Monday, 25 August 2008

Climate Snippets - 26 August

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

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Green Party wins major improvements to ETS.

The Green Party Caucus has decided that the substantial changes we have won to the ETS justify voting for it. “We have always said the scheme needed to share the effort much more fairly. Along with the one-off financial payment, this goes a long way to compensating households for their higher prices, and reducing energy waste and carbon emissions. “Revenue from the ETS will be recycled into a Billion dollar fund to make New Zealand homes warm, dry and cost-effective to heat,” Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

“It was a difficult decision because we do not believe that emissions trading, in itself, will do enough to reduce emissions. The Greens will continue to fight for greater energy efficiency standards, better and more public transport, accelerated technology change, and a host of practical emissions reduction technologies which will save far more carbon than trading will. A price on carbon will help to encourage sustainable alternatives to our energy wasting, unsustainable, fossil fuel-based way of life. It is a start, but it is not nearly enough.”

Drivers to pay for oil shock.

Motorists should pay more to drive cars - including more expensive car parks, and fees to use the roads - if New Zealand is to survive rising oil prices, a comprehensive new report [Managing Transport Challenges When Oil Prices Rise’ says. The increased costs would be coupled with investment in public transport, tax breaks for fuel-efficient vehicles, laws requiring new developments to provide showers and lockers for walkers and bikers, improved urban design, and encouraging businesses to swap company cars for cash or bus subsidies. The report calls for a fundamental shift in the Government's transport solutions - away from building more roads toward investing in alternative transport and maintaining existing roads. Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons welcomed the report and hoped it would "inject a bit of reality" into transport planning. She said the Government had previously ignored rising oil prices in its cost-benefit analysis of building more roads. This report acknowledged "for the first time" the reality of long-term oil-price rises.

Accra climate talks begin.

Opening the latest round of climate treaty negotiations, the Accra Climate Change Talks, John Agyekum Kufuor, president of Ghana, called for an "international deal... in which developing countries commit to plan for climate resilient development. In return the international community should commit to provide adequate, predictable, long-term funding and support in terms of technology transfer and capacity building." The Accra meeting is the latest stage in the development of strengthened long-term action on climate change. "The clock is ticking," Kufuor warned. "We need to be pragmatic and move beyond rhetoric to make progress as we move towards Copenhagen." Agreement needs to be reached by the time of the Copenhagen meeting in December 2009.

In his opening address, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UNFCC Secretariat, noted that Africa is "the climate change regimes’ forgotten continent," with a limited number of Clean Development Mechanism projects and relatively low funding from the Global Environment Facility. "If this meeting can be a step towards the design of a regime that helps Africa to achieve clean economic growth and deal with the impacts of climate change through effective mechanisms that deliver on finance, technology and capacity-building, you will have done very important work here," he continued. The Accra discussions will cover the finance and technology needed to limit emissions and adapt to climate change, sectoral approaches to emissions reduction and sector-specific actions and reducing emissions from deforestation.

Cracking ice fuels greenhouse fears.

A growing ice crack, which has created a 28.5sq km chunk of ice haemorrhaging off a glacier, has appeared in northern Greenland, a part of the Arctic that had seemed immune from global warming. New satellite images showing the crack have led the professor who spotted the wounds in the massive Petermann glacier to predict major portions of the Northern Hemisphere's largest floating glacier will disintegrate within the year, raising sea levels further. The crack is 11km long and about 800m wide. It is about half the width of the floating part of the glacier. Other, smaller fractures are also visible.

Many think it's too late for climate, survey finds.

Ten per cent of New Zealanders believe it is too late to do anything about climate change, a new survey reveals. The figure has alarmed campaigners trying to spread the message that everyone can do their bit for the environment. Paul McElwain, strategy director of advertising company Publicis Mojo, presented the results of the online survey to a conference in Auckland yesterday. The poll of more than 4000 household shoppers showed hundreds thought it was too late to act on climate change. One in 10 New Zealanders and about two in 10 Australians thought time had run out.

In Brief

Greens supports call for public transport upgrades.

Global meat production continues to rise.

Accra conference splits over deforestation emission cut.

Editorial: Greens' dilemma the price of being our climate conscience.

Identity politics in climate change hell.

Decoding the World's best energy policies.

Genetically-Engineered trees can dissolve themselves into fuel.

Best of the Net

Blog: Yes to ETS.

Solar plane makes record flight.

Blog: The Niue Declaration.

Green Party support for ETS, Jeanette on Nine to Noon, listen here.

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