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Key paralytic as ice melts

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, April 7th, 2009 - 41 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags: , ,

John Key’s government is at the climate change talks in Bonn avoiding doing their part in combating more climate change in the future (along with Russia and the Ukraine). Meanwhile the British Antarctic Survey is reporting that the Wilkins ice shelf is likely to disappear shortly.

A large part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula is now supported only by a thin strip of ice hanging between two islands.

An enormous 405 km2 iceberg (~41 by ~2.5 km) has recently broken away and is a sign of the effect of climate change on the ice shelves in Antarctica. Over the past 50 years most ice shelves there have retreated, and six have completely collapsed (Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller and the Jones Ice Shelf). The following mashup video shows footage from a number of sources like this on this particular ice shelf breakup.

The glaciers behind some of those ice shelves have shown markedly increased rates of melting and iceberg formation when the ice shelf barrier has been removed. This will probably not happen with the free floating Wilkins, unlike the Larsen B ice shelf breakup in 2002.

Professor Vaughan of the BAS in a BBC article said

Professor Vaughan predicted in 1993 that the northern part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf would be lost within 30 years if climate warming continued. But he said it is happening more quickly than he expected.

Map (BBC)

He told BBC News: “What we’re actually seeing is a chunk of the ice shelf drop off in a way that suggests it is not just a normal part of iceberg formation.

“This is not a sea level rise issue, but is yet another indication of climate change in the Antarctic Peninsula and how it is affecting the environment.”

Scientists say the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts out into the Southern Ocean towards the tip of South America, has experienced unprecedented warming over the last 50 years.

Greenpeace describe the NZ response to climate change as NZ rearranges deckchairs while ice shelf collapses.

Delegates are meeting in the German city for the first stage of the UN climate talks which culminate in Copenhagen in December.

“Wilkins provides us with one of the starkest reminders of just how fast climate change is occurring and yet the New Zealand Government still refuses to face facts,” said Greenpeace Political Adviser Geoff Keey, from Bonn.

“Along with Russia and the Ukraine, New Zealand is refusing to put forward a proposed national emission reduction target. This backward and unhelpful position is contributing to the glacial pace in which the talks are proceeding.

“As climate change in the real world becomes more visible by the day, New Zealand remains in a bubble where it thinks it can weasel out of international obligations. This must change. At the moment we’re not climate leaders, we’re not even playing our part, we’re laggards.”

I’d agree. We have the idiots from ACT playing in select committee as part of their coalition agreement, and John Key too paralytic and ill-informed on the subject to provide any leadership. Perhaps he needs to learn to read faster than the ice melts.

41 comments on “Key paralytic as ice melts”

  1. BLiP 1

    The planet crumbles around us and John Key does what? Nothing.

    Thanks National.

    • John 1.1

      And yet more intelligent debate from BLiP. The standard would increase the quality of comments 10-fold, if BLiP was banned.

      [lprent: You might reconsider that statement.
      a) BLiP doesn’t fit the policies on moderation
      b) You’ll find that the moderators and I get VERY finicky and intolerant about people trying to tell us how to run our site.
      c) You’d know this if you’d read the about and policy. However not doing so is usually regarded as being a darwinian winnowing offense rather than a excuse.]

      • BLiP 1.1.1

        Ooooh look – its the big brave retard who loves to scare pensioners, whose contribution to society is to support liars and create a climate of fear. I note that your comment certainly has a lot to do with the topic.

        • lprent

          I’d suggest you read the policy as well. I take a dim view on flamewars regardless of provocation.

        • mike

          ” is to support liars and create a climate of fear”

          Sums up the green/climate change movement nicely…

      • John 1.1.2

        Nowhere did I tell the moderators how to run their site. I simply stated an obvious fact, that both the left and right would agree with. The fact is that the comments would increase 10-fold if BLiP was banned. Whether or not he is banned, is your choice entirely.

        • lprent

          Hell we’ve tolerated all sorts of weird views and writing techniques here (d4j, randal, redbaiter, the missing ‘sod, etc come to mind) whilst under moderation. The sheer diversity of opinion of people who write here is the sole reason that I continue to expend effort on the site.

          So long as they have an opinion, are willing to defend it, generally engage constructively with others in debate, don’t try to hijack the threads, and generally follow the policies we really don’t care about the discussion. One of those policies is that people don’t tell us how to run the site. So I gave you a gentle warning….

          You notice that djp (and probably others) didn’t get warned – he chose an entirely appropriate response to BLiP. You however did a specific behavior that isn’t allowed here.

          Incidently, there are currently no reasons for this site to take much notice of what other people think apart from the ones we choose to respect. That respect comes from the level of debate and accumulated levels of ‘mana’ people get for being able to participate from whatever angle they come from.

          We’re unworried by the size of the audience. If we get the level of debate right, then our past growth will continue. The biggest threat to that are known behaviors that block debate, so they tend to get pointed out fast and quite hard.

          You have to remember that I’ve been participating in online debates since at least the late 80’s. The disruptive patterns are always the same…

    • djp 1.2

      BLiP, have you ever thought of getting into cheerleading?

      It might be more your level of analysis

      • BLiP 1.2.1

        Its a factual comment not an analysis. A bit tricky a concept for you to grasp, I guess.

        • djp

          Well, that is my whole point I guess.

          Why don’t you let us know why you believe it to be fact?

          There needs to be a reasoned point before anyone will listen.

          • BLiP

            Believe me – I would love to provide some analysis of the National Party’s contribution to saving the environment but there’s nothing to analyse.

  2. infused 2

    Yes BLiP. Our %0.1 of carbon emissions has such a massive effect on the world.

    • lprent 2.1

      It sure does. It has effect both for what we do, and also for the same reason that Helen is heading to the UN, that Mike Moore went to the WTO, McKinnon went to the commonwealth, Douglas and Richardson doing international tours on privatization, etc…

      We punch well above our weight simply because we can show the way forward to some of the bigger economies. We also have exceptional people in NZ simply because it is easier for the best to show their talents regardless from where they started.

      By your idiotic measure, you’re saying that NZ’ers should never do anything aspirational because it is too small. Frankly, you can take that attitude and stick it up your defeatist arse.

      • BLiP 2.1.1

        I guess leading by example is an alien concept to you.

        How’s things going in you “service sector” – you know, the one that in your reality is expanding but, in the real world is contracting?

        I’m happy to be a cheerleader, better than being a liar.

    • George Darroch 2.2

      It can matter immensely what NZ does. I’m absolutely serious.

      Have you ever seen Flight of the Concords? New Zealand is seen as this harmless little green country on the edge of the world, with sheep and orcs and mountains, and some of the best environmental policy in the world. Only two of those things are true, but the perception is real.

      If NZ is seen to be ripping up environmental protocols and blocking the creation of new ones, and lobbying for business as usual emissions, it’s going to shift the parameters of the debate.

      Of course, the US, EU and others are realising the urgency, and may just choose to leave NZ behind. And then slap carbon tariffs on our exports.

  3. This backward and unhelpful position is contributing to the glacial pace in which the talks are proceeding.

    Perhaps that may have been better written!

    • lprent 3.1

      Amusing… Talk to Greenpeace. Came out of their press release.

      BTW: Glacier speeds are pretty slow by human standards. It is more the volume being affected at once that is the issue in climate change.

      Since the talks over there appear to be lumbering to a halt again. It looks like winter has started in one place…

      captcha: cattle impel

  4. infused 4

    It’s not that I’m not willing to do anything, it’s about how much we do without impacting on our economy. We have such little output that you really have to weigh up the long term benefits.

    What’s the cost to the New Zealand people? There will always be a cost.

    You say there might be a cost if we do nothing, that’s true, but unless the biggest emitters do something there isn’t much point is there?

    • lprent 4.1

      I suspect that the costs will increase markedly the longer it isn’t handled. That is certainly the case under Kyoto….

      However in a broader economic sense, the countries that start working on climate emission tech and techniques earlier are more likely to find the saleable items from it. That effectively acts as a natural barrier to entry for later entrants. If there is no incentive to develop these techniques and tech, they will not be developed locally and will have to be brought and retrofitted later (always a more expensive procedure).

      There are also the embargo effects. When the dutch get flooded, I suspect that they are going to think harsh thoughts of those not pulling their weight – that will translate into harsh penalties. So will the rest of the EU. The same things will happen in many countries. There are a lot of people living in coastal plains and flood plains (the latter get strongly affects by changes in precipitation patterns).

      My personal thoughts would be that putting a higher cost on a polluting later is likely to cost us a lot more over the longer term than the alternative of doing it earlier. It is only those who don’t bother to think past their immediate advantage who can’t see these things.

      Becomes a case of winning a battle to lose the war. A monumentally stupid thing to do.

  5. gingercrush 5

    How did Labour’s plans for cutting carbon emissions push New Zealand above its weight?

    • lprent 5.1

      No, but at least they were starting to do something.

      This current lot (NACT) are doing sweet fuck all. They also seem to intend to continue doing that.

      Perhaps you’d care to look future wards rather than the usual conservative reaction of advancing blindly into the future looking backwards? The Munich effect gets so tiresome…

      • Macro 5.1.1

        The Munich effect gets so tiresome

        It sure does doesn’t it!

        The wingnuts completely over look the fact that they stuffed up the first attempt to handle GHGE with their stupid attacks with “FART Tax” etc. Nor do they don’t see the need for detail in our current ETS!! (English’s reply to questions in the house) etc. Govt can only progress the possible. The wingnuts constant sniping and expressions of self interest have so delayed NZ response to action (in what is rapidily out stripping the cautious projections of the IPPC ) that we are now way behind the rest of the developed world in taking any action. From a purely self interested point of view we cannot expect to continue trading with nations that are taking positive action when those Nations are taking the the problem seriously.

  6. Stephen 6

    However in a broader economic sense, the countries that start working on climate emission tech and techniques earlier are more likely to find the saleable items from it. That effectively acts as a natural barrier to entry for later entrants. If there is no incentive to develop these techniques and tech, they will not be developed locally and will have to be brought and retrofitted later (always a more expensive procedure).

    What’s to stop a kiwi company doing research right now? It’s not necessarily ‘countries’ that do research, it’s companies perhaps assisted by government. Plenty of take up in the EU, parts of the US at the mo, would’ve thought that’d be reason enough for kiwi firms to get off their arse on this, though I suspect they already are…

  7. George Darroch 7

    Labour should never have backed down to the farmers.

    It set a precedent with the media, and National learned from their success and replicated the strategy to great effect.

    One of the worst decisions of the last 9 years.

  8. GlobalWarmingIsACrock 8

    Meanwhile the British Antarctic Survey is reporting that the Wilkins ice shelf is likely to disappear shortly.

    Guarantee you this turns out to be total bullshit. Will check again in 10 years but this sounds like alarmist nonsense.

    • lprent 8.1

      Perhaps you should look at the link on the Larsen B ice shelf – that was over 14,000 years old. It broke up over 6 years ago, and no it hasn’t grown back. While you’re at it, perhaps you should look at the current research on the other 5 ice shelves referenced. So of those disappeared over a decade ago, and haven’t come back.

      Face it – you only research the lint in your navel. Otherwise you’d know this

      • The Baron 8.1.1

        Jesus Prent, its one thing to refute his argument, which the first paragraph does. But wholly another to personally denigrate someone because they don’t agree with you.

        What’s with that?

        • Pascal's bookie

          Baron. Lynn can obviously speak for himself, but I’ll just say that GWIAC’s comment was itself pretty inflammatory, implicitly calling Lynn a BS artist and an alarmist.

          S/He offered no argument whatsoever to counter the post or support his/her accusations. Turn about is fair play.

          Lynn’s ‘denigration’ was not gratuitous, but a conclusion, based on the above facts. Added to this, Lynn knows what he is talking about on this issue in particular and he has to put up with the same repetitive troll lines from commenters who just hit and run.

          This can be a fairly robust forum, and you won’t really endear yourself to people by acting the net nanny. It’s a distraction from issues. Arguments count. Rhetoric’s fun. :)

        • lprent

          TB: The standard around here is robust debate. If you think you have refuted the others argument (if they have one). Then denigration is appropriate if you think that they were simply bullshitting without bothering to have any evidence to back up their opinion. Afterall they just wasted your time to point out something that was a google search away.

          You’ll see this happen time after time amongst many people who comment around this site. If you want to defend your viewpoint, then you have to defend it and support it with something other than your simple assertions (unless you state that is what you believe as matter of faith). This ensures that there is robust debate. There are very few ‘nice’ people on this site. There are a lot of opinionated and well-informed ones from all sides. It is fun to argue – but not with people who can’t back their arguments.

          Normally I’d probably spend more time explaining. However his pseudonym was a bit of a give-away that he wasn’t exactly open to debate. He’d made an assertion without backing it up which is a bad idea on this site at any time. I said that he was completely wrong, supplied a test, and ‘educated’ him about the requirements for debate here related to assertions. Moreover I did it ROBUSTLY to ensure that he’d either stay away or learn to argue.

          BTW: climate change debates here when I get involved tend to be pretty robust. I’ve been arguing it since I did my earth sciences degree in 1978-1981. After you’ve seen the same ridiculous line raised for the nth time, slice and dice seems like the fastest way to find out if they are just reading off a CCD (climate change denier) site, or if they understand the issues enough for discussion.

  9. ripp0 9

    LP wrote:—
    We have the idiots from ACT playing in select committee as part of their coalition agreement, and John Key too paralytic and ill-informed on the subject to provide any leadership.

    borrowing a little from the parlance of Charles Chauvel MP the so-called idiots require greater consideration for the quality of their particular concerns..

    Which DO resonate well with the PM (and upon which the PM would want himself in pole position, albeit backroom) — to wit, we have the clear and present danger of non-disclosure by CC and/or AGW deniers of their utter reliance upon a canadian banker by name White whose 2006 paper on monetarist economics sets forth both the freedom to make mistakes doctrine(espoused on radio by Mr. Hide) AND the proposition for profitable delay by any means whatsoever..

    Later, should the interest hold, I’ll maybe have time make a blog here on this revelation..

    meantime (I really am short on time) allow me ask if so far this link is okay by LP and the rest of you guys..

    • lprent 9.1

      I’m unsure what you’re asking for? Comment on the content or the programming?

      • ripp0 9.1.1

        re the link..LP,

        I dropped the standard into blogroll.. seeking okay for.. the remainder would be similar to what snail was doing and no obs to that.. so I’m guessing okay.. okay?

  10. Bart Hanson 10

    Climate change by way of upset weather patterns I can accept. Climate change caused by normal human activity and the “Global Warming” tag attached is just plain scare-mongering propaganda used by intellectually weak people to try and control the rest of us normal free-thinking types. Do I agree with the notion of being my brother’s keeper? yes I do, but I will not help make my brother into a slave based on pseudo-science, damn statistics and convenient lies.

    • Macro 10.1

      You have of course reasons to hold this otherwise scientifically untenable position? Pray do advise us intellectually weak individuals so that we may see the light! Or are you, as I suspect, holding this position because to accept the obvious is inconvenient to your way of life?

  11. ripp0 11

    Bart Hanson.

    I note your use of two ‘normal’ words in your comment. Would you kindly draw distinctions between them.. if any

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      That would be interesting ripp0. :)

      I’ll not hold me breath waiting a response though.

  12. Pat 12

    Of course it is important what New Zealand does.

    When New Zealand declared itself ‘Nuclear Weapons Free’ in 1987. The nuclear powers, in particularl, the US, was so concerned, that they pressured and bullied Prime Minister Lange to make a globaly circulated public statement that “this policy was not for export.”

    Of course in practice, following New Zealand’s lead, as well as creating world wide interest, this policy was also taken up by other Pacific countries.

    Fiji in particular. In Fiji, the Fiji Anti Nuclear Group (FANG) in alliance with the powerful union movement there, was very influential, and had helped frame the anti-nuclear policy of the briefly elected Fiji Labour Party, which was deposed in a US supported military coup.

    (Much to the chagrin of the American navy who often moor ships there, at the time, the seawall in Suva was dominated by a huge FANG anti-nuclear slogan.)

    The coup was led by colonel Rabuka who had been reported as meeting with top US generals in public and in secret, before the coup.
    The military coup as well as crushing the power of the unions under the racist excuse that they were dominated by Fijian Indian union officials, overthrough the government’s intention to make Fiji Nuclear Free, sending a chilling message to the rest of the Pacific Nations considering framing similar legislation.

    (though some legislation did get though in other Island countries, it was never publicised or enforced.)

    The message is, that what New Zealand does is vitally important and ‘has’ shaped world politics, globaly and in the region.

    If we did take serious steps to halt green house gas emmisions we should announce loudly that “this policy is for export” And I am sure, that again, we would be supported by our Pacific neighbors and friends and then hopefully this example would be “exported” around the world.

  13. Bart Hanson 13

    Normal = Common = Everyday = Not Strange = Something humans have done since the beginning of time.

    • Maynard J 13.1

      Normal = Common = Everyday = Not Strange = Something humans have done since the beginning of time.

      Uh-huh. Like adult males sleeping with young girls as soon as they reach puberty?

      Although that’s an extreme example designed to make you look stupid. Not necesary when one in direct context is good enough:

      Something humans have done since the beginning of time.

      Pop quiz: when was the industrial revolution?

      a) the beginning of time
      b) quite recently

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