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Climate change, peak oil and deconstructing motorways

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, March 30th, 2014 - 62 comments
Categories: Environment, global warming, public transport - Tags:

For your Sunday morning reading here are three articles that in an interesting way are interrelated and deal with climate change, the issue that will not go away.

Firstly from Climate Progress a simple graphic that shows how strange the political debate has become.  Just 0.02 percent of scientific papers published last year dealing with climate studies concluded that anthropogenic global warming claims were false while nearly two thirds of America’s House of Representatives and Senate Republican politicians think the same.

climate change deniers-vs-scientists-2

Secondly from the Guardian is a review of a book written by Jeremy Leggett which suggests that peak oil combined with difficulties relating to the proposed alternatives and an almost inevitable crash caused by the failure to properly deal with the 2008 Global Financial Crisis may create a global crisis in the near future.  His thoughts are that demand for oil will outstrip supply within the next six years and the failure to reform global money markets will mean that the effect will be pronounced.  I am sure that the captains of industry will disagree and will take the view that everything is fine and we should keep consuming.

And finally from Gizmodo.com an article about how removing motorways from inner city areas can actually improve the area, enhance values, and make the area healthier and more enjoyable to live in.  Roads of National Significance are actually Roads of Irrational Significance.  Below are before and after pictures of an area in Seoul where not only was the road removed but a stream was sunlighted.

Do you prefer this?

Seoul motorway before

Or this?

Seoul Motorway after

62 comments on “Climate change, peak oil and deconstructing motorways”

  1. RedLogix 2

    All attempts at peaceful, rational and organised response to AGW have been choked off by a tiny handful of people who hold all the real power in the current system. Nothing else explains the lack of action. Nor can we expect anything to change under a BAU scenario.

    There are only three possible responses.

    One of them is a violent, non-rational, revolutionary reaction that completely demolishes the current power structures that are holding back the necessary changes. However the track record of violent revolution is very poor indeed, it is the advocacy of desperation.

    Another is to do nothing and hope for the best. A best that will most likely never eventuate and is an admission of abject failure.

    The third option is a global response. AGW is a global challenge that individual nations on their own cannot, indeed are not allowed, to manage. The global, capitalist corporations that are the de-facto rulers of the world will not permit this. The only conceivable mechanism that can stand up to this is a form of political global governance that is more powerful than the corporates.

    Right from the outset everyone instinctively understood that this was the only option that would work. Which is why the entire debate has been so polarised and futile. The corporate right knows it is in a fight for existence, while the left has been unwilling to articulate the words “global governance”.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      His thoughts are that demand for oil will outstrip supply within the next six years and the failure to reform global money markets will mean that the effect will be pronounced. I am sure that the captains of industry will disagree and will take the view that everything is fine and we should keep consuming.

      When you look at the crawling global economic stagnation, those in the poorest countries unable to keep up with artificial food inflation, and austerity for the masses in western “developed” nations, I would say that the effect is already pronounced, and that a lot of people no longer have the access to the money or credit needed to “keep consuming” regardless of what the power elite says.

      The only conceivable mechanism that can stand up to this is a form of political global governance that is more powerful than the corporates.

      I think you are going to the wrong scale? Community and regional democracies are the way to go. Any highly centralised authority or bureaucracy will be undermined from the outset. The very building that this global government happens in will be completely bugged from the foundations up, as it is built.

      • weka 2.1.1

        I also think that localised democracy and governance is the way to go, not least because I don’t see any really big body doing anything useful at all. The important stuff is coming from the edges and the grassroots.

        And as CV says, centralised bureaucracy cannot be trusted.

        “There are only three possible responses.”

        I can think of at least one more. Many are waiting for the right confluence of AGW/PO/GFC, where tippings points can be more easily pushed in certain directions. Those people are aware of seriousness of AGW, are actively working on local resiliency solutions, but I think will step up when the time comes. One of the tasks of the left in the meantime is to build alliances between the various communities that at this point don’t talk to each other much (eg the resilience crowd tend to be apolitical or consider themselves beyond politics).

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.1

          Many are waiting for the right confluence of AGW/PO/GFC, where tippings points can be more easily pushed in certain directions.

          We should have reached those tipping points decades ago. After all even Maggie Thatcher understood what was at stake.

          And if we wait that long, for the degradation of climate and environment to tip the scales, against the weight of corporate power that does not want any damned ‘tipping’ to happen at all – will it not be just too late?

          Is it possible that waiting for food shortages and social breakdown merely degenerate into into my Option 1? Violent revolution?

          • weka 2.1.1.1.1

            Decades ago not enough people were aware of the big 3, so a tipping point wasn’t possible.

            “And if we wait that long, for the degradation of climate and environment to tip the scales, against the weight of corporate power that does not want any damned ‘tipping’ to happen at all – will it not be just too late?”

            Corporate power won’t be able to do anything about it. That’s the definition of tipping point, the weight goes over in one direction and then there is no stopping it. Corporate power will certainly have its own reactions, and much of them will be destructive, but the defining feature is that they won’t have control (that’s inevitable anyway with the big 3). It’s not about waiting for degradation, it’s about finding the places where people can be most influenced. The tipping point is in enough humans being willing to change.

            “Is it possible that waiting for food shortages and social breakdown merely degenerate into into my Option 1? Violent revolution?”

            You are assuming that food shortages and social breakdown is the only possible tipping point path. I don’t, although I certainly think it is possible. I agree we don’t have time, but none of the options have time. I’m pointing out that there is another scenario in addition to the 3 you presented. One that gives us a different chance. Slim, but still a chance. I’m not recommending it, I’m saying we would be better to pay heed and make use of it if it plays out.

            I’d have to think about who has written about this already, but off the top of my head, let’s say we get a collapse that is slow enough to not throw everyone into panic survival mode, but is fast enough and hard enough that the middle classes have to take action. Then we might see something change.

            • RedLogix 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m not inclined to quibble a lot with this. I’d not argue against it, but I’m unsure if it is sufficient.

      • RedLogix 2.1.2

        CV. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

        Community and regional democracies are the way to go. Any highly centralised authority or bureaucracy will be undermined from the outset.

        Two points:

        Absolutely I agree with stronger community and regional economies. For lots of good reasons that for brevity I’ll skip on for the moment, but I’d not take one tiny degree away from what you and weka are saying.

        But neither do I have a vast, centralised monument to Stalinesque bureaucracy in mind.

        What I do have in mind is a simple projection of the organic model that our own history has bequeathed us. When we evolved villages we did not abandon families; when we evolved kingdoms, the villages thrived; and while the cities and nations states have arguably absorbed too much of the energy of the village and family, the ideal of these more human scale institutions remain deeply embedded in our psyche.

        I would argue that global governance is merely an extension of this model. What is missing from a highly globalised world is a global political mechanism which is both effective and democratically credible – as an organic outreach of the layers supporting it.

        Our history is littered with this struggle between centralised and de-centralised power. Eventually the balance is always struck in favour of what is necessary to achieve political stability in the geographic, technical and economic context of the era.

        As human economic reach has expanded, so our political institutions have expanded their reach to match. I’d not suggest it has been an easy or comfortable process, but I would argue it is an inevitable one.

        • weka 2.1.2.1

          Does history not show that the more you centralise and heirarchise power the more inequality arises?

          What evidence is there that global governance would do anything different from what corporate governance is doing?

          “the ideal of these more human scale institutions remain deeply embedded in our psyche.”

          I think it’s more that where resources are concentrated, some human cultures build power structures around that. I’d challenge you to name some that have done more good than harm.

          “I would argue that global governance is merely an extension of this model. What is missing from a highly globalised world is a global political mechanism which is both effective and democratically credible – as an organic outreach of the layers supporting it.”

          It might be possible to create networks of connected democracies that hold power less centrally, that could address AGW. But your proposition sounds more like concentrating power. Have I misunderstood that?

          For me the big bit missing from the current picture is that most ordinary people don’t have a personal connection to the problem or the solution. Central governance makes that worse not better. We need people to have a personal investment in saving the planet, and IMO that requires responsibilities devolved to local areas.

          Then there is the issue of once you get above a certain number, where people become strangers, corruption comes into play.

          • RedLogix 2.1.2.1.1

            Thanks weka.

            The global model I have in mind is completely dependent on strong national, cultural and community networks. I’m not shirking from this at all. Indeed as I tried to clumsily hint above; I think the nation states have become too dominant in our political life. I would argue for a much tighter structure between local and national level democracy.

            For instance – what if we gave up on national scale elections altogether? What if we elected members to local (at a very granular, personal scale) government, who then indirectly elected members to a national body?

            And if the nation state is overdue some de-centralisation, I’d also argue sooner or later it will be compelled to cede some (not all) of it’s sovereign power to a global body.

            Macro linked to an excellent article below and I’ll quote a few paras here:

            A more sophisticated line of argument should outline that there are only three litmus tests for assessing the 2015 climate agreement.

            First, it needs to send a strong and credible signal to the executive committees of the world’s largest companies, be they multinational conglomerates or state owned enterprises. The message the bosses should hear is that governments are serious about decarbonisation.

            This should inform their strategic planning from now until mid-century. We know from experience that the Kyoto Protocol didn’t do enough to affirm this message. It didn’t give a clear, long-term direction of travel: we need something more radical so that decarbonisation is perceived as inevitable.

            Secondly, it’s important that the agreement builds confidence among countries regarding their ability to deliver and implement their commitments. Governments should not be able to use the excuse that others are not delivering in order to shirk their own commitments.

            Robust transparency and accountability mechanisms will be essential to inspire mutual assurance of actions. These will reinforce and enhance the international rules-based system we already have. Demonstrating intent to abide by such rules protects all those participating.

            And finally, the outcome must get a better grip on who is responsible for managing climate risk. At present, the disconnect between mitigation ambition and country planning assumptions for climate impacts is glaring.

            And while the author goes to great lengths to avoid actually saying so – his ‘litmus’ test absolutely implies the existence of a supra-national body capable of applying it.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.2

          When we evolved villages we did not abandon families

          Actually, that’d be more along the lines of when we evolved villages we didn’t abandon the tribe. In other words, we kept the same social relationships that we had as a nomadic people. We’ve tried to keep the same relationships as we’ve grown from villages to cities to nations and it didn’t work. This has resulted in the breakdown of society and the rise of the individual and Maggie Thatcher’s there is no such thing as society which is even worse.

          It seems to me that we have to build a sense of community in a society that is far larger than anything we evolved in. Of course, evolution is still happening and will help out in a few thousand years but for now we have to rely upon our intelligence to give people that feeling of belonging and of having a say in the direction of the community.

          I would argue that global governance is merely an extension of this model.

          IMO, the idea of global governance is the dream of the dictators and capitalists as they work to take even more of the worlds wealth to themselves. It’s another few generations away before we get the necessary cooperation going for true global governance.

          • RedLogix 2.1.2.2.1

            IMO, the idea of global governance is the dream of the dictators and capitalists as they work to take even more of the worlds wealth to themselves.

            Indeed this was exactly this fear which drove the English and French dukedoms to fight the expansion of Crown and national scale power so bitterly during the long course of the Hundred Years War.

            It is a fear that keeps the left from mentioning ‘internationalism’ anymore, and makes ‘globalisation’ a dirty word.

            But I don’t think it is a discussion we can shirk from. Because as much as the tribe may have wanted to retain it’s identity, it cannot ignore the reality of the nation state. We will not be able to forever ignore the political implications of a global scale world.

            Ultimately our political institutions, however flawed have to reflect the scale of the challenges they face. For instance we often suggest to libertarians that they should remove themselves to Somalia (as an example of a nation with no government), tacitly implying that some governance, however awful, is usually better than none at all.

            So what are we to make of a world with no government? Well it turns out we have made by default, a libertarian paradise for the greedy, exploitative and unconscionable corporates. Certainly the capitalists have no fear of becoming global entities, and thus we cede the field of domination to them.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.2.1.1

              I suppose it comes down to how we go about globalisation. If we do it through cooperation or through competition. ATM we’re doing through competition and in a way so that the only winners that come out of it are the global corporations while those self-same global corporations leave death and destruction in their wake as they look for ever higher profits.

              • RedLogix

                Exactly.

                At one time the left had a very strong thread of internationalism. The argument I am making would very old-hat to the generation of lefties before us.

                And I imagine it’s worth asking how that discussion on global governance got derailed. Not by the same people who don’t want any effective action on AGW by any chance do you think?

            • Macro 2.1.2.2.1.2

              So what are we to make of a world with no government? Well it turns out we have made by default, a libertarian paradise for the greedy, exploitative and unconscionable corporates. Certainly the capitalists have no fear of becoming global entities, and thus we cede the field of domination to them.

              Sadly so very very true. We now are no longer living in a democracy (certainly not the USA) but a corporate-ocracy. When 600 corporates have the ear of political leaders on the content of the TPPA – but no one else – elevating corporates above the status of citizens – then we are in a sorry state of affairs.

      • Ennui 2.1.3

        Demand for oil will outstrip supply……maybe. That presupposes the capital investment and economic demand driving it…it all gets very difficult to predict. What we know for sure is that the peak supply has been reached and reserves are in decline. Alongside this we can also safetly assume that the industrial outputs that rely on oil must necessarily decline.

        Decline is an interesting concept: there are people predicting collapse, others new bright techno futures, etc etc. I think the best case scenario is what Greer describes as catabolic collapse…stepped decline, no real collapse, just gradual diminution of the fossil based economy with no substitute energy to compensate.

  2. The Real Matthew 3

    Where did all the cars go after they removed the Motorway?

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Look up the phrase ‘induced demand’.

      • weka 3.1.1

        Although it’s likely that a significant proportion of those motorway cars were for longer distances than could be biked or walked etc, so presumably there is either major increase in public transport or neighbourhoods are changed to put the resources within easy reach of where people live and work. Or both.

        Or they just routed the traffic elsewhere.

        • Macro 3.1.1.1

          They improved PT, the number of cars dropped, and they shifted resources to where people lived and worked. A win win all round.

    • Murray Olsen 3.2

      North Korea, where they were melted down to make tanks. If you’re lucky, Key might buy you a gun and you can go and fight for freedom. Bye.

    • mikesh 3.3

      “Where did all the cars go after they removed the Motorway?”

      No one knows. Apparently they just disappeared. Many were predicting enormous congestion on side roads once the motorway was removed, but this just didn’t happen. There was a documentary about it on Stratos TV a couple of years ago.

  3. Draco T Bastard 4

    And Act is, unsurprisingly, saying that we shouldn’t do anything.

    The ACT Party says it would do nothing about climate change as policies to reduce carbon emissions are “moral exhibitionism”.
    ACT leader Jamie Whyte said there was no point in New Zealand cutting emissions if other countries who had greater emissions weren’t going to do so.
    “It’s irresponsible of us towards our children to waste money on a futile gesture when we could be using that money to adapt to future climate change,” he told Q+A.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      You know it was ACT’s febrile drivel which eventually scuttled Jim Sutton’s, modest and limited public walking access reforms back in 2004 which got me politically active. Their obsessive elevation of ‘private property rights’ above all other social considerations pissed me off beyond all passive tolerance. I still loath them for this reason alone.

      I would like to define myself as liberal-minded, with a strong thread of respect for and tolerance of other people and their diversity. But this ideal can never exist in a vacuum. If an individual wishes to enjoy rights it must be understood that they always come with a concomitant responsibilities to the community.

      It’s this absence of social connectedness, of empathy with others which has marked so many of ACT’s blunders over the years. It’s why Whyte can blither on how incest may be hypothetically justifiable in some instances – oblivious of how stupid and offensive this just sounds to the wider community.

      Or why Hide can indulge in convoluted self-deceptions about why AGW is a scam – while oblivious to the fact that the wider scientific community just think he is a fool, and that ultimately billions of people will pay a very steep price for his lies.

    • McFlock 4.2

      That’s just stupid on so many levels, but the chief one is:

      Do we really want to teach our children that the correct course of action is to copy everyone else if we think there will be no difference in outcome? Not for ACT those heroes who refused to participate in the Ho1ocaust, then (after all, those folk were going to dieanyway, right?).

  4. Populuxe1 5

    I agree that we should be reducing CO2 emissions, but I also thing we need to face the reality that we are in for some pretty catastrophic changes within our lifetimes and we’d be mugs not to start preparing for it, and I’d probably even prioritise climate change preparation over reduction simply because the former is going to be considerably more effective and save more lives than the other.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Nothing wrong with having a Plan B or a fall-back position pop1.

      Unfortunately they also tend to become a justification for why Plan A got to be “too hard”.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.2

      I think the problem with ‘mitigation instead’ is that it’s obviously just treating the symptoms, and there will be a lot of symptoms. We would have to choose which symptoms to treat, and where.

      Just in terms of protecting coastal cities, the political priority will demand that the bulk of money be spent protecting western cities, rather than say, Bangladesh. And the necessity for migration will also be at least as a hard a sell as carbon taxes have been.

      But the far more important symptoms of AGW relate to the ecosystems. How do we mitigate the changing PH levels of the ocean to protect plankton? How do we mitigate the loss of plankton? The oceans as a food source for humanity are in a bad enough state, but what about the oxygen source?

    • weka 5.3

      “and I’d probably even prioritise climate change preparation over reduction simply because the former is going to be considerably more effective and save more lives than the other.”

      I used to think that too (because prep is more realistic than mitigation), until I read Bill’s posts, and other material, in the past year or so about the likelihood of runaway climate change. If AGW gets as bad as some think then we will be faced with things we can’t really prepare for – catastrophic CC isn’t survivable in any sense that we understand. I know a lot of people involved in preparing, there are whole movements based on this. We can plant all the community gardens and such that we like (and replace motorways with parks), but that means nothing if we get successive years of drought and the gardens die. The extent to which we are dependent on the oil economy cannot be overestimated. Even the best of the prep movement is still largely dependent. It IS possible to transition off fossil fuels, we just don’t have much time, and if we don’t reduce emmissions at the same we are going to be screwed whatever we do.

      The other harsh reality here is that saving lives is not the sensible priority. As much as that goes against our sense of humanity, preserving the population will just lead to more suffering. We have to priortise the support of ecosystems that we are completely dependent upon. If you take oil out of the equation, we have no way to survive apart from being part of living systems. In NZ we are lucky because we probably could support the current population with the land base that we have, but many places in the world people are doing to die. And even in NZ, one the best things we could do is to start reducing population by lowering the birth rate.

      • marty mars 5.3.1

        “The other harsh reality here is that saving lives is not the sensible priority.”

        Who should die then? Those with the worst chance of survival? – so (for the sake of the argument) the disabled are gone, the old are gone, the middle who work in banks and wouldn’t know how to live without being handfed their entitlements – gone. Hmm whose left? Survivalists, party flunkys, the very rich and their hanger-ons, some supposedly useful people like the soldiers and drone pilots… do you see where the road leads?

        The harsh reality is that as kurt says in backdraft the movie, “you go, we go” That is the reality. People will die for sure but not because we didn’t try to save them but because there was nothing else we could do to save them. That is sensible, that is what we need to accept and prepare for and hope like hell that someone, somewhere doesn’t decide that our name should be scratched off the list and we should be killed because a bureaucrat decides that the party flunkies cousins brotherinlaw is more deserving of life.

        • RedLogix 5.3.1.1

          Which is all a very good argument for why we really, really do not want to wind up in that scenario.

          A very simple but stark thought experiment:

          You are in a ship’s lifeboat, there are a few spare seats, but some distance away is a huge crowd of desperate people in the water all of whom deserve a chance of life. But it is plain that if you steer your small craft and attempt to save a few, the many hundreds will in their desperation overwhelm, swamp and sink your craft. Everyone dies.

          I don’t want to pretend that there is an honourable answer to this situation. It is what we call a tragedy and if it played out in your real life it would likely haunt you the rest of your days.

          Much better had the big ship not sunk in the first place.

          • weka 5.3.1.1.1

            Pretty much every commentator that is involved in preparation (and who have pretty evolved analyses of the big 3) thinks that that scenario is inevitable (although myself I think the lifeboat analogy is flawed*). Marty argues against it as if we have a choice, or implies that I think we should let people die. I’m saying we don’t have a choice and it’s nothing to do with my personal morals. People will die. People are already dying. The better question is how can we mitigate that? I think working with sustainable models is the only way to go.

            *not least because we get bogged down in the ‘should we let people die’ argument.

            • weka 5.3.1.1.1.1

              “Much better had the big ship not sunk in the first place.”

              The Titanic is already on a course that can’t be changed. Better that we abandon ship while we still have lots of life rafts and it’s daylight and we can see what we are doing. Let’s call NZ the Titanic. To what extent can we take responsibility for all the other ships out there also about to hit the iceberg?

            • RedLogix 5.3.1.1.1.2

              I’d concur. No analogy is perfect – but it does address marty’s thinking.

              • The lifeboat analogy is not the best but it does model some things so I’m okay with having it in the conversation.

                “Marty argues against it as if we have a choice” No I don’t actually. I am not pretending that people will not die and that tough choices will need to made but I am saying that surviving whilst losing the attributes that made us who we are is not worth it.

                In weka’s analogy above – The titanic is humanity, the lifeboat is this country and the other lifeboats are other countries – we see a lifeboat where the people are suffering and dying and we have seats on ours – do we help? Do we go the other way and pretend we never saw them? Do we say, “We can’t help they might sink our lifeboat”. Do we make room on our lifeboat by biffing over others to make room for more people on the other lifeboat that resemble us? There are no easy answers but the answers we believe are options reveal a lot.

                • RedLogix

                  We agree there is no easy, morally comfortable answer. weka suggests a good extension of the model:

                  Has the Titanic struck an iceberg? Yes.
                  Will it sink? Probably.
                  When? No-one really knows, we’ve never done this before.
                  How many lifeboats do we have? Some but not enough. Too many ‘third-class’ passengers.
                  Do you think the third class passengers will stay safely below decks while the ship sinks and allow the elites and upper classes to safely float away? Probably not this time.
                  Houston – we have a problem.

                  In the real world pragmatism usually prevails – and everyone in a lifeboat steers away in the opposite direction as fast as they can.

                  My point remains the same – none of this should be a surprise to us. We will all be guilty if we allow this nightmare to unfold in our children’s lives.

                  • Try my titantic analogy red see how that unfolds.

                    I agree there are no easy choices or options. This nightmare is already unfolding and sadly there is little we can do except build community and prepare ourselves and our children for the new realities coming.

        • weka 5.3.1.2

          I didn’t say we shouldn’t try and save people from dying. I said that the best chance for our survival places the priority on living systems. At the moment we prioritise people well over that, and that will cause more suffering. If we consider humans to be part of living systems, it changes the debate. Human lives aren’t the most important thing, despite being very important.

          You might want to keep in mind too that as someone with a disability, I assume I will be one of the people that dies.

          “Who should die then?”

          Wrong question. People will make the best decisions they can given their circumstances at the time. There will be people who are selfish and cause other people to die to save themselves, and others who will die rather than let someone else die, and most people who will struggle on and people will die anyway. But none of that is new marty. We already ‘let’ huge numbers of people die already. It’s not about who ‘should’ die, it’s about who does die and why.

          “so (for the sake of the argument) the disabled are gone, the old are gone, the middle who work in banks and wouldn’t know how to live without being handfed their entitlements – gone. Hmm whose left? Survivalists, party flunkys, the very rich and their hanger-ons, some supposedly useful people like the soldiers and drone pilots… do you see where the road leads?”

          I don’t see where that road leads, because that’s not how I see people responding to crisis. That’s a pretty nasty vision you got going on there mate.

          • marty mars 5.3.1.2.1

            Sure, my nasty vision has no precedent in history or today’s society or even in the way we have got to this position. Facing the truth is difficult and very few in the illusory society we have live in can do it – hell I think I’m probably being too positive in my nasty vision and aren’t really facing the truth. But we will see and my son will see and with a lot of luck his son or daughter will see.

            When 2012 was imminent I decided that i didn’t want to survive with the handful of dickheads and wankers in a bunker – I was and am happy to stick with humanity in general and I’ll leave the future to those that get there.

            I agree with your first paragraph, but I just don’t think it is going to happen.

            I will also fight to the end to mitigate the damage that humans do the individual and total ecosystems we live within – for me that is the true meaning of humanity and perhaps humility.

            • Ennui 5.3.1.2.1.1

              Weka / Mars, there is one word that is the answer to how we can approach the die off issue. COMMUNITY.

      • Populuxe1 5.3.2

        I don’t think I want to live in a world where those kinds of decisions are being made. It wouldn’t be a society worth preserving. We would have lost our humanity. And I think you’re wrong about oil – we hve more than enough hydro and geothermal energy to keep a high level of technological society – perhaps not at the level we currently enjoy, but certainly not developing world.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2.1

          That decision has already been made. We cannot unmake it now no matter how much we dislike the results.

          • Populuxe1 5.3.2.1.1

            We certanly have choice in how we adapt and treat other you miserable bugger

            • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2.1.1.1

              We can treat each other well, we can’t save everybody.

              • Colonial Viper

                We can barely face addressing 250,000 NZ kids living in day to day poverty, let alone credibly address the rest of these grand visions of humanity and principle.

              • We? – you won’t be in the we, you’ll be part of the everybody and logically you’ll go to the gallows happy to do your part in helping humanity survive and that you’ve been treated nicely whilst waiting for your last day, and the crowds will sing – “did I ever tell you’re my hero, you’re everything I wanted to be, we can fly higher than an eagle, cos you are the wind beneath my wings…”

                • Draco T Bastard

                  There’s 6 billion people too many on the planet under the ecological conditions that have obtained for the last few thousand years. What do you think is going to happen when the shit hits the fan, when the carrying capacity of Earth drops to less than 10% of what it’s capable of now?

                  • fair enough

                    I’ve been taking the ‘we can’t save everyone’ as we could save a lot if we wanted but we don’t so we won’t – and that is not correct. In reality, we can’t save anyone. So I won’t hassle you anymore about it. :)

  5. Macro 6

    Micky this article is also well worth the read, and highly relevant to your above post.
    http://www.e3g.org/library/us-senates-66-votes-should-not-shape-global-climate-talks

    • mickysavage 6.1

      Thanks Macro. It makes interesting reading. Particularly this:

      Many climate realists hail from the US, and their voices are replicated by the naysayers among the large emitters. Perhaps the geographic concentration stems from the inability of the US to ratify a legally binding agreement, and realists parrot the government line.

      But this should have limited bearing upon which direction the rest of the world heads. We shouldn’t let the 66 votes required by the Senate to ratify an international agreement shape the global level of ambition.

      We shouldn’t let those 66 votes condemn millions to deeper deprivation and stop employment and prosperity following an alternative model of development. We shouldn’t let a mere 66 votes turn us into defeatists.

  6. srylands 7

    Don’t let facts get in the way. Yes it is a nice picture. An obsolete blighted 2km urban motorway was demolished. Good.

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

    But S Korea has over 4,000 km of motorways. (Yes that is four THOUSAND) New Zealand has 172 km. Yes seriously. And S Korea is a bit over one-third the size of NZ.

    So after the roads of National Significance are done we will have – maybe 250km of motorways? Still close to the lowest in the OECD.

    • McFlock 7.1

      So that’s your only take-away from the entire article?

      Try reading it again. What about the top graphic, for example?

    • RedLogix 7.2

      Let me see:

      Korea; 50m people with 4,000km motorway = 80 km motorway/ Million people

      NZ: 4m people with 200km of motorway = 50 km motorway/ Million people

      http://www.nzta.govt.nz/network/operating/faqs.html#motorway

      This is assuming the two countries are using the same strict definition of ‘motorway’.

      Of course what you are attempting is a fatuous diversion from the main point which is: “more motorway” =/= “better transport”. As the six examples in the article strongly suggest, they can often detract from an urban environment.

    • Macro 7.3

      And what a waste of money those RONS are! – but never mind you will be able to travel to Paraparaumu really quick with a nice drive over what was the Basin Reserve.
      Pity about the 20% of kids living in poverty.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.4

      S Rylands, I’m sure it will be a comfort to you to be able to say that your behaviour didn’t fuck the planet as much as that other guy, and some people have ethics.

      Just saying.

  7. joe90 8

    Bill Moyers on climate change and the influence of religious right.

    http://vimeo.com/85156938

  8. greywarbler 9

    Perhaps the idea for the future organisation of we humans will come from thinking from an observational view of other living beings. We know from study how forms can be echoed in different formats.

    Now I have just been looking at those amazing starling mass flights, they call it a murmuration. There is something that they can transmit from one to the other right across the body of the flock so that immediately one feels menaced by a falcon the other side also gets that knowledge. They operate their movements with some spatial approach that has been identified. Also it has been identified that they seem to co-ordinate in groups of seven within the flock and perhaps that is exponential or something. So that can spread through the flock like wildfire.

    In meeting communication problem solving brain storming studies there is an optimum number for a group to allow for a wide number of options to be articulated, and for each person to have a say, but not so many that it is confusing and takes too much time, and then long shallow discussion and disagreements can ensue. I think the ideal round the table is about 16 and then if someone’s away a suitable quorum is available to ensure that discussion proceeds at a useful level and good decisions can be made.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      Interesting aspects gw.

      The optimum size of a consulting group probably depends on the nature of the decision being made. For time critical, executive type decisions maybe 5-9 is a good number, while policy or legislative decisions that are not time critical can be conducted at a more leisurely pace by maybe 20 or so.

      What passes for debate in the House these days is mere posturing and point-scoring. It really is a silly game and it’s probably no wonder the jonolists treat it that way. How far removed from rational discussion and decision-making are we?

      And while we are at it, I’d be happy to re-consider all aspects of our democratic model. For instance, while it is true the Chinese CP runs a totalitarian state, you have to admit they are doing a very effective job of it. What other economy consistently grows 7% pa and is on track to totally dominate the world within a generation?

      What is the role of parties? What alternatives could we consider that might achieve diversity and accountability, without the endemic confrontation and polarisation?

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        while policy or legislative decisions that are not time critical can be conducted at a more leisurely pace by maybe 20 or so.

        Can be made, in reasonable time, by the entire community.
        https://www.loomio.org/

        How far removed from rational discussion and decision-making are we?

        Quite far and getting further away as more and more MPs, especially those on the right, indulge in ideology rather than actual debate.

        What is the role of parties?

        I don’t think that they have a role. We may need MPs to oversee the day to day running of parliament but actual policy decisions should be left to the people.

    • Murray Olsen 9.2

      Ascribing an optimum number to a group decision making process requires that all participants are weighted equally. This is patently not the case. I have been in many situations where N people was a great group, but N+1 was totally hopeless because some idiot had been added. I suspect smallish flying birds in groups are more intelligent than us.

  9. greywarbler 10

    Keep thinking Red Logix. It is good that someone is. About the Chinese. I have a lot of respect for them, but they need to reveal themselves to be able to stop, think, rein themselves in, control corruption in the outlying provinces and authoritarianism in the centre. And limit their growth. which means a change in their upward direction.

    here is too much time spent chewing over personalities and checking out fairy stories. We at present have to keep considering personalities with politics being overshadowed often. But the need is urgent and we have to drag ourselves back to the main issues.

    I was just thinking about the birds and their closeness. The thing is that they are all focussed on the main problem at the time and can act in complete accord.

    It may be that we will have to form groups of like-minded individuals and families, and then liaise with others with the same main beliefs, people who think along the same lines. If you know people who are good hearted with similar beliefs then you can act in unison. Then outside of that you are tolerant of other groups who think slightly differently.

    On important issues one group will believe in abortion entirely, one group will believe that it should be an option whenever other options are exhausted in the most fair and loving way etc. And seeing human rights as including one to work and be respected and where the lines are drawn in general by the people in one group. Then you can work together without friction and hidden disagreement, and offer allegiance to the group, with the beliefs that you agree with. There must be bigger groups than families – people who commit to each other to help and trust each other to cope with society’s damaging side.

    Families aren’t close enough – there can be a lot of conflicting and splintering attitudes, people would still be linked through family ties and affection, but if there cannot be unity of purpose, there would have to be decisions made as to which group each would adopt as a home group and adhere to. I think that we need like-minded people joining together for close friendship, respect and understanding, strength, safety and efficiency. Perhaps a scenario has already been set up, a model statement of beliefs and intent or plan already designed as a starting point.

  10. aerobubble 11

    Shopping. Drive the furthest to get to the largest mall, drive the longest path to find a car parking space, walk further to get to the shops, walk to the back of the shop to find the most brought items.
    Also ensure buses are on the edge and also take the longest route.

    Waste the time of your consumers and then whinge when they can get their stuff cheap on the internet and not pay GST.

    Welcome to retail NZ, energy rich ideology.

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