Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.
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Emissions bill passes.
Controversial climate-change legislation that forces polluting industries to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions has passed into law, with far-reaching. In a sign of the Government's concern over potential delays, it broke with an earlier decision and rammed Parliament into urgency to speed up the process. "New Zealand has risen to meet one of the great challenges of our time," Climate Change Minister David Parker told MPs. The legislation meant New Zealand would join 27 European nations, Norway and Sweden in setting up an emissions trading scheme, he said. National pledged to change the legislation if it wins this year's general election.
Transport bill passes under urgency.
Legislation giving regional councils greater control over public transport services has passed into law as Parliament sits under urgency. Previously councils could set standards for public transport it contracts. Transport Minister Annette King said the bill did not tell regional councils how to run their public transport systems, just gave them the tools to run them effectively. The National Party did not vote against the bill, but transport spokesman Maurice Williamson said he had reservations about it as it created needless red tape for operators.
Nats re-release green policies.
National released its environment and conservation policies this week - after Labour released theirs last week. Key points in the environment policy were:
- A legislated target of 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2050.
- An emissions trading system (ETS). National would amend the Labour scheme within nine months of office.
- Set standards and incentivise biofuel use by exempting it from excise tax or road-user charges.
- Exempting electric cars from road user charges.
- $1000 grants for solar water heating and heat-pump hot water heating.
Climate change suspected as cause of godwits early arrival.
The annual godwit migration has come early this year, with the birds arriving in Christchurch two weeks ahead of time. A joke doing the rounds is that they have fled Alaska on learning that Sarah Palin has joined the US presidential race, but a more likely theory has to do with global warming. The arrival of the first godwits of spring is a significant day on Christchurch's calendar. Their presence is announced with the sounding the bells of the Christchurch cathedral. Every September the birds make the non-stop 11,000 kilometre journey from Alaska - the longest migration of any bird. And this year marks their earliest arrival yet. "I've been monitoring their arrival for 25 years, and this is by far the earliest arrival," park ranger Andrew Crossland says. "Last year they were about a week later than this year, but normally they're about two to three weeks later than now."
Solar energy For 4 billion people.
Solar electricity can contribute largely to the energy needs of two-thirds of the world’s population - including those in remote areas - by 2030. This is the main conclusion of the Solar Generation report, published by Greenpeace and the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). By 2030, it estimates that over 1800 GW of photovoltaic systems will have been installed worldwide. This represents over 2600 TWh of electricity produced per year, or 14% of global electricity demand. This is enough power to supply over 1.3 billion people in developed areas and over 3 billion people in remote rural areas who currently have no access to mains electricity. “Solar electricity could help cut up to 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030, equivalent to the emissions of 450 coal-fired power plants,” said Sven Teske, energy expert from Greenpeace International and co-author of the study.
Brown unveils £910m fuel measures.
Gordon Brown has agreed a £910m package of measures with the big energy companies aimed at helping people with soaring gas and electricity bills. It includes half price insulation for all households and a freeze on this year's bills for the poorest families. Pensioners and unemployed people with young children will get an extra £16.50 a week if there is a severe winter. But the measures were attacked as "ridiculous" by the unions, who want a windfall tax on the energy giants. The government says its aim is to insulate every home in Britain by 2020 - and energy companies, councils and voluntary organisations will be making door-to-door visits in deprived areas to promote the scheme.
Cycleway not recommended for Auckland harbour Bridge. Locke:” Government funding can make bridge cycleway a reality.”
Another large section of Canadian ice shelf breaks loose.
Greens gain emissions compo for capital's public transport.
Rodney Hide says “I remain sceptical that greenhouse gases are the cause of a global warming.”
Shun meat, says UN climate chief.
Heinberg: Want Cheap Oil? Reduce Demand!
US Federal Highway Trust Fund nearly depleted due to driving cutback.
World's first carbon capture pilot fires up clean-coal advocates.
The Nasa scientist who first drew attention to global warming 20 years ago appeared in a British court this week as a key witness in support of climate change activists.
Kingsnorth Six found not guilty.
To slow global warming, install white roofs says report.
Best of the Net
Blog: Fallow focuses the debate on facts.
Pictures used to teach people about global warming in Bangladesh.
Audio: Lovelock on emissions trading.
Video: The Lockwood & Maurice Show.