Commonwealth initiative aims to reverse effects of climate change by 2045

The Commonwealth has unveiled a new initiative to reverse climate change.

Some of the world's leading environmental experts gathered in London for a second time to explore cutting-edge approaches to reducing carbon emissions while still boosting development and economic growth.

The Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland says there's a realistic opportunity to reverse effects by 2045 using a regenerative development approach.

Tapping into volcanic hot springs for electricity and regenerating coastal wetlands isn't new but it's hoped that if countries work together and share ideas, progress can be made.

However, the Secretary General is aware of the challenges.

"It will take determination, political will and integrated working in a way and on a scale that we have not necessarily been able to do before and it will take focus," Ms Scotland said.

Climate scientist Tom Goreau says politicians don't understand how serious the impacts are going to be and we can't wait for people who don't get it.

"There's hope but only if act very quickly."

He worries the world's focus is on reducing emissions' reductions when we need to remove the excess CO2 in the air.

The information will be offered to all Commonwealth countries but it's hoped three will step forward to test the strategies and show the world it works.

The Secretary General already has her sales pitch ready.

"We've just got a few ideas that might help you get there faster, better and easier and cheaper and we're going to give it to you for zero. So not a bad deal!"

Prince Charles, a lifelong environmentalist, also spoke at the conference and said the Commonwealth could become a pivotal voice on such matters.

"This initiative embodies a welcome shift towards a more holistic approach to climate issues from which I believe other initiatives can draw strength."

Leaders from around 170 countries including NZ signed the climate change accords in New York yesterday.
Source: 1 NEWS

Pilots urge drone review - catastrophic incident 'just a matter of time'

The Airline Pilots Association is calling for further restrictions and precautions for drone operators as the number of complaints about their use continues to rise.

Tim Robinson of the NZ Airline Pilots Association says he's not surprised by the increase in complaints, and is very concerned about a general lack of knowledge about rules and correct operating procedure.

A graphic showing the number of drone complaints, current to May 19 2017
A graphic showing the number of drone complaints, current to May 19 2017. Source: 1 NEWS

The number of complaints for incidents where safety or incorrect operation is the main issue has been on the rise over the past few years.

He also says a major accident involving a drone and a commercial or light aircraft is "just a matter of time considering the proliferation of the use of them, the number out there" and would like to see a review in the rules around their use.

"The current rules in New Zealand allow for drones up to 25kg for general use - now if one of those was to strike an aircraft or a helicopter or a light aircraft it would be catastrophic," Mr Robinson told TVNZ1's Breakfast programme today.

"I think it's just a matter of time, considering the proliferation of the use of them and the number out there."

Mr Robinson says he believes the Civil Aviation Authority is considering a review of the drone rules soon, and would like to see all users get involved.

"We'd certainly like all industry users to be involved in that review so that everybody gets a say," he said.

"We'd like to see drones over 2.5kg registered - that's now becoming an international standard for registration ... we'd also like to see some consistency in drone pilot training and certification so that at least we know we've got a minimum standard of training out there."

Tourists, some of the most common operators of drones in New Zealand, are not a problem in themselves, Mr Robinson says, but there needs to be a framework to ensure they know the rules.

"So those folk that are using them - whether they be tourists or locals - understand their requirements for the usage.

"We don't believe there is a great deal of knowledge out there."

Tim Robinson of the NZAPA says a major accident is bound to happen soon unless new guidelines and restrictions are put in place. Source: Breakfast


'Really razor-thin benefits' – New TPP deal is worthless, says Green Party trade spokesperson

Negotiations breathing new life into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will go ahead in Vietnam this weekend, but the deal holds "very little benefit" for New Zealand, says the Green Party.

Member countries will talk about putting a possible deal back together without the US, and already Prime Minister Bill English has had positive discussions with the Japanese prime minister.

But Green Party trade spokesperson Barry Coates, speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast today, said the Greens initially did not think the TPP deal was "worth it", but now without the US in the deal' "it's even less worth it". 

"There are a lot of costs for New Zealand, but without the US there are even tinier benefits."

"It's really razor-thin benefits," Mr Coates said. 

Even though TPP would open up markets such as Japan, Mexico and Canada, Mr Coates says: "Now it looks like it'll be just Japan and one or two other small Asian countries, most other countries don't want to be part of this agreement."

"So, far from opening up trade opportunities, we think this paints us into a corner."

Barry Coates says the deal now has none of the benefits and all of the disadvantages Source: Breakfast