Thirst for electricity threatens targets: Australia’s rapidly escalating electricity consumption remains the biggest risk to meeting its Kyoto treaty targets, a new Federal Government report warns. A Department of Climate Change analysis of national greenhouse emission trends estimates Australia’s emissions from electricity use will increase 59 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020. Despite use of renewable energy doubling to 20 per cent of the national electricity mix by 2020, carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electricity are projected to rise from 1990 levels of 129 million tonnes a year to 204 million tonnes. Canberra Times

Ugly doesn’t cut it in conservation: Victoria’s bird emblem is not, as you could be forgiven for thinking, the seagull, but rather the helmeted honeyeater, an aggressively territorial little creature occasionally given to turfing its offspring out of the nest, rejecting its mates and generally behaving in an anti-social manner. Rarely, if ever, spotted outside bayside fish-and-chip shops, the bird — better known to its human supporters as the he-ho — is vulnerable not only to itself but also to climate change, habitat encroachment, and other native bird species and predators. That it is also listed as critically endangered should come, therefore, as no surprise. That only 85 of the birds still live in the wild after two decades of conservation efforts and more than $1.5 million of government money, is perhaps somewhat more remarkable. The Age

US yields on binding emissions targets: The US appeared to take a step forward on the talks for a successor to the Kyoto protocol on climate change on Monday by saying it would agree to binding targets for reducing emissions. However, other countries cautioned that while the move could be positive, it still left unanswered the most important questions on a potential successor to the treaty, the main provisions of which expire in 2012. Financial Times

Europe execs say they’re getting greener: The great and the good of corporate Europe have been meeting in Brussels over the last two days (21-22 February) for the fifth annual European Business Summit, burnishing their green credentials. The summit, whose theme this year is “Greening the economy: New energy for business”, holds the attention of the European Commission perhaps more than any other stakeholder meeting that takes place in the 27-nation bloc. Some eight commissioners and President Jose Manuel Barroso took time to meet and debate with Europe’s business leaders at the summit which is organised by Business Europe, the European employers’ association. Business Week

Protest taking off: In 1971, the United States government proposed testing its nuclear arsenal near the tiny island of Amchitka – a wildlife paradise off the west coast of Alaska. A number of protest groups sprang up. One particular group of people came together with the idea to charter a boat – the Phyllis Cormack – and sail it into the nuclear testing site. Through placing themselves in the area of the bomb blast, they wanted to draw a line in the sand, and to make sure that the whole world would bear witness to what their government was doing. Later, the US government called off its tests. Greenpeace was born. Today, some 30 years later, Greenpeace activists have today once more drawn a line in the sand. By climbing on top of an A320 aircraft at Heathrow airport to bear witness to the threat to the climate from Brown’s plan for a third runway, they’ve taken the climate campaign to a new level. Guardian

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW