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Save forests to fight global warming: Stern

Agency France Presse
JAKARTA (AFP) – The world should invest 10 billion dollars annually to halve deforestation in the fight against global warming, Nicholas Stern, the author of a key climate change report, said Friday.

Forest clearance for farming or urban development released large amounts of the greenhouses gases blamed for climate change, he told reporters at a meeting in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. “The world has to work together to provide a strong fund to cut deforestation in Indonesia, Brazil and other countries,” he said. ..

Experts say Indonesia has about two percent of the world’s forest area but is losing large amounts of it annually, which releases carbon dioxide and makes the country one of the world’s largest greenhouse gases polluters. ..

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said this month that forests were expanding in several regions of the world, but that each day saw a net loss equivalent to an area twice the size of Paris. Global forest covers about 30 percent of the world’s land area. From 1990 to 2005, the world lost three percent of its total forest area, according to the organisation. ..
(23 Mar 2007)

Delayed Reaction
How Howard dealt Australia out of the greenhouse revolution

Marian Wilkinson, Sydney Morning Herald
..Internationally, Australia is lumped alongside the US as a rogue state in the fight against global warming. We are attacked for being, per head, the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world.

Today, as Australians look anxiously at their parched landscapes, evaporating rivers, declining rainfall and record temperatures, Howard is facing a national revolt over his stand on climate change. In the past year, the public, prominent business leaders and the state premiers have all rejected the simple, immutable doctrine he pursued for almost a decade: that he would not act to put a price on greenhouse gas pollution caused by the industries that have enriched Australians as surely as they have caused global warming.

Paul Anderson, who once led the resources giant BHP and now sits on the board of BHP Billiton, warns bluntly that Australians will soon have to face reality. “The first step is we want less carbon dioxide and there is going to be a cost,” he told the Herald from his home in Maine, in the US.

It is a warning echoed by the head of the Australian energy giant AGL, Paul Anthony, and the Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery, who now spends his days briefing Australian companies, including mining companies, on climate change. ..

Until last year, Howard was driven by two fundamental beliefs. He and some key ministers, including Kemp, were never fully convinced by the science that climate change was caused by human activity. As a result, Howard gave less weight to scientific, public service and community opinion in deciding his response. Instead, he set great store by advice from a small group of corporate leaders in Australia’s resource industries, among them the former Western Mining boss, Hugh Morgan, and successive heads of Rio Tinto, Brian Horwood and Charlie Lenegan. Documents, emails and interviews with many of the key players over the past decade lent weight to this. ..
(24 Mar 2007)
Prime Minister Howard ignoring public interest to do the bidding of major Liberal Party donors is a logical extension of the user-pays principle, just stop calling it democracy. Article details the process by which self-interest and stupidity kept science off the table for a decade, only time will tell if anything has changed. Submissions to the latest emissions trading inquiry, I think the ninth study of the issue by the Howard government, have been published.-LJ

BHP chief’s doubts over clean coal technology

Marian Wilkinson, Sydney Morning Herald
THE former head of BHP has punctured the optimism of the Howard Government about clean-coal technology by saying the long-term storage of the carbon waste may be as difficult as dealing with nuclear waste.

Paul Anderson, who ran BHP-Billiton in 2002 and still sits on its board, told the Herald: “People can’t believe you’re safe putting nuclear waste five miles under the ground when it’s petrified in glass. How are they going to feel safe putting pressurised gas under the ground? “I think it’s as big as the issue of nuclear waste. What are you going to do with millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide that is not nearly as compact as nuclear waste?”

The Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, are strong supporters of clean-coal technology as a long-term solution to greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the country’s dependence on coal-fired power stations and coal exports. While Mr Anderson is a keen backer of strategies to lower greenhouse gas emissions, he is concerned that the debate over clean coal has been steered more towards the capture of the carbon dioxide emissions at the power station rather than the problems that may arise from long-term storage. ..
(24 Mar 2007)

Don’t ask an artist to explain climate change

Nick Cohen, The Guardian
The current issue of the Burlington Magazine, the finest of fine art journals, begins with a howl of rage at the debasement of a great cultural institution. The British Council that once ‘immeasurably enhanced’ the reputations of Moore, Hepworth, Sutherland, Nicholson and Freud and is doing the same for Kapoor, Whitbread and Ofili today has been ‘betrayed’, its editorial declares. ..

A few off-the-record phone calls reveal that the editorial is not the product of a long lunch in Cork Street or short burst of paranoia. Workers for the council and others dependent on government money in the BBC World Service are worried about ‘Orwellian pressures’, as one put it to me. They are hearing that the art, music and literature Britain promotes round the world at considerable public expense must meet ‘strategic objectives’.

The phrase has an Orwellian ring, until you learn that the objectives are not on the list of any dictatorship. Rather than extolling Big Brother, the messages the government wishes to convey are:
1. Democracy is preferable to theocracy and secular tyranny.
2. 2. Global warming is dangerous.
3. 3. The 2012 London Olympics will be a great success.

The third assertion is open to doubt, but the first and the second? Who except a denier of global warming on the right or apologist for radical Islam on the left could oppose either? Plenty in the art world, apparently, and the unwillingness of artists and art administrators to stand up for the very freedoms that allow them to work infuriates politicians. ..
(25 Mar 2007)