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350 Day of Action – A media lament

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, October 27th, 2009 - 42 comments
Categories: Environment, Media - Tags:


Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. We’re above that limit and we’re climbing fast. 350 Aotearoa is the New Zealand arm of 350.org, an international campaign dedicated to creating an equitable global climate treaty that lowers carbon dioxide below 350 parts per million.

Last Saturday (24 October) was a global Day of Action, the “Most widespread day of political action in history”.  There were 5,248 events in 181 countries, 110 of them in New Zealand alone. Tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of people took part. Check out some of the images from the NZ events here.

Internationally the media coverage wasn’t bad. It made the front page of the New York Times, made the Washington Post, news sites, and so on.

Here the coverage had some notable gaps. There was a piece in the Dominion Post, a piece in the Otago Daily Times. Radio NZ and TV3 covered it. But I can’t find anything (maybe something I missed, I don’t think there was anything prominent!) in The Herald, on TV1, or many of the newspapers.

So those media outlets that didn’t cover it – what’s up folks? They made it easy for you, here’s the press kit. This was a major international event to highlight the greatest global threat faced by humanity, and it wasn’t important enough to cover? Didn’t warrant a brief interruption to the usual diet of celebrity gossip and shock horror crime stories? You people have a platform, you can reach the public, why not use it for good purposes sometimes? Sigh, I know, I know, silly old fashioned r0b. Most of the media exists not to inform, but to sell advertising. It’s just – the cost of our ignorance is going to be high…

42 comments on “350 Day of Action – A media lament ”

  1. Peter Johns 1

    the turnout looks underwhelming, just like Sydney.
    350ppm is not deadly, we will still breathe at 10000ppm CO2, idiots.

    • lprent 1.1

      Sure you can – it is the lack of O2 that causes us to stifle. We routinely have very high concentrations of CO2 in our lungs – all animals do.

      However (and this is where you show yourself to be a fatuous scientific fuckwit), the ambient tempature around you is probably going to either boil water or have so much water vapour in the atmosphere that plants will not grow. Not to mention that the water will be somewhat dangerous to drink

      More limp dick lines from this moronic scientifically illiterate ‘chemist’. It is such a pity that he never actually learnt to learn anything outside his own discipline. Personally I suspect that he burnt his brains out years ago sniffing non-polar solvents in the lab.

      • rocky 1.1.1

        Wow that was a bit harsh!

        • lprent

          Chemist Peter, ummm Blue Peter (probably)… Wanders around the blogs claiming that he is a chemist, and making dipshit comments like the one above. Personally I doubt that he has the education that he claims simply because of some of the really daft comments I’ve seen him make.

          If he is a chemist, it is evident that he has never left his vats for long enough to observe the biosphere. I like being even more sarcastic to him than he is to other people

  2. George D 2

    People actually like to hear stories like this, from time to time. The media are just objectively useless.

  3. Scribe 3

    This was a major international event to highlight the greatest global threat faced by humanity, and it wasn’t important enough to cover?

    The greatest global threat faced by humanity?!?!?

    Get a grip, man. And you wonder why people tune out when they hear climate change/global warming hysteria….

    • Pascal's bookie 3.1

      Heh, go on scribe, tell us again about the holocaust being waged by the liberals and their culuture of death.

      Clearly “The greatest global threat faced by humanity” is opinion. What greater current threat is there, in your opinion?

      • Scribe 3.1.1

        Hi PB,

        Well, let’s start with nuclear weapons in the hands of fruit loops like Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (sp?).

        Still think climate change is “The greatest global threat faced by humanity’?

        And, just to throw a left-wing cause in there, what about overpopulation of the planet? Yikes.

        • r0b

          Well, let’s start with nuclear weapons in the hands of fruit loops like Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (sp?).

          Barring superpower nuclear war (which I now think is unlikely), even nukes only do local damage, compared to climate change.

          Also, nukes may or may not do us damage. It’s a possibility. Climate change is a certainty. It’s going to happen.

          And, just to throw a left-wing cause in there, what about overpopulation of the planet? Yikes.

          Self-limiting, and also part and parcel of climate change in any case.

        • Pascal's bookie

          What r0b said.

  4. How many people took their cars to this event?

  5. Scribe 5

    Also, nukes may or may not do us damage. It’s a possibility. Climate change is a certainty. It’s going to happen.

    Yep, the climate will change. It may or may not mean the planet gets hotter, though, melting ice caps and endangering people in places like Kiribati and the Maldives. The climate may change by getting colder, like it has been in recent years according to a recent BBC report.

    • r0b 5.1

      Scribe, you claim to be a “journalist” – do some damn research. Evaluate the evidence instead of cherry picking that which you think supports your position of denial. Start here:





      Read the experts:

      On Feb. 2, 2007, the United Nations scientific panel studying climate change declared that the evidence of a warming trend is “unequivocal,’ and that human activity has “very likely’ been the driving force in that change over the last 50 years. The last report by the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in 2001, had found that humanity had “likely’ played a role.

      The addition of that single word “very’ did more than reflect mounting scientific evidence that the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from smokestacks, tailpipes and burning forests has played a central role in raising the average surface temperature of the earth by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1900. It also added new momentum to a debate that now seems centered less over whether humans are warming the planet, but instead over what to do about it.

      • Scribe 5.1.1


        Humans are doing things that are contributing to the recent warming (1 degree Fahreneit only), but who’s to say the planet’s cyclical cooling and warming patterns won’t offset that minuscule change?

        I recycle more than I used to and catch the bus a lot more than I used to because I think those two things help. What I will never accept, though — barring a 3-degree Celsius jump in 10 years or something like that — is the assertion that this is the biggest threat to our existence.

        Saying that I claim to be a “journalist” (which is just a strange construction; either use “claim” or the scare quotes, not both) doesn’t force me to drink Al Gore’s Kool-Aid(TM)

        • r0b

          What I will never accept, though — barring a 3-degree Celsius jump in 10 years or something like that — is the assertion that this is the biggest threat to our existence.

          Short term thinking Scribe. It’s not the next 10 years (probably). But it is the next 50.

          Got to go for now.

          Ta for the grammar advice though.

        • Con

          Fahrenheit? You really are a blast from past, aren’t you, Scribe? 🙂

        • lprent

          The problem is that it is a cumulative effect in a system with considerable buffering. Problem is that we’ve pretty well filled the buffers, hell we’ve even managed to measurably drop the pH in the oceans – which is an incredible (albeit somewhat stupid) feat. The oceans will be releasing the stored CO2 and heat for the next few centuries.

          But on timescales, my educated guess is that we’re getting pretty close to a tipping point where one of the many possible stores of natural CO2, CH4, and other assorted gases will get a heat triggered release. All those warming permafrost bogs in the northern arctic would be my bet, where they have had a 5C or more rise over the last 15 years. Other people are betting on sea-shelf methane, the dissolution of shells and corals, etc etc. But there is a hell of a carbon stored around the arctic circle…

          If we manage to trigger something with our contributions, we’re likely to get a massive natural effect enhancing it and a very short lead time. Of course once one of those tipping points are triggered, then you will probably get your 2-4C jumps in a few decades.

          But hey what do I know? I only studied it for my earth sciences degree. Any moron knows that not understanding anything but belching gas and calling it an argument beats actually trying to understand it anytime. You only have to ask the sewer, politicians, journo’s, talkback radio, …….

          • Scribe


            My point is that there is conflicting evidence. Some people, including many on The Standard, are unwilling to accept that some reputable scientists are sceptical about the recent trend being anything more than within natural temperature variations.

            As I’ve said, let’s recycle more, drive smaller cars, use alternative fuels (but not at the expense of food production) and utilise public transport. Let’s do our bit to stem emissions and give the planet a longer life.

            • Pascal's bookie

              “Some people, including many on The Standard, are unwilling to accept that some reputable scientists are sceptical about the recent trend being anything more than within natural temperature variations.”

              Really? I think most are willing to accept that such scientists exist. They happen to think that they are wrong, that the evidence is clearly against that position, and that that position should not be used as an excuse to do nothing.

            • lprent

              Actually there are bugger all, and even less amongst people who know what they’re talking about. Have a look at my post from a month or so back. The level of agreement amongst earth scientists is incredibly high.

              Your dissension are just some noisy CCD’s who spread themselves widely, usually have no qualifications in the field, and talk trash ‘science’. Remind me of the idiots in the sewers

    • snoozer 5.2

      scribe. for god’s sake, don’t wear ignorance like a badge. if you want to know the temperature of the world, you go to the world authority, which is http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ (clue: it’s going up)

      and shruggin your shoulders and saying ‘yup, the climate will change’ is silly. The problem is the climate will change at a catastrophic rate.

      Here’s an analogy, let’s call it ‘speed change’: you and I are driving in a car, over time the speed of the car varies gradually up and down but it’s no big deal. Then I drive the car into a wall, again the speed of the car changes but this time it is a big deal because you and I slam into the inside of the car. Why is this ‘speed change’ dangerous whereas normal speed change isn’t? because it’s so sudden. We should obviously try to avoid something dangerous happening to us, especially when the cause of the danger is our own actions.

      • Scribe 5.2.1


        Want something sudden? Ask the people in Baghdad on the weekend about “sudden”.

        We can actually make contingencies for climate change. How do people in Afghanistan plan for carpet bombings or people in Darfur prepare for genocide?

        • snoozer

          scribe? What?

          Human-induced climate change is a sudden event in climatic terms.

          How about we avoid changing the climate rather than try to reduce the costs of it later on with massive, expensive mitigation?

        • lprent

          We can actually make contingencies for climate change.

          Not so far. The Nats version of the ETS looks to me like it will reward companies for doing more greenhouse gas emissions. I’m afraid that I think we’re going to have to scrap cap’n’trade as being a failed kludge. Moving to straight carbon tax without all of the fancy bits seems a lot more viable than this pile of lobbying.

          • Scribe


            We can argue about the mechanisms, but man CAN make contingencies for climate change.

            You can rubbish National’s plans, but keep in mind that Labour did nothing for several years and then tried to get through its ETS in the last few months in office.

            • lprent

              We can argue a lot about numbers. Nationals ETS makes the situation worse, not better. There is every incentive to increase emmissions by the major polluters because then they will be issued with more credits funded by the taxpayers.

              Basically this is subsidies by the taxpayer to polluters – as the treasury pointed out.

              Perhaps you’d care to look at the numbers rather than brown-nosing nationals spin?

    • lprent 5.3

      It is an interesting theory (unproven) that will get examined closely over the next few years. However as Levitt was at pains to point out and all of the wingnuts and CCD’s are at pains to ignore – it is a temporary effect for a decade or so (if in fact it exists). It is also a background effect, and at the levels he is pointing out will merely reduce the rate of increase in average world temperatures. It doesn’t stop the effect of heat retention in the biosphere as greenhouse gases rises, it merely postpones the faster rises, and assists idiots who think that it solves the problem.

      What you are foolishly overlooking is that the threat isn’t from warming or cooling – it is from having a changing climate outside of the usual ranges at all.

  6. joeschmoe 6


    Get a job. All of ya.

  7. Deus ex Machina 7

    Peter Johns and Scribe are technically correct – levels of CO2 in the atmosphere higher than 350ppm will not harm the average human being, and it’s almost certainly the case that humanity has survived dramatic climatic changes. Perhaps even prospered as less adaptive competitors were hard-hit.

    But ‘humanity’ then numbered a lot less than a billion, had an average life-span of 30 years and knew how to survive – just – in an extremely hostile environment.

    What the scientists are saying is that “life as we know it, Jim,” won’t survive the climatic changes global warming could bring. But humanity likely will, maybe a billiion or so fighting for and over food and shelter with nary an iPod in sight.

    I wonder if Peter John’s grand-children will thank him for his scientific approach.

    • lprent 7.1

      Peter Johns and Scribe are technically correct levels of CO2 in the atmosphere higher than 350ppm will not harm the average human being

      Except (as you point out) that the biosphere that sustains human civilisation may do one of its periodic collapses due to climatic changes. The evidence of catastrophic mass extinctions is pretty clear about what happens when the biosphere gets enough strain.

      …and it’s almost certainly the case that humanity has survived dramatic climatic changes.

      Sure, by the skin of their teeth. The relatively small variations in human mitochondrial DNA make that pretty evident that we have recovered from population implosions as recently as 70k years ago with very very small populations – most likely from climate change in Africa.

      However, that hardly means that the technologically based civilization that we’ve developed over the last 10k years, especially farming, will survive a drastic shift in climate balance. We’ve never seen anything like the conservative least impact projections of the IPCC in human history, so we have absolutely no idea about what the effects will be to out farming systems. Moreover the upcoming IPCC report looks likely to put their worst projections from the last report as being the least projections in the next. Certainly the research areas that were not incorporated in the last report because of insufficient data, now have some very scary data available.

  8. Mike 8

    It’s weird how there is prominent coverage of a planned ‘smacking’ march next month on the nzh website, yet there was no mention of any of the 350 actions that happened in the weekend….

    • RedLogix 8.1

      This is why the left needs to understand how propaganda is really done. It’s rarely obvious to most people… and always deniable.

      • Herodotus 8.1.1

        Perhaps because there is a direct consequence that CAN BE SEEN by the population from the S59 legislation. And the majority of the people have not been heard and we tallk about democracy. well the plebs are not happy and the senate will not listen.
        Also that within the last 1200 years we have experienced greater temps, ice melts and the likes of inhabitation of Greenland & Iceland by Eric the Red & co. that since about 1300 A.D. has been almost inhospitable.
        Also the 1st World is being told to reduce CO2, how about the developing world, and the likes of Brazil with its deforestation (the other side of CO2 = O2 + C). Sorry but the world politicians are not displaying a great urgency. I wonder why?

  9. prism 9

    The environment is one thing that one can feel saintly about defending but the churches have real trouble with the need to control population growth. Taking control of our fecund fertility and exponential growth with its inevitable destructiveness is too hard for people vellum-bound in man-made dogma presented as divine. No condoms, no discussion, no last resort of abortion is countenanced by some churches. But starvation and disease and helpless people who find solace in churchy goodness and a future peace when they die.

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