Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Climate Snippets 5 December

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U.N. Bali climate talks start. Skirmish over China, India

The 190-nation UNFCCC climate meeting in Bali began a hunt for a new global deal to fight global warming by 2009 on Tuesday with skirmishing about how far China and India should curb surging greenhouse gas emissions. After an opening day dominated by ceremony, governments set up a "special group" to look at options for launching two years of talks meant to bind the United States and developing nations led by China and India more firmly into fighting climate change. The Bali talks seek a mandate to widen Kyoto to all nations beyond 2012.

Mixed reaction to NZ climate change bill
The Government yesterday introduced a bill to enact its climate change policy - including setting up an emissions trading system and restricting new fossil fuel produced power. Environmentalists have welcomed the introduction of legislation that will place a 10-year ban on new fossil-fuel power stations, but a major business group says the measure is unnecessary. Under the bill new fossil fuel power plants would be banned for 10 years unless the Electricity Commission deemed them necessary to ensure the security of the power supply, or they were sufficiently mixed with renewable energy or based on waste products. The bill also sets down the process for the establishment of the Government's emissions trading scheme - with different sectors phased in over five years and Government support continuing until 2025.

Holcim decision a millstone for NZ’s climate change efforts
The Green Party is very disappointed with an interim decision indicating support for cement giant Holcim’s plans to build a massive cement plant at Weston, near Oamaru. “The interim resource consent decision, issued by the three commissioners hearing the application, flies in the face of the overwhelming opposition to this plant,” Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says. This plant will impact Weston School, Oamaru township and the environment in general, as well as contributing massively to climate change. “This one factory could emit up to 800,000 tonnes of CO2 each year in addition to the mercury, dioxins and sulphur dioxide from the manufacturing process”.

Govt to reap $5.6b carbon trade windfall
The government stands to reap up to $5.6 billion in extra revenue from the introduction of an emissions trading system, official figures show. Windfall gains will occur because the cost of carbon credits, which thermal generators must buy from 2010, will increase the wholesale price of electricity. The figures, obtained by the Sunday Star-Times under the Official Information Act, are based on a worst-case scenario of a cost of carbon of $50 a tonne. But even on the most optimistic scenario of $15 a tonne, both the government and power companies remain significant winners. At that carbon price, government coffers would get an extra $1.16b over the six years and power companies would be $400 million better off.

Fonterra to "measure and monitor" carbon footprint
Fonterra has appointed the University of New South Wales, Scion and AgResearch to measure the dairy co-operative's carbon footprint of its major products. The research, which the dairy giant says will begin immediately, aims to measure Fonterra's carbon emissions across its complete supply chain and identify areas that require targeted programmes for reduction. The work will cover the three distinct parts of Fonterra's 'cow to customer' supply chain: 'On-farm' will cover inputs and outputs related to the production of milk from the farming operation up until it leaves the on-farm milk vat. 'Processing' will include the transportation of milk from the on-farm milk vat; the complete manufacturing process including packing and storage at the factory site; through to the product loaded onto transport for delivery 'Distribution' will include measuring the transportation of the product from the manufacturing site, to the warehouse and its shipping to key destinations internationally.

Tropics expand as world warms
Climate change is causing the tropics to widen, with possible impacts on the global food supply, research suggests. The new analysis of tropical expansion comes from a team of US scientists who reviewed five separate strands of evidence, all gathered from satellite data. While geographers define "The Tropics" rigidly as the region between 23.5 degrees North and 23.5 degrees South, to atmospheric scientists it is a more variable zone marked by features such as the jet stream and the circulation known as Hadley cells. On these measures, the tropics have expanded by between 2 and 4.8 degrees latitude since the era of reliable satellite observation began in 1979.

Water shortages are likely to be trigger for wars, says UN chief Ban Ki Moon
A struggle by nations to secure sources of clean water will be “potent fuel” for war, the first Asia-Pacific Water Summit heard yesterday. High population growth, rising consumption, pollution and poor water management posed significant threats, he said, adding that climate change was also making “a bad situation worse”.

His remarks come as environmental experts in Great Britain have identified 46 countries — home to 2.7 billion people — where climate change and water-related crises will create a high risk of violent conflict. A further 56, representing another 1.2 billion people, are at high risk of political instability, claims a report by International Alert, which concludes that it is now “too late to believe the situation can be made safe solely by reducing carbon emissions worldwide and mitigating climate change”.

In a report published in by the United States National Academy of Sciences journal today, David Zhang, of Hong Kong University, has analysed a half millennium's worth of human conflict — more than 8,000 wars — and concluded that climate change and resulting water shortage has been a far greater trigger than imagined previously.

Rudd becomes PM, ratifies Kyoto
Kevin Rudd was sworn in as Australia's 26th prime minister on Monday and immediately went to work on ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Mr Rudd's first act after taking his oath of office was to sign the instrument of ratification for Kyoto, the international agreement which commits countries to targets for reducing or capping their greenhouse gas emissions.

I can unite the world on climate, says Rudd
Australia will take on a highly ambitious and activist role on the international stage under the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, who has unveiled a grand plan for uniting the world on climate change. Heralding a significant shift in foreign policy from the Howard era, Mr Rudd - former diplomat and China expert - told the Herald yesterday he intended to use Australia's new position as a member of the Kyoto club to "bridge the gap" between developed and developing countries on future emissions controls. Mr Rudd will travel to Bali on Tuesday to join the UN conference on climate change, in what will be his first appearance on the world stage as Prime Minister.

PNG to resettle Carteret Islanders as sea level rises
The Carteret Islands are almost invisible on a map of the South Pacific, but the horseshoe scattering of atolls in eastern-most Papua New Guinea is on the front line of climate change, as rising sea levels and storm surges eat away at their existence. For 20 years, the 2,000 islanders living there have fought a losing battle against the ocean, building sea walls and trying to plant mangroves. Each year, the waves surge in higher, destroying vegetable gardens, washing away homes and contaminating fresh water supplies. Recently, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare appropriated PGK4.1 million [US$1.4 million] to resettle PNG villagers affected by global warming. Out of the PGK4.1 million funding, PGK2 million [US$712,000] will go to the Bougainville Autonomous Region’s Carteret Islanders. The local Bougainville government has an ongoing resettlement program which it hopes to complete by the end of the year.

In brief

Pike River Coal Limited has announced it will transport it's premium hard coking coal by rail to Lyttelton.

Ireland announces Change Now, a €15 million, five-year climate change campaign.

Victoria University appoints New Zealand climate scientist Martin Manning as Professor and Research Fellow in Climate Change.

Xerox Corp. announced Monday it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent since 2002 by cutting emissions from cars and improving building equipment, saving the company $18 million (€12.3 million) last year.

Meteorologists shape fashion trends

Breaking Records in 2007 – Climate Change, events from WWF

Best of the net

Rising Tide claims International Hoax Targetting US Business Consortium Amidst Bali Climate Negotiations

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