Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Climate Snippets - 19 March

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

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Glaciers suffer record shrinkage.

The rate at which some of the world's glaciers are melting has more than doubled, data from the United Nations Environment Programme has shown.
Average glacial shrinkage has risen from 30 centimetres per year between 1980 and 1999, to 1.5 metres in 2006. Experts have called for "immediate action" to reverse the trend, which is seen as a key climate change indicator. Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary General of the UN and executive director of its environment programme (UNEP), said: "Millions if not billions of people depend directly or indirectly on these natural water storage facilities for drinking water, agriculture, industry and power generation during key parts of the year. "There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine. The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise and it is absolutely essential that everyone sits up and takes notice.

UK To Introduce Domestic Carbon Emissions Trading.

Energy-intensive businesses in Britain including supermarkets, banks and hotel chains will have to buy pollution permits from 2010 under a new government emissions trading scheme, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said on Thursday. The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), which also includes all central government departments and local authorities, is a mandatory scheme that will help Britain cut greenhouse gas emissions by four million tonnes by 2020, the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road. The CRC will be implemented under the UK's Climate Change Bill, currently going through Parliament.
The CRC will target smaller businesses and public sector organisations that do not qualify for the EU trading scheme, but whose annual half-hourly metered electricity use is above 6,000 megawatt hours. The roughly 5,000 entities that fall into this category account for around 10 percent of the UK economy's total carbon dioxide emissions.

Blair to the climate rescue!

Tony Blair is to lead a new international team to tackle the intractable problem of securing a global deal on climate change which would have the backing of China and America. The former prime minister believes he can help prepare a blueprint for an agreement to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2050, and has the backing of the White House, the UN and Europe, including Gordon Brown.

He told the Guardian he has been working on the project with a group of climate change experts since he left office last summer, and will publish an interim report to the G8 group of industrialised nations this summer. He is backed by the Climate Group, a not-for-profit organisation supported by business. He is drawing together a team of international experts, including Sir Nicholas Stern, the author of the groundbreaking report on the costs of climate change, and specialists from China, Japan, the US and Europe. Following an interim report in June, his team intends to set out the continuing differences between the big countries next summer, then produce economic models to show that fears over the sacrifices required can be overcome.

Climate-change meeting ends without agreement on emissions.

The world's 20 major greenhouse gas emitters ended two days of discussions in Japan Sunday without reaching consensus on a concrete plan to tackle climate change. The Group of 20 nations (G-20) are responsible for 80 per cent of the world's CO2 emissions. The fourth round of talks under the G-8 Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development was held to find ways to provide financial aid and environmental technologies to developing nations in the global fight against climate change. The dialogue is leading up to the G-8 summit that Japan is to host at Lake Toya in the northern island of Hokkaido on July 7-9.

China tells developed world to go on climate change ‘diet.’

The developed world should go on a climate change diet rather than lecture China over its rising greenhouse gas emissions, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Wednesday. “It’s like there is one person who eats three slices of bread for breakfast, and there are three people, each of whom eats only one slice. Who should be on a diet?” he said. China’s greenhouse gas output has soared in recent years as its largely coal-powered economy has expanded at double-digit pace, and it now ranks alongside the United States as the world’s biggest emitter.

Differing views on MAF deforestation survey.

National's climate change spokesman Nick Smith said the figures were "nothing short of an environmental disaster" because they showed a record 19,000ha of deforestation last year. But Forestry Minister Jim Anderton said the survey showed forest owners intended cutting down fewer trees as a result of the proposed emissions trading scheme He said last year's survey on the amount of planned deforestation between 2008 and 2012 – the commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol – was about 50,000ha. The latest survey showed that had dropped to 12,000ha over the same period.

In brief

EU threatens to punish climate deal rebels.

NZ potentially sitting on energy goldmine.

EPA puts US climate legislation cost at $2.9 trillion in 2050.

A Comparison of Carbon Offset Standards - Making Sense of the Voluntary Carbon Market.

Invercargil Mayor Tim defends new car preference.

Best of the Net

Podcast: James Hansen - No more conventional coal and carbon stabilisation below 350ppm.

Earth Day – April 22 global events.

The Top 50 Eco Blogs.

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