Thursday, 17 April 2008

Climate Snippets - 18 April

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

Greens uncover Meridian’s secret report on Mokihinui.

Meridian Energy says a Landcare Research report it commissioned on its proposed Mokihinui dam, north of Westport, is a "real disappointment" and "lacks common sense". Meridian said the report's recommendations included removing

Meridian released the draft report yesterday in response to an Official Information Act request from the Green Party, which then tabled the report in Parliament. The report said the project had "substantial biodiversity impacts" which would have to be offset. "In lay terms, the report unequivocally says that there is no way to mitigate the impact of this dam on our native species, but this is exactly what the Resource Management Act requires," she said.

Meridian wants to fell large swatches of native rimu forest, and drown an area of 330ha of conservation land. Meridian is seeking 34 resource consents to build, operate and maintain the proposed scheme, including a dam 3km upstream from Seddonville, a 337ha lake and a 110kv transmission line. The proposed 85MW dam would produce enough power for up to 45,000 homes. Meridian hopes to start building in 2010 and start operating the scheme three years later.

Bush sets greenhouse-gas emissions goal for 2025.

President Bush on Tuesday called on the US to set policies that stabilize greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025. To achieve that objective, the president said, emissions from the utility industry must peak within the next 10 to 15 years. The president's latest approach to climate change comes on the eve of the third in a series of major economies meetings the White House has called. These meetings, in parallel with United Nations-based negotiations, are aimed at developing a new climate treaty to pick up after 2012, when the 1997 Kyoto Protocol's first enforcement period expires.Responses to Bush’s speech.

World sea levels to rise 1.5m by 2100.

Melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warming water could lift sea levels by as much as 1.5 metres by the end of this century, displacing tens of millions of people, new research showed yesterday. Presented at a European Geosciences Union conference, the research forecasts a rise in sea levels three times higher than that predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year.

"The IPCC numbers [between 18 cm and 59 cm ] are underestimates," said Simon Holgate, also of the Proudman Laboratory. The researchers said the IPCC had not accounted for ice dynamics-- the more rapid movement of ice sheets due to melt water which could markedly speed up their disappearance and boost sea levels. But this effect is set to generate around one-third of the future rise in sea levels, according to Steve Nerem from the University of Colorado in the United States.

World Bank investments fail to promote clean energy.

The World Bank's support for projects that reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in developing countries encourages polluting industries and fails to promote renewable energy, the Institute for Policy Studies said. The manager of $2.1 billion in 10 carbon funds has invested most in ventures that remove climate-warming gases during industrial processes at coal, chemical, iron and steel companies, said Janet Redman, author of today's report. That created an ‘incentive' to maintain the status quo, she said.

The world market for greenhouse-gas trading rose 80 percent in value last year to 40.4 billion euros ($64 billion) as the trading volume of UN-managed credits tripled, according to Point Carbon, an Oslo-based research and publishing company. The market helps drive investment into cleaner energy options in developing countries, Diringer said.

WWF defends clean coal push.

Environment group WWF has called for urgent testing of carbon capture and storage to determine whether or not the low-emissions technology for fossil fuels can work. The organisation has come under fire from rivals Greenpeace and the Australian Greens for cooperating with the coal industry in a call for the government to speed up CCS investigation. WWF and the Climate Institute on Wednesday will join the Australian Coal Association and mining union the CFMEU in calling for the federal government to establish a CCS task force. "Rapid deployment of demonstration plants is necessary to determine whether CCS is practical for broad application, and if it doesn't work we need to know even sooner," WWF Australia chief executive Greg Bourne said.

Shell warns Europe on emissions permit.

Royal Dutch Shell, the world's second-largest oil company, has threatened to stop investing in Europe if it is forced to pay for emissions permits that have previously been free. Christian Balme, a Shell France director, told the European Parliament that if the EU moved towards a system in which emission quotas were auctioned, it would destroy Shell's profitability in Europe. The EC has proposed that from 2013, oil refineries and airlines, and possibly some other industrial sectors, will have to pay for 20 per cent of their emissions permits, rising to 100percent by 2020.

Greenpeace warns On Canada's northern forests.

Greenpeace warned that Canada's logging practices threaten to turn the country's vast northern forest into a source of global warming, but the forestry industry says it is already taking steps to fight climate change. Logging and other development in the boreal forest release the carbon that the trees have trapped from the atmosphere over decades, potentially producing more greenhouse gases than from burning fossil fuels, the environmental group charged in a new report. Studies estimate it stores about 186 billion tonnes of carbon, equal to about 27 times what the world produces from burning fossil fuel each year. Two-thirds of the carbon is stored in the forest's soil.

Surprise discovery off coast of Brazil - claims that offshore field is world's third biggest.

Excitement about the potential of Brazil as a massive new source of oil and gas intensified yesterday after a senior energy ministry official declared that the newly found Carioca field could have 33bn barrels in place. The comments by Haroldo Lima, head of Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, that the country was harbouring an oil find that vied with the largest in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, sent the price of shares in BG, the UK exploration company, up 5% and helped lift the wider London market.


In Brief

Climate cranks claim a scalp: Listeners editorial integrity and independence challenged.

Warming trends in a third of the world's large ocean regions are two to four times greater than previously reported averages, increasing the risk to marine life and fisheries, a U.N.-backed environmental study said.

Four nations in race to be first to go carbon neutral.

The Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM) has registered its
1000th project, an energy efficiency project.


Is President Bush seeking a global warming legacy?

Beijing bans construction projects to improve air quality during the Olympics.

Monbiot: Credit crunch? The real crisis is global hunger. And if you care, eat less meat.

The Chambers of Commerce on ETS: Throw it out.

System of a Down proposes virtual concerts?

The great carbon con: Can offsetting really help to save the planet?


Best of the Net

CO2 map zooms in on emissions – video shows one day in U.S.

Al Gore's latest Powerpoint presentation.

... a running total of how many people have been born and how many have died while you’ve been on the site, and as each country emits 1000 tons of C02 it flashes red. The USA pumps out 1000 tons every 5.4 seconds, whereas it take New Zealand 15.5 minutes to do the same damage. But a mathematician can tell us whether that’s proportional or not…

Al Gore's latest Powerpoint presentation.

Lately I have been checking out climate related games on line, here are some of my favourite.

Climate Challenge – BBC game.

Climate Chaos – Blue Bunny

Climate Pentathlon.

Climate Revenge.

VGas

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