THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A coalmine in her backyard...

A coalmine in her backyard - has the New Zealand Government told us yet? When will they, I wonder?

New Zealand's state owned coal producer, Solid Energy, and fertiliser company Ravensdown are currently investigating the building of a lignite to urea plant in Mataura's backyard. Solid Energy says the urea plant could be the foundation of a New Zealand capability in coal gasification technology, which could also be used to produce diesel domestically.

Solid Energy has been on a buying spree over the last couple of years - buying up farms in the area that sit over the extensive lignite deposits (some 8 billion tonnes) and pushing up land prices.

So far, the Gore District Council has shown unreserved enthusiasm for the idea and any publicity has carefully avoided the environmental impact whilst highlighting the economic benefits for the area and the rest of the country.

For those of us that live nearby the proposed site, should it go ahead, any economic benefits will be offset by the fumes, noise, air and water pollution and increased traffic caused by the mine and urea plant.

The proposed 'hole' would be 5km long by 2km wide and to a depth of 100m (that's 40m below sea level!). It is expected to move steadily across 40km of countryside. The picture above shows what it could end up as - a huge hole in the ground!

Acknowledgements: Kiwimeg

When will the NZ Government tell us?

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen climate change talks fiasco

Lets face it, no matter how you look at it, or whatever kind of a spin you put on it, the Copenhagen climate change talks were a fiasco and a total failure!

Nothing constructive was achieved at these talks; they were hamstrung by rhetoric and discord between developed and developing nations. The so-called accord between 192 nations simply noted that the average world temperature increases should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius. But there are no commitments to any emission cuts to achieve this - just a wish I presume.

The aid charity, Oxfam, warned that by the time of the next scheduled round of United Nations sponsored talks, due, I believe in December, 2010 in Mexico, about 150,000 people would have died and a million more displaced through climate change.

Despite great hopes. President Obama has like the rest of world leaders, failed to achieve anything constructive by any stretch of the imagination.

China has accused Britain's Climate Change Minister's of claiming it(China) hijacked the talks, as an attempt to sow discord among`the poor or developing nations.

In my opinion, for what it is worth, those nations undoubtably saw these talks as a golden opportunity to squeeze some more aid from the "greedy" developed world.

China and many more of the larger developing nations are actually responsible for much of the pollution and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions from alleged human activities.

Why should a little country of 4 million people, such as New Zealand, be penalised by the irresponsible actions of an emerging super power, China, with its 1.3 billion people. It doesn't make sense or seem at all fair, in my book.

New Zealand has been accused of contributing to greenhouse gas emissions through its "farting" dairy cattle herds - I don't know whether sheep and lambs make a significant contribution to GHE as well.

Sorry I don't buy this baloney at all, anymore than the so-called global warming claims made by so-called experts. Think again, do some more homework and come up with something more constructive and credible next time.

Copenhagen talks

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Copenhagen climate talks: No deal we're out of time, warns Obama...

Copenhagen climate talks: No deal, we're out of time, Obama warns:

"Barack Obama acknowledged yesterday that time had run out to secure a legally binding climate deal at the Copenhagen summit in December and threw his support behind plans to delay a formal pact until next year at the earliest.

During a hastily convened meeting in Singapore, the US president supported a Danish plan to salvage something from next month's meeting by aiming to make it a first-stage series of commitments rather than an all-encompassing protocol.

Postponing many contentious decisions on emissions targets, financing and technology transfer until the second-stage, leaders will instead try to reach a political agreement in Copenhagen that sends a strong message of intent.

While this falls short of hopes that the meeting would lock in place a global action plan to replace the Kyoto protocol, it recognises the lack of progress in recent preparatory talks and the hold-ups of climate legislation in the US Senate.

Michael Froman, US deputy national security adviser for economic affairs, said: "There was a realistic assessment ... by the leaders that it was unrealistic to expect a full internationally legally binding agreement to be negotiated between now and when Copenhagen starts in 22 days."

Britain's climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, tried to put a brave face on Obama's move, insisting it is still possible to reach a broad political agreement on carbon emissions targets, but senior Labour MPs admitted they feared the necessary momentum for a detailed agreement would be sucked from the Copenhagen event if politicians know a deal has been postponed to the next scheduled meeting in Mexico City next year.

Gordon Brown had pledged to go to Copenhagen to help broker a deal, insisting there could be no plan B. Miliband again todayurged Obama to attend.

There will now be intense discussions on whether the political agreement at Copenhagen contains any detailed meaningful commitments.

Denmark's prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the host and chairman of the climate talks, flew overnight to Singapore to pitch the deferral plan to 19 leaders, including Obama and China's president, Hu Jintao, at an unscheduled event during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. He insisted that the Copenhagen talks could still set political targets and outline commitments.

"Given the time factor and the situation of individual countries we must, in the coming weeks, focus on what is possible and not let ourselves be distracted by what is not," Rasmussen told the leaders. "The Copenhagen agreement should finally mandate continued legal negotiations and set a deadline for their conclusion."

Obama spoke in support of the proposal, cautioning the group not to let the "perfect be the enemy of the good", Froman said.

The proposal by Denmark would buy time for the US Senate to pass carbon-capping legislation, allowing the Obama administration to bring a 2020 target and financing pledges to the table at a UN climate meeting in mid-2010."

So it appears that Copenhagen may have come a year too early? We should know the answer to that question very soon.

Read more here

Acknowledgements: is part of the Guardian Environment Network.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Introducing the iscrub blog and 52 ways to lower your carbon footprint in college...

Introducing: The iScrub BLog:

iScrub is a blog devoted to providing news, information, and resources to the healthcare community and those it serves. It is our goal to keep our hand on the pulse of the online health community and bring you, our loyal readers, the best of what we find. We strive to be focused in message, but informal in tone. We hope you enjoy.
52 Ways To Lower Your Carbon Footprint In College
Because what you do now effects the future, going green in college can influence how you live the rest of your life. Everything from recycling, to using a laptop, to breaking out a caulk gun can literally save tons of carbon emissions. To do it right, check out the below 52 ways to lower your carbon footprint in college.

Automotive Ways To Lower Your Carbon Footprint In College

Go beyond Hybrid driving to find out how to get the most out of your car and the least environmental impact.

1. RideShare : Check out this national site to find a car pool in your area. If you can’t find one, start one of your own. There are also pools for errands, airport, and even cross-country travel to lower carbon emissions even more.
2. Carpool World : Similar to the above, this site provides a free, worldwide carpool ride matching system. Search by company, community, or school. There are nearly 100,000 users and a commuting mode analysis for miles saved and carbon footprint.
3. Know Your Grade : Love both your car and the Earth by putting the correct grade of gasoline in your car. An incorrect grade can lead to higher emissions and poorer mileage. This article from Edmunds tells you more.
4. Change It Up : Maintain low carbon levels by keeping your car running better and longer. One of the best ways to do so is to change the oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. If you don’t feel like paying a dealership a load of money to do it, this guide from Castrol shows you how to do it yourself.
5. EcoDrive : Get tons of tips for how to adjusting your gas foot to reduce your carbon footprint. They include how to start, stop, and what speed to maintain. Videos are also included.
6. Inflate to Reduce Carbon : Just like sneakers protect feet, tires are what the car runs on. Poor inflation can lead to all sorts of problems like shorter tire life, poor mileage, and damage to the suspension. Keeping your tires inflated at the right PSI at all times is an easy and expensive way to maintain the life of your tires, car, and gas tank.
7. Cap It! : We never think about it until something goes wrong, but a gas cap is an essential part of keeping your car running properly. A missing, or even loose, gas cap can cost you hundreds of dollars in lost gas and pounds of lost carbon. If unsure if yours is working properly, have a mechanic look at it, and replace it right away if it doesn’t.
8. Driving Quiz : Now that you know more about automotive ways to lower your carbon footprint, take this quiz. Multiple choice questions are asked, and a virtual drive is offered to those who pass all three levels. You can even post your scores on the leader board.
9. Go Without : If you’re truly serious about lowering your carbon footprint, getting rid of your car altogether is worth a look. This book by Chris Balish shows you how to do just that. He tells you the true cost of ownership, economical and environmental alternatives, and over 100 real world tips for getting around.

Like to read some more

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posted by Unknown @ 7:30 PM 2 Comments

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hidden tribe of Kiwi discovered in the Ruahine Range in NZ...

Hidden tribe of Kiwi discovered in the Ruahine Range in NZ...

A hidden tribe of Kiwi were discovered in the Ruahine Range near Taihape in the North Island of New Zealand.

A new tribe you say? Why of course, the kiwi bird of course. Did you think I meant a human tribe?

This tribe of Kiwi has been found after volunteers made a stoat cull at the northern tip of the Ruahine Range, near Taihape. The stoat is one of the most dangerous predators of our native bird.

A group of 29 previously undetected North Island brown Kiwi were heard "singing, screeching and growling " among the red beech and red cedar on a perfectly still, quiet evening. It was reported that four years ago, Conservation Department staff found only four Kiwi in the area.

The latest group is the most southern-most population of North Island brown Kiwi, and the last remaining group in the Ruahines

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posted by Unknown @ 11:04 PM 0 Comments

Dairy factory farming proposal in New Zealand condemned by the Greens...

New Zealand is on the brink of introducing factory farming of dairy cows, the NZ Green Party said today: The party condemns the proposal.

Consent applications were recently lodged with Environment Canterbury for factory-style dairy farms in the Mackenzie Basin.

Three companies plan to establish 16 new farms with nearly 18,000 cows in the area. According to the applications, all 18,000 cows will be housed in 'cubicle stables' 24 hours a day for eight months of the year, and 12 hours a day for the remaining four months.

"This is factory farming, pure and simple," Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said.

"Proposals to keep cows in cubicles that they don't leave for eight months of the year are a radical departure from our tradition of farming stock outside and on pasture, and could do immense harm to our clean, green international brand and image.

"Once word gets out to overseas consumers that New Zealand butter comes from factory farms, there goes our competitive advantage.

"Fonterra counters 'food-miles' arguments from our European competitors by saying that our milk products are more environmentally friendly than factory-farmed milk. This proposal flies in the face of that strategy.

"It's also a chilling prospect from an animal welfare perspective."

However the proposals are still being considered and are not necessarily a faite accompli.

Read more

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posted by Unknown @ 6:13 PM 0 Comments