Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Climate Snippets 9 January

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

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New research into the carbon footprint of international visitors flying here could impact New Zealand's tourism industry.

Research showing greenhouse gas emissions from air travel are higher than first thought could hurt the lucrative tourist market. International tourism is a huge money spinner for New Zealand, earning $8.3 billion in the year ended March 2006. "Our calculations show that in 2005, the CO2-equivalent emissions from the 2.4 million international visitors' return air flights was nearly 7.9 million tonnes - roughly the same as the emissions from all the country's coal, gas and oil-fired power generation" say Otago researchers. That equates to 10 per cent of the country's Kyoto-liable greenhouse gas emissions for 2005 - much higher than the usually quoted world average of 3.5 per cent. Regenerating 26,000 square kilometres of bush would offset emissions, but would require an area the size of 15 Stewart Islands. And balancing the air travel by cutting use of land transport would mean taking almost two-thirds of all New Zealand's vehicles off the road.

EU strikes aviation emissions deal.

Aviation emissions will be included in the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012 following an agreement in the European Council on Thursday. A plan to include internal EU flights in 2011 - a year earlier than other flights - was dropped and the Council agreed to cap emissions at 100% of the average level for the years 2004-2006. However, environmental groups accused the EU of backing down from the tough stance they took on emissions reductions during the UN conference in Bali last week. Delia Villagrasa, senior advisor at WWF's European Policy Office, said planned ceiling on emissions, which is 90% above 1990 levels, was a "Christmas gift to the aviation industry".

Global temperature 2008: Another top-ten year.

2008 is set to be cooler globally than recent years say Met Office and University of East Anglia climate scientists, but is still forecast to be one of the top-ten warmest years. Each January the Met Office, in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, issues a forecast of the global surface temperature for the coming year. Over the eight years, 2000-2007, since the Met Office has issued forecasts of annual global temperature, the mean value of the forecast error was just 0.07 °C.

For 2008, the development of a strong La Niña in the tropical Pacific Ocean will limit the warming trend of the global climate. During La Niña, cold waters upwell to cool large areas of the ocean and land surface temperatures. The forecast includes for the first time a new decadal forecast using a climate model. This indicates that the current La Niña event will weaken only slowly through 2008, disappearing by the end of the year.

In Brief

Congratulations to former Christchurch Mayor and Aquaflow director, Vicki Buck, who has been recognised in the Guardian's list of 50 people who could save the planet.

Beckham has largest carbon footprint.

Climate Change Killed Neandertals, Study Says.

Lowndes Associates becomes New Zealand's first carbon neutral law firm.

Japan took over the presidency of the Group of Eight club of the world's leading economies Tuesday, with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda vowing to put a focus on climate change and environmental issues.

Ben Polley, candidate for the Green Party in Guelph formally launched the first-ever local carbon-neutral election campaign from his Baker Street office today.

Creating an Earth Atmospheric Trust: A system to control climate change and reduce poverty

Peak oil

Price oil breaks $US 100

The price of oil reached the unprecedented price of $US 100 this week. Reasons given by the main stream media include: “surging economies in China and India and political tensions in oil producing nations like Nigeria and Iran have been driving forces behind the sudden price jump, and have been creating speculation that prices could rise even higher,” with very little commentary on peak oil.

In New Zealand the Forum for Auckland Sustainable Transport 7-point plan and Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

“While today's price of US$100 did retreat soon after breaking the record, prices will never retreat back to the lows of just a few years ago.

While there isn’t any need to panic, it is a clear signal that we should be planning for an oil constrained future. This means changing the way we get around, investing in more public transport and better urban design that supports walking and cycling. You only need to look at the major cities around the world that were built before the oil age to see that vibrant, exciting lifestyles are possible without depending on the private motor vehicle.

If you read my latest Bill to be drawn, Climate Change (Transport Funding) Bill, you'll see a phased programme for refocusing priorities towards more sustainable transport and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Best of the web

Bush acknowledges existence of carbon.

Russell Brown on climate change sceptics.

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