Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Climate Snippets - 21 August

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

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Greens seek opinions from kiwis on ETS.

The Green Party is facing a difficult decision over whether to lend its support to the Emissions Trading Scheme. "At the beginning of this process we said we wanted to be as open about these negotiations as we could be and now we have reached a point where the Green Party caucus has to make a decision about this next Tuesday and we would like some feedback from New Zealanders before we do," Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says. "What really mattered about this scheme was that is was fair to New Zealanders and effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Throughout the negotiation process we have kept this at the forefront of our minds”. People can email their opinions to

Nat’s energy policy is financial madness – Greens.

The National Party's new energy policy is a tribute to cronyism and makes no economic sense, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says. "It ignores our biggest energy problem, transport fuels and the rising cost of oil, and relies on ‘drill and hope’. No one with any common sense would invest in more subsidies to fossil fuels when New Zealand is so well endowed with renewable energy.

Greens want pollution fines.

The Green Party is calling for tougher fines to be imposed on farmers polluting waterways. It follows an audit of farms in the greater Wellington region showing a third of the farms were non-compliant. Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman says it is time Government gave regional councils powers they can use to clean up waterways. He says the current fines are minimal, and mean very little to big industrial dairy operations. Mr Norman says the next government needs to increase instant fines possible under Resource Management Act regulations for serious polluters of rivers and lakes. he is calling for the fine to be increased to $2,000 for first time offences and up to $10,000 for repeat offences. Mr Norman says at the moment the maximum infringement for discharging into waterways increase is $750, and that is nothing to an operation with a turnover of $5 million or more a year.

New Zealand a natural partner in carbon trade: Kevin Rudd.

There are no technical barriers to linking Australian and New Zealand emissions trading schemes, Kevin Rudd declared yesterday on his first visit to Auckland since being elected Prime Minister. New Zealand was a "natural partner" for Australia but Australia had to "get its own house in order" and properly establish a carbon pollution reduction scheme before linking with other programs. "The first thing is to get the carbon pollution reduction scheme right, and we've released a detailed green paper on that and we are consulting business as we speak, and the community sector, and that will take some time," Mr Rudd told a session of the Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference in Auckland. "The important principle for us ... is to make sure there are no barriers to linking the schemes and, based on my advice, there are none. Frankly, in terms of the long-term health of the planet I think it is a good direction to head in, but as I said, in terms of our processes, we still have a way to go."

Emissions trading under the spotlight at climate change conference.

The Australia and New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference has opened, with emissions trading under the spotlight. Regulated and voluntary trading are both a focus, as are other complementary measures to drive emissions reductions. However, Greenpeace wants to see less talk and more action. A spokesman says it is all very well having the conference, but the New Zealand government needs to back up good intentions with legislation.

Urgent call for Rudd and Clarke on climate change action.

Pacific Islands such as Kiribati face an uncertain future due to rising sea levels and climate change and community leaders are urging the governments of New Zealand and Australia to take action. Community leaders from the Pacific are urging Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand to take more proactive actions on climate change in the Pacific, in particular increased immigration and resettlement. "The Australian and New Zealand governments must begin a real process of partnership with Pacific Island countries in finding ways to prepare for and assist with the resettlement of Pacific Island people who will be displaced by global warming." Instigated by Friends of the Earth and supported by organisations from all over the Pacific, the letter is to be issued at the Pacific Islands Forum this week.

World geothermal power generation nearing eruption.

With fossil fuel prices escalating and countries searching for ways to reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions, capturing the earth’s heat for power generation is garnering new attention. First begun in Larderello, Italy, in 1904, electricity generation using geothermal energy is now taking place in 24 countries, 5 of which use it to produce 15 percent or more of their total electricity. In the first half of 2008, total world installed geothermal power capacity passed 10,000 megawatts and now produces enough electricity to meet the needs of 60 million people, roughly the population of the United Kingdom. In 2010, capacity could increase to 13,500 megawatts across 46 countries -equivalent to 27 coal-fired power plants.

In Brief

A Queenstown man is taking High Court action to prevent the Government enacting the controversial Emissions Trading Scheme.

Power generated from cow dung has been identified as one way New Zealand could make billions from an emissions trading scheme.

Annual public transport figures released by the ARC and the ARTA show Aucklanders are on the move to public transport, with total patronage for the year to 30 June 2008 reaching 54.4 million journeys, 4.4% higher than last year.

Electric-car visionary would overhaul the way we get around.

Climaction: STOP THE GREENWASH! - Skycity Protest.

Frogs and other amphibians dying at alarming rates, say scientists.

Japan to label goods' carbon footprints.

Jellyfish invasion: Britain to fight them on the beaches.

California: giant 800 megawatt solar power deal.

Minister denies light bulb safety issues.

Best of the Net

Peak oil on National radio.

Blog: Kaukapakapa gears up for a fight.

Julian Robbins on the ETS (Morning Report).

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