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International Update Volume 42, Issue 13

AUSTRALIANS CARE LESS ABOUT ENVIRONMENT; POWER BILLS MAY RISE

Australia

Electricity retailer Origin Energy said that Australia is likely to overshoot its 2020 renewable energy targets by about six percent due to falling electricity demand and the penetration of household solar systems. Origin called for a change to the target, which will be reviewed this year by the Climate Change Authority. Russell Marsh, policy director for the Clean Energy Council, said that the level of demand for 2020 was unknown, and switching to a more flexible target would not give the certainty needed to drive investment.

SEA RISING SPEED INCREASED 30% SINCE 2000, SLOWER THAN PREVIOUSLY PREDICTED

Denmark

Rising sea levels and Greenland's glacial melt have not increased as fast as previously predicted, but ice loss has still increased 30 percent over the last decade, and sea level rises have endangered low-lying coasts, according to a new report published in the May issue of Science. Previous studies estimated that glaciers would double their ice loss by 2010 and continue at that speed, and the actual flow of ice rivers has caused "significantly less" of an increase in sea level rise.

SOUTH KOREA APPROVES GHG TRADING SCHEME

South Korea

South Korea became the latest nation to approve a climate trading scheme last Wednesday as lawmakers agreed to cap greenhouse gas emissions. The scheme places a cap on emissions from industry, generators, and even large universities, encouraging a move toward energy efficiency. The measure may lead to savings, as South Korea is the fifth largest importer of oil and the second largest importer of liquefied natural gas. Under the plan, firms can trade emissions permits or buy offsets from U.N. backed energy projects.