22 July 2010

Hurunui River moratorium: So What?

According to the Press, the Greens and Forest and Bird have welcomed today's Ecan's moratorium on processing applications for resource consents to take more water from the Hurunui River. It's even been described as a victory for "people power".

That view is just so wrong. Just read the Environment Canterbury announcement all the way down to the sixth paragraph.
"Existing resource consents would not be affected by a moratorium."

So it will have no effect on the applications to dam the Hurunui River for irrigation storage already lodged by the Hurunui Water Project

As far as I know, there is no impending 'flood' of applications to take more water from the Hurunui River about to hit Environment Canterbury. So the moratorium is at best, a futile gesture, and at worst, greenwashing for Smith and the irrigators.

It's the applications to dam the Hurunui River that are the 'game-changers' which will have irreversible adverse effects on the ecology of the Hurunui River. That particular horse has bolted from the stable, so there's not much point shutting the stable door.

The World's Worst Emissions Trading Scheme

TO DO list
* catch 4:30pm no 3 bus Lambton Quay...check
* 5:00pm buy mushrooms Karori Woolworths...check
* 5:20pm cook Mrs Johnson her favourite meal; bacon and eggs with tomatoes and mushrooms...check
* 5:45pm - serve dinner to Mrs Johnson as per Key Performance Criteria - finished by 6:00pm...check
* 6:00pm - wash dishes...check
* 6:10pm - go to bedroom to escape TV1 News on really loud...check
* 7:00pm - go online, set up new blog to combat climate change...check

The World's Worst Emissions Trading Scheme

20 July 2010

Brownlee's Mining Backdown?

It looks as though our submissions were successful! The Government has announced the decision decided not to allow mining by removing 7,000 hectares from Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991. It is great that as many people marched and submitted as they have. It's great that Brownlee and co have backed down on mining in Schedule 4 conservation areas.

BUT there is a sting in the tail of the Government's announcement at Scoop. Its going to be much easier for mines to be approved in the other 60% of the conservation estate not in Schedule 4.

Scroll down to bullet point 12. 'What has the government agreed to, and why?' "Decisions regarding access to land for mineral-related activity are to be made jointly by the landholding minister and the Minister of Energy and Resources." That is by Kate Wilkinson AND Gerry Brownlee. So pro-mining Gerry gets to jointly decide mining access to conservation land. Gerry as disinterested impartial decision maker?? It's just gobsmacking.

Have a look at the decision making matters in Section 61(2) of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 , that Gerry (and Kate W) will operate under. They are:
"*(a) The objectives of any Act under which the land is administered; and
*(b) Any purpose for which the land is held by the Crown; and
*(c) Any policy statement or management plan of the Crown in relation to the land; and
*(d) The safeguards against any potential adverse effects of carrying out the proposed programme of work; and
*(e) Such other matters as the appropriate Minister considers relevant."

For a conservation area proposed for mining, considering a) through to e) will involve conservation purposes, not mining purposes. It's just so wrong for Gerry to have any role.

Even an allegedly more conservationist Minister twists these matters and approves mines. Here's an example; back on 12 March 2004 Chris Carter as Minister of Conservation agonised in deciding to approve Pike River Coal's application
but he still approved it.

Think how much quicker Gerry and Kate would have approved Pike River Coal Mine's access. This isn't good for conservation.

01 July 2010

New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme stage 2

Today, the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme moves to 'stage 2'.

That is to say, today several sectors of the NZ economy 'enter' the NZ ETS.

'Participants' in the sectors stationary energy, industrial processes and liquid fossil fuels, now have obligations to obtain and surrender emission units to match their emissions.

Remember 'stage 1' started in 1 January 2008 with forestry, who are be a net sink of emissions, not a source. In other words, 'afforestation' since 1990 has been able to earn emission units for carbon sequestration. So 'stage 2' is significant as several sectors that are major sources of greenhouse gases now have mandatory obligations.

According to this Wikipedia tool, 1,011 people in June considered it worth at least browsing to the wikipedia page on the NZ ETS.

And on 30 June, yesterday (Tuesday ), 91 people browsed the NZ ETS wikipedia page.

Its not many is it? More surprising, on Monday 28 June, 3 days before the start of 'stage 2' of the NZETS, not a single person checked the wikipedia page.