Dealing with criminals in climate fraud | Geoff Simmons, originally published in the Dominion Post

OPINION: The Government’s plan for meeting our Kyoto Protocol commitment and 2020 emissions reduction target was released this month. It reveals a shocking truth: New Zealand has been a willing participant in a wholesale climate fraud. We’ve been dealing with criminals and fraudsters in order to meet our international obligations. If our reputation wasn’t shot to pieces after Paris – where we revealed our weak kneed 2030 target – it will be now. Carbon trading is a fine idea, but it only works if the credits we buy actually represent a true emissions reduction somewhere else. The sad truth is that the foreign credits New Zealand has gorged on up until now have produced little to no climate benefit.  New Zealand’s main vice has been a particular type of carbon credit called the Emissions Reduction Unit (ERU). These are issued for emissions-reducing projects in countries participating in the Kyoto Protocol. The idea is that the revenue from selling ERUs would make projects viable that wouldn’t be otherwise. Over 90 per cent of ERUs have come out of Russia and Ukraine, and under Kyoto they were allowed to authorise their own projects. No surprise that when they were externally audited this year, 85 per cent of the units didn’t stand up to scrutiny. They are essentially worthless bits of paper. The EU got wind of the games being played years back and started to clamp down on the use of these credits…

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Source: Dealing with criminals in climate fraud | Stuff.co.nz

Trudeau calls on Canadians to help enact Paris Agreement

Prime Minister Trudeau is calling for Canadians to take an active role in implementing the global climate change deal reached this weekend in Paris.

Source: Trudeau calls on Canadians to help enact Paris Agreement

La Grande Négociation: while we bargain, our ultimate fate comes down to acceptance Post Carbon Institute

From the vantage point of being at COP21, I have to agree with the statements made here. And I’ll add this; despite the halting agreements and the commitments (double-talk not withstanding), the advances in technologies for methane capture (such as those dairy herds that the New Zealand Prime Minister is so determined to hang onto), it remains my conviction that the kind of change required for long-term survival of the remaining ecosystems can only be effected from the ground up. That is where the real will resides. Nonetheless I share the concern of fellow climate activists and concerned citizens, that the greatest challenge of all may be to convince our fellow human occupants of the planet.  And not only them. I may be willing to give up driving a car, but my smart phone? my iPad? my laptop? That is the rub.

“A major sticking point to getting all countries to sign onto any agreement is the question of historical responsibility and the concern of poorer nations that climate mitigation not hamper their continued “development.” China’s President, Xi Jinping, said in a speech on the first day of the Paris talks that “addressing climate change should not deny the legitimate needs of developing countries to reduce poverty and improve living standards.” Another key question is whether the Paris agreement will be legally binding. In this, countries’ preferences may come down to their political realities at home. It’s kind of hard for President Obama to commit to a legally binding agreement (which would require ratification) when he’s busy trying to fend off Congressional attempts to undo his Clean Power Plan and block US contributions to the United Nations Green Climate Fund. So at the end of this historic meeting we may well wind up with a nonbinding agreement that badly overshoots the 2°C target, doesn’t go into effect until 2020, ends ten years later, and counts on unproven technologies and unspecified promises of financial aid to countries most at risk. It’s hard to square that with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening admonition: “We cannot afford indecision, half measures or merely gradual approaches. Our goal must be a transformation.” Despite all this, I happen to agree with those that believe an agreement in Paris is absolutely critical, even if it is woefully, dangerously insufficient – especially if that agreement has transparency provisions and legally-binding periodic reviews, which President Obama champions. It’s much easier to build momentum when you’re already moving forward, however slowly and haltingly.

Source: La Grande Négociation: while we bargain, our ultimate fate comes down to acceptance Post Carbon Institute

Pope Francis to World Leaders at U.N. Climate Summit: “We Are at the Limits of Suicide” | Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, France and India launched an international alliance to deliver solar energy to some of the planet’s poorest. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the initiative. NARENDRA MODI: One must turn to sun to power the future. As developing world leaps billions of people into prosperity, our hope for a sustainable planet rests on a bold global initiative. It will mean advanced countries living in a carbon space for developing countries to grow. It will create unlimited economic opportunities that will be the foundation of the new economy of the century. This is an alliance that brings together developed and developing countries. AMY GOODMAN: While India is pushing solar energy, it’s also heavily promoting coal power. India is expected to open a new coal plant every single month until 2020 as the country plans to double its coal production. Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the world’s wealthiest nations to help the developing world adapt to a changing climate.

Source: Pope Francis to World Leaders at U.N. Climate Summit: “We Are at the Limits of Suicide” | Democracy Now!

France bows to Obama and backs down on climate ‘treaty’

France has offered a key concession to the US on the eve of historic climate talks in Paris, saying a new global climate accord will not be called a “treaty” and might not contain legally binding emissions reduction targets. In a significant climbdown, Laurent Fabius, French foreign minister, said signatories to the planned deal would still be legally required to meet many of its terms but most likely not the carbon-cutting goals underpinning the agreement. Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images Security measures are seen during final preparations for the COP21, Paris Climate Conference site on November 26, 2015 in Le Bourget, France. “The accord needs to be legally binding. It’s not just literature,” Mr Fabius told the Financial Times. “But it will probably have a dual nature. Some of the clauses will be legally binding.” Mr Fabius, who is to chair the UN climate conference, added: “Another question is whether the Paris accord as a whole will be called a treaty. If that’s the case, then it poses a big problem for President Barack Obama because a treaty has to pass through Congress.” The comments are among the first by a senior official to signal a willingness to accommodate the world’s second largest carbon emitter to achieve a successful deal. John Kerry, US secretary of state, warned in an FT interview this month that the Paris climate change summit could not deliver a treaty that legally requires countries to cut their emissions.

Source: France bows to Obama and backs down on climate ‘treaty’

This week will be the last time anyone alive experiences a CO2 level below 400 ppm.

“As a human, though, passing both the 400 ppm and (potentially) the 1°C threshold within such a short time period makes it clear we are already living in a different world. We have blown past targets that were being considered as viable when I entered graduate school. We have significantly reduced the options available to us in the future. If we aren’t going to blow past the next set of thresholds — 500 ppm and 2°C — within just a few more decades, we have a lot of work to do in Paris in two weeks and beyond.” Katharine Hayhoe, atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University responding to a question posed by Climate Central. The  Scripps CO2 measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island of Hawaii have shown that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels climbed above the 400 parts per million (ppm). Because CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a very long time, some scientists say for millennia,  our global fever has reached the point that no one alive today, and those that follow us, will ever know a world below 400 ppm again.  Even after the horrific events in Paris, over 120 world leaders will still attend the upcoming climate conference, Though a huge march on Nov. 29 by supporters of an agreement to reduce carbon emissions has been cancelled by the French government. In Paris, the most vulnerable among humanity will be pushing for a UN climate goal of 1.5C.Such a goal would be an ambitious one. Some negotiators and onlookers already seem to have given up hope of limiting warming to less than 2°C, much less 1.5°C. Fossil fuel burning, deforestation and other climate-changing hallmarks of industrialization have elevated temperatures 1°C since the 19th century, pushing tides up more than 8 inches. Pledges submitted by nations ahead of the meeting to take steps to slow climate change could yet allow warming to soar to 3°C or more.The longing by low-lying nations to limit warming to 1.5°C has been overshadowed since 2010 by a preoccupation by many with the less ambitious goal. On Wednesday, the U.N. released the latest report to confirm that goal — to limit warming to 2°C, compared with preindustrial times — could be reached through massive globally cooperative efforts that overhaul energy supply chains and reform farming and forest management.Goddard Media simulates carbon dioxide world wide dispersal.Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources. The simulation also illustrates differences in carbon dioxide levels in the northern and southern hemispheres and distinct swings in global carbon dioxide concentrations as the growth cycle of plants and trees changes with the seasons.The carbon dioxide visualization was produced by a computer model called GEOS-5, created by scientists at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office.The visualization is a product of a simulation called a “Nature Run.” The Nature Run ingests real data on atmospheric conditions and the emission of greenhouse gases and both natural and man-made particulates. The model is then left to run on its own and simulate the natural behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere. This Nature Run simulates January 2006 through December 2006.While Goddard scientists worked with a “beta” version of the Nature Run internally for several years, they released this updated, improved version to the scientific community for the first time in the fall of 2014.

Source: This week will be the last time anyone alive experiences a CO2 level below 400 ppm.