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Hockey stick becomes a wheelchair

Written By: - Date published: 2:15 pm, April 30th, 2013 - 23 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, farming, food, global warming, science - Tags:

This was originally posted on The Daily Blog last week. 

Early last month there was a study published by Marcott et al with a reconstruction of the climate from available proxy data  since the last major glacial events which ended about 11,000 years ago. As the editor summary states at the AAAS’s Science Magazine

The pattern of temperatures shows a rise as the world emerged from the last deglaciation, warm conditions until the middle of the Holocene, and a cooling trend over the next 5000 years that culminated around 200 years ago in the Little Ice Age. Temperatures have risen steadily since then, leaving us now with a global temperature higher than those during 90% of the entire Holocene.

This warming after the last glaciation coincided and probably triggered the rise of the agricultural based culture that our civilisations are still highly dependent on today.

Since then, as can be seen in the chart from Jos Hagelaars which is a composite of 3 studies in different periods , the average world air temperatures haven’t varied that much – at least until recently.

The AB12 line at the end of the chart is a rather optimistic* projection from the IPCC AR4 report projecting the coming century. Since the atmosphere and oceans together constitute a heat transfer mechanism called weather, and we are looking forward to a severe shift in climate, I’d anticipate that the agricultural foundation of our civilisation is going to have problems that it has never seen.

The average resolution of the data with a reasonable level of confidence on the Marcott study is only at about 120 years because much of the period relies on measurements taken from the debris and sediments left by the natural world. Each sample comes from long ago and typically has been churned by biological systems and erosion, and in any case reflects local climate conditions. So what is seen is for each point on the graph is a composite of samples across many locations and across decades rather than a year by year record.

It overlaps with the finer grained data from the past ~1500 years from Mann et al 2008 derived in part with from still living or fossilized trees and actual instrumentation after our ancestors started to use thermometers. And the expansion of the studies used to make up that is below that.

As usual, the great “skeptics” clobbering machine is in full swing on the Marcott study. dana1981 at Skeptical Science (a site that specialises in observing the breed) observes:-

The Marcott paper has been subjected to an immense amount of scrutiny, particularly in the climate contrarian blogosphere, with criticisms about everything from the wording of its press release to the timing of its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) publication.  Unfortunately climate contrarians have been so noisy in their generally invalid criticisms that the media has begun to echo them, for example in this Washington Post blog.

There was such unusual interest in the paper that Marcott et al that they put out a response in which  they explained some of the underlying science for the people unfamiliar with the techniques.

But as dana points out the difference between actual skepticism and the rubbish that many of the more pathetic scientifically illiterate climate skeptics like Ian Wishart practice.

It’s worth taking a moment here to reflect on real skepticism.  Spending literally dozens of blog posts attacking a study because its results seem inconvenient is not real skepticism. Comparing climate scientists to the mafia is not real skepticism.  Nitpicking minor details in press releases and media articles while ignoring the discussion in the paper itself is certainly not real skepticism.

If you want an example of real skepticism, look no further than Tamino’s Open Mind blog.  Tamino read the Marcott paper, noted they had expressed doubt about the robustness of the final uptick in their proxies, looked at the data, identified the proxy dropout issue, tried some new analyses, and found that the proxy uptick is probably real but probably smaller than it appears in the paper.  Also see similar efforts by Nick Stokes.  These are the approaches of real skeptics.  At least the manufactured controversy over the Marcott paper has served to show who the real skeptics and “honest brokers” are.

The irony is that the climate contrarians are being their own worst enemies here.  A ‘hockey stick’ shape means less past natural variability in the climate system, which suggests that climate is relatively stable.  It’s revealing that in their zealotry to deny that the current global warming could possibly be unnatural and unprecedented, the contrarians are actively trying to undermine their only potentially valid remaining argument against serious climate mitigation.

Nevertheless, all signs indicate that the current rate of warming is very rapid, probably unprecedented in the past 11,000 years; that if we’re not at the highest temperatures during that timeframe, we will be soon; and that despite the contrarians’ best efforts to argue otherwise, we’re not yet doomed to catastrophic climate change.

But Dana181 is an optimist about how resilient our civilisation is, especially in it’s agricultural underpinnings. It is pretty clear to anyone like myself has a background in earth sciences that the IPCC reports are conservative because they are limited to solid confirmed data. But we’re still severely limited in what we know about what affects climates past, present and future.

But what we can be sure of is that the weather will get a lot more variable and extreme as the energy in the ocean and atmosphere builds up. It could be that this happens slowly enough for farming to adjust. But when you look at the dependence of farmers in extreme climates around the world who are reliant on regular weather like the monsoons in Bangladesh or the mild winters in the gulf stream washed areas like Europe, it is clear how reliant we are for food on our relatively unchanging climate of the past 11,000 years.

I also found this great visualisation of the snow over europe in 2010 when the massive warming in the arctic pushed the cold jetstream down over europe. I’d expect that this sight in Northern Europe will become more common for some decades until the north gets somewhat warmer. More energy in the Arctic weather systems means that there is more energy to push cold air south. Eventually (quite some time away I hope) the same will happen in our South Island when the West Antarctic ice sheet starts breaking up and the extra energy in the south will forcing the southern jetstreams further north.

That is what climate change does – it shifts weather patterns as the atmosphere and oceans disperse the heat.

Visualisation of the snow over europe in 2010

This image just illustrates how vulnerable Northern Europe is to climate fluctuations. As near as I can figure it out, the snowfall was almost exactly on the bounds of the last glaciation in that region.

23 comments on “Hockey stick becomes a wheelchair”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    Yeah, the glaciation map tells a very similar story.

    Meanwhile, looks like 400ppm by mid 2015 or so.

  2. Bill 2

    Seems the jury is still out on whether wind speeds increase or decrease in a warming planet.

    But if they increase, then all the irrigation schemes and drainage projects and ordered displacements (let’s just ‘forget’ about soil types for the moment) that might be brought to bear on agriculture…well, you can irrigate and drain flattened crops all you like I guess.

    • Murray Olsen 2.1

      I’d put my money on wind speeds increasing as the energy in the atmosphere increases, but a decrease could be possible if the extra energy were evenly distributed. I expect dustbowls like the ones that emptied out the middle of the US and A, mixed with swamps. I should note that I’m not a climate scientist and I don’t have a hell of a lot of money, but I am very worried.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1

        I think its clear that at the moment the “plan” is for there to be a medium to serious global catastrophe.

      • lprent 2.1.2

        It should (on average) cause increased speeds during the interim as the poles heat up and get rid of their ice. It depends on how much heat gets pushed/pulled into the polar oceans

        In the longer term, I’d expect that the equilibrium that happens in a 4 centuries or so will depend on the heat absorbtion levels in the oceans. Currently the estimates for that keep rising. But since we only have a few decades of decent information we simply don’t know how much is due to effects like the el nino/la nina and other similar effects.

        We’ll have better data in the next half century, when I suspect it will all be somewhat moot anyway.

      • Jenny 2.1.3

        The cyclone Bopha effect.

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

        ……the strongest tropical cyclone to ever hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, making landfall as a Category 5 super typhoon with winds of 160 mph (260 km/h). Bopha originated unusually close to the equator, becoming the second-most southerly Category 5 super typhoon, reaching a minimum latitude of 7.4°N on December 3. Only Typhoon Louise of 1964 came closer to the equator at this strength, at 7.3°N.[1] After first hitting Palau, where it destroyed houses, disrupted communications and caused power outages, flooding and uprooted trees, Bopha made landfall late on December 3 on Mindanao, an island that had been devastated byTropical Storm Washi in December 2011. The storm caused widespread destruction on Mindanao, leaving thousands homeless and more than 600 fatalities.

        After hitting Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces, Typhoon Bopha crossed the southern and central regions of Mindanao, cutting power to two provinces and triggering landslides. More than 170,000 people fled to evacuation centers. The typhoon moved to the South China Sea west of the Palawan island province, eventually dissipating on December 9.

        Quickly following after Cyclone Sandy which went unusually North to strike the heavily populated East Coast of the US. Bopha hardly got any attention in the Western world. But the devastation was enormous. Philippine expats. I spoke to here, explained to me that in Northern regions where hurricanes are more common, most houses are heavily reinforced against Cyclonic weather. Not so in the South close to the equator.

        Hurricanes and cyclones reach such incredible speeds due to the twisting motion imparted to them by the earth’s rotation. Known as Coriolis. The coriolis effect (or force) is most experienced in (relatively) narrow bands between the tropic of cancer in the Northern Hemisphere and the tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. After which other weather effects become dominant. Greater temperature inversions nearer the poles tend to slow winds down. In the other direction Coriolis effects become weaker the closer you get to the equator and the less dominent it is in weather systems. That is why hurricanes are pretty much unknown on the equator. However, with more energy in the system you can forget all that. Monstrous seasonal storms will become much more common way beyond their current boundaries. Generally Hurricanes lose strength as soon as they cross land. New Zealand with miles of open ocean presenting a very thin target could see winds that dwarf anything ever seen before anywhere in the world. During Hurricanes, open ocean acts as a heat engine imparting energy to the storm. More ocean, more energy.

        I think we can safely discard the notion of “life boat New Zealand”

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Our civilisation and way of life depends on massive energy usage. Building renewable energy generation of any scale and electric cars to go with it takes massive energy usage.

    And meanwhile, we’re stuck in a political economic paradigm extolling the virtues of selling, consuming and using up more and more, faster and faster.

    It’s going to be a very interesting next 50 years.

  4. karol 4

    I am awe of physical anthropology/archaeology and studies of earth’s early pre-history. I am always more intrigued by such studies than by space exploration. I never did past stage one archaeology/anthropology, but I learned enough to appreciate the sophistication of the science.

    And I always get more fascinated with archaeology/pre-history than with space exploration. The length of time for the earth to evolve in a way to enable human habitation and agriculture is particularly fascinating.

    The impact of climate change on agriculture is a major worry. And NZ’s agriculture industry, at least in the mainstream, doesn’t look like taking notice, or looking for ways to prepare for the possible changes. It’s all the same old short termism.

    • lprent 4.1

      We are relatively lucky in NZ. Because we’re skinny and surrounded by oceans and have a good mix of currents and are mid-latitudes, we’re unlikely to have many extremes of climate shifts. The oceans buffer the climate extremes.

      Unless of course we get too much CO2 in the atmosphere and the Antarctic icestore really melts, in which case we have no idea what will happen (apart from sea level rises of up to 70m over a few hundred years).

      • Murray Olsen 4.1.1

        How lucky will we be if the cyclone zone comes far enough south to include half the North Island? I know the ocean heat sink around us makes the difference between summer and winter less than continental, but why couldn’t the annual average shift drastically?

      • Jenny 4.1.2

        We are relatively lucky in NZ. Because we’re skinny and surrounded by oceans and have a good mix of currents and are mid-latitudes…..

        lprent

        Lucky?

        Only if you believe people in other countries are going to agree to die quietly in their millions, (possibly billions).

        • lprent 4.1.2.1

          I’m expecting famines, wars and refugees. These happen in normal times as well (you only have to visit Auckland to see the results). But the key thing is that this will be a very slow and drawn out disaster. Because while it is fast in geological terms, those timescale terms has a second that is about a decade in length (which is why you see much of the conversation in climate referred to in decadial terms).

          People and societies adjust in those gradual timescales. That is what makes it different to the your top three catastrophic extinction events which were/would be deaths at a opinion time.

          BTW: I knew that I’d finally gotten the earth sciences perspective when I was in university and realised that I’d started thinking of a million years as being a quite short time period. I was looking at some block faulted limestone looking for fossils to date it at the time.

  5. Jenny 5

    Here is a little pop quiz for you karol. And you too Lynn.

    On a scale of One to Six.
    Six being the Permian–Triassic extinction event.
    One being a non-event talked up by a global conspiracy of scientists to boost their funding.

    Where would you place climate change?

    6. Permian–Triassic extinction event. The worst ever, (so far) with up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species wiped out. It is the only known mass extinction of insects

    5. The famous KT event that ended the age of the dinosaurs. It is estimated that 75% or more of all species on Earth vanished.

    4. Global Thermonuclear War (The only mass extinction event in this list that has never occurred). Due to imponderables, like Nuclear Winter, radiation sickness, famine, water contamination, infra structure breakdown, disease etc. The death toll can only be a guess. Some estimates are 30% fatalities. Some more extreme guesses, total extinction.

    3. World War II
    World War II is the deadliest human conflict in history. Over 60 million people were killed. 2.5% of the world’s human population.

    2. World War I. Estimates of casualty numbers for World War I vary a great deal; estimates of total deaths range from 9 million to over 15 million

    1. Global climate change conspiracy. While not exactly a mass extinction. When this global conspiracy is finally uncovered, it is expected that all universities will be closed down and all leading members of their faculty will be indicted and their millions of intricate fake reports and false figures will be burnt. All lying copies of National Geografic and Scientific American will also be burnt. Following this. The arrest of all their co-conspirators in every government and military force in the world. Including all the Pentagon Chiefs and Heads of Staff. Climate Change conspirators like John Key and Barack Obama will not escape the dragnet.

    Enter your number in the comments.

    • lprent 5.2

      Same order as a nuclear war over the next century. Mostly because we just have no idea about how to deal with a changing climate on our agricultural base.

      We can probably handle the rising sealevels, crazy weather, and the other assorted mayhem (although I’d suggest avoiding living in much of Bangladesh, any atoll, seashores, and anywhere land has been reclaimed from marshes (BTW: I live on a ridge).

      But famine and pestilence are going to be a major problem. We simply don’t have the technology at present to cope with rapidly changing climates on food crops.

    • Murray Olsen 5.3

      3.8
      It wouldn’t be as bad as nuclear war simply because of the longer time scales, but if it triggered one due to scarcity of resources – 4.5

      • Jenny 5.3.1

        Good. At least we are all on the same page then.

        The next thing is: What are we going to do about it?

  6. johnm 6

    ‘Climate Collision Course: CO2 Levels About to Hit 400 PPM
    In a first in human history, “it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400-ppm level without losing a beat.” ‘

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/29-2
    http://guymcpherson.com/2013/04/the-irreconcilable-acceptance-of-near-term-extinction/#comments

    ‘Now we know that the Earth has shown a remarkable ability to regulate its temperature within a range conducive to Life, and that several natural carbon cycles have served as temperature regulators. When humans extract carbon from geologic reservoirs hundreds of millions of years old, dumping it into the surface reservoirs (especially the air), we are attacking the Earth’s metabolism.

    There’s no known means of getting rid of the excess carbon we’ve already disgorged. The only secure way to sequester carbon is to leave it in the ground. Fossil fuel extraction must stop.’

    ‘The truth is, we are in terrible, terrible times on every front. Judge that however you wish, call me whatever, but we are in terrible times and they are going to get a lot worse. Climate change is not for the faint of heart, that is for sure. There is a growing number of credible people who are convinced, based on science, that we have very few years left on the planet. Maybe fewer than 10, and certainly no more than 35.

    Global warming alone is sufficient to cause extinction of all life, and it is far worse than most people know because all our information is so filtered and politicized. We have triggered between 8 and 12 feedback loops that contribute to increased warming, depending on which expert you pay attention to. Living beings are dying, forests, the oceans, hundreds of species per day are going extinct, plants are dying, rivers are dying, aquifers are depleted, and the dying is going to get a lot bigger before it gets smaller. The things that are causing the dying, including the CO2, are increasing every year. Every year we put however much percentage again over last year’s amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. If we could stop right now, which is not possible, the earth would continue to warm because of the melting glaciers, ice caps and permafrost that have been triggered. The role in climate stability that the ice caps and ice sheets play is critical to understanding what is occurring and what will occur. ‘

  7. Jenny 8

    In the fight against climate change coal has been identified as the number 1 causative factor.

    James Hansen has said: “If we can’t stop coal, it is game over for the climate.”

    “No new coal mines”

    The Auckland Campaign against coal

    An Auckland Coal Action campaign against a proposed new coal mine which is to be situated halfway between Miranda and Pokeno has achieved its first victory.

    After organising a mass signing of submissions to go to the Waikato Regional Council to oppose the consent.

    The good news is that this consent has been declined.

    This is only a partial victory, as the council have given Glencoal one month to resubmit

    The grounds for the council’s knock back of the mine consent are:

    Lack of consultation with local iwi about cultural values.

    Lack of information about dust control in drought conditions.

    Lack of information on the use of a local stream (not the Kopuera)

    Lack of information about the stability of the sides of the mine.

    The application will be permanently declined if Fonterra does not provide this information by the end of May.

    All we need to do now, is turn this partial decline of Fonterra’s consent for the Mangatangi coal mine into a permanent one.

    If you are in Auckland and you want to do something about climate change, make sure you support Auckland Coal Action.
    ACA meetings are held the first Saturday of each Month in the Quaker Meeting House, 113 Mt Eden Road Auckland.

    All welcome.

    Next meeting is May 4 from 2pm onwards.

    This is a link to the ACA leaflet put out to the Mangatangi community about the coal mine.

    http://aucklandcoalaction.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/mangatawhiri-mine-leaflet.pdf

    aucklandcoalaction.org

    The Auckland campaign for a coal-free Aotearoa

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    Underdressed and overrated, The Wireless sent Lucy Zee to rub shoulders with the most stylish attendees of New Zealand Fashion Week. Presented and produced by Lucy Zee. Video shot and edited by Eddy Fifield. This content is brought to ...
    1 day ago
  • Even worse
    I spent the weekend in Christchurch at the (excellent) Word festival, and someone reminded me of poetry – although technically song lyrics – even worse than McGongall’s: I don’t want to see a ghost It’s a sight that I fear ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • Even worse
    I spent the weekend in Christchurch at the (excellent) Word festival, and someone reminded me of poetry – although technically song lyrics – even worse than McGongall’s: I don’t want to see a ghost It’s a sight that I fear ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • August 16 AT Board Meeting
    Today the Auckland Transport Board have their latest meeting and I’ve taken a look through the reports to pull out the interesting bits. Firstly and surprisingly the agenda for the closed session is surprisingly bare. The only non-regular item is Tamaki ...
    1 day ago
  • 2016 SkS Weekly Digest #35
    SkS Highlights... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Rebuttal Article Update... He Said What?... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 97 ...
    2 days ago
  • Sunday reading 28 August 2016
    ‘Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19410723-34-27’ Hi y’all and welcome to Sunday Reading. Here’s a collection of stuff I found interesting over the week. Please add your links in the comments below. Whoops, we forgot to build housing. During ...
    Transport BlogBy Kent Lundberg
    2 days ago
  • Sunday reading 28 August 2016
    ‘Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19410723-34-27’ Hi y’all and welcome to Sunday Reading. Here’s a collection of stuff I found interesting over the week. Please add your links in the comments below. Whoops, we forgot to build housing. During ...
    Transport BlogBy Kent Lundberg
    2 days ago
  • 2016 SkS Weekly News Roundup #35
    A chronological listing of the news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. Sun Aug 21, 2016 91,000 Electric Cars Sold In Europe In 1st Half Of 2016 by James Ayre, Clean Technica, Aug ...
    3 days ago
  • Guest Post: Rail Safety Week – A HSEQ Perspective
    This is a guest post from Harriet.  Recently we have had Rail Safety Week, the aim was to increase awareness of level crossings and their danger. Unfortunately we have had many deaths and injuries, with countless more near misses over ...
    Transport BlogBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • A wheely suitcase in Europe #6: San Sebastian to Gijon
    After four nights in San Sebastian, Basque we journeyed further west to Gijon, Asturias. Again we decided to use BlaBlaCar, mainly because the alternative rail and bus journeys were slower and more expensive respectively. The route we took is illustrated below, which as you ...
    Transport BlogBy Stu Donovan
    3 days ago
  • PFLP statement on Bilal Kayed hunger strike victory
    Support from the Palestinian people and international solidarity were key to this victory The following statement was released by the PFLP on Wednesday: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine announced the suspension of the hunger strike of Comrade ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Report Shows Whopping $8.8 Trillion Climate Tab Being Left for Next Generation
    This is a re-post from Common Dreams by Lauren McCauley "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children," is an oft-quoted proverb, frequently used to explain the importance of environmental preservation. Unsaid, however, is ...
    4 days ago
  • Glasgow Celtic fans defy UEFA, step up support for Palestinians
    Taken from The Electronic Intifada (see our links section): Glasgow Celtic fans have launched a fundraiser to match any fine that Europe’s ruling football body, UEFA, will give the Scottish club for an expression of Palestine solidarity at a recent ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    frogblogBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: It’s Carter/Docherty Day; or three short – and wholly unrelated – things
    I’m big on making sure voters know how to make the best use of their votes at elections, so last week I went along to the Transparency International Mayoral Forum.After short-opening statements, the candidates were asked about governance, and avoiding ...
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Just because it’s been done before doesn’t make it right
    Back in March I wrote this post in which I expressed scepticism about Auckland Transport's rationale for having a by-law that prohibits the display of election advertising anywhere that is visible from a road, except for the 9 weeks before an ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • National Poetry Day
    I discussed this celebration with friends at lunch and somehow none of them had heard of 19th Century Scottish poet William Topaz McGongall, widely celebrated as the worst poet of all time: he seems roughly cognate to Tommy Wiseau. Here ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    4 days ago
  • National Poetry Day
    I discussed this celebration with friends at lunch and somehow none of them had heard of 19th Century Scottish poet William Topaz McGongall, widely celebrated as the worst poet of all time: he seems roughly cognate to Tommy Wiseau. Here ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    4 days ago
  • Sailing to the Arctic with the people who call it home
    The courageous Inuit community of Clyde River is standing up to protect their Arctic home from devastating seismic blasting.The circumpolar Arctic is home to four million people representing a diversity of cultures. As northerners, they share many connections, but in ...
    4 days ago
  • Why fixing your phone is one of the most empowering things you can do
    Like most people, I don’t go anywhere without my phone. In the morning, its shrill alarm rouses me from sleep. During the day it bobs between my ear, my hand, and my pocket. At night, I hunt for Pokémon before ...
    4 days ago
  • Microbeads: How did companies respond?
    Remember THIS video?Back in July, Greenpeace East Asia ranked 30 global companies to see how they measured in terms of their commitment to phasing out microbeads – the tiny terrors that are often found in shower gels and facial scrubs, ...
    4 days ago
  • Does your cafeteria serve ocean destruction?
    Every time you eat in a restaurant, hospital, airport, a university cafeteria, or at even at a rock concert, it is likely that you are eating food provided by a large foodservice company. Sea of Distress, a brand new Greenpeace ...
    4 days ago
  • My Arctic Home
    I live in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River) in the Canadian Arctic. Most people have never heard of my town. It's 450km north of the Arctic Circle with a population of roughly 1,000. We are isolated from much of the world, but ...
    4 days ago
  • Up Front: I Swear, It’s True
    There is a persistent myth among the kind of people I desperately try to avoid that swearing is a sign of low intelligence. Frequent swearing shows a lack of imagination and vocabulary.Fuck that noise.Research shows what people I would choose ...
    4 days ago
  • Up Front: I Swear, It’s True
    There is a persistent myth among the kind of people I desperately try to avoid that swearing is a sign of low intelligence. Frequent swearing shows a lack of imagination and vocabulary.Fuck that noise.Research shows what people I would choose ...
    4 days ago
  • One less objection to Skypath
    Some great news yesterday that the main objector to Skypath, the Northcote Residents Association (NRA), has withdrawn their appeal against the project. That leaves just the Northcote Point Historic Preservation Society (NPHPS) – made up of many of the same people ...
    4 days ago
  • A Political King.
    Birds Of A Feather: If Edward VIII had been a less enamoured sex-slave to Wallis Simpson and a more convinced fascist, it is entirely possible that he could have completely upended the British constitution. Royal words, and deeds, still matter ...
    4 days ago
  • Polity: Key peddles cynical “interest rate avenger” fantasy
    This week in Parliament, John Key repeated one of the lines that looks to be central to its election campaign in 2017. As we’ll see, that word “lines” probably has one too many n’s in it. Anyway, here it is:Rt ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Gaffer Departs
    My friend Simon Grigg this week announced something I've known for a while – that he's stepping down from his role as creative director at Audioculture. It is, literally, to spend more time with his family: Simon and his wife ...
    4 days ago
  • Places to go, people to be
    Nothing from me today - I'm off to Christchurch for Phoenix, their annual larp convention. Normal bloggage will resume Monday, once I've caught up. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Is There Something Wrong With Aussie Sport?
    Is There Something Wrong with Aussie Sport? The news that Australian Olympians returning from Rio have been given a hard time by the Australian media and public for the alleged paucity of their medal haul will, sadly, have come as ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Pencilsword: I can’t draw horses
    ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand – we’re in the sh*t
    . . “…We should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.” – John Key, 7 September 2008 . . ref . In September 2008, one month before the general election, National’s leader addressed the party’s “Bluegreen* Forum“, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago

  • Disability sector is in a ‘slow burning crisis’
    Disability advocates say the sector is in crisis and broken, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “A roundtable at Parliament organised by the Labour Party, heard today how National has left disability services chronically underfunded. ...
    18 hours ago
  • NZ fisheries depend on the environment – they should protect it
    The attitude of the fishing industry and the National Government to our oceans, and the life within it, still amazes me. Like many New Zealanders, I find it perplexing that an industry which depends entirely on the long-term health of ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    19 hours ago
  • Bigger is not always better with local government reform
    I have written previously about the overwhelming opposition expressed by local councils and community members to the latest Local Government reforms.  The Select Committee heard more submissions this week, specifically about some of the unintended consequences that may arise from ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    19 hours ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Government must review state sector retirement investment
    The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme has no business investing in companies which manufacture cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines and nuclear weapons, Labour MP and Parliamentarians for Global Action executive member Su’a William Sio says. “I endorse the call made by the ...
    3 days ago
  • Councils shouldn’t rush into Easter Trading
    City and district councils must ensure they don’t rush into trading on Easter Sunday ahead of local body elections next month, Labour’s Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “This decision must be taken seriously and only after extensive ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister can’t wash hands of illegal KiwiSaver investments
    The Minister responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers should take responsibility for ensuring they act legally, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The National Government has now had confirmed what they were told more than a week ago – that ...
    3 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Government railroading Maori Land Bill through
    Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent ...
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Government turns a blind eye to struggling sole parents
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    4 days ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    4 days ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    4 days ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    4 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    5 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    5 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    5 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    6 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    6 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    6 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    6 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    7 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    7 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    2 weeks ago

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