence on global rainfall patterns," said Dr Peter Stott at the Met Office's Hadley Centre.
Are feed-in-tarriffs the difference between German and UK uptake of renewables? Germany has 200 times as much solar energy as Britain. It generates 12% of its electricity from various renewables, compared with 4.6% in Britain. It has created a quarter of a million jobs in renewables - a number that is growing fast. Britain has only 25,000, a number that represents the amount of jobs created in the industry in Germany in the past year alone. To increase renewables uptake, pressure has grown in the UK to introduce a feed-in tariff (FIT) such as in Germeny and is supported by the Liberals and Conservatives. The German FITgives anyone generating electricity from solar PV, wind or hydro gets a guaranteed payment of four times the market rate – reducing the payback time on such technologies to less than 10 years and offers a return on investment of 8-9%. The Germans introduced the FIT in 1999 FITs have now been adopted in 19 EU countries, and 47 worldwide.
Meat production 'beefs up emissions'
Producing 1kg of beef results in more CO2 emissions than going for a three-hour drive while leaving all the lights on at home, scientists said today. A team led by Akifumi Ogino at the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan, trawled through data on aspects of beef production including calf raising, animal management and the effects of producing and transporting feed and are calling for an overhaul of the beef industry, after their audit revealed producing the meat caused substantial amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are emitted in the form of methane from belching cattle, but the meat production process also releases fertilising compounds that can wreak havoc in river and lake ecosystems. Over two-thirds of the energy is spent on producing and moving cattle feed. The calculations, which are based on standard industrial methods of meat production in Japan, did not include the impact of managing farm infrastructure and transporting the meat, so the total environmental load is higher than the study suggests.
A Swedish study conducted in 2003 claimed that raising organic beef on grass rather than feed, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and consumed 85% less energy.
Australia's first carbon trading exchange opens
Australia's first carbon trading exchange opened on Monday, setting an initial price for carbon at A$8.50 per metric ton under the voluntary scheme. Australian Climate Exchange (ACX) established the joint venture aimed at cutting the country's greenhouse gas emissions and bracing firms for possible pollution limits five years ahead of the introduction of a government-backed scheme, coming in 2012. About 1,600 tonnes of Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) changed hands, opening at A$8.50 per tonne for 2007 and closing at A$8.60. The total value of the trades was A$13,610, according to data on ACX's
Oil and gas may run short by 2015, say industry experts
Humanity is approaching an unprecedented crisis when not enough oil and gas will be produced to keep industrial civilisation running, the world's top oilmen warned last week. The warning – which is being hailed as a "tipping point" on both sides of the Atlantic – marks the first time that the industry has accepted that it may soon no longer be able to meet demand for its products. In Facing the Hard Truths about Energy it gives authoritative support to concern about impending shortages, following a similar alert by the International Energy Agency less than two weeks ago.
The 420-page report, the most comprehensive study ever carried out into the industry, has been produced by the National Petroleum Council, a body of 175 authorities that reports to the US government. It includes the heads of the world's big oil companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum, Shell and BP.
The report concludes that "the global supply of oil and natural gas from the conventional sources ... is unlikely to meet ... growth in demand over the next 25 years". It says that "many observers think that 80 per cent of existing oil production will need to be replaced by 2030" to keep up present supplies "in addition to volumes required to meet existing demand." But, it adds, there are "accumulating risks to replacing current production and increasing supplies".
Protester killed in 'neo-Nazi' attack on eco-camp
Science chief: cut birthrate to save Earth