The results of a Massey University study into the causes of death for numerous penguins washed up on the East Coast are very good news if seismic testing is not to blame.

However a growing number of scientists believe that the changes to El Niño and La Niña events in recent decades is due to warmer ocean temperatures resulting from global warming. A report from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains that higher global temperatures might be increasing evaporation from land and adding moisture to the air, thus intensifying the weather events associated with El Niño and La Niña systems.

A number of positive developments have been helpful to the campaign for clean energy over the last week or so:

  • a Colmar Brunton poll revealed that the majority of New Zealanders (73%) disagree with the government’s Energy Strategy, instead wanting to prioritise increased development of renewable energy such as wind, geothermal and biofuels;
  • business leaders, the Prime Minister and financial commentators last week telling the public to expect fuel at $4/litre in the next few years, which should make the transition to a more sustainable economy a greater priority for everyone;
  • Hēkia Parata acknowledged that New Zealanders will be responsible for covering the billions of dollars for any oil spill cleanup and that companies like Anadarko are being given permission to drill when they have publicly acknowledged their inability to respond to an event similar to the Gulf of Mexico disaster;
  • the United Nations IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources (SRREN) was released showing that conservative estimates suggest that by 2015 the global renewable energy sector will create over 11 million jobs, more than 3 million in a scenario where we continue to rely on fossil fuels and nuclear energy;
  • a Bloomberg analysis found that government subsidies for fossil fuels dwarf support given to renewable energy sources – while the fossil-fuel industry received U$557 billion, the RE industry got only U$ 43-46 billion: 12 times less; and
  • we’ve had more high profile individuals and organisations, including a number from Brazil, join the chorus of opposition to deep sea petroleum exploration in New Zealand waters.

One such organisation is Associação dos Homens do Mar (AHOMAR), a union of around 700 fishermen who have been opposing construction of a Petrobras pipeline in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro (see earlier post below).

Guanabara Bay is where a Petrobras accident in 2000 leaked 1.3 million litres of oil into the bay from a broken underwater pipeline destroying large swathes of indigenous habitats.

Petrobras has spent more than US$200million on the cleanup and recovery measures are still being attempted, but more than a decade after the incident, the mangrove areas have not returned to life. Petrobras had another disaster in 2001 when the P36 platform killed 11 workers and 1.5 million litres of oil leaked into the ocean.

Supporters claim Petrobras is now a model corporate citizen, but it seems many Brazilians have a different opinion based on their firsthand experiences.

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