NZ emissions scheme to include all sectors and all gases

The government has announced that it will make up its mind on a domestic emissions trading scheme by September. Quoted in the Herald, climate change minister David Parker said:

“We are looking for a design that will be economy-wide, and include all sectors, and all gases.

Fact checking Finlay

Finlay MacDonald, former editor of the New Zealand Listener, uses his Sunday Star Times column to cast a few stones at carbon trading. He’s sceptical about business “going green

Polar opposites

Interesting reading: on the one hand, Christopher, Lord Monckton, Britain’s most famous climate crank, is exposed as, well, something of a crank in a profile in The Observer, while James Lovelock comes on a bit strong in the Times Online.

Monckton:

‘Well,’ he says, breezily, ‘for a few years, the temperature will continue to rise, but nowhere near as fast as the alarmists would wish it to rise. Then solar physicists suggest that in the next solar cycle but one, and a solar cycle is about 10.6 years, there will be a considerable cooling of the Sun. And the panic will disappear.’ Hey presto.

Lovelock:

If you want to get some idea of what much of the Earth might look like in 50 years’ time then, says James Lovelock, get hold of a powerful telescope or log onto Nasa’s Mars website. That arid, empty, lifeless landscape is, he believes, how most of Earth’s equatorial lands will be looking by 2050. A few decades later and that same uninhabitable desert will have extended into Spain, Italy, Australia and much of the southern United States. “We are on the edge of the greatest die-off humanity has ever seen,â€? said Lovelock. “We will be lucky if 20% of us survive what is coming. We should be scared stiff.â€?

Meanwhile, Vanity Fair‘s now annual Green Issue includes an excellent profile of Myron Ebell, the man behind the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s sceptical effluvia. Worth reading if only for the phrase:

Many of the skeptics are curmudgeons: old, bald, and bitter. But not Myron Ebell.

Old, bald and bitter. Who can they mean…?

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.

Landcorp lambasted

According to the NZ Herald, Landcorp, the country’s biggest farmer and a state owned enterprise, has done nothing to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and has not even begun considering how the problem might be addressed. [Link]

Reviewing the company’s performance, Parliament’s primary produce subcommittee were surprised to discover that the company had taken no steps to establish its own carbon footprint, or consider how it might go about reducing emissions. Landcorp has been enthusiastically felling trees in the central North Island – 25,000 ha of forest is planned for dairy and pastoral conversion over the next 20 years – turning carbon sinks into methane emitters. It apparently believes that the drive for any change has to come from its customers and consumers, but the shareholders have a say too. If Michael Cullen and Trevor Mallard (the shareholding ministers) are going to pay more than lip service to making NZ carbon neutral, they might want to have a word with their old friend and Landcorp chairman-designate, Jim Sutton. Perhaps they could send him the summary for policymakers from the IPCC’s mitigation report when it comes out at the end of this week.