Green MPs Support 350 Challenge

Green MPs Support 350 Campaign

Greens Sport the 350 Look

Green MPs support Bill McKibben’s campaign to reduce carbon in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, down from the current 389 ppm which is going up every year.  Scientists believe this would keep the global temperature rise to less than 2C.

Meanwhile, the NACT government struggles with denial.  National’s “target” is a 50% reduction by 2050.  And while the Nats have also adopted the IPCC target of 450 ppm, they’ve ignored that the IPCC also says an 80% emissions cut is needed by 2050 to achieve it.  

National’s targets are meaningless without a programme for reaching them.  After complaining last year that emissions went up during Labour’s reign, they’ve done little besides reverse the few positive steps Labour took during its last term and create confusion in the market by delaying the ETS.

New Zealand is looking increasingly silly overseas, last week “winning” the Fossil of the Day award in Bonn, given by a group of environmental NGOs to countries that block progress at the United Nations climate change negotiations.   With the successor agreement to Kyoto to be completed at Copenhagen in December, our Parliament is still mired in a false debate about the science. 

Perhaps they’re not bothered by this confusion as their true intentions were signalled in the budget.  Roads, roads and more roads will see any target not only missed, but will send Aotearoa in the opposite direction (and “clean” coal is just around the corner?).   Nick Smith says everything will be fine, but he seems to be talking to himself these days. Certainly his government is not listening.

If the government had a Green New Deal type of approach, it could put forward solutions that would build resilience into our economy by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, while at the same time allowing us to take a meaningful part in the global discussion on climate change mitigation.  Instead, this NACT government is making sure New Zealand won’t be joining the international consensus anytime soon.

42 thoughts on “Green MPs Support 350 Challenge

  1. Yesterday, I saw ‘350’ chalked onto a footpath in Nelson’s main street.

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  2. 350 is also the size of a very good small block V8 engine produced by Chevrolet.

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  3. >>Green MPs support Bill McKibben’s campaign to reduce carbon in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million

    Will they be flying around the country at the same rate they’ve been doing so in the first part of this year?

    Political elites. Don’t ya just love ‘em…..

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  4. What makes you think building roads increases our greenhouse gas emissions?

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  5. Induced demand Owen.

    When has building a road ever led to fewer cars on the road system? When has widening a motorway ever led to fewer cars on that motorway?

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  6. Reducing congestion means cars burn less fuel.

    But family cars are trivial in the scheme of things.
    Our family cars account for only about 11% of total GHG emission.
    However, about 2/3rds of the population live outside those areas where there is any access to public transport for even the trip to work, and the trip to work is now outnumbered by non-work trips just about everywhere. So at best public transport can challenge the use of family cars responsible for maybe at most 4% of our total GHG emissions, or say 10% of our total fossil fuel use.
    What you call induced demand is actually suppressed demand.
    And the extension of the Northern motorway has hugely reduced congestion and environmental degradation through Orewa. Just as the Newmarket viaduct hugely reduced congestion through Khyber Pass Rd and Newmarket itself.

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  7. I enjoy Bill McDonough’s comments about paving over the planet’s underlying operating system with ‘Assphalt’- ‘two words ascribing blame’.

    Climate Change, acidification of the oceans, premature death through poor air quality seem to be part of our defacto plan- it is the thing that is happening because we have no other plan.
    Widening motorways to ease congestion is like widening your belt to cure obesity. Increased motorway spending over public transport including effective rail between cities, is adopting a strategy of tragedy, not one of change nor Hope.

    To design for a 350 world it will require a redesign of everything. Ignoring changes through reduced dependency on fossil fuel, urban planning, worklife arrangements, reforestation, local economies, even using your figures Owen- 10% of our fossil fuel use through modal shift would be an important component.

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  8. Owen, in future the CO2 emmissions for road transport will be worse if the purveyors of CTL get their way. A study by the NRDC found that

    The total well-to-wheels emission rate for conventional petroleum-derived fuel is about 27 pounds of CO2 per gallon of fuel. If the CO2 from the liquid coal plant is released into the atmosphere, based on available information about liquid coal plants being proposed, the total well to wheels CO2 emissions from coal-derived fuel would be about 50 pounds of CO2 per gallon—nearly twice as high. Introducing a new fuel system that doubles the current CO2 emissions of our crude oil system is clearly at odds with our need to reduce global warming emissions *

    I’ll leave it to you to do the imperial to metric conversions – but the conclusion remains the same.

    * http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/coal/liquids.pdf

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  9. When has not building a road ever led to fewer cars on the road system? When has not widening a motorway ever led to fewer cars on that motorway?

    It’s not the volume of traffic that matters for the climate, it’s the volume of emissions.

    When all of the factors that lead to growth in traffic are considered, the most important is growth in income per household (including growth in multiple income households), the second most important is shifting from multi-use zoning to single use zoning, the third most important is growth in the proportion of employment remuneration packages including free cars or free secure car parking. One of the least strongly correlated factors is roading investment measured in lane km, accounting for less than 1/5th of traffic growth, according to highly respected researcher and TOD advocate Robert Cervero.

    Reducing incomes is probably not a desirable way to reduce traffic but increasing the cost of road use and parking is a potentially effective way of achieving the same affordability effect.

    If necessary, shifting the responsibility for urban and fringe urban land use zoning from local councils to Regional councils or MfE is something that Parliament can do in the national interest.

    Adressing the tax inequities that encourage the inclusion of free cars and carparks in remuneration packeages is entirely within Parliaments purvue.

    All of those mechanisms will have the desired effects within the required time frames. Without adressing the most important drivers of traffic growth investing in PT instead of more fuel efficient roads only has modest potential to contribute to GHG reductions.

    While the Greens have been working to ban incandescent lightbulbs the USAF has been spending money finding simple way to make incandescents that are 50% cheaper to use but no more expensive to make or buy. That last point means the biggest barrier to household lighting efficiency has been overcome without resorting to prohibition, which have just driven the trade underground ;)
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/06/regular-incandescent-lightbulb-super-efficient-laser-rochester.php

    Likewise, while the Greens have been futilely waiting for their Traffic Reduction Bill to be drawn out of the hat Florida engineers have correctly identified the main impediment to 100mpg SUV’s – the humble and elderly spark plug – and zapped into oblivion with radio frequency electrostatic ignition technology. Now, one of the world’s biggest automotive OEM suppliers is bringing the tech to the marketplace. As long as it’s cheap and starts first time, car buyers don’t care what’s under the bonnet, so this solution will work big time straightaway where hybrids have barely made a dent in sales of ICEs after nearly a decade of trying.
    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/06/eccos-20090602.html
    http://www.etatech.us/

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  10. Just as an aside, why are two of the MPs determined to hide the shirts (which I hope are personal purchases) under cardigan type apparel?

    As for the roading debate, I think Owen put it about as succinctly as can be with his words “Reducing congestion means cars burn less fuel”. Surely that is good for the planet.

    As a small aside, I see that the male co-leader of the Party is against restricting freedoms, does this mean the list of things to be banned by the Party will be significantly reduced if the Party were to be able to form a government?

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  11. Adressing (sic) the tax inequities that encourage the inclusion of free cars and carparks in remuneration packeages (sic) is entirely within Parliaments purvue(sic).

    That one is already done mate, it’s called FBT and ensures that the cost of the facility provided is taxed at the highest rate.

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  12. While the Greens have been working to ban incandescent lightbulbs the USAF has been spending money finding simple way to make incandescents that are 50% cheaper to use but no more expensive to make or buy.

    There was no ban on incandescents, only a standard on energy efficiency, which I exepect the bulbs you refer to would have met, so no issues.

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  13. Employee car parking is not subjected to FBT and limiting liability for Fringe Benefit Tax on company cars and cellpnones is real easy.

    Currently, types of vehicles that qualify as “work- related vehicles” are not
    subject to FBT if the private use of the vehicle is restricted to “home-to-work” travel and “incidental” private use.

    If the IRD ever made ‘black box’ tachograph records mandatory for claiming exemptions from company car FBT, revenue from FBT would increase significantly. That would also happen if the FBT threshold was increased from $15,000 to $20,000 or $30,000.

    You do realise that the FBT is on motor vehicles is charged at the top tax rate on the vehicles depreciated value or on the annua lease value, so the car has to be very expensive to be captured by FBT.

    Removal of the “work- related vehicles” category was proposed in the last Government’s tax review.

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  14. Kevyn
    Removal of the “work- related vehicles” category would certainly result in a lot more cost for someone, and that someone is usually the consumer!

    For instance, an engineer working for Telecom has a vehicle that they use to get to their first customer contact of the day. Making them use a private vehicle to go to a depot and collect the vehicle that has the necessary equipment in it to do the job (and of course the opposite journey at the end of the day,) would remove whatever the average commute time is from their productive time, and so result in fewer people being serviced in a day. This would result in Telecom having to contract its supplier for more engineers, increasing the cost of the work done today. This would put every one’s phone-bill up (Telstra, and Vodafone would face the same issue)!

    Methinks you might remove the tinge of envious green from your makeup and realise that there are MANY circumstances in which the average person benefits significantly from the “work- related vehicles” category of FBT exemption.

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  15. The rationale for removal of the “work- related vehicles” category was to reduce compliance costs.

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  16. I live in the country which the ARC would stop if it could.
    I walk to work – its about six metres from my house to my office. I am an international consultant and writer. I do not need to be near a city or town.

    I use my car about 1.3 times a week and do all the family shopping on a Saturday morning.
    What is the problem? We planted 80,000 trees and plants on our last property down the road. And now we are building a group of wetlands on our new property.
    Where do you find biodiversity? On my property on in a block of apartments?
    When I was young I lived in the centre of Auckland’s CBD (when I got back from Berkeley).
    Now, at 68, I don’t.
    What is the problem?

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  17. Taking away the subsidisation of parking would certainly help things. Minimum parking requirements are an enormous cross-subsidy for private vehicles.

    Building more roads to reduce traffic congestion, which is commonly misconceived as polluting more than fast-moving traffic has no positive effect on pollution levels, with the most car-friendly cities in the USA such as Phoenix, Detroit, Denver and particularly Houston having toxic air emissions just as bad, if not worse, than most other cities (Nozzi, 2003). In 1998, Houston’s toxic air emissions equalled 90 per cent of the total emitted by the whole state of California, while in 1999 its smog exceeded federal standards on 52 days (Nozzi, 2003). Reducing congestion has a far smaller effect on air quality than the number of vehicle trips and the length of those trips, and building more roads only encourages more car travel, therefore more air pollution. Nozzi (2003) concludes that urban dispersal is a major factor in causing air pollution, and that dispersed developments cause 20 to 50 per cent more air pollution than compact ones.

    (excerpt from my 2005 thesis: http://portal.jarbury.net/thesis.pdf )

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  18. I live in the country which the ARC would stop if it could.

    I thought Kaiwaka was in Northland Region?

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  19. bro, Green MPs are sufficiently busy that it is very difficult to get them all together at the same place and time for a photo shoot. You’ll notice Kennedy Graham couldn’t make it for the photo either.

    BTW, did you pick up Sue B’s budget speech – I’d suggest stroppy, not sulky.

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  20. Hardly “stroppy” Toad, just the same old tired communist crap one comes to expect from one of the nomenklatúra.

    BTW, have you been invited to Sue’s new flash house yet?

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  21. BB

    Justify the word “communist” in the context of Sue’s speech. Quit throwing it around like some magic epithet and tell us EXACTLY what part of marxist-leninist doctrine is being espoused by her critique of the budget?

    In other words… show me.

    I think you have made an error by overstating the (good word here, freshly minted) leftishness of that speech.

    It isn’t like you don’t know better.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  22. hmmm…well it’s been nearly an hour; – I’d lay odds you ain’t gettin an answer BJ…

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  23. Typical. However it is a new lie, so another 5 points for ParataNui, now on +7. He’s been working hard of late and will have a record high score soon if he keeps it up.

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  24. which he will; 50-1 odds there…..paratanui’s score will escalate – bets are off

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  25. “..I am an international consultant and writer..”

    owen..owen..

    ..you left out climate-change-denialist..

    ..who has received remunerations from the (now-disbanded/discredited) oil-industry-funded denial ‘front-groups’..

    (usually called ‘scientists for a better world’..

    ..or some other such canard/fiction..)

    ..are you still peddling that snake-oil..?

    ..or have you stopped..?

    ..now the oil companies can’t/don’t fund such fantasies..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  26. big bro said: BTW, have you been invited to Sue’s new flash house yet?

    Nope, understand it is in Mangere – can’t say I recall any flash houses at all there. Maybe she’s moved there to help Melissa Lee keep South Auckland’s criminals out of Mt Albert. More likely that it’s closer to the airport and cuts down the travel.

    BTW, Valis, if BB is Parata Nui, does that make BP Poaka Nui??? Oops, maybe that should be on one of the animal welfare threads.

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  27. not being discriminatory, but could we shorten it a little? Poaka should do nicely….i notice he led with “We Greens….” the other day – mayhap he be shedding a useless skin?

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  28. Kahore

    Ko ‘Pita i te taha matau’, ‘Pepi huka’ ranei

    Hei aha

    He tangata hoha ia

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  29. “New Zealand is looking increasingly silly overseas, last week “winning” the Fossil of the Day award in Bonn, given by a group of environmental NGOs to countries that block progress at the United Nations climate change negotiations.”

    They sound like an environmental lynch mob to me, don’t adhere to the global warming religion and they’re after ya.
    Next will be the UN Inquisition to remove the unfaithful and witchy.

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  30. It’s the dunking chair for us Shunda, til Hide and Key grow a brain.

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  31. “It’s the dunking chair for us Shunda, til Hide and Key grow a brain.”

    Like I said greenfly, the new roads are for land yachts.

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  32. Jarbury, When I said more fuel efficient roads I wasn’t referring to reducing urban congestion. The impacts that urban congestion has on fuel efficiency are better addressed through in-vehicle systems such as engine stop-start and mild hybrid. Apart from grade seperating the worst bottle-neck intersections there is very little than can be done to in the way of reducing congestion that does anything other than encourage a binge of property development on the decongested corridor with it’s consequent increase in traffic volumes and inevitable return to congested traffic conditions. However if the economy has been demanding those porperty developments then they will have occured somewhere else with the consequent increase in traffic merely occuring on some other road. In that regard adding capacity to roads within a city may be less harmfull than not doing so if it encourages brownfield redevelopment instead of greenfields developments.

    The sort of improvements that actually make roads more fuel efficient only really work on rural roads because of the higher legal speeds create the conditions where fuel efficiency can be improved in a measurable way that is not intuitively percieved by the average driver in the way that reduced travel times are noticed. Three simple examples are to use hotmix instead of coarse chipseal, to seperate opposing traffic especially where the are a lot of trucks, and to eliminate extreme curves and grades where it can be cheaply done and where the curves/grades are crash black spots as well as emissions/waterway contamination blackspots (mainly brakedust build-up).

    I can’t comment on what you quote from Nozzi till I’ve read more of his book but the intro suggests he may have committed the same error as the Thoreau Institute. Assuming that the change in US lifestyles/standards of living was caused by the ascent of the automobile rather than being it’s effect. The TI argument that the ascendency of the automobile drove America’s rising standard of living is easily discredited by positing the alternative theory that it was the ascendency of affordable electricity and electric motors and appliances that drove the increasing standard of living which made near universal car ownership affordable. The exact same threory can be posited to explain the relationship bewteen the rise of the automobile and the change from “front-porch’ streetlife lifestyle to the suburban indoors/backyard lifestyle.

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  33. Interesting points Kevyn. I did write this thesis 4 years ago any my thoughts have come a bit of a way since then. I’m sure you’ve seen my lengthy discussions about urban limits, housing affordability, government involvement in housing provision and intensification with john-ston on the bettertransport forum.

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  34. Jarbury
    Kaiwaka is in Northland. I used to live in Waitakere but wanted to plant a lot of trees and set up a model “managed park” type development. I soon learned that the ARC would oppose my proposal at every level. And of course if you plant trees in the Region you are planting resource consents.
    So I hopped over the Berlin Wall to live in Northland. And the Oneriri peninsula is full of us “Tree loving refugees” including the eco-village along the road.

    Just for the record Houston’s air pollution you mention was caused almost entirely by its petrochemical industry and is now greatly reduced by the Clean Air Act.

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  35. Jarbury
    Kaiwaka is in Northland. I used to live in Waitakere but wanted to plant a lot of trees and set up a model “managed park” type development. I soon learned that the ARC would oppose my proposal at every level. And of course if you plant trees in the Region you are planting resource consents.
    So I hopped over the Berlin Wall to live in Northland. And the Oneriri peninsula is full of us “Tree loving refugees” including the eco-village along the road.

    Just for the record Houston’s air pollution you mention was caused almost entirely by its petrochemical industry and is now greatly reduced by the Clean Air Act.

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  36. frog –
    great photo shoot!
    brr, but I bet that was chilly.

    Couldn’t they have made “350′” long-sleeved tees, or hoodies, for a mid-winter campaign launch?

    Meh, not really nit-picking, the laydees looked great in their cardies. ;-)
    There’s a FB group up, too *cackle* … as usual. Chance of cross-posting pix?

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  37. Hey, where’s Ken? :-( I’d love to see him leaping & smiling like that … :-D

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