Tag Archives: Climate change

NZ Businesses Must Take Environmental Action | Instant News

New Zealand now leads the world with its climate laws, but businesses must continue to shoulder the size of the government in driving the transformation to decarbonize our economy, said David Benattar, chief sustainability officer of The Warehouse Group.

David Benattar, chief sustainability officer of The Warehouse Group

Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge facing the world and will dramatically impact future generations, he said.

Benattar is the main speaker at Office, PA and Event Planners Events in Auckland on March 23 and 24, where he will speak about the importance of culture, empowerment and transformation in accelerating sustainable business practices.

The Warehouse Group is the first major organization in the country and the third major retailer in the world to become carbon neutral in 2019.

“Climate change has affected our economy, ecosystem, infrastructure, health and biosecurity. If this is allowed, it will have a wide social and economic impact on our country, “he said.

“As New Zealand’s largest retailer, The Warehouse Group is responsible for our impact on the environment and plays our part in supporting the country in taking climate action under its international obligations under the 2015 UN Paris Agreement.

“The Gudang Group instills sustainability in everything we do. We were recently awarded an A- score by Carbon Disclosure Project, placing us in the highest global leadership category and recognizing that we are applying current best practices in the fight against climate change. “

In September 2020, The Warehouse launched a sustainable and affordable product range and has made significant changes to its product range, including having more than 9,000 products on its shelf with sustainable features.

The Warehouse targets 20 percent of its products to have a sustainable attribute by 2023. Many of its products contain ingredients certified by programs such as the Better Cotton Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council.

They also sell many recyclable and reusable products that contribute to long product life cycles and a reduction in environmental impact.

It has eliminated or reduced plastics and plastic packaging from thousands of products on its shelves.

The group, which includes The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7, has significantly reduced waste.

The Sixteen Warehouse store features soft plastic recycling collection bins, enabling New Zealanders to dispose of their used soft plastics. Last year alone, The Warehouse collected 4.6 million scraps of used soft plastic. This expands the program to an additional 14 stores throughout New Zealand.

This expansion is just one of the post-consumer waste projects the Group launched this year as it continues to grow and invest in circular economy practices, said Benattar.

E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, with an average Kiwi generating over 21kg of e-waste every year.

“By introducing a program whereby unwanted Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment can be safely recycled, we hope to divert large amounts of e-waste from landfills in New Zealand.

“We are delighted to offer another way for climate-conscious Kiwis to live more sustainably as we continue on our journey to become New Zealand’s most sustainable company.”

Benattar has extensive sustainability experience in the nonprofit sector in the US and at The Warehouse Group. He is a member of the board of the New Zealand Sustainable Business Council, which represents 28 per cent of New Zealand’s private sector GDP.

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Australia’s leading athletes are calling for greater action on climate change | Instant News

A group of leading Australian athletes is calling for greater action on climate change following the release of a Climate Council report saying Australia’s summer sports could be wiped out within 20 years.

The Climate Council report, “Game, Set, Match: Calling Time on Climate Inaction” says temperatures could reach 50 degrees Celsius in Sydney and Melbourne by 2040, putting the sustainability and safety of summer sporting events in grave danger.

“If global emissions continue to increase, Australian sports will have to make significant changes, such as playing summer games at night or changing schedules to spring and fall,” said Dr Martin Rice, head of research and lead author of the Climate Council.

Paceman Australia and world number 1 bowler Pat Cummins are no stranger to playing in hot conditions at home. But in the summer of 2019/20, Cummins was forced into the middle of the smoke from the wildfires that lingered in Sydney for weeks, and he realized the need for urgent action.

“Like all Australians, I am devastated to see the impact of this [2019/2020] wildfires and some coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, “said Cummins.

“I am used to competing in the fight between bat and ball. The battle for climate change is, of course, much more important than just the game of cricket … we have seen athletes forced out of their events due to extreme heat and fire, and community cricket clubs forced to end their season early. “

Joining Cummins in the call for greater action is long-time environmental fighter and former Wallabies rower David Pocock.

Pocock in 2014 famously tied herself to the mining machine in protest in the NSW country and she has continued to push the case for action on climate change since retiring from rugby, most recently appearing on the BBC podcast Emergency on Planet Sport.

“Australia is overweight in sport, winning gold and top podiums, but we are lagging behind in climate action,” said Pocock.

“We don’t have a credible climate policy. We could easily be leaders in clean technology, but our federal government is sticking with it and subsidizing fossil fuels, like coal and gas.”

Key findings from the report include: the fact that athletes and spectators have fallen ill after exposure to extreme heat in recent years, including events such as the Australian Open series and the Ashes; climate change is driving longer and more intense seasons of wildfires, exposing athletes and spectators to dangerous air pollution; Australian sports are worth the $[AU]50 billion for the economy and employing more than 220,000 people, but the government is not ready to increase climate risk.

Netball professional Amy Steel, whose career ended after the heatstroke, said all levels of the sport were at risk unless urgent action was taken to fight climate change.

“Physically I am the strongest and strongest I have ever experienced. I never imagined this would be the last game I would play, that it would end my netball career,” he said.

“The incident left me with lifelong health problems, including chronic inflammation and fatigue. If this could happen to me – an elite athlete – then what are the risks to community sports clubs, because climate change is making heat waves longer, hotter and longer. often?”


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The EU says it doesn’t need Nord Stream 2, but only Germany can block it | Instant News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union does not need the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for its energy security but any decision to stop a project bringing Russian natural gas to Germany must come from Berlin, a senior European Commission official said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A worker is seen at the gas pipeline construction site Nord Stream 2, near the city of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia, June 5, 2019. REUTERS / Anton Vaganov

The $ 11 billion pipeline project led by Russian state energy company Gazprom, whose completion is more than 90%, will double the capacity of an existing submarine pipeline passing through Ukraine and eliminate Kyiv’s transit costs.

The project pits Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, against central and eastern European countries that say it will increase the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas.

“For the EU as a whole, Nord Stream does not contribute to the security of supplies,” Ditte Juul Jorgensen, director general of the Commission’s energy department, told lawmakers on the European Parliament’s industry committee.

Investments over the past decade in other pipelines, liquefied natural gas import terminals and interconnectors in Europe have secured sufficient supplies to meet the bloc’s energy needs, he said.

Any decision to stop the project must be made by Germany, said Juul Jorgensen.

“Actually stopping development requires a decision at the national level. That is not a decision that can be taken at the European level, “he said.

Nord Stream 2 is facing increased scrutiny as European relations with Russia deteriorate over the treatment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

The European Parliament last month asked the European Union to stop building a pipeline in response to Navalny’s arrest.

On Monday, EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on four senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin, in large part symbolic action on the issue.

Despite US sanctions on the pipeline, Berlin is sticking to Nord Stream 2, which it says is a commercial project.

(This story adds the dropped “official” word)

Reporting by Kate Abnett; Edited by Sonya Hepinstall


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Australia’s recent emissions cuts are likely to turn around in recovery from Covid and drought | Environment | Instant News

Much of Australia’s reduction in greenhouse gas emissions last year is likely to be wiped out as transport recovers after the Covid-19 lockdown and agriculture recovers from a long-term drought, according to a national climate data audit.

Scott Morrison to the National Press Club earlier this month the government “resumed” emission reductions, citing official data that found emissions fell 3% in the year to June to the lowest level since 1998. He stated “this is a fact”.

An audit by Hugh Saddler, an energy consultant and honorary professor at the ANU Crawford school of public policy, suggests at least some of the decline is likely to be lost.

Graph of greenhouse gases by sector

The monthly national energy emissions audit, published by the Australian Institute, found a reduction in carbon pollution of about 4.5% over the two years to 2020. This is largely due to surges in solar and wind power, but also related to the impact of the Covid-19 shutdown, especially on transportation, and the continuing effects of long-term drought, which significantly reduced the numbers of sheep and cattle.

The audit found cuts in the last two categories were unlikely to continue.

The end of lockdowns and restrictions on domestic travel means emissions from road and aviation traffic are likely to “revert to previous upward trends”.

Likewise, agricultural emissions are likely to increase as drought conditions subside and livestock numbers and crop production increase, in line with government projections. Nearly 80% of agricultural emissions come from livestock and agriculture.

Saddler said it underscored that recent national emission reductions were largely due to external conditions, not climate policy. The Morrison government does not have a comprehensive policy to reduce emissions from transportation or agriculture.

He said the government’s discussion paper on “future fuels” on reducing emissions from transportation did not offer “almost nothing”, and the government had no plans to reduce agricultural emissions. Several Members of the National Parliament argued that the sector should be excluded of climate commitments, a stance that has put them at odds with farmer groups who are calling for a net zero emissions target by 2050.

“Power plant emissions will continue to fall but, in the absence of significant policy changes, the reduction from this sector will be offset by continuing to increase transportation emissions,” said Saddler.

“Total emissions from all sectors other than power generation will remain almost unchanged from 2018.”

The audit is consistent with official emission projections released in December, which estimates national carbon pollution will fall by less than 7% over the next decade under current policies.

The projection report shows that the Morrison government is not yet on track to meet Australia’s 2030 emissions target under the Paris climate conference (a 26% to 28% reduction to 2005 levels). Conversely, the policy set will result in a 22% cut during that time period. More than half were achieved before the Coalition was elected in 2013.

Morrison said the government wants Australia to achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050, through a “technology, not tax” approach, but has not explained how its policy will achieve that.

Richie Merzian, director of the Australian Institute’s climate and energy program, said emissions from vehicles and agriculture are now almost the same as emissions from the entire electricity sector.

“There is a real opportunity for the federal government to set the country towards net zero emissions by 2050, if not sooner, but this will require sector-level plans for transportation and agriculture,” he said.

The audit has looked at changes in emissions in the national electricity market, which includes five eastern states and the Australian Capital Territory, since 2008.

Change in energy fuel type graph

They fell 26.5% during that time as coal-fired power plants shut down and reduce their operating capacity, and wind and solar energy made up a larger share of the electricity supply.

The surge in renewable energy investment has been driven largely by national renewable energy targets – which are filled in 2019 and not renewed or replaced – and aided by country targets and rapid reductions in the cost of solar and wind energy technologies. Renewable energy including solar power on the roof now provides about 27% of the annual electricity.

Even though Covid-19 was under lockdown, electricity use fell only 0.6% between February and November last year. But the amount of electricity generated by burning coal fell by nearly 8% in New South Wales and Queensland between late 2019 and late 2020.

Saddler said the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Investment Act, which is bypassing the state parliament in November and pledging to cover 12 gigawatts of new solar and wind power and 2GW of long-term storage, will be a significant development in managing the switch to variable renewable energy.


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Australia is the first victim of a major blackout blamed on wind power – US could be next | Ketan Joshi | Environment | Instant News

Cboundary changes are full of surprises. We were warned of heat waves, storms and firestorms of high intensity. What we don’t see coming is a cynical, cyclic economy of blackout bullshit. As climate impacts intensify, power grids filled with fossil fuel infrastructure collapse. The blackouts are usually caused by wind and sun – and are used to extend the life of existing fossil fuel generators. Opportunity costs increase, climate impacts worsen, and blackouts increase. It’s an accelerating spiral of death.

Last week Texas suffered blackout likely to be the worst on record in the US. Millions of people were without electricity for days, initially on a rough scale on par across eastern Australia it will be dark at once. The outburst of winter weather froze a vital component in power plants, the supply of gas was limited by frozen pipelines and, as a result, a third The state’s thermal power plant is offline (mostly gas). An unspecified proportion of wind turbines has been disabled due to ice sheet and low temperature shutdowns, but “gas and coal are actually the biggest culprits in the crisis”, Eric Fell, North American gas director at Wood Mackenzie, said. Bloomberg.

Regardless, the windfarm is to blame. “Cold weather freezes Texas wind energy due to deep freezes gripping large parts of the US,” was one Reuters title. “Turbine Frozen and Soaring Demand Rolling Outages in Texas”, write The New York Times. “The windmill froze, so the power grid went out,” said Tucker Carlson of Fox News. Fox to blame renewable energy for 128 blackouts for two days. The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, said: “This shows how the Green New Deal is going to be a deadly deal.” He joined Republicans Ted Cruz, Dan Crenshaw and Lauren Boebert, each of which took advantage of the crisis to attack renewable energy (most of them in receive the end of the tantalizing numbers of the fossil industry).

The narrative is confusing. Image of a helicopter cleaning a wind turbine (taken from 2015 test in Sweden) first wrong served as if in Texas. They are simultaneously frozen but also released by helicopters (how ironic!). The details don’t matter; the goal is to fill in the initial information gaps with imagery and narrative arrangement words.

It’s a record-by-record repeat of 2016 goes out in South Australia, where statewide power supplies were cut off during a devastating storm. That event soon to blame about wind power by conservative politicians and media. Despite the role of the wind in the sequence of events associated with the soon-to-be fix software setup, it was presented as proof that technology would bring darkness to Australia, as I write in my book that delves into the technical, cultural, and political details of that pivotal moment.

Since then, South Australia’s renewable energy growth has been slow but steady next. Clean energy has been reduced from 40% to 60% of generation, and the remaining gas fleet is shrinking. And the Australian market operator has published scenario examine how the country can grow to around 90% without impacting on reliability:

History of zero carbon creation in South Australia, through OpenNEM. The phased, slow and centralized scenario of the Australian Energy Market Operators Integrated Systems Plan, 2020. Percentages include PV and distributed storage, excluding interconnector flows.
History of zero carbon creation in South Australia, via OpenNEM. The slow, paced, and central step scenario of the Australian Energy Market Operator Integrated System Plan, 2020. Percentages include PV and distributed storage, excluding interconnector flows.

These steps are impressive but at the national level too slow to achieve grid emissions subtraction aligned with the 1.5C target – essentially, near zero emissions electric power by around 2030.That goal requires coal and gas power plants to shut down properly before their scheduled retirement age; conversation that was still plagued by a terrifying blackout. Meanwhile, the Australian coal and gas plants are located failed simultaneously during an increasingly intense heat wave.

Description: History of zero carbon generation in NEM, via OpenNEM. Phased, slow and centralized scenario of the Australian Energy Market Operators Integrated Systems Plan, 2020. Percentages include PV and distributed storage. 1.5C proportion from the Climate Action Tracker ‘Scaling up Climate Action’ report.
Historical zero carbon generation within NEM, via OpenNEM. The slow, paced, and central step scenario of the Australian Energy Market Operator Integrated System Plan, 2020. Percentage includes PV and distributed storage. 1.5C Proportion from the Climate Action Tracker’s Scaling up Climate Action report.

Even the prospect of closing coal plants on time is being challenged reason that it would cause a South Australian-style blackout. The Australian prime minister threatened to build a 1,000MW gas-fired power plant that uses public money as a kind of punishment for being deemed to lack strong power, even though it belongs to the network operator forecast confirming that new renewables will more than offset factory closings. Even though Australia’s renewable industry is making step, investation slow down. Unless 2016 baggage is removed, decarbonization will be limited in rate.

The era of blackout bullshit is a clamping movement of worsening climate impacts on the one hand and aging fossil infrastructure on the other, with a firestorm of pro-fossil misinformation burning through conservative media and algorithmically reinforced social networks. Climatic impact amplifiers, such as the collapsing network below deregulation and the free market ideology, don’t get the fame they deserve. The technical details of wind and solar integration are ignored. It was a wall of exhausting and unstoppable noise.

US renewable sector, backbone from Biden’s 100% clean electricity plan by 2035, could end up struggling on an already steep hill plagued by a campaign of frequent and aggressive blackouts. “We can’t have another Texas” would be his cry. Malcolm Turnbull’s “Blackout bill [Shorten]”Can be used again for Biden.

It can be avoided. The benefits of renewable energy must be widely shared extensively, through programs such as community ownership and investment. Climate profession it has to be real, rich, and diverse. Deeper efforts to combat misinformation, including from traditional media, must be undertaken. And climate resilience must be incorporated into any transition plans. Decarbonization must proceed more rapidly, and can, with full awareness of the threat of the fossil fuel death spiral.


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