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A poorer world

Written By: - Date published: 4:50 pm, May 5th, 2013 - 59 comments
Categories: australian politics, climate change, Conservation, disaster, water - Tags:

In 1998 I spent 3 days on a boat, diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Truly amazing – a memory that will stay with me always. It was clear even then that the Reef was threatened by climate change and polltion. Now it is a disaster:

UN warns Great Barrier Reef in danger

The Great Barrier Reef could be named as endangered by the UN’s World Heritage Committee next month.

A long-awaited assessment of the reef by UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), released on Friday said decisive action must be taken to avoid a listing. The report said the federal and Queensland governments had failed to improve water quality or halt coastal developments that could affect the reef, AAP reports. …

The report also said there has been no clear commitment by the either federal or Queensland governments to limit port developments near the reef. Instead about 43 proposals are under assessment.

“The World Heritage Centre and IUCN … recommend that the committee consider the Great Barrier Reef for inscription on the list of World Heritage in Danger … in absence of a firm and demonstrable commitment on these priority issues, ” the report said.

AUSTRALIA-SCIENCE-ENVIRONMENT-REEF
The reef has lost more than half its coral cover in the past three decades due to storms, poisonous starfish and bleaching linked to climate change.

Here’s what it should look like:

barrier-reef-before

We are leaving the next generations a world without wonders. A poorer world.

59 comments on “A poorer world”

  1. Jenny 1

    Ten reasons why the ANZAC spirit is still important

    1/ We are at war with the natural climate

    2/ Coal is the number 1 source of climate change green house gas.

    3/ James Hansen the world’s number 1 climate scientist says; “If we can’t stop coal, it is all over for the climate”

    4/ The biggest exporter of coal in the world is Australia

    5/ Australia is also the one of the countries that will be particularly hard hit by climate change

    6/ Australia must stop coal exports. This will go a long way to ending the total global international trade in coal

    7/ Australia is our closest neighbour and longest friend and ally.

    8/ Australia will never ban coal exports until New Zealand does it first

    9/ It is Green Party policy to make New Zealand completely coal free by 2020. Banning coal exports is a partial bridge to that end.

    10/ As Kiwis and Aussies of long ago boarded the troop ships to fight the global menace of fascism. It is time to board our small boats to blockade the coal ships to fight the global menace of climate change.

    So bring your surfboards, bring your kayaks, bring your dinghies, bring your small yachts, bring your fishing boats and tinnies. Grab your life jackets and wet suits. Bring your signs banners and flags. Bring your courage and your joy.

    New Zealand is a maritime nation, we need to take to the sea. We need to defy the anti-marine protest laws. We need to stop coal exports here and in Australia.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/8592648/Activists-board-Korea-bound-coal-ship

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1

      Jenny, if I can make a suggestion, the weakest link is your description of Hansen as “Climatologist No.1”. Hansen’s capability is not in doubt but Climatology is not a league table; the argument against coal is not reliant on one person’s opinion.

      • Jenny 1.1.1

        Maybe I should have said the world’s most “prominent” climatologist. But Hansen’s statement about coal is not an opinion, it is matched up to the reality. Do you dispute this?

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          You can stop coal when you can stop our civilisation’s requirement for highly concentrated energy.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1.1.2

          *whoosh*

          My comment contains the answer to your question, but your revised wording still amounts to an appeal to authority.

    • Tim 1.2

      “Ten reasons why the ANZAC spirit is still important”

      That ‘spirit’ is important – agreed. Lately however its only ever shown on ANZAC Day and between law enforcement and military (and RSL/RSA)

      Otherwise its become more “brand ANZAC”

      And speaking as someone who once held Aus Citizenship (not exactly sure whether I still do with the way things have evolved since the 1960s and 70s – nor do I give a shit), ANZAC has an “NZ” in it and Australians often need to be reminded of that. (John Key is quite obviously NOT the man to do the reminding either)

      See other postings on here – if that ‘spirit’ were still alive, there’d be Kiwis in Sydney that were adequately housed, and there’d be Kiwis in Queensland getting adequate compensation after flooding, ….., etc.

    • Rich the other 1.3

      Dreamers.
      Jenny , get real.

      (1) banning coal exports from ausse or nz will make no difference.
      Other parts of the world have plenty of coal and will use it
      The only thing stopping this at the moment is their undeveloped transport systems..

      (2) Are you suggesting the 1.2 billion people in India and China who currently have no electricity never have it and that a further 2 billion loose this essential in life.

      (3) In Germany and Japan the older or damaged nuclear power stations are being replaced with coal fired power plants.

      (4) Try and get a pension or the dole in ausse , so much for Anzac.

      (5) the greens, f wits say no more.

      (6) If this is a genuine problem the only realistic solution is science ,if you want to campaign for something ,make it more investment in science.

      (7) It used to be called global warming, the trouble is its barely changed in the last 100 yrs.
      Now it climate change , If anything I prefer climate evolution , its been happening since day1.

      (

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.3.1

        Well you certainly tick all the wingnut boxes; Climate denial, check…

    • Rich the other 1.4

      Jenny,
      Your lack of humanity is stunning, no coal for many country’s = hundreds of thousands of children chilling to death ,that will be on your conscience, sleep well.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.4.1

        The Greenhouse Effect kills hundreds of thousands every year, hypocrite trash.

  2. karol 2

    I also have been out to view the sea around the barrier reef – back in the late 80s, I think.

    It was truly a beautiful sight, and the sea looked so clear.

  3. Tom Bennion 3

    Some years back a government minister speaking to changes in mining laws said that opponents wanted us to go back to living in caves. How quickly things have changed that continued use of coal carries a real prospect that civilization as we know it may end.

    • Jenny 3.1

      The irony. Those who support coal, will be the ones to reduce humanity to living in caves.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1.1

        Won’t hand-tools work any more?

      • muzza 3.1.2

        Jenny – There are many angles to the issue, coal is only one of them, you understand that, right?

        • Jenny 3.1.2.1

          Sure.

          However in dealing with complex problems, the best strategy is to go after the main biggest most obvious cause. Once you identify that main cause then you must grab onto it with the all the doggedness of a fox terrier and not let go. If you can’t deal to that one main thing, combatting the others is pointless. Sure there are many other angles as you call them. But the fox terrier that chases down every rabbit hole gets nowhere.

          Coal is the biggest global cause of climate change and yet it is the most easiest to remove from our economy. Liquid fossil fuels less so, on both counts.

          Coal exports must be stopped and can be stopped, our history over nuclear ships and over deep sea oil drilling shows that.

          Further:

          Every war is fought one battle at a time.

          A victory against one fossil fuel is a defeat for all of them.

          The allies did not attack the Germans on Mainland Europe until June 6 1944. They fought them in Africa first.

          As Churchill famously said, “Before El Alamein we never won a battle, after El Alamein we never lost one.”

  4. Murray Olsen 4

    I was up in Cairns a few years back. We saw a lot of bleached coral.
    The Queensland State Government wants more ports and more shipping from the reef area. They are so bad that even the Federal Government is able to paint itself as a little green by talking about putting the brakes on.
    Gladstone Harbour is full of diseased fish.
    Some scientists think the reef is condemned to death already. Some Queensland politicians think any problems are caused by an excessive number of wild pigs, whose crap floats down rivers and pollutes the surrounding ocean.
    I am not optimistic.

  5. weka 5

    The Great Barrier Reef is dying. We are leaving the next generations a poorer world.

    Classic kiwi understatement there mate.

  6. Rhinocrates 6

    I imagine that the world of the future will be a wasteland or a garden. Neither are natural. In one scenario, we eke out a living through salvage and pillage on a path to inevitable decline, and in the other, we try to understand the world, and become active agents in is preservation, but it will survive as a designed thing – a garden, not a wilderness. In either case, there is no “natural world” that we can take for granted any more.

    “Business as usual” is going to die despite all the protestations and complacency of the greedy – soon, I hope, and for the best reasons and to the best possible end.

    • Rogue Trooper 6.1

      poignant

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Yep, ‘business as usual’ is already over. Someone please let the major political parties know so that they can lead accordingly.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        They’ve been told – they just haven’t been listening. Just need to read crap like this to know that

    • Ennui 6.3

      I have met the enemy: and its us.

      Really it is quite depressing reading columns on TheStandard where we worry about our slice of the cake so we can consume more. Nobody is planning at a mainstream political level for sustainable life, decline in consumption etc. Goodbye the Reef, and every other ecosystem eventually until we stop fucking our planet over by the collective impact of our individual consumption and greed.

  7. xtasy 7

    As I can vaguely remember, David Attenborough warned already many years ago, that the world of the future would be a rather dull, boring place, as most land will be cultivated, to grow crops for humans and domesticated animals that humans choose to keep.

    The last remnants of untouched environments are now being eyed for prospecting and exploration, with a good chance for oil drilling and mining to be extended to parts of the globe, so far considered to hostile and expensive to do this in.

    Population growth continues, especially in countries that are already struggling to feed their populations.

    And the present NZ government, likely not going to be the last one with such ideas and plans, is prepared to allow seabed mining, deep sea oil and gas drilling, fracking, further intensification of agriculture, exploration of conservation lands, “growing” the economy with allowing more immigration, and clinging to fossil fuel use for decades to come.

    Yes, something truly serious and bad is looming on the whole humanity, and the competition for arable land and resources will not stop at the shores of this land. Prepare for the worst, I’d say. I have given up to be much hopeful, as human beings appear to be condemned to never learn much out of history, and also do not grasp the seriousness of what is happening already.

    Climate change and warming cannot be stopped now, no matter whether some ports may be stopped in Queensland or not. The Great Barrier Reef will become a wasteland, due to rising sea levels, bleaching and pollution.

    Those that will try to stop the further exploitation of the planet’s resources, they will be stopped with force, if need be.

    Attenborough’s more recent assessment:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10860906

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/22/david-attenborough-radio-times-interview-population_n_2524315.html

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Population growth continues, especially in countries that are already struggling to feed their populations.

      Africa is where massive population growth is going to occur over the next 50 years.

      The Western nations, China, India, are all going to flatten out/decline (or are already doing so). Japan is particularly stuffed.

      • xtasy 7.1.1

        Slowing population growth is happening in some (mostly “developed”) countries, but this may stop if living conditions cannot be maintained or cannot improve. Economic slowing may prompt governments to review population and family policies, as is already happening in Mainland China and lesser so in Japan.

        While growth is slowing in some countries it is still too high in most countries, and those many poor in poor countries will continue knocking at the doors of so far wealthier nations like in Europe, the US, Canada, also the more developed ones in East Asia.

        Large people movements will occur due to climate change causing much issues for agriculture, like increased climate instability, more droughts, floods and so, that will cause damage to harvests.

        Present projection of population growth:

        http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?v=24

        http://www.unfpa.org/pds/trends.htm

        Apart from this, the present population can only survive by burning and otherwise using fossil fuels at totally unsustainable levels. At this stage, the best projections show that present energy consumption cannot be maintained when using alternative, non fossil and non nuclear energy sources.

        Radical change is needed, but do you see any significant number of people around you realising this, and acting accordingly?

  8. Jenny 8

    At this stage, the best projections show that present energy consumption cannot be maintained when using alternative, non fossil and non nuclear energy sources.

    xtasy

    xtasy your statement is a complete untruth. Supply some figures to back it up, or withdraw it.

    Do neither, and your above statement becomes a deliberate lie.

    As any one can see from the following links.

    A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables

    A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables II

    • johnm 8.1

      Hi Jenny
      What sort of renewables would be able to power the current world population of cars, trucks and the fleets of jet aircraft flying at all times around the world? 🙂 I forgot! Include the diesel used to run the world’s shipping fleets.

      • Jenny 8.1.1

        Read the links. And use the brains god gave you.

        • johnm 8.1.1.1

          Hi jenny
          There are no renewables that could power the World’s transport fleet in totality in place of fossil fuels, it’s you who don’t understand the reality. Without fossil fuels we’re back in the 18th or 17th century. 🙂 or even 16th.

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1

            If we can’t burn things for fuel, we’re heading back to the stone age. And even then, they burnt things for fuel…

            Mind you, having a power grid is a massive advantage over the 17th and 18th centuries.

            • Jenny 8.1.1.1.1.1

              If we can’t burn things for fuel, we’re heading back to the stone age. And even then, they burnt things for fuel…

              Colonial Viper

              Yes that is right. In fact you could say that by burning things for fuel we haven’t moved much past the stone age.

              Mind you, having a power grid is a massive advantage over the 17th and 18th centuries.

              Colonial Viper

              Now you are getting it. But if we keep on the path we are now on, that will be destroyed as well.

          • ghostrider888 8.1.1.1.2

            ahhh, another Renaissance? or “to the dungeons with them”…

          • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1.3

            Without fossil fuels we’re back in the 18th or 17th century. or even 16th.

            Yes and no. We won’t have cars and ships will be sail powered rather than oil but we’ll still have manufacturing, computers and other benefits of the knowledge that we’ve learned over the last few centuries. International trade, especially for places like NZ, is likely to decline sharply.

          • Jenny 8.1.1.1.4

            johnm, There are no renewables that could power the World’s transport fleet in totality, that is a given.

            What I meant by use your brains. Is use your brains for alternatives, not just alternative to fossil fuels, but alternative strategies to fossil fuel use.

            Do I always have to spell everything out?

            Public transport instead of private cars. Surface ships instead of jetliners. Yes, a lot of this sort of infrastructure will still require fossil fuels, but at a trickle compared to what we waste today. Mass air travel is a 1960s innovation. We can do without it. We have the internet.

            The main takeaway here, is that once you start down that path all sorts of opportunities for innovation and efficiencies will present themselves.

            If we stay on the path we are on the future is very dark indeed.

            It is fossil fuels that will drive us back into the 18th C, or worse. By destroying the viable climate and agriculture on which human civilisation of every era has been dependent. Did I say 18th century, I meant 1st century, or worse.

            It is the old fossil fuel apologist dinosaurs who will kill society. You are the luddites throwing your clogs in the machinery of change. It’s amazing all the crazy sorts and types of excuses people like you, come up with to keep us heading recklessly towards destruction.

            None of them based on reality, or the science.

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.2

          Currently, people are simply promising “lifestyles as usual” only powered by renewables. Unfortunately, less energy is going to be available/affordable, which means that we are going to have to find improved quality of life from qualitative not quantitative means.

          And, there is a massive amount of embodied energy required to make those structural changes suggested in the SciAm article.

          eg how much greenhouse gases will be released in converting/replacing NZ’s vehicle fleet to run on electric? And I don’t mean Toyota Prius or Honda Civic hybrids either, I mean full 100% electric vehicles. Chuck in the mining, refining, manufacture and transport of the million lithium polymer car batteries needed and its going to be a lot of fossil fuels used to get off fossil fuels.

          • ghostrider888 8.1.1.2.1

            my rambling mate placed a link in OM about the barriers China is facing exporting comparitively affordable alt energy generation; freakin capital protectionists just keep shooting the planet in the roof; sorta like Family First, shooting itself in the mouth. Ha! (even I found that funny, and I have high humour expectations, wooden ya know.)

          • xtasy 8.1.1.2.2

            Exactly, CV, with respect, some adhere to very idealistic presumptions, and they fail to realise that it is not just a matter of needing to replace electricity and perhaps heating with renewables.

            Factories, smelters and what else need to be used to produce the new infrastructure, machinery, modes of transport, the grids, the electronic equipment, and also stuff to make things grow, ideally more naturally, they presently largely run on fossil fuses for powering them, or for serving as raw material to produce some of it.

            Coal power plants still produce the bulk of electricity in China, and also much in Europe and the US, add petroleum, gas and one can see, what energy there is being generated at present, to keep things running, that will need to be replaced.

            All those batteries to store the electricity to run electric cars, the hydrogen tanks and fittings, the new engines to power hydrogen cars, trucks, ships and airplanes, they need to be made, and I cannot with my best wishes see any perpetuum mobile running that does away with the energy used presently.

            Do not forget the importance of nuclear fission either, and fusion has not been mastered yet to successfully and continually generate electricity.

            Much stuff to do, but by the best scenarios, people may just settle for using bicycles more again in future. Yes, you may sweat and strain your muscles, but hey, it does some good for the body after all, and you meet people face to face, not separated by windscreens and metal or plastic panels.

    • xtasy 8.2

      Dear Jenny –

      With all respect, most of us dearly want to switch to renewable, alternative, sustainable energy generation and use, and certainly, much can and will be done in coming decades.

      But one must be realistic, it can only be done with high level investment in new infrastructure and by subsidising projects, as for some time to come, due to exploitation of shale and natural gas, still affordable (presently cheap) coal, and continued use of petroleum, fossil fuels are generally still cheaper to use for a while to come yet.

      That is why the short sighted Nat led government wants do allow more exploration and exploitation of potential off-shore and on-shore oil, gas and coal fields. They even are open to risky deep sea drilling. But New Zealand is not alone, the US are only half heartedly following the diversification of energy generation and use. Also in Europe there is much debate about feasibility, affordability, reliability, security and so forth.

      Have a read of the stories to be found under the below listed links, and you will see, that this one so popular and well publicised report and study you refer to in the Scientific American is not simply accepted and shared by all. It deserves more scrutiny.

      http://science.time.com/2012/12/27/2013-a-cloudy-forecast-for-renewable-energy-with-a-silver-lining/
      http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2013/april/name,36789,en.html
      http://www.resilience.org/stories/2009-11-09/scientific-americans-path-sustainability-lets-think-about-details
      http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2011/november/name,20318,en.html
      http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/the-desertec-solar-energy-project-has-run-into-trouble-a-867077.html
      http://peopleandplace.net/on_the_wire/2011/4/26/intermittency_and_the_hvdc_supergrid
      http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/res/overviewgrowth.html
      http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/res/overviewtargets.html

      Subsidising renewable electricity generation requires subsidising, which at least fort he forseeable time leads to higher retail prices – example Europe:
      http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Energy_price_statistics

      What is needed is the resolute political will, which sadly is not sufficiently evident, not even within Labour here in NZ. And the Greens have not got any master plans ready as yet, rather relying on some government incentives, and on the rest to be done by the market.

      While energy is one issue, and I stay by my critical view, that not all present fossil generated energy can be replaced in an economic, sensible and affordable way by switching to renewable SSW energies in the next few years, there are other aspects to consider also.

      Look at the wide use of plastics and what that is made of. Look at medical and fertiliser products, of synthetic substances, what are they made of. The list can go on. Petroleum and some other resources are used not just to create electricity, and not just homes need powering, there will be a huge gap for future generations between what they need in resources to maintain similar living standards to what we have, and what may be available to use to enable this.

      So major lifestyle challenges will be necessary, and immense changes need to be made in transport, powering and heating homes, factories, smelters and what else there is.

      And also will there be competition, as the UN prove how near impossible it is to get unity on major issues amongst just Security Council members, let alone 200 states and their governments and peoples.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    On the other hand, the reef situation might be more hopeful.

    It looks like one of the keys to the reefs regenerating is for humans to fuck off and leave them to it. Sort of like a quantum paradox where the outcome changes depending on whether or not it is being observed.

  10. johnm 10

    Brilliant article on climate tipping points and the dire situation we are now in:
    “Update on climate tipping points”

    1.) Disintegration of the Arctic Ice Sheet:

    2.) Disintegration of the Greenland Ice Sheet:

    3.) Unleashing of Tundra methane clathrates and sub-sea methane deposits from (1) and (2): .

    4.) Disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet(covered here earlier):

    5.) Destruction of the Amazon Rain Forest, and indeed all forests of the planet:

    6.) Die-Off of Boreal Forests:

    7.) The Sahara and Sahel in Africa

    8.) The El Nino Southern Oscillation(ENSO):

    9.) The Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation (THC):

    10.) The Indian Summer Monsoon:

    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/

    • johnm 10.1

      Currently the World due to human impact is experiencing another great extinction of species. The message of the above article and indeed science is that we humans may be joining all those other species in the extinction abyss! 🙁 Our time in the Sun of this Planet is over! No one wants to discuss this?

      • Jenny 10.1.1

        I’ll discuss it with you.

        Fight! Fight! the dying of the light.

        • johnm 10.1.1.1

          Hi jenny
          My heart jumped at your reply with a degree of accustomed pain, being an older bod, your youthful zeal and commitment is very moving. 🙂

        • johnm 10.1.1.2

          “What Would ‘Wartime Mobilization’ to Fight Climate Change Look Like? ”

          http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/05/04-2

          “Unfortunately, we’re well beyond the 2 degree Celsius mark, now. The Copenhagen Accord was written in 2009. Since then, I’ve heard two climate scientists (affiliated with prestigious research groups around this country) who have stated that, even if every human and industry in the world was to stop consuming fossil fuels TODAY, we are bound to achieve *at minimum* a 2.5 degree Celsius increase in average global temperatures by the year 2100 (for 1 scientist’s remarks, see this quote here: http://environmentalchange.nd…. ). If we don’t stop consuming fossil fuels, that average temperature increase will be much greater. I believe that these 2 scientists’ statements represent the general scientific consensus, with regard to new predictions of climate change. ”

          “In all seriousness: extinction is very unlikely, but we have certainly overshot the world’s carrying capacity by at least 4-fold, maybe more, and that is not a sustainable situation.

          When I let myself think about this – I wish you hadn’t brought it up, but here I am – I’m glad I’m old, but I feel really sorry for the poor Millennials. They’ll have to live through a mass extinction – or not.

          Truth is that my generation owes theirs – essentially our grandchildren – a huge apology. We blew it. It really wasn’t supposed to be like this. We completely failed as stewards, never mind the reasons, and we DID know – how long ago was Earth Day?

          Both Dennis Hayes and Richard Heinberg look very tired and sad these days. (Heinberg’s recent book, the End of Growth, is a great introduction to our predicament.) They, at least, tried.”

          Those who believe it is too late and human extinction is on the cards could refer to guy Mcpherson’s blog http://www.guymcpherson.com

  11. vto 11

    New Zealand rivers are also dying. Or are already dead.

    Leaving the next generation in a worse state. Great

  12. Important discussion about our future.

    Obviously to survive we need to junk capitalism. It has done its job and now threatens to destroy us.

    Whether we survive or not depends on how soon we socialise the global economy and plan it to sustain our existence and future development.

    The big decisions about how to share the immediate losses that will come with the transition to a sustainable future have to be made collectively, and we have to have control of the means to do this collectively.

    Only one word describes that – socialism.

    That’s where the discussion must head, and NOW.

    • xtasy 12.1

      “The big decisions about how to share the immediate losses that will come with the transition to a sustainable future have to be made collectively”

      You are certainly right with that Red Rattler!

      The challenge and problem is: The public and voters have been so ill informed by mainstream media, who are largely staffed by journalists fearing for job security, many if not almost all of them, have little knowledge about science, economics, social and other disciplines.

      Career minded, adaptable, headline hunting, superficial, shallow, in part ignorant, self serving journo school grads, not having a grasp of what is involved, at stake and needs to be done.

      So they keep feeding much trash and an illusion that somehow all will go on more or less as usual, that the government are full of “experts”, that the ship is in a competent captain’s control, and that all will be fine for an ever more comfy future.

      Add the divisions created by Nats and the whole neo liberal capitalist propagators and lobbyists, instilling fear in so many, creating envy, distrust, isolationism, individualism and endless commercially promoted consumerism, and we have a PROBLEM!

      People vote and take stands, but with the above, we will not achieve a collective spirit, collective responsibility and collective action.

      Something BIG must be done to change all this.

      • Arfamo 12.1.1

        +1

        • Jenny 12.1.2.1

          In Australia Greenpeace has launched a campaign against coal exports.

          http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/24-0

          We need to do this here. But not with a few people, but with thousands. Not with one vessel, but with hundreds.

          In New Zealand seaborne protest has been very effective in driving Deep Sea oil drillers from our East Coast and keeping nuclear warships out of our harbours.

          The big oil and coal companies and the government know this, and they are very nervous.

          When the Rainbow Warrior visited New Zealand recently I was talking with the Greenpeace ship’s captain, Joel Stuart. Captain Stuart told me that when the Warrior had been booked to go onto the slipway in the Lyttlton Harbour to get marine growth cleaned from its hull. (A usually routine maintenance task needed to cut down drag). The Lytttlton Harbour Master had refused permission to let the Rainbow Warrior into the harbour to get this work done. The Harbour Master refused entry into the harbour, on the grounds that the authorities were afraid that Greenpeace would blockade the coal exporting ships that leave that leave from Lyttlton. Captain Joel told me that to get this vitally necessary work done, Greenpeace had to give the authorities, an assurance that they would not protest against the coal exporting ships while they were in Lyttleton.

          The government know that we can stop them. And they are afraid. Their harsher laws and repression against sea borne protest are not a sign of strength but of weakness.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      Only one word describes that – socialism.

      That’s where the discussion must head, and NOW.

      The form of socialism required should be democratic and community based as far as possible. Massive centralised state socialism other than for vital, strategic national economic infrastructure is to be resisted.

  13. Tom Bennion 13

    Change is not nearly as hard as people make out. Take commuting. Electric bikes moving in covered cycleway could readily replace a lot of current transport.

    Impossible? Well, I cycle very day to work on an electric bike, as hundreds of others do in Wellington. Its like constantly having a steady wind at your back. Great fun.

    And Auckland businesses and NZTA are backing the proposed skypath over Auckland Harbour Bridge. http://www.skypath.org.nz/

    Then there is Advanced Rail Energy Storage to back up renewables. Gotta love the simplicity of this:

    “the technology uses off-peak energy — preferably generated by renewable resources — to run a full-scale electric locomotive, pulling four flat cars loaded with concrete on railroad tracks up a hill to an upper rail yard. There the unit would remain until it was called upon to return its stored energy to the grid. Then, when the energy is needed, the four-car unit would be released back down the hill to a lower rail yard, and its motion would be used to spin a generator. Each four-car unit could generate about 2 MW over 30 minutes, with as little as a few seconds of notice by a grid operator” http://www.aresnorthamerica.com/article/3554-storage-start-up-uses-old-technology

    Perhaps NZ Power can get one of these up and running.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Yep. But now you’re talking about people giving up personal cars. Which is something which is going to happen one way or another, but don’t expect any politician Blue Red or Green to even whisper any policy about.

  14. Tom Bennion 14

    Colonial Viper

    Skypath is an initiative backed by major Auckland financial players. Check it out.

    Then of course there is Chrischurch’s push to be a world premier cycling city:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/8508885/Copenhagen-style-separate-cycleways-planned

    Copenhagen is rolling out in a town near you.

    The draft Auckland Unitary Plan has a suspiciously green transport feel to it.

    Guess we wait for the major parties to catch up. I think they have may already got there on the issue of energy security with the NZ Power concept. Who on the left saw that coming?

    Seems to me we are in the middle of something. Just need to all give it a push.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Energy depletion and economic decline is going to be the most helpful factor in accomplishing these changes over the next 20 years.

      I think they have may already got there on the issue of energy security with the NZ Power concept. Who on the left saw that coming?

      An alteration to market pricing mechanisms does not address in key issues in the energy security of the nation whose weakest point, the need for imported oil, is not addressed by the NZ Power concept.

      Who on the left saw that coming?

      Yes, certainly a good initiative, 3x more gutsy than I personally expected, roughly 1/3 of what is needed.

  15. johnm 15

    Directly related to the dying of the Great Barrier Reef:

    “About a year ago, a study published in Science found that the pace of ocean acidification today is ten times faster than during the PETM – the most rapid acidification event in the geologic record. The study looked as far back as possible, fully 300 million years, and found that the acidification in store for the world ocean is the worst ever – worse than all the major extinctions of that span: the end-Cretaceous, the end-Triassic, and even the end-Permian 250 million years ago, when 96% of marine species went extinct.

    The 2012 Science study concluded (with a customary level of scientific hedging which almost seems sardonic):

    The current rate of (mainly fossil fuel) CO2 release stands out as capable of driving a combination and magnitude of ocean geochemical changes potentially unparalleled in at least the last ~300 million years of Earth history, raising the possibility that we are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change.

    Ocean Acidification to Hit 300-Million-Year Max”
    __________

    “Climate Change’s ‘Evil Twin’ to Harm for ’10s of 1000s of Years’
    New comprehensive study outlines rapidly acidifying Arctic Ocean caused by CO2 emissions”
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/06

    “Continued rapid change is a certainty,” Bellerby told BBC News.

    “We have already passed critical thresholds,” warned Bellerby. “Even if we stop emissions now, acidification will last tens of thousands of years. It is a very big experiment.”

    Sam Dupont, Researcher at the University of Gothenburg, says that “something really unique is happening. This is the first time that we as humans are changing the whole planet; we are actually acidifying the whole ocean today.”

    • ghostrider888 15.1

      we three see and really glean a great harvest from your posts johnm

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