By David Fogarty, Climate Change Correspondent, Asia SINGAPORE, May 20 (Reuters) – Wind power investments in Australia are set to get a lift once lawmakers pass amended renewable energy laws, most probably within weeks, a senior official at a major wind farm builder said.
Australia has just under 2,000 megawatts of installed wind power generating capacity, according to the Clean Energy Council, and has potential for much more, analysts and investors say, with investments in additional capacity worth billions of dollars.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – What’s a natural resource that is free, produces zero carbon emissions and has been used to power ships since time immemorial?
The answer is of course the wind. The graceful sailing ships that sent the likes of Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama to the Americas and India are long gone, though, replaced by vast iron vessels loaded with crude oil, minerals and neat stacks of shipping containers to feed the voracious global economy.
SINGAPORE/OSLO (Reuters) – Veteran Costa Rican climate diplomat Christiana Figueres is set to be appointed as the new United Nations climate chief, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The sources said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had chosen Figueres over former South African environment minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, who had long been viewed as the front-runner.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A surge in renewable energy investments could drive a tripling of U.N.-backed carbon offsets issued to emission reduction projects in India by end-2012, a report said on Thursday.
And a jump in issuance of carbon credits to renewable energy projects alone could be worth 40 billion rupees ($890 million) by end-2012, leading Indian research house CRISIL said in the study.
LONDON/ SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A grand vision of a global carbon market to limit greenhouse gas emissions may be decades off as U.S. senators unveiled a climate bill on Wednesday, facing tough Republican opposition.
But far from being dead, national and regional cap and trade schemes are emerging as a possible patchwork successor to the international Kyoto Protocol on global warming, whose present round ends in 2012, in the absence of workable alternatives.
SINGAPORE, May 5 (Reuters) – Illegal logging in Indonesia, a leading timber exporter, is threatening jobs in the U.S. forest products industry and undermining efforts to use forests to fight climate change, a report by U.S. labour and green groups says.
The report, "Illegal logging in Indonesia, the environmental, economic and social costs", lists numerous steps the country has taken to curb illegal logging but says much more needed to be done to end the corruption and demand that drives the trade.
"Illegal logging undermines the strength and sustainability of the forest products’ economy both in Indonesia and the United States," says the report by the BlueGreen Alliance, Sierra Club, United Steelworkers, Rainforest Action Network and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The practice by Indonesia and other nations distorted global prices of timber, undercut sustainably manufactured products and jeopardised the jobs of U.S. workers, the report says.
"Under current conditions, there is no level playing field. Manufacturers across the U.S. are struggling to compete against imported, illegally harvested low-priced wood and wood products," it says.
Citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it says the logging, wood, paper and cabinetry industries had lost 242,000 jobs, or roughly 23 percent of its workforce, since 2006.
U.S. industry losses due to illegal logging-related depressed wood prices and lost exports had been estimated at more than $1 billion, the report added.
The authors called for steps to reform the harvest, trade and purchase of wood and wood products and said it was crucial the United States was not complicit in perpetuating illegal logging by allowing access to U.S. markets.
"Trade and investment agreements should end demand for and trade in wood products that are illegally and or unsustainably sourced," it said.
For example, official recognition that non-enforcement of Indonesian forestry laws was an unfair trade subsidy would also help curb illegal logging, the authors say.
Indonesia has stepped up efforts to fight illegal logging and to curb deforestation. Steps include banning the exports of round and rough-sawn logs and asking the Corruption Eradication Commission to investigate graft and logging-related crimes.
But the report cites lax enforcement of existing forestry and anti-corruption laws as hindering the fight against illegal logging and calls for much greater transparency in tracking the origin of timber and timber products.
It also says the majority of logging in Indonesia was still illegal. A spokesman for country’s forestry department disagreed. "We admit there is still illegal logging but it doesn’t mean all logging is illegal," said Masyhud, who goes by one name.
Deforestation is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and Indonesia’s national climate change council says the country is one of the world’s top carbon emitters because of deforestation and forest fires.
The country’s tropical forests cover a vast area and rank only behind Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa in area, acting like lungs of the atmosphere.
The government has pledged to cut the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions by curbing deforestation and promoting a U.N.-backed scheme that aims to reward developing nations for saving their forests.
Projects that preserve and rehabilitate large tracts of forest can earn money through the sale of carbon credits to rich nations trying to meet mandatory carbon cuts at home. The money is meant to flow to investors, local communities and government.
But the report warned against a rush of investment into the scheme, called reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, or REDD, saying poorly designed and managed projects could leave forests vulnerable to further destruction.
The report can be found at: here donesiaLogRpt-p7-Wells.pdf (Additional reporting by Sunanda Creagh in Jakarta; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee)
SINGAPORE/WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Australia’s Westpac bank has begun buying carbon offsets from New Zealand forest owners with the aim of selling them to big polluting firms as part of the country’s emissions trading scheme, the bank said on Tuesday.
The bank has approached about 600 foresters to pool carbon offsets issued to them to sell in large lots to firms such as refiners and cement makers that will have to meet carbon costs under the scheme.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Murderer, liar, fraud, traitor.
Climate scientists, used to dealing with skeptics, are under siege like never before, targeted by hate emails brimming with abuse and accusations of fabricating global warming data. Some emails contain thinly veiled death threats.
Across the Internet, climate blogs are no less venomous, underscoring the surge in abuse over the past six months triggered by purported evidence that global warming is either a hoax or the threat from a warmer world is grossly overstated.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Scientists have discovered a fast-moving deep ocean current with the volume of 40 Amazon Rivers near Antarctica that will help researchers monitor the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans.
A team of Australian and Japanese scientists, in a study published in Sunday’s issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, found that the current is a key part of a global ocean circulation pattern that helps control the planet’s climate.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China, the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter, and five other East Asian nations, need a net additional investment of $80 billion per year to get on to a sustainable energy path, the World Bank said on Monday.
Such investment was crucial to curb an otherwise inevitable surge in planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions as regional economies grow to lift millions out of poverty and to meet the energy needs of rapid urbanization, the Bank said in a report.