News & Views – October 12, 2011

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Global warning: climate sceptics are winning the battle – The father of the green movement says scientists lack PR skills to make public listen (Michael McCarthy, Independent)

Joe D’Aleo responds: Hansen: A failure to communicate. ICECAP: No! A failed science

Push to avoid climate treaty collapse – Governments are looking at a new plan to make sure the Kyoto treaty does not completely collapse at next month’s climate talks, the UN’s top climate diplomat has revealed. (Financial Times)

UN May Seek Kyoto Extension Without Canada, Japan, Russia – United Nations climate negotiators in Durban, South Africa, next month may seek to extend the Kyoto Protocol, excluding Canada, Japan and Russia, said Christiana Figueres, the UN’s top climate diplomat. (Bloomberg)

EU sets conditions for signing up to Kyoto II – European Union environment ministers — responsible for only 11 percent of global carbon emissions — said they would commit to a new phase of the Kyoto climate change pact, on the condition that nations blamed for the rest join up too. (Reuters)

Big bucks but little progress on climate change
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has never pretended climate change is a priority for his government. Nonetheless, Ottawa has budgeted $9.2 billion — $267 for every Canadian — for greenhouse gas reduction. (Toronto Star)

Climate change not factored into companies’ value, warns UN chief
Carbon finance experts told firms with high-carbon emissions must be re-evaluated by stock markets – She called for “an active valuation” of companies with high carbon emissions, saying the world was “far behind” in doing so. “How is it possible that the valuation is not keeping pace?” (The Guardian)

In pointless carbon [dioxide] panic Australia’s government makes yet another attempt to drive what remains of the economy over a cliff. Prime Minister in waiting Tony Abbott will find it something of a nuisance to dismantle following the election:

Carbon tax vote clears Lower House – JULIA Gillard’s carbon tax is on its way to becoming law after it was this morning passed by the House of Representatives. Labor won backing for the 18 bills in its carbon tax package by 74 to 72 votes. (The Courier-Mail)

In pointless carbon [dioxide] panic Australia’s government makes yet another attempt to drive what remains of the economy over a cliff. Prime Minister in waiting Tony Abbott will find it something of a nuisance to dismantle following the election.

Tony Abbott makes a ‘blood pledge’ to repeal carbon tax after it passes lower house – AFTER more than a decade of political argument, the House of Representatives has this morning passed legislation to put a price on carbon, paving the way for Australia’s most dramatic economic reform in more than a decade. (The Australian)

Carbon tax’s passage does not mean an end to Julia Gillard’s political battle – AFTER years of talking about putting a price on carbon, Australia is now certain to have one. (The Australian)

Price of U.N. CO2 price drops – U.N. carbon credits fell 4 percent on Tuesday and could fall further as heavy issuance continues to weigh on prices but they are not likely to hit an all-time low of 7.15 euros ($9.76) a tonne this week, traders and analysts told Reuters.

And while Australia’s rainbow conglomerate government sets a $23/mt price the UN can’t raise half that on a forced EU market.

A Yeti in Siberia? ‘We’re 95 per cent sure,’ say scientists – A RUSSIAN region in Siberia has confidently proclaimed that its mountains are home to yetis after finding “indisputable proof” of the existence of the hairy beasts in an expedition. (AFP)

While on the topic of climate superstition, did you know the existence of the Yeti (Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman…) is more certain than the IPCC’s “settled science”?

Buried Antarctic lake could hold vital climate clues – An ancient lake hidden deep beneath West Antarctica’s Ice Sheet may reveal vital clues about climate change and future sea level rises, and uncover new forms of life, according to a group of UK engineers and scientist. (Reuters)

CO2 Science Volume 14 Number 41: 12 October 2011

Energy Not Yet for All – The IEA has released a preview of its 2011 International Energy Outlook (here in PDF). In it is describes the challenge of providing energy access to people around the world and how current policies are falling well short. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

Pakistan’s energy shortage – ALTHOUGH Pakistan makes international news for terrorist attacks, anti-American demonstrations and its alleged support for insurgents in Afghanistan, it is the basic inability to switch on a light that is pushing this volatile country closer to the edge. Popular anger over Pakistan’s crippling electricity shortage boiled over on to the streets this week, with riots that paralysed whole cities, unleashing running battles with the police and causing widespread damage to government offices. (Economist)

A White-Hot Future for Oil and Gas – BRUSSELS — Opportunities in oil and natural gas have rarely been so bountiful. New finds and technological advances and fresh access to some countries are pushing exploration and production into areas once considered peripheral. (NYT)

Lack of Offshore Drilling Lease Sales Makes America’s Debt Problem Worse – Offshore oil and gas leases produced $10 billion in federal revenue only a few years ago. Today that number is zero, a consequence of the Obama administration’s reaction to last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the resulting moratorium on production in the region. (Rob Bluey, The Foundry)

Let’s hear it for offshore oil – My latest HND piece shines the spotlight on offshore oil drilling, and contrasts it with recent “venture socialism” green energy debacles. It’s hard to imagine a failure more epic than Solyndra, but given this clueless administration, there could be more. (Shaw’s Eco-Logic)

China to Set Shale-Gas Output Targets, Securities Journal Says – China aims to produce 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas annually by 2015 under a government plan to be released soon, the China Securities Journal reported, citing an official at state-owned China National Petroleum Corp.(Bloomberg News)

The Battle for Rare Earths – If you use an iPad, smartphone, tablet, laptop, watch a flat-screen plasma TV or drive the latest hybrid, you may or may not know that you owe a vote of thanks for the product’s advanced efficiency to the use of ‘rare earths’ in its manufacture. (Peter Glover, Energy Tribune)

Soon, green fuel for military vehicles – The world’s most powerful armies are going green and reducing dependency on fossil fuels seems to be their main objective. (Financial Express)

Two New Reasons to Worry about Air Pollution: Obesity and Diabetes – When viewed through the public health lens, the economic arguments against regulation of air pollution begin to unravel, particularly in the face of rising healthcare costs. Consider, for example, a spate of new studies that have found a rather convincing correlation between the presence of small particulate matter (PM2.5, the ultrafine particles blown into the air by road traffic, coal-fired power plants, industrial manufacturing, and residential wood fuel combustion) and both obesity and diabetes. (Amy Westervelt, Forbes)

Groups sue Obama for scrapping stricter smog limit – Environmental groups sued the Obama administration Tuesday for scrapping a stricter limit for smog-forming pollution, saying the decision violated the law and put politics ahead of protecting public health. (AP)

25 states urge court to make EPA delay power plant rule – Adding pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to relax air pollution rules, 25 states urged a federal court on Monday to require the agency to delay a rule on mercury emissions and other pollutants from power plants by at least a year, saying the measure is too costly. (Reuters)

The EPA Hurts the Poor, Again – As a lifelong sufferer of asthma, I have always depended on inhalers to provide me with fast-acting, lifesaving medicine. Fortunately, I am able to afford expensive prescription inhalers, but many Americans hit hard by the faltering economy are not so lucky. (Matt Patterson, Cooler Heads)

Mother Jones Smears Susan G. Komen For The Cure
According to a recent article in Mother Jones by Amy Silverstein, the non-profit Susan G. Komen for the Cure could be engaged in a conspiracy to take money from industry that uses the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in return for refusing to endorse a link between the chemical, which is in the linings of tinned food and in some plastics, and breast cancer. (Trevor Butterworth, Forbes)

Scientists find gene link to autism – A CLUSTER of genes is missing in children with autism, US scientists have found, saying it has moved them a significant step towards unmasking the genetic underpinnings of the condition. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Eco-farming rules ‘will not help wildlife’ – Measures designed to make farming across Europe more environmentally friendly may not help wildlife and could be nothing more than “greenwash”, it was warned today. (Press Association)