NZ emissions increase

New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.8% to 77.2m tonnes CO2e in 2005, mainly due to an increase in the proportion of thermal power generation in a dry year for hydro, according to the Ministry For The Environment. Details here, and NZ Herald story here.

The Herald points out the obvious:

In 2005 emissions were 24.7 per cent above the levels of 1990, and Treasury has estimated that at the end of February New Zealand’s liability under Kyoto was $567 million. The National Party claims the figure is actually closer to $1.8 billion.

The figures don’t (yet) include any information on how our carbon sinks performed, or any projection for the 2008-2012 Kyoto commitment period, when we either meet our target (100 percent of 1990 emissions) or buy credits. The government estimated in 2005 that we’ll overshoot our target by 36.2m tonnes over the five years. With the current EU trading price at about $37 per tonne, the cost of covering those emissions would be $1.34bn. Not quite what National (and the Greens, to be fair) were suggesting, but still a lot more than the government is admitting to.

IPPC mitigation report released

The Summary for Policymakers of the IPPC’s Working Group 3 Report is now available from the IPCC web site. It says we have to take early action, but that the cost is affordable. Reports at the BBC, Reuters, Guardian (UK) and New Scientist. More from me when I’ve had time to read it.
Link to PDFs: WG3 SPM, WG2 SPM, WG1 SPM. Full WG1 report (index of pdfs).

Global carbon trading triples to US$30bn

The World Bank reports that global trading in carbon credits tripled last year to US$30bn, with the European market accounting for $25bn. $5bn was spent on emissions reductions in developing countries. The booming market, and tightening supply of credits in the European market prompts the Independent (UK) to caution that demand might exceed supply by the end of the Kyoto commitment period in 2012, forcing prices up. Credits are currently trading around E20 (NZ$37).

Climate cranks and the man in the moon

How shall we name them, those who protest loudly against the reality of global warming and the need to do anything about it? Some call them sceptics, but they are not true sceptics. They never change their minds. They like to pretend that denialist is a vile reference to the holocaust, but it is apt. Contrarian is accurate, but doesn’t roll off the tongue. Delusionist is another good one, coined by John Quiggin, for they do their best to manufacture delusions in the minds of men, but it is another long word.

I am a great believer in short words, and so for Hot Topic I adopted the term climate crank to describe all those people covered by the terms above. I had thought I might claim some originality, but that seems impossible on the interweb. There’s a marvelous post about the Unified theory of the crank at denialism blog from last month.

My favourite NZ-based climate crank is Ken Ring, the moon man. His world view is so far out of the ordinary that the lads at the NZ Climate Science Coalition haven’t enrolled him, but they do link to him from their site. Here’s some of his wisdom from his current (April 29) weather e-zine:

The continents have also drifted around, shifting the positions of both poles, with the result that all continents in their geological past have gone through alternating regimes of desert, jungle forest, and glaciation. For example why there is oil in the Middle East is because the Sahara Desert was once the Sahara Forest. Two interglacials ago Antarctic was 5C warmer than today. 20,000 years ago the south pole was near Perth and Antarctica was still forested and had human occupation. Western Australia was then covered with snow. At this time the North Pole was not far from Chicago, an area referred to by geologists as the Illinoisian Ice Cap. The snow then reached right to Mexico.

That’s right. 20,000 years ago Antarctica was forested and people lived there, and the South Pole was near Perth. Not content with rewriting the art of weather forecasting, he seems to be embarking on the whole of the earth sciences. Classic crank.

Of catheters and climate

It’s tough in Bangkok. There’s a deadline to meet, a summary for policymakers to agree on, and a lot of arguing to do. Reuters AlertNet puts an interesting spin on events as delegates struggle to finalise the IPCC Working Group III report:

At the Bangkok meeting, governments have proposed hundreds of amendments to the main document, a 24-page summary for policymakers dealing with the science and estimated costs of curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
“If you try to debate the thing word by word, nuance by nuance among 180 people, then you just don’t get anywhere. So the strategy is to push these things into small groups and then have the small groups report back,