Black milestone in climate change reached

A black milestone in climate change history was reached over the weekend. Concentrations of carbon dioxide, the key ingredient in global warming, hit 400 parts per million of the air in our atmosphere, up from 280 ppm in the mid-18th century when the Industrial Revolution kicked in.  Internationally, we are rushing headlong towards disaster – 450 ppm being generally regarded as the threshold of ‘dangerous’ climate change.

Al Gore had this to say about the milestone: .… every single day we pour an additional 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the sky as if it were an open sewer. As the distinguished climate scientist Jim Hansen has calculated, the accumulated manmade global warming pollution in the atmosphere now traps enough extra heat energy each day to equal the energy that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-scale atomic bombs exploding every single day.”

Inaction is not feasible when you consider how many populations will have to move from their homelands, the devastation that will increasing be wrought by floods and the loss inflicted by more frequent, more intense droughts. Food, water and land are all at risk. It doesn’t get a lot more fundamental than this.

Global awareness is growing. Most countries are attempting to rein in their emissions and head towards more sustainable energy sources.

Meanwhile, downunder, the National Government has taken almost every retrograde step that could be done.

Labour implemented an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which aimed at slowly including polluting industries so they paid for the damage they did and there would be an incentive to change. Under National the brakes went on. Subsidies to polluters have continued while sectors such as agriculture are still able to operate with no cost for the damage they cause.

Internationally New Zealand has recently become a climate change pariah. From being a ‘global leader’, we are now the country handed Fossil Fuel awards at UN meetings. National has decided New Zealand will take a different, easier, path from other developed countries by not signing up to future binding commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. New Zealand is the only developed country not to enter a formal pledge to reduce emissions by 2020. And our emissions are going up. New Zealand is not doing its fair share on climate change, it’s freeloading and hoping the rest of the world will do the heavy-lifting.

This laggard attitude actually means we are missing opportunities. Opportunities to take the lead on green tech, and do our ‘fair share’ to protect the vulnerable from climate change, especially in the Pacific.

This black milestone could have a silver lining for a Government willing to face up to the challenges.

Ralf Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has continued the Keeling Curve his father pioneered, monitoring atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from Mauna Loa. He says 400 ppm was a done deal but there’s still hope: “What happens from here on still matters to climate, and it’s still under our control. It mainly comes down to how much we continue to rely on fossil fuels for energy.”

And Al Gore, much maligned yet still committed, says everyone needs to work to stop climate change: “Make no mistake, this crisis will demand no less than our very best. I am optimistic because we have risen to meet the greatest challenges of our past.”

He urges us all to mark this milestone with a commitment to change: “Rededicate yourself to the task of saving our future. Talk to your neighbours, call your legislator, let your voice be heard. We must take immediate action to solve this crisis. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. Now.”

The Green Party will continue to pressure the National Government to act on climate change. New Zealanders want to do their fair share. It’s time we started doing it.

141 thoughts on “Black milestone in climate change reached

  1. I don’t know that it is Fonterra. It is just the money motive and the lack of any sense of limits. The fact is that we are producing pretty much everything we can and perhaps more, within the bounds of sustainable agriculture.

    The demand for and the money available from, producing food, is such that there is a huge incentive to exceed what is sustainable for EVERY farmer, with or without Fonterra.

    We have our agricultural commons too, and we can destroy it just as certainly through our government’s encouragement of “growth” as we can destroy our climate.

    Friedman’s disciples are the scum of the earth.

  2. Trevor:..we don’t actually need new solutions…We just need to get moving on solutions we already know…

    Yes. I take your point, at this stage. I wish we all had your grasp of the various sources of power and how to apply them. Because to GET MOVING is the necessity, indeed. And it’s been well-said, I think, that it will be people-power throughout the world, which will move governments.
    We’re a bit slow in N.Z., to make demands as to what needs to be done for the good of All..and to insist on it; or to find ways of the people being able to achieve it, themselves…

  3. Latest news (Campbell Live tonight) re counteracting some effects of desert conditions and lack of feed:-
    UNBELIEVABLE!!
    ….Would you mind your child drinking milk from cows fed on Taranaki “pasture” which is a mixture of: soil and the debris from fracking and drilling operations, oversown with grass?!
    Will Fonterra stop at nothing?!
    And yesterday, (“Country Calendar”} a farmer doing incredibly well after changing to a system of using lucerne for the benefit of soil, moisture and grazing; (tap-root goes way down into ground and so draws up a very much greater amount of moisture than grass does..)

  4. Links are not enough. One of the key points about presenting AGW on your own web site is that it makes clear what the Green Party position actually is. You can state unambiguously that you accept the IPCC reports but also accept that these probably underestimate the effect, and you can say why you have this position.

    You can also present the stated positions of the other parties or candidates and why these positions are unsupported by the facts, where these parties or candidates are clearly trying to deny AGW.

    Trevor.

  5. In a word – No. It doesn’t help that the link contains extra characters that cause it to fail, but the page I did bring up doesn’t appear to have anything worth my time.

    We don’t actually need new solutions. We just need to get moving on solutions we already know, like solar photovoltaic arrays in sunny areas (deserts spring to mind), and solar thermal generation for providing power at night, wind farms to supplement these resources and a bit of other stuff (wave, tidal, geothermal).

    We already know of new solutions too. Salinity gradient power (e.g. via pressure retarded osmosis) is one, but limited in scope. Hydrothermal power is another, but also limited in scope. High-altitude wind power seems like an option too.

    Don’t underestimate what we have already considered.

    Trevor.

  6. Has anyone looked up that SIRIUS link, I wonder?? (posted above, May 18, 4.57p.m.) We really do need to find a bigger solution than anything we can think of or debate, within our experience to date…….there is more in the universe than we have yet considered!

  7. I agree with Trevor. Information on AGW and what we can do about it should be easily accessible on the Greens web site.

    Links alone are not enough.

  8. Those people recommending adaption to increased temperatures, sea level rises, etc rather than acting to prevent CO2 levels rising have lost sight of the effects increased CO2 levels have on ocean acidity and the damage this can do to the whole ocean food chain. The only adaption we can do to meet that problem is to accept that more of our food will have to come from the land rather than the sea. In the case of some small islands whose whole lifestyle depends on the sea, they might well ask “what land?”, as the sea levels rise further and further.

    Trevor.

  9. bj – that is about what I had in mind. The actual pages cover just the main points and perhaps some of the denialist counterarguments and why they don’t hold up, while the details are handled by links to the accepted research and sites like Skeptical Science.

    The key denialist arguments to counter are those put forward by the Nationals, ACT, United Future, etc both directly and when those groups refer to the arguments put forward by the denialists.

    Trevor.

  10. I think my points are Trevor –

    That links to skeptical science are better than maintaining the list of arguments ourselves. One could link to their full list or have individual links to popular arguments and change which ones are featured every week or two…

    A link to Spencer Weart

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm

    gives a better explanation than any I might write.

    ————————

    and it doesn’t matter a whit because the loons won’t bother to look at the links. They never do because they don’t WANT to know, they just want to argue.

    That said, we SHOULD have the links up, always, for the people who aren’t part of the RWNJ brigade.

  11. Trevor: “..the pages could cover….CO2 rise..etc. etc.” I like all your points..

    “..trees would get in the way of their huge irrigators. They can’t have that!”

    No, indeed!! And it’s a great loss to them and to the rest of us! What’s it to them that lots of trees/ moisture, AND less over-stocking, would enable less irrigation! I think many people are getting very tired of the effects of effluent/ boil-water orders, drought’s effects -environmental degradation, ‘control’ of water, and so on. (O.K.,I’m still on the topic – climate-change – because trees for drought-and-run-off prevention would be a huge part of easing effects of GW..)

  12. bj – the problem as I see it is that the Green Party accepts that AGW is happening, but the undecided voters aren’t as sure. This group is as likely to believe the National and ACT parties’ viewpoints unless the Green Party makes it clear why they accept AGW, and why the National and ACT views of the world are delusional. By having a set of web pages outlining the AGW theory, you will have somewhere to place the links to web sites that support AGW and even links to the denialists along with the expositions of their rubbish.

    Do it once, and do it right. Better than you and me trying to counter the trolls each time they show up.

    Trevor.

  13. noelene – trees would get in the way of their huge irrigators. They can’t have that!

    Trevor.

  14. WOW!! BREAKING NEWS..(as it were..!) I’ve found a site which tells that we can get energy for the world’s needs without needing fossil fuels, oils etc. at all.
    I’ve heard of it over the years, (that the energy to power all needs is available from the energy all around us) – but of course it’s still being kept secret by you-know-which-powers, for obvious reasons! ‘National security orders’, e.g., have been placed on some researchers who, for benefit of planet and people, have tried to uncover the facts. However, for those of us who are serious in wanting to know how humanity can obtain energy for all needs, without adding to global warming, the Documentary film, “SIRIUS” by Dr Steven Greer, is at http://www.siriusdisclosure.com…scroll down to the item Sirius Film and click on that. “Preview” is free, ‘though documentary viewing is $9.95, but the preview gives an idea of the project and possibilities. We need to look beyond our own information and current capabilities – and this looks like the answer..

  15. Steffan..”…and the loss inflicted by more frequent, more intense droughts..”

    We’ve been seeing this sad spectacle developing for years, and now, recognisable climate-change! – so hard on animals and farmers – and the economy.
    Can any farmer – or anybody – explain WHY our farmers DON’T plant trees on the bare, dehydrated, desert land? To bring back the moisture-cycle, shade, shelter and fodder. Especially tree-lucerne (fixes nitrogen.) On radio, at meetings and elsewhere, others have recounted how successful this practice has been – yet farmers appear not even to believe it! So frustrating: endless lamenting, discussing, querying. They could START NOW! I think tree-lucerne is particularly fast-growing..

  16. Dunno Trevor… the answers are already out there.

    We can link to Skeptical Science easily enough.

    It is clear enough that none of these dickheads are willing to read anything that contradicts their ideologically based worldview, even if it IS science rather than ideology that causes them to feel threatened.

  17. OneTrack you are lying, though since one has to know the truth to make it a lie – maybe not.

    The temperature is doing EXACTLY what the models said it would.

    The denial industry is doing EXACTLY what we knew it would do.

    The energy imbalance is adding the equivalent of a 4.5 Hiroshima sized nuclear blasts worth of energy to our planet… EVERY SECOND!!!!

    Some goes into the deep ocean. Some not. Shows in ENSO balances… but the heat continues to increase and the ice continues to melt.

    …and you sit there making fatuously stupid remarks that indicate your complete servility to your economic lords and masters.

    Go find a rolling sweet toroidal pastry and attempt aeronautical intercourse. (Take a flying f**k at a rolling doughnut)

  18. Rather than individual commentators having to answer all the questions that get raised by other commentators and trolls, can we have a few pages on the Green Party web site that explain the Green Party understanding of the various aspects of AGW, with links to the latest scientific information on those aspects? The pages could cover:
    – CO2 rise
    – proof that the CO2 rise is manmade
    – the effects of CO2 and other GHGs on the heat balance
    – the temperate measurements
    – why temperature increases will be harmful
    – sea level rise
    – what can be done to reduce CO2 emissions
    – what can be done to increase CO2 sinks
    and no doubt others.

    Trevor.

  19. OneTrack – the models made forecasts of the likely temperature rise given certain assumptions, including the level of solar irradiation and the levels of aerosols. Since those models have run, the levels of aerosols have increased (mainly due to more coal burning) so naturally actual temperatures will be a bit lower.

    If you adjust the actual temperature readings for known effects such as aerosols, solar irradiation and the El Nino/La Nina oscillation, you then see a steady underlying temperature rise which is in agreement with the models.

    Putting it another way, if AGW wasn’t happening, temperatures should have dropped back but they haven’t.

    Trevor.

  20. Egads! Yet another good post by Kennedy Graham successfully trolled out to over 120 conflicting comments by Arana!
    Why do Frogblog’s moderator’s allow Arana, who is clearly a skilled concern-troll, so much latitude to derail all comments discussions in all climate change related posts?

  21. Just another comment…..a huge part of the difficulties in dealing with climate change is the reduction in caring for each other – working globally for measures needed; and “Without sharing there can be no justice; without justice there can be no peace; without peace there can be no future.”
    “Fair redistribution of the world’s resources will create GLOBAL justice, freedom and peace.”
    “Humanity is one family, and the earth’s food, raw materials, energy and technological resources belong to everyone equally – not just to those nations who control the global economy and those individuals who can afford to buy them.”

    Fortunately there is an emerging movement to address and act on the problems. I urge everyone to check out the site: http://globalcommonstrust.org/ …and see what you think of it…
    “..Our ‘commons’ are the collective heritage of humanity – the shared resources of nature and society, that we inherit, create and use…A new kind of ‘common wealth’ is needed to protect the assets of Earth, resolve our private and public debts, and create a global society of justice, sharing and sustainability for everyone..”

  22. Trevor: “Adaptation will be required……” Very helpful information in grasping what’s necessary. Thankyou.
    These measures will cost money, unaffordable to the most threatened countries – hence Nelson Mandela’s point regarding how the world’s money is spent – wasted in the ‘West’..otherwise we could afford the measures necessary..

    Climate change is added to all the other destructive factors, and obviously while world governments are turning their full attention towards pointlessly fiddling with the failed economic system, they are not acting to correct, or at least adapt to, the real threats of climate change,(its effects made worse by removal of trees and therefore moisture, with droughts and run-off,floods..); nuclear energy use; poisoning of air, water, soil and food; desertification of land… in fact they act to intensify the problems. And as long as their power and greed leads them to fight for (and to a degree the peoples also fight for) more and more and bigger and bigger – or even just fight for enough to survive, there will be wars.

    S.O.P. (Save Our Planet) -(Share-International) notes the urgent priorities are: Addressing Global Warming and the Restoration of the Environment; and the danger of War and the establishment of Peace. (Also adequate food, health care, housing, and education for all.)

    Without sharing of resources, how can the threats of climate change be averted? 80% of the world’s food and resources is used and wasted by only 2o% of its population – mainly those in the developed world; forming the basis of terrorism, environmental degradation, crime and social unrest. “The GREED of the FEW has placed the ENTIRE PLANET at risk.” Again, “Time is running out; it is up to the people to urge governments to TAKE STEPS TO REVERSE the appalling destruction and degradation of planet Earth before it’s too late..”

    Maitreya, based in London, has been teaching for a long time that “The problems of humanity are real but solvable. The solution LIES WITHIN YOUR GRASP: Take your brother’s need as the measure for your action and solve the problems of the world. There is NO OTHER COURSE…”

  23. “A black milestone in climate change history was reached over the weekend” – and the temperature still doesn’t track the way the “models” say it should

  24. The money we use distorts our economy and demands (it is not optional) continuous exponential growth. ( Real money represents work done. Our money represents debt… with interest. )

    This is of course, impossible, though with the discovery of ever cheaper and denser energy sources we’ve been able to fool ourselves a while.

    The cheapest sources however, turned out to be NOT cheap. They can cost us our planet… and the problems interlock.

    Nobody who has money depending on the current BAU arrangement has any desire to allow the price to reflect that damage. They’ll lose money.

    The money definition we use has however, handed them control over governments. We can scarcely begin to solve the CO2 problem without first kicking the banksters out of government and taking away the weapon they used to get into it. You want to tax CO2? That cuts into “the economy” and the “GDP” and the banker’s profits.

    There is a reason why denialist tracts are popularly found in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Forbes. Big money doesn’t want any changes to its power base.

    I used to think lawyers were bad… but they are merely venal compared to what the banks and some of the other money-men are doing.

    Society controls the economy and economics determines what gets done to the environment. If the economy is distorted, the environment will be damaged. We have a lot of distortion.

  25. “Surely some effective means of reducing and preventing the practices which do ‘over-emit’ is patently necessary”

    10:10

  26. Arana asks (if we cannot get CO2 levels down far enough):
    “In which case, wouldn’t the appropriate response be adaptation, not prevention?”

    Adaption will be required, including building dykes to protect some land, and relocating infrastructure to higher ground. Desalination plants will be required to allow food to be grown in areas where the rainfall drops too far, and a whole lot of other measures will be required as well. However the costs of these adaption measures increase with increasing temperatures and sea level rise, so the actual answer is that we will need to adapt and mitigate, as mitigation to reduce the extremes of temperature rise will be more cost-effective than allowing totally uncontrolled temperature increases and then trying to adapt to those increases.

    The other reason why continuing to burn all the fossil fuels we can find won’t work is that they will run out, and will be increasingly expensive as they start to run out. Unless we seek renewable solutions, we will be faced with extremes of temperatures and no fuel. Better to switch to renewable solutions now and leave some of the fossil fuels in the ground.

    Trevor.

  27. bjchip: “unless you intend to break out the guns and shoot people or declare war on those who emit too much…”

    Surely some effective means of reducing and preventing the practices which do ‘over-emit’ is patently necessary. Why do we let so many get away with so much, to the detriment of the rest? We’re quite a judgmental nation in many ways (which I’m not happy with), but in cases like this, why are we weak?? This is a national and world-wide, serious situation.

  28. DBuckley – The environment is acted on by the economy, and the economy is what the society uses to control what it does.

    If you want to focus on directly controlling the emission of CO2 without addressing the pricing advantages conferred on burning fossil fuels, I promise you that you will be disappointed with your ultimate results… unless you intend to break out the guns and shoot people or declare war on those who emit too much.

    This is a common mistake for Greens, in which they think that the society sits between the economy and the environment. It doesn’t work that way.

  29. dave stringer says “I believe there should be better information available on what to do..”

    I absolutely agree with you..

  30. Greenfly said . . . .

    “Why should we waste our breath? Arana doesn’t accept that AGW is real.”

    But I do, and I believe there should be better information on what to do to contribute available to simple citizens, like myself, who look to the green party for direction and assistance on such matters.

    I have to say that I find it confusing that when it comes to arguing about the ownership of out-dated power generation systems the party has very concrete statements of what it will do if elected to government, but has no ability to provide statements of similar solidity with regard to what is, I would hope, one of the core reasons for its existence.

  31. I really think the only ultimate solution would have been, or BE, SELF-SUFFICIENCY. New Zealand may be the only country which could achieve that, but at least it could also be a model for others!
    We have the space, the organic methods for food; New Zealanders have so many skills- even ship-building,I think; boat-building ‘bus and train-building capacity; can anyone think of any NEED (NOT “WANT”) which couldn’t have been catered for here?
    Look at the crazy, ineffective world economic system, (there’s no point in trying to adapt to it as it can’t succeed, when a small percentage of the world’s population controls and takes for itself a HUGE percentage of world resources and wealth, and the problems and injustices of the Free Market; Free Trade cavorting;

    We are much too far away to have been justified in linking-up heavily with nations overseas. (started with Britain, I guess!) Consider the astronomical expenses, wastage of resources etc. involved. N.Z. has been a great role-model in many things, but unfortunately not now, in self-sufficiency. It might be FORCED on us, ‘though'; and on others as well – which would be good for the planet and all concerned..

  32. Gregor: “lifestyle choices are set by example..” “…compelling..will come as a much greater shock to the individual…”

    Trouble is, in THIS CASE, there’s not much time for setting an example and for the reluctant individual slowly to ?decide he/she might start trying to help..

    I must admit I’d say, ‘poor little individual…! who can’t adapt its thinking towards others and the very planet!’
    The much bigger SHOCK, PERHAPS, than compelling, would be e.g., loss of more than a third of the earth’s trees and their water-table; heavily-increased, widespread drought (because of bared earth – no cover; synthetic ‘fertilizers’, over-stocking and methane-plus, no ‘rest-time’ for soil etc..); mightily-increased CO2 because too many individuals – incl. poli’s – didn’t want to change, and have to witness disastrous flooding, and all the other effects of GW. (which ‘compelling’ widespread might have prevented.) Sure, what each of us can do is NOT ENOUGH. But that is why, in the case of Global Warming I believe in compelling!

    You don’t let a child choose – and continue doing something you know will cause him great harm and misery, or worse. He doesn’t know enough, or doesn’t want, to change; you have to ‘pressure’ him. (it can be done kindly..!) If so many people are blind to the seriousness, the dire state of the planet and the changes necessary in lifestyles, national action etc., what should be done? Nothing?!

    As an individual, I do TRY:- walk daily to local garage for mail; and buy a “Press” only on Saturdays; haven’t eaten any animal for 43 years; being on Super, with no job, only have to use car once fortnightly for food; and the very occasional meeting; unplug at the wall, except ‘frig’ and turn off hot-water cylinder all night; turn off all lights; no vacuum-cleaner for carpet (a brush/scraper-type broom – very effective); try hard to buy organic (no GE, or petroleum-created pesticides, chemical fertilizers etc); ‘safe’ aerosols; And if only there was a train-service – or a ‘bus, (and one with a rack for shopping-trolley or suitcase), in my district, I’d use it instead of the car…and so on…Hi-de-hi….

  33. …which is what normal electricity marketing does anyway. The hydro generation is reduced when the wind farms are generating, allowing it to be used later instead of coal or gas.

    Trevor.

  34. Trevor says “Wind farms save the water in our hydro lakes,”

    ONLY if we CUT generation from the dams to lower levels.

  35. photonz1 – your 30% capacity factor for wind farms is an overseas figure. New Zealand wind farms typically achieve 40%.

    Wind farms save the water in our hydro lakes, ultimately displacing fossil fuel generation. They don’t require any more additional backup. If we get a lot of wind generation, we may have to consider adding reversible pumps to some of our hydro systems or even constructing new pumped storage hydro systems, but that is some time away.

    Trevor.

  36. Kerry notes:

    This green is not necessarily against hydro. Smaller “run of the river” plants can be used without the same environmental effects.

    This goes to the heart of where the Green party (and Greens, and greens, and environmentalists) stand.

    It is true, a stonkin’ great hydro plant will fuck up the environment, no doubt about it. However, because hydro plants are very cheap to run, once you’ve got one, you tend to use it whenever possible. Thus stonkin’ hydro tends to displace coal and gas, even in profit-driven scenarios, as it generally makes economic sense to do so.

    The price for not building big hyrdo is to save the environment whilst sacrficing the Environment. That big ‘E’ is important, as if we dont get that right, then there wont be anyone around to see the pretty valleys…

  37. Kerry says “Not very often that there is no wind somewhere in New Zealand.”

    If there’s a big high over the country, it’s common for it to be pretty calm everywhere.

    That’s the main reason power prices have gone up significantly since the 90s – not from big profits (the last 4 years of Labour the profits were 60% higher than the last 4 years of National).

    It was because in the 90s we ran out of all the extra capacity from hydro, and has to start building new generation at a fast rate. And as wind farms only run on average 30% of the time, we have to build a lot more than their full capacity.

    And when it’s a dry year AND there’s not much wind, we have to have some other back up again – hence extra thermal, geothermal, and gas peaker plants than needed to be built.

  38. The biggest emitter by far of greenhouse gasses in NZ is agricultural related, and we (realistically) aren’t going to fix that. So whats left?

    The next two biggest sectors for greenhouse gasses are road transport, and energy. Perhaps more troubling, since the 1990 benchmark, transport emissions have gone up 76%, and electricity and energy emission by 91%. Yes, 91%.

    Electricity is a sector that can be fixed most easily.

    in 1959, 93% of New Zealand’s electricity came from hydro, the rest coming from coal and oil. This was just before the geothermal plants came on line, and just before the inter-island link, bringing hydro power to the North Island.

    Today, 54% of our juice comes from hydro, 14% from geothermal, and 27% from burning stuff.

    The underlying reason for the mix of generation used today is because there is a (pseudo) market-driven mechanism used to decide how to generate the power, and the key optimisation factor for this mechanism is the generation of money, rather than the generation of electricity.

    Should we desire to, we could change how we choose to optimise generation resources, and even manage demand. The Labour / Greens “single market” proposal, for all its faults (and hell, they are manifold) could be used to influence this behaviour.

    We could reverse that massive increase in CO2 since the 1990 line in the sand, and continue to reduce it further, all without becomming a 3rd world country.

    On a more local level, if everyone replaced the long burning lamps in the house and businesses (porches, toilets etc) with CFLs, fluorescent, or, in the very near future, LEDs, then not only will they save money, but they will reduce the CO2 emissions made today to run the classic lamps. Everyone can make a difference.

  39. The first thing to do, the most important thing to do, is to put a price on the CO2 emissions.

    I’m absolutely going to disagree with BJ here. Which is sad, becasue I believe he believes it’ll make a difference, and I believe that BJ is absolutely comitted to trying to save the planet.

    A “price” on CO2 emissions legitimises emmissions, and means that all that is necessary to emit is to pay a bit of money.

    The underlying problem is that there is no exchange where one can trade money for (and I accept that this statement makes AGW a given) undoing damage on the environment.

    What is necessary is to reduce emissions. Next post…

  40. Effective sustainable energy can include, however a combination of hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, bio fuel and waste plants.

    Plenty of room for redundancy there.

  41. Arana.

    Bugger. We cannot use a gas plant. It doesn’t generate all the time, it has 10% down time for maintenance.

    Help, we need redundancy!

    Redundancy and down time is already costed in whenever energy projects are compared.
    When comparing energy sources you allow for non generating time and usage factors including lack of wind, rain, or oil!

    When we cost wind power we look at the site and wind over time. It is simple arithmetic to work out the annual, daily and weekly output, and the down time due to lack of wind. We have formulae for it.

    Not very often that there is no wind somewhere in New Zealand.

    Wind complements hydro and solar rather well, though.

    Have you noticed that less sunny days tend to be windier and wetter.

  42. “…planting trees and bushes in an urban environment will also sink some CO2 and reduce temperature extremes…”

    Trevor, you reminded me:- as well as in urban areas, planting trees – many trees – in rural environments, (e.g. heavily drought-prone environments!!), would also sink some CO2 and reduce temperature extremes! Hey, the farmers might lose a bit of space and therefore need to reduce excessive stock-numbers, but the stock would be healthy, contentedly browsing the leaves. Again, no transporting of feed needed – fuel, emissions etc.
    And farmers would be relieved of a proportion of the stigma of their farms being a major source of methane!

  43. Geothermal energy is regarded as a renewable energy resource. It is available 24/7 and we should build more of it. However under National, the geothermal development teams are being disbanded…

    Trevor.

  44. One of the policies to help get CO2 levels down is to invest in carbon sinks, notably forests. Simply improving pest control so that possums and dear etc don’t stunt the tree growth would help. Planting forests on marginal land would also help. However planting trees and bushes in an urban environment will also sink some CO2 and reduce temperature extremes which can save on building energy use. The effectiveness of urban planting may depend on the way leaves and branches are disposed of.

    Trevor.

  45. noelene,

    I’m afraid that the “answer” is “you don’t start from here”. By this, I mean that almost (or maybe not even almost) everything in our lives must change. The minutiae of that, I don’t know. How do we get back to living in communities that only expend enough energy for their daily needs (i.e. not wants), with a bit extra for activities that the community considers important. This in a way that doesn’t degrade our habitat. AGW is just one aspect of that; maybe we can still have a fairly modern lifestyle with electricity generated from renewables and no fossil fuels usage at all, but can we do that without damaging our already fragile habitat (i.e. do it sustainably)? I don’t think that’s possible partly due to limited resources for the infrastructure and partly because in nature there are always consequences.

    No-one will have a clean list for you, showing exactly what we have to end up with and how we get from here to there, partly because there is probably no one endpoint but several but also because all the suggestions about what should be done and how (in broad terms) we should live involve an implicit or explicit assumption that modern civilisation can and must go one, somehow.

  46. “No-one is really answering Arana’s vital question.”

    Why should we waste our breath? Arana doesn’t accept that AGW is real. She only asks for details of what can be done so that she can attack the idea. There’s no value to anyone who considers the matter important, in putting up ideas for a troll like Arana to belittle, obfuscate, ignore and flatly deny.

  47. No-one is really answering Arana’s vital question. Where is a concise list to inform every New Zealander on the DETAILS of all that each of us can do, in every relevant aspect of living?? EVERYTHING that’s causing the dire problem – industrial, personal, everything. Then we can choose to do our best to act on those factors. We hear so much on many sides, but no complete guide for the public; it IS confusing..

    You said it, Noelene. It’s rather odd, isn’t it.

    Perhaps if someone could kindly answer Noelene’s question?

  48. Arana. You are engaging here in discussion with people who have a real and considered belief that AGW is real,

    Which is why we’ve shifted to a discussion of what can be done about it.

    Your evasion is disappointing. Again:

    “You advocate “right actions” and “right thinking” (loosely defined by individuals) and this, collectively, may lead to reductions in c02 sufficient to save the world from climate disaster in the future.”

    Is that is incorrect? If so, I would be grateful if you could state your position in two or three sentences. This would help me understand where you’re coming from.

  49. Arana. You are engaging here in discussion with people who have a real and considered belief that AGW is real, but your position is around “if”. If AGW is real, blah, blah, blah. Your “if” makes your argument and position unworthy of response. Stand by your own words and leave the AGW debate, Arana. Your contribution is a waste.

  50. Both wind and solar are approaching the price of gas fired plants.

    Hmmm….I’m not sure about that. The total cost must include redundancy for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. What form will the redundancy take?

    Also, how much will this change global temperature?

  51. Greenfly often takes things out of context, then uses that to misrepresent my argument. Meanwhile, I seek clarification from him on his points, so I can best understand his position.

  52. Arana.

    This green is not necessarily against hydro. Smaller “run of the river” plants can be used without the same environmental effects.

    Both wind and solar are approaching the price of gas fired plants.
    In some places they are cheaper.
    Solar panels are gaining in efficiency and reducing in cost all the time. Approaching the point where it is cost effective to use them in new houses in rural areas.
    Carbon pricing makes them even more attractive.

    We also have energy from waste and bio-fuels which, in NZ, are capable of producing about 15% of our energy needs without disrupting food production.

    We still need to reduce energy use also, but there are many ways of doing that. Energy efficient buildings can use up to 40% less energy in their life, for example. We use 40% less fuel by slow steaming whenever we can.

  53. The Industrial Revolution was the start of the problems, eh!
    Yet people think that individual and national self-sufficiency is old-fashioned and “going backwards”!!

  54. Arana. You begin with, “I understand what you’re saying.” then go on to prove that you really don’t have a clue what I’m saying.

    My understanding of your position is this:

    “You advocate “right actions” and “right thinking” (loosely defined by individuals) and this, collectively, may lead to reductions in c02 sufficient to save the world from climate disaster in the future.”

    Is that is incorrect? If so, I would be grateful if you could state your position in two or three sentences. This would help me understand where you’re coming from.

    read that you support a tax on co2 emissions,

    You’re a very dishonest debater, however, *if* AGW is a real and present danger, then it’s the very least that needs to happen.

  55. Arana,

    I’m not talking about incentives to try and get carbon reduced in our everyday lives. I’m talking about what kind of society that would result in, if it was actually successful (especially if it didn’t just export our emissions), which is doubtful, not that a 40% reduction by 2020 is enough.

  56. Arana. You begin with, “I understand what you’re saying.” then go on to prove that you really don’t have a clue what I’m saying. There’s a cognitive divide between us, but don’t despair, we have a commonality – both of us fail to live up to our claim that we have finished with the debate. You exited the AGW debate with a declaration that you were done with it, but you persit, like a penicillin-resistent disease. It is interesting though, to read that you support a tax on co2 emissions,
    “The first thing to do, the most important thing to do, is to put a price on the CO2 emissions. Sure.”

    I was surprised at that. Pleasantly. Perhaps there’s hope for you yet.

  57. I don’t think anyone here seriously thinks we can stop AGW.

    Reducing the rate, minimisation and adaptation are the options left.

    Sticking heads in the sand is not an option which leaves much of a future.

    Funny how we can always find trillions for a war,or to bail out banks, but cannot find even a few 100 millions for addressing real worldwide problems such as AGW and poverty.

  58. But if you set a 40% target by 2020, you’ll double them, according to the Infometrics analysis.

    “Sustainable energy” means wind, solar and more hydro. The Greens are against building more hydro, so that means more wind and solar, both of which are expensive generation methods. They also require redundancy. How will you get your redundancy?

  59. “Do The Greens want to reduce electricity prices?”

    Yes. We are capable of 100% sustainable electricity in NZ. In which case we want to encourage use of electricity instead of oil.

    Even for denialists, making NZ more self sufficient in energy and offsetting the, more than a billion annually and rising fast, spend on imported energy, should make sense.

    Properly pricing carbon will encourage usage of more sustainable energy.

    However an ETS is not the answer. It was only supported by the Green party at the time, because we had no show of getting a better option.
    Just another way for international finance to get their greedy paws on everything.
    Carbon tax and spend (on developing sustainable energy and industry) would be much more effective.

    And. We need mitigation, reduction and adaptation!

    Refusing to do anything guarantees disaster.

  60. The first thing to do, the most important thing to do, is to put a price on the CO2 emissions.

    Sure. How much tax would you put on it?

  61. He has an environmental voice but that’s it. Like most people, he can’t contemplate the necessary changes to live sustainably.

    Yep.

  62. You’re not listening. Almost no-one can contemplate the kind of society (even in broad terms) needed to live without emissions beyond pre-industrial times. I’m not a member of the Green Party, nor do I intend forming a national party for the next election. No politician can tell the truth about what is needed and what it will mean for our society because almost no-one is prepared to contemplate it

    I can contemplate it. That’s why I have to be more sure about AGW projections than others, because I know what is required to get emissions down. The costs are ludicrously high.

    It requires the end of modern civilisation. It requires a return to something resembling a pre-industrial existence. It requires significant depopulation.

    Some people clearly do not understand it. Many think if they catch the bus, use low-energy lightbulbs, and eat organic, then that’s enough.

    It’s not even remotely close, is it.

  63. Arana,

    famous environmental leaders like Al Gore

    Al Gore is not an environmental leader. He has an environmental voice but that’s it. Like most people, he can’t contemplate the necessary changes to live sustainably.

    Shame, I agreed with almost everything else in your post!

  64. Please let us know what it means, then. And do you think you can live with what that means?

    Yes. It’s outlined here:

    http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/climate/emissions-target-2020/cab-paper-2020.html

    And Informetrics:

    “Analysis by economic consultancy Infometrics shows that the carbon price would have to be extremely high to reduce emissions by 40% relative to 1990 emissions. Even at $500/tonne domestic emissions would still exceed a 40% reduction target, requiring the purchase of 8.7 Mt of carbon on international carbon markets.

    In addition, at $500/tonne each real gross national disposable income per person reduces by $3,200, and wholesale prices for petrol, gas and electricity double”

    Do The Greens want to reduce electricity prices?

  65. Arana –

    The first thing to do, the most important thing to do, is to put a price on the CO2 emissions.

    Make it a tax and dividend scheme. Make it simple. Don’t let the money get sidetracked into government. Just make it expensive to emit CO2.

    Then if you really MUST fly, you pay for the privilege but you have the choice to do such things if you feel it important enough. Same deal eating meat, driving cars… water-skiing behind your yacht.

    All is allowed, but the price reflects the damage. It is NOT our position (most of us anyway) that there is a particular activity that MUST be prohibited (though digging up and burning coal would be pretty close to it).

  66. Arana,
    I have contemplated it. For example, I know what a 40% reduction in emissions by 2020 means to NZ, even though some here clearly have absolutely no idea.

    Please let us know what it means, then. And do you think you can live with what that means? (Not that a 40% reduction by 2020 is a solution)

    So define it and take it to the people in 2014. To do anything less would be irresponsible, wouldn’t it?

    You’re not listening. Almost no-one can contemplate the kind of society (even in broad terms) needed to live without emissions beyond pre-industrial times. I’m not a member of the Green Party, nor do I intend forming a national party for the next election. No politician can tell the truth about what is needed and what it will mean for our society because almost no-one is prepared to contemplate it. I often criticise Greens for their pronouncements because they never go far enough and usually demonstrate an unwillingness to contemplate what I’ve been writing about. I’m told that they really do understand but that can’t be determined from their public utterances.

  67. Gregor,

    Not far away, but energy efficiency and production methods could reasonably see NZs power needs being sustainable by this time – assuming of course the societal and political will to make this a reality.

    I can’t see any way that could happen, unless you define power as excluding everything that runs on fossil fuels or is made using fossil fuels (here or abroad). Even then, the infrastructure for renewable electricity makes use of unsustainable resources, as to the people building, operating and maintaining that infrastructure.

  68. When I say “contemplate” I really include the willingness to potentially do what’s necessary, so I very much doubt that you’re willing to contemplate it, given your past comments about climate change.

    I have contemplated it. For example, I know what a 40% reduction in emissions by 2020 means to NZ, even though some here clearly have absolutely no idea.

    We can’t “solve” the problem but a realistic strategy would include both mitigation and adaptation. What we also need to accept, though, is that any such strategy will have us living in a very different society. Very different.

    So define it and take it to the people in 2014. To do anything less would be irresponsible, wouldn’t it?

  69. Arana,
    I am, hence my question.

    So, what you’re saying Tony, is that we really can’t do anything that will stop it. We can make a few symbolic gestures, but ultimately, the problem is not one we can solve.
    In which case, wouldn’t the appropriate response be adaptation, not prevention?

    When I say “contemplate” I really include the willingness to potentially do what’s necessary, so I very much doubt that you’re willing to contemplate it, given your past comments about climate change.

    What I’m saying is that we can’t stop climate change happening. We can’t reverse it. Warming will continue until equilibrium is reached (between what is radiated to space and what we get from the sun). If we stop all emissions now, feedback loops will still cause further carbon to be released and more heat to be trapped, increasing the equilibrium temperature. So, yes, we need to plan for adaptation (which is something else that governments aren’t doing) but we also need to ensure that we can continue to live on this planet, so mitigation is also necessary.

    We can’t “solve” the problem but a realistic strategy would include both mitigation and adaptation. What we also need to accept, though, is that any such strategy will have us living in a very different society. Very different.

  70. No-one is really answering Arana’s vital question. Where is a concise list to inform every New Zealander on the DETAILS of all that each of us can do, in every relevant aspect of living?? EVERYTHING that’s causing the dire problem – industrial, personal, everything. Then we can choose to do our best to act on those factors. We hear so much on many sides, but no complete guide for the public; it IS confusing..

    Can the GREEN PARTY, OR ANY AGENCY provide a complete list?? Please!

    Democracy? As Churchill said, it’s the worst system – except for all the others! What I hate about it as being totally unhelpful to all is that “The people do what they like, and society – the community – the country – suffers..” Where is the individual responsibility for what society becomes?? In the case of climate-change, the World suffers. (And in communism, “The State does what it likes and the people suffer”)

    I think the people need to be presented en masse with the very POSITIVE future envisaged IF WE ALL took these measures, (find out from the complete list!), preferably starting today! With a vision instead of just the negative aspects, they might well co-operate for their own sakes even.

    (Look at the terrible health-statistics of our nation today because people do what they like, and decry “nanny state” as they choose to call it!! Less health, less happiness, less productivity…..)

  71. It may not be enough, but I would hate to think i didn’t at least, try!

    The “we must do something!” gambit. What if what you’re doing not only doesn’t solve the problem, it misdirects resources that could have gone towards adaptation?

    And every little bit, multiplied 1000′s of times, may avert catastrophe.

    And it may not. If the catastrophe is as dangerous and imminent as some suggest, then I suggest you take it more seriously and set firm targets to get emissions down.

    But nothing serious will be done until enough people demand it. That is why useful, to those who want business as usual, idiots, such as Arana, are so dangerous.

    My personal c02 footprint is a lot smaller than famous environmental leaders like Al Gore and, let’s face it, Gareth Hughes.

    I don’t eat meat. Do you? I walk to work. Do you? I use a tank of gas ($85) once every two months. I have numerous trees.

    The only idiot here is the person who claims an environmental disaster is imminent, yet proposes an arbitrary, relatively moderate response.

  72. Zero carbon is not possible. Unless we all commit suicide.

    So, we need a worldwide commitment, akin to that the USA spends currently on wars, to both reduce emissions and return carbon sinks, such as rain forests.

    One advantage, though, all that effort will lead to more jobs, just as the second world war did.

  73. Damned editor again.

    NZ is in the fortunate position that we are capable of generating enough energy for an industrial lifestyle, sustainably. Most countries are not.
    We have both a moral and practical obligation to give them some headroom if we can.
    A few 100 million climate refugees heading our way fully armed is not an option I want.

  74. I see Arana, “I don’t know anything, but I believe no one else does, either” is still at it.

    For Dave.

    I think we all have to make a personal contribution.

    Advocating for more sustainable industry, sustainable energy, steady state economy and a more equal system that allows action without the burden falling solely on the poor. Tick.
    Reducing own CO2 emissions. Biking when I can, (Not in Wellington, though. Wellington motorists are homicidal) smaller car, reducing mileage, aviod flying anywhere for recreation, sailing not power boating, solar panels on the boat and reducing home power use etc. Tick.
    Reducing emissions at work. Urging slow steaming, less power use (Diesel gensets) and waste minimisation. Tick.

    I am sure I could do more. Working on it.
    It may not be enough, but I would hate to think i didn’t at least, try!
    And every little bit, multiplied 1000’s of times, may avert catastrophe.

    But nothing serious will be done until enough people demand it. That is why useful, to those who want business as usual, idiots, such as Arana, are so dangerous.

  75. dave – note in AUP’s comments the operative phrase “by 2030″.

    Not far away, but energy efficiency and production methods could reasonably see NZs power needs being sustainable by this time – assuming of course the societal and political will to make this a reality.

    You’ll be dead by then so not to worry :)

    Joking aside, Wireless Power Transfer roading (induction powered transport) for example is moving beyond the experimental in a number of implementations around the world – some big players like Renault, Toyota and BMW are staking money on it.

  76. Tony

    Thank you for an answer that makes sense and allows me to make a contribution.

  77. Mr(s) Unimaginative

    Dave. Annex 1 countries need to achieve (basically) zero carbon emissions from energy use (ie, fossil fuels) by 2030. That’s planes, cars, fridges, shipping, cell phones, computers….you name it – zero carbon emission.

    So I should stop using anything that runs on electricity or carbon based fuel ?

    right

    that”s the end of my blogging then.

    Byebye

  78. What must WE DO?? Her suggestions look pretty good to me; what else?? So why don’t WE DO those things? That’s the important question..We need a list from those who really know the overall view; and it should be publicised throughout the country. SOON!

    Yes indeed, Noelene.

    But Greenfly appears to disagree with you. Greenfly says it’s a personal choice, and not one to be “dictated” in the form of a list.

  79. Stop doing that and a lower, safer level could be maintained. Those people who make changes on a personal level are helping to create a thinking environment where broad change could be affected. Those, like yourself, why decry action on a personal level, hamper that, hence the disdain with which your comments are met. I know you can’t understand what I’m saying. I’m talking to other commenters here.

    I understand what you’re saying. It’s quite simple. You advocate “right actions” and “right thinking” (loosely defined by individuals) and this, collectively, may lead to reductions in c02 sufficient to save the world from climate disaster in the future.

    Wouldn’t you need to be sure the actions you’re taking will be sufficient to prevent it? What if the actions you take aren’t enough? How will you know?

    Tony says “To be honest, there is nothing Arana or Dave can do to get CO2 down to safe levels”

    Do you agree or disagree with Tony?

  80. What a simplistic view you have, Arana. You worry that we can’t “stop it”. Stop what? Climate change? Ha! You’ve already acceded that it’s happening. Perhaps you mean “catastrophic climate change”. Actions now could prevent that. It’s a matter of degree, I believe. Keep burning coal and humanity could reach the “catastrophic” level. Stop doing that and a lower, safer level could be maintained. Those people who make changes on a personal level are helping to create a thinking environment where broad change could be affected. Those, like yourself, why decry action on a personal level, hamper that, hence the disdain with which your comments are met. I know you can’t understand what I’m saying. I’m talking to other commenters here.

  81. @ Arana and Dave. Annex 1 countries need to achieve (basically) zero carbon emissions from energy use (ie, fossil fuels) by 2030. That’s planes, cars, fridges, shipping, cell phones, computers….you name it – zero carbon emission.

    So will the Green Party be campaigning on those measures in the 2014 election?

  82. The reason no-one has yet given a good answer to the actual question is that the prospect of what must be done is unpalatable to all, even greens

    Some honesty, at last.

    I don’t think anyone (for all intents and purposes) is prepared to contemplate what that means…To be honest, there is nothing Arana or Dave can do to get CO2 down to safe levels.

    I am, hence my question.

    So, what you’re saying Tony, is that we really can’t do anything that will stop it. We can make a few symbolic gestures, but ultimately, the problem is not one we can solve.
    In which case, wouldn’t the appropriate response be adaptation, not prevention?

  83. “So, Greenfly, you’re saying it’s all a personal choice.”
    No, Arana. Can you not read?A question was asked, “what can I do?” The answer has to be a personal one.

    So, the answer is “not a personal choice”. “The answer is a personal one”.

    Erm…crystal clear.

  84. “So, Greenfly, you’re saying it’s all a personal choice.”

    No, Arana. Can you not read?

    A question was asked, “what can I do?” The answer has to be a personal one.
    Why do you struggle to understand the simplest of ideas?

    You spout, “Genuinely, this is a revelation to me”, but there’s nothing genuine about your response at all and there’s no revelation, except an imagined one.

    If you genuinely wanted to discuss the issue (which you clearly don’t) you’d read carefully what others are saying, calm your fevered mind and really try to glean the meaning of what they write. From such an approach comes learning.

  85. It’s clear that Arana wasn’t really interested in an answer to her/his question but Dave might have been.

    The reason no-one has yet given a good answer to the actual question is that the prospect of what must be done is unpalatable to all, even greens. We’re at 400ppm and will be at least at that level for centuries, no matter what we do (unless some miracle technology comes along, that doesn’t emit carbon and does suck CO2 out of the air, somehow). The last time the earth was at 400ppm, humans weren’t about and the temperature was about 8 degrees warmer. Could that happen this time? Yes, it could, but no-one knows if it will happen.

    The strongest actions we could take, not to get CO2 down to levels that might give us a stable climate for a few generations more, but to avoid even worse effects than will already happen, is to stop all extra emissions of CO2 and methane that we’re responsible for beyond, say, pre-industrial times. I don’t think anyone (for all intents and purposes) is prepared to contemplate what that means (it definitely means no flying and no motoring, by the way). Certainly it means the end of civilization. So the proposed actions are less than that and future generations will have to live (or die) with that.

    To be honest, there is nothing Arana or Dave can do to get CO2 down to safe levels. Should we just party and ignore all the damage that our lifestyles (including Arana’s) are doing? Well, that’s up to the individual. For me, I just can’t face living the way I used to (though it wasn’t nearly as damaging as most others) and will try to limit my impact where I can, within the confines of society and family.

    Why would anyone want to live unsustainably? And yet that is what civilised life is.

  86. If you feel strongly about it, sure. Plenty of others have made these choices to some degree or other. Or you can wait until these changes are imposed by necessity. Your choice.

    Either way, the result is the same.

    Is the GP telling the voters this? That is they don’t stop flying and eating meat now, then these activities will be banned in future?

    If not, why not?

  87. So, do I need to stop flying? Stop driving? Stop eating meat?

    If you feel strongly about it, sure. Plenty of others have made these choices to some degree or other. Or you can wait until these changes are imposed by necessity. Your choice.

    When should we aim to hit this 40% reduction?

    Why not start tomorrow and set an example to your friends and neighbours. Show them what you can do personally as a civic minded citizen genuinely concerned for our collective future. I’m sure they’ll be impressed with your sacrifice and perseverance.

    They’re going through a few symbolic actions and feeling self-righteous.

    Again, imposing your own viewpoint of moral participation. Instructive.

    I guess those people that took a moral position on slavery were taking a few symbolic actions to prop up their own self-righteousness as well. Best to abandon all hope and not take any responsibility for our actions then left we be considered egotists.

    If they truly believed the science, they’d surely be measuring effectiveness and demanding much harder lines if they see c02 increasing.

    So now the individual is responsible for the individual moral positions of the body politic and the failings of their political representatives?

    The GP is actually demanding these standards – unfortunately you can’t compel people to act for a collective good (or even their own long term interests) unless you abandon democracy.

    That may be an outcome that we have to face eventually – personally I hope not.

  88. You might be happy paying lip service – others aren’t.

    They are.

    They aren’t connecting their actions to the science. They’re going through a few symbolic actions and feeling self-righteous.

    If they truly believed the science, they’d surely be measuring effectiveness and demanding much harder lines if they see c02 increasing.

  89. So, Greenfly, you’re saying it’s all a personal choice.

    Fine. From what I’ve gleaned here, I’m well within my required c02 footprint. I don’t even eat meat, I have quite a few trees, I walk to work, hardly drive, and certainly don’t needlessly plane-commute to, say, Invercargill to collect signature for a petition.

    It’s like the atheist who doesn’t believe in God, but acts the same, or better, than those who do.

    Genuinely, this is a revelation to me. I’m doing all I need to do, so it’s irrelevant if I believe in AGW or not. In practice, I’ve done my bit.

  90. Rob,

    And don’t get hung up on the 2°c thing, that is just symbolic. Plenty of bad, bad, stuff happens before the two degree limit is reached.

    I’m not hung up on it, though lots of people are. I’m well aware that bad things happen well before that symbolic limit but lots of people aren’t. The people that aren’t include politicians, our so-called leaders. My previous point was that even this symbolic limit is only given lip service to and that even measures supposed to keep us under that limit have only a 50-50 chance of succeeding at that? There is nothing significant being done now, and there is a vanishingly small chance of anything significant being done in the future, if there is time to do it, which I very much doubt.

    This isn’t to say that we should give up but please don’t expect to avoid very serious environmental changes because it ain’t gonna happen. But there are certainly actions that can help not make it even worse. That’s the best that you can “hope” for, I think.

  91. People really do seem to think that all they have to do is make some minor lifestyle adjustments, take a moral position, but essentially, carry on as usual. I may not know that much of the science, but I know what a 40% reduction in emissions means in practice.

    Not really.

    You are transposing your own beliefs – “all they have to do is make some minor lifestyle adjustments, but essentially, carry on as usual.” – on ‘people’ as an aggregate which is disingenuous. You might be happy paying lip service – others aren’t.

    Like I say, moral choice.

  92. So, do I need to stop flying? Stop driving? Stop eating meat? What does a 40% reduction in emissions mean for NZs population? What does it mean for our animal population?

    When should we aim to hit this 40% reduction?

  93. Smoking is a personal and moral choice.
    It’s deleterious affects on the individual and their families are well documented and scientifically proven.

    It will kill you, but plenty of people still do it.
    The solution is scientific – stop smoking.

  94. “Faux outrage”

    It’s not outrage.

    It’s astonishment.

    People really do seem to think that all they have to do is make some minor lifestyle adjustments, take a moral position, but essentially, carry on as usual. I may not know that much of the science, but I know what a 40% reduction in emissions means in practice.

  95. Immediacy is not cancelled out by voluntarism. There is nothing stopping you or anyone making a moral decision now. Lifestyle choices are set by example.

    The arbitrary values-led response doesn’t seem to gel with the level of science-based threat in Kennedy’s post.

    I can make all the “moral decisions” I like now, but it’s not going to reduce c02 ppm below 400, is it.

  96. It’s not a personal and moral choice, it’s science.

    400 ppm is a specific measurement. If that’s too high, it must come down. Apparently, it must come down now.

    If that danger is as bad as stated, then the solution cannot possibly be a set of values and moral positioning. The solution must surely be specific.

  97. Thanks for proving my point, Arana.

    You conveniently ignore the context of my comments because you seek no genuine answers.

    Immediacy is not cancelled out by voluntarism. There is nothing stopping you or anyone making a moral decision now. Lifestyle choices are set by example.

    The alternative is to wait than be compelled – something that will come as a much greater shock to the individual.

  98. “you can’t actually tell New Zealanders what they must do to reduce c02 to ideal levels”

    Demanding a commenter on a blog “tell New Zealanders what they must do” – how authoritarian of you, Arana! The moment anyone did that, you’d be shreiking, Nanny! Nanny!
    The question from Dave was “what can I do”. A personal response was asked for from commenters here (Gregor in fact) not a policy declaration from the Green Party. You don’t read carefully. You may be “hand on heart astonished” but that’s because you are listening onlty to your own voice. Try comprehending what it is others are akshully saying.

  99. philip raises a good point about the political space – another thing once can do as an individual is vote for a party that wants to change the status quo.

    Again, that is a personal and moral choice.

  100. for instance, growing some of your own food, travelling by public transport and utilising technology to tele-travel rather than physically ‘visit’ distant family).I thinks it’s important to frame the problem as a moral choice rather than compel people as it tends to be more effective in the long run.

    This sounds at odds with:

    “We must take immediate action to solve this crisis. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. Now.”

    and…

    Internationally, we are rushing headlong towards disaster – 450 ppm being generally regarded as the threshold of ‘dangerous’ climate change.

    Surely this is a call for radical lifestyle adjustment immediately?

    You mean to say, after all this debating, all I need to do is walk to work (already do that), and a few other minor things, which I do, and more. So, I’m already compliant! I don’t have to do anything more?

    This is a revelation.

  101. Arana asks a reasonable question as to what one can do if one accepts that AGW is a reality – but is he/she willing to take the next step? Think about the implications…..read ……get information…..be active in your intent to understand and take action.

    For what it’s worth the issue in my view is so big the contribution I can make is very small and may have little material effect. It requires major political action and leadership – which includes assisting the general population to understand and take action. But it also requires me to act from an aware and intentional place. So in our household it is at the front of our minds much of the time. We use our bikes as a matter of course(inc. grocery shopping) and think carefully about using our car, or use public transport where possible. We think about our purchases and their potential or actual contribution to the issue. We think about our energy use and make decisions accordingly. We talk to others about what they do. We address the issue regularly with politicians, both national and local,letting them know of our concern and challenging them about their attitudes and actions. We research the attitudes of the firms we support about their actions regarding their use of energy and how they handle waste. We support individuals and organisations which work for change around the issue. We read and inform ourselves, as we would about anything which matters to us. Of course, all of this is tiny when compared with the size of the problem. But we also know what change is possible when human beings act together. History is full of examples.

    Our actions are always exemplifying our beliefs, values and attitudes.

  102. dave – the answer is: everything you can reasonably do. Each of us has different possibilities and no one can prescribe to you what to do. Ideas abound, from the minor to the other end of the scale. What do you do or believe you could do, toward lessening the impact of global warming?

    You have GOT to be joking, Greenfly.

    You must know what c02 levels we have to hit? And how. If this is as big and immediate danger as many here like to make out, then surely arbitrary measures, such as “doing what you believe you could do” is not a solution to such a potentially life threatening issue.

    I am genuinely, hand-on-heart, astonished.

  103. Well, I think for start it would be trying to determine what lifestyle choices you make that contribute to CO2 emissions (what you eat and where it comes from, energy usage, transport usage for instance) and determine whether you can, bearing in mind your income limitations, make any voluntary changes that afford a limited opportunity cost – for instance, growing some of your own food, travelling by public transport and utilising technology to tele-travel rather than physically ‘visit’ distant family).

    I thinks it’s important to frame the problem as a moral choice rather than compel people as it tends to be more effective in the long run.

  104. So answer Dave’s question, then.

    I’m not “hurt”. I am genuinely interested in the answer.

    Surely someone MUST know???

    This is astonishing. All this heartfelt debate about AGW and you can’t actually tell New Zealanders what they must do to reduce c02 to ideal levels, whatever that may be.

  105. dave – the answer is: everything you can reasonably do. Each of us has different possibilities and no one can prescribe to you what to do. Ideas abound, from the minor to the other end of the scale. What do you do or believe you could do, toward lessening the impact of global warming?

  106. It’s an old ploy – ask one or two reasonable questions, in amongst your barrage of thinly-veiled insults, then come over all hurt when your question is ignored. Passive/aggressive but.

  107. Gregor,
    then please look on it as a serious question from me.

    I am retired, living in Auckland with my wife on a fixed income that is “livable” but not affluent.
    I have children in England, Australia, Wellington & Auckland and grandchildren in all but Australia (so far).

    What exactly must/should/can I do to help reduce c02 by the required amount?

  108. @ Arana and Dave. Annex 1 countries need to achieve (basically) zero carbon emissions from energy use (ie, fossil fuels) by 2030. That’s planes, cars, fridges, shipping, cell phones, computers….you name it – zero carbon emission.

    So what do you have to give up? I’m sure you can figure that out. Or you can kiss you and yours goodbye in a world where land temperature increases will be above the 4 degrees C mean surface global temperature rise.

  109. dave – if it was a genuine question asked in good faith, it would be answered.

    But it’s not, so it’s unlikely to be.

  110. Arana:- “What must I do?”

    What must WE DO?? Her suggestions look pretty good to me; what else?? So why don’t WE DO those things? That’s the important question..

    We need a list from those who really know the overall view; and it should be publicised throughout the country. SOON!

  111. Arana asks a reasonable question that I, and I’m sure others, would like to know the answer to. Does anyone know??

  112. Sage advice, Solkta. I note you always have something similarly erudite for photonz1 whenever he makes a deposit here.
    Draw you in, Arana?
    Oh dear.

  113. I am laughing. Most wouldn’t, but I find you amusing.

    Serious question.

    Let’s say Skeptical Science has managed to convert someone. And that someone is me. I now ask “what – exactly – must I do to reduce c02 by the required amount?”

  114. Probably in your case just stop talking and take your credits from a reduction in methane.

  115. Is changing light-bulbs enough? Walking to work? Recycling? Using re-usable bags at the supermarket? Paying an extra $50 a week for carbon emissions?

    Or is it something more than that? If so, what?

  116. If people want to draw me back in…

    However, let’s say I accept it as truth.

    What must I do? Give up meat? Flying? Driving? What is required to bring c02 back to the point where the global temperature falls to….whatever the appropriate temperature is?

  117. Arana said: “I’ve given up the AGW argument on here…”

    (Like me, can’t keep your nose out of it, huh?)

  118. You really are an appalling troll and an imbecile to boot.

    Perhaps you could provide a list of things each of us must do to avert the AGW catastrophe.

    Should we stop eating meat?

  119. Perhaps Rob could provide a list of things each of us must do to avert his catastrophe.

    Would we give up flying, for example?

  120. Don’t forget the National party’s ‘gone by lunchtime’ attitude to the Labour moratorium on new fossil-fuelled base load power stations despite the large escape-clauses that Labour included in that moratorium that could have allowed almost anything to have been built.

    Trevor.

  121. Tony – Of course it’s possible. The chances of it happening are admittedly slim. The impetus won’t come from politicians (excluding the Greens of course!), but from the public.

    And don’t get hung up on the 2°c thing, that is just symbolic. Plenty of bad, bad, stuff happens before the two degree limit is reached. I don’t want to depress you with the details right now. Plenty of time for that later….

  122. I’m doing my fair share. I live in the very same city I work.

    You really are an appalling troll and an imbecile to boot.

  123. True, adequately responding to climate change is going to require a societal mobilization not seen since World War 2, but however improbable that may be, it is still possible.

    Really, Rob? Do you honestly think it’s still possible, not just theoretically possible? Since we don’t even know for sure how bad the climate will get (and how bad the knock on effects will be) or how fast, we don’t know what actions are needed. To me, the only response that stands a reasonable chance of mitigating the change is to not put any more carbon in the atmosphere. The chances of that happening are vanishingly small. So we are left with taking some action (really, waiting for someone else to take some action) that may have a 50-50 chance of limiting the warming to 2C. I think that is the limit of what any of the world’s leaders are proposing. And the chances of even that are tiny, given the ineffectual talking that goes on late each and every year.

    Hope is something over which we have no agency, so hope is ineffectual. Do something yourself, if you can, as that is all you have agency over.

  124. ..”missing opportunities to do our fair share to protect the vulnerable from climate change..especially in the Pacific..”

    (Please let’s not have debate as to whether climate change is real or not…? We all know there are factors/lifestyles which need changing..)

    Nelson Mandela, as reported in Share-International magazine, made a very good point with regard to the ability to HELP those countries which are going to be desperately struggling with the prospect of rising seas; and whether there will be enough money in the world, in fact, TO help them.
    His research revealed that in 2009, the Western world spent:-

    $42 billion on Movies; $23 billion on Perfume; $117 billion on Chocolate; $520 billion on Weight-loss; and $1 trillion on Warfare.
    “yet 1 billion of the world’s 2.2 billion children live in poverty – a man-made problem..”

    It’s all a matter of where money is spent; and whether Western peoples acknowledge a responsibility; whether N.Z. sees OUR responsibility in the world. I do feel we, the public, need a clear outline – a list – of the factors in our lifestyles which we CAN and MUST CHANGE in order to do our bit; and above all, we do need a Government taking IT’S full responsibility,…. e.g.in its approach towards the heavy polluters – the very ones who could help most!

    It’s O.K.; I’m finished – off my soapbox now…..!

    I

  125. I’m surprised anyone would be optimistic about our chances. This is just blind hope and wishful thinking

    Certainly many bad things are now unavoidable, but it’s always useful to still harbour hope. Hope that humanity isn’t collectively as stupid as it seems to be.

    One only needs to look at recent events with gay marriage to appreciate how quickly things can turn around. True, adequately responding to climate change is going to require a societal mobilization not seen since World War 2, but however improbable that may be, it is still possible.

  126. He talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.

    There are a lot of enviro-politicians like that…

  127. It’s a shame that Kennedy chose to quote Al Gore. He talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.

    I’m surprised anyone would be optimistic about our chances. This is just blind hope and wishful thinking. As dbuckley indicated, people just don’t consciously care about the medium or long term future.

  128. I certainly encourage The Greens to go into the election on the platform of increasing eco-taxes. Also, be sure to quote Al Gore. They respect him. After all, isn’t it true New Zealanders want to pay higher eco-taxes, they want to pay more for energy, and they want, above all, to do their fair share?

    It’s all win.

  129. I’m doing my fair share. I live in the very same city I work.

    What are our MPs doing in this respect?

  130. New Zealanders want to do their fair share.

    No, they dont. Or at least, they don’t think its the most important thing we need to worry about.

    Of Health care, Education, Crime, The environment, Immigration, The economy, Terrorism, Poverty, as an average, New Zealanders picked the environment as fifth. Just 8.7% put the environment as the most important issue (of those listed!) facing New Zealand.

    Preaching to the choir will not make progress. Before you can make progress, perhaps you need to consider how to actually get New Zealanders to want to do their fair share.

  131. So, if I was to be straight up with government dept’s like WINZ and tell them that ‘No – I’m not actively seeking a job because that would entail participation in crimes against humanity and future generations through supporting and using processes that unjustifiably generate atmospheric CO2’…would the Green Party talk out stridently in my support when they subsequently removed my entitlement to benefits?

    I’m guessing not really.

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