Kennedy Graham
Closing the gap: Australia vs. NZ on climate change

The Australian Climate Commission have released a report The Critical Decade: Extreme Weather. Throughout the authors are unequivocal and forthright about the reality of the effects of climate change on Australia. Australia is already experiencing, and is going to experience, extreme weather events more often – because of human-induced (‘anthropogenic’) climate change.

There is no debating the fact that extreme weather events have always occurred, and will always occur. Neither is there any debating the fact that extreme weather events are already occurring more frequently, and will occur far more frequently in the future, unless we start to turn the global economic ship around, fast.

As the Commission writes, ‘there is a high risk that extreme weather events like heat-waves, heavy rainfall, bushfires and cyclones will become even more intense in Australia over the coming decades.’ Though Australia and New Zealand differ in climate, there can be no separating of realities with regard to extreme weather.

As a traditionally warmer climate, Australia has already suffered years of prolonged drought. Climate change is causing the high pressure belt that has traditionally run over Australia to move south towards the pole. This means that the Northern part of New Zealand’s North Island is going to become more like Australia’s hot, dry, drought-prone environment. King tides are going to become far more frequent. Even half a metre to a metre of sea-level rise means that a one-in-ten year high-tide could become weekly.

This is sobering stuff. Yet we must remember that if we accept the consensus of scientists (97% globally), that climate change is human-induced, then it must be able to be halted by humans too. The good news is that as a human-induced change, we have the power to be able to halt it, or at least avert the worst of it.

Australia’s Commission calls for ‘strong preventative action now’, and further, that ‘much more substantial action will be required if we are to stabilise the climate by the second half of the century. Globally emissions must be cut rapidly and deeply to nearly zero by 2050, with Australia playing its part.’

Last year Australia recommitted to the world’s only climate treaty that has binding obligations to cut emissions – that is, the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. For its inglorious part, New Zealand has refused to join Kyoto-2, much to the distaste of the international community, and earning us several embarrassing ‘fossil awards’.  We now tie with Canada for the worst climate policy in the world – no easy task.

Yet National Government Ministers still refuse to acknowledge that there is a link between human-induced climate change and the drought that is currently devastating New Zealand.  Bravo! That takes ostrich-like courage and prescience.

It is time for New Zealand to ‘close the gap’ with Australia. It is a waste of time to debate the link between human-induced climate change, and more frequent extreme weather events (as per my take on Newstalk ZB yesterday). As the Australian Climate Commission says, we need to act now to reduce emissions.

All of us, including New Zealand.

57 thoughts on “Closing the gap: Australia vs. NZ on climate change

  1. Neither is there any debating the fact that extreme weather events are already occurring more frequently, and will occur far more frequently in the future

    I think you’ll find there is…

    policlimate.com/tropical/

    “The Accumulated Cyclone Energy dissipated by tropical cyclones worldwide this year (2012) is near-normal across the board from the Northern Hemisphere, and was below normal for the Southern Hemisphere during the last season (Fall 2011-Spring 2012). Globally, ACE is below normal for this year”

    It is a waste of time to debate the link between human-induced climate change, and more frequent extreme weather events

    For crying out loud….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 14 (-2)

  2. Kennedy – you say that THIS drought is linked to climate change, but natural droughts “have always occurred, and will always occur”.

    You strongly criticize the govt for not acknowledging the current drought is a man-made one, rather than natural.

    How do you tell the difference?

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  3. Nice work un-masking Monckton on newstalkzb, Kennedy. The jock showed a stunning inability to grasp your point however. I guess that’s why he’s doing what he does – light and easy, nothing too heavy for his audience, ears full of jingles and tinny music.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7 (+2)

  4. Few droughts/floods/storms today can be considered natural – human activity has affected the whole climate system, so almost every event is influenced by us.

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  5. “human activity has affected the whole climate system, so almost every event is influenced by us”

    But by how much?
    I see the Marcott et al Paper released their FAQs on Easter Sunday, Marcott and his colleagues published a response on the Real Climate blog. Most notable was this comment: ‘Our global paleotemperature reconstruction includes a so-called “uptick” in temperatures during the twentieth century. However, in the paper we make the point that this particular feature is of shorter duration than the inherent smoothing in our statistical averaging procedure, and that it is based on only a few available paleo-reconstructions of the type we used. Thus, the twentieth-century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions.’
    Wow.
    In other words, all that stuff about having the highest temperatures for millennia and about eye-popping warming over the past 100 years appears to have no basis in the paper’s actual temperature reconstruction.
    BJ wont be happy

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  6. 97% of who agree on what, exactly? And since when does agreement constitute truth?

    “How dare a radio station give Monckton time” is one approach, but it appears to have backfired, given the DJ’s summary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11 (-3)

  7. Few droughts/floods/storms today can be considered natural

    I see we’ve crossed into the twilight zone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8 (+1)

  8. Fascinating to watch Arana’s and Photonz’ ever-watchful opposition to every blog written here. It looks like a full-time job. It must bring great satisfaction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6 (+3)

  9. greenfly says “Few droughts/floods/storms today can be considered natural”

    Every day it rains, or doesn’t, is new proof that the climate is not the same as it used to be years ago, when it rained, or didn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9 (-1)

  10. Arana &
    Photonz

    We HAVE changed the climate at this point.

    One way of thinking about that is that we no longer have “natural” weather. We have entered the Anthropogenic age.

    http://klimaatverandering.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/shakun_marcott_hadcrut4_a1b.png

    OTOH, weather still hasn’t changed enough for long enough to be obviously out of the range of some earlier extremes. This allows some to try to argue with Dr Hansen.

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2012/20120105_PerceptionsAndDice.pdf

    Unfortunately, arguing with Dr Hansen about climate is usually a mistake.

    Also:

    A discussion of just tropical cyclones is not the same as a discussion of extreme weather events. Leaving out droughts, floods and heatwaves is a bit wrong, no?

    Monckton? Giving him air-time is a mistake because just about EVERYTHING he has ever claimed has been shown to be wrong. I could get better accuracy by allowing my dog to randomly indicate answers to questions.

    Being correct half the time would beat Monckton’s track record.

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  11. Proof that the climate has changed isn’t in the weather. You take the weather as being explained by climate change, not as being proof of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 (+8)

  12. BJ says “We HAVE changed the climate at this point.”

    I have little doubt about that.

    But what is ridiculous is man made climate change is blamed for EVERY single slightly abnormal event – when no one has the slightest idea of whether it would have happened naturally anyway.

    It this is called undeniable proof, then your proof is nonsense.

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  13. Phillip is right. Arana and photoNZ1 are full time with many posts an hour as they hop from blog to blog. It’ll earn them much more than the minimum wage.

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  14. Philip couldn’t be more wrong. Arana doesn’t get paid for posting here, but payment would be most welcome, indeed :)

    The price of democracy is eternal vigilance.

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  15. I could get better accuracy by allowing my dog to randomly indicate answers to questions.

    That is the general fear in environmental science, yes :)

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  16. There are not many people in New Zealand how are blessed with the ability to summarise and present facts and scientific evidence as objective and good as Dr.Graham.

    Since almost 20 years I’m confronted with ignorance of Global Warming deniers, although the amount of those reduces every day. In this context it seems bizarre that sheep and beef farmers farming off the East Coast of the North Island of NZ launch as Climate Realist homepage and promote Lord M. probably almost at the same time when they’re begging for tax payer money due to drought in New Zealand.

    I’m just hoping for our children, that latest in 2014 we’ll have responsible policy marker in our Government which will address these issues and will help to create an environment where my children can swim again in Hawkes Bays rivers and lakes, where the air quality in winter is as good as in summer and where they don’t have to stare at oil rigs and oil pumps owned by overseas companies.

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  17. I certainly don’t want us to catch up with Australia.

    The desalination plants put into Queensland when the pollies became convinced there would be no rain have since been moth balled (at a cost of several billion to the tax payer make I believe).

    The less of that the better.

    And by the way, since even James Hansen is saying there hasn’t been warming for the last decade or so, I’m not sure why it has apparently become so much worse than when the warming stopped.

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  18. The good news is that as a human-induced change, we have the power to be able to halt it, or at least avert the worst of it

    It’s nice to have hope, Kennedy, but we certainly can’t halt it, at this stage. More warming is already built in, due to the CO2 (and other gases) that we’ve added to the atmosphere. Even stopping all emissions now would still get us another 1 degree or more of warming. But, yes, we can certainly make the damage less severe than it would be if we keep to business as usual though we’d have to act with unprecedented haste. Do you really think that’s likely? What Australia has done is hardly enough, by any stretch of the imagination (and they continue to dig up coal).

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  19. Arana: I didn’t actually suggest that you get paid for your ‘work’ here. I simply said it looks like a full-time job – which I presume is a voluntary one.

    I admire your commitment to “democracy” I assume that your vigilance on its behalf is not confined to the Green Party, and that you roam the blogs of National, Labour, NZ First, and all other parties, holding them to account just as you do here.

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  20. @Roman You know that for the last 100 years we don’t need no steenking proxies to figure out what the temperature is and was.

    The only real questions are whether

    The global temperature has ALWAYS been going up and down at this rapid rate that the proxies can’t capture well.

    In spite of there being no physical mechanism to explain it.

    Apart from the CO2 and instrumental record in the past 150 years.

    In other words

    you can’t just wish it away NOW because the proxies can’t resolve it into the present. The instrumental record prevents that.

    You don’t have a mechanism for it to have occurred earlier.

    You can’t PROVE that temperatures did or didn’t vary so wildly and rapidly in the past… just work out the range of the average global temp over the whole of the holocene.

    So ask if it is reasonable to claim that those averages are built on more rapidly fluctuating temperatures with magnitudes of double (they have to go down as well as up to make an average) the ENTIRE recorded temperature range of the holocene, in the sub 130 year time scale that is not captured by the proxies. Given that there are exactly zero plausible physical mechanisms by which that could occur.

    The only reason I might not be happy is that I know that denialists everywhere will be arguing that statistical limitations mean that the reconstruction work isn’t what it is.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/regional-marcott/

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  21. Arana – One would be more capable of vigilance if one’s eyes were BOTH open.

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  22. The price of democracy is eternal vigilance.

    …and just WHAT does democracy have to do with it anyway?

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  23. …and just WHAT does democracy have to do with it anyway?

    Just how many Green Party members do you have in the MSM?

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  24. …and just WHAT does democracy have to do with it anyway?

    Just how many Green Party members do you have in the MSM?

    Answer Question please. I have no knowledge of ANY Green Party members in the mainstream media.

    Now what do “democracy” and “vigilance” have to do with your continued presence here?

    You think maybe we’re part of some sort of global conspiracy to take away democracy? We lost THAT to the banks a hundred years ago.

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  25. @edwin

    That isn’t exactly what Hansen said… HE was specific… so maybe you’d like to rethink your notion that the PLANET (which is mostly covered with water on average 3.8 km deep) isn’t warming anymore?

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  26. The climate change deniers would ordinarily amuse me, but one of the major reasons for our failure to even begin to plan for a very different future is because they have been able to influence enough people unwilling or unable to subject their arguments to any degree of analysis which means there is no popular demand for change.

    The bizarre part is their position is driven by an unfounded fear that addressing climate change will either mean they have to pay more tax or industry will suffer, yet by not addressing climate change we will all experience financial pain and a great many industries will suffer. For NZ climate change will bring a near-perfect storm because we are highly dependent on dairy and dairy is in turn dependent on a specific weather pattern. This dependence creates vulnerability which is being demonstrated by this drought which has been tipped to knock approximately $2bn of our GDP – 1/3 what is hoped the entire asset sales programme will earn. As these extreme weather events become more frequent our economy will become increasingly battered and all of us will experience a far greater financial impact than any and every carbon tax or ETS would have delivered. It is urgent that we find a way to adapt our economy because the alternative is an economic collapse that will bankrupt NZ and make the experiences of Greece and Cyprus seem like a boom.

    I have been in business for many years and for me what is probably the most frustrating part of the deniers’ idiotic rants is that the practices that lead to a carbon neutral and genuinely sustainable business model are good for business no matter how they are assessed. So not only are they passionately demanding we ignore the greatest economic threat we have ever experienced, but they are seemingly unaware of modern business thinking.

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  27. Now what do “democracy” and “vigilance” have to do with your continued presence here?

    The MSM don’t seem to question the Greens, much. So I’ll do it.

    I’m paying for these politicians. If they assert something as truth, and their positions may affect me, and I have questions, then I’ll ask them.

    If some don’t like it, they’re in the wrong job. If some supporters don’t like it, then perhaps they don’t understand the political process.

    I’m always civil, although the same courtesy isn’t often extended to me. Sadly.

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  28. David, a we use Greece and Cyprus more and more often to point at unreasonable spending and borrowing I was wondering if we shouldn’t highlight the fact that both Greece and Turkey spent a huge amount of money the last three decades for their military to get prepared for another war between their countries (Cyprus as former battlefield).
    To use them as an example in New Zealand when we talk about our economy and the cost of sustainability (at least the initial cost) shows the lack of understanding why they’re in debt.

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  29. I have been in business for many years and for me what is probably the most frustrating part of the deniers’ idiotic rants is that the practices that lead to a carbon neutral and genuinely sustainable business model are good for business no matter how they are assessed.

    Really? What if you’re in the fracking business?

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  30. David, if we don’t identify the problem correctly, then the solution will likely be wrong.

    For example, let’s say we get more droughts. Let’s say these droughts are simply the result of a change in weather pattern, and have nothing, whatsoever to do with c02 emissions. If we spend a lot of money mitigating c02 emissions, that creates an opportunity cost. That opportunity cost could have been a spent devoting more farmland to growing summer feed.

    A simplistic example, for the purposes of illustration. There are always opportunity costs and unintended consequences, so best be very sure of why you’re doing something.

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  31. In your simple example, Arana, shouldn’t we be considering what is causing the change in weather patterns?

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  32. Arana – Nobody minds if you have a question. We give first answers without much trouble. The answers I give frequently include references to science you claim not to understand but they ARE answers and I take pains to make them understandable, particularly if the follow on questions indicate that someone is actually listening.

    After the second or third time around the Mulberry bush chasing the same question, the game ends. I don’t need to make that effort anymore if you aren’t actually interested in the answers. Something that is quite apparent to most people reading these exchanges.

    At this point you are going on about opportunity costs and ignoring again, the risk-management aspects of decision making in uncertainty.

    Which were presented to you in a way my grade-school kids understand and I am quite sure you do too, in any actual BUSINESS context. When the topic is climate however, some twisty bits get invoked. It is like you’re afraid that it is some sort of threat to your freedom, not merely your wallet, hence my question about democracy and vigilance.

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  33. At this point you are going on about opportunity costs and ignoring again, the risk-management aspects of decision making in uncertainty.

    I’m not, I just disagree that Pascals Wager is an appropriate approach to risk management.

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  34. At this point you are going on about opportunity costs and ignoring again, the risk-management aspects of decision making in uncertainty.

    I’m not, I just disagree that Pascals Wager is an appropriate approach to risk management.

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  35. One more time. Pascal’s wager isn’t exactly what was presented… because there IS substantial information available. Again, an answer provided to you earlier.

    This isn’t a philosophical debate about theology, it is a practical debate about governance… or would be.

    “Decision Theory” is a relatively robust business and management tool.

    You appear to be dumping it because a simple version of it used by Pascal in argument for belief in a deity where there is NO knowledge available on which to evaluate the likelihood of an outcome and values invoked are 0 to infinite (while the true possible values are -infinite to infinite). What I have yet to see is a valid criticism. There are alternatives, but if you apply them to this situation properly you will reach similar conclusions. Reality has a way of giving the same answers whether you believe them or not.

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  36. Christian, your response is a classic strawman. I didn’t claim that our potential economic crisis had the same cause as that being experience by Cypress and Greece – if you choose to read my post properly you will see that I used their situation as a comparison.

    And Arana, there are a great many far easier and far better ways for NZ to earn money than fracking so I am unsure why you brought that up. In response to your second and slightly less irrelevant post, what you seem to have missed is that there is virtually no doubt that we will droughts will become increasingly frequent and severe, primarily because of the staggering quantity of greenhouse gases that human activity has released into the atmosphere. Yes, natural weather patterns will have some influence, but the primary cause is the huge extent that we have changed how the atmosphere is made up, so that’s like claiming Australia is richer than NZ because they have the Sydney Opera House – it plays such a small role it is irrelevant.

    You have however very neatly demonstrated the reason we are heading for a whole bunch of trouble because, like many people, you do not appear to comprehend that doing things differently might actually be a good thing. Think about it: our economy is in tatters, unemployment is far too high, our overseas debt is going through the roof, 90% of our rivers are too dirty to swim in and the only strategy our government can come up with to balance the books is selling our assets. Houses are becoming increasingly unaffordable, our prison population is amongst the highest in the developed world and we can’t even afford to fix the rail link to Gisborne.

    How the hell is that a situation that should be protected at all costs?

    And you mentioned opportunity cost – is there no opportunity cost to the money and resources that are tied up in the dairy industry?

    I could go on, but I have work to do.

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  37. there IS substantial information available

    That doesn’t stop it being Pascals Wager any more than a Christian pointing out all the information she has to support her belief in God. The point of the wager – and the point he makes – is that you don’t need to know detailed information, you simply need to make the choice that involves least perceived risk.

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  38. David, no problem with your last comment although I didn’t get the strawman point.
    Anyway, let me rephrase: it probably wasn’t very lucky to use Greece and Cyrus as an example as it was the unreasonable spending of money for weapons and army which lmost likely led to the collapse of their economy. But don’t worry the mayor of Invecargill used the same comparison this morning, as many others the days before.
    Quite frankly I’m less worried about the imact of droughts in New Zealand, as the intensive farming isn’t sustainable anyway, than the starving of millions caused by Global Warming. But with a little bit of luck the Green Party will have a say in the next Government and can prove that they’re more responsible than the current one.

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  39. But, Arana, in your simple example, you assumed that whatever the causes of the changes in weather patterns (which others call climate change), they can’t possibly be human caused (of significantly influenced) and any actions to alter human behaviour can’t possible have any impact on those changing patterns. What many have tried to say is that the risks of doing nothing are far higher than the risks of doing something. If you don’t consider a habitable planet to be of much importance, then just say so. If you do think it is of importance then you should look at all the evidence (accumulated by countless climate scientists over decades) that shows their could well be a significant human element in the changes we see. Surely no-one could say that there is no evidence or that there is no basis for assigning risk factors to continued inaction.

    However, I constantly underestimate the tendency of humans to understate the risks and overstate the opportunities. Unfortunately, we are not only putting our own futures at risk but the futures of our children, grandchildren and all potential future generations.

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  40. That doesn’t stop it being Pascals Wager any more than a Christian pointing out all the information she has to support her belief in God.

    No!

    One is scientific evidence and it informs us of the REAL probabilities.

    The other is subjective evidence shaped by belief and provides no REAL information.

    You can’t equate the two. Well you CAN but you’ll be wrong.

    Pascal’s is a SUBSET of decision theory.

    _______________________________________________

    you simply need to make the choice that involves least perceived risk.

    Actually it is a risk-benefit balance that is struck. Using the best possible information about the likelihoods and extremes of both. Which comes from the realm of science, not belief.

    You don’t have a winning hand… and you can’t bluff Mother Nature.

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  41. What many have tried to say is that the risks of doing nothing are far higher than the risks of doing something.

    That’s the problem with Pascals Wager. Which God do you pick? And if there’s no God, your opportunity cost may be high.

    So, if man isn’t causing global warming, yet you spend trillions trying to prevent it, you’ve wasted trillions, when you could have spent that money adapting to natural climate events. The cost of “doing something” can be high.

    A concrete example is growing biofuels in response to AGW policy, which drives food prices up, and results in more poor people starving. Net result? No change to climate, but many poor people died.

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  42. One is scientific evidence and it informs us of the REAL probabilities.

    Then you don’t need his wager. You just accept the science. Again, the reason he proposes the wager is because people are trying to decide which scientists to believe. He’s saying that isn’t necessary, simply look it as a question of risk.

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  43. Arana – the flaw in your opportunity cost argument is obvious. There are plenty of measures that can reduce CO2 emissions that are approximately cost-neutral and don’t lead to mass starvation – quite the opposite in fact. These include:
    - improving building insulation;
    - switching to LED lighting particularly where coloured lighting is required;
    - installing solar water heating;
    - developing renewable energy sources such as wind farms and geothermal resources;
    - improving appliance efficiencies.

    The use of food crops for manufacturing biofuels is not encouraged by most greens. Instead, greens prefer second generation biofuels, made from crop wastes or grown on marginal land not suitable for food crops. Other options include all-electric vehicles.

    Trevor.

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  44. Arana,

    The problem is that you see the costs of taking action as high but you don’t quantify the risks of not taking action because you have decided that humans are not significantly contributing towards warming, despite the evidence and simple physics. What if you’re wrong? That’s what you must consider. If you’re wrong and we continue to make matters worse, the costs would be far higher than any actions we might take. The costs might be as high as having huge swaths of the planet uninhabitable. You accept that risk because of your beliefs but you shouldn’t impose your beliefs on the rest of humanity.

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  45. Very clearly put, Tony. Arana has been delivered exactly that message on numerous occasions here on Frogblog and simply talks past it. It’s worth your putting it though, as others are strengthened from seeing a sound argument. It contrasts well with pish.

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  46. The problem is that you see the costs of taking action as high but you don’t quantify the risks of not taking action

    I’m pointing out the flaw in the wager argument. If you take expensive action to solve a problem *that doesn’t exist*, then the cost of action is high.

    You’re just restating Pascals Wager. Pascal proposes you believe in God, because the cost of not doing so is high (eternal damnation). So, you may as well believe in him, just in case.

    Spot the problem.

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  47. here are plenty of measures that can reduce CO2 emissions that are approximately cost-neutral and don’t lead to mass starvation

    Right. I agree. If it is cost-neutral, then no problem.

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  48. Arana says “If you take expensive action to solve a problem *that doesn’t exist*, then the cost of action is high. ”

    OR….If you take expensive action to solve a problem, but it either doesn’t work or many other countries don’t take that same expensive action, then you’ve used up all your resources but still ahve the problem.

    Those same resources would then have been far better being used for ADAPTING to the problem.

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  49. This is really stupid guys.

    1. Decision theory isn’t “Pascal’s Wager” Pascal’s Wager is a subset of decision theory that pertains when you have NO knowledge. Arana in particular is guilty of repeatedly restating the simple case which has nothing to do with the actual risk management that goes on.

    2. Decision theory pertains when you do not have perfect knowledge about the results of a decision… it DOES NOT assume (as Arana has several times presented it) that there is NO knowledge… nor are we asserting that the knowledge is perfect. Science is never “perfect”.

    3. The cost of “doing something” can be high. Yes, and the cost of doing nothing can be much much higher. This is the reason for dealing with this in decision theory. It is the REASON one manages risk and decides what risks to accept at what costs.

    4.

    One is scientific evidence and it informs us of the REAL probabilities.
    Then you don’t need his wager. You just accept the science.

    Fail again. Science is NOT going to give you certainty, it is going to give you probable results. As a society we decide what to do about those probabilities.

    5.

    I’m pointing out the flaw in the wager argument. If you take expensive action to solve a problem *that doesn’t exist*, then the cost of action is high.

    No, you are NOT, you are pointing out the reason that decision theory is used, not any flaw in it. I can’t believe how stupid this argument has become. You clearly don’t even BEGIN to understand why decision theory (NOT Pascal’s wager) is used here and you clearly do not want to listen. You ARE simply wrong. LOGICALLY wrong. Hell, Pascal was wrong, because you have no idea what GOD wants you to believe, and if that deity decides he’d rather not be believed in, would rather you believe things you have actual evidence of, you just messed up.

    6. If you do not know which scientists to believe one might naively look for what most scientists believe. Oh dear… THAT will cause you a bit of trouble. The point to decision theory is to work out the probability of the bad result, as well as the costs of protecting against it.

    7. YOU are arguing for us to accept a changing climate by conducting a perversely ill-formed and even more ill informed experiment with the atmosphere of the planet. You don’t have a control planet and you don’t actually have control of the experiment… but the one thing you are sure of is that you don’t want to stop. Trampling on other people’s rights and destroying their environment is a habit of the far right. Nobody owns it after all. It WILL stop though.

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  50. Arana – taking action to reduce CO2 emissions does more than just address AGW.

    Ocean acidification is also a recognised problem, but a very simple one. Burning fossil fuels adds CO2 to the environment. Some of this added CO2 dissolves in the oceans, forming carbonic acid, which decreases the Ph of the sea water, to the detriment of significant amounts of the sea life that many depend on for their source of food.

    We know this is happening. We know roughly how much fossil fuels are being burned each year, so we know how much CO2 we are adding. We know the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are rising, but not by enough to account for all of the CO2 we are adding. The CO2 isotopic evidence proves that the increase in CO2 is due to our actions. We know the ocean Ph is decreasing and this accounts for most of the difference. (The rest is increased absorbtion by plants, etc.) And we know the decreased Ph harms some sea life. Therefore we know we are fouling our own nest.

    Or do you want to dispute some part of that chain of logic?

    Trevor.

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  51. Arana, your comment about man spending “trillions trying to prevent” climate change reflects a very common fallacy about the existing business model as opposed to a genuinely sustainable approach to doing business. The existing model, which is heavily dependent on fossil fuels for energy and raw materials, is not only inefficient, but is inevitably doomed to failure because even if climate change isn’t real because the supply of fossil fuels is finite. Investing trillions in developing clean and renewable energy sources, when combined with changing our consumption behaviour from the current relentless consumption of shit we don’t need will not only significantly improve the lifestyles of pretty well all of humanity but actually give us all a long term future.

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  52. The fossil fuel industries are spending trillions of dollars trying to find and extract more oil to feed our collective habit. After they have extracted that oil, there is very little to show for it apart from the pollution and environmental destruction they have left behind.

    We could spend millions of dollars on say trying to develop a wave powered generator suitable for harnessing the energy crashing on Southland’s shores, without any guarantee of success. If that fails, we will have increased our learning, and our local industries will have received some useful work. If it succeeds, we will have a source of energy for a long time and knowledge of how to continue tapping that source of energy that will last until the end of human civilisation (if we are careful with our knowledge). Whether or not this leads to reduced temperature rises, the investment will not have been wasted.

    Trevor.

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  53. Trevor,

    Regarding the harnessing of waves crashing onto Southland’s shores, the measurement of success must include not degrading the environment as a result of diverting the energy. In nature, you can’t do just one thing, so there will be some side-effect.

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  54. Fair enough Tony. Of course, the wave harnessing systems might actually benefit the environment.

    Trevor.

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  55. Haven’t we been all through this climate-change question before?!!
    Trevor appears to have a good knowledge of what’s involved in developing and using alternative sources of power, and what they are. This should be the train of thought, surely. Many of us need guidelines regarding what is happening in that regard – what can be done, and lobbying for it..
    Why all the time-wasting debate; we know darned well there are many ways in which we humans are negatively affecting the environment, the atmosphere and the climate. I’m uncomfortably reminded of lemmings, and
    Nero fiddling!
    Couldn’t we be working hard together, taking the matter seriously and getting on with supporting whatever can be done to offset as far as possible the effects of past and present mistakes?
    If the M.P’s who present these blogs wished to guage how much we, the general public, were getting in behind remedial measures, they might get tired of trying to wade through our endless postings, to find out!?
    Just a thought…
    One more: The state of the atmosphere: As far as I am aware, the major source of clearing of pollution – apart from removing the SOURCE – is TREES, with their contribution of oxygen, moisture and the recycling of it and so on..

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