Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Climate Snippets - 14 November

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.
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Coastal shipping to be revitalised.

The Government wants to see at least 30 percent of all inter-regional freight carried by coastal shipping by the year 2040, Transport Minister Annette King said at the release of Sea Change, a draft strategy designed to revitalise and transform coastal shipping services in New Zealand. “At present about 15 percent of freight is carried by coastal services, including the Cook Strait ferries. For too long coastal shipping has been the poor cousin of the transport sector, instead of being interconnected with rail and road, effectively linking all transport modes.

Ms King says the strategy “is not just aspirational. It is also a practical plan for action, and proposes four steps to help transform domestic freight services: establishing a Maritime Liaison Unit (MLU) within the Transport Ministry to create a visible focal point for the coastal shipping sector; addressing perceived barriers to coastal shipping interests accessing government funds; addressing the need for government agencies and the sector to work together to increase the supply of skilled workers; and it will emphasise the need for information gathering to provide a clear picture of services, their performance and required improvement.

NZ’s car fleet too dirty for Europe say Greens.

The Government should be embarrassed that New Zealand has one of the dirtiest car fleets in the OECD, and that about 16 percent of the petrol fleet would not be allowed on the road in Europe or most parts of North America, the Green Party says. A survey released by Zero Emissions Limited exposes one of New Zealand's dirty secrets—that New Zealand has a serious vehicle emissions problem, and is lagging way behind the rest of the world in addressing this problem, Green’s Associate Transport spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

NZ Dairy farms losing advantage over energy efficiency.

Dairy farmers are being warned to focus on their energy and greenhouse gas efficiency if they want to remain competitive with their European counterparts. An AgResearch-commissioned sustainability study of the country's farms found that while they remained more efficient than their European Union counterparts, the gap was closing. AgResearch principal scientist Dr Stewart Ledgard said dairy farms here were ahead of those in the European Union (EU) in terms of on farm energy use and food miles. However, their "competitive advantage is diminishing", he said.

Experts Completing Final Climate Report.

The U.N.'s top climate official challenged world policymakers Monday to map out a path to curb climate change, charging that to ignore the urgency of global warming would be "nothing less than criminally irresponsible." Yvo de Boer issued his warning at the opening of a weeklong conference that will complete a concise guide on the state of global warming and what can be done to stop the Earth from overheating. It is the fourth and last report issued this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, co-winner of this year's Nobel Peace prize.

“Are men to blame for global warming?”

“Are men to blame for global warming?” asked this week’s New Scientist. Rather than point the finger at one gender, the report from the Swedish ministry of Sustainable Development serves to highlight the role of inclusive social frameworks as a prerequisite to tackling climate change. Notably, research found that women travelled less thereby emitting less carbon from cars, public transport and aviation. However backlash to the report has already begun, as online respondents argue that men are travelling further only to provide for their families.

Climate for Change researchers discovered that over 50% of women, but only 41% of men, classify climate change as extremely dangerous. As a result women were more willing to effect precautionary behavioural changes, whilst men preferred to put their hopes on technological advances.

Australia: Tens of thousands march for climate change action.

Australians in 60 cities and towns have taken to the streets to ask the major political parties to make a stronger commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The national day of action aimed to draw attention to global warming and pressure the political parties to address the issue. The Nature Conservation Council says about 100,000 people took part in Walk Against Warming marches across Australia.

Harvard Graduate’s novel carbon storage plan

Unlike other proposed ocean sequestration processes, the new technology does not make the oceans more acid and may be beneficial to coral reefs. The process is a manipulation of the natural weathering of volcanic silicate rocks. "The technology involves selectively removing acid from the ocean in a way that might enable us to turn back the clock on global warming," says Kurt Zenz House, graduate student in Earth and planetary sciences, Harvard University. "Essentially, our technology dramatically accelerates a cleaning process that Nature herself uses for greenhouse gas accumulation."

In Brief

World gearing up for December 8 marches

A new California "gold rush" is on: prospectors claim stretches of ocean, hoping to harness wave energy.

New Zealand is in a race with Costa Rica to become the first carbon
neutral country. Worldwatch article.

Range fuels signs agreement with U.S. DOE, breaks ground on commercial cellulosic ethanol plant.

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