Recommended Sunday listening

Some great listening and viewing this morning on NZ environmental issues. Podcasts and on-demand TV means those who slept in haven’t missed out – so enjoy.

RadioNZ’s Insight doco at 8am was on carbon offsetting. Reporter Ian Telfer narrated a well-rounded look at the benefits and risks inherent in the largely-unregulated voluntary carbon market. Includes Jeanette Fitzsimons. Podcast here.

On TVNZ’s 9am Q&A show, Guyon Espiner interviewed Minister Smith on climate change targets. The show’s panel was well-informed – made up of  former Minister Simon Upton, political scientist Terese Arseneau and our own Jeanette Fitzsimons.

Frog will look in a later post at the new NZIER/Infometrics economic analysis of the ‘cost’ of a 40%announced by the Minister, but it seems to again ignore the economic benefits and opportunities of moving to a low-carbon economy, the long-term threat of climate change to the whole economy, and the threat to NZ’s premium brand if we don’t set a responsible 2020 target. Jeanette noted that the Government has yet to do an assessment of what NZ’s emissions reduction options are possible and their costs and benefits, so the economic analyses rolled out are just straw-men to make it all seem too hard. A bit like the All Blacks deciding to play for a draw just cause the Spingboks forward pack weighs more than theirs.

The Minister also pointed to the importance of supporting low-carbon technology transfer to developing countries, but seems reluctant to recognise that a responsible 2020 target would allow NZ to facilitate that through assisted emissions reductions offshore. Story and video here.

Last, RadioNZ’s Sunday Group panel on “Irrigating the Mackenzie Country” [not online yet, but will be here] held an informative debate about the impacts of massive irrigation in this iconic dryland landscape, including the threats to tourism, water quality, and biodiversity. Recommended listening.

So much good stuff, I might need a Sunday nap!

The Green MPs personally pay to offset their flights through carboNZero, choosing native forest regeneration projects like the Hinewai Reserve on Banks Peninsula as preferred use of the credits. Photo credit – EBEX21.

23 thoughts on “Recommended Sunday listening

  1. The funny thing is, that everyone knows that we’re killing ourselves, but nobody does anything to prevent it, because those in power to stop it are actually the ones profitting from using up the Earth’s resources.

  2. RE: “The Minister also pointed to the importance of supporting low-carbon technology transfer to developing countries, but seems reluctant to recognise that a responsible 2020 target would allow NZ to facilitate that through assisted emissions reductions offshore.”

    “The rich can relax. We just need the poor world to cut emissions. By 125%”
    by George Monbiot

    http://withoutyourwalls.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/the-rich-can-relax-we-just-need-the-poor-world-to-cut-emissions-by-125/

    While we’re at it, why not suggest we purchase some lovely burmese rainforest as well? Hell – we can keep on livin’ it up here in NZ once all them brown people do the job for us instead.

    What a bloody irresponsible thing to be suggesting!!!

  3. What worries me if we delay investing in enough renewable energy resources is that when we are ready to invest, every other country will also be trying to increase their use of renewable resources as well as trying to suck out the last of the oil and gas. Then we may face high prices and long waiting times for wind generation, geothermal equipment, drilling rigs (for geothermal wells), solar panels, and tidal and wave-powered generation.

    If we invest in some of these technologies now, we will be in a better position to make our own (possibly under licence) and perhaps even export some of it later. Makes more sense than building base-load gas-fired generation and then trying to import enough gas to fuel it

    We have world-class wind and wave resources, and at least one or two promising tidal flow resources.

    Trevor.

  4. But Nandor they are economists!! they can do anything – except forecast the price of money five days out.
    So we see the NZIER report for what it really is. Nothing more than an exercise in holding up strawmen so that “punters” (Bill English’s word really not mine) will be scared off supporting anything more than “Business as Usual”.

  5. So the NZIER/Infometrics economic analysis is ‘inadequate’ and has ‘ridiculous assumptions’. Does that mean that Nick Smith also earns the WTF rating?

    I think so.

  6. The NZIER report is typically inadequate when it comes to any environmental economics analysis. It has so many ridiculous assumptions that it is almost useless.

    For example it assumes that NZ Governments will not adopt any policy changes to facilitate any GHG emission reductions we might commit too, that whatever the commitment we make, or whatever the price of carbon, our emissions reductions will be the same, and that whatever the price of carbon no new technologies will emerge in response and neither will people plant more trees. And they call themselves economists?

    In addition,in the discussion they use a figure of $100 per tonne of carbon to work out the costs of committing to a range of reductions such as 15%, no change etc, and then a ‘worst case scenario’ of $200 pt to work out the cost of committing to 40% reductions from 1990 levels. WTF?

  7. The idea of irrigating the McKenzie country (for dairy farms) seems bizarre and totally inappropriate to me.

    Haven’t we stuffed up enough of the environment as it is? We have drained 90% of NZ’s wetlands, chopped down what is it – over 90% – of the forests … and now the humans want to get their slimy hands on the McKenzie country as well?

  8. Farrar Out!

    All other threads will be moderated/censored and posts that are even moderately offtopic, trollish, abusive will be deleted or edited

    Funniest thing I’ve read for a long, long time.

  9. Well what on earth are you waiting for?

    It has little to do with what I personally want to spend my time on and pretending otherwise is just a ruse. But be it me or the many in NZ who have heaps of experience and know-how re agricultural practices given it is such a large part of our economy, low emission strategies and technologies are much more likely to be developed if the incentives are maximised. If we resist changing our ways here, we’re more likely to miss the opportunities too.

  10. “I am Mr Greenfly from Nigeria and I have an investment opportunity I would like to share with you…”

  11. >>it will miss a huge opportunity

    Well what on earth are you waiting for?

    A pat on the head? Billions of public funds to underwrite your risk?

  12. what is stopping you personally from grabbing a share of this “huge opportunity”

    Nothing at all, but those of us who wish the country well would like to see us all prosper in the new environment. First low-tech development will be a device to painlessly extract sand from the eyes (in most cases ‘eye’) of the ‘looking for an answer below ground’ crew.

    Order now to avoid dissapointment.

  13. Valis,

    – “New Zealand’s head-in-the-sand approach to emissions reduction means it will miss a huge opportunity to develop and export effective technologies to the rest of the world.”

    From the piece you cite it is not at all clear what technologies you are referring to. On the contrary, it seems to be about a decidedly low-tech approach.

    In any case, what is stopping you personally from grabbing a share of this “huge opportunity” which the rest of us, with our heads in the sand, fail to see?

  14. New Zealand’s head-in-the-sand approach to emissions reduction means it will miss a huge opportunity to develop and export effective technologies to the rest of the world.

    ‘Greening’ agriculture key to fighting climate change, boosting food security – UN

    24 July 2009 – Environmentally-friendly farming practices hold the key to combating climate change and poverty, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said today, stressing that ‘green’ agriculture holds the key to dealing with the world’s rapidly growing population.

    One-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming, are attributable to agriculture, deforestation and other forms of land use.

    The agricultural sector, argues UNEP, could be mostly carbon-neutral by 2030 and produce enough food to feed the projected global population of 9 billion by 2050 if it adopted methods such as agroforestry, reduced soil cultivation and the use of natural nutrients like fertilizer trees.

    A study by the World Agroforestry Centre – which will hold its second annual World Congress of Agroforestry, sponsored by UNEP, in Nairobi, Kenya, next month – has found that using fertilizer trees, which trap nitrogen from the air and transfer it to soil, could decrease reliance on commercial fertilizers by up to 75 per cent while boosting crop yields.

    Transitioning to a green economy will help tackle a wide range of issues, including the food and fuel crises as well as the scarcity of natural resources, said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

    “Farming will either be part of the problem or a big part of the solution,” he said. “The choice is straightforward: continuing to mine and degrade productive land and the planet’s multi-trillion dollar ecosystems or widely adopting creative and climate-friendly management systems of which agroforestry is fast emerging as a key shining example.”

    At least one billion hectares of farmland in developing countries can be converted to carbon agroforestry projects, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Nobel Peace Prize-winning UN scientific body.

    Mr. Steiner today underscored the need for nations to “seal the deal” on a “comprehensive and scientifically credible” pact when they meet this December in Copenhagen, Denmark, to wrap up talks on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012.

    “There is a lot at stake, not least the future of agriculture and farmers’ livelihoods,” he said.

    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=31579&Cr=climate+change&Cr1=

Comments are closed.