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Same Old, Same Old.

Written By: - Date published: 1:03 pm, July 2nd, 2017 - 148 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, global warming, International, science, useless - Tags: , , ,

This time last year, there was a smattering of posts put up about average global ocean and land surface temperatures. They didn’t make for comfortable reading.

Of course, last year the world was in the grip of an El Nino that boosts temperatures. So with its fading, we’d expect temperatures to drop off again. And they have. The world is now sitting in a state that is neither El Nino nor La Nina and there is some expectation that a La Nina will develop later in the year.

Average land and ocean temperatures are currently the second highest on record with ‘the year to May‘ average land/ocean temperatures being 0.92°C above the 20th C average – which itself is above the pre-industrial average.


Remember Paris and that undertaking our governments made of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels“?

What about Copenhagen in 2009, where our governments made commitments to to “hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and take action to meet this objective consistent with science and on the basis of equity”?

Or Cancun in 2010? Kyoto in ’97? Marrakesh in 2001? What about MontrealNairobiBali...DurbanDohaLimaWarsaw?

There have been 22 COP meetings since the first one in Berlin in 1995. And here we are, living in a world that’s possibly already 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperature levels and well on the way to 2°C with a whole pile of really, really bad stuff locked in. And that’s with governments being committed to tackling global warming. So imagine how much worse it could all be if they had had their meetings where they’d patted one another on the back, released happy smiley photos and wads of paper containing fine sounding words, and then chosen to do a whole lot of nothing…Yup.

Meanwhile the city of Ahvaz in Iran, home to over 1 million people, has just experienced the hottest ever temperatures for the month of June for anywhere in Asia – possibly the hottest temperature recorded anywhere in the world since records began ~ 54°C with ~ 70% humidity.

I guess there might be a meeting in session about that somewhere.

148 comments on “Same Old, Same Old. ”

  1. Kevin 1

    Bearing all of this in mind, why do people still think that something can be done about climate change when the people who make the decisions that enact the laws that will change coporate/personal behaviour seem incapable of doing anything?

    Or worse, agree publicly, but refuse privately to do something about it?

    I fail to see how 250 years of planetary abuse is not only going to be stopped, but reversed in the timeframe required to ensure survival.

    • weka 1.1

      Most people want change. When that reaches a tipping point of action the politicians and other powerholders will follow. Plus those powerholders have kids and grandkids, some of them are scared and waking up.

  2. Andre Hock 2

    We are choosing to fail, choosing our legacy of disaster for our kin … We vote for inaction .

  3. Guy McPherson and Sam Carana are saying the planet will hit about the same average temp it was 250 million years ago (during the ‘great dying’ when 96% of all life went extinct) within 4 years, yes just four years from now. Giving humans about 1 year or so left.
    I guess most of us will be around if it doesn’t happen in that time frame, so maybe the laugh will be on me?

    interesting times.

  4. Andre #2 5

    We choose to vote for inaction

    • weka 5.1

      I don’t. I vote for action.

      • Kevin 5.1.1

        That’s all well and good weka, but what action do you think will remedy the situation in time?

        • McFlock

          “In time”?

          There’s no red line. It’s a continuum of things getting worse and being harder to improve.

          You can throw up your hands in despair, but that just has the same result as being an elderly oil baron who’s happy for the world to burn after he’s dead.

          The question isn’t where the miracle lies to save us, it’s what we do next to start the slog of getting out of this situation.

        • Robert Guyton

          “in time”?
          Got a figure to put on that, Kevin?
          If not, the best we can do is going to have to do. Never give up/don’t get mesmerized by the clock and its ticking and your chance of success increases dramatically, imo.

          • Bill

            For any chance of a 2 degree warmer future the approximate time scale is for the entire world to be at absolute zero emissions from fossil by 2050 and to have pulled out every stop in the book with regards land use emissions.

            That’s for any chance of a 2 degree warmer future based on rather bloated IPCC carbon budgets.

            Hundreds of millions of people in equatorial and tropical regions die in a world that has average land/ocean temperatures at 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels btw.

            So when talking of time and of running out, the question is who is the “we” we’re talking about. Because depending on who we’re talking about, time’s already up.

        • weka

          “That’s all well and good weka, but what action do you think will remedy the situation in time?”

          Not sure what you mean there Kevin. Short of a nuclear winter, there’s always something worth saving. Are you concerned about losing our first world lifestyles? The collapse of civ? Not being able to grow food? Mass suffering? Ecosystem collapse? In all of those things we still have the capacity to mitigate the worst of CC and reduce suffering and things being worse than if we gave up and did nothing. Obviously we should also be trying to adapt. Fortunately for us, truly sustainable adaptation is also what we need to do to mitigate. I’m far less concerned about what we can do than what we will do.

          • Kevin

            My personal feelings on this is there is nothing we can do. Primarily because of the political impasse that seems to obstruct anything meaningful being done. Politicians have shown repeatedly incapable of providing the leadership or the solutions.

            I am not concerned with losing anything other than my family. Social upheaval will eventually be a bigger problem than the climate change; who do we (attempt to) save and who gets saved? I think we all know the answer to that and it’s not going to be anyone we know personally.

            I see climate change a bit like comparing a heat pump to a log burner. You turn off a heat pump and straight away it starts to cool down. You stop feeding a log burner and it continues generating heat for hours later. We can stop doing everything that is causing climate change today, but the effects will continue to accumulate for years to come and that, to me anyway, is the problem.

            Every year wasted with more blather and promises from governments shows they are too scared to make any sort of decision, let a lone the hard ones, so they mitigate by being ‘unconvinced’ by the science etc.

            As for time? I think we are out of it. Things are changing rapidly only people are too blinkered to believe it. Looking at climate at a local level, what are the changes happening there? What I see is an autumn with no wind to remove leaves from the trees. I STILL have trees in my back yard with leaves on them. Equinoxial winds in spring that carry on right through to February. On average Hb has around 5 days each summer of temps 30 degrees or more. Last summer we had 11 before the end of December. While these are on a local level, they are also translating to a global level. Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf, Artic sea ice depletion (40% of volume over last 30 years), melting permafrost and release of methane, acidification of the oceans and I could go on.

            These issues are massive in scale. I do not know if Guy McPherson is correct in his time frame, but I do know that he is correct in saying that once that tipping point is reached, there is no going back.

            • Bill

              You’re not wrong.

            • weka

              Those are all fair points Kevin, but you still haven’t said too late for what? Too late to keep our lives the way they are now? Too late to prevent the extinction of humanity? There is a lot of ground in between.

              If we give up and say it’s too late and we just carry on burning fossil fuels the way we are, things will be far far worse then if stopped now.

              You said,

              “We can stop doing everything that is causing climate change today, but the effects will continue to accumulate for years to come and that, to me anyway, is the problem.”

              Yes, exactly, this is why the situation is urgent. Not because we can stop what is already done, but because we still have some choices about how fast and far we push things. What if powering down over five years was enough to prevent runaway climate change? Would you be willing to do that? What sacrifices would you be willing to make for you and your family in order to do that?

              No-one is coming to save us. The government isn’t them, it’s us. Politicians live in our communities and have kids and grandkids. They will have the same range of beliefs as everyone else. If you give up why shouldn’t they?

              People will change and the governance structures will follow.

  5. Carolyn_nth 6

    2nd legal action being taken against the NZ government for inadequate climate change action.

    The Government is facing fresh legal action over alleged inadequate greenhouse emissions targets.

    The new case is being brought by the Mataatua District Maori Council over the Government allegedly failing to fulfil Treaty of Waitangi obligations to protect Maori land and property.

    The environment climate change issues minister ducks for cover behind legal restrictions:

    Environment Minister Paula Bennett said she was limited in what she could say, with the matter currently before the tribunal.

    “However, we are very comfortable that our Paris target is fair and ambitious.”

    • Hi Carolyn
      Could you list a few things you think the govt could do to reduce carbon emissions, that would do more than SFA?
      Here is a bit of my list
      Obviously stop building roads, that is a given.
      Stop building houses maybe? A person living in a car, or cave, emits way less CO2 than a person living in a heated house, with running water, garbage collection, adequate food supply, and law and order.
      Maybe we make it mandatory that the country goes vegetarian?
      Ground all planes (lets face it if you can afford to fly, you are not an average Kiwi)
      um, well Schools and universities and hospitals* are heat engines thus producing more CO2 than the environment can get rid of without adding to the current overburden, so maybe close them?
      We could start rationing consumables, who needs 10 pairs of shoes, or 20 changes of undies – all CO2 emitters, maybe stop importing everything?
      *Look around any hospital they chuck out tons of plastic daily.
      Another thing maybe ? Close down all TV and radio stations, you should see the infrastructure, I couldn’t imagine the CO2 emitted from the MT Kau Kau transmission station (I’ve worked there, trying just to keep the cold damp air out must cost thousands $. But please wait till after Game of Thrones.
      How much diesel does the Army use in a day?
      How much CO2 comes from running our government?
      Nappies ? plastic in nappies will be in the environment for the next 4 billion years — all be it in next to microscopic size. Ban Barbie
      Most fibers from our clothes are plastic as well …. go naked?
      Pets? kill all of them?
      Over to you

      • Robert Atack 6.1.1

        Pumped and heated water, sport ie All Blacks/Lions, Americas Cup, defiantly makeup, cell phones, computers, fashion, beer, wine. … just a few more CO2 emitters
        Basically everything humans do creates CO2.

        • Robert Guyton

          The equation has to be balanced out, Robert Atack, by the amount of Co2 humans sequester, doesn’t it? I mean, yes, humans breath it out, but humans also tuck it away. Only yesterday, I planted a tree.

          • Robert Atack

            The only way humans can sequester CO2 is by placing us 6 foot under. I was doing my will the other day lawyer ask what I wanted to do with my body, I said cut it up and fed to dogs, buring me was just adding to the problem

            • Robert Guyton

              Come on, Gloomy-pants, I can think of dozens of ways humans can sequester carbon. How about, “don’t dig it up in the first place” – take that lump of coal you planned to burn and put it 6 foot under. I don’t think you’re trying, Robert!

              • BM

                Robert needs to see professional people and try and get his depression under control.

                This end of the world bull shit is like a lamp to a moth for people like Robert, Unfortunately, Robert is so convinced I doubt there’s anyone who could probably help him.

                He’s a shut-in.

                • The whole world’s depressed, BM, deluded and addicted too. Robert’s not taking it lying down though – gotta admire him for that. You, otoh, seem to be up to your neck in that Egyptian river.

                  • BM

                    I’m not depressed or in denial about anything.

                    The world/life is chaotic, unpredictable, you’ve got to understand that or you’ll go mad.

              • I’ve been trying for the past 18 years M8
                Hence my middle name
                Thankyoufornotbreeding, what a waste of $95.00 🙂

            • Robert Guyton

              That breed of burpless, fartless dog will be the saving of us all, aye, Robert!

            • Grafton Gully

              That goes along with the Parsi custom of putting corpses on a tower for vultures to clean down to the bones. Trouble is the vultures are near extinct from Diclofenac.


              Other solutions, more culturally suited to NZ, would be to recycle as pet food or fertiliser. Instead we accept the whole weird funeral/cremation/ burial industry just to get a corpse out of sight (and smell).

              • greywarshark

                Thanks Grafton Gully
                I had heard that the vultures were suffering some decimating effect.
                Bloody chemicals, they multiply, cause disease that is then treated with more chemicals.

                Interesting talk on radionz earlier about a meter that can test drugs to see if they have the right chemical composition to match their brand. 31% at concerts in NZ where used to check situation. I don’t need a lift from drugs, I come here and communicate with people using their brains and trying to keep them reasonably fresh, sharp and incisive.

                Does everyone know that marijuana affects the brain’s ability to process words so that you can read a page in a book and not be able to describe its meaning at the end? I have heard it takes six months to recover when you’ve reached that stage. Whether you get back to your original brain level I don’t know. With alcohol it is permanent. So watch it out there.

      • Those are just the “easy-to-do’s”, Robert. Let’s hear what you suggest for the harder changes we’ll have to make.

      • Bill 6.1.3

        Hey Robert, I’m not presuming to speak for Carolyn_nth. She might not agree with the following.

        But there’s the likes of this, that guarantees nothing, but gives us a best last chance. It’s not at all difficult to extrapolate versions of that scenario to cover all fossil use. I’ve previously written posts that did just that.

        And then, besides energy there is the need to bring land-use emissions down to net zero (can’t get absolute zero on that front).

        Technically do-able, politically unpalatable and we’re probably in some weird collective way going to kid ourselves that we can adapt to what’s coming.

        MacPherson is simply wrong in his claim about global temps in four years time btw. Temperature tracks CO2 levels and during all of the great extinctions they were above 1000ppm. We are currently at 400+ ppm.

        • Robert Atack

          Sorry Bill
          you have to add the nearly 2 ppm CH4, and several other GHG’s including the water vapor that has gone way way up there (?)
          CH4 according to several people, of the maybe 200 emails I sent out to people who should know, CH4 could be 150 – 300 times worse than CO2
          We could be close to 1,000 PPM CO2e now.

          Including Paul Beckwith

          • Bill

            No Robert. I’m talking specifically about the CO2 levels identified by paleontologists. At present, the other GHG are more or less in balance and so have a net zero effect (that balance won’t persist).

            Look. I think we’re in the shit and will choose to do nothing until water’s lapping at our feet (~ 6m sea-rise locked in with 1.5 degrees of warming, meaning….yup, it’s possibly or even probably locked in already).

            But this shit that you and some others do – of racing away to extremes, and often off the flimsiest of pretexts is utterly childish bullshit. It’s the mirror opposite (and therefore essentially the same) mindset as the “she’ll be right” brigade who are driving us off the cliff.

            Personally, I wish you’d all just fuck off out of it and give the grown ups in the room some space to get down to business. It’s a wish. I know. It’s not going to happen.

            And Paul Beckwith’s a fucking loon ffs.

    • Carolyn_nth 6.2

      It doesn’t need to be stop everything now. Just supporting smarter choices: tourism should not be built up as a major industry; more mass transit; less focus on developing electric cars rather than electric mass transit; more infrastructure that favours walking and cycling; more decentralisation with more people living close to their workplaces….. etc

      • Robert Atack 6.2.1

        We were told in the 80s that ‘we’ had less than 10 years to get our shit together, again in the 90s, and again in the 00’s now we are being told 3 years ?

  6. Sorry multiple posts.
    I don’t think the global grain crop was in such danger last year ?

    Texas is having ‘issues’
    France is having “issues’
    Australia is having ‘issues’
    when the grain crop fails, the system goes down, no planes for one thing, (=potential +3c) then no power generation = Chernobyl/Fukushima, probable 440 nuclear power plants pumping out ionizing radiation, burning off the atmosphere Mars here we come.

    • weka 7.1

      During the invasion of Iraq, in some places major infrastructure organisations failed e.g. the power supply. Electrical engineers who worked and lived in those places carried on keeping the power supply going without their employers having to tell them and without being paid. Why? Because humans are intrinsically communally minded and they also understand that their personal well being is dependant on the wellbeing of the tribe.

      When Cuba lost its access to oil relatively quickly, people adapted around that. They walked more, ate differently, looked after each other.

      Food is a relatively straightforward one too. If the global supply chain fails then grow food locally. Most places in the world still have people doing this so the skills and know how are there. Temperature rises are something we can adapt food growing around. Poly culture and food forestry are far more adaptable to weather events than industrial mono cropping and we should be doing these anyway for other environmental reasons. People are already growing food in harsh climates with sustainable and resilient techniques.

      None of the things that come out of the dark place in your mind are inevitable. Yes, things are going to be tough, but we still have choices here.

      • Robert Atack 7.1.1

        Weka, we aren’t talking about how smart this cancer is at surviving, we are talking about bring CO2 down to a point that would do something good ie below 315 PPM and below .8 ppm CH4
        Keep the lights on in Baghdad isn’t reducing CO2

        • weka

          Maybe I misunderstood your comment above. I thought you were saying that if civ collapses we’re doomed because we can’t grow food and all the nuclear reactors will go poof. I was just pointing out that that’s not true.

          Plenty of people have already figured out how to live without airplanes, it’s not that hard.

          • Bill

            Thanks for the reminder. I keep forgetting about those ‘lost’ reactors at Fukushima and imminent sea level rise. I’d say “that’s not going to end well”, but the reality is that it simply isn’t going to end…

            • weka

              True. My position on that is that the people who live there will find the best solutions given the limitations. I saw something recently about the farmers who went back into the hot zone soon after Fukushima happened because they didn’t want to leave their animals to die of starvation. They did this knowing full well about radiation poisoning. Humans are capable of things we can’t imagine yet. I have no idea which way it will go, but I’m willing to hold out for at least some of us doing the right things.

  7. bugsolutely nz 8

    We could lower our footprint quite markedly by changing preconceptions and consuming insect protein.

    • weka 8.1

      Not convinced that insect protein has a lower footprint than locally farmed meat, dairy, nuts and legumes, but sure, let’s change to whatever foods are going to make a difference. Are there people farming insects in NZ that aren’t needing big industrial processing?

      • Robert Atack 8.1.1

        Didn’t the Chines change their diets around 1958 – 61.
        It was dogs cats, and dead children ho hum
        Supposedly one mother told her daughter to “eat my heart when I’m dead”
        Neighbors agreed to eat each others dead children
        Mummy mummy don’t eat me
        And there was a claim that the dogs were eating cadavers, but another report said no, because all the dogs had already been eaten.
        I know this wasn’t real a Weka … not what starving humans do???

        • weka

          There’s no reason for NZers to starve. We have enough land for the size of the population to grow enough food here.

          Most famines are caused by humans. Again, your argument reflects your dark mind, not what is inevitable.

          If people in NZ give up now we will be less above to help others in the world who are in a worse off situation than we are. Whatever the motivation for your darkness, promoting that is fucked up.

      • bugsolutely nz 8.1.2

        Check it out my Facebook Bugsolutely nz You may be surprised at how efficient insects are at producing quality food. There are also so clips of farms in the USA in old unused factories, revitalizing community.
        And yes farming here would be much better, low cost start up for very good return.

    • Bugs, bugsolutely? Tell us more; can man live on bugs alone?

      • bugsolutely nz 8.2.1

        Well they have most of the good stuff that we eat for, protein, calcium,iron, zinc magnesium, omegas. with a bit of fresh green makes a pretty complete meal and very good fibre. Lots of info on Facebook Bugsolutely nz

    • Stuart Munro 8.3

      To date cricket flour is an expensive niche product for sustainability pretenders. Humans don’t really like the taste, and it can’t be produced economically. More realistic would invertebrate farming integrated into putrescibles recycling. Isopods might be better stock – they produce the crustacean flavor if fed to preferred human food sources like farmed fish.

    • Eat insects that might pass as meat, such as the stag beetle.

    • The giraffe weevil and the horse fly.

    • The caterpillar.

    • Bill 9.4

      No Ed.

      Stop sparking petrol and stop doing shit that condones the sparking of petrol. That’s the biggest thing you can do. (Note – that may involve knocking meat on the head as it were. No fossil available for farming 😉 )

      • Ed 9.4.1

        Not according to many scientists.
        Eating meat is the worst thing you can do environmentally.
        Using petrol is also not good.

        • weka

          “Eating meat is the worst thing you can do environmentally.”

          The science doesn’t show that*. What you are talking about is industrial meat, which I would agree with being a huge problem. But industrial soy and corn is too. See the common denominator?

          *or put it another way, show me the science that says that eating small amounts of meat that has been raised on a regenag farm harms the environment.

        • Bill

          So not eating a (insert animal of choosing) you snaggled, trumps the 5 mile drive you took to get to area where you set the trap that created the carcass in terms of global warming. Fucksake.

          Put another way.

          The kilo of rice that was imported from somewhere in Asia or Australia that required whatever amount of fossil to grow and transport means nothing in terms of global warming next to not eating the rabbit you could have snared out your back door, or the goat or deer you could have shot during a day of going bush?

          • marty mars

            Could you snare a rabbit where you live or go shooting for a day and kill it, carry it out and so on?

            It’s not as easy as it sounds.

            • Bill

              Rabbits, hares, chicken and fish (fcking hate the taste of fish mind).

              Goat, pig and deer – no. Wrong location, knackered back and age 😉

              But when all’s said and done, could I provide myself with meat? Yes.

              edit – geese too.

              edit no 2. – the obvious problem is wheat or rice or oats etc. Excepting potatoes, there is no way I can grow staple crops in sufficient quantities.

              • Sure

                I think you’ll be eating cat in a month or worse.

                • Bill

                  Nah mate. You know that chickens breed, aye? Eggs and meat. Way more than enough for me.

                  Dairy’s another matter alongside those cereal crops. Potatoes can be swapped in for the latter, but bar grabbing a nanny and a wether, dairy gets sourced from someone else in a worst case scenario.

                  Got eggs by the truckload for the swapping thereof.

                  And before you ask, the chooks are feral and self sustaining. If and when I do feed them, it’s in addition to their more than adequate, self provided diet.

                  edit – and cats return home with fresh rabbits on a regular basis in spring. 🙂

                  • Yeah nah put it this way – if you aren’t doing that stuff now you’ve left it too late. If you are doing that all now – well done your pathway to collapse has started and you’re missing the rush. Gotta be honest though bill – what IS happening not what potentially COULD happen.

                    • weka

                      “what IS happening not what potentially COULD happen”

                      How do you mean marty?

                    • Just didnt want a draco answer

                    • weka

                      Sorry, really not understanding.

                    • I wanted to know what bill was ACTUALLY doing not what he thinks he might do or potentially COULD do.

                    • weka

                      Ah, thanks, I get it now. Yes, that’s important too. I have a physical disability which means I can’t realistically grow much food, although I do what I can. I assume that if the shit hits the fan hard I’ll be one of the people that dies. But I do have reasonably good sustainability skills, so in a medium paced collapse or power down I could work with other people to set up resilient systems. (Already do things like composting toilets, live on low energy etc so am pretty adaptable).

                      In terms of what people are doing already, I think it’s probably better where you are but where I live people into sustainability really aren’t making the moves towards working together. Too much need for individual freedoms built into Pākehā society in particular. I’m way less concerned about how to grow food than I am about whether people will actually start cooperating at that level. As you say, if they were going to do it they’d be doing it already. I don’t know if it’s too late for that.

                    • People do get forced to cooperate when the need gets high. I hopethey just get on with it.

                      My main point is it is not that easy to kill stuff – lots of blood, messy, ugly. If you aren’t into killing gutting and eating the whole beastie now then it will be a challenge later.

                  • weka

                    The main problem I see with that is that the feral animal population will come under immediate pressure from everyone else doing the same thing, plus all the local cats and dogs who are no longer being fed pet food, and will eventually be used up beyond replacement rate (because humans).

                    Fingers crossed we get a paced power down so there is time to get local meat and egg production up an running. Fingers also crossed for a slow power down so that we don’t have a bunch of cruel or inept people trying to raise and kill animals. Might be an improvement for the animals on the factory farming we have now though.

                    Back of envelope/google calc, a single 30kg sheep would be heaps for a year, given that I’d eat the whole animal not just the meat bits. But there is the issue of storage, so it’s better to have communal animals and staggered kills over the year. Every time it comes back to how we’re going to do this together, which strikes me as being a bigger issue than where our meat will come from. Growing food is relatively easy, but it seems working together is more of a challenge for people (Pākehā anyway)

                    The feral chicken idea is brilliant. Plant lots of fenced habitat, food forests etc.

    • weka 9.5

      Going vegan means using the global food chain, which is utterly reliant on fossil fuels and artificial fertilisers (google peak phosphate). Monocropped soy and corn has a huge negative impact on the environment, including by releasing carbon every time the paddock is ploughed. Soy in particular needs fossil fuelled industrial processing.

      Figure out what can be grown in your area. We don’t need fossil fuels to grow meat locally. When Cuba went through its Peak Oil, people farmed and ate rabbits. Eat less meat and source it locally. Protein is a big issue for humans, we need to get it from somewhere otherwise health deteriorates as does sense of wellbeing. I reckon in NZ we could be growing nut trees, legumes, and small amounts of meat and dairy and do that carbon neutrally.

      The people who are expert at this stuff have been both growing sustainably and thinking about climate change for a long time. That’s the permaculture, regenag, biodynamics people. Start reading them rather than the business and media elite who want to retain the status quo.

      • Ed 9.5.1

        Going vegan does not have to mean using the global food chain.

        Dairy farming is Incredibly unstainable.
        It is also incredibly cruel.

        Source Locally grown vegetables.
        You don’t need animal based food to source protein.

        I recommend this book.

        • weka

          “Dairy farming.
          Incredibly unstainable.”

          Only if you do industrial, export dairy with the purpose of making money. There’s no reason not to have much smaller numbers of sheep, goats and cows locally to supply the moderate amounts of dairy we need to be healthy. Having livestock integrated into food forestry, agroforestry and poly cultures is actually a more sustainable way of growing food than taking the animals out of the picture entirely.

          “Locally grown vegetables.”

          Yes, but man can’t live on vegetables alone. There’s a reason there are no vegan cultures on the planet. Take industrial civilisation out of the picture and it’s very hard for many to eat vegan and be healthy. Almost impossible to do that over generations.

          • Ed

            Did you look at the book I recommended?
            Here is a talk if you prefer watching films.

            • weka

              I’m well informed on human nutrition already thanks. Anyone can pull videos off youtube to support their arguments. Try addressing the actual points I made instead of giving me random things to read or watch.

              IMO you have a moral position on veganism and try and use CC to support your argument, but it doesn’t work because in terms of the environment, veganism isn’t the best option. Eating less meat and dairy is, but that’s not veganism. Be honest about the animal welfare stuff, but trying to get everyone to stop eating animals for cc reasons is just dishonest.

          • Ed

          • Ed

            We do not need dairy to live.

            • weka

              You do if you’re not going to eat meat.

            • Psycho Milt

              We do not need vegetables to live. What’s your point?

              • Ed

                My point is that the biggest single thing anyone can do to reduce their carbon footprint is to eat a lot less ( or no) meat.

                • A claim based on eating grain-fed animals. It doesn’t apply in this country (unless things have changed and grass-fed is becoming less common here).

            • Bill

              Can you give me an example of one culture in history that has adopted a vegan diet and persisted?

              I can think of plenty that were and are vegetarian. But none that are or were vegan.

              I’ve no problem with veganism btw. But I can’t see how it can be done beyond individuals or small groups of people who rely on a global growing and distribution network…which in turn requires fossil.

              • Indian.

                Can you give me 1 example of a 100% meat and offal diet culture ever in history that has flouished and survived.

                • weka

                  What Indian cultures are vegan?

                  I don’t think anyone has suggested a diet of 100% meat and offal.

                  • Ditto except for certain types of vegans. It is a false argument for instance ed was talking about REDUCING meat which you agree with.

                    • McFlock

                      “… a lot less (or no) meat”.

                      Ed strikes me as being more towards the zero-to-minimal meat consumption level, rather than merely reducing-from-current-level.

                      Personally, I should cut down my red meat consumption for health reasons (probably won’t though). But if we put decent environmental restrictions on meat farmers, I think the environmental impact will largely solve itself (compared to fossil fuel consumption, which is the king-hit solution to CC. Make petrol and coal obsolete, we’d achieve the bulk of emissions targets).

                    • weka

                      As far as I can tell Ed is suggesting that everyone becomes vegan. I have no problem with Westerners reducing meat and dairy consumption, and in the context of this conversation so long as we’re talking about sustainable food production.

                    • I’ll also add this

                      “Being vegan and being plant-based are two different things (one is a political position against speciesism; the other is a diet that is sometimes but not always political, as it is based on your culture’s historical relationship with food and the groups who control that food).”

                      Vegan feminist movement Facebook

                      I also see vegan as a political position.

                    • weka

                      What types of vegans eat meat and dairy? I’d be happier with the term semi-vegan.

                    • weka

                      “Being vegan and being plant-based are two different things (one is a political position against speciesism; the other is a diet that is sometimes but not always political, as it is based on your culture’s historical relationship with food and the groups who control that food).”

                      Vegan feminist movement Facebook

                      I also see vegan as a political position.

                      That’s good. The problem vegans have now is that the politics are pretty fucked up. Telling industrialised nations to stop eating all animal products leads us straight to industrialised soy and corn and eventually another public health crisis. It’s also a major distraction from actual sustainability.

                      btw, veganism is built on a kind of speciesism that says animals are more important than other forms of life, because. I’m very much in support of addressing animal welfare issues, and I’d like to see that extended to other forms of life including ecosystems. At that point modern vegan diets become untenable.

                    • Ed may well want that but up this sub thread it is there in black and white.

                      Reducing meat and animal products is a positive personal step we can take to deal with cc – is anyone arguing with that?

                    • Weka I think you just don’t like vegans or what they believe. End of story.

                    • Bill

                      No. No-one’s arguing with that.

                      Though I believe Ed originally claimed that giving up meat was the biggest thing a person could do with regards global warming. (That then became something about veganism.)

                      I still maintain that Ed’s original point is wrongheaded. Give up fossil and the availability of meat (and other agricultural products) drops due to agriculture’s current very heavy reliance on fossil, both in terms of production and distribution.

                    • weka

                      Weka I think you just don’t like vegans or what they believe. End of story.

                      Well you would be wrong marty. Vegans I have no problem with. Fundamentalist vegans who proselytise, like fundamentalists of all kinds, do provoke a serious amount of critical analysis in me though. I’ve made my points, I think they’re valid, anyone is welcome to argue against them 🙂

                    • weka

                      “Reducing meat and animal products is a positive personal step we can take to deal with cc – is anyone arguing with that?”

                      Sounds good to me. Although I already eat relatively minimal meat and dairy products, so it’s less of a personal thing for me.

                      (and like Bill, that’s not what I saw Ed saying).

                    • Cool. Look I am vegetarian the other 3 aren’t in my home so we just get on with it. Every now and then I’ll get into a sulk about it and then after a while move on. Thus the micro reflects the macro.

                • Andre

                  Masai and Inuit come close to entirely animal-based, although the most credible-looking reports suggest there’s a larger non-animal component than popular reporting has them.

                  • weka

                    Yes, I would guess that too. Likewise when you look at close to vegan cultures there’s always a small amount of meat being eaten.

                • Bill

                  So what culture within India is vegan? There aren’t any as far as I’m aware. Vegetarian, yes. Vegan, no.

                  Innuit, as far as I know, traditionally had no access to vegetables, and so prized things like seal liver that supplied some essential dietary needs we usually get from vegetables. I guess they also ate some seaweeds.

                  Anyway. Cultures that are heavy on meat can flourish. So can those that forego meat altogether. It would seem the sticking point is dairy.

        • McFlock

          Got any books on how to not die?

        • Psycho Milt

          Going vegan does not have to mean using the global food chain.

          In your fantasy world of small numbers of people living in temperate or tropical climates, maybe. In the actually-existing world, population-level veganism would involve even more mass-scale industrial cropping of stuff like soy and corn than we have now.

          Source Locally grown vegetables.

          There are a lot of countries with upwards of 200 people per sq km. Enjoy your fantasy though.

          You don’t need animal based food to source protein.

          Sure. As long as you don’t mind having to do a lot of thinking and extra work about your diet, accepting a lower quality of outcome for your efforts and having to monitor yourself all the time to see if you’re getting all the vitamins and trace elements you need because it’s very hard to get them all on the crap diet you’ve adopted, it’s a doddle. And it’s all worth it for that imaginary but warm feeling of moral superiority, right?

          • Ed

            There are a lot of closed minds and aggressive language I am encountering on this issue. I thought I was posting on a progressive blog!

            Quite.a lot of people might actually want to research the topic before rushing to judgement.

            I have provided some sources above.

            Here is another one.


            • weka

              I have researched this a lot Ed, and not just from Guardian articles or youtube vids but from people who actually grow food sustainably. There are people attempting to do vegan permaculture for instance, but it’s not straight forward and it’s way easier to grow polycultures with animals integrated into the system.

              I also know a fair bit about nutrition, as does PM. So how about you address the ideas being presented to you rather than just expecting people to watch a bunch of vids that support your view.

          • Psycho Milt

            By all means research the issue, but try and extend your research beyond propaganda videos for the vegan movement. Otherwise, your evangelism will provoke only irritation.

            • marty mars

              Yes only put propaganda we like up where our taste for blood is justified and sanctioned.

              • weka

                Fair point, I did post a link to the Permaculture Designers Manual, that piece of hippy propaganda 😉 (Mollison now rolling in his grave at being called a hippy). Not a huge amount of blood in there, but some.

              • Humans’ taste for delicious, nutritious and just-plain-tasty animal parts doesn’t need to be justified and sanctioned, any more than any other omnivore’s does. In any case, an animal the size and complexity of a human can’t exist without killing a lot of other living things all the time.

                In terms of the OP, the only solution is a lot fewer humans (which the planet may well arrange for itself before long without our input), and in terms of veganism, the solution is not to get overly precious about having to kill other things to live.

  8. Comment from The ArchDruid’s latest forum, “Ecosophia” : http://www.ecosophia.net/june-open-post/
    “I often think that the concern about climate change in Western culture is actually masked fears of depletion and the loss of the illusory mastery over nature that fossil fuels temporarily gave us. I’ve noticed that despite the fact that I mostly rub elbows with the same sort of (often the same) people I did in 2007-8, when peak oil was something that people talked about, nobody is talking about it anymore. Maybe this is just the imagined fracking revolution having its effect on our collective myth, but I personally doubt it. Running out of energy implies losing our “magical” abilities, transitioning to a bright green solar-and-lithium future lets us keep our magical powers.

    It seems to me that if you wanted to convince people to subsidize solar, wind and other forms of renewables you would hit them over the head with “we’re running out of dino juice, stupid” idea rather than the climate change idea. Anyone can understand that if you are using a finite resource eventually you will run out, but with the climate change idea, you have to accept the prognostications of the scientific community – which can’t figure out what foods are healthy and unhealthy and changes its mind on the matter every five years.

    And never mind the fact that the IPCC/Al Gore types certainly behave as if climate change was just an excuse to establish global governance and reap enormous profits. One doesn’t have to be a climate change denier to distrust those people…

    In short, “Is the concern shown by parts of our culture about climate change really a masked fear of simply running out of energy resources that cannot be expressed because the idea of running out of fossil energy implies limits?””

    • weka 10.1

      I had some online conversations recently with people about the limits of the physical world in a NZ context. It was like people hadn’t thought about it in real terms before. The belief seemed to be that because we have all this space we can keep growing. I think the cultural shift around understanding the limits of growth is the linchpin upon which CC change rests. Thanks for that additional perspective on what might be slowing people down from getting there sooner.

  9. Another from Ecosophia:

    ” The key is not how much food you have, or how big a garden, or how much gold but personal adaptability and flexibility. No one can predict how events and geographic circumstances will unfold so being aware and ready to change ones plans or location is key. The train can come down the tunnel at us in many different forms and we have to be able to see it coming and jump out of the way, as opposed to hunkering down in our spot and piling up a couple of more sheets of cardboard to ward off the speeding locomotive. This is yet another reason for all of us to downsize and minimize our lives, because it is certainly easier to move or change when you are not carrying too much baggage.”

    • MJG’s response:
      ” To my mind, the reason everyone’s done their best to forget about peak oil is that it contradicts the core assumptions of our anthropolatrous faith in human omnipotence. Climate change doesn’t; the idea that we’re so powerful we can wreck the planet’s climate appeals to our fixation with our own might; but the idea that our power isn’t ours, that we stole it from dead dinosaurs, and when the juice runs out, we’ll land right back where we were before the industrial revolution — that’s blasphemy against the great god Man. The mere fact that it’s almost certainly true just adds piquance to the mix.”

      • weka 11.1.1

        Not sure about the PO aspect of that. I agree with the power analysis, but the environmental progressive I follow who stopped talking about PO did so because they realised the timeframe predictions were wrong for both PO and CC. PO was further off, CC was urgent. Plus the permaculture and transition town crowds aren’t afraid of the power down. Is he talking about things like The Oil Drum communities or the Survivalists/Prepper crowds?

    • weka 11.2

      That one I’m not so sure about. All power to the people that will blow up the tracks rather than jumping out of the way. I agree about the downsizing and adaptability, but there are limits there too if we are talking about that at a personal level. The need to hunker down is an honest one, maybe we should treat it as another resource/skill.

  10. lloyd 12

    Lots of weird stuff here.

    Surely this is a political site.
    The discussion should be what could a government trying to reduce the country’s emissions do this year and more realistically what could a government do after the next election to reduce emissions and increase resilience?

    For example-

    -Stop building roads – yes.
    -Subsidise electric cars and trucks, perhaps.
    – Electrify the entire rail network, reinstate the Gisbourne line and look at other rail projects such as a North Shore rail line and rail connection to Marsden Point.
    -long term look at high speed rail Whangarei to Auckland.
    -Introduce a significant carbon tax. (use any excess income to reduce GST).
    -make sure airlines pay carbon tax on their fuel.
    -Make sure the carbon tax applies to livestock farming
    -Encourage carbon sequestration such as native forests, mussel farms and pumping of raw sewage well out to sea (seriously).
    -invest in carbon research.
    -Bring in a 6m sea-level rise coastal setback NES to be a requirement in all district plans.

    • Andre 12.1

      There’s a few people here with political/social agendas a long way out of the mainstream, and climate change looks like a handy tool to push those agendas. Which appears to make it easier for the business as usual types to argue against implementing the first simplest measures like the ones you mention.

      • weka 12.1.1

        The people with the politics from edge are saving the world Andre. Change always happens from the margins first.

    • weka 12.2

      Quite. But the thing is National won’t do those things, so the only option is to change the govt. Lots of us are working on that, and personally I vote Green precisely for the reasons you outline. That’s pretty straight forward (apart from the left still not working together), but IMO unless we get a very strongly influenced Green govt, we will still not do nearly enough. Hence we need the people to lead and then the govt will follow. The more people that get on board with how serious it is, the more likely there will be change at the level you are talking about.

      If you have other ideas on how to get a govt to do the things you suggest, I’d love to hear them 🙂 Personally I think we should have taken to the streets by now, but how many of us are willing to put our bodies on the gears of the machine?

  11. Pat 13

    how to attempt to avoid the worst impacts of CC?……annual halving of C emissions from NOW to a net zero emissions by 2050….(and cross your fingers)…is one considered opinion.


  12. Rae 14

    The human race must absolutely face, square on, our own overpopulation of the planet. Until such times as we are prepared to accept that the planet needs a whole lot less of us, then we will never address the problem of our over use of resources and the attendant issues that brings.
    The reality is, for there to be enough of the world to go around everyone and everything (all the other species that call this place home) there is really only room for about 3 billion of us.
    We have two choices, we reduce our numbers in an orderly fashion via a lowered birth rate, while there is still a bit of time or we run the risk of us resorting to all out war as resources become scarcer. War will not be a great thing for the climate or the environment, I vote for option one.
    I think we are absolutely dreaming if we think we can fix the place with more of us.

  13. In Vino 15

    Interesting, but I fear we will have other problems too.
    The deck chairs on the Titanic come to mind, except we are arguing about what the dinner menu should be.
    In the event of societal breakdown, there will be no police. (We are already weak in that area now – try reporting a burglary.) We will be damned lucky to survive to grow a garden when mobs raid our premises, and we will be even luckier if we do grow a garden to not have our crop stolen by raiders just before we were going to harvest.
    Where is the social cement that allows us to grow a garden and enjoy the fruits?
    Any kind of law and order system is likely to be feudal at best.
    If our modern society does collapse, we will have far more than kumara and insects to worry about.
    “Lord of the Flies” aspect, I guess, which seems unthought of.

    • Rae 15.1

      I think we are already headed down that path, but I hope I am wrong

      • In Vino 15.1.1

        I hope I am wrong too, but..

      • greywarshark 15.1.2

        I think reading The Day of the Triffids takes the reader through most of the problems that will or are surfacing for western humans. Things may take a different course elsewhere. There is a happy ending, two of the people post-disaster meet through helping each other gain freedom from captors, they are separated again but have decided they trust and like each other, and one goes to help friends and the other follows her direction. He has found a vehicle and drives to the area and parks on a hill at night and shines his headlights around in a circle. There is so little life that any light shows up. They evade more captors and all flee to an island they can defend and plan and build a community.

        I think trust and liking and commitment are at the base of a community. Otherwise there will be lots to pick from of Gloriavales, Centrepoints, Jim Jones type, ashrams, and psychological scams where people have nothing and live on the breadline but stay because it is their only family.

        Feudal where you belong to a hierarchical system that owes you care and gives you work and respect might be very acceptable.

        • In Vino

          Strangely enough, I was thinking of that very work as I wrote. If people think that we will gradually change for the better, they are wishful thinkers. I suspect that there will be no real change until a huge crisis arises, and that will mean social collapse. The Day of the Triffids may be prophetic, but I fear that it is more likely that violent gangs will snuff out the enlightened. Once again, I hope not.
          Seriously, I think we must prepare for social collapse along with the rest. It is more than likely to occur, but sorry, I can give no citation.

    • Bill 15.2


      Start creating now, when and where you can. Communities are self policing. Many pairs of hands make for light gardening etc. A spread of skills makes for easier building up of community level infrastructures and their maintenance.

      Bite the bullet and organise…or don’t.

      • In Vino 15.2.1

        Some people have done that already. Do you know who I think are readiest to survive rapid social breakdown in NZ?
        The gangs.
        Ironic, in that it was social injustice that created them.
        But that may not help idealistic Greenies or whoever in what might be a hostile future. Muscle will reign.

        • Robert Guyton

          Yes, the gangs, In Vino, but it’s not their “muscle” that makes them the most ready, it’s their social cohesion; they’re bound together and can rely on each other. Who else has that?

          • In Vino

            Only our heroic sports teams, Robert. They know that their brothers (or sisters) are there to back them to the hilt, to stand firm against the foe, etc etc. For a maximum of 80 or 90 minutes… Then maybe a new contract with a different team.
            By and large, the rest of our society lacks the cohesion that the gangs have.
            Hard to fight the rat-race, panem et circenses, etc.
            I try in my little way, but I feel like I am pissing uphill into a headwind.
            I hate to say that muscle occasionally plays its part in that cohesion, and will, I fear, play a big immediate part following any major breakdown.
            I just hope that a major breakdown does not eventuate, but it is hard to see how it won’t.

            • greywarshark

              In Vino
              I have been following your line of thought. I have been part of a community group that was drawn as I thought from enlightened environmentalists. But they coalesced and formed a faction within the group and then started to make hostile, non-cooperative moves and now I think it is essential to be able to trust and respect and be singing from the same songbook.

              In time of stress the psychopathics arise. If they aren’t to dominate then individuals and families have to be careful who they align with.
              Presenting a pleasant persona to the world, with a not so nice side behind the scenes is corrosive.

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