Copenhagen Diary: It is a disgrace

Tonight’s outcome in Copenhagen is a tragedy for humanity. It is  widely recognised as a failure papered over with some fine sounding words by Obama.

The purpose of the meeting was to agree on a second commitment period for the Kyoto  protocol. That has not been achieved.

We came here wanting an ambitious, fair and binding agreement. The talks have failed on all three counts. There are no country targets, only an appendix where countries offer non-binding reductions which collectively will not stop warming of two degrees. As it is not ambitious or binding, it cannot be fair to the developing countries that are already suffering from climate change.

There is not even an aspirational statement about reaching a stronger agreement next year.

It is a disgrace that New Zealand was the first country in this group of outlaws to accept the travesty and walk away from the post Kyoto UN process. They have dashed the hopes of millions of people around the world and let all New Zealanders down.

Thirteen million people signed a petition in the last few days calling for strong action. They will not be denied. Civil society has made its presence felt in Copenhagen and will not give up.

Signing off from Copenhagen.

Jeanette and Kennedy

76 thoughts on “Copenhagen Diary: It is a disgrace

  1. Relieved. Carbon trading is a scam.

    Perhaps now we can go back to developing alternative power infrastructure.
    i.e. doing something useful.

  2. Once the global control grid is securely in place, the pretense will drop very quickly. The systematic scale of the ambitions dwarves all previous examples through history. The purging of all networks that were tools in bringing it’s promotion will be systematic also. The transition is usual very quick if history is anything to go by and it happens in every single case, that even though the old networks are fully compliant with the new order they are still terminated. It is just a case of wiping all pre-existing slates and baggage clean.

    Mayby I’ve got it wrong and the lessons of history no longer apply in this day and age, despite the stated eugenic and totalitarian agenda, it is actually benevolent. Either way there are higher powers in the world and I put my lot in with those

  3. It wasn’t about carbon trading, ffs, and such schemes will not be affected by this failure. It was to create an impetus to do just the sort of thing you advocate.

  4. What did you expect? all of a sudden human beings are going to behave in a way inconsistent with thousands of years of human history?
    We have to lead by example now, work towards NZ becoming the first truly sustainable country in the world.
    The scaremongering will have to stop, the luxury of smacking laws and pie banning is at an end. Time to focus on common sense sustainable living for NZers.
    If you guys don’t want to do it somebody else will.

  5. If anyone’s interested, this is what I wrote to John Key earlier this week (following an invitation from Greenpeace)

    Dear Mr Key,

    I am very disappointed that the reality and seriousness of global warming just hasn’t registered with you and the rest of your cabinet; consequently New Zealand’s response to the issue is token and craven. And now we hear that you have approved a massive expenditure on the “Transmission Gully Road”. Global warming and oil depletion should make it obvious that this sort of investment is a total futility, but you, along with the other apparent petrol-heads in cabinet, just don’t get it. I would like to see a New Zealand Prime Minister with his eyes fixed on our future, acknowledging the reality of our place in nature’s scheme of things, instead New Zealanders have elected a blinkered Prime Minister and government whose horizons don’t seem to extend any further than last century. My fervent hope for you and us in Copenhagen is that you will meet someone of vision there who can remove your ideological blinkers and that you return to New Zealand with a better understanding of our responsibilities and duties to our future.

  6. ….. and I should add that I am going to have to agree Phil U, who talks of direct action. This should be unnecessary, of course, but they way things are going it looks likely that concerned populations are literally going to have to fight for their future. It’s appalling, but societies don’t always make wise collective decisions, think of Germany before the last war, or Europe generally before WW1, or the southern states before the American Civil War – sometimes we all suffer for this failure.

  7. Excellent letter jockmoron. De-blinkering Key? I don’t think so. If he hasn’t got it by now, what would make him see through the clouds (or ‘clowns’) of obfuscation that surround him?
    So it’s Climate Camps for everone?
    Where are we going to start Phil?
    Begin in the garden, I say.
    Then fan out.

  8. Yay, Shunda! Sustainable New Zealand! First up, we need to pour money into research into ways to increase the number of cows we can squeeze onto a hectare. It’ll be a noble cause! We just need to modify something…maybe the cows genetics! Exciting! We’re cutting edge!

  9. Incisive as ever, Shunda. The guy who didn’t want leadership at the conference wants us now to lead, as though the same human history doesn’t apply to NZ. The guy who doesn’t want scaremongering now says the issue is so important that nothing else matters. Sheesh.

  10. i’m too old ..fly..

    my role is carping from the sideline..

    but all the moderates in the various protest groups around the world..who have been urging ..’just wait..!’..

    ..will now be swept away..

    they have unleashed a global whirlwind..

    ..those fools/tools of politicians..

    how can they think they have not..?

    this is only just beginning..

    (and..i’m digging it fly..!..i’m digging it..!..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  11. Never to old to carp eh! (Means “pick, pluck, pluck off, gather”, very encouraging Phil!)

    I’m on alert for stirrings, discontent and fed-uppedness.

    Might have to foment my own.

  12. “Incisive as ever, Shunda. The guy who didn’t want leadership at the conference wants us now to lead”

    As the only current green party in NZ, it makes sense to at least attempt to use the infrastructure that is in place, if the Greens still want to be the socialist division of environmentalism you will become increasingly irrelevant.

    “, as though the same human history doesn’t apply to NZ.”

    Actually NZ has a proud history of thinking out side the box and a collective ability to adapt to difficult circumstances (at least in the past). We also have only 4 million people, a much smaller ship to turn, if it can be done we can do it first.

    ” The guy who doesn’t want scaremongering now says the issue is so important that nothing else matters. Sheesh.”

    I have always believed that sustainability is essential to our survival, just don’t agree with the tacked on crap that many environmentalists push along side of it. The only way to achieve the goals that many wanted from Copenhagen would be a show of force, it was never going to work, there is no precedent in history.
    The best way to make people change is to make change their idea, if it is really true that a consumer lifestyle only sucks the quality of life from society it should be easy to present an alternative shouldn’t it?

  13. Shunda – when you say,

    “We have to lead by example now, work towards NZ becoming the first truly sustainable country in the world”,

    does “We” mean the Greens and you? Surely you don’t mean that the National/Act/Maori Government might do that (you know they’ve killed off the sustainable management fund and the sustainable farming fund, just ‘for example’, don’t you?)

  14. “does “We” mean the Greens and you?”

    Greenfly it would appear that the current incarnation of the Greens would work with radical vegans, socialists, and a whole host of other extremists before someone like myself.
    Are you comfortable with that greenfly?

  15. Jeanette,

    Can you comment please? A few years ago I wrote in one of my (interminable) letters to you about global warming and oil depletion, and suggested the Greens should push for a moratorium on new oil, gas and coal exploration. I believe the Greens have suggested a moratorium on coal mining, but I don’t see any mention of oil or gas. Surely we should be consistent. It makes no sense to be calling for reductions in oil and gas usage, yet not protesting about drilling more out of the ground. I am reminded about this matter reading John Haari in today’s Independent web pages when this suggestion is examined.

    Are the Greens going to propose this? If this hasn’t been debated recently, it might be opportune to do so.

    Regards,

    John Monro.

  16. We’d work with you now Shunda (if I might make so bold as to speak for the Greens) If we can work with extremist vegans, we can work with the kind of extremists you represent :-)

    But were you meaning us when you said “We”?

  17. “what is left now is direct action”

    New Zealand does have a few coal mines and gas pipelines that could do with being made carbon neutral. That would produce some positive price incentives for all involved.

    I understand there’s some infrastructure on the ports vital to the import of liquid fossil fuels too. If only they could be, taxed.

  18. BP,

    Carbon trading is a scam.

    I’m not in a mood, so I’m gonna call you on that one.

    Do you think that because:

    A) because you think that market based solutions to manage resources is a dumb idea that the Greens like only because we are “loonies of the far left”?

    Or

    B) because despite every respectable scientific body of note (Royal Society, Royal Society of NZ, US Academy of Sciences, NIWA, etc, etc) saying repeatedly and consistently that carbon emissions need to be reduced, you and some blogger you read on the internet know more about the science than them?

    I can understand the collapse of these talks because rational people cannot put self-interest aside enough to manage a solution. Detest it, but understand it. But just I’m out of patience with head-in-the-sands denialism.

  19. “But were you meaning us when you said “We”?”

    You mean “we” as in you and me? or you and them and us and you? or just you, them, me, but not the others?
    As I see it there is you, me, them, and the others. If they, them, us and the others can work together we may just be on to something!! :)

  20. Those of you who are contemplating more direct action should, as a first step, familiarize yourselves with encryption techniques and avail yourselves of them in all communications.

    respectfully
    BJ

  21. Have been reading but not posted earlier… trying to come to grips with my Tourettes!

    @PhilU – you are correct… it is going to get very ugly… people who get to loose everything… will loose it.

    If there is one thing that stands out from COP-15, It’s Tuvalu… The mouse who Roared!… David Lange would be proud of them, but I bet he would cringe at NZ Inc’s [National,Act, Maori Party's]flabby stance…

    I’m asking myself… what can/or could I do better?

  22. Jeanette,

    From a random member of the public: thank you. On behalf of myself and my two young daughters, thank you for your stirling efforts at Copenhagen.

    I see a lot of despair at the final results, but I also realise that it ain’t over. We go on.

  23. Icehawk, re: carbon trading.

    It’s a scam because it secures the existence of the biggest burners, at least with how the trading’s actually implemented, and gives money to things which cannot hope to directly replace them.

    The market is great, in theory, where you have an actual market that doesn’t rely on what it is you’re hoping to reduce. Meanwhile, someone needs to take the profits from burning coal, oil, and gas, and use them to replace the burning of coal, oil, and gas with renewable energy sources, like trillions of dollars of solar plants, and electrified transport.

  24. Capitalist Politicians Sabotaged Copenhagen Convention!!!!!

    Jeanette: Thank you for all your efforts, you are absolutely right if the deals are not binding then it’s no cigar!!!! I just hope that you didn’t get your hopes up too high.

    I think that I am too old and wise to be suprised and that Phil U is correct this means directly challenging the capitalist system!!!
    And controlling corporate activity!!!!!

    The politicians are more interested in the interests of their paymasters than the environment in fact I suspect that they diliberately went to the Copenhagan convention to sabotage it!!!!!!Key would have been one of them!!!!!!

    I would start by dismantling the stock exchanges!!!!!!

  25. Yes, Jeanette, I should also add my thanks to you for your stirling efforts, along with your colleagues, over the years and at Copenhagen. You must have been buoyed so much be your new Green and environmental contacts in Denmark, but also more than a little depressed, and angry, at the outcome.

    . But would I be correct in saying that the Greens and and other environmentalist are in a position somewhere between Scilla and Charybdis, or as we tend to say rather more prosaically, between a rock and a hard place? We wish to see progress, but the only mechanism which we and the world are being offered, the ETS, is in fact a highly flawed and likely unworkable scheme, yet we still have to cooperate or be seen to cooperate otherwise we have nothing or are being taken to task because we’re never happy?

    Isn’t it time for the Greens to reconsider their seriously qualified support for an ETS mechanism, and instead have an international agreement amongst all the Green parties, backed by sound science and environmental economics, to promote instead a carbon tax system, or a carbon ration, or some other scheme as I haven’t thought of yet, and abandon all pretence that we think the ETS is ever going to be workable? When our own “clean green, 100% pure blah blah” country can use an ETS to cheat on their responsibilities by purchasing someone else’s carbon “credits” and actually do nothing at all about our own emissions, we are a bit stuck about criticising this as it’s still something that allowed in a scheme which we nominally support?

    I don’t’ know the answer, but there’ll be a lot of post-mortems dissecting the corpse of Copenhagen – I think we need to re-examine the medicine. Only quacks keep on applying the same treatment when it’s manifestly not working.

  26. This kind of outcome was sadly expected. Many kinds of response are possible and now all cards are now on the table. The Chinese and US share much responsibility. I do not know how to influence the US but how about a global (green) campaign to boycott Chinese goods ?? That will hit them where it hurts and is the only language they understand.
    Malcolm, Auckland

  27. But just I’m out of patience with head-in-the-sands denialism.

    That’s because you have an environmentalist agenda.

    I, on the other hand, am a skeptic.

    The climate science peer-review process is clearly deficient. Jones’ data and analysis must be opened up to public scrutiny.

    Monbiot gets it. http://tinyurl.com/yaukm27

    NotPC:

    “People are talking about conspiracies. Is there really a conspiracy to put global warming over on us, as some people insist skeptics are saying?
    Well . . .
    “The implication [of them saying that] is that the only way the whole edifice of global warming science could be a distortion of reality is if there was a huge, secret conspiracy perpetrated by a fiction-like cabal of mad scientists, hidden away in some smoke-filled room plotting the destruction of the world economy. Well, the fact is that there is a ‘massive international conspiracy’—only, it’s not of the secret, smoke-filled-room type. The conspirators are united not by a secret plot, but by a shared philosophy that they promote openly and self-righteously: the philosophy of environmentalism”

  28. Phil U is correct this means directly challenging the capitalist system!!!

    Ah, the true agenda revealed.

    Hilarious.

    And replace it with what, exactly?

  29. they have unleashed a global whirlwind….those fools/tools of politicians..how can they think they have not..?this is only just beginning..

    I think you’ll find AGW support peaked in 2007.
    The populance has more immediate concerns, and will do for some time….

    http://tinyurl.com/ybk2r8d

    The global economy is flatlined for a decade. The best we can hope for is low-modest growth.

    As I’ve said before, for a guilt message about consumption to work, you first need a thriving economy.

  30. Monbiot gets it.

    Yes, Monbiot gets it, but you still don’t. George knows the email fiasco can be both a scandal and at the same time not bring the whole of the science into question. Only those who never accepted the science anyway think otherwise.

    People are talking about conspiracies.

    But they shouldn’t be, on either side. That’s a straw man. Conspiracies are hidden by definition, not in the open. Environmentalists have an agenda and so do those who worship GDP growth. Neither are conspiracies. Better to consider the matter from the point of view of vested interests. Again, both sides have them, but the preponderance and the greater power of influence is with those interested in short-term economic gains.

  31. “That’s because you have an environmentalist agenda”
    Yes I do have an environmental agenda. I believe that the environment will influence the lives of my children whom I love dearly.
    Blue Peter do you have children ?
    And if you do how will you answer to them in 30 years time if you happen to have got it all horribly wrong ?
    Or don’t you really care.
    Don’t assume that all who have taken the time and the care to look at all the evidence (on both sides of the divide) are just ‘Greenies’. Its just too easy to dismiss people like me with such convenient character stereotyping

  32. BP,

    Skeptics do not express skepticism about only one side of a debate. You are not a skeptic. You are a dogmatist standing firm on one side of a debate against all evidence, seeking every excuse to prop up your point of view.

    And you’re on the back foot. You can’t find a decent denialist sattack on AGW that stands up to scientific scrutiny. A skeptic of the denialist claims would think that a problem. But a dogmatist like you defends their position despite the evidence. So you instead allege a problem with the whole scientific process. Astonishingly, the world science academies have failed to notice this problem, but you obviously think you know more about good scientific process than them. Because one guy (out of the hundreds of researchers in this field) got snotty over FOI requests, which he said were being done for nuisance purposes. So, you gonna give up on science and live in a cave? Or is your “skepticism” remarkably selective?

    As for your PC quote: again you’re on the back foot. Because the “smoking gun” climategate email’s don’t show a conspiracy. A skeptic of the denialist claims of a conspiracy of scientists to mislead us might think this was a major problem for those denialist claims. But a dogmatist like you defends their position despite the evidence. So you retreat to some vague claim that there is no “conspiracy”, there’s just a lot of environmentalists out there being misleading. Stop dodging. The world’s climate scientists either are covering up for each other to vastly distort the science, or they aren’t. So are you alleging that they are, or not? If you are then why doesn’t your “smoking gun” show such a vast level of distortion? A few guys getting snotty over the denialists isn’t evidence of that deception. Two guys wanting a paper excluded from the IPCC review which wasn’t then excluded isn’t evidence of that.

  33. BP

    We replace the NZ dollar with a redeemable currency that requires full-reserves, not fractional reserves, at all times.

    We replace THAT ONE PART of the PSEUDO-Capitalist system that is currently in place, and the rest of the edifice of ill-gotten gains comes apart like a a house of cards in a hurricane. Most of us don’t actually want to “replace” capitalism, just fix it so it works for everyone rather than just the bankers.

    BJ

  34. “and let all New Zealanders down”

    You do not speak for me, nor do you speak for the 93% of Kiwis who did not vote for the Green party.

    Please stop telling lies.

  35. Act’s self immolation, Roy and Douglas’ attempt to skewer Hide, was a shoddy piece of nastiness and stupidity, Bro! Key had to put his booted foot down there, didn’t he! What a circus Act is (one act, we all pray).

  36. Icehawk,

    I fear you’re too entrenched.

    Whereas I couldn’t give a toss if AGW is happening or not.

    It is up to YOU to prove you position.
    Your science has FAILED to do so.
    Not only has it failed, it is not transparent.

    You claimed it was settled.
    It clearly is not.
    And the probability argument is now looking shaky, given ClimateGate revelations.

    AGW may still be happening.
    I accept that.
    But you still have mountains to climb…

  37. Whereas I couldn’t give a toss if AGW is happening or not.

    Says it all, really. Only “invest” more time here if you have it to waste.

  38. Well, as it turns out, Key was bang on the money when he declared that this conference was a picture taking exercise. Almost sad that he gave in to pressure the to go and have his snap taken too.

    I was hoping he was wrong, and that something substantive would come from this conference, but he had by far the better grasp of reality than I.

  39. All the claims of lies and distortions on the realists side, yet warmers turn a blind eye to their own propoganda.

    Not only ClimateGate, now Wikipedia:

    http://tinyurl.com/yby6aqr

    Naughty environmentalist! :)

    “Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period”.

  40. As long as this dishonest behaviour continues I will be a sceptic, how can anybody honestly trust these people?
    I linked to a Wikipedia article some time ago that had changed the scale on a graph to smooth out solar activity, I only spotted it because I had a pre-existing knowledge of the actual data.

  41. Shunda – dishonest behaviour from some Christians should stop a person from accepting that Christ is real. Really?

  42. There is more evidence that Jesus was an actual living person than there is for Julius Caesar greenfly.

  43. Shunda,

    That would be where you insert a reference.

    One can not be certain that Julius Ceasar lived but one can make far less reasons as to why he would be falsely said to exist. Likewise, one can not say that what he is said to ahve done ins implausable. The evidence for his existance comes from many sources, from enemies, historians, and from friends. The evidence fo jesus comes from devout followers whom show many signs of psychological illness and people whom obviously benefit from the perception of his existance as the son of god.

  44. Shunda – I’ve read of dishonest emails from Christians, so I don’t believe you. Jesus is a myth, a con.

  45. “Shunda – I’ve read of dishonest emails from Christians, so I don’t believe you. Jesus is a myth, a con.”

    The thing is greenfly I don’t hold contempt for you because you don’t believe in Jesus Christ, other people’s conclusions on God are their business.
    Can you honestly say the same thing about me and climate change? In reality I am a greenie, but I am not accepted by my fellow greenies because I don’t adhere to the green doctrine of climate change and popular social policy.
    What gives?

  46. Shunda – you think I might feel contempt for you because you are sceptical about AGW? Ya what!?
    What gives is your own curious interpretation. I’d say you get some stick here on Frogblog because you give it (uncalled-for references to pies and smacking don’t help your case. They make you sound like you’re cut from the same insolent cloth as BluePeter. Best you leave the insolence to me :-)

  47. Did yoy guys hear the one about the Dyslexic, Agnostic Insomniac ?… He lays awake at night, wondering if there really is a Dog. ‘:D’

  48. There is more than One Dog;
    Shunda: I’ve been wondering why you feel a Pollie’s Religeous Determinations a public matter?
    Or why does it matter to you?

    I know you Kiwi’s are in love with discrimination But;
    I would be more interested in a persons motivations and qualifications for the job

  49. ie; you don’t think Dubbya’s praying for his “Army of Compassion” in Iraq a trifle ironic?
    Will check the Library for JC’s Birth Cert when I’m home – there were probably three of ‘em I reckon…..

  50. Sunda said ‘As long as this dishonest behaviour continues I will be a sceptic, how can anybody honestly trust these people?
    I linked to a Wikipedia article some time ago that had changed the scale on a graph to smooth out solar activity, I only spotted it because I had a pre-existing knowledge of the actual data.’

    Thank you Shunda for this observation. But please – can you clarify was the actual scale on the graph changed or was the data falsified ??

    I am sure that if you have any understanding of these issues the difference between these should be very clear to you.
    I anticipate your answer with great interest.

  51. A few points about religion and the Green Party:

    1. I am not “anti-Christian”, and while I haven’t thought hard about it, I can’t readily identify anyone in the Green Party who could be described thus.
    2. I am an atheist. There are others in the Green Party who are atheists too. There are also others who are Christians, and others still who hold a wide range of religious and spiritual views. While I am not part of it, there is a very active group called the ‘Spirit Greens’ who are interested in exploring the links between their various spiritualities and Green political thought and action.
    3. I’m struggling to see any connection between climate change and religion (or lack thereof). This whole “debate” over whether or not climate change is happening as a result of human activity is one that speaks to some critical questions about the place of science in our culture. It is essentially a scientific question, but the debate is largely conducted between non-scientists. My background is in science and, indeed I have studied atmospheric and oceanic physics at Stage 3 level, so I have more chance of following the basic science than most people do. Even so, to a very high degree I have to trust the integrity of the scientific process and the consensus of those better qualified than me to assess the science. And that is all most people can do. This has some difficulties, as science literacy and journalism are so poor that the average person has little prospect of discerning the level of scientific consensus. Instead people typically reason thus: “person x believes/doesn’t believe that human activity is changing the climate, and I trust person x, so that is what I will believe as well”. Shunda, perhaps you might like to say whether or not you have relevant scientific qualifications that allow you to evaluate the scientific evidence directly? Or is it, as I think you may have already said, more the case that you have formed your opinion about climate change on the basis of the trust you have in various commentators?
    4. It’s the question of Green Party social policy where I am most intrigued by your religious perspective Shunda. As I say, we have many Christians in the Party and (I hope they will correct me if I have this wrong!) they support our social policy from their faith basis, on the grounds that the New Testament repeatedly carries injunctions from Christ to look after one another (you know, Sermon on the Mount, do unto others etc). It seems a logical step to support a social policy aimed at reducing social and economic inequalities and looking after the weakest (as Savage said “what is there more important in Christianity than to be our brothers’ keepers in reality?”) So what is the social policy approach that your Christian faith would lead you to support Shunda?

    I raise these issues in a genuine attempt to understand your position Shunda and, I hope, to reassure you about the attitudes of fellow greenies!

  52. There is more evidence that Jesus was an actual living person than there is for Julius Caesar greenfly.

    Which doesn’t prove a thing, of course. How about showing us some of that evidence?

  53. 1. I am not “anti-Christian”, and while I haven’t thought hard about it, I can’t readily identify anyone in the Green Party who could be described thus.

    Not that I mean to support the paranoia, but I can think of a few people employed by the party at the national level whom are and are open about it. Mind you I’ve already got in messes for repeating conversations with one of those individuals.

  54. Hi Greenfly I don’t think that you could doubt the existence of the historical Jesus or Jeshua as he was known then but the Christians claim to His messiahship under todays forensic evidence may be totally discredited. Namely Mary’s claim of virgin birth. Read the Jesus Family Tomb and associated books I can’t recall the authors now.

    I think that this issue is important in todays context as I think it most likely that the final DNA tests will prove the ‘Second Coming’ a superstition.
    Jesus will be seen as rightfully a profit philosopher and a lot of Christians will be focussing more on the environmental disaster which, of course is the real Armageddon.

    BJ ‘we replace the NZ dollar with a redeemable currency’I very much agree, now could we not go further and replace all currencies with a redeemable curreny based on the value of the basic wage.

    Capitalist wouldn’t be globe trotting for the cheapest slave wage labour, which is what is happening now.

  55. Hi Drakula – well, I could but don’t particularly. Certainly the virgin birth is a stretch :-)
    ‘Profit philosopher’ is a wee gem, and I’m calling the expected and feared environmental collapse, ‘Farmergeddon”.

  56. Kevin – Good post… One point though…”I’m struggling to see any connection between climate change and religion (or lack thereof).”

    I’m a Catholic [or so my parents tell me so!] and I’m not a member of the Green Party… but personaly I can see a connect between Climate change and population… and Population and Contraception… and

    I think the Pope has a leadership opportunity here[aparently he's the only chap on earth that can whisper into big fella's ear]… but personaly, I expect the inertia of Catholic Inc. to take… oooh maybe 300 years to forgive me for slapping a rubber on the ol’ fella every time Mrs mouse looks at me with the Goo goo eyes.

    I can see the connect between religion and climate change…The purpose of some some religion is simply control where prior to their existance there was none… these are different times…evolution is always important.

  57. Kevin

    There are Christians (especially in the USA) who see charity as a good thing but state socialism as wrong, thus they oppose public health care. This extends to other areas of provision to the people.

    These Christians would oppose the Green Party’s social and economic policy on this ground.

  58. Kevin said:
    “Shunda, perhaps you might like to say whether or not you have relevant scientific qualifications that allow you to evaluate the scientific evidence directly? Or is it, as I think you may have already said, more the case that you have formed your opinion about climate change on the basis of the trust you have in various commentators?”

    I don’t have relevant qualifications in these fields, but I have had a keen interest in science since I was a kid. In certain areas feel I have an above average grasp of the processes involved, but agree with you that most of my understanding has come from what others have written. The thing is, the more you learn the more you are able to instinctively pick where truth is likely to lie in a given issue. Good scientists are able to communicate the “gist’ of an issue so that the layman is able to understand to the same degree as the scientist himself. I guess I feel I have enough understanding in certain areas that I can pick something that doesn’t seem to add up, if AGW is in fact true perhaps I am in need of a bit more information to process. The problem is, I am very wary of the massive political motivations of many regarding this issue, it is hard to feel motivated to do more study when the bullsh!t meter is registering off the chart! I am a sceptic of AGW however I am not in denial that humans are rapidly stuffing the planet which requires urgent attention.

  59. Kevin said:

    “4. It’s the question of Green Party social policy where I am most intrigued by your religious perspective Shunda. As I say, we have many Christians in the Party and (I hope they will correct me if I have this wrong!) they support our social policy from their faith basis, on the grounds that the New Testament repeatedly carries injunctions from Christ to look after one another (you know, Sermon on the Mount, do unto others etc). It seems a logical step to support a social policy aimed at reducing social and economic inequalities and looking after the weakest (as Savage said “what is there more important in Christianity than to be our brothers’ keepers in reality?”) So what is the social policy approach that your Christian faith would lead you to support Shunda?”

    Ok, this is where things get more difficult.

    I agree with all of the ideals you just mentioned but it is in the application of those ideals that things get confused. To answer your question properly I have to give you some back ground to my own faith based beliefs, I am NOT trying to preach.

    In Christianity (in my experience anyway) I have witnessed a constant tension between “legalism” and “grace”. Legalism develops from a religious zeal for the scriptures and an inability to see the bigger picture. It leads people to burden themselves with impossible ideals and is basically the essence of “hell fire and brimstone” Christianity, it is all rules and no grace, it often creates some very hard people. Jesus confronted this in his dialogue with the Pharisees.
    Grace on the other hand is the essence of the Gospel teachings of Christ, it is the mechanism that leads people to a full pardon from their “sins”. Jesus spoke about grace as a way to be free of the impossible burden of idealistic religious zealotry.
    However the grace message can get confused,the problem with the misguided “grace” teachings of some is that it never leads people to a positive change in their lives, they feel so free of judgement that they lose motivation to rid themselves of destructive behaviour.
    Jesus attained a balance beautifully with the woman caught in adultery, the Pharisees wanted to stone her because she had broken the “law”, Jesus seeing the bigger picture intervened by saying “he who is without sin cast the first stone” they couldn’t argue with him and left. Jesus said to the woman “where are they? did no one condemn you? she said “no Lord” to which he replied “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more”
    The key bit is the last sentence.

    So where am I going with all this? basically there are political doctrines that you could interpret as “legalistic” or “gracious”.
    While I think there is some strong “legalistic” tendencies in the green movement I would say it is overwhelmingly towards the “grace” side of things as far as social policy goes. The problem is perhaps the Greens forget the “go and sin no more” part. It is great to help the poor and the unemployed, but to fail to identify the reasons for their position is in effect killing them with kindness.
    Everybody needs to be given grace for sure, but grace is given for a purpose- to lead you to the truth in a way that you can realistically do something about your problems.
    I see much of the Green type social policy as denying people the conviction that will ultimately set them free from their burden.
    For example, Sue Bradford is all about the underdog which is great, few people more so than her, but the whole ideology behind it seems to be that all these people need is the “grace” and not the conviction to change.
    It is only half of the equation, it is like putting people on morphine and saying you are cured. All you end up with is a whole lot of people dependant on morphine!! Much of the human rights issues are very similar, I think there was (just quietly) some valid points that Sue makes for the S59 thing, I think it was about trying to free children from legalistic authority, the problem is, now it is over “graced” which will only encourage lawlessness as legitimate authority has also been lost in the process, there is no balance with the current law.
    So while I can support the intention of much of the greens policy I can not support the application.
    It seems to me that the previous Labour Govt proved my position, after a decade in power all they did was cause social welfare stagnation, people were not really better off at the end of their leadership despite some very buoyant economic times. This from a party with similar policy to the greens and supposedly about helping the little guy.

    So you see Kevin it is not because I am some raging capitalist Christian or hard hearted towards the disadvantaged, I just want to make sure we are actually achieving the purpose of all social policy – to actually help people better themselves and the communities they live in.

    Sincerely
    Shunda

  60. Mouse – good point about population. Interesting tie-in to the social justice dimensions too, as the evidence is that the most effective ways of reducing population growth internationally are to address poverty and marginalisation (you know: educate women, restore means to grow food etc)as well as to provide ready and free access to condoms. I’ve had some great working relationships with Catholics over the years who espouse liberation theology, and indeed with one particular wonderful nun who was a great help in our HIV prevention work, including improving access to condoms. I don’t hold our much hope for doctrinal change with ex-Cardinal Ratzinger on the papal throne, but there are a good many Catholics working towards good outcomes even so.

    Shunda – thanks very much for your response, which I found very interesting. I see Green social policy as principally addressing structural disadvantage, so that the opportunity for quality of life is fairly shared. In this we are motivated by an understanding that an individual’s “life choices” are principally determined by the situation of the community to which they belong, which in turn is the result of social and economic forces. Thus we focus on those social and economic forces. Your approach seems to focus more on the individual person and the nature of the choices they make (allowing for the constraints that apply). Is that a fair characterisation?

  61. Shunda, Mouse and co: Real Christianity ended in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea when emperor Constentine pasted pieces of all pagan religions onto the the Christian doctrine to create the Roman Church. From then on it became a legalistic organisation, and not very democratic as all other gospels (Christian and pagan) that didn’t make it in the New Testament were burnt through out the Roman Empire.

    In the East this brand of christianity was unacceptable mainly because of the suvival of these gospals (the ones excluded) namely Nag Hamadi, Qumran etc.and the Judas gospel found in Egypt recently.

    It is very enlightening to read this history and it makes one realise just how warped some modern churches have gone.

  62. I suspect that Shundra has the perception that poverty is the result of personal life failure and that a (religious) conversion from that personal “moral” failure is required for the intervention to be successful.

    It is the same underlying premise as of the old idea of middle class Christian charity to the underclass of lower moral fibre and is in sinc with the recent development of advocacy for faith based provider welfare reform (promoted by John Paul 11 as subsidiarity) that is apparently is being considered by Bill English as an extension of the whanau ora concept.

    I note a consistency – seeing the Green cause as a rival idealism/belief to Christianity (some see environment sustainability as paganism limiting human capitalist dominion) and universal “socialist” provision as a rival to “conditional” Christian grace (beneficiary codes or poor laws).

    Under this criticism of left wing universal social provision no credit for achievements such as reduced unemployment, reduced child poverty, an increased minimum wage, a 4th week annual leave, parental leave, free health care for children, income related rents, the Gold Card can be made – even though this occured while reducing public debt and building up the Savings Fund and Kiwi Saver etc.

    I go into these wider areas because it is generally government intervention which is opposed on the grounds that government, not being interested in managing the individual person’s life, is somehow not the means to provide the “right” change to society.

  63. “Shunda, Mouse and co: Real Christianity ended in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea when emperor Constentine pasted pieces of all pagan religions onto the the Christian doctrine to create the Roman Church.”

    This is a fringe conspiracy theory, nothing more.
    The bible is regarded as one of the most accurate of ancient texts by almost all historians. You seem to be confusing my position with that of the Catholic church, I am not a Catholic.

  64. “I suspect that Shundra has the perception that poverty is the result of personal life failure and that a (religious) conversion from that personal “moral” failure is required for the intervention to be successful.”

    Poverty is not always the result of an individuals “moral” failure but it often is in NZ. If you think I am moralising by suggesting that an able bodied adult capable of working should do so, I think you are being unreasonable. As far as religious conversion being the only mechanism for change I think you are just attempting to make my reasonable position seem more religiously motivated. People can change destructive behaviour for a number of reasons, you seem to be suggesting that to require them to do so for ANY reason is unjust.

    “It is the same underlying premise as of the old idea of middle class Christian charity to the underclass of lower moral fibre and is in sinc with the recent development of advocacy for faith based provider welfare reform (promoted by John Paul 11 as subsidiarity) that is apparently is being considered by Bill English as an extension of the whanau ora concept.”

    Not even familiar with any of this so clearly not a motivation of mine.

    “I note a consistency – seeing the Green cause as a rival idealism/belief to Christianity ”

    Not a necessary rival though, the frustrating thing is that there is so much in common yet so little co-operation between these two groups, imagine the people power if the church made environmentalism a righteous issue (which I think it is).

    “Under this criticism of left wing universal social provision no credit for achievements such as reduced unemployment, reduced child poverty, an increased minimum wage, a 4th week annual leave, parental leave, free health care for children, income related rents, the Gold Card can be made – even though this occured while reducing public debt and building up the Savings Fund and Kiwi Saver etc.”

    You could say these things are part of the “laws” of the left, the foundational “belief” system. And as such these areas can also become “legalistic” just like with the Church “laws”. The laws or principles become the thing that people worship to the detriment of the people that they are supposed to serve, that is why I said Labour had caused social stagnation despite theoretical achievements , they were beginning to lose touch with the reality of the people they were serving.

  65. Thinking some more about this. This tension between socioenvironmental risk factors and individual agency is a common one in my own field of health. Models that set out to explain the pattern of health outcomes in the real world based on individual risk factors and choices completely fail. It is evident that by far the most important explanatory variables are risk environments (physical, social and economic). This same analysis applies to other areas of social policy. Not unreasonably. Green social policy sets out to improve health, education etc outcomes and so focuses on improving these environments.

    However a purely deterministic model based only on these environments, while perhaps accounting for most of what is observed is still not wholly satisfactory. Community-based action to improve outcomes can also be a significant positive factor. Individual action can also sometimes transcend circumstances (although the logical error that many make is to assume that because one person is able to, all can. The film “Happyness” comes to mind).

    There is certainly a line of political thought (espoused by ACT and others) that blames individual’s for their own negative outcomes, as SPC outlines, and which is clearly nonsense. I’m not sure this is what Shunda is arguing however. To me the question he poses (correct me if I’m wrong!) is: allowing for all of the forces beyond a person’s control, what should social policy say or do to facilitate good choices about those factors that are not beyond that person’s control?

    An example dear to my own heart is physical activity. Almost everyone could undertake a level of physical activity that would be good for them and good for the State. It will be harder for some than others – much harder in some cases – but almos always possible. How could social policy facilitate more physical activity?

    Greens would typically respond with options like ensuring everone has a range of opportunities, social marketing, role models etc. It seems to me Shunda that you would agree with all that, but maybe that you would say that there should be adverse consequences from the State if positive action is not taken. We would support that a bit too (e.g. increased tax on alcohol, cigarettes, sugary drinks). Have I got your argument right Shunda?

    And the religious aspect of that which I am curious about is the “go and sin no more”. Surely the lesson we are asked to draw from that story is that Jesus thought that other people ought not to judge or punish a person for their life choices; that instead this was a matter for individual conscience and for God i.e. that it’s God’s place, not ours, to say “go and sin no more”. If that’s the case, isn’t that an argument for supporting social policy that is supportive and facilitative, but which doesn’t punish individuals who don’t make good life choices?

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