28 March 2016

Kevin Anderson on Irelands agriculture a lesson for New Zealand as well

While recently in Ireland Kevin Anderson also gave an interview to John Gibbons of the Irish website called Think or Swim.

The interview was recorded on Vimeo and is not on You Tube.

I am highlighting the first six minutes, because Anderson provides some direct answers to questions about giving agriculture special treatment such as leaving the sector out of emissions reduction policy. I would say that John Gibbons the interviewer is running domestic Irish narratives past Anderson. These narratives of inaction ("we are efficient", "we are too small", "the world needs food") are exactly the same in New Zealand. And Anderson's answers are just as relevant to New Zealand as Ireland.

These quotes start with the time in the interview and then the speaker.

2:11 John Gibbons. "Many politicians in Ireland, for example for the agricultural sector, would feel that we are a small country and we are recovering from the recession, so climate change is something we can deal with in 20 years time".

2:28 Kevin Anderson. "It completely misunderstands the science. It is the emissions that we put in the atmosphere now that matter. What really matters from the science perspective for temperature is the total quantity of carbon dioxide we put in the atmosphere; the carbon budget".

3:22 Kevin Anderson. "Ireland is a small part of the problem. Every part of the world is a small part of the problem. We hear that from every sector, the aviation sector says that, shipping says that, UK says this...You can divide the 100% of all emissions into any small numbers you want to. Using that as an argument is very false and very misleading".

3:58 John Gibbons. "A large portion of our emissions are attributable to the agriculture sector and under Food Harvest 2020 and Foodwise 2025 the Irish Government is undertaking a really large scale expansion of our ruminant-based agriculture. Their argument is that we can do it more efficiently than for example than the Brazilians who are clearing rainforest for beef and dairy. Is that a reasonable argument?"

4:30 Kevin Anderson. "From a climate change perspective it is clearly is not a reasonable argument. I am sure that any one who is making that argument is aware of the science, You cannot hold those arguments and keep to the commitments signed up for in Paris. The climate does not care about efficiency it only cares about absolute levels of emissions".

5:28 Kevin Anderson. "If we are really concerned about feeding the world then you would measure greenhouse gases in terms of nutrition or calories. What units of carbon dioxide per useful calorie do you produce? You would almost certainly have to move away from types of agriculture you have now that have innately high emission to other forms of agriculture that have much lower emissions of greenhouse gases per unit of output."

Kevin Anderson interviewed by John Gibbons on 16 March 2016 on Vimeo.

N.B. Yes Ireland really does have agricultural policies called Food Harvest 2020 and Foodwise 2025 and yes these are all about expanding production just like the New Zealand Government's Business Growth Agenda.

25 March 2016

Kevin Anderson climate change - triumph and tragedy in Paris talk in Ireland

Kevin Anderson has just been in Ireland where he gave a talk with the title Climate change triumph and tragedy in Paris

Anderson was hosted by the Climate Change and Environmental Sciences Committee of the Academy, and Future Earth Ireland and the Environmental Protection Agency. The venue was the Academy House, Dawson Street, Dublin on Thursday March 10 at 6pm.

The talk was recorded and has been uploaded to You Tube where it has had 258 viewings.

Speaking of the numbers of viewers, Anderson's recent talk at the London School of Economics is also now on You Tube, where it has had 10,242 viewers!

14 March 2016

Google sheets of owners of the Russian and Ukrainian sourced emissions reduction units used in the NZETS

Update: 2 January 2017. I have updated the urls as the register has had a change of name to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Register.
The New Zealand Emission Unit Register, which records legal title for all valid carbon credits/emissions units in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, can be searched.

One possible search gives a list of account holders and the volume of Kyoto Protocol emission units the account holder owned at the end of the calendar year. This search shows the types of Kyoto units held, the two commonest types being the Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) and the Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs).

What interests me is who owned these units? Who imported them? As Brian Fallow pointed out, the cheaper units collapsed the price of all units in 2011 and 2012

The imported units were not only too cheap and too plentiful. Most of them it appears were fraudulently issued.

In two scathing blog posts last December, No Right Turn traced the serial numbers of some Emission Reduction Units and Certified Emission Reduction units that New Zealand had "retired" to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, back to fraudulent projects in the Ukraine and Russia.

I have taken the annual lists of unit holders from the html tables on the Emissions Unit Register's website and uploaded them to Google Sheets. Here they are from 2008 to 2014. At some stage I will do some analysis. In the meantime, feel free to download them.

Kyoto Unit Holdings by Account 2008.

Kyoto Unit Holdings by Account 2009

Kyoto Unit Holdings by Account 2010

Kyoto Unit Holdings by Account 2011

Kyoto Unit Holdings by Account 2012

Kyoto Unit Holdings by Account 2013

Kyoto Unit Holdings by Account 2014

06 March 2016

Charting the surplus emission units in New Zealands Emissions Trading Scheme

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme Review discussion document includes this statement about surplus emission units on page 10.

"There is a substantial number of banked NZUs owned by market participants, which combine with current ETS settings to weaken the effectiveness of the NZ ETS to assist New Zealand to meet its international obligations...
This stockpile of banked NZUs amounts to around 140 million units. This is several times the total number of units surrendered under current NZ ETS settings each year, which typically amounts to less than 30 million units.
Some of these units are held by foresters, who banked the NZUs they received as their trees grew. Other participants banked units they received via one-off allocations when the NZ ETS was first put in place, or accumulated NZUs by surrendering cheaper international units to meet their obligations and banking NZUs they purchased or received from the Government".

Did you notice the specific use of language? The word 'surplus' is not used. The preferred term is 'banked NZUs owned by market participants'. 'Banked units' implies that it's the fault of the market participants. Surplus units implies faulty design. As I have posted previously.

An effective emissions trading scheme with a real cap would never have surplus units. Units would be scarce and realistically priced. A surplus of units is of itself evidence of a failed implementation of cap and trade frameworks such as Kyoto and the EU ETS.

How many surplus units are there? The discussion document says 140 million units. I have doodled away with the R programme and some data from the Environmental Protection Authority's Emissions Units Register and have made a graph of the cumulative total of units held in the NZ Emissions Unit Register at the end of the calendar year, up to 2014.

The key point being that the cumulative total of all types of units, 588 million, at the end of 2014, exceeds the total 'compliance demand', 110 million, the number surrendered by emitters/ market participants from 2009 to 2014 by a factor of almost six.

We need to note that in the final accounting for the 2008 to 2012 Kyoto Protocol commitment period, New Zealand has to cancel some 373 million units to match our emissions.

Here is the R script.

Here is the data.

New Zealand green house gas emissions per capita via Google Data Explorer

Google have a service I did not know about, the Google Data Explorer. Here's an example of per capita greenhouse gases for some countries whose name starts with 'N'. The vertical axis is not labelled, a "good practice no-no", but it is tonnes of greenhouse gases in carbon dioxide equivalents.

Look, New Zealand is at the top, mainly due to our emissions from pastoral agriculture.

Its very similar to my graph from a previous post.

Per capita greenhouse gas emissions

I have used some html mark-up from Wikimedia Commons here and not the Blogger tools.

The data is up to 2012 and is credited (in the footer of the page) to the World Resources Institute CAIT 2.0 climate data explorer. Then oddly, in the next line of the footer, is the annotation "copyright Google 2014". I guess I am surprised not to see a Creative Commons licence.

A little more exploring revealed that someone had asked the question what is the copyright if I want to use a graph on Wikimedia?. The question was asked in 2013 and has never been answered. My answer would be just get the data from CAIT 2.0 climate data explorer, make your own graph and upload to Wikimedia Commons where you of course choose a Creative Commons licence.

That reinforces this comment on the original database of databases discussion.

"Google Public Data Explorer is very limited in scope, rather than the comprehensive catalogue of the world's data that I suggested they might choose to do. GPDE has only 136 datasets, for which they done the manual work of putting into a database, so that they can offer visualizations. I can't see any activity on it since launch in 2010".

So I guess Google starts projects, but sometimes just doesn't maintain them.

02 March 2016

Jeanette Fitzsimons also says forget tinkering with emissions trading scheme scrap it

Jeanette Fitzsimons has written a great article in the New Zealand Herald. (Photograph courtesy of the Green Party of Aotearoa via Wikimedia Commons)

Forget tinkering with emissions trading scheme scrap it!

Here are some excerpts.

The ETS should not be amended, but withdrawn entirely. It fails on every count and is in fact counter-productive.
The Government's discussion document admits that in its seven years, the ETS has not reduced NZ's climate pollution; in fact, emissions are expected to rise to 96 per cent above 1990 levels within 15 years.
Many suspect the design of the ETS, with no price floor and no emissions cap, was never intended to make a real difference to our climate-changing emissions. It was intended to provide a trading platform for speculators, which it has done.
Any further public time and expense tweaking a broken system will send good money after bad, and use resources that would be better used on measures that will actually reduce emissions.

Jeanette's conclusion.

The ETS should be abandoned and replaced with a simple and gradually rising price on carbon through a carbon charge, the proceeds distributed equally to all New Zealanders.

But you really need to read the whole article