The Bullroarer - Thursday 11th December 2008

National Business Review NZ - Government opens up new offshore areas to oil explorers

The Government is seeking bidders for new petroleum exploration permits across two large offshore areas, the Raukumara (East Cape) and Northland basins.

SMH - Sydney's transport behind Mumbai

SYDNEY has been ranked at the bottom of a list of the world's most important 20 cities for the quality of its transport infrastructure, behind Mumbai, Sao Paulo and Mexico City.

Science Alert - Buying into food’s impact

As the intersection of water, energy, environment and population demand tightens global food markets, studies are showing that what we eat can have much more environmental impact than driving or powering our homes. But how do we know what food purchase choices to make? Is an organic banana produced in northern NSW and trucked down Australia’s east coast a better option nutritionally and environmentally than one produced by conventional means in the Philippines and shipped to an Australian market? The answer is not as clear-cut as you might think.
Many scientists believe the rice failure is a sign that the warming planet is starting to affect food production. But research is showing that agriculture is not just affected by climate change, it is a major contributor to the problem.
As people become conscious of the effects of their consumption, there is a movement for a return to backyard vegetable production and poultry keeping in the suburbs. Where populations are denser, city farms and community and rooftop gardens have started springing up, and ‘locavores’ (people who only buy food produced within a certain distance of their home) are attracting interest from the media and their local community.

While admirable, few scientists believe this will provide enough food for the growing population. Dr Lee thinks that both in Australia and overseas, genetically modified (GM) crops may hold the answer to sustainable production, but argues it is up to consumers to recognise their value. - Explorer keen for oil despite low price

Wellington's Kea Petroleum, run by industry veteran Dave Bennett, aims to drill for oil near Taranaki's Waihapa oil field despite low world oil prices and has its eye on a potentially large gas prospect further north.

NZ Herald - Barry Coates: Breaking promises, shifting blame in the climate game

Here at the United Nations climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, negotiations are hectic. I'm not surprised; there is much at stake. Still, some of the delegates have found time to play a game in between their meetings. You might have heard of it before, it's called "Planet Roulette".

The rules aren't complicated. Step one: break promises. Japan and Canada promised to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol but they are now threatening to renege.

Australia was to press for future cuts in emissions to keep global warming under 2C, but is now saying that it is no longer "realistic". New Zealand was to finally start reducing its emissions that have increased by over a quarter since the climate convention was signed, but the new Government is reviewing the emissions trading scheme.

The Australian - Brazilians kill off Aussie led proposal on carbon capture at Poznan climate summit

AUSTRALIAN climate negotiators suffered a frustrating defeat yesterday when talks in Poland thwarted an attempt to inject billions of dollars into the search for clean coal and carbon-capture technology.

Canberra and the coal industry have tried for years to have the UN-convened climate change talks extend one of the main international funding schemes for fighting pollution to cover projects to store emissions underground.

A majority of countries supported the Australian-led proposal to extend the Clean Development Mechanism, which would have provided new incentives for the development of such expensive technologies.

But opponents led by Brazil yesterday refused to allow a draft proposal to go to ministers in their meetings in Poznan, Poland, over the next two days, meaning there is no hope the idea will be adopted in any wider treaty - Poznan Meeting on Climate Change: NZ Position

Each country has its own challenges to face. For New Zealand, there is a particular set of challenges:

We have a low population density which has implications for the transport sector

We already have a very high proportion of renewable electricity generation. This clearly makes a positive contribution to international efforts to limit the effects of human-induced climate change, but limits our scope for large gains in this area.

We are an efficient exporter of a variety of energy intensive industries. Agriculture in New Zealand is globally efficient, and while there is incomplete country coverage under the current Kyoto Protocol, it is obvious that the world would not benefit from a transfer of production from New Zealand to countries that are less efficient in both economic terms and in terms of their relative carbon footprint, quite apart from the economic damage this would do to our exports, on which our jobs and prosperity are based.

We have almost 50% of emissions from agriculture that is unique amongst Annex 1 developed countries. New Zealand has significant research underway into reducing methane emissions from ruminant livestock.

Business Day NZ - Industry, investors eye climate change money

Major companies, investors and insurers appealed for decisive action to fight climate change at a meeting in Poland working on a new UN pact to fight global warming.

Climate negotiators in the western city of Poznan are meeting on a new climate treaty meant to be agreed by next December in Copenhagen to replace or extend the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.


An investor delegation for the first time presented on Monday a call for action to the annual U.N. climate talks.

Their statement, signed by 152 global investors worth over $9 trillion, called on world leaders to negotiate a strong and binding successor to the Kyoto Protocol, to ensure investors receive market signals to fund a transition to a low-carbon economy.

ABC - Energy firm sheds light on outback solar project

An energy company planning a $30 million solar power station at Cloncurry, in north-west Queensland, says the town could become the first in the state to use solar energy for all of its power needs.

SMH - Mining giant cuts 14,000 jobs

IF AUSTRALIA needed any further evidence the resources boom has shuddered to a halt, it came yesterday in the announcement the world's second biggest miner, Rio Tinto, would lay off 14,000 workers.

Rio Tinto refused to indicate how many of its 17,000 full-time staff and several thousand contractors in Australia would be affected by the cuts. It employs about 110,000 workers and contractors globally.

The Age - Transport plan? The joke's on us

THE Brumby Government is having us on. Are we expected to take seriously a $38 billion transport plan that needs $8 billion from a total Federal Government national infrastructure pot that has $10 billion in it and is leaking badly as a result of the deepening recession?

Surely Brumby doesn't seriously believe that he will get the lion's share of these infrastructure funds for multibillion-dollar projects that haven't been subject to a credible environmental impact study or cost-benefit analysis?

The Victorian Transport Plan is just a continuation of Melbourne's real long-term transport plan drawn up in 1969 by Wilbur Smith and Associates. This American consultancy envisaged Melbourne as a replica of car-reliant Los Angeles with freeways, ring roads and a residual bus service for the poor.

The Australian - Bankrupt advice on emissions

THE hypocrisy of big banks such as Westpac and National Australia Bank that signed up to a corporate communique on climate change calling for aggressive unilateral targets needs to be exposed.

Having participated in what can be described only as a global stuff-up of our financial system, they now are trying to tell Australian corporations that operate in the real economy, and generate real wealth and real jobs, how to behave on climate change.

It's time their dishonest motivation was exposed. Now that the huge profits made out of shoring up risky mortgage markets and fancy financial products have unwound - devastating the lives of countless millions of ordinary citizens - the banks are looking to create a new source of revenue from carbon-trading markets.

ABC - It's the climate, stupid

In the context of the financial crisis, it is understandable that major economic transformation is giving the government, business and the public the heebie-jeebies.

It seems that many, including the government, no longer believe it is "realistic" to take the action necessary to prevent substantial shifts in the global climatic system. However, failing to take adequate action to mitigate climate change will impose substantial economic and societal costs, as well as locking Australia out of the benefits of the emerging green economy.

The speculation in the media this week is that the government will set an emission reduction target of 5 to 15 per cent based on a global greenhouse gas concentration stabilisation of 550 parts per million (ppm), substantially higher than what the world's scientists recommend.

The Canberra Times - Going nuclear is a cleaner way forward for Rudd

Australia's Climate Minister Penny Wong has just joined 30 Australian delegates and the representatives of 192 countries at the United Nations climate conference in Poznan, Poland.


Signing up to new post-Kyoto emission reduction targets during a global financial crisis will be one of the great challenges for the 192 countries represented at Poznan. No country has to make formal binding commitments until the last round of talks in Copenhagen in December 2009. However, the United Nations would like to see developed countries cut their emissions by 25 to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. Without a credible energy policy in place Australia will continue to be daunted by such a target range. By contrast, a nuclear-powered European Union is already laughing all the way to the global carbon bank.

ABC - Energy resource export income up 22pc

Official figures show earnings from exports of energy and mineral resources hit a new high in the September quarter, ahead of the recent collapse in commodity prices.

Export income climbed 22 per cent in the quarter to a record $43 billion.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) says the rise reflects increased volumes for most commodities, and significantly higher prices for bulk commodities.

The figures show that earnings from metallurgical coal which is used to make steel rose more than 50 per cent to nearly $10 billion.

Perth Now - Lights out for Earth Hour 2009

EARTH Hour 2009 officially launched in Perth today kicking off round two of WA's part in a global campaign aimed at raising awareness on energy conservation.

Energy Matters - Study: Wind And Solar Trump Clean Coal And Nuclear Power

According to the results of an exhaustive study by Professor Mark Z. Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University, the best energy options for addressing climate change and lowering air pollution aren't found under the ground in substances such as uranium or coal, but are provided by technologies such as wind energy and solar power.

Professor Jacobson has reported that coal with carbon sequestration (aka "clean coal", "low emissions coal", or "new generation coal") generates up to 110 times more carbon and air pollution than wind power, and nuclear power creates around 25 times more pollution than wind energy. In regards to ethanol based biofuels, the professor states these will create increased harm to humans, wildlife, water supply and land use than current fossil fuels and may also emit more global-warming pollutants.

WA Today - 'Coal is the problem - gas is the solution'

Colin Barnett has renewed his call for a trans-Australia gas pipeline, saying it will contribute to slashing greenhouse gases more than an emissions trading sceheme.

Mr Barnett claimed such a pipeline could be owned and operated by the private sector, and built "inside two years", but would need an effort by the NSW, Victorian and Queensland governments to reduce their dependence on coal-fired power stations and embrace WA natural gas instead.

Share Chat NZ - NZ import prices post biggest jump since 1984 on oil, weak kiwi

Prices for crude oil and fuel products surged 31% in the third quarter, while fertilizer prices soared by a record 67%. Prices also rose for imports of steel, machinery and computers.

Exports prices were lifted by increases for foodstuffs, steel and aluminium. Dairy 7.4% and meat advanced about 12%.

Export volumes declined 2.3% in the third quarter, paced by smaller shipments of dairy products and meat. Import volumes fell 5%, led by a 34% decline in petroleum.

3 News NZ - Should we pay more for clean energy?

A great proponent of alternative energy is Benjamin Sovacool. He is in New Zealand for the Sustainable Electricity Association's annual conference and he spoke to Michael Wilson of ASB Business. - New Date Announced For Air New Zealand Biofuel Test Flight

Air New Zealand's Chief Pilot and General Manager Airline Operations Captain David Morgan, who will also be onboard the flight, says Air New Zealand and its partners have been non-negotiable about the three criteria any environmentally sustainable fuel must meet for the test flight programme. These are social, technical and commercial.

Firstly, the fuel source must be environmentally sustainable and not compete with existing food resources. The criteria for sourcing the jatropha oil required that the land was neither forest land nor virgin grassland within the previous two decades. The quality of the soil and climate is such that the land is not suitable for the vast majority of food crops. Furthermore, the farms are rain-fed and not mechanically irrigated.

Secondly, the fuel must be a drop-in replacement for traditional jet fuel and technically be at least as good as the product used today. Finally, it should be cost competitive with existing fuel supplies and be readily available.

Car and SUV - Used coffee grounds can make biodiesel

That foam that forms on the top of a freshly made coffee comes from the fact that coffee beans contain oil. Even after the beans are ground and brewed into assorted drinks, some of the oil still remains. As a biomass product with 15 percent oil in it, those leftover coffee grounds from the tens of thousands of coffee shops around the country could be a feedstock for biodiesel.

ABC - The Federal Government is being urged to secure jobs in south-west Victoria by releasing details of its planned Renewable Energy Target.

The Federal Government is being urged to secure jobs in south-west Victoria by releasing details of its planned Renewable Energy Target.

Good article by Amanda McKenzie on the ABC.So,the Australian government doesn't think it is "realistic" to tackle the problem of global warming in an effective manner.Apart from all our other problems which are directly related to excessive population,environmental destruction and the growth paradigm.

I wonder just how real the effects have got to get before the penny drops.

I have virtually given up on this mob.I think the only hope is for a global economic meltdown which will force scaleback and possibly rid us of the head in the sand crowd.A hell of a lot of collateral damage but this seems to be characteristic of Homo Economicus (Sapiens was a pre-agricultural species and is near extinction).With this animal it takes a monumental crisis to bring change.

Here's hoping for a Greater Depression in 2009.

I wish they'd hurry up and build that Cloncurry solar project (with graphite energy storage).

And Barnett has rocks in his head if he thinks the eastern states needs WA gas (even if we assume Varanus Island doesn't blow up again and it flows reliably). Has he not heard about the coal seam gas boom ?

What we need is a HVDC link between east and west, not a gas pipeline...