Palin: cause of global warming ‘doesn’t matter’

AFP

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said Tuesday that global warming is “real,” but stressed that it “kind of doesn’t matter” whether or not humans are to blame for climate change.

Human activity has “contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now with these impacts” on the earth’s climate, Palin, who is Republican standardbearer John McCain’s running mate, said in an interview aired Tuesday with CBS News’ Katie Couric.

“I’m not going to solely blame all of man’s activities on changes in climate because the world’s weather patterns are cyclical, and over history we have seen changes there.

“But it kind of doesn’t matter at this point in the debate what caused it. The point is it’s real, we need do something about it.”

Palin, who is governor of the vast and remote northern state of Alaska, said communities in her state “feel the impacts more than any other state up there with the changes in the climate and certainly it is apparent.”

The 44-year-old mother of five was little known nationally until she burst onto the political scene when Republican presidential candidate John McCain chose her as his shock running in late August.

In interviews prior to McCain tapping her to be on the ticket, Palin has said she does not believe global warming is a man-made problem, putting her at odds with McCain.

Her state is one of the country’s largest energy producers and she supports opening a protected Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling — a position pilloried by environmentalists and some Democratic leaders.

As Alaska governor she has also filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the current administration’s decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Climate change has been a contentious issue in US politics since President George W. Bush took office nearly eight years ago. Bush remains the only leader of a major industrialized nation to have refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the most far-reaching international treaty on climate change.

Read on here.

Oregon: Czech President Denies Global Warming; WW Gets Called an Asshole

BY: James Pitkin | Willamette Week

There are reasons that only three reporters covered a news conference this morning with Czech President Václav Klaus at the Portland Hilton. And there are reasons I was one of them.

 

I’ll wait until the end of this post to tell you about me. First, the reasons behind the dismal turnout — especially notable in a city where visits by heads of state are so rare. KBOO, KOIN and WW were the only media outlets at the question-and-answer session with a European president.

 

The most obvious explanation is that the Czech Republic is a tiny post-communist country with little relevance to Oregon. But another reason — and the one offered afterward in a conversation with one of Klaus’ hosts — was the nature of his message.

 

Klaus was here to argue that global warming, human-caused or otherwise, is a myth promulgated by group-thinking climatologists and propagated through manufactured hysteria. And it’s a dangerous myth, Klaus believes, because it’s being seized upon by forces bent on undermining our liberty by subverting the free market.

 

That’s not a popular message, and it may not be one the media wishes to hear or report on, said Steve Buckstein, a senior policy analyst at the Portland-based Cascade Policy Institute. That libertarian-leaning group was one of three such organizations which hosted Klaus’ visit. The others were the Washington-based groups Competitive Enterprise Institute and Americans for Prosperity.

 

A former Czech finance minister and prime minister, Klaus is an economist in the Milton Friedman mold who has been arguing this line for years — the only head of state to question climate change repeatedly and publicly. Considered something of an embarrassment at home, he’s been received warmly by conservatives abroad and spends a good deal of time on the international lecture circuit, where he’s currently plugging his new book on global warming.

 

Whatever the reason for the poor turnout, we three reporters had Klaus all to ourselves for 45 minutes, with some polite questions also lobbed from the 20-or-so people in the room connected with his American hosts. He answered in fluent English delivered with a purring voice and a slight accent.

 

Klaus argued that a carbon cap-and-trade system — recommended for Oregon and other states last week by the Western Climate Initiative — is a solution that smacks of socialism. And as Klaus never fails to remind his foreign audiences, he’s intimately familiar with socialism’s failings after living most of his life in the Eastern Bloc. He still balks at talk of “rationing” anything, even carbon emissions.

Australia: Wine workshops focus on climate change

ABC News

Preparing the wine industry for climate change will be discussed at two days of drought workshops starting today in the Barossa Valley.

The water and vine workshops, funded by the Federal Government, have already run in the Riverland, the south-east and in other states.

Mark Krstic from the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation says while drought and water availability are important to the future of South Australia’s wine industry, market demands still have a lot of pull.

“A lot of it’s driven by market so I’ve got to be careful with making too many projections in the wine industry,” he said.

“It’s all driven by our markets and our ability to supply and be profitable in those markets.”

France urges EU to slow climate change car rules

AP

BRUSSELS, Belgium: France is asking European Union governments to give car makers far more time to adapt to new limits on greenhouse gas emissions, according to a document seen by the AP on Tuesday.

France is suggesting car makers should not have to adhere to rules limiting average carbon dioxide emissions from all new cars until 2015 — three years later than EU regulators had first proposed.

That would ease the pressure on German auto manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG and BMW AG, which tend to make heavier cars that pollute more. A strict target would force them to change the kinds of cars they make — and they say that could make them lose market share and cut jobs.

Worried that carbon dioxide emissions from road transport are rising, the EU wants to set goals for each car maker to sell more low-carbon models — or face fines if they don’t. This forms part of its strategy to slash Europe’s CO2 emissions by a fifth by 2020 to limit climate change.

France currently leads talks between EU nations, and the French draft rules will form the basis of negotiations between EU environment ministers next month.  The draft rules are suggesting that only 60 percent of car sales would need to meet a target for average emissions of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer in 2012, increasing gradually until 2015.

The current EU average is 158 grams of CO2 per kilometer so there is still a long way to go.

France would also set a longer-term goal for 2020 with a tighter target of between 95 to 110 grams, saying this was needed to give car makers “the appropriate planning security to bring forward the necessary investments in new technology.”

France wants to give car makers extra credit if they use innovative ways to produce cleaner cars and or sell selling electric and other very low emission vehicles. It also wants more leeway for companies that sell few cars

And it creates a complex formula of financial penalties for companies that miss the target that start off low but rise sharply by 2015.

Environmental campaigners Greenpeace were unimpressed, saying the proposal meant “business as usual for car manufacturers, with European citizens continuing to bear the burden of high fuel consumption and foreign oil addiction for years to come.”

EU governments and lawmakers at the European Parliament are currently debating the rules separately but both must compromise before a target can become law.

The Parliament also appears divided on how soon car maker should curb emissions but it will have to vote for its final decision next month.

Prince Charles: World is not acting quickly enough over climate change

 

By Paul Eccleston | The Telegraph

Prince Charles has warned that the world is not reacting quickly enough to combat climate change.

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  • He said the clock of climate change was ticking faster towards midnight.  “We are simply not reacting quickly enough and we cannot be anything less than courageous and revolutionary in our approach to tackling climate change.

    “If we are not, the result will be catastrophic for all of us, but with the poorest in our world hit the hardest,” he said in an interview in Weather, the magazine of the Royal Meteorological Society of which he is the patron.

    “There are some difficult questions that we must ask ourselves. Do we really understand the dynamics of a world in which energy and food security will become real issues for everyone?

    “Can we say, hand on heart, that we are really doing enough to improve energy efficiency?

    “Can we possibly allow 20 years of business-as-usual before coal power generation becomes clean, especially with the rapid increase in the number of coal power plants being built in China alone?

    “Are we truly investing enough in renewable energy technologies? How can we build a really effective dialogue with China and India, and indeed the United States, which recognizes the real security implications of climate change?

    “How do we maximise the role of the private sector in achieving a low carbon economy”?

    The Prince said the most urgent, but neglected, cause of climate change was the appalling loss of the world’s tropical rainforests where emissions through burning were comparable to those generated by the production of electricity and heat.

    Read on here.

    Scientists: Climate-Change ‘Time Bomb’ About to Go Off

    FoxNews.com

    There’s a ticking time bomb underneath the oceans, and it’s about to go off, some scientists say.

    A Russian research ship trawling the Arctic off Siberia’s northeastern coast has found huge amounts of methane bubbling up from the seafloor, according to reports in London’s Independent newspaper and the Canadian Press wire service.

    Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, trapping 20 times as much heat as carbon dioxide. While there’s little of it in the atmosphere, there are gigantic frozen deposits of it, called methane clathrates, trapped in rocks in seabeds all over the world.

    One of the leading global-warming doomsday scenarios involves all that methane thawing out as sea temperatures rise, then rushing to the surface and into the air, creating a runaway warming scenario.

    Now there’s some evidence that’s beginning to happen.

    “For the first time, we documented a field where the release was so intense that the methane did not have time to dissolve into the seawater but was rising as methane bubbles to the sea surface,” Swedish researcher Orjan Gustafsson, aboard the Russian ship Jacob Smirnitskyi, told the Independent in an article published last week.Huge methane releases may have been responsible for mass extinctions in Earth’s distant past.

    “It’s a time bomb because, as the permafrost thaws — and we don’t know how fast it will thaw — it’s going to slowly and maybe catastrophically at some point, release all that methane that’s trapped underneath as a solid,” Marianne Douglas, head of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute, told the Canadian Press.

    • Click here to read the full article in the Independent.

    • Click here to read the full Canadian Press article at the CTV Web site.

    Australia: No delay on climate change plans

    Christian Kerr | The Australian

    THE economic impact of climate change cannot be ignored, Kevin Rudd said yesterday, as he dismissed suggestions the global econmic crisis could derail efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

    “Climate change is there with a huge impending economic cost for us all,” the Prime Minister said before the release of Ross Garnaut’s final report. “We’ll stage our implementation of Australia’s response to climate change in an economically responsible way.”

    Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the Government would consider Treasury modelling on an emissions trading scheme “very carefully” as it progressed with its policy.

    “We on this Government recognise absolutely the scale and significance of the global financial crisis,” she said.

    “We are very concious of the need to progress our response to climate change in an economically responsible way. We will take a balanced response.”

    Senator Wong said the review showed “the costs of taking action to reduce carbon pollution are less than the costs that would be incurred if we fail to act”.

    The Opposition has accused the Government of pursuing a 2010 start date for an emissions trading scheme without knowing the impact of the global financial meltdown.

    “Professor Garnaut is saying that Australia by itself can make no impact on global climate change, that climate change is a global problem requiring a global solution,” Opposition spokesman on emissions trading design Andrew Robb said.

    He accused the Government of rushing the finalisation of an emissions trading scheme “for purely political reasons”.

    Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson said Professor Garnaut’s work had “two critical missing links — the absence of robust economic modelling and the absence of global emissions trading agreements”.

    “In the current environment ofglobal market instabilility, business cautions that only a measured approach, tailored to international development and with appropriate compensation arrangements, would be in the national interest.” Mr Anderson warned about the impact of an emissions trading scheme on small business, given Professor Garnaut’s foreshadowed increase in energy costs and other inputs.

    The National Association of Forest Industries welcomed Professor Garnaut’s final report. Chief executive Allan Hansard said the document showed Australia’s forests would help the nation meet as much as one-quarter of the total carbon emission reduction targets.

    Greens leader Bob Brown said the review showed “responsible climate change action”, a target of 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalents in the earth’s atmosphere, “will see Australia’s wealth increase by the same amount in 2020 as if weak targets (550ppm) are adopted — only eight months later.”

    Read on here.