Australia: Historic New Carbon Price Law Divides Nation | Global Voices

BARACK Obama’s visit raises a single basic challenge for Julia Gillard. Unless the Prime Minister openly confirms whether the US will have a full national carbon tax or cap and trade scheme by 2016, she will have failed a bedrock test of leadership.

Labor was quick to accuse Tony Abbott of being a coward for being overseas during the Senate carbon tax vote, even though they cut short the debate to bring forward the vote knowing that he was on a trip, including a visit to Afghanistan. But Gillard will be the real coward if she fails to directly seek a global carbon trading commitment from Obama.

This test is important for a simple reason: the government modelling for the carbon tax assumes the US will be part of a global trading scheme by 2016.

For more on this story, visit: Will Gillard have guts to ask Obama the question? | The Australian.

The Australian Federal Parliament finally passed the contentious Clean Energy Bill on 8 November 2011. The legislation introduces a carbon price of $A 23 per tonne from July 2012, leading to an emissions trading scheme (cap and trade) after 3 years.

Peter Campbell’s blog on the state of the planet congratulated those involved in passing the legislation:

This is wonderful news. It is a shame it has taken so long for us to finally price pollution and provide leadership and and incentives for a clean energy future.

Well done Julia Gillard, The Labor Government, the MPCCC, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott, all the Greens in the senate – particularly Christine Milne and Bob Brown and their advisors – and Adam Bandt in the House of Representatives.

For more on reactions to this story, visit: Australia: Historic New Carbon Price Law Divides Nation · Global Voices.

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UN Urges Green Companies to Help Break ‘Vicious’ Climate Cycle | Bloomberg

United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres called for more engagement from businesses that promote low-carbon strategies to help governments worldwide speed up the shift to a green economy.

Almost 200 nations will meet in Durban, South Africa, from Nov. 28 until Dec. 9 to discuss climate-protection rules for the period after 2012, when the current emission-reduction targets for developed nations under the Kyoto Protocol expire. Ironing out a global agreement is a step-by-step approach, meaning the slow pace of international policy will continue, Figueres said.

For more on this story, visit: UN Urges Green Companies to Help Break ‘Vicious’ Climate Cycle – Bloomberg.

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Train, Plane or Who Cares?: Carbon Footprints and Climate Cynicism | Counterpunch

Over the course of the past year I have flown from the Oakland to Seattle numerous times. On those trips I have always considered AmTrak’s Coast Starlight service as an option. The trip via tracks connecting Oakland to Seattle goes through beautiful landscapes in northern California and into the Cascades of Oregon and Washington. On those trips I also considered the carbon footprint of the options, which is more environmentally friendly, train or plane? But after those considerations I realized my thought was so 2008. The big question is who cares and why and they don’t.

For more on this story, visit: Train, Plane or Who Cares? » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

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Climate talks: China calls on developing countries to ‘step up’ | The Guardian

Developing countries must step up with concrete plans to cut carbon emissions to break the deadlock in beleaguered UN climate talks, China’s top climate change official has told the Guardian.

With four weeks to go until the next round of long-running international talks in Durban, the move highlights China’s attempt to take on a new leadership role by bridging the gulf between rich and poor countries.

For more on this story, visit: Climate talks: China calls on developing countries to ‘step up’ | Environment | The Guardian.

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California approves carbon cap-and-trade |

SACRAMENTO, Oct. 21 (UPI) — California regulators have approved North America’s first cap-and-trade program, setting limits on carbon emissions.

The move represents the world’s second-largest carbon program after the European Union, with an estimated $10 billion in allowances to be traded by 2016, the Los Angeles Times reports.

For more on this story, visit: California approves carbon cap-and-trade –

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Trailblazing States on Pollution | Letter to the Editor by Rob Sargent, Environment America,

Shame on Congress and the coal and oil lobby for blocking progress. But we can act at the local and state level and begin to reduce pollution today. We’ll show it can be done while building political support for a comprehensive national strategy.

For more on this story, visit: Trailblazing States on Pollution –

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U.S. Carbon Emissions Drop Seven Percent Since 2007 | Earth Policy Institute

New trend triggered by drop in coal and oil use

WASHINGTON, DC – Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, will report that declining coal and gasoline use have cut U.S. carbon emissions by seven percent, during a teleconference with reporters next Wednesday, November 2 at 11:00 AM EDT.

Between 2007 and 2011, carbon emissions from coal use in the United States dropped by 10 percent and those from oil use by 11 percent. Although triggered by the economic downturn, Brown also credits the drop in coal usage to the Sierra Club’s powerful “Beyond Coal” campaign that coordinates the efforts of local groups nationwide that are focused on closing coal plants for health reasons.

The Sierra Club’s work has resulted in a de facto moratorium on new coal plants, reports Brown. The group is now concentrating on closing the 492 existing coal-fired power plants. As of mid October 2011, the Beyond Coal campaign lists 68 coal-fired power plants that are slated for closing.

Brown estimates the 7 percent decline in carbon emissions since the peak in 2007 could expand to 20 percent by 2020 and possibly even to 30 percent. If so, the United States could become a world leader in cutting carbon emissions and stabilizing climate.


Teleconference with Lester Brown on plunge in U.S. carbon emissions since 2007


Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge


Wednesday, November 2 at 11:00 AM, EDT


Lester Brown’s Teleconference on declining U.S. carbon emissions
4851680 (teleconference access ID)
719-325-4747 (Domestic and International access)


Brown founded the Earth Policy Institute in 2001 to provide a roadmap for building an environmentally sustainable economy. His recently published book, World on the Edge, offers a bold prescription for doing so.

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