Australia rumoured to announce Kyoto II commitment tomorrow

By Tierney Smith

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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Thursday 8 November

Last updated: 1800

Worldwide: The IEA energy watchdog has announced that it is to launch its first study into the effects of climate change on energy infrastructure. “Much has been said about the ways in which our energy system is affecting the climate, yet very little has been said about the opposite… We think it’s imperative to jump-start a conversation about this issue,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.

US: The world’s least developed countries (LDCs) have written and open letter to Obama calling on him to remember the people who live in the world’s poorest regions when addressing climate change and to step forward at this year UN climate negotiations and make climate action his legacy.

“When you were first elected president, your words gave us hope that you would become an international leader on climate change,” said the letter. “But you have not lived up to this promise. The framework that you put in place sets the planet on course to warm dangerously, and delays action until 2020 – this will be too late.

“This year’s meeting in Qatar may be our last chance to put forward a new vision and plan to reverse this course. Your legacy, and the future of our children and grandchildren depend on it.” (LDC’s)

The letter also referred to researchers at Brown University’s climate and development lab whose research highlights the disproportionate affects of climate change felt by the world’s poorest nations.

The researchers produced a video to show what they refer to as the ‘paradox of climate change’

The Climate Paradox from Watson Institute on Vimeo.

Australia: It is rumoured that Australia will sign up to a second round of the Kyoto Protocol. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet is expected to announce the decision tomorrow in Melbourne saying that sufficient progress in international talk to make the commitment, with some conditions. They would be joining the EU and a handful of other emitters in recommitting to the treaty. (the Age)

UK: £330 billion of investment is needed in Britain’s energy sector, excluding network, by 2030 to meet carbon emissions reduction targets, according to a report from the London School of Economic. The UK aims to cut carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The report says investments will be needed to build new power plants, retrofit existing ones with carbon –reduction technology and limit energy demand. (Reuters)

EU: The European Union has stepped up its solar power trade battle with China this week as it launched an investigation into alleged state subsidies for Chinese solar power manufacturers. The EU’s executive body is already studying Chinese ‘dumping’ of solar panels – deliberately selling products for less abroad than at home. (Reuters)

Caribbean: The collapse of sardine fisheries in the southern Caribbean, seen over the past decade, may have been driven by climate change, a new study has said. The researchers found that changes in regional wind and seawater circulation patterns correlated with lower levels of plankton – a vital food source for the fish. (Guardian)

EU: The continent’s governments have abandoned plans to ban global warming fluorinated gases from Europe’s commercial and industrial refrigerators, opting for a ‘phase-down’ approach aimed to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions to a third by 2030. The announcement follows calls from EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard that these gases must be tackled in a bid to lower global emissions. (Euractiv)

UK: A community solar energy project in Newport, South Wales has announced it has raised £50,000 in just one week, after publishing proposals for the £1 million project. Generation Community plan to build a range of community-backed solar PV, wind and combined heat and power projects across the country, with the Newport project as the first. (BusinessGreen)

Oceans: Researchers from Australia and Saudi Arabia have launched a project aimed at understanding the genetic makeup of corals and how they react to climate change. Reefs are under threat from bleaching from warming water, ocean acidification, storms and predatory starfish, and the scientists aim to learn more about coral resilience and help prevent further destruction. (AFP)

COP18: UK Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker has said Qatar will provide the Gulf nations the perfect opportunity to play a lead role in the climate negotiations.

Speaking on his current visit to the country, ahead of the meeting, Barker said: “Bearing in mind the importance of fossil fuels to the Qatari economy, Qatar’s decision to host COP18 is extremely significant. COP18 provides an opportunity for Qatar and its GCC partners to demonstrate how they will play their part in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to deliver economic growth and prosperity to their people.” (Gulf Times)

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