Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Climate Snippets - 26 November

Climate change news from Aotearoa and around the World.

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UK’s new air-departure tax.

Prime Minister John Key's first meeting with Gordon Brown has been overshadowed by Britain's controversial new that the travel industry says threatens the billion-dollar UK tourist market. Mr Key told Mr Brown that the tax was of "significant concern" to New Zealand and said he will continue to pursue the matter with the British government. The tax will increase the further a passenger flies to help offset carbon emissions. Travel to New Zealand attracts the highest of four levels of the tax because of its distance from the UK. The British government also plans to incrementally increase the tax from $113 to $240 by November 2010.

Adoption of climate treaty by 2009 in doubt.

Despite new leadership in the United States promising to cap the country's greenhouse gas emissions, some environmental leaders say it is unlikely that an international climate treaty will pass in the next year. During his campaign, U.S. president-elect Barack Obama supported a global cap-and-trade agreement for regulating his nation's carbon emissions. As a result, many international observers are hoping the United States will agree to binding emissions-reduction targets at the high-profile climate change negotiations scheduled for December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Such optimism may be unrealistic, however….Read more.

UK 'undermining' climate fight by keeping carbon permit cash.

The UK government was under fire this week for "undermining" the European Union's fight against climate change by auctioning off carbon allowances for the first time and not earmarking the cash for "green" projects. Around four million permits are being distributed today under a new phase of the European Union's (EU) emissions trading scheme (ETS) with expected receipts of up to £60m going to the Treasury for general spending purposes. "The policy of the UK government on this issue undermines the very purpose of the EU ETS... Auctioning undermines this flexible mechanism as it takes money away from those who can do something about climate change, the emitters, and it gives it to those who can't, the politicians," said James Emanuel at emissions trading broker, CantorCO2e. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said ministers should change their mind and use the cash specifically for projects such as improving energy efficiency of homes, investing in low-carbon technologies and helping poorer countries cope with climate change.

Canada wants North America cap-and-trade system

Canada's Conservative government, shifting positions in the wake of Barack Obama's election as U.S. president, said on Wednesday that it would work to develop a North America-wide cap-and-trade system to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. The Conservatives, who walked away from the Kyoto protocol on climate change after taking power in 2006, have until now focused on cutting the intensity of emissions rather than imposing outright curbs.

"We will work with the provincial governments and our partners to develop and implement a North America-wide cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases," the government said as it unveiled plans for the new session of Parliament. Obama favors much tougher greenhouse gas reduction targets than those set by the Conservatives, and says he will start a cap-and-trade system. Green groups said the Conservatives' new positioning is largely academic as Canada would likely go along with whatever approach the new U.S. administration takes because the U.S. economy is around 10 times the size of Canada's. "I think we will be forced into a North American-wide cap-and-trade system that will basically be dictated by Washington.... It's the only system that can work. We've got an integrated economy," said Stephen Hazell, executive director of Sierra Club Canada.

In Brief

NZ now a joke in Europe, says carbon trader.

NZ Foresters 'losing millions' in carbon credits.

Protesters 'tried to chuck a big cream pie in my face' – Solid Energy CEO

Colin James: Key's task harder than recession.

APEC leaders urges to address climate change.

Politicians persuaded to save Canada boreal forest.

Video game consoles in the U.S. consume more than $1 billion of electricity a year just when sitting idle.

In its 10th Guide to Green Electronics, Greenpeace deems Nokia the greenest company.

Monbiot: The planet is now so vandalised that only total energy renewal can save us.

Best of the Net

Real Climate FAQ on climate models.

Video: Coal – it’s like paying someone to be a prick.

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