Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Climate Snippets - 31 July

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

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Wind power key, says leading scientist.

A leading New Zealand scientist believes renewable energy production can minimise risks associated with climate change, outlining his views yesterday during an Environment Court appeal hearing for the largest wind farm development in the Southern Hemisphere. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) Wellington climate change general manager David Wratt told the hearing for Meridian Energy's proposed Project Hayes development the wind farm could serve as mitigation for potentially dangerous climate change effects in New Zealand. "Renewable power, including wind power, is one of the key mitigation technologies and practices currently commercially available for the energy sector. New renewable energy power stations are an essential part of New Zealand's emission management response," Dr Wratt's written evidence stated. "A reduction of 50% to 85% would be required in global carbon dioxide emissions in 2050, compared with 2000, in order to maintain an eventual long-term global equilibrium temperature."

$400 million windfarm approved.

Trustpower's $400 million Mahinerangi wind farm has been approved by the Environment Court, the Otago Daily Times has been told. The project was originally approved by a joint committee of the Clutha District Council and the Otago Regional Council late last September, with 178 conditions. The wind farm, on 1723ha of land about 50km west of Dunedin, will have 100 145m-high turbines capable of generating 200MW of power - enough to supply about 100,000 average-size homes.

Simon Terry: Plan to put price on carbon emissions needs to change.

The simplest way to understand the Government's central response to climate change is to think in terms of protection money. The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) starts in the right place - setting up a mechanism to put a price on "carbon". Such a price signals the cost of emissions to the environment encourages low carbon alternatives and has the capacity to reduce emissions. Climate protection money is the other benefit, as pricing also brings in funds to meet the nation's Kyoto commitments. New Zealand's gross emissions are expected to be 28 per cent over its Kyoto Protocol target without intervention. To square away this excess and do its bit for climate protection, New Zealand will buy carbon credits from overseas and the ETS will ensure local forest owners who remove carbon from the atmosphere also get paid….read more.

U.S.-Canada carbon trading group eyes 2012 start.

A coalition of U.S. states and Canadian provinces that have banded together to cut greenhouse gases will launch their carbon cap and trade system in 2012, according to a draft plan released on Wednesday. The Western Climate Initiative's system will be phased in starting with industrial process emissions, with emissions from transportation and other fuels added to the system in 2015. It also will include emissions from electricity imported from sources outside of the group. The WCI launched in 2007 has set a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. But the document released in advance of the WCI's scheduled meeting July 29 in San Diego, indicated the group's members were still wrangling over important details on issues such as how emission allowances will be apportioned between its members.

33% of China's carbon footprint blamed on exports.

Economists now say that one-third of China's carbon dioxide emissions are pumped into the atmosphere in order to manufacture exported goods – many of them "advanced" electronics goods destined for developed countries. "Export goods emissions" account for 1.7 billion tonnes of China's carbon dioxide. That represents 6% of total global emissions – the equivalent of Germany, France and the UK's combined emissions. A large share of these emissions – up to 25% – has been blamed on China's ever-growing export market, but this has not been quantified until now. Now Christopher Weber of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and colleagues have shown that the figure is larger still. Weber's team used a standard model of the Chinese economy, produced by the Chinese government. This model, which operates on the same principle as others produced by every national government, reflects how money has flowed in and out of different sectors of the economy since the 1980s. Matching the model to the dataset allowed the team to calculate that, in 2005, export sectors generated 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – 33% of China's emissions.

In Brief

Auckland Climate Action Hui 2.3 August.

WWF has asked all New Zealand towns and cities to sign up as for Earth Hour 2009.

Schools eye four-day week to cut fuel costs.

Green activist superglues himself to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Rod Oram on Australian and NZ emission trading scheme.

High energy prices prompt first US coal-to-liquids plant.

U.S. Army works to cut its carbon "bootprint".

Huge growth in specialist environmental jobs.

Best of the Net

Life in the shadow of China's melting glacier.

TIME: 10 things you can like about $4 gas.

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