Posts by Kennedy Graham

  • Kennedy Graham

    Drones in Yemen; policy in Wellington – ‘conflation’ or global thinking? - by Kennedy Graham

    The news on Wednesday that one of the people killed in a US drone strike over Yemen last year was a New Zealander came as sobering news. The question of how to deal with international conflict in the 21st century, including the global terrorism, is fraught and arouses passions.  It evokes complex legal, moral and […] read more
    April 20, 2014 12:19 pm - 7 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    “Stick to your knitting”…Gratuitous insult from Minister Groser to NZ scientists - by Kennedy Graham

    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 […] read more
    April 16, 2014 2:25 pm - 8 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    IPCC 5th Assessment Report – exposing NZ on climate policy - by Kennedy Graham

    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 […] read more
    April 15, 2014 8:15 am - 18 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Permitted musings on climate change - by Kennedy Graham

    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 […] read more
    April 4, 2014 10:54 am - 33 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Earth’s climate … and the matter of the human spirit - by Kennedy Graham

    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 […] read more
    April 3, 2014 12:31 pm - 7 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    The future of Earth’s climate - by Kennedy Graham

    The IPCC has released today the 2nd Working Group’s report of its 5th Assessment Report. The WG II report follows the WGI report on the scientific basis of climate change, released in Sept. ’13. This report assesses the impact on the planet of the expected climate change.  A 3rd report by WGIII, due mid-April, explores […] read more
    March 31, 2014 1:45 pm - 50 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Crimea: judicial settlement v. political contestation – no contest - by Kennedy Graham

    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 […] read more
    March 28, 2014 2:32 pm - 4 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Democracy at the Global level? An idea whose time is (almost) come - by Kennedy Graham

    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 […] read more
    March 25, 2014 11:33 am - 4 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    NZ Inc. & the NZ Constitution – unsanctioned Parliamentary visits to China - by Kennedy Graham

    This coming week, I am part of a New Zealand delegation attending the 130th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Europe.  The delegation is composed of one National, one Labour and one Green MP.  It is an annual visit by a NZ delegation, where issues of interest to 163 national parliaments are discussed.   It is, […] read more
    March 14, 2014 1:26 pm - 4 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Tipping points – Israel, Palestine, and peace - by Kennedy Graham

    Later this month US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to put a two-state peace plan on the table for Israel and Palestine. There is plenty of debate as to what he will recommend, and what of that will or will not be possible. It is clear though, that it will be difficult for […] read more
    March 13, 2014 3:33 pm - 5 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    The election, the G20, and the climate – very simply: a matter of priorities - by Kennedy Graham

    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 […] read more
    March 11, 2014 8:58 pm - 14 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Extreme weather is “picture of future” - by Kennedy Graham

    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 […] read more
    March 5, 2014 1:23 pm - 6 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Ukraine crisis big test for 21st Century diplomacy - by Kennedy Graham

    We have an old-fashioned crisis on our hands regarding events in the Ukraine.  It is a test of 21st-century diplomacy whether it can be resolved peacefully and with political foresight. Current international law and global norms offer some guidance as to how the situation should be resolved.  But as with every crisis, there are conflicting […] read more
    March 5, 2014 11:57 am - 6 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Defence force shoot messenger over Afghan interpreter saga - by Kennedy Graham

    The New Zealand Defence Force’s decision to caution a New Zealand Army captain for writing a letter of support for an Afghan that served with him reflects poorly on that organisation. Journalist Jon Stephenson broke the story of an Afghan interpreter that had worked with the New Zealand Defence Force and applied to come to […] read more
    March 3, 2014 12:17 pm - 1 Comment
  • Kennedy Graham

    Carnage in Ukraine needs world’s attention - by Kennedy Graham

    President Yanukovych of Ukraine would be well advised to read the report put together by the United Nations on North Korea and the prospect of members of that regime being tried for crimes against humanity. His regime and interior ministers could well end up charged with crimes against their own people.  At present the Ukrainian […] read more
    February 21, 2014 11:34 am - 3 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

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

    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 […] read more
    February 12, 2014 9:13 am - 26 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Peace and disarmament in a whole continent – Latin Americans lead the way, again - by Kennedy Graham

    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 -          […] read more
    February 10, 2014 9:51 am - 1 Comment
  • Kennedy Graham

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

    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 […] read more
    January 31, 2014 10:46 am - 21 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

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

    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. […] read more
    January 26, 2014 3:02 pm - 1 Comment
  • Kennedy Graham

    Cambodia – violating global norms - by Kennedy Graham

    New Zealanders need to be aware of the current brutal crack-down by government security forces on unarmed peaceful protests in Cambodia, last week.  We have about 7,000 citizens of Khmer descent in our country now, and have contributed some $1 million to the Khmer Rouge trials. It is morally incumbent on us all to be […] read more
    January 14, 2014 4:03 pm - 2 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    A global climate policy – thoughts for Xmas - by Kennedy Graham

    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, […] read more
    December 20, 2013 12:16 pm - 36 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    The EU’s climate policy – swimming against the tide - by Kennedy Graham

    I have argued earlier that the EU is leading the world on climate record and policy.  It is.  The EU-27’s emissions dropped 16% from 5.6 Gt. in 1990 to 4.7 Gt. in 2010, where ours rose 22%.  Its targets are better than others, and its policies are serious and rational. Yet everything is relative.  No […] read more
    December 18, 2013 10:12 am - 1 Comment
  • Kennedy Graham

    Regional/National climate policy – 4. European Union - by Kennedy Graham

    They are not perfect but they lead the world in climate policy. If humanity rescues itself from dangerous – or worse, catastrophic – climate change, it will not be because of the US, or the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) or CANZ (Canada, Australia, NZ).  It will be because of the EU. Before the defining […] read more
    December 17, 2013 10:51 am - 3 Comments
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    National climate policy – 4. United Kingdom - by Kennedy Graham

    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 […] read more
    December 13, 2013 11:09 am - 110 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    National Climate Policy – 3. Norway - by Kennedy Graham

    And what of Norway? It’s oil on troubled waters.  Norway has the oil.  And it has hydro.  Both are, to some extent, problematic. Oil makes it rich – what some say is the ‘divided economy’.  There is the oil-driven part that revs up prices (a dinner out for two in Oslo is over 50% higher […] read more
    December 6, 2013 12:30 pm - 2 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    National Climate Policy – 2. Sweden - by Kennedy Graham

    Under the traditional CBDR/RC principles, plus the latest phrases conceived in Warsaw and growing fast – ‘bounded flexibility’, spectrum of commitments’, ‘equity reference framework’, ‘fair contributions’, what of the national policies of Sweden and New Zealand? While New Zealand devoted the ‘90s to promoting land-use and forestry as ways of making our national climate-life easier, […] read more
    December 5, 2013 12:19 pm - No Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    National Climate Policy – 1. Denmark - by Kennedy Graham

    Under the ’92 Framework Convention, all countries are equal, but some are more equal than others. The CBDR/RC principle seeks to distinguish developed countries from developing, for the first period – as it turns out, from 1992 to 2020.  The principle says that all countries should protect the climate on the basis of equity and […] read more
    December 4, 2013 12:21 pm - 6 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Global climate policy – ‘Acknowledging’ & ‘Declaring’ – what’s the difference? - by Kennedy Graham

    Acknowledging and declaring are different things.  And that is the underlying explanation for our problematic climate future. The question is, does a crisis exist?  A crisis is defined as “a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point’ or […] read more
    December 3, 2013 11:44 am - 1 Comment
  • Kennedy Graham

    Finding a Safe Operating Space for Humanity – The Planetary Boundaries - by Kennedy Graham

    The problem is, our global technology has leapt ahead of our global governance. The concept of world federalism gripped the popular psyche, and the feigned imagination of some Western leaders, between the inter-state world wars of the 20th century. It gave way, at the critical moment, to international cooperation amongst sovereign states, acting in the […] read more
    December 2, 2013 10:42 am - 5 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Climate Change – What can, and can’t, the UN do? - by Kennedy Graham

    If the international climate negotiating process is going too slowly, and it is, what can be done? As noted earlier, there are two prescriptive ways of reacting to the failure to date: do the same but try harder, or try something different.  In post-Warsaw discussions with UN officials, I have been exploring the first option. […] read more
    November 27, 2013 2:50 pm - 7 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Contemplating the Global Carbon Budget – nervously - by Kennedy Graham

    We’d all like to avoid dangerous climate change, especially those under 20.  If you are a bright year-8 school student, you will be at your professional peak in 2050, and a proud, if apprehensive, centurion in 2100.   I shall be dead, but I am equally determined to avoid dangerous climate change. The quaint thing about […] read more
    November 26, 2013 12:41 pm - 10 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Climate crisis ’13 – what are we doing wrong; what can we do right? - by Kennedy Graham

    In my previous post I reviewed the broad outline of the COP 19 at Warsaw, which concluded on Saturday. In short, we avoided short-term failure, Copenhagen-style, but did not achieve enough for long-term success. Long-term success is what is required. So what are we doing wrong, and what can we do right, in the future? […] read more
    November 25, 2013 4:37 pm - 11 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Fiddling with the ‘firewall’ while Earth burns – making sense of COP19 - by Kennedy Graham

    The 19th conference of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change ended in Warsaw on Saturday.   Last-minute concessions produced a limp agreement.  A Copenhagen-style train-wreck has been avoided. It is 21 years since the Framework Convention undertook to stabilise global emissions to save the planet from dangerous climate change.   Emissions have increased […] read more
    November 25, 2013 9:53 am - 8 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    UN climate conference – New Zealand rates a mention - by Kennedy Graham

    On the final day of the UN climate conference in Warsaw, New Zealand has rated a mention. The daily broadsheet ECO, produced  by Climate Action Network, has published two editorial letters on Friday. One was to Japan, the other to New Zealand.  Here is ours. “Dear New Zealand, We are hearing that the climate change […] read more
    November 23, 2013 11:46 am - 5 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Not to be hypercritical, but… – analysing Minister Groser’s statement to UN-COP19 - by Kennedy Graham

    Climate Minister Tim Groser gave New Zealand’s statement on Wednesday night, here in Warsaw. Not wishing to be heap unfair criticism but loyal opposition prompts a few thoughts. Mr Groser’s ‘large realities’: 1.       “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” This was raised on a theoretical basis by Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius, in 1896.  The […] read more
    November 22, 2013 10:39 am - 5 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Warsaw gets serious – the ups and downs of global climate negotiations - by Kennedy Graham

    It does not help when the president of the conference is dumped from Poland’s cabinet in the middle of week 2 as a result of an inter-party dust-up.  That really signals solidarity to the cause of inter-generational equity, as the UN-COP 19 climate conference enters its critical final stages. But life’s too short for national […] read more
    November 21, 2013 7:10 pm - 2 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Making it human – Warsaw, typhoons, Yeb Saño, and us - by Kennedy Graham

    Intriguing bunch, humans.  A rare mix, as far as exo-planetary knowledge allows, of rationality and emotion. We emerge from the savannah and establish civilization through reason and logic. We reach for the moon with technology and the scientific method.  Yet we nourish our families and glue our societies with emotion and love.  Emotion drives us, […] read more
    November 21, 2013 6:22 pm - 2 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Palestine cast first UN General Assembly Vote - by Kennedy Graham

    The State of Palestine cast its vote for the first time at the United Nations earlier this week. This historic event, along the road to Palestine’s full membership of the United Nations, was connected to electing a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. This vote was one small step for Palestine, […] read more
    November 21, 2013 9:40 am - 1 Comment
  • Kennedy Graham

    “Rivers in the Sky” – the political dimension of Warsaw - by Kennedy Graham

    Every UN climate conference, when the diplomats are negotiating the future of the planet in the back-rooms and the political leaders are jawboning about it in the plenary halls, a different gaggle of creatures congregate to explore the same issue –albeit with a shade more personal freedom than is tolerated in the adjacent rooms. This […] read more
    November 20, 2013 4:19 pm - 4 Comments
  • Kennedy Graham

    Digging deep – the diplomatic dimension of Warsaw - by Kennedy Graham

    As week 2 of UNFCC-COP 19 gets under way in earnest, the question hanging over the conference is whether it will deliver the minimum necessary to do justice to Typhoon Haiyan and Yeb Saňo’s historic appeal, or not. Warsaw is proving different from previous UN climate conferences of my experience.  There is more ‘space’ here […] read more
    November 20, 2013 12:58 pm - 5 Comments