Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Climate Snippets - 27 March

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

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Antarctic ice shelf disintegration underscores a warming world.

Satellite imagery from the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder reveals that a 13,680 square kilometre ice shelf has begun to collapse because of rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica. The Wilkins Ice Shelf is a broad plate of permanent floating ice on the southwest Antarctic Peninsula, about 1,000 miles south of South America. In the past 50 years, the western Antarctic Peninsula has experienced the biggest temperature increase on Earth, rising by 0.5 degree Celsius. David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey, believes it could be gone within weeks. "The ice shelf is hanging by a thread – we'll know in the next few days or weeks what its fate will be," he says.

Greenpeace blocks coal ship leaving Port Lyttelton.

Six Greenpeace protesters were arrested after they blocked the coal ship Hellenic Sea, carrying 60,000 tones of coal from leaving Lyttelton harbour. They used the Greenpeace flagship The Rainbow Warrior to block the cargo ship, while protesters used ropes to climb the side of the vessel. Greenpeace says it is a message to the government to get tough on climate change and spokesman Simon Boxer says New Zealand has very little time to act before the situation gets out of control.

Scientists warn of soot effect on climate.

Soot produced by burning coal, diesel, wood and dung causes significantly more damage to the environment than previously thought, according to research published today. So-called "black carbon" could cause up to 60% of the current warming effect of carbon dioxide, according to the US researchers, making it an important target for efforts to slow global warming. Around 400,000 people are estimated to die each year due to inhaling soot particles, particularly because of indoor cooking on wood and dung stoves in developing countries.

NZ Climate change prediction breakthrough.

New Zealand scientists have developed what they believe is a world first, a new way to measure the release of greenhouse gas locked up in soil. They have made the discovery in a joint study with Scottish scientists and it means we may be able to forecast how quickly our planet will warm up. "We are excited because it's very relevant at the moment. We need to predict how the climate is going to change and of course that's very related to the atmosphere, the vegetation, the soil," says David Whitehead.

Environment plan from Air NZ.

Air New Zealand has formed an environment trust to fund research and development into alternative fuels. Chief executive Rob Fyfe says customers have the option to fund the purchase of carbon credits to offset their travel through the company's website . The carbon offset facility will be progressively available to customers outside New Zealand through the airline's international websites later in the year. The first carbon credits secured by Air New Zealand are Emission Reduction Units from TrustPower's Tararua windfarm.

Fyfe say the company anticipates receiving several million dollars in funding annually from customers. The first project of the trust will be a conservation programme involving more than 100 acres on Mangarara Station in Hawke's Bay. The trust will financially contribute to the purchase and planting of 85,000 trees over the next three years to create the conservation reserve, which the farm is placing under covenant to protect for future generations.

The Green Party is calling on all parties in Parliament to opt into the voluntary emissions offsetting scheme announced by Air New Zealand today, and to pay for the off-setting out of their own pockets.

Solid Energy makes loss.

State-owned Solid Energy has posted a loss of $2.7 million for its half year, blaming disruption at the Stockton mine, escalating production costs, the high dollar and low long term contract prices. But the state coal miner forecast it would be back in the black for the year to June 2008 and deliver a strong profit in the June 2009 year as the West Coast Stockton opencast mine returned to full production and the gains from strong international coal prices flowed through.

U.S. power plant carbon emissions zoom in 2007.

The biggest single year increase in greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants in nine years occurred in 2007, finds a new analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project. The finding of a 2.9 percent rise in carbon dioxide emissions over 2006 is based on an analysis of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Now the largest factor in the U.S. contribution to climate change, the electric power industry's emissions of carbon dioxide, CO2, have risen 5.9 percent since 2002 and 11.7 percent since 1997, the analysis shows. The consumption of electricity accounted for more than 2.3 billion tons of CO2 in 2006, or more than 39.5 percent of total emissions from human sources, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Coal-fired power plants alone released more than 1.9 billion tons, or nearly one third of the U.S. total. The Department of Energy projects that carbon dioxide emissions from power generation will increase 19 percent between 2007 and 2030, due to new or expanded coal plants.

In Brief

Radiohead's frontman on his own green conversion, and why he is a 'climate optimist.'

Monbiot: Clean coal is just another scam.

Japan baseball looking to fight global warming with shorter games.

Bradford: Workers’ struggle in the age of climate change and peak oil.

Link to Global Warming in Frogs’ Disappearance Is Challenged.

Biofuel demand 'will increase GHGs.

How the Nazis Blocked a Modern Oil Bonanza.

They may not use Gasoline, but They Sure Burn Through Water.

Best of the Net

The Big Picture – Guardian images.

Unscrew America: great website

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