Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Climate Snippets - 30 August

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World. To subscribe to regular Climate Snippet emails, contact with subscribe in subject line

Vienna meeting seeks climate plan

Delegates from more than 150 countries are meeting in Vienna to discuss ways to widen and extend the United Nations Kyoto protocol on climate change. The Vienna talks are a key step towards preparing for the UN climate summit, due in Bali in December.

Today, the Vienna meeting is discussing a new UN report that examines the financial aspects of climate change over the next 25 years. The report takes into account the need to limit global temperature rise to 2°C, the level at which scientists say the worst effects of global warming may be averted.

The financial report says that by 2030 additional investments of up to US$210 billion a year will be needed to return greenhouse gas emissions to the current level.

The Climate Action Network is publishing daily newsletters Eco on what is happening.

Australia First to Model Continental Shoreline Climate Impacts
The Australian government is undertaking to model the impacts of climate change on the whole coastline of the island continent. The project will help show the effects of storm surges, floods and tsunamis on Australia's coastal infrastructure, communities and ecosystems. Annual average temperatures in Australia are projected to increase by 0.4 to 2.0 °C by 2030, and 1.0 to 6.0 °C by 2070, relative to 1990, the government report projects. About 80 percent of Australia's population lives within 50 km (30 miles) of the coast..

The need for a digital elevation model was identified by Council of Australian Governments in its National Climate Change Adaptation Framework.
The data purchase will be funded from the Australian government's $14.2 million Climate Change Adaptation Programme. The assessment of Australia's coastal vulnerability to climate change will be part of the work to be undertaken through the new $126 million Centre for Climate Change Adaptation being established. With funding for the five years to 2012, the Centre will provide decision-makers with the information and tools they need to understand and assess the risks of climate change impacts.

Parker: NZ coal fired generation heading for the back burner
The government is welcoming Genesis Energy's statement that it intends progressively retiring the coal-fired Huntly power station, for reserve use in drought years. "I'm delighted to learn that the E3P combined cycle gas turbine that's recently come on stream has allowed Genesis to cut back on the coal it's burning at Huntly," Energy and Climate Change Minister David Parker said.

All Pact and Ready to Go: Six Western states, two Canadian provinces agree to regional climate pact
The leaders of six Western states and two Canadian provinces agreed to their own regional climate pact, aiming to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The Western Climate Initiative aims to have a cap-and-trade system in place by August 2008 and wants to partner with other trading systems like the European Union's and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the U.S. Northeast. While the 15-percent target isn't quite ambitious enough for some, greens are hopeful that the growing movement to set even relatively weak state and regional climate standards will eventually influence the feds to adopt a national program. At least half of the U.S. states involved in yesterday's agreement -- California, Oregon, and Washington -- already have state climate standards that exceed the modest WCI goal. The other pact members are Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Canada's Manitoba and British Columbia.

Canadians should pay a $50-per-tonne carbon tax, Green Party's deputy leader says
Adrianne Carr says her party's proposal, which would drive up gasoline prices by 12 cents a litre, is the fastest, most effective way to get people to conserve energy and switch to renewable sources like solar and wind. "It's user-pay across the board. It puts renewable energy development on a more equitable footing with fossil-fuel development, because the fossil-fuel industry hasn't had to pay that price," said Carr.

The Conservative government has proposed a technology fund that allows companies to offset their pollution at a cost starting at $15 per tonne over the next decade. It also sets limits that gradually decrease the amount they can contribute over time. Oil industry officials complain the Green plan isn't realistic, saying it would slow economic activity across the country. Carr disagrees. She says the Conservative platform allows companies to trade their excess emissions if they bring down their overall pollution levels. "Every economic adviser on this issue is saying you can't do that unless you attach a price to the emissions. You need a carbon tax to do that," she said.

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