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Carbon News 15/12/14: smoke and mirrors Gareth Renowden Dec 16

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English goes silent on carbon deficit costs


The Government is refusing to discuss what impact a 2030 carbon deficit will have on the economy – despite warnings from Treasury. Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed to Carbon News that Treasury is predicting carbon prices of between $10 and $165 a tonne between 2021 and 2030, but he has not answered questions on what that will cost New Zealand.

Climate expert: It’s all smoke and mirrors, Mr Groser


New Zealand is using smoke and mirrors to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, when it could get there by using clean heating and transport technologies, says one of our leading scientists. Climate Change Minister Tim Groser told Radio New Zealand National this morning that while New Zealand faced some big hurdles in cutting emissions, the country was on target to meet its pledge to cut emissions to 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Climate talks off on the rocky road to Paris


A deal struck in Lima between 196 nations today leaves open the possibility of saving the planet from dangerous overheating. But its critics say the prospects of success are now slim.

Fossil fuel probe under way as NZ goes exploring


New Zealand is expanding oil and gas exploration at the same time as Britain probes the likely cost of stranded fossil-fuel assets.

What did the Romans ever do for us? They left a water warning


As all good Monty Python fans know, water technologies feature large in the legacy of benefits left by Roman civilisation.

Carbon trade in Beijing tops 100 million yuan


Carbon trade volume in Beijing has reached 105 million yuan ($NZ21.8 million) since a carbon emissions trading scheme was launched in the city a year ago.

UN launches new coalition to promote renewable energy


The launch of a new coalition spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme will focus on boosting renewable energy usage around the world.

Australia takes action on energy market reform


The Australian Government is leading a new focus on reforms to put downward pressure on electricity prices and give Australian consumers greater power over their energy bills.

Our new energy mix is a game-changer, says India


While the political spotlight focused on the world’s two biggest polluters − China and the US − in the run-up to the Lima climate talks, pressure is mounting on India to set emissions targets to help to prevent the planet overheating.

Bank of England probes risk of fossil fuel assets


In a move that’s likely to cause consternation in some of the world’s most powerful corporate boardrooms, the Bank of England has disclosed that it is launching an inquiry into the risks fossil fuel companies pose to overall financial stability.

On the web: Meet the world’s greatest climate wrecker … Australia

  • Welcome to Planet Oz: Julie Bishop’s speech to Lima climate talks
  • Change of heart: Abbott government commits $200m to Green Climate Fund
  • Cutting carbon a good business opportunity, private sector told
  • EU court nails Austria, Poland over breaches to green energy rules
  • Scots’ renewable energy offsets a million tonnes of CO2 every month
  • How to harvest energy from everything that moves

Eels worth the effort, says environment watchdog


New Zealand needs to put more effort into protecting long-fin eels, or tuna, says the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Spotlight turns on roadway illumination


Local authorities are out to halve the energy and cost involved in lighting public roads.

Spot NZUs hit two-year high


Carbon ended the week slightly down, though prices remain above $5 with spot NZUs closing at $5.40 on CommTrade, OMFinancial reports.

Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

Carbon News 8/12/14: NZ’s multi-billion carbon blowout Gareth Renowden Dec 09

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We’re facing a $3b carbon crisis … and it could be worse

New Zealand has a $3 billion carbon headache looming – and Treasury says that’s the conservative estimate. Carbon emissions in the period 2021 to 2030 could cost the country as much as $52 billion. Official briefings to the incoming Government acknowledge that the costs of meeting emissions reductions targets after 2020 were likely to rise significantly because “our emissions are forecast to increase and carbon prices are likely to be higher”.

The country needs a carbon budget, says pressure group

A climate change lobby group is calling for a national carbon budget and legally binding emissions reduction targets. The Sustainability Council’s paper comes as it releases figures showing New Zealand is facing a carbon liability of between $3 billion and $52 billion by 2030. Drawing on Government documents and its own work, the research and advocacy trust paints a picture of a country running a creative carbon accounting process, in which carbon liabilities have been shunted off to a time when carbon prices are predicted to be much higher.

Groser has a cunning plan (but he won’t say what it is)

Climate Change Minister Tim Groser says New Zealand will “push the envelope” on post-2020 emissions reductions. But he still won’t say what that means. New Zealand has to announce its 2021-2030 emissions reduction target before the negotiations for a new international climate treaty in Paris late next year. Groser, who is now in Lima for UN climate talks, told TV’s The Nation at the weekend that the target didn’t have to be settled until the middle of next year.

Ocean heat drives surge to global warming record

It’s official, even though it won’t be conclusive for a few months yet: if present trends continue, 2014 will be one of the hottest years on record − and quite possibly the hottest of them all.

Investors back clean coke with close on $700,000

New Zealand clean-tech pioneer CarbonScape raised nearly $700,000 through its crowd-sourcing campaign.

Why our ‘silent ally’ soils are on the endangered list

The world is not paying enough attention to its soil – our silent ally – says the United Nations.

Outlook bright for UK’s solar power potential

Solar energy is sometimes dismissed as a fanciful idea with little to offer so far in such a cloudy country as the United Kingdom, but a new report says power from the sun could thrive in Britain in barely five years’ time − without the need for any subsidy.

It doesn’t take much to turn up the temperature

Start the car, turn on the gas under the kettle, shovel some coal on the fire. Each time that happens, another pulse of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

Australia should export more ideas and fewer greenhouse emissions

As climate negotiators meet at the US-China climate deal United Nations’ Lima summit, which comes hot on the heels of the landmark

Paper mill sets new benchmarks for best practice

Manufacturing benchmarks achieved by a rural South Australian factory are being shared and instituted across the world by global manufacturing giant Kimberly-Clark.

Environment projects win financial boost

A travelling caravan collecting environmental pledges, an inner-city school creating an ecological island, and a university study monitoring landslides are the 2014 recipients of the Canon Environmental Grants programme.

Lines company loves its electric cars

Auckland lines company Vector says its electric vehicles are proving to be immensely popular with staff.

On the web: ‘They say that in 30 years maybe Kiribati will disappear’

  • Adapting to a warmer climate could cost almost three times as much as thought, says UN report

  • German government approves €80 billion climate package
  • Local buddy scheme to help boost renewables and energy efficiency
  • Global emissions scheme talks renewed
  • Major new study confirms wind farms do not harm human health

Spot NZUs maintain recent highs

Spot NZUs closed Friday at $4.95 on volumes of just over 100,000 tonnes, a rise of 50 cents, OMFinancial reports.

Carbon News 1/12/14: Future of work in NZ in clean tech, says Labour Gareth Renowden Dec 01

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Labour vows to watch work and the new economy


The Labour Party’s Future of Work Commission will include analysis of the impacts on work of climate change and the low-carbon economy. The commission was announced by Labour leader Andrew Little at a business briefing in Auckland this morning. It will be led by finance spokesman Grant Robertson, who told Carbon News that clean-tech opportunities are at the forefront of the party’s thinking.

Govt hopes Kyoto credits will cover emissions blow-out


The Government will use international Kyoto credits received in what’s known as the KP1 true-up to cover its emissions blow-out. But it doesn’t yet know how much of a help they will be.

Memo farmers: Learn to manage your methanotrophs


Farmers could cut their future exposure to carbon prices by looking after the methanotrophs in their soils, a soil scientist says.

Lima climate talks ‘stepping stone’ for universal treaty


A new round of talks in Lima is an opportunity to raise immediate awareness on climate change and lay the foundation for a new universal agreement to be adopted in 2015, says a top UN official.

Why playing around with the climate could make things a whole lot worse


Geoengineering – which sometimes seems to be the despairing climate scientist’s Plan B – simply won’t work.

Cities key to economic growth and fighting climate crisis


How cities develop will be critical to achieve economic growth and tackle climate change, according to a new series of studies.

Fitzsimons putting her money where her heart is


Due diligence in investments has a slightly different connotation for retired politician Jeanette Fitzsimons.

One Plan water approval seen as ground-breaking


The signing of the Horizon Regional Council’s One Plan after a decade of debate, legal action and controversy is being hailed by Fish & Game as a landmark in the battle to protect the nation’s water quality.

How climate fund pledges stack up to what’s needed


By Elizabeth Douglass: Depending on who you ask, the $9.6 billion in pledges for the Green Climate Fund is either a woeful start or an encouraging sign that wealthy nations are serious about helping poorer ones deal with climate change.

Mighty River contests paying for carbon units


MightyRiverPower has claimed in the High Court that it shouldn’t have to pay for carbon units issued for years prior to the start of its contract with New Zealand Carbon Farming in 2013, which it entered as part of its effort to offset emissions from electricity generation.

Climate change health action urgent, say doctors


The need for rapid action on climate change in New Zealand in order to protect health is clear, according to a group of climate and health experts.

Why Australian investment in renewable energy has stalled


Investment in Australia’s renewable energy sector in the year to September 2014 was down 70 per cent on investment during the previous 12 months.

Getting out of fossil fuel investment is the right way to go


The controversy ignited by the Australian National University in October, when it decided to sell its shares in seven resources companies, has raised two important questions about divestment from assets such as fossil fuels.

Queensland risks running the well dry by gifting water to coal


The Queensland parliament has passed water reform legislation that will make it easier to take and use water, particularly for large mining and agriculture projects.

Beyond the poo bus — the many uses of human waste


A British went into service last week, powered by biomethane energy derived from human waste at a sewage plant.

Sydney’s green energy plans impress judges


The City of Sydney’s Renewable Energy Master Plan- including plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 – has scooped the prestigious European Solar Prize 2014 award for excellence and innovation.

Scientists find new fuel job for sawdust


Researchers at KU Leuven’s Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, in Belgium, have converted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline.

On the web: Plastics to be banned from European landfill

  • Pope Francis backs global efforts to tackle climate change
  • Medical students to be taught how to cope with impacts of climate change
  • EU agrees on law to make ships measure CO2 emissions
  • Rocket can reach the moon fuelled by human waste
  • Jargon busting: Inside the world of the UN climate talks

    Two join Green Building Council board


    Hawkins Construction chief executive Gary Walker and INZIDE Commercial co-owner Steve Aschebrock have joined the board of the Green Building Council.

    Spot NZUs jump


    New Zealand carbon jumped 20 cents on Friday; spot NZUs closed $4.55 bid on CommTrade with about 40K volume, OMFinancial reports.

    Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

  • Carbon News 17/11/14: G20 climate action Gareth Renowden Nov 17

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    Minister knows of water woes, but public information tap is turned off

    Finance Minister Bill English has been told something about fresh water — but the public isn’t allowed to know what it is. Last month, Ministry for the Environment officials were forced to admit they were wrong to say that the quality of our waterways is “stable or improving”.

    Deal or no deal — can China and the US deliver?

    It’s been called an historic agreement — a game changer in the battle to combat climate change. But can China and the US fulfil the promises in their announcement of plans to cut carbon emissions?

    Does this climate deal let China do nothing for 16 years?

    “As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country.” — US Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, November 12, 2014.

    Crowd-funders get behind CarbonScape

    Kiwi cleantech company CarbonScape has hit its crowd-funding equity target.

    We can cut carbon and pollution at no cost, says China

    China can achieve economic development, energy security and reduce pollution at the same time, according to a major new study.

    Green groups want say on Ruataniwha changes

    Environmental groups want to have their say on a late tweak to the conditions imposed on the proposed $230 million Ruataniwha dam in Hawke’s Bay in a High Court challenge.

    G20 climate challenge calls for a rethink of economics

    Focusing on growth, the Brisbane G20 leaders’ summit has not grappled with three key issues – how much more growth the planet can survive, how poorer nations can raise their living standards to parity with the developed world, and how can a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth be realised?

    Expand climate portfolio, says Mahuta

    The Cabinet portfolios of agriculture and climate change should be given to the same person, says Labour Party leadership hopeful Nanaia Mahuta.

    Lakes expert to spotlight water quality

    An American water quality expert who has studied and modelled the effects of nutrients in American lakes will be sharing his knowledge at a public forum in Rotorua this week.

    Launchpad jury likes wilding pines project

    Taking an environmental problem and turning it into a commercial success has seen a Queenstown social enterprise team taken under the wing of a business incubator.

    New Australian report debunks coal industry myths

    The coal industry has many friends in high places, and none more so than Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia — one of the world’s major producers of a fuel that earns the country billions from exports.

    UK ignores pledge to end fossil fuel support

    Despite promises to phase out subsidies to the coal, oil and gas industries, a new report says the UK and other G20 governments are still providing them with massive financial help.

    On the web: coal industry costs Australia $8 billion in medical bills

    • New Commission floats first ‘kill list’ of green EU laws
    • India feels heat as pressure mounts to deliver climate target
    • Global meat demand ploughs up Brazil’s ‘underground forest’
    • Giant batteries connected to the grid: the future of energy storage?
    • Hyundai, Kia to triple range of green cars by 2020

    Diet’s effects on emissions give food for thought

    American researchers confirm that a shift to vegetarian, Mediterranean or fish-based diets would cut greenhouse gases, conserve forests and savannah, and have a big impact on obesity-linked health problems.

    Designer dumps leather and heads for greener pastures

    An eco-conscious Kiwi designer is saying goodbye to leather.

    Australia’s green building review adds more uncertainty

    Australia’s Commercial Building Disclosure programme is the latest federal environmental policy to be placed under review.

    Spot NZUs close week at $4.35

    NZUs traded $4.35 on Friday with reasonable volumes traded, OMFinancial reports.

    Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

    Carbon News 3/11/14: NZ fails as UN wails Gareth Renowden Nov 04

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    Our emissions plan hopeless, says renowned academic

    New Zealand has no chance of meeting its 2020 emissions reduction target under current policies, says a leading scientist involved in the latest IPCC report. Professor Ralph Sims, of Massey University, is recognised around the world for his expertise on climate change and renewable energy, but is never consulted by our own Government.

    Leaders must act, says UN after dire climate report

    If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems, says a United Nations report. Echoing the dire warning, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that if the world maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep temperature rise below the internationally target of 2degC “will slip away within the next decade”.

    What the politicians said …

    All three of New Zealand’s major political parties say that the IPCC’s latest call on climate change is important.

    Climate refugees? we’ll think of something …

    New Zealand still has no plan to help climate change refugees — despite acknowledging that many Pacific Islands people might need to be relocated.

    State miner rethinks environment liabilities

    The State coal-miner says its future environmental liabilities are not as great as it thought.

    At last, there’s a glimpse of an ETS in Australia

    With the passage of the Emissions Reduction Fund through the Senate last week, Australia’s federal government has taken a step toward achieving the country’s minimum target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.

    Tararua turbines set power-output record

    Two New Zealand wind turbines have set a world record for output.

    Southern winery wins green award … again

    A Marlborough winery that uses miniature sheep to tidy around its vines has won another sustainability award.

    Business network names sustainability finalists

    Finalists for this year’s Sustainable Business Network Awards have been named.

    Denmark wants to be coal-free by 2025

    Denmark is looking into how the country can stop using coal as an energy supply by 2025, says Climate and Energy Minister Rasmus Helveg Pesen.

    Actually, a high oil price might be a good thing for the world

    Oil prices have fallen dramatically since August — and, rather counter-intuitively, this could be a bad thing.

    On the web: we can continue to burn coal, says Australia

    • Germany may cut coal-fired energy to protect climate
    • Banks invest record €66bn in coal sector
    • Airport solar farm will be world’s largest
    • Scotland to open remanufacturing hub to cash in on waste

    Booming cities need sustainable urban planning

    Growing urban areas will need better planned and better managed environments or risk exacerbating negative trends, the United Nations has warned.

    China-US links could spark emissions breakthrough

    Tentative steps have been taken by China and the United States towards co-operating on climate change — mainly focusing on relatively modest technological schemes connected with more efficient and less polluting power generation.

    Insurance industry sleeps through climate alarm calls

    Insurance is all about assessing risk, so you might expect companies in the sector to be intimately involved with one of the most potent risks facing the world — the possibility of catastrophic climate change.

    Salt-poisoning a growing threat to crops

    Salt is poisoning around 2000 hectares of irrigated farm land every day — and has been doing so for the past 20 years, according to new research.

    Why uncontrolled climate change might limit growth

    By Jack Pezzey. “But who do you think’s right, Prof? The optimists or the pessimists?” At the end of my sustainability economics course in 2007, students were challenging me to end 20 years of professional fence-sitting.

    Business leaders praise EU emissions deal

    A group of influential business leaders is welcoming Europe’s new climate and energy deal.

    NZUs hold

    NZUs traded back to $4.35 on Friday on about 35k, OMFinancial reports.

    Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

    Carbon News 28/10/14: oil drilling, honey and crowd-funding green coke Gareth Renowden Oct 29

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    Hunt for oil anchors govt’s environment plan

    The National Party is leading off its environmental package for its new term in power with plans to encourage more oil exploration — despite the burning of fossil fuels being the single biggest cause of climate change.

    Honey hits the jackpot for steep-land believer

    In 2010, Taranaki farmer Neil Walker was enthusiastic about the potential for a combination of carbon farming and beekeeping to rejuvenate steep-land farming. Four years on, he is still buying cheap land and planting it in tree crops, despite carbon prices being less than a third of what they were back then.

    Green-coke pioneer puts faith in public-funding

    Clean-coal company CarbonScape is the first clean-tech company in New Zealand to use crowd-funding to raise capital. The Blenheim-based start-up launched a bid last week on the Snowball Effect platform to raise at least $400,000 dollars.

    Good tyres tread lightly on the earth

    New Zealand could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6000 tonnes a year by installing fuel-efficient tyres on the nation’s fleet of light vehicles. And at the same time, businesses and private-vehicle owners could shave up to 7 per cent off their fuel bills.

    New EU emissions goal pits green business against industry

    A European Union goal to cut greenhouse gases by 40 per cent by 2030 sets the pace for a global deal to tackle climate change, pitting heavy industry against green business.

    Emissions register has a new look

    The Environmental Protection Authority is making the national emissions register more user-friendly.

    Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens green trade deal

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens a green trade deal that could ultimately do more to reduce carbon emissions than international climate agreements such as the failed Kyoto Protocol.

    On the web: Sweden the greenest country… so, where is NZ?

    • Carmakers prepare to shift to hydrogen fuel cells
    • New York Green Bank in debut clean energy transactions
    • Off-grid German village runs on wind and sun
    • UK to axe solar farm subsidies in favour of biomass crops

    Supplies of rare earth materials are still far from secure

    Materials essential for technology products such as electric vehicles, wind turbines or hard disks, known as rare earth elements, aren’t becoming any less rare, or any less crucial.

    Universities act to hit fossil fuel firms where it hurts

    Glasgow recently became the first European university to join the rapidly expanding fossil-free divestment movement. Following hot on the heels of the Australian National University, Glasgow promised to move £18m of investment over the next 10 years.

    Oil boom prompts US to push for crude exports

    Oil and coal producers in the United States are planning to use mile-long tanker trains to transport vast quantities of fossil fuels to the coast through areas that environmental groups believe should be protected.

    NZUs consolidate and look to move higher

    This market feels like it’s about to tip to the bid side and move higher, OMFinancial reports.

    Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

    Carbon News 20/10/14: Chile’s carbon tax, soil SOS and more pressure on dirty investments Gareth Renowden Oct 20

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    Chile’s new tax could open carbon doors for NZ

    Chile’s new carbon tax potentially offers New Zealand an opportunity to offset some of its own agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, says economist Dr Suzi Kerr. The $US5-a-tonne carbon tax slipped into Chilean law last month as part of a package of tax reforms.

    Soils SOS as cities gobble up our best growing land

    New Zealand is allowing its elite soils to be eaten up by cities — despite signing up to a new global campaign to protect valuable agricultural land. New Zealand launched its membership of the 17-country Pacific Soil Partnership on Wednesday – the same day that the Government announced it would push ahead with plans to ease planning rules to allow our cities to spread.

    Rod Oram: Why i’m getting out of fossil fuels

    Business commentator Rod Oram is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to sustainable investment. Like the Rockefellers in the United States, Oram has ditched his fossil fuel investments.

    Kiwi savers want investments to do clean work

    A survey of New Zealanders has revealed that Kiwis care deeply about how their KiwiSaver funds are being invested and that they want more sustainable KiwiSaver options.

    Fracking boom could mean up to 12% more carbon emissions

    The consistent message from those who would seek to exploit shale gas is that it has three distinct advantages over existing forms of fossil fuel energy: it is cheap, it has a lower influence on global warming, and it reduces the reliance in foreign imports.

    Angry city draws a line in the (fracking) sand

    A college town in southern Minnesota is taking action against the frac-sand industry that’s booming amid America’s drilling revolution.

    Greenpeace v Shell via Lego: the building blocks of a successful campaign

    October 9, 2014 was a big day in eco-activism: Lego announced that it would not renew a product-placement deal with Shell, following concerted pressure from Greenpeace as part of a campaign to ban Arctic oil exploration by attacking firms associated with such activities.

    A new agricultural economy is knocking on the door

    Europe should be pushing for the rapid expansion of its network of biorefineries, to produce European food, fuel and feed, as well as a range of other high-value products that replace fossil fuels, writes Robert Wright, Secretary-General of the European Renewable Ethanol Association:

    Fish-catching technique nets innovation award

    A technique allowing wild fish to be landed live — and released if necessary — has won the supreme title in the New Zealand Innovators’ Awards.

    Problem seaweed could provide biofuel solution

    It has often been used as a farmland fertiliser, and in some communities it is eaten as a vegetable, but now researchers believe that seaweed could power our cars and heat our homes.

    Solar chief: there’s no cost to solar energy, only savings

    SolarCity Corp, the United States’ largest residential solar service provider, has a history of pushing the envelope.

    Outlook palls for fossil fuel investment

    Warnings within the world of high finance are coming thick and fast that the increasingly urgent need to combat climate change means investors could lose heavily by sinking funds into coal, oil and gas.

    On the web: global shipping emissions set to soar unchecked

    • Pacific Islanders blockade Australian coal port to protest rising sea levels
    • Sweden calls on EU to agree 50% carbon cuts for 2030
    • Impacts of climate change to now be included in UK’s military planning
    • South Africa’s Eskom powers up wind farm
    • China to phase out financial support for solar power sector by 2020

    Don’t get too excited, no one has cracked nuclear fusion yet

    Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin’s excitement in the media announcement last week that it could make small-scale nuclear fusion power a reality in the next decade has understandably generated

    Market remains quiet

    The carbon market slipped a little late last week to $4.32 on light volume, OMFinancial reports.

    Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

    Carbon News 13/10/14: foresters in firing line Gareth Renowden Oct 14

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    Anxious foresters await review of foreign credits ban

    A controversial decision to make foresters the only emitters banned from using cheap foreign carbon credits to offset their greenhouse gas emissions is under review. The provision was slipped through without warning as part of the Government’s Budget in May, and came into effect immediately.

    Business poser: are you creating value, or destroying it?

    New Zealand is leading the world on integrated reporting but our business leaders are still not taking it seriously enough, latest data shows.

    Beehive stays silent on emissions target

    The Government remains mum on New Zealand’s 2030 emissions reduction target. New Zealand did not make any mention of its 2030 target at last month’s Climate Summit in New York, at which United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked world leaders to give an indication of the commitments they would make at international climate change negotiations in Paris in December.

    New Zealand is drying out … and here’s why

    Over 2012 and 2013, parts of New Zealand experienced their worst drought in nearly 70 years.

    Australia’s big emitters might yet be billed

    Australian companies could yet face a financial penalty for excessive greenhouse gas emissions.

    ‘Business as usual’ no way to run our rivers

    If, as delegates to the 17th International Rivers Symposium agreed, that river restoration is “the hottest topic on the planet” then the insistence by governments world-wide to ignore it is the issue.

    Landcorp bio-generation scheme runs out of gas

    Landcorp’s pulling of the plug on its BioGenCool manure-powered electricity generation ends the first, large-scale experiment in using milking shed cow dung to drive the milking shed itself.

    Voila! a simple new way to put a price on global carbon

    A team of French academics has proposed an international carbon trading system, whereby countries with the highest average CO2 emissions pay the most.

    Fish heading south big worry for tropic zone

    Fish stocks could migrate up to 26 kilometres a decade as the world’s ocean warm.

    Wanted: $44 trillion to switch to clean energy

    In a world wrestling with climate change and the need to phase out fossil fuels, nothing is more critical than making sure there are reliable and cost-effective clean energy technologies ready to fill the void.

    On the web: why is antarctic sea ice at record levels despite global warming?

    • Australian Labor Party leader rules out carbon tax return
    • European businesses split over urgency of EU carbon market fix
    • Canadian watchdog castigates government climate strategy
    • Walmart owners backing campaigns to limit rooftop solar power
    • 25 Devastating Effects Of Climate Change
    • Climate consensus: scientists and sceptics suspend hostilities

    Sick seas could cost us billions, UN warns

    The global economy could be losing as much as $1 trillion annually by the end of the century if countries do not take urgent steps to stop ocean acidification, says a new report.

    World of clean energy ‘feasible’ by mid-century

    A global low-carbon energy economy is not only feasible, it could double electricity supply by 2050 while actually reducing air and water pollution, according to new research.

    Shift to low-carbon economy could free up $1.8 trillion

    Decarbonising the electricity system worldwide would save $1.8 trillion over the coming two decades by avoiding the high operating costs of using fossil fuels, a new study finds.

    Europe throws nuclear power a state-aid lifeline

    The European Commission has now agreed that Britain can subsidise the building of the world’s most expensive nuclear power station – despite previously believing that the deal breaks the European Union’s rules on state aid.

    China’s mythical coal habit is no excuse for climate inaction

    By Marek Kubic: I’ve heard it many a time, and you probably have, too. It’s supposedly the trump card to any argument on addressing climate change globally: “Yeah, but what’s the point? Isn’t China building a new coal plant every week?”

    Wanganui firm has place among bio pioneers

    Calls for New Zealand firms to get into bio-manufacturing omit to mention the fact that we have already been there.

    VUW researchers work on better solar systems

    Victoria University of Wellington researchers are part of a worldwide effort to design cheaper and more efficient solar energy materials.

    Week ends quietly at $4.40

    It was a quiet end to the week, with the market for spot NZUs on CommTrade closing unchanged at $4.40, OMFinancial reports.

    Smart grids in the spotlight

    Using Smart Grid technology to empower electricity consumers was the subject of a talk at Auckland University yesterday.

    Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

    Carbon News 29/9/14: Key challenged over climate impacts on Pacific islands Gareth Renowden Sep 29

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    Memo John Key: look Pacific Island leaders in the eye

    The Government is being challenged to invite the leaders of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati to come and tell Parliament what they think of New Zealand’s climate change policies. Support to help Small Island Developing States move to renewable energy is one of five measures New Zealand outlined to last week’s United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York. New Zealand said that it will support the Small Island Developing States Lighthouses Initiative in addition to the $100 million it is already investing in clean energy in the Pacific.

    Renewables make mark on emissions figures

    Increasing generation from renewables is continuing to drive a massive drop in greenhouse gas emissions from electricity in New Zealand. For the second quarter in a row, emissions from electricity in the three months to August were down on the same period last year, latest government figures show.

    New York talked the talk, but we’ll have to wait and see who heard

    At the end of his summit meeting on the climate crisis, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon put out a list of accomplishments festooned with 46 bullet points, some of them marking concrete new pledges, others diaphanous phrases.

    MIA … but it doesn’t mean China’s not interested

    There were a few notable absentees among the more than 120 world leaders gathered in New York for last week’s United Nations Climate Summit — and perhaps most notable of all was the head of the world’s highest-emitting nation, China’s President Xi Jinping.

    Do something, big business warns political leaders

    Many of the biggest hitters in the global financial community, together managing an eye-watering $24 trillion of investment funds, have issued a powerful warning to political leaders about the risks of failing to establish clear policy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Cities in the spotlight at climate week summit

    Even as nations gathered in New York to discuss global-level action on climate change, there was strong recognition that cities, not countries, have so far played the pivotal role in the world’s fight against climate change — and will continue to do so.

    Unhappy power consumers eye solar generation

    Nearly two-thirds of New Zealanders would like to say goodbye to their power companies and generate their own electricity.

    Have a say in energy development

    New Zealanders can have a say on the type of energy development they want, thanks to a Victoria University summer project.

    Kiwisavers might get to have say in green investment

    Research showing how many New Zealanders want their retirement funds invested in sustainable businesses will be unveiled next month.

    ON THE WEB … Obama’s drive for carbon pricing fails to win at home

    • Chile becomes the first South American country to tax carbon
    • UK to introduce fracking drilling law despite 99% opposition
    • US Homeland Security moves to tackle climate change risks
    • Hawaii’s solar industry in precarious situation
    • The top 10 greenest cities in America
    • Avatar director James Cameron talks climate change

    New market pact keeps Australians on the ball

    Australian businesses wanting to keep up to date with the international carbon market during their country’s retreat from carbon pricing have formed a new regional agreement.

    How to save the planet … bike, walk or take a bus

    Here’s a way to save $100 trillion and stop 1700 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from getting into the atmosphere every year by 2050: cycle, walk or take public transport.

    Use your phone to report water pollution

    Water pollution may soon be reported by the public over a phone app and investigated by an aerial robot.

    Clear skies for aviation industry, says Boeing report

    The business outlook for civil aviation is bright thanks mainly to rising Asian demand for aircraft. But airlines are expected to have a harder time, with tougher competition in Europe leading to a consolidation of the sector, according to the latest industry forecast.

    Win some, lose some … that’s climate change

    With climate change, you win some, you lose some. New research shows that suitable new cropland could become available in the high latitudes as the world warms, but tropical regions may become less productive.

    Australia seems to be overlooking bioenergy

    When we think of renewable energy, it’s easy to picture spinning wind turbines or rooftop solar panels. But what about bioenergy?

    Would a climate change treaty be enough?

    Do we need a climate treaty, or could a simple political deal based on national pledges work just as well?

    Prices likely to drift a little

    Spot NZUs remain relatively quiet. OMFinancial reports…

    Worth seeing — Thin Ice

    New Zealand scientist Peter Barrett’s award-winning film Thin Ice will have a public screening in Hamilton next week. Barrett, a geologist, produced the documentary himself, with a view to finding out whether his fellow scientists really were involved in some sort of climate change hoax as some were alleging.

    Study will reveal our use of water

    The nature of domestic water demand is being measured.

    Off to the tip … 33,000 polystyrene cups

    Waikato University every year sends 33,000 polystyrene cups to the landfill.

    Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

    Carbon News headlines 22/9/14: If the PM doesn’t worry about climate change, why should we? Gareth Renowden Sep 22

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    Welcome to a new regular feature on Hot Topic: the week’s Carbon News headlines, brought to you every Monday. Carbon News is an NZ-published web newsletter covering climate and carbon news from around the world, published and edited by experienced journalist Adelia Hallett. The full articles are behind the Carbon News paywall. Click on any headline to be taken to that story on the site.

    Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

    Scientists plead for cuts to ballooning fossil fuel emissions

    Scientists are calling for rapid cuts in the use of fossil fuels in the wake of data out today showing we have almost used up our fossil-fuel credit. Greenhouse gas emissions this year will hit a new high of 40 billion tonnes in what the Global Carbon Project is calling a carbon budget blow-out.

    Political parties fail to get the sustainability message through

    New Zealanders’ support for a shift to a sustainable economy is growing, according to new research from Colmar Brunton. The fact they didn’t vote that way in Saturday’s general election is probably more to do with campaign messages failing to get enough airtime with all the other ‘dirty politics’ noise than it is to do with interest in environmental issues, says the research company’s chief executive Jaqueline Ireland.

    If the PM doesn’t worry about climate change, why should we?

    New Zealanders are taking their cue on climate change from the Prime Minister, says social trends researcher Jill Caldwell. “They think that John Key is successful and smart, and that if there was really anything to worry about he’d be worried,” she told Carbon News.

    Big business signs up with sustainability driver

    Some of New Zealand’s largest companies and organisations have signed up to a new international movement on sustainable business.

    Why Kiwibank took its business to the kids

    When Kiwibank wanted to know how to move beyond the first stage of being a sustainable business, it asked a bunch of 10-year-olds.

    We’re spending millions, say green-wise farmers

    Manawatu-Whanganui region farmers have spent an average $110,000 each over the past five years on measures to protect the environment, according to a Federated Farmers survey.

    Growth and greening now go together, says Stern study

    Governments and businesses can now improve economic growth and reduce their carbon emissions together, says a major new report by a commission of global leaders.

    … but critic says report fails to back up core message

    A new report called Better Growth, Better Climate draws the seductive conclusion that “we can create lasting economic growth while also tackling the immense risks of climate change”.

    Let’s do for climate change what we did for apartheid, says Tutu

    WEB: Largest-ever climate change march rolls through NYC
    * China cautious on fresh commitments ahead of climate change summit
    * Will the new EU Commission assure Europe’s leadership on sustainable development?
    * It’s time to teach climate change in school
    * After An Inconvenient Truth: the evolution of the climate change film

    Move over, Queensland, here comes the Great Sydney Reef

    Welcome to tropical Sydney, where colourful surgeonfishes and parrotfishes a=
    re plentiful, corals have replaced kelp forests, and underwater life seems b=

    Population explosion lowers chance of managing climate change

    By Tim Radford: New projections say the population of the planet will not stabilise at 9 billion sometime this century. In fact, there is an 80 percent likelihood that, by 2100, it will reach at least 9.6 billion — and maybe rise as high as 12.3 billion.

    China goes up a gear but still has a lot of work to do

    In the lead-up to the UN leaders’ summit on climate change, China is shifting up a gear in its drive towards national emissions trading.

    How renewables can lead to prosperity and jobs

    A new handbook shows how forward-looking communities around the world are already moving away from reliance on fossil fuels and generating their own power with 100 per cent renewables — while also becoming more prosperous and creating jobs.

    LED street lights could be 50% cheaper

    Installing LED lights in streets could halve energy consumption from street lighting, the government’s energy efficiency agency says.

    Drought now could be drought forever in California

    Things could soon get worse for drought-hit California. New research predicts that, by the close of the century, global warming could have reduced the flow of water from the Sierra Nevada mountains by at least a quarter.

    We can make a good life for most in the doughnut

    Is it possible for humans to fulfil their needs without also destroying the environment? It’s a question we need to find an answer to soon, as the world’s poorer regions demand the same perks that come with development.

    Twister terror coming earlier in tornado alley

    The terrifying whirlwinds that punctuate the mid-Western summer in the United States so frequently as to earn the nickname Tornado Alley for the southern plains region states such as Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas, are forming up to two weeks earlier than they did 60 years ago.

    And the winner is…

    The winner of a copy of MiStory, Philip Temple‘s cli-fi story set in a futuristic New Zealand, is the out-going Labour MP and climate change spokesperson Moana Mackey.

    Solid Energy needs extension of guarantee

    Commercially troubled state coal miner Solid Energy requires an extension of a government guarantee to meet the $103 million future cost of returning mined land to its pre-mined condition in order to maintain positive equity in its balance sheet.

    Pumped-up couple win energy award

    The switch to a gravity-feed water system has resulted in huge cost-savings for Otago farmers David and Sarah Smith, winners of an energy excellence award in the 2014 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

    Focus on certainty

    National’s grip on the government benches means certainty for the Emissions Trading Scheme, OMFinancial reports.

    Want to recycle? just ask the garbage guru

    Sydney has launched an app it hopes will drive recycling.

    All material provided courtesy of Carbon News and Futura Media. Given the broad scope of the post, please treat this as an open thread.

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