Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Climate Snippets - 12 September

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

APEC: aspirational non-binding targets targets

The APEC meeting hosted in Sydney has wrapped up with a declaration supporting non-binding energy intensity target - an APEC-wide reduction of at least 25 per cent from the 2005 level by the year 2030 - while acknowledging the historic responsibility of the wealthier nations for the climate problem. "The world needs to slow, stop and then reverse the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions," according to the Sydney Declaration. The Declaration sets a It also includes a commitment to increase regional forest cover by at least 50 million acres by 2020. The statement affirms that climate change negotiations should take place under the auspices of the United Nations. Prime Minister Helen Clark says she’s pleased with the APEC declaration.

Energy efficient appliances should be made compulsory, says UN expert

Governments should make energy efficient appliances and building materials compulsory because that is the smartest way of controlling greenhouse gas emissions, said Marcel Alers, a climate change expert of the United Nations Development Program. The technology for making appliances that use less electricity — such as light bulbs, air conditioners and refrigerators — already exists but manufacturers don't make them because there is no legal push. Voluntary is nice but if you want impact, it has to be mandatory," Alers told reporters after giving a presentation at a conference on climate change organized by the Malaysian government and the UNDP.

Meanwhile in the U.K. the Conservative Party isproposing to set a date by which time all electrical goods would have to be able to switch themselves off. 'All new electrical items will require a functionality that switches them off after a specified period rather than remaining on standby,' the Quality of Life report says.

Grays whales starving as food supply dwindles

One of the great success stories of the ocean, the return of the Pacific gray whale, may have been based on a miscalculation, scientists reported Monday in a study based on whale genetics. What was assumed to be a thriving whale population actually is at times starving from a dwindling food supply, said study co-author Stephen Palumbi, a Stanford University marine sciences professor. And global warming is a chief suspect. Earlier this month the National Marine Fisheries Service reported that at least 10 percent of gray whales returning to one of their four main calving and breeding lagoons off Baja California showed signs of being underfed. Some of the whales even had bony shoulder blades.

NSW Carbon scheme collapsing: green groups

A NSW carbon trading scheme is on the verge of collapse, green groups and non-government politicians say. Under the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme, companies get credits by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and sell them to companies needing to offset their emissions. NSW Greens MP John Kaye says the NSW market has been oversupplied by the government with cheap certificates, slashing the price on carbon. The NSW price per tonne of emitted carbon has fallen from $11 to $6, making it uneconomical for companies earning the credits to trade them, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Paul Gilding, the head of energy saving company Easy Being Green, says the major polluters also have stopped buying the credits because they are unsure what will happen at the federal level. He says his company will fold by the end of next week unless changes are made to the scheme. The federal government set out in May to establish a national cap-and-trade carbon trading scheme by 2011. Greenpeace spokesman Ben Pearson wants the federal government to fast-track its scheme.

Melting ice cap triggering earthquakes

Scientists monitoring events this summer say the acceleration could be catastrophic in terms of sea-level rise and make predictions this February by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change far too low. The glacier at Ilulissat, which supposedly spawned the iceberg that sank the Titantic, is now flowing three times faster into the sea than it was 10 years ago. Robert Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, said in Ilulissat: "We have seen a massive acceleration of the speed with which these glaciers are moving into the sea. The ice is moving at 2 metres an hour on a front 5km long and 1,500 metres deep. That means that this one glacier puts enough fresh water into the sea in one year to provide drinking water for a city the size of London for a year." Veli Kallio, a Finnish scientist, said the quakes were triggered because ice had broken away after being fused to the rock for hundreds of years. The quakes were not vast - on a magnitude of 1 to 3 - but had never happened before in north-west Greenland and showed potential for the entire ice sheet to collapse.

In Brief

Religious leaders unite in prayer on climate change

A lightweight solar-powered plane has smashed the official world record for the longest-duration unmanned flight.

Climate change redraws World maps

Best of the net

National Radio podcast: A leading NZ company has cancelled all of its trips to the top of Mount Cook because of global warming.

Peak oil news

U.S. Peak Oil expert Richard Heinberg is visiting New Zealand discussing life after oil

Richard Heinberg is one of the world's foremost Peak Oil (oil depletion) educators and has earned his reputation lecturing, writing several well-known books, and appearing in popular films. He will be in New Zealand for a week giving talks in Auckland, Wellington and at the Eco Show in Taupo.

Richard Heinberg Auckland public talk
Co-Hosted by the Green Party and Engineers for Social Responsibility
Lecture theatre B28
(Under University Library)
Auckland University
5 Alfred St
Wednesday 10 October
Time: 6:30pm

Richard Heinberg Wellington public talk
Hosted by the Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand
Lecture Theatre 1.
Rutherford House
Victoria University Pipitea Campus
Bunny St
Thursday 11 October
Time: 7pm

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