The Bullroarer - Thursday 13 December

NZ Herald - The coal face of global warming

Crikey - Rudd Charts A New Course

In his speech to the plenary session, Rudd committed Australia to supporting a post-2012 treaty with binding emission targets for developed countries as well as "specific commitments" from developing countries. Whatever is decided at Copenhagen, Australia's signature will be on it.

The Prime Minister signalled a radical shift in the way his Government will approach the environment-economy trade-off. "For too long sceptics have warned of the costs of taking action on climate change. But the costs of action are far less than the costs of inaction."

The Prime Minister seems to understand that inaction has been justified by a cost-benefit approach to global warming, in which the economic costs of cutting emissions always seem bigger than the vague future benefits of avoided climate change. The Stern Review adopted the same framework but tried to reverse the numbers. Stern got the politics wrong because the moral imperatives of global warming are trivialised when they are jammed into a cost-benefit framework.

Rudd's comments yesterday flag a cost-effectiveness approach in which sets the environmental goal based on the science first, then uses policy to meet it in the best way. Rudd backed this by saying that, after the Garnaut review, the Government will set "robust targets" in the short and medium terms that "critically" will be "informed by the science".

SMH - PM's message to US: world wants the rich to fight global warming

KEVIN RUDD has called on the US to shoulder the same effort as other rich countries in a new global climate agreement, using his address to the UN conference in Bali yesterday to describe climate change as "the defining challenge of our generation".

But Mr Rudd continued to avoid stating support for the strong wording of the draft deal under negotiation in Bali, which says developed countries will be required to make cuts of 25 to 40 per cent in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

A few hours after Mr Rudd spoke, the head of the US delegation, Paula Dobriansky, said bluntly that the US did not support the wording on the need for deep cuts by developed nations. She said the language "predetermines" the outcome of a final agreement, to be signed in 2009. The US opposition has created deep divisions at the Bali talks, with Europe and many developing nations - including the host, Indonesia - strongly supporting the wording.

Despite Mr Rudd not embracing the wording on the cuts, he received long and loud applause for Australia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol when he took his seat on the main podium with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the leaders of several other neighbouring nations, and the UN's chief climate negotiator, Yvo de Boer.

SMH - Gore says US blocking progress at Bali climate talks - Parker: Building the global carbon market

ClimateChangeCoep - New Zealand emissions trading scheme gets tough on farming emissions

National Business Review (NZ) - Philips pushes bright idea

The leader of Philips’ global campaign to drive uptake of new lighting technologies says New Zealand politicians seem willing to progress further change in the industry. ... Philips is pushing for regulators to boost uptake of energy efficient lighting through education campaigns, green procurement policies, building efficiency standards and restricting old technologies. The issue is getting traction now with the EU and Australia set to phase out incandescent lightbulbs.

In New Zealand the government is working on public sector procurement policies that would nudge purchasing towards more green technology. Energy efficient lighting tends to be more expensive upfront but because it lasts longer, costs less over the product lifetime.

Philips is also rolling out new energy-efficient products in New Zealand – office lighting controllers, street lighting and bulbs. The first installation of its CosmoPolis street lights, which are brighter than standard orange ones, was in June this year in Whangamata.

The Age - Brumby boasts climate change pot of gold

The Age - Big projects taking us all for a ride

The Australian - UraniumSA makes 'discovery of a lifetime'

MINING minnow UraniumSA believes it has made the discovery of a lifetime after stumbling on an in situ leachable uranium deposit on the remote Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. While the grades were not high compared with more favoured domestic deposits of yellowcake, UraniumSA said the shallow, flat bed-style deposit made it suitable for leaching without any extraction. ...

In situ uranium leaching in itself is not uncommon in Australia, with the practice occurring at the Beverley Uranium Mine in northern South Australia, one of only three operating Australian uranium mines. Normal uranium leaching involves changing the acidity of the groundwater to expose the uranium. Groundwater at the deposit was so saline that it could burn skin, UraniumSA managing director Russel Bluck said.

Reuters - Oil Search wins Tunisia drill permit

The Australian - Babcock & Brown bucks debt fear with US gas pipeline buy

The Australian - Big users seek shake-up of national energy policy body

Reading about the proposed NZ trading scheme there are stark contrasts with that proposed for Oz. Notably both farmers and foresters have to seek permits, whereas in Australia these industries have dubiously lobbied for recognition as carbon sinks. Can't both be right. I wonder though whether carbon caps on international transport (currently exempt) would have a greater effect on NZ's dairy industry than flatulent cows. Since wind and hydro are debit free it is illogical for them to create carbon credits for others to use. I suspect there will be a major rethink as with NZ's ill fated carbon tax proposal.