Top 10 need to know facts on climate change

All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to get involved in our campaign to turn things around build a safe climate future

  • 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.[1]
  • 2014 was the warmest year on record, with global temperatures 0.68C above the long-term average[2]
  • We can only afford to burn 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide to stay below 2 degrees of warming. Known fossil fuel reserves, which the fossil fuel industry plans to burn, amount to 2,795 gigatons. That means we must keep 4/5 of all known fossil fuel reserves in the ground to stay below 2 degrees warming.[3]
  • We could see ice free summers in the Arctic within 20-30 years[4].
  • The world has already warmed by 0.85C since 1880[5]
  • Dangerous sea-level rise will very likely impact 70 percent of the world’s coastlines by the end of the century.
  • Sea levels globally have already risen by about 20 centimetres and are expected to rise by a further 30cm by 2050
  • About 90 percent of the energy that has gone into the climate system since 1971 went into the ocean.[6]
  • Treasury NZ figures show failing to take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will cost between $2,000 and $34,000 per household[7]
  • Ministry for the Environment projections based on current policy have New Zealand on track to increase our emissions by 50% in the next decade[8]

[1] NASA research, as reported here




[5] Lastest IPCC report, p. 5

[6] From the latest IPCC report, as reported here



12 Comments Posted

  1. I agree with making more electricity down south, and making it cheap enough to attract business, but we already have 3000 people employed making aluminium and a basic resource. We build the industry around that and it makes some sense. Tearing down/out something you’ve already built, which the world does need (because the world needs Aluminium that doesn’t come from coal), because ideologically you embrace the free market ideal so closely that government should never subsidize anything, anywhere, ever…?? That’d be someplace between crazy and dumb.

    There is a lot of energy available in the lower South Island. Some is hydro, some is wind, but there is a LOT of it, and when I say “money represents work done” and note a KwH is work done, then we’re in a good way to actually make the country wealthier by just making good on the rest of the resource there. Electricity that is really really cheap compared to Auckland. Government subsidized/encouraged/backed development of some of the sectors that could readily thrive in that environment.

    We want to have industry, but we don’t want heavy industry in Auckland… the electricity there is much harder to come by.

  2. BJ,

    I understand your point and to expand why we should not offer corporate welfare (slipping into my red/green khaki jersey from my blue/green teal coloured one for a minute) to overseas companies just so that we can sell cheap renewable electricity. If we look at the latest news regarding Tiwai Point the future is still pretty grim for the smelter despite government handouts and cheap electricity pricing.

    No a far better plan for the renewable electricity generated at Manapouri would be (slipping back into my blue/green teal coloured jersey) would be to sent Rio Tinto on their merry way and instead promote Southland and Otago provinces to be desirable locations for business and people to relocate into, by offering the cheap renewable electricity to any business (and government department offices) at the same rate as being received from the smelter. Not just business but people as well.

    It is one way to wrestle business, public sector offices and people out of Auckland and Wellington and into a region much in need of growth.

    Whilst it might be a grand global gesture to have aluminium made from renewable resources at Tiwai Point, it is not the only option for the Manapouri generated electricity. Currently we are at the behest of a multinational to sell the electricity too instead of being self reliant and self determining by utilising the cheap renewable electricity to encourage growth in local (and relocated) business and jobs.

    it would certainly alliviate the need for massive infastructure spending in Auckland and Wellington if business (and jobs) relocated to Southland and Otago lured on by a constant supply of cheap electricity.

    Just imagine if the $30M that the state bribed Rio Tinto in staying at Tiwai Point was spent on tax incentives for business to move to, or start up, in Southland and Otago.

    And I agree, the new frogblog layout sucks big time. Wonder if frog has noticed the drop off in commentators and if this equates to fewer hits on the blog. Why have a blog that no one reads? hate not having an edit function as well.

  3. Gerrit – You missed out on what I was addressing in the Tiwai point effort. In THAT I am considering the renewable electricity going into the Al production, and the market for Al, not the need for the heavier industry around it, though I would accept that as a good idea.

    Retaining Tiwai in terms of NZL self sustainability is false reasoning.
    Yeah… but it isn’t any part of the reasoning I was doing with respect to Tiwai. The upside down nature of this format is getting me a bit annoyed.

    Sourcing Bauxite from Oz is not exactly an insurmountable obstacle to the goal of reducing CO2 emissions globally. Shutting the plant down makes more Al out of coal sourced electricity, and that is basically an “own goal” for a green.


  4. I think it naive to think resource wars and social unrest won’t reach us. We have food water and minerals that others will want. I believe a lot of John Key policy is about tweaking the chances of the mineral bandits getting their hands on them. The small echelon of the corporate world finance and resource holders are where his finances lie. The military in the US is contracting to their mates making policy. Their spying in the Pacific/South Asia is looking after strategic access to minerals.

    I think an early emphasis of the policies to change is to focus on luxury. Reducing air travel and push this to shipping allows tourism that is more sustainable. Getting good universal public transport so carbon use policy can get more pushy. Rationing of fuel so rural workers can survive. Town planning plans have to be modified in the way they inhibit small blocks in favour of amalgamation. Banks have to be forced to favour small ventures instead of big safe money – better still make their role a more public one.

  5. BJ,

    Retaining Tiwai in terms of NZL self sustainability is false reasoning.

    One – Aluminium production requires the importation of Bauxite. Totally unobtainable in NZL thus not self sufficient at all.
    Two – NZL does not have the post processing facilities to turn the ingots into sheet or plate. You need four high rolling mills to create those products. All NZL can do with aluminium is extrude or cast. Nor does NZL have the facilities to install the required temper and hardness of the sheet and plate.
    Three – Aluminium is not suitable for heavy engineering projects such as bridges or rail lines. Its work hardening properties and lack of wear resistance prevent its use in even minor civil engineering projects.
    Four – The recycling of aluminium produces a highly toxic waste

    No for NZL to be self sufficient the answer for metals lies in steel.

    One – NZL has plenty (an overabundance) of local raw materials (Ironsand and Coking Coal).
    Two – A fully intergrated steel mill is in full production to which can easily be build new casting lines for steel railroad track, I Beams, etc. It contains rolling mills, pipe mills, galvanising and paint lines.
    Three – Steel can be used in major and minor civil construction projects.
    Four – Steel can be far easier recycled with less toxic waste. The resultant slag is useful in roading construction, as an air blasted abrasive, etc.
    Five – A byproduct from ironsand to steel making is Titanium Dioxide, Used in everything from sunscreens to paint.

    So whilst am fully in favour of a self sufficient NZL, I don’t see Tiwai as being part of that future. Glenbrook yes.

  6. We need to use less energy, reduce consumerism and adjust out systems of distribution and access to food.

    Energy use and consumption of non renewable resources track each other closely following current trends over the last half century.

    This cannot continue as both are intensifying exponentially.

    Industrial output is faltering as it reaches toward the predicted peak within a handful of years.

    Freeing ourselves from the US political direction is fundamental to any self sustainability planning.

    Our alliances need to be more widely spread.

    Our footprint must be reduced and our thinking moved to local food production with drastically reduced emissions and waste.

    We need to move the dominating multinationals out of our picture.

  7. True, there is a larger need to know what to do than there is of convincing most people. We don’t see too many fools challenging the facts here any more, though they do exist.

    New Zealand has to consider how New Zealand survives what is coming.


    New Zealand has to consider how much it can best do to mitigate what is coming.

    So… what is coming?

    For the rest of the world:
    * Sea level rise
    *Seasonal weather pattern changes
    *Food shortages
    *Social unrest
    *Energy shortages
    *Resource wars

    For us:
    *Sea level rise
    *Seasonal weather pattern changes
    *Instability of supply from overseas

    Where does that leave us. We’ve bought into an economic model that sources an enormous amount of our critical goods from overseas rather than building things here.

    We are building on vulnerable coasts by preference.

    We are intensifying agriculture thereby making it more vulnerable to disruption.

    So changing those patterns is pretty important.

    On the mitigation side:

    We have the policy about government backed solar panel loans. That could be usefully extended to double/secondary glazing (which would give it a broader reach).

    We need to re-examine the carbon credits carbon taxes policy and give it teeth.

    We should keep Tiwai running and even upgrade it. It makes aluminium using a sustainable source.

    We can look into low-grade geothermal for heating purposes.


    I could even make the sacrilegious suggestion that a research reactor could be built and we learn to use the safer Thorium reactions as a hedge against having to help people with less natural resource than we have. To change things we have to change people’s perceptions of us, and some of those are quite unreasoned and unexamined. To shock them into examining what we offer even the bare proposal of something like this, from the Green party, would serve.

    We can’t sustain ourselves as a nation if we’ve turned ourselves into a plantation and sent our engineers and scientists off to other countries where they can find actual work. They may not make it back, and we haven’t built any houses for them to live in anyway. 🙂

  8. I think most people now except that we have a serious situation on our hands. Hearing the doom and gloom is important but I’d much rather hear of practical solutions and methods that an individual New Zealanders can start employing. And what the government is doing to curtail the excessive emissions and the empowerment of individuals via subsidies and assistance. Where is our solar panel program?

  9. The most important thing is to start.

    Things we don’t think of though – The Aluminium plant at Tiwai should NOT be closed… as the power that makes our Aluminium comes from renewable sources… not coal. So in a very real sense we should be counting every tonne we sell displacing a coal powered tonne, as a contribution to prevent emissions of CO2.

  10. I haven’t looked too far into this, but it seems VERY straight forward, why don’t we implement the free energy network that Nikola Telsa discovered way back before WW2, yes it would cut billions from the oil giants, but honestly, who gives a crap, I’m sure by now EVERYONE has realised how worthless money is, now that the gold standard is long gone (all standards are long gone, unfortunately) so why are we still letting the world governments do this to our planet when better alternatives exist, we need to be protecting the earth, not physically killing it! And evolution, by using less energy we are slowing down our evolution, we don’t need/ want that, we NEED to adapt it, use the technologies discovered decades ago and become a smart civilisation.

  11. Great summary. It is time to act and the fairest starting point is luxury stuff, moving to better methods of making our energy, and perhaps lifestyle changes minimising carbon emission.
    One of the facts about the sea absorbing the temperature is closely linked to the sea absorbing the CO2 and is creating acidity. We seriously need to minimise the crap going into water too as the life support in the food and oxygen production systems is crucial. Wake up polluters.

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