Our Green vision and policy – my speech at Kumeu

The Green philosophy is about sustainability. It takes, as its worldview, the environment, within which human society and its economy operate. It places the soaring human population within Earth’s finite capacity for resource-use and waste-disposal. If there is one thought that underpins Green belief, it is that we have one planet, to share. The Green […]

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Time for real action to curb ag emissions

A sharp rise in in agricultural emissions shows the National Party’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) must go and a meaningful carbon price be applied to the sector. According to new Environmental Protection Authority data, agriculture’s greenhouse gas output rose 7 percent last year. We cannot continue to ignore such a large and growing contributor to […]

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The agony of Gaza – What price the right of self-defence?

As I write, the conflict in Gaza has seen yet another ceasefire deal squandered, with more death and destruction. Israel has repeatedly claimed its right to self-defence as justification for ‘Operation Protective Edge’. That claim is supported by leading Western powers, including the US, EU and UK. In my speech on the Gaza motion in […]

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Israeli Ground Invasion an Aggressive Action

My comment a week ago on the Israel-Gaza situation occasioned considerable comment, supportive and critical.  No surprise; on such an important and sensitive issue, personal opinions run deep, including mine. Comments in support take the long view – advocate a political re-alignment that reduces the US role as biased mediator; strengthen in various ways the […]

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Israel-Palestine Round 2014: Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe

Israel-Palestine Round 2014: Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe The latest round of violence in the Israel-Palestine saga reinforces a few timeless truths. They are: attempts at mutual slaughter achieve nothing but mutual slaughter; persisting with a politically-biased external mediator returns nothing but frustration; and an unreformed United Nations wringing its hands on the […]

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Public interest on UN bid says – ‘Show us the money, John’

Under the John Key Government, New Zealand has recast its reputational integrity, losing traditional hues of national colour to which the Prime Minister is congenitally blind. This current Government has practised, to an art form, the statement of principles to govern the pursuit of stated objectives, in eloquent words of surpassing meaninglessness, whilst proceeding under […]

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The Pope, Prayers, and the Middle East

True to his developing reputation as an original and courageous leader, Pope Francis has led the Israeli and Palestinians in prayer together. http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/10133858/Pope-brings-Middle-East-leaders-together It is probable that no other individual on Earth right now could bring that off. If ping-pong diplomacy could cut the ice in US-China relations in the 20th century, then maybe prayer […]

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Defining the Election Issue: National and Green climate policy

At its AGM last weekend, the Green Climate Protection Package was rolled out. –    It contains the over-riding goal of net carbon-neutral economy by 2050, with a National Carbon Budget comprising a series of five-yearly budget components to get to that goal. –    There will be an independent Climate Commission to advise the Government on […]

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“Stick to your knitting”…Gratuitous insult from Minister Groser to NZ scientists

Climate Minister Groser continues to insult the New Zealand people – this time through our leading scientists. On Monday the IPCC released Working Group III’s section of its 5th Assessment Report.  Building on Group I (science) and II (impact), this one addresses strategy (see my blog-post of 15 April). In a possibly unprecedented action, leading […]

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IPCC 5th Assessment Report – exposing NZ on climate policy

The IPCC’s 3rd Working Group has just released the final section of its 5th Assessment Report.  Following WGI report on the science and WGII on impact, this one focuses on a response strategy. The Report recalls that annual global emissions were 38 Gt. (billion tonnes) in 1990 and 49 Gt. in 2010.  Some 40% of […]

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Permitted musings on climate change

My blog-post of yesterday on the spiritual-philosophical dimension of climate change evoked a particular response, pretty much uniformly positive.  Today I allow myself even freer reign.  Next week I shall revert to the normal practicalities of daily politics. In yesterday’s comment I recalled the yearning of some official delegations in the IPCC process to evoke […]

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Earth’s climate … and the matter of the human spirit

There is something surreal to the climate epic that is beginning to define the fate of the planet – and the human species with it. This was portrayed last week in the muted diplomatic exchanges that echoed along the corridors in Yokohama, marking the adoption of the IPCC’s Working Group II’s 5th Assessment Report on […]

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Crimea: judicial settlement v. political contestation – no contest

The Crimea crisis continues to unfold.  It is perhaps the clearest example of a Cold War-style confrontation since the US invasion of the Bay of Pigs – except the roles are reversed. In 1961 the US felt strategically on the back-foot vis-à-vis the USSR.  In 2014 Russia feels on the back-foot vis-à-vis the US. Little […]

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Democracy at the Global level? An idea whose time is (almost) come

Last week I attended (with one National and one Labour colleague) the 130th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.  The IPU is the world gathering of MPs from 163 parliaments.  It is a big affair.  The peoples’ representatives talk to one another.  They embrace, fall out, pass resolutions, and return to base.  It is something worth […]

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The election, the G20, and the climate – very simply: a matter of priorities

In New Zealand, we observe the quaint constitutional custom of having the political leader of the nation decide the date of the next election. This of course is done with the utmost objectivity.  Yesterday Prime Minister John Key chose 20 September. The objective reasons he advanced were that a number of leaders of the G-20 […]

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Extreme weather is “picture of future”

A New Zealand climate scientist used the following phrase today to describe the extreme weather battering New Zealand: “picture of the future”. Christchurch is experiencing a one-in-50 year rain storm, high winds and power cuts are affecting other parts of the country and conversely, dry conditions continue to hamper farming in the Waikato. Arguably, the […]

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“People … may have been caught out…I just hope he gets his projections right in the future…” – The Groserian theory of emissions reductions

Every now and then, things emerge in the give-and-take of daily life that illuminate insights with a deeper, underlying significance.   Such was the case yesterday. Some of us around the planet harbour a passing concern that dangerous, and perhaps catastrophic, climate change is likely if global greenhouse gas emissions do not begin to reduce very […]

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Peace and disarmament in a whole continent – Latin Americans lead the way, again

Last week the heads of 31 South American and Caribbean nations yesterday declared a ‘zone of peace’ amongst their countries, at the annual CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) meeting in Havana, Cuba. The zone of peace (in short) is based on a number of principles: –          Maintain respect for international law –          […]

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Climate policy vs. Princess and the Pea – better to stick with the story-books

As we all now know, we are running out of time to prevent dangerous climate change.  Twenty-one years after Earth Summit and the UN Framework Convention, we are still to strike a global agreement that will bind all countries to curb and then reduce emissions to stay under the 2°C threshold. In fact, we are […]

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“Not so much the corpse, but the dress….” Genocide: reliving Rwanda, preventing a repeat

A few months from now, the world will be obliged to remember the Rwanda genocide. Twenty years ago, come 6 April, an ethnic group began taking shelter in churches and schools, seeking the safety of a pathetic UN peacekeeping force (pathetic as in size and mandate).   The same day, another ethnic group commenced the slaughter. […]

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A global climate policy – thoughts for Xmas

These past five weeks, I have visited Europe studying climate policy.  I attended the UN’s 19th climate conference, UNFCCC COP-19, in Warsaw.  After Poland, I visited Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom and European Union (Brussels).  And I retraced my UN steps to the Middle East (Jordan) and spoke with leaders there as well. Humanity, […]

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National climate policy – 4. United Kingdom

And what of the UK? –    In 1990, Britain’s gross emissions were 773 Mt.  New Zealand’s were 60 Mt. –    In 2011, Britain’s were 550 Mt., a drop of 29%.   New Zealand’s were 76 Mt., an increase of 27%. –    For 2027, Britain’s are budgeted (in law) to be 390 Mt. on average, and probably […]

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