Another green world (please)

Geoff Ross, founder of vodka maker 42 Below, explains the thinking behind the Pure Advantage campaign, launched last week to persuade New Zealand that “green growth” is the best way (some might say the only credible way) for the NZ economy to develop [Herald, Stuff]. Pure Advantage is the brainchild of a group of NZ business leaders, convinced that NZ’s existing reputation as (relatively) clean and green place can be leveraged to give the country an advantage as the world moves to embrace “green growth” — something already worth, they say, $6 trillion a year worldwide.

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Stern talking (but not Nick)

At the UNFCCC Climate Change talks currently under way in Bonn the US Envoy Todd Stern has unequivocally announced the role the US will be playing in the time ahead.  It is an extraordinary transformation. The hopes raised by Obama still look strong.

Some extracts follow. First, the opening remarks:

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Telling porkies to Parliament

NZETS.jpgThe Emissions Trading Scheme Review committee has released the first batch of submissions it has received — those made by organisations and individuals who have already made their presentations to the committee. There are some heavy hitters in there: from New Zealand’s science and policy community there’s the Climate Change Centre (a joint venture between the University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington, plus all the Crown Research Institutes – from NIWA to AgResearch), VUW’s Climate Change Research Institute, and GNS Science, and from the world of commerce, we have the Business Roundtable‘s “evidence”. Why the quote marks? Because the Roundtable’s submission is a fact-free farrago of nonsense.

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Unlike markets, climate won’t bounce back soon

It’s my pleasure to welcome another guest writer to Hot Topic — Peter Barrett, professor of geology at Victoria University, deputy director of the Climate Change Research Institute and former director of VUW’s Antarctic Research Centre. He is also convener of the ANDRILL science advisory panel. Last week, the Dominion Post carried this challenging article from Peter, and as it is not available at the DP web site, he has kindly agreed to allow it to appear as a guest column here. I hope it won’t be the last.

The world economy appears to be heading into the worst recession in 60 years. The nominal wealth of global markets has almost halved in the last couple of months and the United States Government alone is shoring up its banking system with $US7.6 trillion. Commentators expect conditions will be difficult in the next few years and say we need to get the fundamentals right.

Severe downturns have happened before and our society has recovered. Each time, confidence and perception of wealth has grown to exceed tangible assets and credible wealth by a big margin, and the illusion could not be sustained. Each time we had to go back to the fundamentals.

At same time the global ecosystem has suffered from economic growth and rising population. The United Nation’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005 found that more than 60 percent of the Earth’s ecosystem services were degraded by overuse and pollution. The importance of ecosystem services to our economic and social well being is now understood as fundamental, though progress is slow.

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Care of environment could be good for jobs

When the Greens announced Labour as their preferred partner for any post-election negotiations John Key was quick with the accusation that the Greens in government would mean environmental policies would have precedence, that jobs would be sold down the river and that economic growth would be on the backburner.

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