Targeting the next generation: National’s version of a brighter future

Back in 2011, John Key’s Government headed into the election campaign with National’s plan to build a stronger economy and a brighter future for Kiwi families. The Plan included protecting communities, supporting the primary sector, creating jobs, and protecting the environment.

Last Friday, the Government announced its latest version of a brighter future for Kiwi families.  It is an unconditional pledge that New Zealand will do its fair share to ensure that global warming will cross the ‘dangerous’ threshold, as defined by the international community and enter the temperature zone associated with catastrophic climate change.

In response to the UN’s prescription of 2007 that developed countries must shave 25% to 40% off 1990 emissions by 2020, New Zealand has formally committed, in August 2013, to 5%.

Bravo!  The National Government, visionary and courageous as ever, is effectively targeting the next generation.

I asked a question, Tuesday, the first day back.  Minister Groser had dropped the announcement on a Friday – the ‘Friday dump’, then stepped onto a plane for trade talks overseas.  Not the first time trade and climate policy have become mutually stranded.  But no matter, Associate Minister Bridges, hatted out also as Energy Minister, took the question.  Not for the first time. Something of a Gallipoli syndrome emerging….

In 2009, Mr Groser’s predecessor, Nick Smith, had announced a conditional target of 10 – 20%.  Anything less ambitious, said Dr Smith, would “undermine New Zealand’s clean, green environmental reputation”.

Did today’s Minister agree with Dr Smith’s observation of 2009?  Yes, said today’s Associate Minister, the conditional target still stands: a 15% mid-point was, and remains, conditional on there being a comprehensive global agreement.

Setting aside the fact that a 15% cut in GHG emissions falls way short of what is required by each developed country to stay within the 2°C threshold, let us note in passing the illogicality of the Government’s position.

What the Government was saying in 2009 was: “we shall cut by 15% (mid-point) provided there is a comprehensive global agreement in place”.  But there is no way the Government can tell, until at least 2015 and probably sometime after, that a global agreement is even conceivably likely to be in place by 2020.   As of 2013, we certainly do not know, but it looks like a longshot – the UN negotiations are going at their usual glacial and semi-dysfunctional pace.

So, the Government has no way of knowing, around 2013, and probably into 2014, that a global agreement will be in place by 2020 – the target year.  Yet to get anywhere near a 15% cut by 2020, it would have to begin curbing emissions growth by 2009 at the latest.  In fact, emissions have soared between 2009 and 2012.

Now, we have the Government stating an unconditional target of 5%.  This compares with unconditional targets by Norway of 30%, Switzerland of 30% and the EU as a whole of 20%.

Oh yes, and New Zealand is the last developed country to enter an unconditional pledge.

Over the weekend, some of New Zealand’s leading climate scientists and policy analysts took the unusual step of issuing a media release in response to the NZ stated target.  This is what they say:

–       The Government’s target is markedly inadequate and disappointing;

–       It does not provide the leadership on climate change that New Zealand needs;

–       Globally, there is a major risk of dangerous warming — of around 3 – 4°C — if emissions are not rapidly reduced, starting this decade;

–       To have a reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous warming requires that developed countries cut emissions by around 20% to 40% by 2020, rather than 5%;

–       The Government rightly argues that New Zealand must do ‘our fair share’ to meet the  global challenge of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but its actions are inconsistent with this objective;

–       By repeatedly weakening the emissions trading scheme, rejecting a second legally-binding target under the Kyoto Protocol, and now announcing a negligible emissions-reduction target for 2020, the Government is undermining global efforts to address climate change and is further putting at risk New Zealand’s clean, green reputation;

–       We are embarrassed to now have a New Zealand target that is well short of the estimated combined commitment for developed countries of around 10-15% by 2020;

–       Climate change represents a critical and urgent challenge for the world community. We cannot leave it to the last moment on this one. Like an athlete in training for the long haul, we need to build our fitness as a low-carbon economy. We need policies that keep the pressure on, and we need to find innovative ways forward. We cannot afford to throw in the towel on this challenging issue; nor can we ignore our global responsibilities

I put this to Associate Minister Bridges. What was his insightful response, on behalf of the NZ Government?

The experts “fundamentally got a number of technical matters just plain wrong. He [Dr Boston] should go back and do his homework before he starts lecturing the government”.

It is now clear enough.  Only time will clear up the matter of New Zealand’s lamentable climate policy.  This Government’s hubris is not about to dissipate.  It has a fortress mentality where political criticism and expert  analysis will not be tolerated.  If you disagree, you are wrong, not on the merits but by definition.

Only a change of government is going to improve New Zealand’s climate policy.

52 thoughts on “Targeting the next generation: National’s version of a brighter future

  1. I have a book enbtitled Retrofitting buildings for energy conservation, (2nd edition, 1994). In it there is a case study of The Corporate Centre, in Danbury. It has (or perhaps, had) a heat storage system of exactly the type you describe, having ten tanks each of 180K gallons (681K L) under the building.

    These tanks are charged using off peak electricity, and used to hold heat recovered.

    It didn’t work as well as expected, primarily because of incorrect assumptions, and because when the building was built in 1982 the personal computer revolution was just about to happen…

    A good book if one finds energy management an interesting topic.

  2. - More effort put into storage at point of use in the required form. For example, air conditioning systems can be built that store cold in the form of ice early in the day (when solar power is available but not needed) and use that cold for cooling in the evening (when solar power is no longer available but cooling is needed). Heat can be stored. Water can be stored in elevated locations.

    – certain high-energy use industries might become seasonal, only operating when electricity supply is higher than demand. In New Zealand, this tends to be spring/summer. High energy use industries include the aluminium smelter, but might include ammonia/urea manufacture, concrete manufacturing,…

    Trevor.

  3. 1. More effort put into power storage; flow batteries and the like.
    2. More effort put into shifting population away from Auckland.
    3. Accounting for Carrington events in planning the power system.
    – methane production and transport in place of wires?
    –breakers and sub-systems that protect themselves in the event.
    4. Local use of low grade geothermal and solar for heating.
    5. Acceptance of the inconvenience of working when the tide is changing.
    6. … or when the sun is shining.
    7. … or when the wind is blowing.

  4. The quality of the generation matter when you are trying to build a reliable electricity supply. Hydro with storage is excellent as the power is available as required. Geothermal is good, with the power being available all the time – even if it isn’t needed. Run of river hydro is more variable than geothermal but reasonably good. Intermittents are worse, as they can be producing when the power isn’t needed and not when it is needed, and can vary rapidly – solar photovoltaic over a few minutes, wind not quite so rapidly, tidal over hours (but predictably) and wave over days (but forecastable).

    To help flatten out the intermittents, we need spacial diversity, i.e not bunching up all the wind farms in one area. Diversity of types of generation also helps, i.e. adding solar photovoltaic and wave to the wind farms. However neither approach can prevent the outputs of the intermittents falling to low levels some of the time, hence the need for improved transmission from the South Island hydro lakes and (although I hate to admit it) fossil-fueled peaker plants.

    Trevor.

  5. Well, if you frequent these pages you’d know perhaps that some of the opponents to dams here, aren’t party members. You might also have noticed that I do scrap some with the party when it comes down against some dam or other.

    We’re not of one mind on that, and it is a pity, but it is also human nature. The problems we face with CO2 are so immense that I suspect that even some members of the party cannot internally deal with the conflicts they cause. Too much HAS to be done and most people can’t do it. I linked earlier to the researcher who asked a denialist “What would you do if you decided Climate Change was real” and got the answer … “I’d just have to top myself”

    It IS too much for most people… and even I have to keep my emotions somewhat isolated from the truth.

    … we are going to need every erg of non-CO2 emitting power we can have, and I’d even countenance nuclear generation in that effort… but would prefer to build better/more wind resource extraction and storage, there is more than enough.

    respectfully
    BJ

  6. Given this is a Green Party blog, the first problem is that the Green Party are generally adverse to hydro schemes, but the reality is, hydro is still the most accessible form of renewable generation available to us, and is a scheme still offered by those willing to invest to build such things.

    Sure, we’re well past the point of diminishing returns, but even though we dont get as much GWh bang for our environmental buck as we did some decades back when the great hydro schemes were built, every bit of renewable generation counts.

    Transitioning to more renewable generation is one of the “possible” things the nation can do to reduce emissions; schemes do come up from time to time. They are always opposed, and annoyingly and frustratingly, generally opposed to by members of the Green Party. The Green Party and its members need to start to understand (and act on) that there is a relative scale of environmental damage, and by opposing renewable power scehemes on “environmental” grounds, they are actually supporting climate change destruction, which the consensus says will lead us to clusterfuckville in times to come.

    If the Green Party can’t get this right, what hope is there for other, less-green-tinged parties?

  7. Not all of the energy for reducing the Al2O3 to aluminium comes from electricity. The other source of the energy is the reaction at the anode which absorbs the oxygen by reacting it with the carbon anode to form CO2. My understanding is that the anodes are made from fossil materials, but the CO2 price could be avoided by making the anodes from biomass.

    The other way of exporting electricity is through ammonia and products made from it such as urea, nitric acid, and ammonium nitrate. Or anything that substitutes for imported fuel.

    Trevor.

  8. If there were a reasonable price for CO2 emissions, the smelter would be a MAJOR money making enterprise. Think of it as a way of exporting electricity… and aluminum is a most useful material to have when building lightweight vehicles of all descriptions.

  9. We don’t have to stop at 95-100% renewable elctricity generation. If we build more generation than we currently need, we can then shift a significant amount of direct energy use from fossil fuels to that renewable electricity, including water heating, space heating and industrial processes. Better still would be to convert these applications to solar or geothermal energy, with electricity as a backup. Note that for low temperature heat, heat pumps are more effective than direct electrical heating elements.

    Then if we can install more renewable electricity generation, we can use that for transport. Hopefully by then we will be able to import second-hand electric vehicles, but if not we can expand our use of electric buses and trains.

    Shutting down the aluminium smelter doesn’t seem a good idea, although running it in spring/summer only seems like a good way of addressing the seasonal imbalance between supply of renewable electricity and the demand for electricity. It could also be operated to make more use of off-peak electricity and avoid the use of electricity at peak demand times as many smelters do.

    Trevor.

  10. The smelter staying open is the only GOOD thing this government has managed to do for carbon emissions, and it is an accidental goodness. I look at the support given to keep it running and recognize that as a very inefficient form of CO2 taxation. Fundamentally OUR Al is cleaner than the similar product from China, and our production displaces, be it ever so little, less efficient production elsewhere.

    It would be unwise to let it close.

  11. Way up there, I asked, and Kerry responded, about what we were going to do to reduce emissions. Kerry said, amongst other things:

    100% renewables for stationary electricity generation. Which saves us 100′s of millions on imported oil.

    I’ve run the numbers, and it seems that we can make a bit bigger than 5% difference to our current emissions from gas and coal electrical genberation if we go all renewable generation, shutting down all existing gas and coal generation (excluding the tiddlers and cogen plants, most of which actually want the CO2 they produce for horticultal purposes)

    Along the lines of “be careful what one wishes for”, if the RTZ smelter were to close, then that would almost close the gap in generation allowing 100% renewable generation, as long as the weather plays ball, and we upgrade the HVDC link, and do a few other things.

    Of course, one may arge that the total destruction of the southland economy is too high a price to pay for such a thing… (but it may happen anyway)

  12. Thats the way I read it too.

    But to answer BJs question,

    Why can’t this happen here?

    It can. It even may. But, frankly, I think our government is a little more canny than the state of Wyoming, and wouldn’t go to the trouble of putting it on the block if they weren’t sure there was going to be a buyer.

    It seems when Wyoming started out on this process they thought they had a buyer, but commercial realities had changed in the intervening period, and it seemed that no-one at Wyoming noticed.

  13. BJ,

    When you read that article it is quite apparent that no one wanted the coal as it was too hard and too costly to get at. In other words others supplies were still available.

    believe a significant portion of the BLM’s estimated mineable tons would not be recoverable by us if we were to be the winning bidder in the BLM’s competitive process. In combination with prevailing 8400 Btu market prices and projected costs of mining the remaining coal, we were unable to construct an economic bid for this tract at this time.

    No Green initiatives, just market sense.

  14. The problem with the methane is the leakage. It has to be managed more carefully than we do now. We are basically in agreement. What we need are more windfarms on the peaks and some wind “kites”. There is a LOT of energy there, and then we need ways to get it up towards Auckland where it is needed, or get people to leave Auckland for places where we the energy is.

  15. BJ – I accept that there may be experimental proof of concept ammonia-fuelled engines, but the existing vehicle fleet isn’t ready for ammonia, whereas there are a significant number of CNG powered vehicles and we know how to do the conversion. There is also a network of CNG pipes and filling stations – at least in the North Island. Here in the South Island, we have LPG filling a similar role, also able to be synthesised from hydrogen. Because CNG is natural gas, we have alternative sources for it such as biomass digesters. The waste product of a biomass digester is CO2 which can be used as one input of a methane or LPG synthesis plant.

    However until we get enough renewable electricity generation to displace fossil fueled generation and have spare off-peak electricity for hydrogen production, we won’t be in a position to synthesis either CNG or methane for fuels. And we will continue to be dependent on imported oil – wherever that is supposed to come from.

    Trevor.

  16. Trevor, my preferred option is methane but there are advantages.

    There ARE ammonia burning engines out there and it might suit agriculture somewhat…

    The plant to make it is not a problem.

    Leakage is IMMEDIATELY obvious, not like methane.

    It doubles as a refrigerant, as does methane.

    The leakage issue is important. I don’t hold with any scheme of managing hydrogen itself. The molecule is too slippery and escapes too easily, and damages even some of the metals used to try to contain it. In contrast either of Methane or Ammonia is more easily managed.

    I go with methane because a major Ammonia leak/spill is a more serious matter (though both are very very nasty if they ignite). YMMV.

  17. BJ – while I agree that ammonia could be used as a fuel, I do not agree that we should spend any effort on developing the technology to use it as a fuel. One obvious disadvantage is that it is toxic, so that makes handling it an issue. Another obvious disadvantage is that we don’t have engines ready to use ammonia as a fuel, but we do have fleets of vehicles and other engines which can take a variety of liquid fuels (such as various alcohols) as is and many of which can be modified to take hydrocarbon gaseous fuels such as methane (CNG, a.k.a. natural gas) or propane/butane (LPG).

    However before embarking on a program to convert hydrogen to transport fuels, we should first embark on a program to cut back on our use of fuels that are actually suitable for transport but are being used to make hydrogen for fertilizers and oil refining. And even before that, we need to expand our renewable electricity generation so we don’t need to use transport fuels (such as oil or natural gas) for electricity generation.

    Trevor.

  18. Gerrit – since CO2 dissolved in water produces carbonic acid, about the only way that ocean acidification can be stopped is to stop CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, and no one has come up with a plausible scenario in which we stop burning fossil fuels. Hence the use of “virtually certain” is justified. However the degree of ocean acidification is still subject to intervention, if we choose to limit our use of those fuels and modify other behaviours that release CO2.

    Trevor.

  19. In the North we say “virtually certain” to mean that it is a sure thing.

    All that is left is time and the absence of a miracle for it to happen.

    This is different from a virtual server or virtual lines.

    Consider –

    A virtual line is a line that is there apart from having actual substance.

    A virtual certainty is a certainty that is there apart from having actually happened already.

    Two cultures forever separated by a common language :-)

  20. BJ,

    You got the cart before the horse?

    ……..where absolute faith in the result is a requirement before one considers any facts at all.

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Always thought that sciense worked on proven facts to support a theory. Ah well, Northern and Southern hemisphere difference I suppose.

    Bu then (than) you say

    In science, unqualified statements are suspect.

    So are unqualified statements like

    Under all report scenarios, the acidification of the world’s oceans will increase—the draft report calls this outcome “virtually certain.”

    Science or conjecture? Or worse, conjecture based on unproven facts?

    Virtual Spectator software paints lines on the ocean for the Americas Cup television viewer to show the course boundaries, start and finish lines, etc.

    Now I know for a fact they are not physically there but are “virtual” lines.

    How “virtual certain” are we about ocean acidification.

    Either we are or we are not.

    It is the uncertain and hedged language used that causes doubt in my mind.

    Either the statement are true or they are not. Anything that says it “could” or “may” is posturing to a gullible crowd that reads it as gospel.

    As shown by Gareth Hughes believing that fracking causes earthquakes some distance away.

  21. No problem Gerrit, you are mistaking science for something else, like religion, where absolute faith in the result is a requirement before one considers any facts at all.

    In science, unqualified statements are suspect.

    As for Gore, Montecito’s climate is such that this mansion should not consume all THAT much power :-)

    The place will probably burn down in a couple ten years anyhow.

    You realize that he was wealthy long before he ever said boo. Family had money.

    Sorry about the conclusion you just reached, but it doesn’t actually make sense. Any climate change we buy by not acting IS irreversible on that scale, and we’ve already bought a fair swag of trouble for our kids. However, we are STILL buying trouble. Which is something we can stop.

    We do not have to buy additional climate change.

  22. BJ,

    If that report had any more

    “virtually certain”
    “could see as much as”
    “probably did not exceed”
    “very likely”

    It would be even easier to call the report for what it is.

    A purely scarmongering report.

    Will wait with baited breath for the actual scientifically produced facts and (more imnportantly) the conclusions.

    By the way seen what scaremongering buys you these days?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/17/photos-al-goree-new-8875_n_579286.html#comments

    Not bad for a scaremongering advocate that says do as I say not as I do……

    Mind you if we reach this conclusion from the report

    “A large fraction of climate change,” the document intones, “is thus irreversible on a human time scale.” The only way out would be if our emission levels were “strongly negative for a sustained period”—which, to put it mildly, seems highly unlikely.

    Why bother, all the efforts to negate global climate chang are futile.

    No, the only answer is to gear up ready for change.

  23. 1990 was also the date of the first IPCC assessment of climate. The WCC called for the treaty a second time then and the Rio Summit in 1992 is really the “starting point” for the negotiations. It seems reasonable that they would have selected 1990 as the start point in 1992. A period of voluntary effort to control climate ensued.

    The author makes a SERIOUS error. Given that action was requested at RIO and the 1990 date was the target and a reasonable one then, the Kyoto negotiators would have been seen as being unfair if they had NOT incorporated any such gains in their considerations… and 172 nations signed that treaty in 1992 and participated in Kyoto

    One gets the impression from the text that benefits to some European countries were paramount in the selection of the date, but there were 172 countries at the Rio conference, and it offered up VOLUNTARY targets based on 1990. Kyoto was the result of the inadequate VOLUNTARY response to Rio.

    One could and I do, infer that in the 1990-1997 time frame the Europeans reacted by doing “something” the Americans and Japan by doing “nothing” and the former Soviet Union was in a state of economic collapse and not entirely in control of itself.

    The fact that

    “All the above experience netted to this CO2 data that was in the negotiators pocket at Kyoto “

    is irrelevant to the negotiations that preceded the Kyoto meeting and formed the basis of the actual agreement there. Negotiators do not rock up to a place and then start from scratch.

    So I do entirely reject the implications of the author of that tract, and would regard (based on the “conspiracy theory” presentation of it, and the inadequate checking/knowledge demonstrated in it) any other writings from that same source with much greater suspicion DUE to the linked article.

    As for the fact that emissions have increased, one can look to individual governments and self-interested parties with no global enforcement of our “self government” for the cause. That problem is apt to continue.

    The “commons” cannot be protected by the voluntary effort of the few, but only by the collective action of the community voluntarily banding together to enforce its protection.

    This problem is global. It requires a GLOBAL collective action. The irresponsible ranting of right wing free-market fundamentalists is a part of the reason why this has not happened, but more important to it is the fact that a Nation’s Sovereignty is NEVER given up (unless there’s a trade deal like the TPP being dangled in front of its gormless leadership).

    Sovereign rights are never given up for less “growth” (the sacrament of the modern church of the debt backed dollar).

    Which gives me a less than lively faith that human civilization will do what it needs to do before it is forced to do it. OUR actions however, in refusing to join in the collective action to try to control the global commons, make it even less likely that globally we will respect Mother Earth before she beats us into submission.

  24. and to add to Kerry’s list:

    – increase efforts at pest control in our native bush and forest areas so their growth is not stunted by browsing and they can then absorb more CO2;

    – plant more forest and bush areas;

    – increase solar and geothermal utilisation for water, space and process heating to reduce the use of fossil fuels for these applications;

    – use electricity to split water for hydrogen generation rather than steam reformation of natural gas. (This is a good use for surplus off-peak power, but is only worth it if we don’t need natural gas for electricity generation at the time. Hydrogen is used by the oil refinery and for ammonia/urea manufacture.)

    – use electric buses, either trolley buses, battery powered buses or a hybrid trolley bus with battery backup;

    – and (in the more distant future) develop alternative liquid fuels and gaseous fuels made from waste biomass and hydrogen. (Some applications are not really suited to battery power, such as chain saws, farm bikes, planes and helicopters, some boats, agricultural machinery,…)

    Trevor.

  25. The economic impact on individuals today IS trivial compared with the economic impact of the failure to act on future generations. Any more has to wait. A bit of a personal emergency has arisen.

  26. You can pick ANY year and create winners and losers. I do not think that it was as gamed as some imagine but it really does not matter. The requirement is to have a standard against which to measure performance.
    Ok – here is an analysis. It is from a climate skeptic site, but please don’t go all ad-hominem on it; it is verifiable fact and very little spin.

    It does matter. It matters a lot, and it makes no difference between whether you support the need to reduce emissions, or not.

    By setting 1990 as a base year, for those that had already made massive reductions in emissions between 1990 and 1997, the signatories greatly reduced the incentives for them to do anything differently.

    Secondly, whether you like it or not, reductions are economic decisions. When you dismiss the issue as “creating winners and losers”, you are trivializing the economic impact on human beings.

    It is a flawed protocol with perverse incentives. No wonder it failed.

  27. You can pick ANY year and create winners and losers. I do not think that it was as gamed as some imagine but it really does not matter. The requirement is to have a standard against which to measure performance.

    Then to agree to some level of performance.

    WE have signed to an utterly risible performance and show no signs of working to achieve it. The bottom line is that our children will suffer for our sins.

  28. The Lanza Tech process takes carbon monoxide from various industrial sources and convert it to usable fuels. It can’t do the same with carbon dioxide as that has no fuel value. While useful, this isn’t a game-changer.

    Trevor.

  29. The problem with just trying to adapt to climate change and doing nothing to stop it is that further burning of fossil fuels will increase the amount of climate change even further, significantly increasing its impact particularly on food production.

    We have already gone past the point where no adaption is required thanks to years of inaction. Now we are going to have to adapt to the climate change that we have already caused and also try to curtail our fossil fuel usage so we don’t cause too much more climate change.

    Trevor.

  30. So Photonz1 would have us spend our efforts on developing better energy sources as a form of adaption to climate change. The greens would prefer that we spend our efforts on developing renewable energy resources rather than burning fossil fuels to avoid climate change.

    So why not develop better renewable energy sources, such as solar, geothermal and wind, with a bit of effort thrown towards wave and tidal generation and some biomass?

    Trevor.

  31. jc2 asks “Photonz, I mean this as a test of your sincerity: what are your top three things that you think that we should be doing to adapt?”

    You mean apart from building tropical holiday resorts in Invercargill? ;-)

    I’d investigate how NZ can benefit from crops that will grow better with warmer temperatures and more carbon.

    We need to continue to build irrigation schemes so we have more reliability over water requirements.

    We need to make sure our building regulations are up to predicted forces from wind/ rain /snow, and while we’re at it continue to improve on energy efficiency.

    Local councils need to control new building in low lying areas so that new building is either at higher levels, or is built to withstand any predicted sea level rise i.e. ground level is concrete car parking which can withstand occasional flooding.

    And in the meantime we’d also work on better energy sources, better energy uses, and encourage companies like Lanza Tech who have full scale working plants that take carbon emissions from steel mills and turn it into liquid fuel.

  32. So why was 1990 chosen as the base year for an agreement developed in 1997? That would be so that some countries could bank emissions reductions that they had already achieved by converting from coal to gas fired power stations, for economic reasons that had zero to do with climate change concerns. They figured that because they had lower emissions, they should get to take credit for them.

    New Zealand already had low emissions, due to large hydro electiric generation.

    In this context, trying to say that every country should make the same emissions reduction, regardless of where their emissions come from, and in the context that some had gamed the system to take credit for past emissions reductions, makes a completely mockery of the intent (whether you agree with the reasons or requirements for emissions reductions anyway).

  33. Photonz, I mean this as a test of your sincerity: what are your top three things that you think that we should be doing to adapt?

  34. Kerry says “Photo. Apart from the effects on climate change, it makes economic sense to cut reliance on imported energy. And reduce energy use overall.”

    I agree. We should be moving to renewable energy as fast as is practical.

    I just think we need to realistically assess our chances of actually reversing climate change.

    Because if we use up all our spare resources trying, but failing, we would have been miles better off if we had spent those same resources on adapting.

  35. National govt’s “bright” future is only for those rich few…this govt can’t see anything further than a meter away,longer than 3 days…
    It’s a dark/dirty/poor/depressing future they creat for the rest.
    Just hear how the PM,National MPs and those ministers lie and BS in parliament regarding the benefits from the second Power company sale (while ripping off most of the population over and over again); you wonder how these hearless liers be able to sleep at night…
    they’d better make sure they are childless so no decents of theirs will suffer from negative effects of climate change.

  36. Photo. Apart from the effects on climate change, it makes economic sense to cut reliance on imported energy. And reduce energy use overall.

    It also puts us in a better position, to adapt, than those who have done nothing.

  37. philip says “So, Photonz, let’s not do anything, eh, especially if whatever we do isn’t going to have any effect, and will just make us poorer. If we’re all going over the cliff we wouldn’t want to be any poorer than anyone else. ”

    If we’re heading for the big cliff, it may be more realistic to put our efforts into coping measures (fences, parachutes, brakes), than a futile attempt to make the cliff go away by tipping dirt over it one shovel at a time.

    If we put massive effort and resources into changing the climate, but our chances of success are nearly zero, are those resources better used to adapting?

  38. BJ – you don’t seem to consider the possibility, probability, or even inevitability, that we put all the resources we have into stopping climate change, but still fail completely.

    If countries with hundreds of millions of people, like Brazil, Indonesia, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan develop to the point where they put out even half the carbon emissions per person that we do, then total global emissions will massively increase (most of these developing countries are already up 100% or more on 1990 levels).

  39. BJ says “retain civilization AFTER the tide comes in and wipes out the buildings too close to sea level.”

    99% of coastal buildings in NZ weren’t here a hundred years ago. And the vast majority of coastal buildings in 100 years time won’t be the ones we have now.

    Half of Wellington and Dunedin CBDs used to be the harbour.

    If we can lift whole cities out of the sea before the age of machinery, then doing it today will be a breeze.

  40. So, Photonz, let’s not do anything, eh, especially if whatever we do isn’t going to have any effect, and will just make us poorer. If we’re all going over the cliff we wouldn’t want to be any poorer than anyone else. That certainly seems to be the government’s view, so you’re in good company.

  41. Cost what it will take to reduce a decent amount of methane etc then ask for the proper percentage from industry and govt. to pay to reduce that.

  42. Photonz – the idea of actually trying to do something so offends him (and National) that they would rather embrace the GUARANTEE of failure that doing nothing provides us. They would rather embrace the GUARANTEE that future generations will pay costs orders of magnitude more onerous than what it would cost US to alter our behaviour.

    No Photonz, whatever ELSE we can do we will do as well, and there are many things possible, most of which will help future generations manage to retain civilization AFTER the tide comes in and wipes out the buildings too close to sea level. A crime against the people of New Zealand AND the people of the rest of the world… and they still run the government.

    If there is a God and Heaven then surely this government is destined for Hell.

  43. Kerry – a drop of 20% won’t even counter our emissions just from population growth since 1990, let alone take us back to 1990 levels, let alone take us to 25-40% below 1990 levels.

    So even if we spend a fortune and make a massive effort, will those efforts at reducing climate change be any more effective than an umbrella in a hurricane?

  44. 1. All new buildings to be designed for low energy use. Which actually makes the buildings cheaper over their lifetime.
    2. 100% renewables for stationary electricity generation. Which saves us 100’s of millions on imported oil.
    3. Replace trucks with rail or coastal shipping wherever viable. Ditto.
    4. Start replacing short distance commuter cars and buses with trains and < 50km/hr electric vehicles, charged from the grid.

    At least 20% less. All achievable in NZ. We are much luckier in this regard than many other countries.

    And an improvement in our balance of payments, as we have to import less energy.

    There has been plenty of ideas and plans suggested on this blog alone.

  45. So, how we going to reduce our emissions?

    And I do mean “reduce emissions” not “we need an ETS”.

    What exactly are we going to reduce or improve or change? And when? Heck, if we cant put a concrete plan together to reduce by 5%, how have we a hope of 20%?

  46. Yet again, when a country like New Zealand has an opportunity to show leadership, the current government falls at the first furlong post. I can only trust that the hubris they currently exhibit on just about every issue, is a clear sign that this is a regime in its last throes. The arrogance is breathtaking.

  47. The whole idea of judging countries against their 1990 emissions is nonsense.

    Some countries – i.e. In 1990 much of Europe and particularly eastern Europe, had large old technology factories pumping out huge amounts of pollution.

    Hence many eastern block countries have massively reduced their carbon emissions. So they conform to your artificial “rules”, even if they still put out vastly more carbon per person than we do.

    And other countries, have doubled from their 1990 figures, even though they still only put out a fraction of what we do per person.

    Other counties have gone up massively in population, while others have remained static – again something not factored into your 1990 “rules”.

    When it comes to carbon emissions per person, the are 49 countries who put out more carbon than us.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita

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