Coinciding with the Bali talks on climate change, there has been all sorts of renewable energy and global warming news cropping up. Here are a few I’ve come across lately:
New Zealand may ban fossil fuels. A bill introduced in the NZ Parliament last week would ban new power plants if they burned fossil fuels. Specifically, the 10-year plan would ban fuel sources with more than 20 percent oil, coal or gas from producing more than 10 megawatts of power. This unprecedented legislation will apply to the forestry sector beginning next month, transport fuels in 2009, industry in 2010 and the agriculture and waste sectors in 2013. One exception allows for a source with more than 20 percent fossil fuels if the remainder is made up of waste. Although the bill has to pass through four debating stages, undergo a study by a committee and signed off by the governor general, the government actually expects the bill to become law in 2008.
Big emitter has big plans. Germany is Europe’s largest emitter of global warming emissions but has big plans to cut them 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The multi-billion euro idea includes a heavy emphasis on energy efficiency, as well as renewable energy and improved building insulation. But some organizations like Greenpeace point out that Germany can’t cut emissions with the one hand while approving coal plants with the other, as it has been doing. Currently there are 24 plants in the pipeline and if they are built, says Greenpeace, the emissions goal will be impossible to meet.
Little U.S. State Has Big Plans Too. The Maryland Commission on Climate Change has issued a report calling for a 90 percent reduction in global warming emissions below 2006 levels by 2050. Besides investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, the targets would be met through a cap-and-trade policy in which polluters would buy and sell unused emissions credits. Maryland is also worried about damage to its shorelines from rising sea levels, so another commission recommendation is to require “soft shorelines” or artificial wetlands to be built in some areas instead of rock walls.