Miliband attacks ‘siren voices’

31 01 2010

UK Climate Secretary, Ed Miliband, has acknowledged the danger posed by public opinion turning against climate change science. In an interview with the Observer, Miliband says of the recent ‘climate-gate’ controversy involving the IPPC:

It’s right that there’s rigour applied to all the reports about climate change, but I think it would be wrong that when a mistake is made it’s somehow used to undermine the overwhelming picture that’s there.

Top 50 Green books?

27 01 2010

The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership has released a top 50 ‘green’ books list. It includes classics such as Silent Spring, The Dream of Earth and Small is Beautiful. You can view the list in full here.

China and Climate Politics

26 01 2010

The Financial Times reports that Chinese Government officials:

[A]ppeared to cast doubts on Sunday on the scientific consensus on the underlying causes of global warming, with a senior official saying that Beijing had an “open attitude” towards what he described as “disputes in the scientific community” on the issue.

“There is a view that climate change is caused by cyclical trends in nature itself,” Xie Zhenhua, vice-chairman of China’s National Development and Reforms Commission, told a press conference in New Delhi. “We have to keep an open attitude.”

At the same times as expressing these doubts in public, China has urged rich nations to begin handing over the $10 billion pledged at Copenhagen for the least developed island states and African countries. Source, The Washington Post.

All this after China ‘wrecked’ progress on a climate deal last month. A fascinating inside account of how and why China stalled negotiations at Copenhagen was published on 22 December 2009 by the Guardian’s Mark Lynas. In the second paragraph, Lynas asserts:

China’s strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world’s poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait. The failure was “the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility”, said Christian Aid. “Rich countries have bullied developing nations,” fumed Friends of the Earth International.

‘Growth Isn’t Possible’

25 01 2010

As economists and politicians anticipate the publication of official figures for UK economic growth and the World Economic Forum gathers at Davos, new research from independent think-tank nef, warns that we should be wary of celebrating rising GDP.

The report, Growth Isn’t Possible: Why rich nations need a new economic direction, published today, Monday 25 January 2010, presents evidence that endless economic growth isn’t possible when faced with the threat of climate change and other critical environmental boundaries.

Source, the New Economics Foundation.

Masdar City, NASA and BASIC

24 01 2010

Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s richest cities and one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emitters. It sits on one-tenth of the world’s known oil reserves and has enough to keep producing at current rates well into next century.

But the sheikdom is trying to shift its energy mix. And, in no uncertain terms, it is declaring it wants a seat at the table of what it says is the next energy investment frontier: renewables.

More can be read about Masdar City, a $22 billion carbon-neutral, no-waste community, in The Australian.

Climate Progress references the latest report from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) on 2009 surface temperatures:

2009 was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record, a new NASA analysis of global surface temperature shows. The analysis, conducted by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, also shows that in the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year since modern records began in 1880….

January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Throughout the last three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.2°C (0.36°F) per decade.

The four so-called BASIC countries, Brazil, South Africa, India and China, met today in New Delhi and agreed to set out their plans to mitigate climate change to the UNFCC by the end of January. Source: Bloomberg.

Green 3

19 01 2010

Eating more beef can help reverse climate change, Time.

Avatar has been banned in China. According to Yahoo Movies:

The China Film Group, which is run by the state, believes the plot of human colonists attempting to demolish an alien village for its resources steers too close to a very sensitive issue in China at the moment

An artificial leaf that can harness light to split water and generate hydrogen has been created. The NewScientist reports how this could be vital to the future of sourcing clean energy.

Copenhagen: The Final Hours

15 01 2010

An impressive review of the last hours of Cop15 by Nature. Look out for a seething Thom Yorke.