Australian greenhouse gas emissions fall as carbon market starts up

By John Parnell

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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Wednesday 17 October

Last updated: 1700

UK: The Green Investment Bank (GIB) has been given approval from the European Commission. The Bank has £3bn of start-up funds but has drawn criticism for not being able to borrow additional funds until the UK deficit is cut. There are also calls for it to link its project criteria to the country’s carbon budget. Amendments to both of these issues are under debate this week. (BBC)

Australia: The Australian electricity generation sector has witnessed a drop in CO2 emissions for the last quarter that is being attributed by some to the start of the country’s carbon trading system. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet described the relationship between the two events as “significant”. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Canada: After The Guardian revealed that a businessmen dumped 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off the back of a fishing boat in an unsanctioned geoengineering experiment, it has emerged that the Canadian Government was aware of the plans. The process known as ocean fertilisation can stimulate ocean life and sequester carbon. (The Guardian)

Brazil: Coca-Cola will use Carbon Capture technology to use exhaust CO2 from a bottling plant in Brazil to make its own products fizzy. The captured CO2 will be purified to food standards level before use. (Gasworld)

CBD COP11 in Hyderabad: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has pledged $50m to tackle biodiversity loss and called on other nations to ratify key legislation on the topic before the end of the UN conference this weekend. The country’s Environment Minister and UNEP chief Achim Steiner called on financial commitments to be settled too.

US: Researchers have said that the computer models used to predict climate change on Earth have made successful predictions for Mars and Saturn’s largest moon Titan. The news adds weight to the validity of complex mathematical models used to make projections of future climatic shifts back on Earth. (Reuters)

EU: The biofuels industry has suggested it may sue the European Commission over plans to cut the target for crop-based biofuels from 10% to 5% of European transport fuels by 2020.

“If no-one is going to invest in us anymore I think we should sue the European Commission for killing an industry,” Rob Vierhout, the secretary-general of the European bioethanol trade body, ePure told EurActiv. (EurActiv)

US: California has become the latest state to be sued by environmentalists looking to ban the controversial hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technique for the extraction of shale gas. Concerns over methane leakage and water pollution have raised questions over the appropriateness of the method. There were 600 active shale gas wells in California last year. (Reuters)

UK: Arguments over British energy policy could be coming to a conclusion in Westminster as the Prime Minister looks to intervene in the debate between the two coalition government parties. The Conservative-led Treasury is in favour of meeting future UK energy demand with more gas capacity while the Liberal Democrat run Department of Energy and Climate Change prefers to strengthen renewable energy support in tandem with a more modest expansion of gas. Cameron is thought to be keen to find some middle ground. (The Guardian)

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