24 December 2010

World Temperature Trends

Is the world's average temperature warming? Yes, it is.
Here is a chart I have made with the R programme from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies data.

The data is the Combined Land-Surface Air and Sea-Surface Water Temperature Anomalies (Land-Ocean Temperature Index, LOTI), Global-mean monthly, seasonal, and annual means, 1880-present

The chart is a line plot of differences in annual land-ocean average temperature from the average for the base period 1951-1980 global mean temperature index, 1880 to present. The dotted blue line is the annual mean and the solid red line is the five-year mean, calculated with a Lowess function.

Powered by coal

Here's a CBS 60 minutes documentary featuring James Hansen and the CEO of Duke Energy, the USA's third largest coal thermal power plant owner. The CEO says he totally accepts that carbon dioxide contributes to global warming. However, his plan is to phase out coal over 40 years. CBS cut to Hansen who of course says "No new coal fired power plants and a phase out must take place in 20 years or less". CBS goes back to the CEO and ask him how much Duke has invested in carbon capture and sequestration. The answer is not a cent!

14 December 2010

The Carbon Forest: Book launch

The Carbon Forest: Book launch is given some coverage in the New Zealand Wood Watch Blog!

There was also a mention on Intersect website complete with a very serious picture of Tom Bennion.

10 December 2010

Jan Wright says leave the lignite

Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has channeled her inner James Hansen into her latest report Lignite and Climate Change: The high cost of low grade coal.

She concludes that the lignite plans of NZ's state-owned coal miner, Solid Energy, will just exacerbate the gap between NZ's actual greenhouse gas emissions and our policy goals. She recommends that the Government (as shareholder) should instruct Solid Energy to withdraw their plans to develop the Southland lignite deposits.

Here she is on Youtube

06 November 2010

New Zealands GHG emissions

Here is a line chart of New Zealand's emissions of greenhouse gases from 1990 to 2008. It can be found on the Wikimedia Commons webpage. I made it.

NZ sector ghg 1990 2007

27 August 2010

James Hansen on cap and trade with offsets

James Hansen has an opinion piece in the Guardian.

Hansen asks:
Am I an activist for caring about my grandchildren's future? I guess I am.

Hansen gets to the point.
Stabilising climate requires restoring our planet's energy balance. The physics is straightforward. The effect of increasing carbon dioxide on Earth's energy imbalance is confirmed by precise measurements of ocean heat gain. The principal implication is defined by the geophysics, by the size of fossil fuel reservoirs. Simply put, there is a limit on how much carbon dioxide we can pour into the atmosphere. We cannot burn all fossil fuels. Specifically, we must (1) phase out coal use rapidly, (2) leave tar sands in the ground, and (3) not go after the last drops of oil.

Hansen favours a carbon 'tax and dividend'.
A carbon fee is the only realistic path to global action. China and India will not accept caps, but they need a carbon fee to spur clean energy and avoid fossil fuel addiction.

Hansen has no time for emissions trading.
Governments today, instead, talk of "cap-and-trade with offsets", a system rigged by big banks and fossil fuel interests. Cap-and-trade invites corruption. Worse, it is ineffectual, assuring continued fossil fuel addiction to the last drop and environmental catastrophe.

10 August 2010

Recapping the cap-less cap and trade scheme

Lets recap the post of the other day about how the NZ ETS has no cap.

'Cap and Trade' emissions trading schemes have fixed volume caps on emissions, according to the economics literature (such as Jaffe, Ranson and Stavins (2009), Tietenberg (2003) and Stavins (2001)).

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme has no cap or limit on the amount of international carbon credits that can be imported by emitters.

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme has no cap or limit on the amount of NZ Units that will be allocated to emitters.


The NZ ETS has no Cap. It is not a cap and trade scheme. It will not reduce NZ's emissions of greenhouse gases.

09 August 2010

The NZ ETS has no cap. Its not a 'Cap and Trade' scheme.

Why is the NZ ETS the World's Worst Emissions Trading Scheme?

The number one reason is because the NZ ETS lacks the most crucial feature of a 'cap-and-trade' emissions trading scheme, a fixed cap or limit on emissions.

Here are some definitions of cap and trade emissions trading schemes taken largely from peer-reviewed journals.

“A cap-and-trade system constrains the aggregate emissions of regulated sources by creating a limited number of tradable emission allowances, which emission sources must secure and surrender in number equal to their emissions.”

Judson Jaffe, Matthew Ranson and Robert N. Stavins (2009) 'Linking Tradable Permit Systems: A Key Element of Emerging International Climate Policy Architecture', Ecology Law Quarterly 36:789

“In an emissions trading or cap-and-trade scheme, a limit on access to a resource (the cap) is defined and then allocated among users in the form of permits. Compliance is established by comparing actual emissions with permits surrendered including any permits traded within the cap.”

Tietenberg Tom (2003) 'The Tradable-Permits Approach to Protecting the Commons: Lessons for Climate Change', Oxford Review of Economic Policy 19:3, pages 400-419.

“Under a tradable permit system, an allowable overall level of pollution is established and allocated among firms in the form of permits. Firms that keep their emission levels below their allotted level may sell their surplus permits to other firms or use them to offset excess emissions in other parts of their facilities.”

Stavins, Robert N. (November 2001) 'Experience with Market-Based Environmental Policy Instruments', Discussion Paper 01-58, Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. p 4

These definitions all include a cap on emissions. The cap is perhaps the single most important element of a cap and trade scheme.

Neither the 2009 National Government version of the NZ ETS, or the 2008 Labour version puts a cap on emissions within New Zealand.

In 2007, the Ministry for the Environment's report Framework for a New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme stated; "Domestic emissions that exceed New Zealand’s allocation under the Kyoto Protocol (including units issued for removals by forest carbon sinks) must be matched by emission units purchased internationally from within the Kyoto cap on emissions."

In 2008, the Ministry for the Environment Fact Sheet 16 stated;There is no cap on the emissions that occur within New Zealand'

In other words, although the Labour NZ ETS had a fixed limit on the number of NZ Units that were to be issued, there would no limit on the number of 'Kyoto' units that emitters could buy on the international market and use in NZ.

The National NZ ETS has no cap either on international 'Kyoto' units that may be imported into NZ or on the volume of NZ Units that will be gifted to emitters.

Ministry for the Environment Emissions trading Bulletin No 12, INFO 441 (September 2009) states "The Bill (the Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Act 2009) changes the allocation provisions of the existing (Climate Change Response Act 2002) from allocating a fixed pool of emissions to an uncapped approach to allocation. There is no longer an explicit limit on the number of New Zealand units (NZUs) that can be allocated to the industrial sector"


The NZ ETS has no Cap. It is not a cap and trade scheme. It will not reduce NZ's emissions of greenhouse gases.

22 July 2010

Welcome to the World's Worst Emissions Trading Scheme

So what is the World's Worst Emissions Trading Scheme?

Thats easy! It is the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.

I have set this blog up to show that the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme is the World's Worst ETS.

It is so badly designed that is not a sensible and effective policy to avoid dangerous changes to the world's climate system caused by fossil-fueled global warming. It will not help reduce the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as measured at Baring Head near Wellington.

Where am I coming from? I agree with James Hansen that;
  • global warming is real,
  • it is caused by human actions, principally emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,
  • it is underestimated by the IPCC,
  • that the so-called acceptable limits for global warming, an average increase in global temperature of two degrees, and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations of of 450 parts per million are too high,
  • and that a sensible atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is 350 part per million.