Pentagon links climate change and terrorism

Yesterday the Pentagon launched a plan to deal with a threat that “poses immediate risks to national security”; one that “will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the nation”. It wasn’t referring to Ebola or ISIS. It was referring to climate change. Launching a 20-page Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, US Defense Secretary Chuck […]

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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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How a carbon tax shift worked in British Columbia

OECD Secretary-General, Mr. Angel Gurría described the implementation of British Columbia’s carbon tax “as near as we have to a textbook case, with wide coverage across sectors and a steady increase in the rate”. British Columbia’s centre-right political party, the Liberal Party, implemented a broad-based low rate carbon charge in 2008 of C$10 per tonne […]

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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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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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“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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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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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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Finding a Safe Operating Space for Humanity – The Planetary Boundaries

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 […]

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Contemplating the Global Carbon Budget – nervously

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 […]

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Climate crisis ’13 – what are we doing wrong; what can we do right?

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? […]

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UN climate conference – New Zealand rates a mention

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 […]

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Fonterra – join the dots to combat climate change

On Labour Day the holiday traffic on State Highway 2 got a free education from our roadside rally against the Fonterra coal mine at Mangatawhiri. This event was organised by “Auckland Coal Action” so I drove over from Thames with Jeanette Fitzsimons and other locals to support the effort. There were some fantastic banners visible […]

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Climate failures Part II – Eliding towards policy incoherence

I have not been so angry in my five years in Parliament. Yesterday I wrote about the obscene policy failure of this Government in forecasting an increase in net emissions of greenhouse gases from 56 million tonnes in 2011 to around 98 m.t. in 2028.  It was, I suggested, perhaps the biggest policy failure in […]

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Atlas shrugs off climate change – a New Zealand policy failure of monumental proportions

Our record on climate change has come to rank as perhaps the greatest policy failure in New Zealand history. The latest figures for this country’s greenhouse gas emissions were released on Monday.  They project an extraordinary blowout in our emissions over the next quarter-century – the critical period of global and national emissions that will […]

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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 […]

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Seeking magical powers – and invitations to the big boys’ club: the Climate Minister rides to our rescue…

So we returned to the House on Thursday to extend another opportunity for the Minister to explain to the nation his thinking on climate policy. We were still wrestling to reconcile the scientific observation in the Gluckman report that ‘climate change is now’ with the Finance Minister’s comment that climate change ‘may well be real’.  […]

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No time for climate change – we’ve got more important matters down here…

It may beggar belief, but perhaps it was inevitable. The NZ Government does not have the time to tackle climate change.  It’s focused on milk damage-control.  And it can only do one thing at a time. Last week, the PM’s chief scientific adviser released a report on climate change – its impact on human activity […]

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Searching for a consensus on climate change – seeking a genuine dialogue with National – Part II

Picking up from Part I of this blog post, I had occasion to question Minister Tim Groser yesterday about climate change and his Government’s policy.  This followed from Russel Norman questioning him 30 minutes earlier. Given that he has declined to come to my conference in Parliament today for a cross-party dialogue on climate change, […]

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Searching for a consensus on climate change: seeking a genuine dialogue with National, Part I

Friday, 7 June, is the day I am convening the Conference on Climate Change in the NZ Parliament.  It is being held in the Legislative Council Chamber – the elegant upper chamber that has been mostly empty since the Upper House was abolished in 1951.  It is the second conference of the kind – the […]

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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 – […]

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Closing the gap: Australia vs. NZ on climate change

The Australian Climate Commission have released a report ‘The Critical Decade: Extreme Weather’. Throughout the authors are unequivocal and forthright about the reality of the effects of climate change on Australia. Australia is already experiencing, and is going to experience, extreme weather events more often – because of human-induced (‘anthropogenic’) climate change. There is no […]

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