Climate Live: Great Barrier Reef will be “boring” with climate change, new solutions for nuclear waste in UK and Canada’s scientists march in protest

By Tierney Smith

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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Tuesday 10 July

Last updated: 1700 BST

Latest news

One museum exhibition is helping to illustrate the impact of plastics on our ocean by cataloguing an expansive collection of plastic retrieved from beach around the world. The exhibition’s central installation, pictured above, shows how much plastic is released into the sea every 15 seconds.

The French town of Tramayes has won the 2012 ‘Champion League for Renewable Energies’, beating off competition from over 4,000 competing local authorities across Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Poland.

RTCC series profiling Youth Groups from around the world continues this week with PIDES International. Based inMexicothe group works across 14 countries aiming to get people involved in sustainable living and bridging the gap between policy and action.

BONN UPDATE: The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change raised the issue of levies on international shipping as a source of climate finance. It has been described by the Indian delegation as “unfair”, “a double blow” and “against the principles of the UNFCCC”. After almost two days of talks, no obvious source of finance has emerged without detractors.

BONN UPDATE: Geoff Sinclair of Standard Bank has said that the existing CDM system for establishing low carbon projects is the only mechanism that has had any success. He added that it remains flawed and must be scaled-up. He also backed private money to get the best results: “Private money is more efficient because there are commercial incentives.”

BONN UPDATE: An advisor to Mexico’s finance Minister reveals that the country is establishing a $200m green investment fund. The country recently passed some very strong climate change legislation.

BONN UPDATE: Despite a strong wave of support on Twitter, seemingly started by Oxfam, the financial transaction tax, or Robin Hood Tax, was shot down by two panellists in Bonn. Paul Bodnar of the US State Department said companies would find a way round it and could drag other tax revenue offshore at the same time. He called for an emissions linked funding source such as a carbon price. Consultant Erik Haites said there was no chance it would be on the agenda in Doha later this year.

Janice Lough, a marine scientist from James Cook University has said that the Great Barrier Reef will be “boring and full of rubble” by the end of the century if urgent action is not taken to slow the rate of ocean acidification. She was talking at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns that is focusing on what will happen to the oceans if climate change continues at current rates.

Plans to burn the UK’s radioactive nuclear waste as fuel for the next-generation of reactors has moved a step close as GE-Hitachi submitted a feasibility report to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority responsible for cleaning up the UK’s civil nuclear facilities.

Scientists are to march through Ottawa, Canada in their white lab coats to protest against cuts to research and environmental damage. It will be the second biggest protest in a month against Canada’s Harper government’s science and environmental agenda.

BONN UPDATE: Cuba has said that climate finance is a win-win situation but “talks are plagued by the notion that rich countries will lose money”. He says most cash will be spent on developed world products and services, loans will be repaid and that we all benefit from improved mitigation efforts and reduced climate impacts. He also criticised a perceived Western bias on the panels and asked for more balance at future meetings.

BONN UPDATE: More from Paul Bodnar of the US State Department. He was criticised by the Indian moderator earlier for saying that countries were categorised as high or low polluters based on GDP. Historical emission output is used. Bodnar suggested maybe these lists need to be updated as countries develop their economies. “If you think historical responsibility should be based on a list drawn up in 1992 you’re welcome to that opinion. As other countries capabilities evolve, I would have thought that you would want them to ramp-up their responsibilities.”

BONN UPDATE: Guyana’s lead negotiator Andrew Bishop has said the issue of climate finance is about political will, not the absence of money: “If we went to war tomorrow, billions could be made available.”

BONN UPDATE: Martin Khor of the South Centre has backed Jeffrey Sachs’ proposal to ditch carbon trading. “The sun is setting on carbon trading. A carbon tax would be much more predictable as it does not depend on supply and demand.”

BONN UPDATE: Paul Bodnar of the US State Department said the investment environment of climate vulnerable countries must be improved to “pull money” into them. “Funding should be based on climate risk not investment risk,” he said.

A satellite conceived by Vice President Al Gore – but banished after George Bush beat Gore for the presidency – could get a ride into space as early as 2014 as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aims to raise $23 million next year to continue the reboot of the device.

Climate change could give curries a boost in the UK. A team funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs concluded that with climate change and rising population putting further pressure on global food supplies by 2050, the UK will have to grow more ingredients for their favourite dishes at home.

A coalition of 10 environmental groups is planning a federal lawsuit to overturn approvals for Shell’s plans for exploration drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska. It aims to seek to overturn the approvals to the company’s oil spill plans that were granted earlier this year.

Changes to the EU ETS are expected to emerge over coming weeks – the first step in a set of reforms which are been sought by business and environmental campaigners. A review into the scheme is set to be published – although a date is yet to be announced – and is likely to include measures such as delaying the auction of some allowances to reduce a huge surplus that has kicked down carbon prices.

Top Tweets

Some of the latest coming out of this morning UNFCCC Climate workshop on finance:



Stat of the day

The UK has a stockpile of around 100 tonnes of plutonium waste. Current options for its disposal include converting it into mixed-oxide fuel (Mox) for use in conventional nuclear reactors or underground storage.

Photo of the day

Video of the day

Today marks the day Greenpeace’s iconic Rainbow Warrior ship was bombed, 28 years ago. This video takes you through the life of the Rainbow Warrior, from the first ship three decades a go to the newest ship – the Rainbow Warrior III launched last year…

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