Monday, October 30, 2006

It's been an interesting few days in the climate change political cauldron. Following an underwhelming address in Wellington a few weeks ago, Labour indicated over the weekend that they are soon to introduce a stronger environmental platform (as suggested earlier).

On the weekend Labour raised the lofty possibility of NZ becoming carbon neutral. Its an encouraging indication of where we can aim. Some love the possibility. But the Nats think it sucks, and the Greens want more. I agree, a clear policy guide has been demanded time and time again. Come on Helen!

In further climate change news:

  • There's a Climate Change Festival to be held this Saturday afternoon at the Paramount in Wellington. It features film (incl. Who Killed the Electric Car at 9.30pm) plus forum and is part of the Global Climate Campaign activities. Look for the yellow and black flyers in local cafe's.
  • Next Saturday will also see a rally down Queen Street as part of the same campaign. The rally will demand that Kiwi's take urgent climate change action.
  • Stern words have been written by a British economist. Nicholas Stern has reported on the economic impact of climate change and found that inaction may cause a 1930's-esque depression. His full report is to be published tomorrow.
  • UK's environment and finance ministers have been discussing taxes on imported goods (beef, lamb, butter, kiwifruit...) in an effort to offset the emissions impact of shipping goods to Britain. Their discussions were prompted by initial drafts of the Stern Review.
  • The entertaining carnies over at NZ Climate Science Coalition have reacted adversely to having Al Gore show up in Auckland next month.
So, plenty happening on the climate change front. Are we inching our way toward a sustainable future? Are we moving fast enough?

Update - Tuesday: a copy of the Stern Review can be found here. National Radio featured solid discussion (audio files) this morning. Scoop have a lot of commentary - including this article, and an audio download of the PMs Party Conference address. So, plenty to digest!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

About time for a "regular" piece huh? With this whole GoogTube lark I thought it timely to introduce a vid slot. And I'm gonna stick to a theme: expressions of sensitivity. I'm talking the whole range of sensitivity here - "in" to "super".

Take it away Flight of the Conchords - talking "issues".

Now here's a sexy story: we've stepped into a new era with the introduction of emissions testing for motor vehicles.

It's not the first time I've posted about vehicle emissions, but as of yesterday, in order to get a WoF your motor needs to be visually cleared for emissions.

This can be seen as a first step in moving toward the tougher vehicle emissions standards that Government has been discussing. Frogblog posted about these discussions at the time and it generated some decent comment.

Yesterday a British Labour MP advocated that new car advertising include emission data. This is a great idea if fuel efficiency data is incorporated. New car buyers sit at the top of a very influential "vehicle supply chain" - they need emissions information.

In the New Zealand setting this new car supply chain is tempered somewhat by a substantial import market. Maybe data is needed for all vehicles before they are first sold in NZ - new and used.

Update: article from the Herald this morning (Sun 29th Oct).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Its all on! 6pm Friday 27th October at Freyberg Beach, Oriental Bay, Wellington. More info here and here.

This is a promo event in support of the SuperSession concert to be held at the Town Hall on 11th November. Both events are about raising awareness and money for the life-saving work of SurfAid International.

Monday, October 16, 2006

If surfing is your thing then listen up. If local music's your thing listen up too. If you're into both you'd better take a seat.

At 6pm Friday 27th October there's a paddle race at Oriental Bay to publicise this years SurfAid SuperSession fundraiser concert. The long-board and short-board races will both feature heaps of prizes - including spot prizes. There's boards, wetsuits, wax and t-shirts up for grabs so don't be shy.

The SuperSession concert itself is at the Wellington Town Hall on November 11th. "Who's playing" I hear you ask. Well. None other than The Phoenix Foundation, Open Souls, Twinset, OdESSA, The Little Bushmen, and the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. Not a bad line-up huh?!

All proceeds go to the ongoing work of SurfAid International in Indonesia. SurfAid was set up by Kiwi surfer and doctor Dave Jenkins following a surfing trip to the Mentawai Islands. Sure, he enjoyed the infamously lush surf spot, but he was also motivated by the level of preventable disease locals had to deal with.

You may remember that due to their network of surf contacts in Indonesia, SurfAid were able to rally help faster than anyone following the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami. Their work continues, and you can help out by heading to one of the finest music events Wellington will see this year. Book at RealGroovy and Ticketek.

Well I got Dimmer on Friday night at The SanFran... bloody hell! As if I needed to be reminded of the live genius that is frontman Shayne Carter...!

I'll have to confess that I only saw Straitjacket Fits once when I was at uni. And I never owned an album until a year or so ago. But I experienced the brilliance at Bodega as part of last years Fits reunion tour, and then there was Dimmer on Friday night.

Carter is to guitar what Tenzing was to Eddie in knocking the bastard off. Friday night showed just what the world missed out on when the Fits split in 1993 - but would Carter be doing Dimmer if that didn't happen? Probably not. The gig featured ripping instrumentals engulfing the range of Carters moods, and (as many others have said) felt and sounded more like the Fits than much of his other recent work.

Friday's was the last gig of the tour - so back up north for Dimmer. In sharing the love with the nation over the last month, Carter and his crew are bound to have made a whole lot of people a whole lot happier. Cheers!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Again, further to the post below, the VUW Institute of Policy Studies now have last weeks Climate Change Symposium proceedings online. All presentations are downloadable.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

EECA and the AA today announced that the race is on. It's the 2006 AA EnergyWise Rally - the race to find the most fuel efficient car in Kiwi conditions.

You may recall from a very early post of mine that Toyota took the major prizes at the last event held in 2004. This year there's more competition and arguably a lot more at stake.

"Green motoring" is big time. A bunch of Hollywood hoity-toity's all turned up in a Prius at last years Oscars; Willie Nelson's bus is powered by green fuel (in more ways than one); and in addition to Greenfleet and Envirocar, there have been a few local green fuel initiatives since the last rally (incl:1,2,3).

So we wait with interest for the November rally. If you're gonna promote driving, it might as well be smart driving.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Word on the street has it that Labour are to release details of a simplified "carbon tax" in the next couple of weeks. As mentioned below, Labour have been relatively quiet on climate change policy. It's evident they're playing cards close to their chest - saving ammunition for my hoped-for media driven cat fight on the issue. Watch this space...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hopefully it'll shape up with some public interest this time. This morning the Environment Minister David Parker dribbled rhetoric all over the lectern at the VUW Climate symposium. National released a large discussion document this afternoon, and of course the Greens released major proposals back in March.

Although Parkers speech this morning was toothless, Labour have been up to a little bit on the climate change front. But not enough.

I've got my fingers crossed we can rid ourselves of petty "he shagged her" and "she's got a flash business card" bitching. Let's have genuine press coverage of climate issues instead. National have a major chance to score points here, they look to have caught Labour on the hop.

Labour have made very little ground since I listened to Parker at a conference in March. No mention of a price on carbon emissions today, no guidance for business investment decisions.

I'm gonna digest the Nats document over the next few days. I hope that the traditional media outlets can be an effective ring master with this issue. Now is the hour! We, the people, need to engage!

I lamented (just secretly, I skited) the other night that I couldn't remember the last pair of pants I brought. If I can't bring myself to donning a new look, why not a blog makeover.

As simple as selecting a new template to be honest. But don't let that put you off. The new season makeover is part of life. Football teams do it in the hope of cashing in on rampant consumerism and fan loyalty. It's bollocks of course.

Which is what many have made of the Wal-Mart green makeover that they kicked off last October. Is it another case of greenwashing, or is it a genuine change for good? For Wal-Mart I think it's the latter. But for this blog it's business as usual. Just a new face. And hopefully some new visitors...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hot on the heels of a conniving attempt by a film company to rip off Wellington CBD electricity users comes a victory for the little guy.

Thomas Edison will be rolling in his grave yet again because Ecobulb are offering Wellingtonians another energy efficient light bulb deal. Keep an eye on local papers for your cut-out coupon.

The last time I posted about this there was no cheapie on offer, but the benefits of ditching Edisons dodgy old incandescent bulb were laid out... including a consumer magazine review. If you still need convincing take a look at the savings calculator on the Ecobulb website.

Save cash, support a cool Kiwi company, and pitch in for their quest to "save enough electricity to power Hamilton".