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The Standard

Environment on the edge

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, April 20th, 2014 - 41 comments
Categories: capitalism, China, energy, Europe, infrastructure, Mining, sustainability, uncategorized - Tags:

On Al Jazeera NewsHour this morning, there were two reports on environmental issues in different parts of the planet.  Both stories focus on the tension between pursuit of economic “growth” and the destruction of the environment.  In one country the cultural heritage of a small town is also under threat. In both countries, there are attempts to develop renewables, without changing the whole system.

environment closing-down-sale

The first is on the increasing pollution in China as their economy “grows” – ‘Chinese battle to make land fertile again’.  China does seem to take environmental issues seriously, as they attempt to invest in renewable technologies, even while their pursuit of economic “growth” pulls the country in the opposite direction.

People in China are increasingly having to deal with the environmental cost of their rapid economic growth.

A government report says nearly one-fifth of farmland in mainland China is polluted. The report was based on a study undertaken from April 2005 to last December on more than 2.4 million square miles of land across the country.

The study says 16.1 percent of China’s soil and 19.4 percent of its arable land is contaminated. It says heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic are the top pollutants.

The report blames industrial and agricultural activities – things like factory waste, the improper use of fertilizers and pesticides, and irrigating land with polluted water.

[…]

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reports from Zhejian Province, in eastern China, about a scientist looking to make the land fertile once more.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the authorities are planning to destroy a centuries old village and turn the area into a vast coal mine – “German countryside under threat from coal use”.

Atterwasch, near the country’s border with Poland, is around 700-years-old. Its residents and those of neighbouring villages want to stop coal producers from uprooting their communities.

Environmentalists also oppose increased coal use, as it is has higher emissions levels than other forms of energy.

Al Jazeera’s Nick Spicer reports from Atterwasch near Germany’s border with Poland.

On youtube *

The argument is that the coal is needed in the short term to aid the development of renewables, as a replacement for their nuclear power industry, which is being wound down.

And as this struggle between the “economy” as usual, and the urgent need to develop renewables continues, the environment is a commodity on the edge.

John Key sold environment

* I’ve forgotten how to embed more than one yt video in a post.

41 comments on “Environment on the edge”

  1. RedLogix 1

    The study says 16.1 percent of China’s soil and 19.4 percent of its arable land is contaminated. It says heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic are the top pollutants

    And we allow Chinese food into our local market with no testing because?

    • Paul 1.1

      Didn’t you know the neoliberal mantra?
      Get rid of red tape, it’s unpc, nanny state, blah blah.
      Hence no regulations.

      And Pike River, CTV, Leaky Buildings, Forestry deaths……

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        Yeah but the thing is the Chinese have the unmitigated gall to ban Fonterra products on completely bogus ‘food safety’ grounds.

        The reality is that a relatively complex testing regime popped up a false positive result as a result of a fairly minor one-off production issue. Despite some uncertainty and delays that arose because of this uncertainty – Fonterra did eventually respond to the problem with a precautionary recall.

        The recall was made more complex than desirable because of some IT issues largely beyond Fonterra’s control. (It’s a huge, complex and very high-tech industry and the goal-posts are constantly moving).

        As far as I can see Fonterra did everything it could have done in response to the problem as it presented to them – yet for some opaque and unjustified reason the Chinese continue to use this incident to ban some products and – while their own toxic shit continues to be freely imported into this country with zero testing.

        This asymmetry of power is looking more and more like neo-colonialism all over again.

      • Martin 1.1.2

        it’s called a free [nmarket] for all clusterf**k

    • Bill 1.2

      And we allow Chinese food into our local market with no testing because?

      Probably for much the same reason that we allow Japanese seafood and goods into the country with no testing; the health effects are far enough away in terms of years, that the authorities can shirk any sense of responsibility. (Could say the same about all that asbestos that was (is?) flying around Christchurch….)

      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        Good point. Why is it that all our export customers demand the highest possible food safety standards from us – while we accept any old shit they feel like sending us with absolutely no testing?

    • Sanctuary 1.3

      Just BTW – I have been told that at the moment, Talley’s is the only brand that you can guarantee has no Chinese sourced veges in it’s frozen vege lines. I carefully check all labeling, and I won’t buy any food manufactured or sourced from China. I am the last person in the world you could accuse of being a food obsessed hippy, but I am a believer in “trust but verify”.

  2. tc 2

    Some would say that battle is being lost in large parts of NZ where rivers run black with cow shit, pastures can’t hold a decent rain or any form of drought without impacts as dairy farmers have pillaged the topsoil levels over the last few years expecially.

    • karol 2.1

      Agreed, even while the government does currently support some sustainable farming initiatives. Such initiatives seem to be marginal and don’t really change the dominant approach to agriculture in in.

      Article from NZ Farmer a couple of days ago:

      Farming industries will match the Government’s funding of $9.9 million over three years with $8.7m of their own money in the latest round of Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) projects to improve agriculture.

      Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the 31 new SFF projects ranged from water-quality issues to climate change.

      “The one common factor is they will deliver real economic and environmental benefits to New Zealand’s primary industries,” Guy said. “They are driven from the grassroots and will make a real difference to regional communities.”

      Guy seems more focused on the “real economic and environmental benefits” to industry, than on the long term issues of sustainability and livable environments for Kiwis in general.

      • weka 2.1.1

        Quite agree karol.

        “projects to improve agriculture”

        Therein lies the problem. Agriculture in the context of the global economy is inherently unsustainable. It doesn’t matter how much you tinker with nitrogen levels or if you put dairy cows in sheds, the whole thing will always degrade the environment and require fossil fuel inputs. It’s going to get worse too, because as population increases the kind of unsustainable agriculture we have been doing pre-dairy boom that could have lasted quite some time, will simply be inadequate.

        ‘Improving’ agriculture is about manipulating the environment and the perception of the environment in order to keep making money. While there will be good people using those funds to do some interesting things, the whole thing is based on premises that don’t fit any meaningful definition of sustainability. And as you mention karol, it’s mostly about economic sustainablity, not environmental, and it’s for the benefit of the industry.

        Fortunately we do have real models and practices of sustainable farming, and in NZ there are people making good headway with these. At the point that the industrial farming model falls over due to pollution, drought, AGW etc, I expect the people with 2 or 3 decades of actual sustainable farming practice will be able and willing to step up and share what works.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        Guy seems more focused on the “real economic and environmental benefits” to industry, than on the long term issues of sustainability and livable environments for Kiwis in general.

        That would be true of National in general and probably some in Labour.

  3. “The argument is that the coal is needed in the short term to aid the development of renewables, as a replacement for their nuclear power industry, which is being wound down.”

    We will hear a lot of this type of argument as desperation takes hold and the profits slip. To me it smacks of “to save the village we must destroy the village”. I also think it is a lie, in that the coal is not used to aid the development of renewables at all but rather, to continue the machine and the generation of profits.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      In other words by fritzing around for several decades doing nothing, we’ve let the safe window of opportunity to change to renewables slip by.

      The fuckers who sowed confusion and doubt over this for so long – will one day be identified and dealt with.

      For me personally what hurts the most is this – that the extraordinary forest and alpine landscapes of NZ – places I have spent so much time in, places where the colours and textures, the unique and complex web of ancient life – all this stands to be lost forever.

      And while I can intellectually understand the perils and import of climate change on the whole of humanity – the threat to this taonga makes me angry and bitter.

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        Yep I agree with that Red – I’ve been portering up the Heaphy and what landscapes and ecosytems, what life!!! It fills the heart and soul – if we could get the movers and shakers up there as in drop them off and let them survive (acceptable losses included) perhaps they would see our world differently, in some small ways through our eyes, with our wonder – but one thing those fuckers don’t have is empathy, they can’t walk in anyone elses shoes or see from their point of view – they are absolutely and totally selfish – so no, it is up to us to try and get as many people as possible out there to see the wonder of our country, our land, our place.

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.1

          I’ve been portering up the Heaphy and what landscapes and ecosytems, what life!!! It fills the heart and soul

          You very fortunate bastard marty. I hope that one night we’ll finish up sharing a quiet and remote hut.

      • weka 3.1.2

        “And while I can intellectually understand the perils and import of climate change on the whole of humanity – the threat to this taonga makes me angry and bitter.”

        Completely with you there on that one, and what marty says about heart and soul.

    • weka 3.2

      “The argument is that the coal is needed in the short term to aid the development of renewables, as a replacement for their nuclear power industry, which is being wound down.”

      Susan Krumdiek was talking to Kim Hill last weekend, and she made the point that we need to stop using coal and then focus on renewables, but we are doing it the wrong way round: focussing on renewables with the idea that we will stop using fossil fuels. Only that’s not happening – renewables are increasing, and fossil fuel use is not decreasing, which is why we just need to stop using them now.

  4. Jenny 4

    Coal is the number 1 global cause of climate change. The word’s pre eminent climate scientist late of NASA James Hansen made the determination that if we can’t stop coal, it is all over for the climate.

    While a lot of the debate here has been about what China is doing. We can’t do much about that. But we can do something here. And what we do here could have an influence beyond our borders, maybe even in China. As Professor Gluckman says on the government website:

    “The collective wisdom of the scientific community is that action is needed now….

    “New Zealand is a small emitter by world standards – only emitting some 0.2% of global green house gases…..

    our impact will be symbolic, moral, and political”

    Sir Peter Gluckman Chief Science adviser to the Prime Minister.

    In the same vein as the country’s top science advisor Greenpeace puts it this way, “We must think globally, and act locally.”

    The open cast coal mine planned by Bathurst Resources on the Denniston Plateau is set to be the biggest expansion in coal mining in this country’s history.

    If we are ever to set a moral symbolic and political example for the world that Professor Gluckman calls for, then there can be no quarter given. The question of the Bathurst Coal Mine at Denniston can not be ignored, or excused, or bargained away, – it must be stopped!

    • bad12 4.1

      i wonder how many down the ‘Coast’ saw the latest weather ‘event’ as the Easter message of what coal extraction will likely bring them in terms of climate change…

      • Jenny 4.1.1

        “i wonder how many down the ‘Coast’ saw the latest weather ‘event’ as the Easter message of what coal extraction will likely bring them in terms of climate change…”
        bad12

        A very good question

        And a question that I think that a lot of Coasters must be asking themselves.

        It would be pretty hard to ignore. In one of the most ironic dramatic events several buses transporting Stockton Coal Mine employees were reportedly knocked over by the high winds.

        Luckily no one was hurt, but I wonder, after this brush with extreme weather, what these workers views on climate change and coal mining are?

        In the wake of the devastation wreaked on the West Coast you would think that this would be something our so called “investigative journalists” would be seeking to determine.

        I wonder what these workers views on climate change and coal mining are?

        Stuff.co.nz
        m.stuff.co.nz/national/9952521/Chaos-as-storm-strikes
        Regional fire commander Brendan Nelly said several buses were blown over as they attempted to transport workers home from Stockton Mine, … because of high winds

  5. Sanctuary 5

    The trouble is no one seems to be able to come up with CO2 reduction solutions that are politically feasible in a democratic society. For example, over at hipster HQ that is Publicaddress, all the combined IQs of the best and brightest of Grey Lynn and Pt Chev could recently come up with to address global warming was to punish the lower sorts for liking a bi-annual week in Bali or Brizzy by making the airfares so eye-wateringly expensive that no one can afford an overseas holiday. Hipsters abhor package deals and can afford and prefer much more authentic, longer, higher quality and expensive holidays and therefore the hoi pilloi can go jump. Chardonnay socialist and Green Presbyterian solutions to global warming more often than not have a worrying streak of distainful middle class puritanism when it comes to global warming. Yet for all the hot air expended, aircraft contribute only 9% of the CO2 produced by the transport sector, with 77% coming from cars and trucks.

    But parking the shroud waving defeatism and obvious class warfare of the hipster elite response, politically it just would never happen. The tourism sector, the airlines, and last but by no means least the general public voters would never, ever allow it.

    Waiting for the revolution may be fatal for the planet so we have to use the system we have. I long ago came to the conclusion global warming will only be tackled when corporations can make money out of doing so and the politicians whose campaigns they will fund can promise they won’t reduce the standard of living by making it possible for them to do so. For example, coal produces up to half of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions via thermal power stations and home heating. Whether we like or not, replacing that sort of capacity with hydro, solar and wind is not feasible. Therefore, political logic tells us that large corporations employing lots of people to build nuclear power plants as well as wind and solar is the only realistic short to medium term way for large countries to both maintain current energy consumption and reduce CO2 emissions. But a Green would rather choke on his or hers homemade organic breakfast granola mix than accept that.

    The second biggest emitter is transport. The left should not be telling a resentful Joe and Jane Sixpack that they need to pay more for petrol and that their SUV is a symbol of gauche they are. Rather, the left ought to be promoting a vision of public transport, walking, cycling, trains, electric cars and coastal shipping for the future. Instead of implying lower economic activity we should be pushing the extra jobs created locally by re-invigorating the other arms of the transport sector.

    • karol 5.1

      The solutions need to be major, and defeatism is no solution. Nuclear power is no longer seen as a solution by large sections of the public, since the Japan earthquake. As indicated in my post above, Germany is now phasing out nuclear power. This is due to the public having lost confidence in it.

      The counter to corporate power, is not to embrace it, but to enhance the power of the people. Increasing numbers of people are coming to see the importance of better public transport.

      NZ has a good base of renewables, and this can be built on as a positive for the environment, and for NZ independence.

      • Jenny 5.1.1

        “The counter to corporate power, is not to embrace it, but to enhance the power of the people.
        karol

        The first step Karol will be making a change in perception. This needs symbolic action by our political leaders that will signal that this is a pressing issue.

        Like the planned XL pipeline in America. Leadership on Bathurst Resources planned open cast coal mine in Denniston will set the agenda.

        Ask yourself karol; Why would people make changes in their own lives when they can see that the government and leaders of industry do not take climate change seriously and in fact are planning to oversee a huge increase in our green house gas emissions?

        Climate change needs to become an election issue.

        The Labour Party need to come out and say that on taking the treasury benches they will stop this project.

        The Green Party need to come out and say that they will not be letting Labour off the hook on this issue.

        If neither take a stand on Denniston it will signal that neither take climate change seriously. That business as usual will continue into the foreseeable future.

        “The solutions need to be major, and defeatism is no solution.”
        karol

        (I could not have said it better myself)

        But this will require concrete actions around concrete issues.

    • Sacha 5.2

      Where would the working class be without you, Tom.

    • Jenny 5.3

      “…aircraft contribute only 9% of the CO2 produced by the transport sector, with 77% coming from cars and trucks.”
      Sanctuary

      It would be good to see an even finer breakdown between private cars and trucks, for instance if intercity freight was moved to rail would this make a difference?
      (In the ’70s even into the early ’80s government regulation stipulated that intercity freight go by rail.)

      “The left should not be telling a resentful Joe and Jane Sixpack that they need to pay more for petrol and that their SUV is a symbol of gauche they are. Rather, the left ought to be promoting a vision of public transport, walking, cycling, trains, electric cars and coastal shipping for the future”
      Sanctuary

      Indeed.

      One of the best Left website for promoting this Left vision is Fare Free New Zealand, who advocate that the $billions set aside for environmentally destructive and expensive motorway construction be ploughed into providing free public transport. This is a quick easy fix, providing immediate measurable results. Fare Free New Zealand give many well researched real world examples of how this simple reform works. Overseas experience has shown that where this was done commuters flooded public transport leaving their cars at home. Private cars became for private use, ie trips to the beach, holidays, recreation. All commuting was done on public transport.

      “…coal produces up to half of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions via thermal power stations and home heating. Whether we like or not, replacing that sort of capacity with hydro, solar and wind is not feasible”
      Sanctuary

      This assumption is seriously debateable as any simple internet search will show you.

      One of the most reputable studies of the feasibility of removing not just coal but all fossil fuels from our economy and global society comes from Scientific American.

      A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables

      Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Here’s how

      Scientific American October 26, 2009

      Mark Jacobson the author of the scientific study published in Scientific American, above, showed how the world could be powered by renewables. Jacobson has done it again publishing a report on how to make the State of New York, fossil fuel free.

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-to-power-the-world&page=3

      This time rather than demonstrating how the whole world could go to renewables. Jacobson has laid out a detailed plan for switching to renewables for the state of New York. For which he says:

      “……at least we now know that it’s technically and economically feasible. Whether it actually happens depends on political will.”

      Mark Jacobsen

      In energy generation New Zealand is already 70% part way there. For us, the change would be much easier than in state of New York which relies heavily on coal fired power stations.

      There are no real technical barriers, just as in New York all that is missing is the political will.

  6. Jenny 6

    “…..all that is missing is the political will.”
    Jenny

    In New Zealand you can see the same sort of Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dee collusion between Labour and National over climate change that we saw between the Democrats and Republicans in the US presidential elections.

    Both Labour and National support deep sea oil drilling.[i]

    Both Labour and National support the opening of new coal mines.[ii]

    Both Labour and National supported the $130 million bail out of Solid Energy[iii]

    Both Labour and National MPs banded together in the wake of the Tacloban disaster to shout down Russell Norman who tried to read out in parliament Yeb Sano’s plea to the world to cut back on C02 pollution.[iv]

    According to James Hansen the problem of climate change “would be solvable”[v] if we phased out coal production and stopped the search for unconventional oil and gas. Hansen particularly mentioned Arctic and deep sea oil drilling both of which, Arctic oil exploration[vi] and deep sea oil drilling[vii] have been met with protest in this country.

    But both Labour and Natonal are deaf to the majority over the TPPA , Just as both Labour and National are deaf to the majority of the population who want the government to do more on climate change.[viii]

    What ever the reason for this collusion between Labour and National,
    it is not democracy. No wonder people seem to have lost faith in our democracy and are not voting in record numbers.[ix]

    [i] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10822510
    “Labour says views on mining close to Govt’s”
    David Parker was Energy Minister during the last Labour Government and said about $20 million was spent on seismic surveys to supply to big oil companies and entice them to New Zealand.

    [ii] Both Labour and National support the Denniston open cast coal mine, the second biggest open cast coal mine to be ever excavated here.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escarpment_Mine_Project

    [iii] Heavily criticised by Green Party MP Gareth Hughes who said the money to bail out Solid Energy would have been better spent on a “just transition” for the coal workers “to jobs that don’t fry the planet.”
    https://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/govt-bail-out-solid-energy-privatisation-stealth

    [iv] http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/arseholes-before-world.html
    The Labour and National MPs enraged bellowing was so deafening that Meteria Turei who was sitting right beside Russell Norman, said that she could not hear what he was saying. Leading her to ask the speaker to make a ruling for them to stop.

    [v] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM5-recP7-E#t=2656 34:00 minutes
    “The problem would be solvable If we would phase out coal emissions, which are almost entirely at power plants, and if we would leave the unconventional fossil fuels in the ground. Because the amount of conventional oil and gas is finite and of course if you keep going after it in the deepest ocean and the Arctic and the Antartic and things you could cause a problem. But if we would not do that the problem would be solvable. But it would mean phasing out coal and no unconventional fossil fuels. That’s not happening. On the contrary we are doing exactly the opposite. We are allowing and encouraging and subsidising fossil fuel companies to go after every fossil fuel they can find. Including the unconventional ones.”

    [vi] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10787694
    “A man has been arrested after seven Greenpeace protesters, including Hollywood star Lucy Lawless, clambered onto an Arctic-bound oil drilling vessel and scaled its 53-metre tower at Port Taranaki this morning.”

    [vii] http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9435423/Thousands-protest-deep-sea-oil-drilling
    “An estimated 700 gathered at Raglan’s Wainamu Beach to protest deep sea oil drilling and seabed mining as part of the nationwide Banners on the Beach campaign”

    [viii] “People want more action on climate change”
    64.4 per cent wanting Parliament to do mor
    60.6 per cent wanting the Prime Minister to do more and
    62.9 per cent saying government officials should do more.

    The news isn’t good for Prime Minister John Key, with 15.4 per cent saying he’s doing the right amount, 26.1 per cent saying he should do more, and 34.5 per cent saying he should do much more. Just 2.7 per cent want him to do less.

    Horizon August 10, 2012

    [ix] http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/election-2011/6044562/Turnout-abysmal-for-this-years-vote
    “Voter turn out abysmal”

  7. Jenny 7

    Back into moderation again, I see.

    The Centre Left boom lowers again.

    [lprent: You do realise that not everything is about you and we don’t bother wasting too much time persecuting you – right? There are a number of automatic traps for spambot behaviour that spot anything suspicious and add to the moderation queue for a human to pass/reject.

    After the first accepted comment, it is usually pretty damn obvious when people get moderated. If I do it, I like to make it memorable…

    Please don’t bother wasting our time explaining this to you again. ]

    • karol 7.1

      My understanding is that comments with a lot of links, especially raw links, will go into auto-moderation. It’s a spam protection mechanism.

      • Jenny 7.1.1

        Oh the irony! Criticised for not putting in enough citations, and into moderation for putting in too many.

        • karol 7.1.1.1

          Yes. The auto-moderation is a lesser of evils – spam is an on-going issue/struggle. And automoderation doesn’t discriminate on the basis of the political views expressed by the commenter.

          I have an idea it’s the using of a lot of raw links that triggers auto-moderation, and not use of code for embedding links.

          • lprent 7.1.1.1.1

            Yep, there is a auto-catch for more than (?) 10 links in a comment. The reason for that is an older style of spam bot that leaves comments that try to dump a pile of links on the site. All comments with lots of links get inspected by a human.

            We’re getting better at killing spam. Layered defenses against them mean that I’m mostly seeing humans in the spam queue these days. A pleasant change from December.

    • Te Reo Putake 7.2

      • Jenny 7.2.1

        “Well don’t worry Basil, provided you can remember the things that matter to you.”

        • Te Reo Putake 7.2.1.1

          Ha! Very good, Jenny.

          • Jenny 7.2.1.1.1

            Back at you TRP. I’m curious, who do you identify with in this farce, Sybil, Basil, or Polly?
            This is actually quite a good parable/parallel of the climate ignorer position. The ignorers are like Basil Fawlty who knows it is his and Sybil’s wedding anniversary but chooses to pretend not to know. Far from being a martyr Sybil decides to act in the face of Basil’s feigned ignorance, which leads to Basil’s farcical and painful efforts to try and recover the situation.

            I wonder; If “The Left” (Labour and the Greens) do a coalition deal that allows the mining of the Denniston Plateau to go ahead, and then grass roots activists on the ground go ahead with their plans to mobilise to blockade and stop it, will Labour and the Greens be like Basil Fawlty scrambling to recover the situation?

            But seriously where does the refusal to address climate change, particularly on the Left, come from?

            I can understand as carol says that poverty and inequality must be the main issues the Left should concentrate on, but I think it is more than that. I think many on the Left quail at the sheer enormity and horror and particularly the seeming intractability of the problem. And as a result have decided to leave it in the too hard basket.

            Environmentalists are split.

            “Nothing can be done!”

            Believe it or not, many environmentalists believe this.

            Scientists tell us that something could be done – but it will take a global mobilisation of humanity analogous and even exceeding the global human mobilisation that fought the Second World War.

            There seems to be no sign of that happening, so QED nothing can be done.

            The two leading protagonists in the evironmental movement debating doing nothing or fighting back are George Monbiot and Paul Kingsnorth. Their on going disagreement has been widely reported. Though I don’t agree with everything Monbiot says, in my opinion Kingsnorth is a complete and total self centred coward and treacherous defeatist, (of course Monbiot is too polite to actually say that). In many of the treatises by Paul Kingsnorth are open attacks on Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben labeling them liars and misleaders.
            (shades of lprent)

            http://beforeitsnews.com/survival/2014/04/former-environmental-activist-theres-no-point-to-it-anymore-were-screwed-2518996.html

            • karol 7.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m not sure whether you are aligning me with those who say “nothing can be done” about climate change.

              I vote Green. I will continue not to support mining on the Denniston Plateau.

              TRP’s point was a response to your comment about being in moderation, and not about being a climate denier.

  8. Jenny 8

    No particular aspersion was implied.

    More a general muse on the subject of climate change ignoring on the Left.

    More on Kingsnorth:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/magazine/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-he-feels-fine.html?hp

    Paul Kingsnorth vs.George Monbiot:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/aug/17/environment-climate-change

    And of course we have our various incarnations of Kingsworth and Monbiot in this country.

    Pick a side

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    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    2 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    2 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    2 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    2 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    3 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    3 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    3 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    3 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    3 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    4 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    4 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    4 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    4 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    6 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    6 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    1 week ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    1 week ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    1 week ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

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