Saturday, Feb 25th – 2012

• February 24, 2012


tcktcktck’s Fresh Air Brief

Good Saturday morning and welcome to this edition of the Fresh Air Brief, a weekly overview of trending climate news, and upcoming meetings, events and issues that our tcktcktck partners & peers are tracking. Fresh right now:

* tcktcktck launches the Rio+20 Blogger Prize
* IndyACT’s Wael Hmaiden to lead CAN-International
* Millions at risk from extreme weather in Africa’s Sahel
* Is the E.U.’s opportunity to lead on climate issues under threat?

Recent developments

CAN-International announces new Executive Director
News broke early this week that Wael Hmaidan will replace David Turnbull as Climate Action Network – International‘s (CAN-I) new Executive Director. Hmaidan cut his teeth in the fight against climate change as a Greenpeace Arab World Campaigner. He went on to found and direct IndyACT and help lead negotiations on behalf of Lebanon in the UNFCCC. Hmaidan joins CAN-I during a year that will see unprecedented Arab world leadership in climate and energy fora: Saudi Arabia is leading a key UNFCCC negotiating track; Algeria is chairing the G77; and Qatar will take over the COP presidency in November.

‘Coalition of the unwilling’ meet in Moscow to plot against EU airline emissions scheme
Countries opposed to an EU law which forces the world’s airlines to pay for their emissions met in Moscow Tuesday, where they agreed a basket of retaliatory measures against the E.U. but will leave it up to each country to chose among them, Russia’s deputy Transport Minister said on Wednesday. IISD-R and Reuters have more.

Hawaiian Airlines received the first-ever aviation-based carbon credit
With our attention firmly fixed on the airlines and governments fighting ways to address the effects of airline emissions, we missed this story about one airline taking steps in the right direction. Last week, Hawaiian Airlines was issued carbon credits under the requirements of the Verified Carbon Standard for CO2 savings using the company’s EcoPower engine wash. According to Pratt & Whitney, who developed the methodology, since 2005 Hawaiian has cut its CO2 emissions by 22,000 metric tons as a result of its continuous EcoPower use.

Domestic political wrangling forces delay in South Korea emissions trading scheme vote
According to Reuters, South Korea’s parliament has delayed a vote on an emissions trading scheme scheduled for last Thursday because of political wrangling between the government and opposition ahead of parliamentary polls in April. The bill, which is waiting on a suspended legal panel’s review, may still see voted in the current session of parliament, which has been extended to mid-March.

China sets up first renewable-energy think tank
China has established its first national think tank on renewable energy, the China National Renewable Energy Center, to conduct research and develop programs and policies, as part of the country’s effort to deal with climate change and carbon emissions.  It will also draft industry standards and carry out international cooperation programs.  Wang Zhongying, deputy head of the Energy Research Institute under NDRC (a tcktcktck partner), will take on the role as head of the Center.

E.U. tar sands vote ends in deadlock, decision moves to ministers
In the face of secret threats of a trade war from Canada, the EU Fuel Quality Standard proposal, which would have effectively banned tar sands oil from the E.U., received 89 votes for, 128 against and 128 abstentions on Thursday. The impasse means the decision will be referred to ministers, who will send a proposal to the European parliament for passing into law.

Challenge to Australia’s Prime Minister could threaten carbon tax
According to Bloomberg, “Julia Gillard, who won passage of carbon-emissions and mining-tax bills that confounded Kevin Rudd’s administration, vies against Rudd Feb. 27 to retain the Labor party leadership and stay prime minister. While Rudd has a 23 percentage-point advantage over Gillard in an opinion poll today, he’s behind by a 2-to-1 margin in tallies of lawmakers’ voting intentions compiled by the Australian and Age newspapers.” Fallout from the vote risk ushering in an election that polls indicate the conservatives, who have vowed to scrap the mining and carbon levies, would win.

What our partners are focused on now

The road to Rio+20
Momentum is gathering for a fossil fuel subsidies campaign that specifically tackles the massive government support given to fossil fuels around the world.  IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative, which is designed to put the spotlight on the effects of perverse subsidies, prepared a background policy brief on why fossil-fuel subsidy reform would be a high-impact outcome from Rio+20.  To that effect, a number of tcktcktck partners (including WWF, Greenpeace, NRDC, the Carbon War Room, and Oil Change International) made a joint submission to the process

In other Rio+20 news, our partners at Christian Aid published a briefing to show what is needed to make the UN-designated year of ‘Access to Sustainable Energy for All’ a reality. NRDC launched their Race to Rio website to help citizens around the world take actions and demand results and accountability at the upcoming Summit.  ITUC launched their new Rio page as well.

UN aid chiefs call for $725mn for drought-hit Sahel
Just months after a devastating drought released its deadly grip on the horn of Africa, extreme weather is now threatening millions of lives in Africa’s Sahel region. Accelerated drought cycles and late & erratic rains have ruined crops across a vast swathe of territory, including to Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.  Tcktcktck partner, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is working on the ground in the Sahel and warns that if significant action isn’t taken by March, we’ll risk devastation on the same scale as last year’s drought in the Horn of Africa.  In response, UN and EU aid chiefs are calling for $725 million to provide urgent assistance to the region this year.

Heartland Institute fallout continues
Climate scientist Peter Gleick is all over the news after publishing an article in the Huffington Post, admitting that he is the source of the leaked Heartland Institute documents. Gareth Renowden has a great reaction to the news on Hot Topic, pointing out that while Gleick shouldn’t have done what he did, his efforts brought “…the attention of the world to the nefarious activities of a well-funded right wing lobby group with mysterious ‘anonymous donors’ and zero accountability for their actions.” Meanwhile, fallout for Heartland continues. US Congressman Ed Markey is requesting original copies of Hearthland’s documents to assess the organization’s efforts to influence science education and debate. And tcktcktck partner, the Climate Reality Project, launched a video and petition calling on Heartland to “cease and desist [their] effort to bring climate change denial into our schools.”

Resources and opportunities

Tcktcktck announces the Rio+20 Blogger Prize
Join the TckTckTck team at the Rio +20 Earth Summit this June and be part of an event that could, if successful, chart a course to a sustainable future. TckTckTck launched the Rio+20 Blogger Prize to help find a climate-smart blogger or videographer to be part of our on-the-ground team in Rio; to help us share stories and keep climate change and renewable energy on the agendas of world leaders.  Our partners are working to ensure that big things happen in Rio this year. This is a rare chance for you to join our team and be part of the action (with expenses covered).

Feb 29th blogger call: is the E.U.’s opportunity to lead on climate issues under threat?
What do recent events portend for the E.U.’s efforts to address climate change? What are the key upcoming moments for Europe? Who are the players? Join us this coming Wednesday at 15:00 GMT, for a check-in with our E.U. Campaign Coordinator and IndyAct Co-founder, Nina Jamal, to get the latest. Email me for details.

Feb 28th webcast: WWF unveils the first report on countries leading cleantech innovation
Cleantech Group and WWF reveal a first-of-its-kind report on the innovative cleantech countries of 2012 in a Tuesday webcast. WWF’s Samantha Smith and Cleantech Groups Richard Youngman’s will discuss which countries are producing cleantech innovation today; which countries to watch in the future; what factors are fostering the growth of cleantech start-ups around the world; and what countries can do to promote cleantech innovation in their economies.

Feb 27th – 28th webcast: ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit
The United State’s flagship federal effort to win the clean(er) energy race is on full display early next week, during the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington DC. Select speakers are being webcast and event organizers have suggested the hashtag #eis12 on Twitter.

Other upcoming moments on our calendar:

  • 27 Feb – Kevin Rudd takes his challenge for Julia Gillard’s seat as Australian PM to lawmakers.
  • 27th Feb – US Congress likely to consider Keystone XL expansion and possible green energy tax breaks in return from recess
  • 28th Feb – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway,  and Sweden will likely discuss a regional post-2012 regional environmental strategy at the Meeting of the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for the Environment.

Connect you with our partners in the trenches
As always, if you’re looking to dig into any of these issues and want to connect with our partners in the trenches, Fresh Air is here to help. Email me and I’ll help make it happen.

That’s all for this week’s Fresh Air Brief. We’re eager to learn how to make this as useful as possible, so all feedback is welcome. We’re also eager to accept suggestions for leads, content and opportunities you’d like to promote. Get in touch.

If you haven’t already, apply to join our Fresh Air Network.

Til next time.

By Joshua Wiese

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About the Author

Joshua Wiese is a project director at the Global Campaign for Climate Action. He runs the Adopt a Negotiator project and publishes our weekly Fresh Air Brief

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