Weekend roundup #12 & #35

Thousands of diplomats are on the road to Bali to start the negotiations for a post-Kyoto emissions reductions deal. I’ll be posting more on that as the conference progresses, but in the meantime Brian Fallow provides some useful context in the Herald, and Liz Banas at Radio NZ National produces an excellent Focus On Politics on the conference (listen live at 5-10pm Saturday, podcast available). Meanwhile, the UN turned up the pressure by issuing its latest Human Development Report [PDF], which gives us only ten years to get down to serious action.

  • To get up to speed with cap and whatever, the US-based Tomales Bay Institute has issued a concise little report , Carbon Capping – A Citizen’s Guide, which gives a good overview of how carbon trading works [PDF]. Very US-centric, and not exactly highbrow, but very clear and with a great glossary (via desmogblog).
  • Oxfam issued a briefing paper, Climate Alarm: Disasters increase as climate change bites [PDF], which concludes that climate change is already increasing the number of disasters affecting communities around the world. “The total number of natural disasters worldwide now averages 400– 500 a year, up from an average of 125 in the early 1980s. The number of climate-related disasters, particularly floods and storms, is rising far faster than the number of geological disasters, such as earthquakes.” [BBC], Independent (UK)]
  • I’ve been getting quite a few hits after TV3 featured New Plymouth’s electric car builder Gavin Shoebridge, featured here a few months ago. Apparently his YouTube pages (First Run here) have had more than 100,000 hits. A bit more than HT. It seems we’re less sexy than his Tredia…
  • On the clean energy front, the Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association reckons that tidal and wave power could be producing electricity in NZ in five years, there are discussions in Europe about building a 8,000km DC power grid to link giant windfarms scattered around the continent (so that somewhere always has wind), and The Guardian reports on research into cheap solar photovoltaics using organic polymers.
  • The whinging by big emitters about the ETS continues: Fran O’Sullivan details complaints by Solid Energy and Air NZ chair John Palmer about the “lack of debate” and the rubbishing of the NZI’s Fast Follower report (who, me?), while John Pfahlert of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand is given space by the Herald to add to the noise. More sensibly, on the other side of the world, British business lobby group the CBI (not a notably left-wing organisation) has called for fundamental change in British business, and Prince Charles has whipped up a statement signed by many of the world’s largest corporates urging the Bali conference to take serious action. From the Herald: “Contrary to the argument that mandatory pollution cuts would harm the economy, the business leaders’ petition says ambitious emissions reductions would “create significant business opportunities“. [Update: Full communiqué available here.]
  • Fonterra has commissioned a report into its carbon footprint [Herald , Scoop], AgResearch is going to analyse the lifecycle carbon footprint for sheep meat, and MAF prepared a report [PDF] for the Primary Industries 2020 Summit, held in Christchurch this week, that warns: The drivers [of change] are global warming, climate change, and extreme weather; energy cost and supply; geopolitical power shifts, and international trade and investment; ecosystem degradation, and water quality and availability; demographic shifts; and technological advances.”
  • Meridian hopes to convert Stewart Island to 100% renewable energy, starting the process in January.
  • Further south, the Andrill project has been making rapid progress on another core from the seabed in McMurdo Sound. By now they should have a 1,100m core to set alongside last year’s 1,285m core – 20 million years of climate information drilled from the seabed.

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