Tuesday, 31 July 2007

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

New `food miles´ report shows NZ dairying still more efficient than UK, greenhouse gases included

The report’ Comparative Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of New Zealand’s and the UK´s Dairy Industry’ authored by Professor Caroline Saunders, Director of Lincoln University’s Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit, and Andrew Barber of The Agribusiness Group shows that in the production of New Zealand dairy product the generation of greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, all implicated in global climate change - is less than in the British dairy system. The Lincoln study’s central finding is that the UK produces 35 percent more emissions per kilogram of milk solid than New Zealand and 31 percent more emissions per hectare than New Zealand - even including transportation from New Zealand to Britain and the carbon dioxide generated in that process.

An extra 40 cars a day - close to 300 cars a week - are now travelling on Auckland's roads

Peak-hour traffic, which was once confined to 1.5 hours from 7.30am and after 5pm, has now increased to seven hours a day in Auckland and is now considered to be any time between 6.30am to 9.30am, beginning again as early as 3.30pm. Commuters were starting and finishing work earlier in a bid to beat the rush, particularly over the short winter days. That combined with parents picking up children from school meant commuters could expect to be stuck in traffic from mid-afternoon until 7pm, said Joseph Flanagan, Transit's Auckland network manager. "Auckland is a growing city, there's something like an extra 40 cars on the road each day. Building more roads was not the solution to Auckland's traffic woes, said Flanagan.

Climate change relay around New Zealand to start October

Mangawhai Earth Whisperers, a small green activist support group, is planning a relay-hikoi around New Zealand starting in October. The idea is that each group will travel in a low energy way (for example, walking, cycling and horse-riding) to pass the "baton" and a "scroll" of stories and ideas to the next group around Aotearoa. While a group has the baton they can organise events to highlight climate change like a community dinner, public talk or film showing. The aims of the Hikoi are to build network links between groups working on climate change issues, encourage action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also to collect stories, ideas and solutions.
You can get more information about the relay and follow the batons progress will on the website.

Russia claims Arctic Ocean floor

Russian scientists hope to plunge to the seabed beneath the North Pole in the next few days in a miniature sub and plant a titanium capsule containing the Russian flag, symbolically claiming much of the Arctic Ocean floor for Moscow. A convoy consisting of a research vessel and an icebreaker, and led by Russia's most famous polar explorer, set sail from Murmansk toward the North Pole. The expedition, supported by the Kremlin, was dispatched to buttress Russia's claims to more than 460,000 square miles of the Arctic shelf, an area that by some estimates contains 10 billion tons of oil and gas deposits. Experts say the effort is part of Russia's long-range efforts to expand its energy empire.

Climate scientists have blamed global warming for a dramatic rise in the number of storms in the Atlantic over the past century.

The US National Centre for Atmospheric Researchin Boulder, Colorado in their study showed the average number of storms that develop every year has doubled since 1905. They suggest the trend is due to the rise in sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic, a phenomenon with a well-established link to climate change. The increase in storm frequency was most recently visible in 2005, with more than double the average number of storms, including Hurricane Katrina, the most costly natural disaster in US history. It claimed almost 2,000 lives.

U.N. chief takes on global warming

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the United States to take the lead in combating global warming during a visit to California on Thursday to learn about the state's aggressive campaign to curb its greenhouse gas emissions. “The whole planet earth is at a crucial juncture,” and “time is of essence” he said. The cost of inaction will be far greater than the cost of action." The United Nations "should be at the forefront of generating strong political will" needed to confront global warming, but the United States - as a major emitter of greenhouse gases and a leader in technological innovation is in the best position to bring change, he said.

UN General Assembly Seeks Action On Climate Change

The United Nations General Assembly today opens its first-ever plenary session devoted exclusively to climate change, seeking to translate the growing scientific consensus on the problem into a broad political consensus for action following alarming UN reports earlier this year on its potentially devastating effects. The two-day meeting features interactive panel discussions with climate change experts, a plenary debate with statements on national strategies and international commitments by Member States, as well as addresses by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and two of his Special Envoys on climate change, former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and former Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo.

Best of the web

Cheat Neutral
Great Youtube video parodying carbon offsetting.
Kiwi climate blog secures thousands of dollars worth of corporate money
Celsias. Com, A Kiwi-inspired start-up company has secured tens of thousands of dollars worth of corporate money to fund projects that will reduce climate change. Celsias. com, which launched in November, is now one of the top five blogs on climate change in the world. It has two million hits a month, and more than 95,000 regular users. This week Celsias is launching a new version of its website encouraging people to register a project to help combat climate change.

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