Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Climate Snippets 22 August

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

$6.7m for climate change, sustainability

The Government has announced an extra $6.7 million a year for research on how increase sustainability and tackle climate change. Prime Minister Helen Clark said $4 million would go towards a contestable Low Carbon Energy Technologies Fund,$2.5 million a year would go towards research to help manage the likely effects of climate change on New Zealand, and another $200,000 would go towards researching the effects of pest control on carbon storage in native forests.

Greens say the climate change ball is in Government's court

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons yesterday met Climate Change Minister David Parker on the steps of Parliament and handed over the signed climate contracts from her recent Climate Defence Tour as well a pocket guide on ways to reduce climate change. "They, and we, have been waiting for this Government to take action for a while now, and I hope that the new policy announced shortly will live up to everyone's expectations. While the Government's new trading policy will almost certainly put a price on carbon which is essential to send signals through the economy and a good start, the key questions are when will it happen, how soon will it be across the whole economy and how will any funds be used to help reduce emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change? “she said.

Increasing production of biofuels to combat climate change will release between two and nine times more carbon gases over the next 30 years than fossil fuels

That’s the claim according to the first comprehensive analysis of emissions from biofuels by Dr Righelato's of the World Land Trust with Dominick Spracklen from the University of Leeds. They report in the journal Science that between two and nine times more carbon emissions are avoided by trapping carbon in trees and forest soil than by replacing fossil fuels with biofuels. They are the first to calculate the impact of biofuel carbon emissions across the whole cycle of planting, extraction and conversion into fuel. The study warns that forests must not be cleared to make way for biofuel crops. Clearing forests produces an immediate release of carbon gases into the atmosphere, accompanied by a loss of habitats, wildlife and livelihoods, the researchers said.

APEC document 'disastrous for global warming'

The Greens have criticised the Federal Government over a draft environmental declaration on climate change that has been leaked ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Sydney next month. The draft of the APEC leaders' declaration on climate change, energy security and clean development focuses primarily on improving energy efficiency and forestry, rather than cutting greenhouse emissions. Greens Senator Kerry Nettle says the declaration has no definitive targets for emission reduction, nor any requirements for people to meet targets. She says it is disastrous for global warming. "We don't need George Bush and John Howard trying to take us backwards from what we achieved as an international community under the Kyoto Protocol."

Flannery has a plan to save PNG forests

Australian firms seeking carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions could go online to do direct deals with PNG villages, Australian scientist Tim Flannery says.
He said countries such as Australia had a debt to pay, and must aid the fight against poverty in countries like PNG by protecting forests and biodiversity.
"I'm going to be suggesting ways in which carbon can be sequestered in forests that allows a direct transaction between villages and people of the outside world." His proposed direct carbon trading system would use satellite technology, employing Google Earth as an observation tool and relying on "eBay-like" buying online by industrial firms, non-government organisations or governments seeking carbon credits. Buyers would get credits to offset industrial emissions, villagers would get paid for preserving their forests, and biodiversity would be protected, Flannery said.
"We are trying to set up systems that allow for the people in the village to be directly responsible for the sequestered carbon balance on their land and be paid for that," he said.

Heathrow climate camp packs up

In editorials yesterday, both of Britain's most liberal dailies, The Independent and The Guardian, praised the peaceful Climate Camp effort as a success, with one saying the debate now has begun on airport-linked damage to the environment. " The Guardian was more circumspect, criticizing "the elephantine behaviour of riot squads" as an overreaction, but warning also that the green movement should not have "a free pass to do whatever they want." The camp which had about 1500 people camping near Heathrow Airport over the last week was opposed the extension of a third runway and drawing the link between flying and climate change. George Monbiot called the camp the ’a new political movement’. There were around 17 different action occurring in the last days including:
Eight protesters chained themselves together yesterday evening, preventing access to British Airways' World Cargo Depot at Hatton Cross. The superglue came out once again as protesters stuck themselves to BP's headquarters. Sizewell nuclear power station also drew some attention, where five protesters blocked the main gate by locking their arms in concrete barrels after about seven hours the protesters eventually unchained themselves and walked away. People dressed as red herrings appeared at the offices of offsetting companies Carbon Neutral (London) and Climate Care (Oxford). The London offices of Bridgepoint Capital, a private equity firm, were also invaded. The company recently bought Bradford-Leeds airport and intends to expand it. Pics of the camp can be seen at this site.

In Brief

End of Suburbia sequel: Escape from Suburbia

Six hundred people shed clothes on glacier for climate change
Six hundred people shed their clothes on the Aletsch glacier in the Swiss Alps to bodily cry out for help against a planetary emergency: global warming. The nude volunteers posed for Greenpeace and renowned naked "installation" artist Spencer Tunick on the Glacier.

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