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The Standard

Fear factors

Written By: - Date published: 7:41 am, December 27th, 2012 - 73 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, science - Tags: , , ,

Tim Grosner , in the aftermath of the latest Doha round of climate talks said the following about global warming and emissions:

This is a long-term problem and we have a long-term strategic approach to deal with it.”

Which is nice. So sit back and relax while Tim and his long term strategic approach gets down to dealing with this long-term problem. Never mind the fact –  it’s just an irksome detail –  that AGW is not a long-term problem. And so a long term strategic approach entails no strategy or approach at all.

According to Price Waterhouse Cooper, the World Bank and  the International Energy Agency, who have all released recent reports based on the available empirical evidence, mean global surface temperatures will be 4 degrees above pre-industrial levels by around 2050 or sooner. But don’t worry. Tim has it covered. Really.

And so never mind the strong likelihood that those temperatures and our civilisation will be incompatible. Tim’s got our backs.

Just remember that Tim is a member of a government that signed the Copenhagen Accord and so committed to holding global mean surface temperature increases to below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Trust in Tim.

Leave Tim to figure out the following dilemma and don’t you go bothering you’re head with it.

Economists tell us it’s impossible to reduce CO2 emissions by more than about 4% p.a. without crashing the market economy. The only reference point we have for an economy producing year on year CO2 emission reductions of over 5% is that of the USSR in the aftermath of its command economy collapsing.

Meanwhile, the science is quite explicit that if we are to have just an outside chance of avoiding “dangerous” or “extremely dangerous” global warming, then energy related emissions must be cut by 40% by the end of 2015 and eliminated by 2030.

The Tims of this world are locked in an institutional mindset that won’t allow them to abandon the bedrock of their power, privilege and status.  And so they simply cannot willingly accede to the pragmatic demands of science. The only options before them then, are to drag their feet, take care not to lose face, and place their  hopes on non-existent or fanciful ideas or technologies like carbon storage and capture or seeding the oceans with iron.

And so it gets simple. You want the government to act? Then make it increasingly difficult for them not to act. And do it soon.

(Related posts here and here )

73 comments on “Fear factors”

  1. karol 1

    So say we all! Well said!

    And you have a very good break too, CV. You have been missed.

    All this has happened before, and will happen again.

    • karol 1.1

      eh? How did my comment from under Mike Smith’s post, end up here?

      [see above maybe? Sorry. completely beyond me though I reckon t’was my fiddling did it. – Bill]

      • karol 1.1.1

        No problem, Bill. The world works in mysterious ways.

        re – the content of my comment to CV, maybe the BSG quotes are relevant to climate change?

  2. Peter 2

    Sadly, 30 years ago this strategy made sense. It doesn’t now. The issue isn’t reducing the emissions – most of the contributors to this site know the myriad ways that can be achieved, both in a New Zealand sense and a global sense. The technologies – I prefer to call it economic redesign – for this aren’t new, they’ve existed for the better part of a century. I won’t rehash those here.

    The issue preventing such a transition is the lack of any worthwhile economic surplus to fund the transition, bearing in mind that any programme of public works sufficient to reduce worldwide emissions will take a considerable amount of time to implement. In the 1970s, we had sufficient spare economic capacity (i.e. a heap of cheap oil, gas, and coal) that we could have used to build infrastructure across the world so we would have never had to use the stuff again in great quantities.

    NZ made a half-assed attempted at trying too – we had carless days, synfuels at Motonui (a halfway step), the Clyde Dam Empowering Act, and probably the best example of them all, the electrification of the central section of the North Island Main Trunk railway. We called it Think Big, a bad name in many circles now.

    Other parts of the world did the same. But then the Alaskan North Slope and North Sea fields came online, and Thatcher and Reagan were quite happy to see the price of oil plummet, ushering in a quarter century of excess.

    The situation now is very different. We have no spare capacity, no economic surplus to fund any meaningful transition. We could make drastic cuts in a number of areas, on a country by country basis, in order to free up resources, but any programmes like that might not even last a short term of office – 2/3 years, when we need 30 year programmes, and above all else, something of a long term majority consensus to back it up.

    It simply isn’t going to happen. Yes, it’s really sad – we had our chance at running industrial society on renewables (it probably wouldn’t have worked in the long run anyway), and we blew it. We cannot recreate that situation.

    I would argue that time spent now trying to create the consensus (which you won’t ever achieve) on climate change is best spent on preparing yourself and your family/friends for the long downslope, and being then ready to pass those skills onto others when they are ready to listen. Some never will, others will catch on.

    • KJT 2.1

      Oh, But we do have an economic surplus.

      We have a surplus of workers, food and even most of the materials.

      We just have to get around this strange idea we have to borrow money from an offshore bank, to pay the workers so they can buy the food.

      We did it starting in the 30’s from a much worse position.
      Money “printed” by the Government to pay workers to build power stations, plant trees, start companies (DFC) build railways and roads and educate the next generation bought on our most prosperous period of growth.

      Now we need to utilise the same “surplus” to head towards 100% renewable power, substitute for oil imports, feed, house and care for New Zealanders and make sure we have a viable future for our children.

      • Peter 2.1.1

        We do have an economic surplus for sure, just not at the levels that most people believe that they need in order to live a good life. NZ is very lucky in this regard – mostly active, practical people (even if skills are down a bit on the previous generation), innovators, and land/environmentally aware.

        But that surplus can only be realised if people cut their current material use, or shift to the materials that NZ currently has in abundance. You would gain life, resilience, and a bunch of other non-material things. Plus, you’ll probably have to give that stuff up in the end, one way or the other. Better to do it ahead of time.

        That’s where the parallels with the 1930s end, as much as I was once an admirer of Keynes. In the 1930s we had vast numbers of people and vast quantities of resources lying around. The issue was a shortage of money. So we printed and borrowed, and the resources were there to match it, and we achieved growth and human development. That and a rather large war.

        That isn’t the situation now though. We have vast quantities of money, and no shortage of people. What we do have though is an increasing shortage of resources. That doesn’t lend itself to a Keynesian solution – as good as he was, he was as blind to peaking resources as most people in his era.

        So, there is no easy Keynesian option now. If it existed, you can bet your life it would have been tried. There might be some limited scope in some areas (possibly forestry or biomass) if we can keep all aspects of the production and end use local, including system costs, but it can only ever be limited.

        The best but hardest option, remains for individuals and communities to give stuff up, and reinvest that in future-proofing themselves. Our task, is in cajoling them to do that, and proving, by example in our own personal lives, that not only is it possible, but that it’s happy and profitable too.

      • aerobubble 2.1.2

        You are forgetting. It all starts with a ramping up of the cost of private vehicle ownership, the elephant in the room. Our cities and towns aren’t able to cope without a massive numbers of small buses, and the ability to move close to work. Sure we need government to drop the ideology, but Labour isn’t either, so the only way forward is for Labour voters to hold their nose and vote Green on the list.

    • Bill 2.2

      The issue really very much is about reducing emissions. It only through the likes of NZ coming down very hard and fast on that front that billions of people get the opportunity to develop the types of infrastructure that we take for granted. It’s not about the available oil, it’s about the available carrying capacity of the atmosphere with regards CO2 and other warming gasses.

      Even if we don’t give a damn about equity, the fact that we are bang on track for 4 degrees and 6 degrees means that no amount of ‘battoning down the hatches’ is likely to serve much of a purpose.

      Those ‘think big’ projects actually turn out to have provided NZ with a bit of a leg up in getting away from carbon dependency. Our electrical generation is around 75% from renewable sources…that doesn’t necessarily mean emission free… but, still, we have a fairly extensive carbon free base on our energy supply side

      But then, if you look at the fuel related CO2 emissions for NZ, you’ll see that just under 44% of them come from road transport. And sure, there is a lot of headway we could make on reducing emissions using current technology and drafting legislation etc. And we might get the required reductions of the next two or three years that way. But we are talking about a zero carbon scenario by 2030. And the rate of cuts required mean dumping the market economy (there really just is no option on that front) and similtaneously developing another type of economy to provide for production and distribution…one that doesn’t rely on having cash surpluses or what not to get things done.. one that can accommodate the real world situation and that (perhaps) simply produces and distributes according to democratic criteria and reality instead.

      So where are we at? Seems to me there is an urgent need to ‘normalise’ a lot discussion topics that have been previously marginalised – global warming, alternative economies, community agency, our concepts of value and worth, our concepts of success and failure…and so on.

      And you might be right. There might not be any traction or just not enough traction. Then again, if we don’t try there definately won’t be any pleasant surprises 😉

      • Peter 2.2.1

        The reason I’m a little sceptical of the warming predictions is because they continue to assume that there’s as much carbon in the earth as we want to emit. Those flaws are deep down in the climate models themselves, and as such, the meta-analysis doesn’t pick them up – it just amplifies the original errors. Aleklett, Hook, and others have done some great work on carbon reserves, and some very basic work on warming (lacking access to the ICCP models) that reckons at the worst, about 3 degrees warming, assuming no economic collapses.

        Until that central question gets solved, and academic pride is preventing it from getting solved currently, climate activists and energy activists will continue to shout at each other.

        NZ still has a big chance to get this right. We can sort our transport system, if we can build up enough of a movement of people to continually elect governments to redesign our transport system. The historical pattern is there – we once moved just about everything by rail, and we can easily do so again. Very easily.

        But to do that means exercising real, sustained pressure. Governments are reflective of their people.

        On the alternative economy, yes heaps we can do. I’d start with complementary currencies – proper currencies that actually buy stuff, instead of exchanging them for David Bain jerseys and woolly hats at a local market. It also gets around that old problem with local produce in NZ – that of having to pay the world price, without trade barriers.

        Normalising the discussion topics I agree with, but, the only way you can normalise these things in New Zealand is by people seeing them in action, not just talked about by weirdos such as ourselves on blogs. Seeing is believing for kiwis. It’s a very conservative strategy, but that’s the makeup of this land.

        Traction is always easiest when there are practical examples.

        • KJT 2.2.1.1

          Don’t know why or when it changed from AGW to climate change.

          We should continue to call it what it is. Human induced/caused (anthropogenic) global warming.

        • One Tāne Viper 2.2.1.2

          “…they continue to assume that there’s as much carbon in the earth as we want to emit.”

          That may have been the case in the past [citation needed], but it certainly isn’t now. The Alberta oil sands and climate, Swart & Weaver 2012 is behind a paywall, but it “compared the carbon emissions of different fossil fuels if they were completely extracted from the ground”.

          Prof. Weaver also touches on the issue (carbon reserves) in his lecture series that forms the basis of Open Climate Science 101.

          • Peter 2.2.1.2.1

            Nah, that’s a different issue. You are talking about carbon intensity (kg of CO2eq emitted per Kg of fuel burned), whereas I’m talking about total reserves.

            Still interesting to see that oilsands didn’t come out that bad.

            Oil sand returns are so low anyway, less than 5:1, that their economics are almost in lock-step with the overall international oil price. That means that their threat isn’t as severe as it might otherwise be.

            • One Tāne Viper 2.2.1.2.1.1

              May be so for the oilsands paper but Weaver talks about it in the lecture series (in “The Carbon Cycle Today) – he points out that while there is 200Gton of carbon in viable oil and gas reserves, there is more like 5,000Gton in coal. These estimates are on the high side:

              IPCC AR3 also discusses the issue:

              4.4.6.5. B1 Scenarios
              Assumptions on the fossil fuel resource-base used in the B1 marker scenario quantification are based on the estimates of ultimately recoverable conventional and unconventional fossil resources described in Rogner (1997)

            • Bill 2.2.1.2.1.2

              If fossil fuels were laid down over millions of years, then (just curious) where does the idea that some semblance of balance would result from burning all that’s there come from?

              At the moment we are 0.8 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures. And because of lag times, much of what we’ve spewed into the atmosphere has yet to take effect on the climate. So, we are getting the effects mainly from what went up 50 (or whatever) years ago and before.

              But it’s possible that even now…with just 0.8 degree C temperature increase, that we have triggered tipping points (arctic sea ice melt and methane release). And 4 degrees would almost definately trigger tipping points related to the Arctic, Amazon, Antarctic etc. And there is definately enough available oil and coal to ‘achieve’ that kind of temperature rise.

              So, sure. Carbon reserves are limited. But there is more than enough to go round as it were. Even your optimistic 3 degree C increase would likely present an impossible future. Or am I missing something?

              • Crimson Nile

                Preindustrial atmospheric CO2 was approx 280ppm. Now sitting a full 110ppm higher, at 390ppm. Only a 0.8 degree centigrade rise in that whole time. Doesn’t seem to me like we will get a 4 degree rise without going to a CO2 level of at least 700ppm. That’s not going to happen until the 23rd century, right?

                • KJT

                  It is not a linear relationship.

                  Especially as ice, which reflects sunlight back into space, melts, the ocean as a carbon sink, reaches saturation and the extra heat releases gases now frozen into permafrost.

                  We know this from ice cores and other records from previous hot periods.

                  • Peter

                    Yeah we do. The issue is that point at which the ocean and biosphere decides to stop absorbing carbon. For some unexplained reason, the amount at which these two systems absorb carbon has doubled since the 1960s. That’s despite the area of forest on the planet decreasing…

                    If that aint a sentient system, then I’m buggered to know what one is…

                    It will stop eventually, but at the moment, it’s taking up about half of the carbon we emit each year. Acidification will get it eventually, but probably after industrial civilisation has slowed.

                  • Don’t forget that our largest carbon sink is actually the ocean, but increased temperatures reduce its ability to hold extra carbon.

                    Really the number of feedback effects in climate destabilisation are ridiculous.

                  • geoff

                    If the polar ice melts would it reduce the ocean temperature and the ocean acidity?

                    • Napkins

                      Smart thinking. The planet knows how to maintain homeostasis.

                    • Peter

                      Hadn’t thought of that one, but yes, it makes sense. Dunno how much the dilution would be, but it might make a difference on the margins.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      Basic Greenhouse Physics predicts that the largest temperature anomaly will be in the Arctic.

                      Observations validate this prediction.

                      Clearly the cooling effect (of ice-melt flowing into the ocean) is minimal.

                • OneTrackViper

                  Wash your mouth out. How can we justify a one-world communist government and taxing the crap out of the productive sector to give to poor countries so they can build their own coal-fired power stations if it gets out that the temperature isn’t rising as per the “models”. Remember, it is “climate change” now, not “global warming” for a reason.

              • Peter

                There’s three things at play with the reserves data. Yes, coal is the big important question.

                1) The amount of the reserve. We’ve been fantastic at just rolling on the reserves data without subtracting what has been mined and burned since the 1960s. This is a consistent issue with most countries reporting of coal reserves. It’s been hard to get reliable coal data, therefore, most coal assumptions, including your one (Rogner, 1997) takes an economic approach to calculating reserves.

                This article here gives an overview of the coal problem. The Swedish guys are probably the best on reserves data: http://aleklett.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/how-long-will-the-coal-last/

                Mostly, reserves of coal have been overstated

                2) The economics of extraction. This is closely (and gets closer with each passing year) tied to oil price. Most modern mining needs diesel to extract coal, therefore, as the price of diesel rises (or the international coal price falls) mines become uneconomic. This means minable coal can and does stay in the ground (where it belongs)

                Spring Creek is a classic example of this. You had a viable mine, with good reserves of low-carbon coal, but the coal price fell, and the thing was shut down because of a few short term accounting losses…

                Repeat that situation across the world, and you shrink the reserves calculated in 1) even further.

                3) This is less of a thing really – but the carbon content and energy density of the coal does matter. Almost all coal left is low grade.

                • It would definitely be interesting to figure in the economics of extraction, but I doubt it will change the picture much. Companies are already claiming far more in oil (etc…) reserves than we could afford to emit and peak at a 2° temperature increase. They wouldn’t do that if they didn’t think it would be economical in at least a short-term (ie. ignoring environmental damage) sense.

                  • Peter

                    They do it as an investment game. They claim a reserve not on the basis of what it can support in flows year on year, but on what it *might* have as a one-off stock, and then use that to drum up cash for investment, which may or may not even go into that field.

                    The oil shale plays are a classic. They tend to fail after one or two years.

    • infused 2.3

      Nice summary. This is what I’ve said for quite some time. We are past the point. You are better placed to prepare yourself for the worst.

      We won’t [the world] make changes until it’s too late. That’s how humans are.

      • VindowViper 2.3.1

        John Key says it’s not even a problem

        That’s how humans are.

        That’s how some humans are.

        I’ve carefully gotten my personal fossil fuel use to very low levels; and in my professional life I’ve substantially contributed to a very real and measurable reduction in energy use. If I could do it… you could have too. Where were you?

        I’m kind of stunned that after a decade of the right telling us that it’s all a hoax and nothing should be done about it … you’ve now got the gall to turn about and say ‘its all too late’ and that nothing can be done about it.

        • McFliper 2.3.1.1

          Classic Yes Prime Minister:

          Sir Richard Wharton: Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis.
          Sir Richard Wharton: In stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
          Sir Humphrey Appleby: Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
          Sir Richard Wharton: In stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing we *can* do.
          Sir Humphrey Appleby: Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now.

      • aerobubble 2.3.2

        Isn’t the problem with induced climate change that the build up of carbon in the biosphere has to already been a pressing disaster before we can create consent for change, and so its inevitable we won’t abate, adapt, our activities in time. That we humans are just animals like every other organism that has reach plague proportions, changing their environment until it collapses under their weight. We elect monkeys.

  3. AmaKiwi 3

    “Those who write the rules are those who profit from the status quo.”

    “If we want to change that status quo, we might have to work outside of those rules because the legal pathways available to us have been structured precisely to make sure we don’t make any substantial change.”

    Quote from Tim DeChristopher, who served 2 years in a US prison for civil disobedience exposing oil company crimes.

    Maybe it’s time for us to stop being polite.

  4. MrSmith 4

    It gets to a point were you just give up and when enough people just give up things will start to get interesting.

  5. karol 5

    To make it more difficult for the government not to act, will require being active on several fronts: imaginative protests, letter-writing to government ministers, and positive suggestions for s different government direction… as a start anyway.

    • Peter 5.1

      Can I respectfully disagree, in the interests of dissensus (the point of which is not to agree)?

      To have action on climate change, requires the activists to present a real threat to the government. That is a threat at the ballot box, or some other threat during the political cycle. Letter writing, and protests won’t cut it, because all of those politicians, including the green and red-coloured ones, know that after the protest, most of the activists will happily fly and drive home on their carbon-fueled steeds.

      Imagine though if those same activists had no real need of much of the material or carbon powered economy, and through their own life-examples, could actively inspire others to adopt that lifestyle as well. Seeing how poised MMP is – you’d only need about 50,000 of them (about an electorate’s worth) to present a real threat.

      But, until that happens, climate activists present no threat to any government. Hell, there was more threat in the anti-mining protests.

      Personally, if I was a climate change activist (I’m not), I’d start by changing the damned term from climate change/global warming/etc to something more appropriate. Radiation entrapment has been suggested as a better term.

      • karol 5.1.1

        Imagine though if those same activists had no real need of much of the material or carbon powered economy, and through their own life-examples, could actively inspire others to adopt that lifestyle as well. Seeing how poised MMP is – you’d only need about 50,000 of them (about an electorate’s worth) to present a real threat.

        Yes, agreed, that needs to be part of it. But it needs more than just a small group of committed people doing that. It requires imaginative ways of drawing the attention of the wider public to these options – that requires new imaginative ways of protesting or campaigning – kind of like the advocacy case work in Onehunga for beneficiaries. But also with a strong PR campaign.

        • Peter 5.1.1.1

          The publicity is in the practical example. People living those lives, and passing those skills on to others. Think of the semi-self sufficient house in your neighbourhood, happily supplying others with vegetables occasionally, and the practical guy who can, on a shoestring, insulate your house.

          Only then will climate activists have any power to change anything, when the sacrifices that they talk about imposing on others have both meaning and a way of implementing them without a lot of pain. Otherwise, they will continue to be laughed at.

          You can wait for this to happen, for the 50,000 semi-sufficient urban households to establish themselves, or, you can change the terms slightly, to focusing on energy and transport.

          I’ve found, in my experience, that talking about climate change pisses people off. Talking about energy though, excites people, from all over the spectrum.

      • KJT 5.1.2

        Don’t know why or when it changed from AGW to climate change.

        We should continue to call it what it is. Human induced/caused (anthropogenic) global warming.

    • Bill 5.2

      I hold to the view that allowing multiple entry points is crucial – even supplying the opportunity to engage in something that you know ain’t that effective is useful in that regard. And creating barriers to participation is something to be aware of avoided. Once people are engaged and have found their comfort zone – the level of involvement they are happy with – then envelopes can be pushed through the simple act of discussion or encouraging their further participation. It’s not rocket science. And I agree there are myriad ways to get things done – some more effective, some less so…but that’s back to entry points and comfort zones. Also, the more creative stuff is the more fun it is and the more people will get involved or sit up and take notice. (So completely over ye olde school marches and bloody rallies)

      • Peter 5.2.1

        Yeah I have to agree with that as well. You can’t limit entry points for activity. There is a real need though to take the old language of letter writing and committees and marches and make something new of it.

    • Derek Jensen explains how effective this kind of thing is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hx-G1uhRqA @ 37 to 42 min
      I guess you missed the cake stalls against the smoke stacks that they had in the towns around Auschwitz?
      Then there was that bunch of people writing letters to the ship builders as the Titanic sunk.

  6. Fortran 6

    Look forward to Policy expectations for the new Labour/Greens coalition, from 2014.
    It will be their Oyster from then on – go for it.

  7. Cassandra 7

    Timmy’s right in that it makes bugger all difference what New Zealand does. So why should we make sacrifices that achieve nothing while the EU, the US, China, India et al go on their merry way as though tomorrow doesn’t exist.

    I saw this particular writing on the wall way back in 1990 which was why I migrated here. Since then I’ve seen friends in my old home town suffer a declining standard of living as house-prices soared sucking ever increasing amounts of their income away as mortgage payments, future pensions cost ever more and become worth less, jobs become things you’re lucky to have and no guarantee you’ll have them for long, public services become more expensive to provide yet increasingly fail as the private sector moves in, food become just another commodity for the market to provide – or not, floods, droughts and once-in-a-hundred-year storms become a monthly affair and the growth of a careless social hedonism based on the sense that ‘let’s eat and drink because tomorrow we die’ is becoming a serious consideration. After all, Greece today is anywhere tomorrow.

    Not that New Zealand is immune from any of the above but it is behind the curve for most of them, and has some very enviable advantages. My hope now is that the collapse of civilisation when it comes is so abrupt and complete that it takes the military everywhere down with it, else we’ll have the navies of half-a-dozen major powers fighting each other hereabouts in order to take possession of Australia and New Zealand to provide refuges for their elites.

    • Bill 7.1

      Timmy’s right in that it makes bugger all difference what New Zealand does.

      Absolutely not true. And if you bothered to read links you’d understand why.

      So why should we make sacrifices that achieve nothing

      Keeping global temperatures at a level conducive to human civilaisation is nothing? okay

      while the EU, the US, China, India et al go on their merry way as though tomorrow doesn’t exist.

      Pity you lump the EU, US, China and India all together and in the one breath. Again. try reading through the links provided. As for the ‘tomorrow doesn’t exist’ portion of your comment. It’ll exist all right. But you might want to pause and consider what you would rather that tomorrow brings, eh?

      • infused 7.1.1

        His point is, it will exist, but nothing NZ does will have any effect, which is true.

        • VindowViper 7.1.1.1

          Brilliant! Why didn’t we spot this sooner? All this fritzing about with Kyoto and ETS’s … when the obvious solution was staring us in the face!

          See 6.2 below.

          • infused 7.1.1.1.1

            my comment was deleted. Your comparison is retarded.

            • VindowViper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              What comparison?

              Now I come to think of it, how about getting rid of nations altogether? That way 7 billion individuals … none of whom make any would or could make any difference whatsoever … would have the problem licked overnight!!!

              Surely you can see the sheer genius of this?

    • VindowViper 7.2

      Timmy’s right in that it makes bugger all difference what New Zealand does.

      Yes you are right!!

      I realise now that the best way to solve the AGW challenge is to break the world up into a whole lot of little nations of about 4-5m people each. That way none of them would make “bugger all difference” and the problem would go away!

      Hell why didn’t one of those smart scientist types spot this sooner?

    • Crimson Nile 7.3

      Cassandra, if NZ learns to run its society on just half the fuel imports it does now, it will make a MASSIVE difference to the quality of life and economic resiliency of this nation. No, it won’t keep global carbon dioxide under 400ppm. But it will make life much better and more sustainable here, day to day.

  8. Bill 8

    In the interests of banging this b/s ‘it will/won’t make any difference’ argument on the head.

    If you were standing on some train tracks and realised a train was bearing down on you, would you just stand there because you had reasoned it was too late to jump? Or would you just jump and hope for the best?

    [side note for Lynn on the offchance. Don’t know what I did to the thread. Attempted to delete a comment that was pointless abuse. Sent it to moderation by mistake. Unmoderated it, but Karol’s comment…which doesn’t appear to ‘fit’ this thread (below)… popped up instead and the numbering or nesting has gone for a burton. And the inadvertently moderated one has, well…disappeared.]

  9. geoff 9

    Good links, Bill.
    Are you pessimistic about possible climate engineering, Bill?

    Perhaps the technological singularity will save us? 😉

    • VindowViper 9.1

      Personally I was counting on the garden pixies….

    • Bill 9.2

      I know that Carbon Capture and Storage isn’t any panacea. CCS releases CO2 and requires more fossil fuel to be extracted from source due to losses in efficiency associated with the CCS process. Also needs suitable ground farmations for storage etc.

      As for seeding oceans or whatever. Unforseen consequences anyone?

      Nuclear has a whole host of problems associated with it. Storage of waste, time lag in getting stations built, possibly peak Uranium….

      I prefer the direct and simple approach. CO2e has an unpalatable stacked up in front of us. Stop emitting. And if that means a radical reconfiguration of our economy, ie developing a system for production and distribution that is neither profit driven nor dictatorial, then hey. Let’s do it.

      But putting faith in faith is…nah.

      • The biggest problem with Nuclear is actually that it’s less economical than many renewable energy types, and it really only survives through government subsidy and relaxation of safety laws.

        • Crimson Nile 9.2.1.1

          That and the EROEI is appalling once you factor in shut down and clean up.

          • OneTrackViper 9.2.1.1.1

            In other words, you are more worried about the eroei than catastrophic climate change. That makes me feel better. Obviously climate change isn’t really anything to worry about then.

            • McFliper 9.2.1.1.1.1

              you missed the bits about “clean up” and “relaxation of safety laws”.
              Be a shame to address AGC by irradiating our great-grandkids.

              • felixviper

                “OneTrack” isn’t just a clever name.

                It’s impossible for him to imagine that two things could be bad at the same time.

            • Napkins 9.2.1.1.1.2

              One Track. A low EROEI means that nuclear cannot be a particularly worthwhile source of energy because it sucks up almost as much as it creates.

              • Peter

                It’s actually negative EROEI, once you take into account the implicit fossil fuel subsidies in the building of the thing, and also the costs of decommissioning and storage, which no one ever seems to.

                The obvious example is this – in many places, nuclear power plants are still major employers, a decade or so after they’ve stopped making power…

                That doesn’t work.

  10. AmaKiwi 10

    NZ can lead. We led in being anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid.

    I recently heard Robertson warn a Labour audience not to be “too extremist” on environmental matters. Don’t expect leadership from the Shearer/Robertson crowd.

    But David Cunliffe and the Greens are deadly serious about systemic economic changes to prevent disaster. They both need your support.

    • OneTrackViper 10.1

      “NZ can lead. We led in being anti-nuclear…”

      And the rest of the world followed us into anti-nuclear nirvana. Oh, wait…. But, of course, if we lead this time and trash our economy first to show the rest of the world how its done, they will surely follow. Because “the science is settled”. Trust me. Would I lie to you?

  11. Last year Derek Wilson spent the best part of $5,000 self publishing this essay http://oilcrash.com/articles/wilson08.htm into a booklet, he had 500 copies printed, then gave them away.
    Starting with John Key then working his way down the dung heap, I’m sure his groseness received a copy as well.
    Along with the essay Derek gave them all a DVD with copy of Blind Spot http://blind-spot-movie.com/
    And Dr Albert Bartlet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY (over 4 million views on this link)
    At about 89yo that was his last attempt.

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