NZ Green Party
40 percent by 2020

Here’s a compelling video from the great people at 350.org.nz urging all of us to get off our bums and have our say at the Government’s emissions target meetings around the country over the next couple of weeks.

It is vitally important that we turn out in numbers and let the Government know that the future is not negotiable!

Contrary to rumours spreading fast, I have it right from the folks at MfE that you do not have to register in order to have your say. They would like you to register so they have a sense of the numbers, but it is not mandatory.

I’ll be coming back here soon with more information on what you can talk about, some facts and figures, and some other advice. The important thing is that you turn up and be heard, whatever your opinion. In the meantime, enjoy the video!

Public meetings in New Zealand
Location Venue Date Time
Wellington Oceania Room, Te Papa, Wellington Mon 6 July 7.30pm-9pm
Auckland Princess Ballroom B and C, Hotel Hyatt Regency Tues 7 July 7.30pm-9pm
Christchurch Convention Centre, Hall C, Christchurch Wed 8 July 7.30pm-9pm
Dunedin Clifford Skeggs Gallery, Dunedin Civic Centre Thurs 9 July 7.30pm-9pm
Queenstown Icon Room, Heritage Hotel, Queenstown Fri 10 July 7.30pm-9pm
Hamilton Waikato Room, SkyCity Hamilton Mon 13 July 7.30pm-9pm
New Plymouth Conference Room, Plymouth International Tues 14 July 7.30pm-9pm
Napier Ocean Suite, East Pier, Hardinge Road, Napier Wed 15 July 7.30pm-9pm
Nelson Waimea Room, Rutherford Hotel, Trafalgar Sqr Fri 17 July 7.30pm-9pm

58 thoughts on “40 percent by 2020

  1. OK… this one IS my fight. Maybe Medpot takes a back seat for me for a while.

    I’ll be at the Wellington meeting.

    BJ

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  2. I vote we launch a universal constuctor to the moon and have it produce a massive solar shade which we can then construct between earth and the sun. We can make it so that the panels are tiltable. That way when its day in america or europe we can have the panels open and most of the sun getting through, but if its africa or somewhere without nukes then we can keep it closed and thus decrease the light reaching earth, in doing so effectivly countering the effect of the greenhous gasses. :P

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  3. So what’s the government doing to reduce transport emissions?

    Oh that’s right, building more motorways. Smart.

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  4. Except for the ocean acidity. That one has some scary possibilities of its own…. but staving off one catastrophe at a time works for me…. always did.

    I just ask for Cheap Access To Space. With CATS all else is possible.

    My bet is that it will be the Chinese who do it :-)

    But I can’t get my kids to learn Chinese. :-(

    respectfully
    BJ

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  5. BJ,
    ah, yes, ive been meaning to ask you what you think about the old but not as-of-yet overly tested ideas about using baloons for space access? E.g. like what JP aerospace is so enthusiastic about?
    http://www.jpaerospace.com/

    I dont think CATS will come first, I think we will use automation and moon based facilities to produce most of what we want in the short term such as solar power sats and such. When we do get it I imagine it will be along the lines of an accelerated launch via rail-gun, though i would much prefer a launch loop straight off the bat. I think it will, like everything beurocratic, move slowly.

    Hmm, i can see the need to cozy up to the chinese in the coming years.

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  6. I like the concept. JPA has a NEW idea, not a bad one either. I don’t know that the scale is all that healthy and the safety margins are – interesting in terms of keeping the thing aloft if it gets a puncture or deteriorates due to UV and other issues at that altitude, but it makes sense to use the atmosphere as the ladder to get out of the atmosphere.

    I am not expecting automation to reach the moon without CATS. I know how hard it is to build rovers, to automate the fabrication of mirrors and send them up from the lunar surface is a vastly larger requirement than putting balloons at the edge of space or getting someone to resurrect Venturestar.

    The Chinese would do it because they don’t have any attachment to the old way. They WANT it cheap. Boeing and Lockheed-Martin are not so disinterested.

    BJ

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  7. Was the truck mechanic filmed with fire engines in the background because he just happened to be working on fire engines that day instead of working on logging trucks or milk tankers? Or is it a cynical emotional manipulation grounded in the results of the Readers Digest Most Trusted polls? Firefighters have topped the list of most trusted professions for four years in a row. Of course, he could just be a volunteer firefighter who just happened to be in his paid work overalls.

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  8. I liked the video clip, and fully agree with its message. The question I have is how can the world achieve a 40% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020?

    It seems fair to me that each country should aim for per capita emissions which are 40% below the current global average per capita emissions. This means the current big polluters need to cut more than the poorest nations. The current global per capita emissions are about 4.2 tonnes per person (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/env_co2_emi_percap-environment-co2-emissions-per-capita). 40% off this leaves 2.5 tonnes per capita (approximately the current emissions per capita of Botswana) . For a country like the United States to achieve this figure would require more than 85% reduction by 2020. New Zealand (using the figures in the website referred to above) would need to cut emissions by more than 68%. Add to this the fact that the worlds population is growing, and you can see that even larger cuts are needed.

    My simple question is: is it possible to achieve these sorts of cuts by a negotiated political/diplomatic process?

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  9. The question I have is how can the world achieve a 40% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020?

    Phil would probally suggest veganism and for the most part he would be correct. I, however, prefer the more creative and fun version entitled “The deadly disease to which I hold the cure to that is so deadly that everyone whom gets it dies unless they get treated but does not advance sufficently quickly that its spread is limited by its kill-rate “, but short of that dropping some anthrax around asia and america should do it.

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  10. I notice there are no meetings in New Zealand’s fifth largest urban area.

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  11. What if nobody told you that a target of 40% by 2020 would be met by policys that wont lead to the structural changes we need to address Climate Change but will actually excaserbate the problem?

    What if nobody told you that 4 million New Zealanders were far better prepared to reduce greenhouse gases themselves rather than asking governments who for 15 years have consistently avoided doing this while at the same time using the Kyoto process as a trade show of false solutions for those who have caused Climate Change in the first place?

    What if for the last 15 years of useless international Climate talkfests we had been building our own ability to tackle Climate Change instead of looking to our governments to do it for us?

    What if we look this situation square in the face, learn something from this failure and realise that it isnt working?

    What if we mobilize and take action against the root causes of climate change and the key agents responsible, both in Copenhagen and around the world instead of legitimising this failed process?

    What if we work towards the following instead of a meaningless target??

    - leave fossil fuels in the ground
    - reassert peoples’ and community control over resources and production
    - relocalise food production
    - massively reduce overconsumption, particularly in the North
    - recognise the ecological and climate debt owed to the peoples of the South and making reparations
    - respect indigenous and forest peoples’ rights

    http://withoutyourwalls.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/climate-justice-movement-to-converge-on-un-climate-talks/

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  12. # kiore1 Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    > I notice there are no meetings in New Zealand’s fifth largest urban area.

    there seems to be a question of definition as to whether Hamilton or Dunedin is the 5th largest urban area, but they’re both getting meetings.

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  13. jarbury Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    > I thought Tauranga was bigger than Dunners these days.

    I checked the statistics New Zealand website: http://www.stats.govt.nz/products-and-services/Articles/local-population-trends.htm

    and it shows Hamilton 4th, Dunedin 5th and Tauranga 6th, but as I said, it depends how you define the boundaries of an urban area. If you define Napier and hastings as one urban area, they may be up there too.

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  14. heretic, the force is strong in you, but you forget the fact that the majority of us in the north are profit-maximising self-serving individualists.

    a massive people mobilisation would be great, but its a stretch idealistic. to move the masses you need to incentivise.

    most logical way of doing that is by price. as profit-maximising self-serving individualists we’re averse to accepting price fixing by business. only way to price is through legislation. and a copenhagen target is our chance to pin legislation down.

    incentives, if strong enough, make up for the fact that we dont have time to convince the masses of radical change. we are self-serving, not future-serving.

    the biggest problem with this consultation is that a target of 20% by 2020 is pants. we’ve been hoodwinked by the cute 50/2050 target.

    talk of targets is fine, but to contribute meaningfully to the debate we’ve got to have an idea of how. when govt gets serious about price we can start to believe 40/2020. we can do 20/2020 by tweaking. but 20/2020 will leave us in the shit.

    to get 40/2020 we need to stop treating roads solely as routes of economic growth (jarbury), and we need farms in the ETS relatively quickly. thats the reality.

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  15. Samiuela said “The current global per capita emissions are about 4.2 tonnes per person, 40% off this leaves 2.5 tonnes per capita (approximately the current emissions per capita of Botswana).”

    Aggregating the USA state by state emissions is a good example of how to present stats in a way that hides the really big culprits and makes the problem seem worse than it really is. One US state actually does better than Botswana, three states only need 25% by 2020 to match Botswana and eleven states can match Botswana using the 40% by 2020 goal. On average the farming states have to at least halve their emissions. North Dakota and Wyoming have to cut their emissions by about 95%, which essentially means cutting their coal production by 100%.

    Perhaps instead of the USA implementing smart grid technology it should just let it’s grid collapse and let distributed renewables fill the gap :)

    http://www.esd.ornl.gov/highlights/2005/blasing_highlight.pdf
    Figure 1. Per capita fossil-fuel carbon emissions, to the nearest whole number, by state for year 2000.

    From http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/emis_mon/stateemis/percapbystate.csv
    to one decimal place:
    D.C. 1.9
    Vermont 2.9
    California 2.9
    New York 3.0
    Idaho 3.2
    Oregon 3.2
    Rhode Island 3.3
    Connecticut 3.3
    Massachusetts 3.5
    New Hampshire 3.7
    Washington 3.7
    New Jersey 3.9
    Maryland 3.9
    Florida 3.9
    Hawaii 4.2
    Arizona 4.5
    Virginia 4.5
    North Carolina 4.7
    Maine 4.75
    South Dakota 4.8
    Illinois 4.9
    Georgia 5.1
    Michigan 5.15
    South Carolina 5.2
    Minnesota 5.2
    Wisconsin 5.3
    Colorado 5.4
    USA 5.4
    Delaware 5.4
    Pennsylvania 5.7
    Nevada 5.7
    Tennessee 5.8
    Ohio 6.0
    Missouri 6.2
    Arkansas 6.3
    Mississippi 6.6
    Nebraska 6.7
    Kansas 7.1
    Iowa 7.3
    Utah 7.4
    Alabama 8.0
    Oklahoma 8.0
    Texas 8.5
    New Mexico 8.6
    Montana 9.6
    Kentucky 9.7
    Indiana 9.9
    Louisiana 11.2
    West Virginia 15.5
    Alaska 18.5
    North Dakota 22.6
    Wyoming 34.4

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  16. To put the above into local perspective – the overwhelming majority of New Zealand’s fossil fueled electricity is consumed north of Hamilton so our renewable needs to be concentrated there too. That takes a little bit of pressure off the farmers further south. PT electrification is probably best left to the SI cities that have 100% renewable electricity so that’s where we get the biggest energy security bang for the buck.

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  17. Thanks mikeymike,
    it is unfortunate that there is little movement here in Aotearoa beyond this year’s petitioning campaigns, but it is not without reason. The framing of the climate crisis in terms of targets, parts per million and emissions trading schemes has depoliticised the issue here completely and the fact that the majority of the mainstream enviro movement continues to speak of it in these terms has, in my opinion brought this about.

    I can agree with you that the majority of the middle to upper class in this country are self serving individualists – but most people in this country don’t fit into this category. As long as the environmental movement here continues to rely on this segment of the population to give up their unsustainable lifestyles for the climate there will be no progress. I dont see Greenpeace or the Greens speaking to those whos lives and homelands in the pacific are on the line, they continue to legitimise political inaction instead as they call upon the North shore tribe to do something that isn’t in their individualist interest at all and will never go any further than their signing of some petition they dont understand about an issue that actually wont affect them. We’re not in the same boat with climate change, the rich are mobile and well insured against all sorts of weather related damages.

    This country has an incredible history of mass mobilisation yet when it comes to Climate Change nothing inspiring is happening bar something that looks like make the poverty history campaign on happy pills, MPH if we remember was an abysmal failure and significantly contributed to the dramatic demobilisation of the alter-globalisation movement post Gleneagles G8 summit. This is what we’re lining ourselves up for, except this time the naievety is greater, the potential for movement failure more obvious and the consequences of this scenario even more dire.

    Luckily there is hope elsewhere. In Europe, the US, Australia and in the Global South people are addressing Climate Change in a very different way. Just last week there were marches in all major cities of Australia AGAINST the bullshit emissions trading scheme introduced there and not just because of the details, because people over there are involved in an organic movement for climate justice that goes beyond petition signing, protecting national branding and cuddly polar bears.

    Students and coal miners in Aussie and the UK have been shutting down power stations, aluminium smelters, Airports, Coal Mines and locking themselves to everything in sight. There are now approximately 200 grassroots climate action groups in the country and rallys happening in major cities on a regular basis. This movement was a major contributing factor to the takedown of the Howard government.

    It is always the people whos lives are effected in the here and now by an issue that will address it. Climate change is happening as a result of the same forces that keep many new zealanders impoverished and working like dogs to keep themselves and their families alive. It is these people who will indeed understand and fight against injustice, but not if you treat them like idiots and/or ignore them.

    When it comes to addressing Economic growth itself as the primary driver for the expansion of climate causing infrastructure [like roads] I totally agree, but asking the North Shore Tribe and the other target audiences of the big greens to understand this is a fantasy.

    I believe the following quote by the US novelist Upton Sinclair is very appropriate “It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their salary depends on them not understanding it.”

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  18. Heretic

    You’d be funny if it weren’t so serious. This ain’t happening until it is way too late.

    The folks WITH money ain’t giving it up. The folks who USE all that juice aren’t about to do without so someone else can have it. Not without someone prying the 7th fleet out of their cold dead hands.

    If it is to happen at all it all happens together.

    That is just the same as what happens locally.

    I will vote for all of us to suffer pain equally.
    I will not however, volunteer to do it all by myself in a failing cause.

    Nations take the same dim view of national martyrdom. Rightly.

    That’s why we need the international agreements.

    Short of that we do what we can, as much as we can, and plan for a couple of extra degrees and at least an extra meter of water.

    BJ

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  19. dear bj/ayn rand

    1. maybe we should pry the 7th fleet out of their cold dead hands then
    2. we will not be suffering the same pain equally whether it be through govenment policy or climate change itself
    3. have you heard of the springbok tour?
    4. the international agreements are making addressing climate change more not less difficult / realistic
    5. planning for the actual real world social effects of an extra couple of degrees and another meter of water will require doing the same things as addressing climate change anyway :)

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  20. Kevyn,

    Your data use different units than the source I referred to. From the same web site that you quoted, Botswana has 0.76 T per person emissions. I think the US data are measuring the total mass of carbon, whereas the data I referred to are the total mass of carbon dioxide per person. I may be wrong, because I couldn’t (with a very quick search) find a definition of the units used on your site.

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  21. Right now NZ is on between 8 and 10 tonnes per capita, depending on who is doing the statistics. Our real goal is reduction to about 30% of that.

    In the USA the equivalent factor would be 12.5%. They have the harder job.

    We have to argue for proportionality but we MUST pick up our share of this burden. The goal is difficult and it will impact everyone. For it to be fairly distributed globally, it must impact everyone on the planet to the extent that they are part of the problem.

    I find that my numbers match Samiuela’s pretty well. I did not use a calculator so accept his/hers as the more accurate. I suspect that it matters very little. The reductions required are now massively off the scale.

    Had certain people listened when this was initially broached the effort would have been MUCH less, and we probably would never have wound up with “Leaky Homes” either.

    Deregulate my left nut. That’s the problem with the “freemarketeers”. They haven’t yet realized that the failure of their philosophy to prevent the global economic meltdown is an indictment of their methods and a proof that they are simply dead wrong. Debt-based Fractional-Reserve Fiat currency is at the root of the economic problems. The Austrian school make it clear that Friedman and his minions are idiots.

    Heretic… being as familiar as I am with the 6th fleet, I don’t think that we can force what you desire on the 7th. That was my point. Your argument is seductive in that it implies that people have more power than money, but I can tell you that in the USA, that is not the case. It isn’t even close.

    I agree on the problems. Goldman-Sachs-the-planet has its greedy mitts all over the US climate change legislation. Sadly this is as good as it gets there. Nor is it apt to get better until the Goldman execs find themselves wading up Wall Street. At THAT point the people of the USA may seize power from the money interests and try to put things right, but there is a 30 year lag in what we do now and what we effectively accomplish.

    Unfortunately I have no idea what the Springboks tour signifies in this context.

    Everyone on the planet will suffer from the effects of change. It will not be equal. However, money alone will not protect the wealthy from this.

    Some countries will be more severely impacted than others. NZ is reckoned to be one of the more fortunate places to live if it goes as badly as I and many other expect. You should note that I did NOT advocate that we should not try. I pointed out that it is going to be almost impossible to succeed.

    My best estimate is that if food production was entirely rationalized (so that the most efficient producers and lands were used) and meat consumption was reduced massively, and insulation was applied liberally and mass transit promoted forcefully, and energy prices were raised drastically and the currency changed to make it economically viable, it might be possible to approach this goal.

    The problem is that the money to do it has already been stolen and spent by Goldman-Sachs and its co-conspirators.

    As I said, advocating revolution is seductive… but the forces to permit revolution to succeed will not be present until conditions on the planet are much much worse. Prematurely attempts simply makes you an early casualty.

    The debt-based fractional-reserve fiat currency that requires growth in order for any economy based on it to function (and all the countries in the world are using this model), is part of the problem. A larger part than is often appreciated. REQUIRED growth of 3% or so every single year forever, is impossible. It is amusingly calibrated in units of GDP which is increased when someone smashes a car and buys a replacement.

    http://www.notjustnotes.ws/howbanksrobyou.htm

    Things are actually worse than you think. We not only have to change climate, we have to change people. Hence my prediction that we here in NZ need to pay attention to what happens if it goes to 4 degrees and 2 meters and rising by the end of the century. Preparing for that is NOT entirely the same as trying to prevent it, but it is unwise to focus on just the one side of the equation.

    Certain roads and routes and city blocks will likely be underwater much of the time. Building infrastructure less than 15 meters above current mean high water is just a bad idea. There are other issues….

    respectfully
    BJ

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  22. BJ,

    I suspect Kevyn’s numbers multiplied by approximately 48/12 yield similar values as the ones I referred to,

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  23. My chemistry is a bit rusty but shouldn’t that factor be 44/12?

    Trevor.

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  24. samiuela, My apologies for creating confusion.

    The reason for posting those stats was less about the comparison with Botswana and more about how they clearly show the problem of Kyoto using production emissions in each jurisdiction instead of using the co2 embedded in the products consumed in each jurisdiction. Clearly the citizens of Wyoming and profligate users of coal except on behalf of the people in states that they are exporting electricity to. That measuring of production emissions only has allowed Western Europe to reduce it’s co2 emissions by exporting fossil fuel intensive industries to the former soviet bloc countries and China. It looks good on paper but in reality all it’s done is shift the emissions to places with no Kyoto reduction targets.

    All smoke and mirrors.

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  25. CATS would be great, but I don’t think it can be used to meet our energy shortfall. I suspect the ramp up rate of satellite power stations will be too slow to make muh difference. I also suspect that economies of scale will reduce the costs of terrestrial renewable power sources below what the satellites can achieve.

    What gives me hope are the improvements in LED (Light Emitting Diode) Lighting. It is already cost-effective in niche applications such as traffic signals, and being taken up more and more for street lighting. It also has to be attractive for businesses which require lighting around the clock or at least most of it, such as dairies and takeaways. Eventually we will see it come down in price and increase the range of products to the point where it will hopefully be standard for new houses. I believe we will see more savings through the use of LED Lighting than we will see generation from satellite power stations for many decades.

    Trevor.

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  26. Trevor, yes you are correct. My addition of 16+16+12 was wrong.

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  27. LED Lighting is starting to be used overseas for street lighting and building security lighting because of its lower power consumption (even over fluorescent lights and the like) and lower maintenance – 50,000 hours before replacement.

    New Zealand should start using LED Lighting, particularly where the cost of providing electricity is already high, such as on Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands where they use diesel generator sets. That would cut down on our fuel bill too.

    Trevor.

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  28. Trevor,

    Where I live in Melbourne about half the traffic lights have LEDs. I’ve also seen them in the railway signals. I guess an added advantage is that less maintenance people are required to replace light bulbs.

    Whilst energy efficient lighting is a good start, lighting accounts for only a small portion of total electricity usage. Here are some extra free energy saving ideas:

    * Dry your clothes on the clothe line
    * Block off draughts under doors and windows in the winter
    * Take shorter showers
    * Wear warmer clothes and turn down the heater
    * Keep lids on pots on the stove
    * Only heat the room you are in
    * Turn off all appliances when not in use
    * Don’t buy that large screen tele you want

    and so on. If you are prepared to spend money, you can buy energy efficient appliances and install insulation. The free measures listed will save a lot more energy in addition to the savings from energy efficient lighting.

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  29. samiuela,

    While the efficiency of LED Lighting gives it a small advantage over fluorescents, gas discharge lights etc and a big advantage over incandescent lighting, LED Lighting has a major advantage when it comes to signalling – LEDs are naturally monochromatic, and are available in a range of colours including reds, orange, yellow, green and blue. (White LEDs use a technique similar to fluorescent lights to generate a spectrum from a single colour.) Therefore LEDs are much more efficient at generating coloured signals than using a white light source and a coloured filter. LEDs also have the advantage of reduced output at the end of their life rather than sudden failure, so replacement can be scheduled.

    I think that you are underestimating how much electricity is used for lighting. While it is relatively small for domestic use, commercial lighting, street lighting and security lighting all add up to a significant fraction. Unfortunately I don’t have any figures.

    Most of your other suggestions while good are either already being done by those seeking to save power, or are not being done because they require too much work for the benefit or reduce standards of living. We need improvements that save money and electricity (or energy in general) without degrading quality of life, such as new appliances with much lower phantom (standby) power levels, more efficient lighting, better insulation, better heat recovery,…

    Christchurch has just had a week of rainy days, with high humidity and temperatures in single digits, so suggestions of using a clothes line won’t find many takers here at the moment :(

    Many people are renting, so don’t have the opportunity to upgrade insulation, add double glazing, switch to a heat pump, add solar water heating or a hot water heat pump etc. Their landlords could do these things, but will always ask “what is in it for me?” and are usually hard to convince.

    Trevor.

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  30. Easy.
    Just stop counting the methane from belching ruminants and start counting the carbon sequestration in our pastures.

    Then we are in carbon credit.

    The Americans and the Australians are counting the pasture credits and are using our technology (Zero Till) to enhance their ratings.

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  31. Owen

    That MAY be a correct method of assessing it. It may not. The issue is of great importance to NZ and I personally believe that we are doing pretty well overall… but I can’t prove that. Is there a discussion of this sequestration you can point me at? If we were in “credit” though it would still not suffice for the next round. The planet has to get back down to 350 (as pointed out in another thread) and I don’t see that happening easily. Is the pasture sequestration in lieu of forest sequestration that USED to be there? Then it would be a loss, no?

    I don’t know this bit. I don’t have an agricultural background.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  32. Trevor

    CATS lets you build mirrors to increase the effective albedo of the planet.

    Which will cause it to cool off even if you burn stuff.

    You still have acid oceans, but you’ve stopped the melting and probably achieved some degree of climate CONTROL.

    Cheap.

    Not the best or most complete solution but it buys us a couple of additional centuries to lift our game.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  33. Owen,
    Ohh! So if I were to install a very small solar panel then I should only count the electricity I contribute to the network rather than the electricity I use from the network? Ingenious.

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  34. There is a deep issue here going back to when a group of atmospheric scientists decided to measure the CO2 concentrations on the west coast of the US and the concentrations on the East Coast. (The trade wind blows from west to east where they did the measurements.) Naturally the expected to find a higher concentration of CO 2 on the East coast because of all the emissions. To their surprise the concentration was lower and so many have assumed that the areas of pasture and woodlands etc are effective carbon sinks.
    Freeman Dyson has calculated that if America increased the depth of topsoil by 1/10th of an inch over half its arable land that would absorb all the US ‘surplus’ carbon.
    The other issue of course is counting methane from belching ruminants. If biofuels are carbon neutral why isn’t the methane generated by bacteria fermenting cellulose in cow’s stomachs?

    Haev you seen the recent colour image of methane concentrations in air around the whole globe as collected by the latest satellites. There is no change in ambient over or around NZ. None. The hot spots are in the northern hemisphere.
    The European satellite ENVISAT measured over a three years period the world wide close-to-the-surface-methane-concentrations. The average values are shown here (source: University of Bremen http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:80/sciamachy/NIR_NADIR_WFM_DOAS/).
    Not even international organizations like the IPCC or FAO seem to have taken notice of the fact, that the humid tropical forests obviously emit far more methane than grazing cattle. How can the big grazing areas of the world (Australia, Southern Latin America, South and East Africa, and Western United States with hundreds of millions of cattle) and even India with the highest cattle density worldwide show such low methane concentrations?
    Sapient. I don’t follow – but then I seldom do.

    bjchip. Go to my web page and read the submissions to the ETS committee and especially the supplementary submission I was asked to provide.

    http://www.rmastudies.org.nz/index.php/issues/67-ets/334-review-of-the-emissions-trading-scheme

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  35. And here is the further submission requested by Dr Paul Hutchison.
    http://www.rmastudies.org.nz/index.php/issues/42-climate-change-and-the-kyoto-protocol/351-ets-further-submission-crmst

    I find this is an interesting case study on the effect of paradigms in science.
    I was at Berkeley when Kuhn published “the Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”
    If you know the work I am sure you will see the relevance to the argument I presented here. Just set aside positions on AGW etc and look at conflicting paradigms.

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  36. Owen,
    My point was that while i agree that we should count the sequestering ability of pasture (solar panel) I do not agree that we should exclude the methane of ruminants (energy drawn from the grid) as this perverts the ballance. It is like taking the income of a company without the losses and assuming that that is the profit; it doesint offer a complete picture.
    As to why ruminants emmisions should be counted: Methane has a greater radiative forcing effect per carbon atom than CO2, since the carbon sequestered in the feed was in the form of carbon dioxide and the emmision from the ruminants stomach is as methane there is a net gain in radiative forcing. Plus since in NZ the ruminants tend to graze on the pasture they use up part of the sequestering ability of the pasture, given that there are different stockign densities it makes sense to count the emmisons of ruminants in full and the sequestion of pastures in full rather than work out average densities and go from there (as that would result in some farmers subsidising others and would decrease incentives).

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  37. But the methane carbon cycle has been with us for millions of years. And the methane belched is converted to carbon dioxide in a few years and the absorbed by the grass which is eaten by the cow and some is converted into meat and milk and some is converted into methane which converts back to carbon dioxide.
    What then do we do about the methane from wetlands? That too is caused by bacteria fermenting cellulose. Why is that OK while the same process is a rumen is not?

    How does this add to the anthropogenic loading?
    And why don’t the Europeans count theirs? Or the Indians?

    Have you looked at the methane map of the globe?

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  38. Owen,
    Yes I have, but that another does not do it is no justification for not doing it yourself. Why they dont; id say thats cause they lack a decent pair of gonads.
    I would not call the wetlands process okay at all; if we can claim credits for the sequestering of carbon by land then we should have to account for the production of such also.
    i agree that the scycle has been with us for millions of years and for the most part it has stayed in balance, though there are many cases where the balence has been perverted. What we have now is a reduction in out facility to transform atmospheric carbon into non-atmospheric carbon. The result of this on a road would be a traffic jam with all the cars bunching up in one area, the result is no different with the carbon cycle; we are getting significantly less carbon removed from the atmosphere due to deforestation and such while we add to the atmosphere previously stored carbon. Not only are we reducing one point of a 8-line highway to a fraction of that but we have added an extra on-ramp.

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  39. Owen,

    Have you looked at the methane map of the globe?
    Just realised I didint really address that:
    Notice that on all of those maps (save china where it was deliberatly deleted to show borders) some of the greatist emmisions of carbon are over the ocean. particuarly near carbon intensive counrties. I would suggest that this is due to shift induced by wind currents. Taking this into account look at the southern hemisphere; very little atmospheric C. why? I would suggest that it is because the greeks were prooven wrong, there was no terra australis; there is significantly more ocean in the southern hemisphere than in the north. We know that ocean is one of the most significant sinks of carbon that we have, thus one would expect the displayed trends simply through the ratios of ocean to carbon production. The north hemispherre has high production but low ocean whereas the southern hemisphere ahs low production but extremly high levels of ocean comparitivly. This is one of the problems when interpritations are not given with results.

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  40. *blockquote should have ended after “Have you looked at the methane map of the globe?”*

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  41. Spot-on observation from the Australian scientists’ audit I linked to earlier, about the implications of warmists now trying to explain-away the recent lack of any warming:-

    - E2.2. It is widely agreed that there is considerable natural variability in air temperature on decadal timescales and longer. It is the IPCC that have previously denied the importance of such natural climate variability.
    For example, the 2001 Summary for Policymakers claimed, based on computer model simulations, that the climate system has only a limited internal variability. In turn, this claim was, and is, used to underpin the argument that carbon dioxide forcing is the only plausible explanation for the late 20th century warming trend.
    For the Department to now invoke natural variability as an explanation for the elapsed temperature curve is to destroy the credibility of their previous arguments for carbon dioxide
    forcing.

    ( http://joannenova.com.au/globalwarming/wong-fielding/7-carter-evans-franks-kininmonth-due-diligence-on-wong.pdf )

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  42. Owen

    The methane cycle HAS been with us for millions of years, but the cattle, sheep and cow population of NZ, or the USA, or Australia, has not been so dense.

    To the extent that we have INCREASED the ruminant population both through agriculture and the destruction of predators we may well have affected the balance.

    ? I wonder how much methane a Buffalo burps….

    I would certainly conclude based on my reading and (on finally finding my way back to this thread, your references) that the science in this area is not at all settled.

    I would also consider that the global population of domesticated ruminants has been increasing over time but that the wild ruminants have been declining. To what effect is unclear, but I am not about to exclude the effects of the ruminant CH4.

    Applying this to the CH4 there are two aspects. The first is that the increase in herds since Kyoto must be counted as an increase in methane production.

    The second is that the net increased methane IS a problem. All of the Carbon on the planet (except that locked into hydrocarbons buried underground) is part of that natural cycle. So it has to count.

    OTOH, the idea that the grass doesn’t count seems quite at odds with the idea that photosynthesis works. The balance favors trees but the net contribution of grass pasture as a carbon sink is NOT zero and definitely needs to be counted.

    This area is also affected by the problem of what our trading partners do about their ruminant population.

    Anything that we do that is not balanced with respect to competition with those countries is damaging to this country and rewards them for their error. This is very like BPs arguments I am afraid but it is a truth that cannot be ignored. Our obligations do not include martyrdom at the altar of their lack of compliance. However, my readings indicate that the US and Australia both count CH4 as well as the pasture its producers use. I can’t find definitive information on this aspect and if I am wrong the lack-of-balance argument applies and we have to consider our position.

    However, if they are counting both pasture and CH4 we must do so as well.

    Satellite detection of Methane concentrations from a small island in the roaring forties in the middle of the ocean is apt to be… unreliable at best. I would expect to see a band of slightly increased methane levels at roughly our lattitude diffused but circling the planet. The reason it is called the roaring forties is the reliability of that band of wind. Basically it is a good tool, but it cannot answer the specific issue of how NZ is to count its methane production.

    Thanks for all this

    respectfully
    BJ

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  43. Did the wetlands increase since Kyoto? Are they significantly increasing. Are THEY anthropogenic?

    I’d have to say that on current form the wetlands are ignorable.

    BJ

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  44. “Many people are renting, so don’t have the opportunity to upgrade insulation, add double glazing, switch to a heat pump, add solar water heating or a hot water heat pump etc. Their landlords could do these things, but will always ask “what is in it for me?” and are usually hard to convince.”

    I have a great way of convincing them. It’s called regulation.

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  45. The renting conundrum is where I find myself at the moment – what can I do to get my landlord to insulate the freezing cold old villa I live in at the moment. Beg?

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  46. When you leave require that the fact is has no insulation be on the LIM report for the building.

    Actually the 70 million cattle ruminants in the US simply replaced about 70 million bison. There is no evidence that there are more ruminants in the world today than in pre motor car times.
    Think about the elephants, and giraffes and deer and goats and sheep and cattle.
    Our few million in NZ are trivial in the scheme of things.

    And the global methane map is not collected from NZ but from three years scanning by satellites.

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  47. Truth Owen… neither of us know the net increase/decrease over the whole planet. I was pointing that out indirectly when I questioned how much methane a Buffalo (Bison) burps. I DID think about it. I am thinking we’re up somewhat on the overall global count, we keep eliminating competing predators, but that over the whole planet it isn’t as significant as it is made out to be because domestic HAS replaced wild.

    However, we signed on for the increase of gases from us since 1990, and it seems to me we have a few more sheep and cattle than we did then.

    Consider that there were no ruminants in NZ before humans arrived we didn’t replace anything here.

    Like it or not, we need to keep the methane under control, and the animals that produce it.

    BJ

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  48. What I was referring to was the difficulty of any gas to concentrate over NZ. It isn’t going to sit around. The satellite could well see traces of it in a band all around the globe. A lot depends on the sensors being used.

    Methane isn’t that high on my list unless it is the ocean or tundra that burps.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  49. bjchip Says:
    July 7th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    > Like it or not, we need to keep the methane under control, and the animals that produce it.

    yep. We need to focus on reducing emissions where it’s easiest to reduce emissions we can’t afford to limit ourselves to just reducing them in the areas where they’ve increased.

    There’s also a question of what the ruminants eat, and how this affects their burping. I don’t know the details of this, but I understand there is research into the possibility that ruminants are burping more on the diets humans are giving them than on the diets they evolved to eat.

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  50. Jarbury

    My landlord is sympathetic. I am putting underfloor insulation in myself and being paid somewhat for the effort (no cost to me except work, and I am getting some compensation for that). It is a cheap fix, not the most effective, but it is the easiest to get at for do-it-yourself. If I OWNED the house I’d be replacing panels of plasterboard, putting insulation in the walls, and setting up secondary glazing on the windows and doors.

    The houses here absolutely astonish and appall me .

    respectfully
    BJ

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