Carbon trading officially under way in Australia as nation ramps-up climate action

By John Parnell

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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Latest news: Thursday 27 September

Last updated: 1740

UAE: A new exhibition demonstrating the UAE’s plans for a low(er) carbon future has opened in Abu Dhabi. The Eco Future exhibition will showcase the country’s solar energy plans and raises awareness on issues of food and of course, as you would expect from a desert nation, water security. (The National)

Australia: The starting pistol has been fired on Australian carbon trading with the first free emissions allowances worth A$150m allocated. A$138m of the total was awarded to Aluminium firm Alcoa. It marks the start of trading proper for the scheme, which recently announced plans to integrate with the EU system. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Namibia: A huge underground geological find created much optimism in Namibia this July. The reservoir is full of freshwater not oil, but now geologists say it must be tapped carefully to ensure its long-term future. The find has enough water for 1m Namibians for 400 years, based on current consumption rates. (SciDev)

India: North India and the Himalayas will be the regions of the country most affected by climate change according to a report carried out by the Indian Environment and Forests Ministry and the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change. Warming of 4°C is anticipated in those regions by the 2080s. (DNAIndia/PTI)

Nigeria: The Rafto Prize for Human Rights has been awarded to Nigerian environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey. The awards panel said he “links human rights to the climate by demonstrating how climate change has the greatest effect on the world’s most vulnerable people, the very people who have contributed least to the problem”. (AFP)

UK: New figures from the UK government show that renewable energy capacity has grown by 42.4% for the second quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year. (BusinessGreen)

UN/Kiribati: President Anote Tong of Kiribati has told the UN General Assembly that the low-lying islands of his country, threatened by rising sea levels, must be made habitable for as long as possible. However, he also said that work has begun to prepare the nation’s young people for the international job market so they can “migrate with dignity”. (UN)

UK: The world land speed record for an electric car has been broken. The team behind the Nemesis car smashed the current record of 137mph hitting 148mph. They hope to push that figure higher as the day continues. (BBC)

US: An opinion piece in the influential science journal Nature has called on whoever wins the US Presidential Election to find a way to cut emissions while protecting the nation’s economic interests. The piece calls for Obama to tackle fierce political opposition to environmental policies should he win and for Romney to return to his centrist past if he triumphs. (Nature)

Worldwide: Plastic debris has been detected in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. It was thought to have been one of the last pristine environments but new research found 50,000 fragments per square kilometre. (The Guardian)

France: The French government has confirmed it will use the revenue generated by the sale of its spare EU carbon credits, worth around €600m to fund energy efficiency improvements for as many as 1m homes a year. (EurActiv)

UK: The UK could be a net energy exporter by 2020 according to a report released by the country’s grid operator. With increased renewables output and more interconnections being made with other markets, the country could reverse its current net importer status. (Reuters)

Kenya and UK: The UK is to launch a trade mission to Kenya next month in order to help kick-start the geothermal energy sector in the African rift valley. (Bloomberg)

Canada: Green groups are suing the Canadian Government in an effort to force it to block the proposed Northern Gateway crude oil pipeline and protect biodiversity along its route. Although the Enbridge Inc pipeline would transport crude rather than bitumen-like tar sands, the oil is derived from tar sand deposits originally, giving it a higher impact on emissions. The Ecojustice coalition is seeking to protect white sturgeon, humpback whales and caribou. (Environmental News Service)

EU: Europe’s total wind energy capacity has hit 100GW, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). This is the equivalent to 39 nuclear power plants, according to the industry group. (EWEA)

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