Thursday, 13 December 2007

Climate Snippets - 14 December

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

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Worldwide demonstrations send a clear message
Skiers, fire-eaters and environmental campaigners joined in demonstrations worldwide, including New Zealand, at the weekend to draw attention to climate change and push leaders to take robust action. From costume parades in Manila to a cyclists' protest in London, marches took place in more than 50 cities across the world to coincide with the two-week UN Climate Change Conference, in Bali, Indonesia.

IT carbon emissions 'match aviation'
The IT sector has a carbon footprint similar to that of the aviation industry and will soon outstrip emissions from flights, according to a new report. Environmental charity Global Action Plan, which commissioned the research, argued the sector now needed to be given the same level of attention as aviation or 4x4s. An Inefficient Truth, says many UK companies are using vast amounts of energy by inefficiently storing data and failing to adopt sustainable habits such as switching off units at night.

Ireland: Green Minister Gormley, delivers Carbon Budget
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and local Government John Gormley delivered the first ever Carbon Budget in the history of the state. It aimed to put the challenge of tackling climate change at the heart of government policy. "The Carbon Budget marks the beginning of a new era," he said. "It puts our responsibilities to tackle climate change on an equal footing with our responsibilities to manage the economy." Plans included in the budget included minimum energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. This means that traditional inefficient light bulbs will be phased out by 2009.

New Zealand: Sustainable Transport?
Transport Minister Annette King has launched Sustainable Transport, a draft Update of the New Zealand Transport Strategy that outlines a vision for a sustainable transport future. Ms King released the document in Wellington as the first step toward updating the Government's 2002 New Zealand Transport Strategy. "The Government has already announced that by 2040 we want to halve per capita domestic greenhouse gas transport emissions from 2007 levels, and to be one of the first countries in the world to widely use electric vehicles.

Submissions on this document close on 15 February.

Trans-Tasman business conference for NZ in 2008
A major Australasian business conference on climate change will be held Auckland next year, supported by the New Zealand government, Climate Change Minister David Parker has announced. "The 4th Australia-New Zealand Climate Change & Business Conference will bring together prominent business leaders and policy makers from the region and globally to focus on the new business opportunities arising from the challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

Bali talks try to end impasse on climate goals
Negotiators at climate talks in Bali tried to break a deadlock on Friday over emissions goals after the European Union accused the United States of blocking progress at the 190-nation meeting. The two-week talks, which are supposed to end on Friday, aim to launch two years of negotiations on an international pact to fight global warming. But the United States, Japan and Canada are opposed to any reference to numerical goals for emissions in the final text.

The EU wants Bali's final text to agree a non-binding goal of cuts in emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 for industrial economies. The United States says any figures would prejudge the outcome. The United Nations wants the Bali talks to launch formal negotiations on a deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol by 2009 as the world faces rising seas, more extreme droughts and floods and spread of disease.

On other issues, the Bali talks made progress.

Peak oil news

Oil-Rich Nations Use More Energy, Cutting Exports
Experts say the sharp growth, if it continues, means several of the world’s most important suppliers may need to start importing oil within a decade to power all the new cars, houses and businesses they are buying and creating with their oil wealth. Indonesia has already made this flip. By some projections, the same thing could happen within five years to Mexico, the No. 2 source of foreign oil for the United States, and soon after that to Iran, the world’s fourth-largest exporter. Rising internal demand may offset 40 percent of the increase in Saudi oil production between now and 2010, while more than half the projected decline in Iranian exports will be caused by internal consumption, said a recent report by CIBC World Markets. The report said “soaring internal rates of oil consumption” in Russia, in Mexico and in member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would reduce crude exports as much as 2.5 million barrels a day by the end of the decade. That is about 3 percent of global oil demand.

TEOTWAWKI: what does this mean? Find out why people are moving to NZ to prepare for it?

In Brief

State-owned electricity company Meridian Energy has announced it will conduct a small-scale trial of electric cars early next year.

'The biggest environmental crime in history': BP invests £1.5 in Canadian tar sands.

More than half of Amazon will be lost by 2030, report warns

Another oil spill, this time off Norway.

Termite guts may hold key to better biofuels Researchers said they had identified a rich reservoir of wood-digesting enzymes exuded by bacteria living in the bellies of termites.

New York Subpoenas Five Energy Companies and has opened an investigation of five large energy companies, questioning whether their plans to build coal-fired power plants pose undisclosed financial risks that their investors should know about.

Comment: The real answer to climate change is to leave fossil fuels in the ground

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