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Archive for September 19th, 2007

Policy must control food and price increases: von Braun warns subsidies for agriculture and biofuel will push up price of grains and feedstock

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Growth in biofuels could significantly push up food and grain prices, Dr von Braun, director-general of the International Food Policy Research Institute told the The Canberra Times(15/08/07, p. 15). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Agriculture, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Policy, Public Opinion | Leave a Comment »

√Not enough study of environment, water and energy in top scientific institutes: Australian Research Council

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Australia’s peak research funding body wanted more scientists to apply for grants to study climate change issues, reported The Courier Mail (15/9/2007, p. 34). Broadened portfolio desirable: Professor Margaret Sheil, the new head of the Australian Research Council, said the growing recognition of the prob­lems associated with climate change would open up many avenues of study. “If you look at some of our flagships, our centres of excellence, there probably aren’t enough there in some of the more recent issues around the environ­ment, around water, around energy, so we’ll be looking to broaden our portfolio in that respect in the next centres round,” Professor Sheil said.

Posted in Federal, Green Markets 0919, How to make money, Research | Leave a Comment »

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Return of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon: Roof gardens a new green statement Roof gardens had become the latest architectural statement, reported The Australian (15/9/2007, p. 1). Market gardens in the sky: Even celebrity gardener Jamie Durie was getting in on the act, the newspaper reported. Durie’s company, Patio, was currently working, or had worked, on roof garden projects in Sydney, New York and Chicago, where they had already cottoned on to the idea with greater gusto. In Chicago the Department of Environ­ment had been giving away $5000 grants to building owners who wanted to start a green roof project. One New York entrepreneur, Ali Zabar, supplied his restaurants and grocery store with vegetables he grew in greenhouse gardens on the roofs of his New York establishments. He employed two farmers full-time to tend 2000sqm of sky gardens.

Self-sufficiency aim of eco city: “Leading the way on a larger scale, however, will be Dongtan, at the mouth of the Yangtse River on China’s third largest island, Chongming,” said The Australian. “It will be the world’s first purpose-built eco­city and stage one will be built in the next four years — when Shanghai will host the 2010 World Expo. Buildings will be no more than eight storeys high, with gardens on their roofs. It will be pedestrian friendly and generate all its own energy needs. Meanwhile, most of the city’s waste will be recycled and organic waste will be composted or burnt in incinerators to generate electricity.”

The Australian, 15/9/2007, p. 1

Posted in Agriculture, Cities, Green Markets 0919, How to make money | Leave a Comment »

Around $300 can render a large family household “carbon neutral” for a year

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Rather than changing your lifestyle, there was another way to clear your conscience about the size of your carbon footprint: via your wallet and carbon offsets, reported The Australian (15/9/2007, p.1). Selling savings back to consumers: For around $300 companies such as Easy Being Green could render a large family household “carbon neutral” for a year. This equated to reducing the amount of CO2 pollution a home produced by nearly 15 tonnes. Other companies in this space included the Carbon Reduction Institute and Neco. These companies undertook energy efficient projects and installed energy-saving technologies — such as compact fluorescent light globes and water-saving showerheads — into homes and businesses across the country. Easy Being Green offers energy-efficient light globes, installed in homes free of charge, via its website. Each of these globes is then calculated as providing 15,000 hours of energy-saving light that will cut CO2 pollution by 900kg in its lifetime. The company is then authorised to sell that 900kg saving back to customers for $20 through any one of its carbon-neutral packages (it offers a $297.15 package for a 4+ person family home). Devilishly clever and everyone wins, including the planet — or does it?

Consumers buy clean consciences: As George Monbiot, author of Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning has said: “Any scheme that persuades us we can carry on polluting delays the point at which we grasp the nettle of climate change and accept that our lives have to change… By selling us a clean conscience, the offset companies are undermining the necessary political battle to tackle climate change at home. They are telling us we don’t need to be citizens; we need only to be better consumers.”

Reference: Easy Being Green:
Carbon Reduction Institute:

Posted in Accounting, Carbon Price, Emissions Trading, Energy Efficiency, Green Markets 0919, How to make money, VERs, Voluntary | Leave a Comment »

Local breeds more suited to extreme conditions: reliance on a few high-yield breeds risks mass extinctions, warns FAO

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

The world’s livestock produc­tion had become dangerously over-reliant on just a few high-yielding breeds, causing the loss of many hardier breeds more suited to poor countries, accord­ing to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported The Australian (5/9/2007, p. 32). One breed goes extinct every month: In its first survey of the world’s animal genetic resources, the FAO said 20 per cent of the more than 7600 breeds of farm animals and poultry it had iden­tified were at risk of extinction. Almost one breed had been lost every month over the past six years.

Value revealed too late: Carlos Sere, director general of the International Livestock Re­search Institute, a publicly fun­ded Nairobi-based research net­work, called for the rapid esta­blishment of gene banks, espe­cially in Africa, to conserve the sperm and eggs of animals at risk. “Valuable breeds are disap­pearing at an alarming rate,” he told an international technical conference on animal genetic resources in Interlaken, Switzer­land. “In many cases we will not even know the true value of an existing breed until it is already gone. This is why we need to act now to conserve what’s left by putting them in gene banks.”

Locals cope better: In northern Vietnam, for in­stance, local breeds comprised nearly three-quarters of the sow population in 1994, but by 2000 this proportion had dropped to only a quarter. During a recent drought in Uganda, for example, farmers who kept their hardy Ankole cattle were able to walk them long distances to water sources, while those who had traded them for Holstein-Friesians lost their entire herds.

The Australian, 5/9/2007, p. 32

Posted in Agriculture, Extinctions, Policy | Leave a Comment »

Launch of the new cardamom e-auction in India comes after the successful transition of other commodities

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Cardamom, the queen of spices, entered the digital age last week with the launch of an electronic auction intended to create transparency in its trading. The spice, the world’s most expensive after vanilla and saffron, has been traded in the traditional outcry system of bids, which is more susceptible to collusion between traders and auctioneers. The Spices Board of India hopes the e-auction will give small traders a better deal by preventing cartels forming between their bigger rivals, reported The Australian 1/9/07, pg.36 New system to promote competition The new system has been developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest software services provider, to keep the identity of bidders secret, thus discouraging speculation and promoting competition. It is also designed to ensure error-free documentation, eliminating hidden costs and speeding up invoicing. The first e-auction will be in Bodinayakanur, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, before spreading to four other auction centres in Vandanmedu, Kumli, Thekkady and Pulianmala in the neighbouring state of Kerala.
Cardamom prices affected by drought Cardamom is an aromatic and versatile spice used in both sweet and savoury dishes. The oil from its seeds is used in processed foods, tonics, liquors and perfumes. It is also considered to have healing properties and is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine. Until Guatemala recently accelerated its cultivation, India was the world’s largest cardamom producer. However, Indian growers have suffered five years of drought and the country’s annual production fell last year to 11,535 tonnes and the average price per kg to 350 rupees ($10.40). In the year to March, India exported 1500tn of cardamom, valued at 169.5m rupees. The main buyer of the spice is Saudi Arabia, where it is used as an additive to coffee.

Electronic transition successful with other commodities The launch of the cardamom e-auction – albeit a month late – comes after the successful transition of other commodities, in particular pepper. However, a similar switch for tea has not run so smoothly since its launch in Coonoor in 2003. Last October, the Tea Board of India dropped IBM’s software after technical glitches. A new system, developed by a subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange, should be in place by November.

Posted in India, Markets | Leave a Comment »

Victoria high-efficiency washing machine water rebate has no mechanisms to enable people to claim the rebate

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Although former Premier Steve Bracks announced a rebate for high efficiency washing machines in April, nobody knows anything about the scheme said Peter Hall, Member for Eastern Victoria Region in the Victorian Legislative Council on 8 August 2007. Former Premier announced rebate scheme: Hall challenged the Minister for Water to resolve a problem for a constituent, explaining that the previous Minister had indicated that there was a water rebate available for high-efficiency washing machines, and that the Premier had announced that on 17 April this year. “He advised that the rebate was for $100 and that the organisation administering that scheme was Sustainability Victoria. The minister also referred to two other sources of information, a website and my local water authority, Gippsland Water, and gave a contact number for Gippsland Water.”

Scheme unknown: Hall proceeded to relate how he “dutifully then advised my constituent that he was in luck and that that was the case. He then made inquiries on the website and found no mention whatsoever of any such rebate on that site. He also rang Gippsland Water and Sustainability Victoria without any success. They had no knowledge of any such scheme. My constituent came back and reported this to me. I said, ‘This can’t be the case. I will do it myself’.”

Minister challenged to throw light on scheme’s operation: After recounting how he had gone through the same process without success, Hall said: “I then rang Sustainability Victoria, and the phone call was returned the following day by somebody who had some knowledge of the matter. Their knowledge extended to the fact that they knew that the then Premier had made an announcement on 17 April about this matter, but they had no knowledge of and had received no direction from government about how and when this scheme would operate. We are left in the dark. Despite the advice from the then water minister on 18 July to me that a scheme exists, nobody knows about it. My challenge to the new Minister for Water is, first of all, for him to put in place as a matter of urgency the mechanisms to enable people to claim the rebate promised by the then Premier on 17 April this year, and then perhaps he will have the courtesy to advise me how my constituent can go about actually applying for and getting his $100 rebate.”

Reference: Peter Hall, Member for Eastern Victoria Region ,National Party Spokesman for Education, Skills and Employment, Members Statements Legislative Council Proof, Victoria, 8 August 2007

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Policy, Regulation, Victoria | 1 Comment »

WA pastoralists asked to vote on the Government’s proposed model for environmental management of the rangelands

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Western Australia’s pastoralists would have the opportunity to have a direct say on the State Government’s proposed model for pastoral leases for environmental management of the rangelands by getting to vote on the model, reported Farm Weekly, (06/09/2007, p.12) quoting State Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah McTiernan.

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Posted in Agriculture, Deforestation, Ecosystem Trading, Green Markets 0919, Land, Law, Regulation, Western Australia | Leave a Comment »

Nine Federal grant funds for research, development and deployment of low emission technologies, including renewable energy technologies

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Malcolm Turnbull, responding to written questions from Labor MP John Murphy, said in the Federal House of Representatives on 11 September 2007 that he was aware of the article titled “Call to put more money into renewables”, which appeared in The Australian Financial Review on 15 August 2006.

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Posted in Federal, Green Markets 0919, How to make money, Policy | Leave a Comment »

Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon shows “poor judgment”; Gunns saga whirls towards Turnbull’s desk, oiled by 700 submissions

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon had not helped himself, showing poor judgment when he allowed a company owned by Gunns to renovate his home when the state Government was trying to push through the $2 billion pulp-mill project for Gunns, according to The Australian (15/9/2007, p. 26).

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Posted in Accounting, Deforestation, Federal, Green Markets 0919, Policy, Tasmania | Leave a Comment »