Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Climate Snippets - 3 April

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

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Bangkok talks to set timetable on global-warming pact.

This week, negotiators from 163 countries dip their toes into poorly charted diplomatic waters as they prepare to craft a new agreement to fight global warming. Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, through Friday, negotiators aim to lay out a detailed negotiating timetable for a draft pact they can submit for approval in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009. And unlike talks that led to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which applied only to developed countries, these talks must set some type of binding greenhouse-gas emissions objectives for developing countries as well.

ETS Select Committee begins: business says carbon-trade law too strict.

In the first day of select committee hearings on the climate change legislation yesterday, MPs heard from a succession of business groups which, while accepting global warming needed to be addressed, argued that details of the proposed trading system would harm businesses too much. The Climate Change (Emissions Trade and Renewable Preference) Bill sets up a trading scheme which will eventually affect all sectors of the economy, including agriculture. Yesterday's business and industry submitters expressed concern about the uncertain future path of the price of carbon, and suggested that a "safety valve" be inserted into the legislation that prevented costs soaring uncontrollably.

They also emphasised the risk that companies would move their operations overseas if New Zealand was too extreme in its emissions trading scheme and made the businesses less competitive internationally. One other major theme to emerge from the day's submissions was a clear push for New Zealand's scheme to be aligned as closely as possible with what Australia does.

Greenpeace surveys political party’s climate policies.

No New Zealand political party has tough enough policy to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, Greenpeace said this week as it released a survey.
The Politics of Climate Change survey asked 20 questions about issues including emission reduction targets, domestic emission reductions, agriculture, transport, energy, the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, international obligations and social equity. The survey did not set out to rank parties but in rough terms the Greens did best followed by the Progressive Party. Next were Labour and United Future on a similar level followed by National. While the Green Party was the clear winner it was criticised in the findings for having a 60-90 per cent by 2050 emission reduction target which was considered relatively weak. The party was also criticised for accepting some industry subsidy was necessary when Greenpeace said forcing polluters to pay would drive reductions.

Rare flesh-eating snails star in controversial doco.

Environmental groups say a $50,000 Solid Energy documentary on the removal of rare carnivorous snails from one of its mine sites is a rampant case of "greenwashing". But the state coal mining company's chief executive Don Elder has denied the documentary – unveiled to media and sector groups today – is a propaganda exercise. The 20-minute documentary, titled Snail the Movie, traces the company's repatriation of the Powelliphanta Augustus snail from its West Coast Stockton mine site to nearby areas. The relocation of the 6000 rare worm-eating snails, believed to only exist on the ridgeline, was a requirement of its mining permit.

"Earth Hour" goes global.

The Sydney Opera House to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge went dark as people switched off lights in their homes and skylines dimmed around the world on Saturday to show concern with global warming. Up to 30 million people were expected to have turned off their lights for 60 minutes by the time "Earth Hour" -- which started in Suva in Fiji and Christchurch in New Zealand -- completed its cycle westward. A power saving of 5% was made across the wider Canterbury region, national grid company Transpower reported.

Students Label Auckland Council “Climate Criminals”.

Student activists of Greens on Campus, assembled outside a council meeting on Thursday 28 March, to protest Auckland City Council’s decision to cancel several climate change prevention initiatives. The students are also concerned that the Council is cutting funding for sustainable transport projects, such as bus lanes and cycle ways. Greens on Campus challenged the Mayor of Auckland, John Banks, to explain how the council would now address climate change. He explained to the group of over forty protesters that climate change was not his priority.

Since the start of this year, the Auckland Council has also put several other sustainability initiatives on hold, such as their plan to appoint an Eco Advisor to make the Council more green. The Council has also decided to delete $28 million of funding for a transport program, called “Liveable Streets” that would have make Auckland’s streets safer and more pleasant for cyclist and walkers.

In Brief

Helen Clark and Kevin Rudd to address major Auckland climate change business conference.

CRAGS: Green meetings aim to lower emissions.

Politicians find it hard to commit to buying carbon credits for travel.

Lockwood Houses goes green.

Fran O'Sullivan: Emissions scheme worries.

State-owned coal miner Solid Energy will participate in a large-scale effort to inject unwanted carbon dioxide underground at a research site in Australia.

Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection unveils ambitious $300 million ad campaign.

Jeanette Fitzsimons (Govt Spokesperson: Energy Efficiency) opening speech to Biofuels Conference 2008.

Best of the Net

NZ Politicians to debate on board the Rainbow Warrior.

An ice melt gambling contest has become one of the world's most accurate indicators of global warming impact.

New website: We can solve the climate crisis.

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