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A real plan to save the world does exist

Written By: - Date published: 10:17 am, July 12th, 2011 - 112 comments
Categories: climate change, energy, Environment, sustainability - Tags:

A feasible plan to power 100 percent of the planet with complete renewables exists. This plan excludes Nuclear and Biofuels, which the Scientific American authors of this plan also considered to be ultimately unsustainable technologies as well. Instead this plan revolves around Wind, Water and Solar – WWS

Scientific American: A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030

Such a plan is certainly achievable, and could be completed in twenty years, all that is missing is the political will.

The solid and respectable ‘Scientific American’, by no measure a leftwing journal, counters the doom merchants on the left, and the Climate Change Deniers on the right, and explains that it is feasible to transform the world’s energy systems.

That it could be accomplished in two decades.

Interesting facts from the Scientific American article:

(abridged)

The maximum power consumed worldwide at any given moment is about 12.5 trillion watts (terawatts, or TW)

1. Fifty One Percent of that demand, could be provided by 3.8 million large wind turbines (each rated at five megawatts) worldwide. Although that quantity may sound enormous, it is interesting to note that the world manufactures 73 million cars and light trucks every year.*

2. Another Forty Percent of the power could come from photovoltaics and concentrated solar plants, with about 30 percent of the photovoltaic output from rooftop panels on homes and commercial buildings. About 89,000 photovoltaic and concentrated solar power plants, averaging 300 megawatts apiece, would be needed.**

3. The rest would be made up of 900 hydroelectric stations worldwide, 70 percent of which are already in place.

*1.1 Only about 0.8 percent of the wind base is installed today. The worldwide footprint of the 3.8 million turbines would be less than 50 square kilometers (smaller than Manhattan). When the needed spacing between them is figured, they would occupy about 1 percent of the earth land, but the empty space among turbines could be used for agriculture or ranching or as open land or ocean.

*1.2 Enough concrete and steel exist for the millions of wind turbines, and both those commodities are fully recyclable. The most problematic materials may be rare-earth metals such as neodymium used in turbine gearboxes. Although the metals are not in short supply, the low-cost sources are concentrated in China, so countries such as the U.S. could be trading dependence on Middle Eastern oil for dependence on Far Eastern metals. Manufacturers are moving toward gearless turbines, however, so that limitation may become moot.

**2.1 Nonrooftop photovoltaics and concentrated solar plants would occupy about 0.33 percent of the planet land.

4. If we stick with fossil fuels, demand by 2030 will rise to 16.9TW, requiring about 13,000 large new coal plants, which themselves would occupy a lot more land, as would the mining to supply them. Where if we change to renewables demand will either drop or stay steady. This is because these forms of power are intrinsically more efficient and less wasteful with less hidden costs.

4.1 The average U.S. coal plant is offline 12.5 percent of the year for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. Compared to Modern wind turbines which have a down time of less than 2 percent on land and less than 5 percent at sea. Photovoltaic systems are also at less than 2 percent. Moreover, when an individual wind, solar or wave device is down, only a small fraction of production is affected; when a coal, nuclear or natural gas plant goes offline, a large chunk of
generation is lost.

As Cheap as Coal

Today the cost of wind, geothermal and hydroelectric are all less than seven cents a kilowatt-hour; wave and solar are higher. But by 2020 and beyond wind, wave and hydro are expected to be 4/kWh or less.

For comparison, the average cost in the U.S. in 2007 of conventional power generation and transmission was about 7/kWh, and it is projected to be 8/kWh in 2020. Power from wind turbines, for example, already costs about the same or less than it does from a new coal or natural gas plant, and in the future wind power is expected to be the least costly of all options.

Solar power is relatively expensive now but should be competitive as early as 2020. A careful analysis by Vasilis Fthenakis of Brookhaven National Laboratory indicates that within 10 years, photovoltaic system costs could drop to about 10/kWh, including long-distance transmission and the cost of compressed-air storage of power for use at night. The same analysis estimates that concentrated solar power systems with enough thermal storage to generate electricity 24 hours a day in spring, summer and fall could deliver electricity at 10/kWh or less.

When the so-called externality costs (the monetary value of damages to human health, the environment and climate) of fossil-fuel generation are taken into account, these technologies become even more cost-competitive.

Overall construction cost for a Wind Water Solar system might be on the order of $100 trillion worldwide, over 20 years, not including transmission. But this is not money handed out by governments or consumers. It is investment that is paid back through the sale of electricity and energy. And again, relying on traditional sources would raise output from 12.5 to 16.9 TW, requiring thousands more of those plants, costing roughly $10 trillion, not to mention tens of trillions of dollars more in health, environmental and security costs. The WWS plan gives the world a new, clean, efficient energy system rather than an old, dirty, inefficient one.

Scientific American says that taxing fossil fuels or their use to reflect and mitigate their environmental costs would be good idea.

But even at a minimum eliminating existing subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuel exploration and extraction would create a more even playing field for renewables.

Scientific American says that misguided alternatives like bio fuels need to be eliminated as well. This would mean removing the large subsidies these alternatives attract.

Scientific American says that, legislators crafting policy must find ways to resist lobbying by the entrenched energy industries. The obstacles are primarily political, not technical.

With sensible policies, nations could set a goal of generating 25 percent of their new energy supply with WWS sources in 10 to 15 years and almost 100 percent of new supply in 20 to 30 years. With extremely aggressive policies, all existing fossil-fuel capacity could theoretically be retired and replaced in the same period.

Society has achieved massive transformations before. During World War II, the U.S. retooled automobile factories to produce 300,000 aircraft, and other countries produced 486,000 more.

112 comments on “A real plan to save the world does exist”

  1. weka 1

    Who wrote this post?

    [lprent: It is a guest post. They get sent through the contribute or direct to our e-mail. They can put their name on it, a pseudonym, or no name at all. If they are reasonably written, don’t look too weird, and we have a slot in the queue – they will get run anywhere between immediately through to a week or so later. But what we don’t do is to disclose any more information than the author tells us to do in accordance with our privacy policy. Argue on what is written. ]

    • Jenny 1.1

      Kia ora Weka. I sent in this post, most of the writing is straight from Scientific American. Despite Lynne’s distaste for dumping huge amounts of text into a post I thought this was such an important contribution that he would let me get away with it this time.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        Actually posts run on different obvious rules to comments. Mostly because they are checked for relevance by editors before they dropped into the schedule whereas comments get a post publish scan – so we are harsher (otherwise the site would fill up with everyone’s press releases – just like the newspapers).

        I didn’t put this one up, but I did push it through to thestandard e-mail. But I would have put it up if I’d had time.

      • weka 1.1.2

        Ka pai Jenny, thanks for letting me know 🙂

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    A feasible plan to power 100 percent of the planet with complete renewables exists.

    EXCLUDING transport fuels I’m afraid. That’s a rather big exclusion.

    Today’s A380s and 747’s rolling off the production lines will not be using hydropower or solar to fly in 2030.

    Still, 100% electricity is achievable and we must aim for it.

    • Rob A 2.1

      Thats right we must aim for it.

      Roughly 2/3rds of the worlds electricity comes from fossil fuels so this plan would make a huge saving.

    • Deadly_NZ 2.2

      And even if there is such an animal as cheap, sustainable, and clean energy. Then this is as far as it will get, because the greedies in charge of the dirty, unsustainable, expensive energy have a vested interest to kill any such technology dead. And to bury it forever. either by A: buying the patents, or B: hey people disappear every day. Such is life.

    • Jenny 2.3

      EXCLUDING transport fuels I’m afraid. That’s a rather big exclusion.

      Colonial Viper

      Colonial Viper, nowhere in this plan is there an exclusion of transport fuels.

      I know people don’t follow links, but in this case it pays to read the source material.

      Here it is again.

      Scientific American: A path to sustainable energy

      As you will see if you read the link to Scientific American, the above plan does include transport fuels in the total sum of energy that the Scientific American authors claim can be covered by Wind Water Solar and is fully inclusive of energy for transport. (Hard to believe I know).

      In our plan, WWS will supply electric power for heating and transportation—industries that will have to revamp if the world has any hope of slowing climate change. We have assumed that most fossil-fuel heating (as well as ovens and stoves) can be replaced by electric systems and that most fossil-fuel transportation can be replaced by battery and fuel-cell vehicles. Hydrogen, produced by using WWS electricity to split water (electrolysis), would power fuel cells and be burned in airplanes and by industry.

      Scientific American

      However CV this was an easy mistake to make as I left this part out of my abridged version of the Scientific American plan. I deliberately did this because even though the authors claim that transport (in it’s current form I presume) can be covered by their plan. I disagree that this should be done.

      In my opinion the savings in CO2 emissions would be much greater, and the time window in which they could achieved, would be much smaller if transportation was switched from private vehicles to public transport.

      But in all this, I did not want to argue about the details of this plan, I am not a scientist and neither are most or our readers.

      Coming from a reputable Main Stream scientific journal I take it on trust that this is a feasible plan and that all the facts and figures put up by Scientific American are true and accurate and scientifically verifiable.

      The most important fact I took from this Scientific American article was their conclusion that the hindrance’s for implementing this plan, (or any other), are not technical or financial but political.

      This is where we as members of civil society can come in.

      What can we do?

      What should we do?

      If we accept, as I do that business as usual is not an option.

      If we accept as I do and Scientific American does, that we can avert the catastrophe if we take action.

      Then one thing we can do is set an example for the world.

      For instance:-

      We know that coal is the single biggest cause of CO2 pollution, so instead of talking about opening up Pike River we should be planning to wind down the coal industry. This is one concrete step we could take.

      If there is just one thing we could do to tell the world this is a serious problem and needs serious action this would be it.

      If the Greens and/or Labour are serious and are convinced of the dangers of climate change they should immediately announce as an election plank that on returning to office all coal exports will be halted.

      The message to the world being that the atmosphere knows no borders and it doesn’t matter if it is burnt here or overseas.

      This would be an immediate and urgent first step.

      If there is no political will for such a move then we must create one.

  3. weka 3

    Not sure how seriously we can take something that doesn’t take into account Peak Oil and Peak Everything.
     
    Besides, I don’t see how replacing oil with so called ‘renewables’ is a good thing. Won’t this just allow humans to keep on overpopulating, killing each other and a myriad of other life forms, and destroying the planet in lots of other ways other than climate change? This isn’t about saving the world, it’s about saving capitalism and the Western ideology of lifestyle.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Yip. As noted by CV this doesn’t seem to take into account transport fuels at all. For which biofuels are the only feasible solution.

      I also question why they consider nuclear to ultimately not be sustainable, but don’t have any qualms with photovoltaic cells? They use lots of rare earth elements (like lanthanides…) in their production, which are limited in supply and expensive, and compete with flat screen TV, cell phones and lots of other high-tech gadgets. So while it might be feasible to create enough acreage to provide the power required, is it actually possibly to build those cells in the required time frame at a realistic price? Probably not.

      I’ve also seen plans to fully power Europe by putting up solar power stations in northern Africa and using high voltage lines across the Mediterranean. Yet this article (haven’t read it, just the summary above) seems to only be talking about roof-top solar.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        For which biofuels are the only feasible solution.

        Mass agriculture as done today is impossible without liquid fuels. No tractors, no fertilisers, no crop dusting, no refrigerated road transport.

        So my question is – where is the biomass for millions of barrels of biofuel per day going to come from?

        My conclusion: biofuels is not a feasible solution.

        • Jeremy Harris 3.1.1.1

          So my question is – where is the biomass for millions of barrels of biofuel per day going to come from?

          Jatropha (sp?) is the best bet.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2

          I say biofuels are the only feasible solution because 98% of the the existing worldwide car fleet is designed to run on liquid fuels, or a small proportion of them on CNG and other ‘exotic’ gas fuels.

          Converting the entire fleet to electric within 10-20 years isn’t going to happen. Even if it was converted, that would just make the electricity grid the weak point.

          There is a lot of varied progress being made on different biofuels. Particularly deriving fuel from existing waste streams doesn’t take up existing arable land. Also new crops that grow fast on marginal land needn’t divert land from food production. Hemp is particularly fast growing and produces a lot of fibre (just need the right type of bacteria to process it) but is banned in a lot of countries due to marijuana hysteria. There was also an article someone linked to here a few weeks ago about a new commercial plant in Oz creating a drop-in replacement for jet fuel. If the production volumes they forecast can be met, it will make a very big dent in jet fuel demand – although I don’t know what the EROEI is, which seems to be what you’re primarily concerned about.

          There’s also huge amounts of wasted food in the western world, particularly in the US. It’s wasted because it’s cheap – food left to rot in the fields due to oversupply, food wasted during processing because it’s not the highest quality, food left in supermarkets or stores that wasn’t bought (think baked goods especially), food left in the back of the fridge, food left on the plate. Raising food prices to reduce waste will be painful, but possible.

          Also note that judging everything by a strict EROEI basis is foolhardy. While it works as a very good guide to whether something will work in general, in absolute terms EROEI doesn’t matter if you’re converting a less-useful energy source into a more useful one, even if you lose total energy in the process. For a broad example purely to illustrate the concept with completely made up numbers, using a geothermal plant to generate crude oil from tar sands or oil shale – you might put in 5 times more geothermal energy than you get back from the crude, but the crude oil portable and can be used to drive cars and trucks while the source geothermal energy couldn’t. On strict EROEI you’re getting 0.2, but actually it doesn’t matter because the original geothermal energy would simply have been wasted anyway.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2.1

            On strict EROEI you’re getting 0.2, but actually it doesn’t matter because the original geothermal energy would simply have been wasted anyway.

            You’d be better off just producing electricity and then feeding into the grid to power trains, trucks and buses.

            Real economics, rather than fanciful fluff, where you do more with less resource use.

            • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2.1.1

              In the broad example I gave, the specific geothermal energy source is completely useless for any other purpose. There are no trains, trucks or buses nearby that can benefit from the geothermal energy.

              It is an example of how an EROEI below 1 can still be economic – because you’re taking something that has absolutely no other use and making use of it.

      • Jenny 3.1.2

        Yes it looks like Lanthanides have a big future. However L. all joiking aside, it would pay to read the link. Roof top solar is only one part of the plan for solar, the other is a number of large scale solar power stations.

        The details are important, but more important is creating the will among our political leaders to take this issue seriously.

  4. mango 4

    When they talk about “biofuels” I hope they are only refering to first generation technologies. I agee totaly about the unsutainability of corn & grain to ethanol but it annoys me when technologies that haven’t even been fully developed yet get tarred with the same brush.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Yes, the 2nd and especially 3rd generation biofuels that have been predicted are a lot more reasonable as energy stores/sources. The problem is whether these goals can be met, when, and on what scale.

      • Rusty Shackleford 4.1.1

        Why favor one energy source? Why not make all forms tax free? After all, behind each unit of output is a unit of energy.

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1

          Because some forms of energy are very bad for the environment, duh.

          First it was whale oil. Then coal. Now oil.

          • Rusty Shackleford 4.1.1.1.1

            Picking winners is a dangerous game.

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Energy decisions have to be made ten to twenty years in advance. The private sector won’t do that, it will always follow government lead.

            • KJT 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Having no strategy for a country is even more dangerous.

              The same people who would sack a business manager for having no plan are happy to elect a Government that has no plan, apart from burgling the country.

            • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1.1.3

              Yes, it’s sad that all of the tax concessions have gone towards coal, oil and nuclear and not wind, solar and geothermal.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.4

              I’d prefer to pick winners rather than leave it to the uninformed free-market. Doing that is what’s got us to where we are today:

              Anthropogenic Climate Change
              Over population
              Peak Oil
              Declining fresh, unpolluted fresh water
              Massive over-use of resources (read massive inefficiencies) as the profit drive pushes consumption and unnecessary replacement
              Resource wars (Iraq, Afghanistan)

              And far far more that’s wrong with the world.

              • Rusty Shackleford

                They aren’t free market problems, they are ill defined property rights problems.

                • weka

                  Yeah, people go to war, or dump lead filled TVs in watersheds that provide food because no-one told them where the boundaries are.

                  • Rusty Shackleford

                    People rarely go to war. Govts do.

                    If someone dumps on your land, you simply take them to court and sue for reparations. That is common law dating way back. Which is why most illegal dumping happens on public land. The govt doesn’t have the resources to administer all that land.

                    • weka

                      “People rarely go to war. Govts do.”
                      So? You still seem to think it’s about poorly defined property rights.
                       

                      If someone dumps on your land, you simply take them to court and sue for reparations. That is common law dating way back. Which is why most illegal dumping happens on public land. The govt doesn’t have the resources to administer all that land.
                       

                      Like Bill, I’m trying to figure out if you are trolling or haven’t thought things through. How do you sue someone who dumps in the middle of the night and you don’t know who they are? Besides which, most of the dumping is completely legal. Where do you think all those old TVs are going?

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      Well, yes. War is basically govts transgressing property rights, by definition.

                      How do you prosecute any crime?

                      As for dumping? Who makes it legal? If someone damages you or your property, they should be expected to pay restitution.

                    • weka

                      “Well, yes. War is basically govts transgressing property rights, by definition.”
                       
                      Yes, but your earlier point was that war is a result of “ill defined property rights”. I’m saying that is idiotic. You think anyone is going to care about well defined property rights once oil, water and food gets scarce for the first world?
                       
                       

                    • KJT

                      How do you go to court. No taxes= no Government=no court.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      Private courts.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  They aren’t free market problems, they are ill defined property rights problems.

                  No, they’re exactly what I said they were – the result of an uninformed free-market. We didn’t actually know for most of the time that we were burning fossil fuels that it would change the climate possibly bringing about an Extinction Level Event. If we’d known this before we started burning them as fast as we could suck them out of the ground do you think we would have done so?

                  But, of course, even if we had known we would have had to have government regulation to minimise the use of fossil fuels because there would always be some people who would decide that the science was BS and burn them anyway and when that happened others would follow because they wouldn’t be able to compete otherwise.

                  To make a profit requires that the market expand (more population), that product is used up ASAP (consumerism) and all of that requires that more and more resources are pulled out of the environment and an ever increasing pace.

                  No, the problems I listed are a direct result of the capitalist free-market.

            • Jenny 4.1.1.1.1.5

              Doing nothing must become to be seen as the most dangerous game of all.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2

          After all, behind each unit of output is a unit of energy.

          Takes ten to twenty units of energy to produce one unit of economic output. (Most of the energy applied is dispersed as low quality heat).

          • Jenny 4.1.1.2.1

            Takes ten to twenty units of energy to produce one unit of economic output. (Most of the energy applied is dispersed as low quality heat).

            Colonial Viper

            One of the details addressed in the plan by Scientific American. Fossil fuels are wasteful by nature, by dispensing with them energy use goes down, even on the same output. So overall inputs are less.

  5. Bill 5

    There’s an even simpler plan.

    Stop doing the shit we are doing.

    How much energy is used on pointless nonsense such as the production and distribution of ‘crap’? How much energy is used getting workers to those various points of production and how much is used in the logistical support of them…the support and service industries that spring up around those nodes of production?

    How much energy is wasted by the protection of economic and political power that accompanies centralised energy infrastructures?

    How much energy is wasted through the perpetuation of isolated and competitive nuclear family units that wastfully duplicate each others resource use and energy consumption?

    How much energy is wasted in maintaining remote agricultural and production facilities that are necessary only because of the nuclear family/ market interface?

    Etc, etc, etc.

    • Bored 5.1

      Well said Bill, we could save more than ahlf the energy we use if we used it judiciously and smartly. The issue around this is that we have to stop acting as “consumers” and become “conservators”, which kills off our current economic model.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        …we could save more than ahlf the energy we use…”

        Way more than half.

        Consider half a dozen households and the consequences of them materially ‘merging’.

        Instead of six hot water systems keeping themselves up to temperature, we have one.

        Instead of six kitchens consuming electricity/gas or whatever, we have one.

        Instead of six laundries, we have one.

        Instead of (say) twelve rooms being maintained at given temperatures through the utilisation of six different domestic energy systems, we have (say) three.

        Instead of twelve flatscreen TV’s or whatever other household appliances, we have two or three.

        And if those six households develop a communal business model to generate income, then we might have zero cars driving miles to a place of work if the workplace is developed as an integral component within the domestic location.

        And from the income generated, it would perhaps be more economically viable to install autonomous power generation that services the much reduced agregate power demands of the six houses than would be the case where we all stand alone as now.

        Then, given the freeing up of peoples’ time, instead of six households going off to the supermarket or wherever, we have one trip that need buy much less than the six seperate trips given that free time could be utilised to produce a proportion of food etc.

        And so on.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Such communal residences with lower living expenses would free up residents’ capital and income allowing them to own and participate in co-op enterprises 🙂

          • Bill 5.1.1.1.1

            The way I look at it, capital and income would only be freed up in the initial stages, but that would supply the necessary investment to establish such situations.

            Thereafter, income would drop because people wouldn’t need the individual income levels needed at present and ‘free’ (ie non income generating) time could/would be spent on (perhaps) more personally rewarding or communally beneficial activities. (Building and infrastructure maintenance, child care, production and preparation of food….or whatever)

            The final analysis might reveal people living lives as active citizens rather than as passive consumers.

          • Rusty Shackleford 5.1.1.1.2

            If you guys want to do this, why don’t you?

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.2.1

              I reckon it’s happening already, albeit in much less sign posted ways.

              Working adults staying with their parents until they are 30 years old or beyond is an example of this.

              In other higher population density countries, its also not unusual to have two (or even three) generations of workers staying in the same home, complete with spouses and kids, all sharing the same heating, fridge, washing machine and television.

              Now currently, these communal living arrangements are driven by family ties. That might extend in the future.

            • Bill 5.1.1.1.2.2

              Have done. Not doing now. Am in the initial stages of laying the groundwork to do again.

              It’s not an easy option btw. There are major cultural and psychological obstacles lying between a life that is driven by individually targeted market rewards (the tokens of money, prestige, power etc) and one that is predicated on substantive social and individual well being.

              Individuals have put years of effort and energy into securing their present situation. Even where the present situation isn’t that flash, the belief persists that things can get better.

              Then there is the misconstrued notion that a communal focus would necessitate the loss of individual freedoms.

              The’ bogey man’ scenarios of religious cults or cults of personality are fairly well to the fore of peoples’ minds when communal ideas are put forward. Then there are the unfortunate examples, routinely regurgitated by the media, whereby self indulgent hippies set up communes in the hope that everything would naturally fall into place. What resulted was usually ‘noble immiseration’ and a pathetic shallow parody of the very social dynamics they claimed to be offering an alternative to.

  6. ECOGIRL 6

    And where does Geothermal fit in?
    We are experts in this field and should be assisting others to develop this in their back yards, if they have the raw materials.
    Japan being a prime example as they have a lot of geothermal activity
    We should then be forever clipping the ticket for the use of our technology, experience and clever brains.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      Yeah, seems like a huge waste. The government should have been pushing geothermal in the 80’s and 90’s with tax subsidies and grants etc. Probably would have ended up with cheaper power, too.

    • Luxated 6.2

      Geothermal definitely has a place but unlike wind, water and solar it is highly localised. New Zealand, Australia (hot dry rock, needs fracking normally), the west coast of Americas, Iceland and some parts of the Mediterranean all have good resources but heavily populated areas like China, India the eastern USA and Western Europe have very little in the way of geothermal.

      I’ve left Japan off because I’m honestly not sure. They certainly have some hotspots there but there are other factors to consider. How deep the resource is, whether it is in ecologically sensitive area, under a city or just if you can find enough flat land to build the power plant on. There is almost certainly a lot more geothermal energy which Japan could use but I’m not convinced that it would necessarily be a significant part of their future power supply.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Speaking of hundreds of tonnes of non-renewable, non-replaceable resources being uselessly scrapped

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/5269009/Toxic-crisis-predicted-with-digital-TV-move

  8. randal 8

    there is no plan. humanity is just going to stagger on while all the plutocrats grab everything and then it will implode. hopefully after I die.

    • Rusty Shackleford 8.1

      Thankfully, there is no plan (especially considering the drongos we seem intent on democratically electing year on year). Living standards will probably continue to increase year on year and people will probably be complaining about the same stuff long after I die.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Living standards will probably continue to increase year on year

        A higher living standard year on year, for each of tens of millions of new people year on year? Not sure how this dream can be accomplished.

        US wages have been static since the 1970’s, US debt is now at massive higher than Great Depression levels, reductions in govt spending is spiking unemployment higher and peak oil occurred at least five years ago (in the future, increased living standards will have to involved fewer kilometres travelled in fewer cars).

        The dream of ever increasing higher living standards has become a nightmare of personal debt, fraudulent foreclosures and long term unemployment.

        • Rusty Shackleford 8.1.1.1

          The capitalist system pulled the western world, and much of the eastern, out of dire poverty last century. It will do the same for the developing world if it is allowed to.

          “reductions in govt spending is spiking unemployment higher”
          The US isn’t cutting govt spending.

          “peak oil occurred at least five years ago”
          Production doesn’t seem to be declining.

          “The dream of ever increasing higher living standards has become a nightmare of personal debt, fraudulent foreclosures and long term unemployment.”
          You forgot inflation and warfare.

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1

            The capitalist system pulled the western world, and much of the eastern, out of dire poverty last century. It will do the same for the developing world if it is allowed to.

            The world economy has to grow by around 50x to bring everyone to a near-western standard of living.

            The US isn’t cutting govt spending.

            It is at both the State and Federal level; and it is likely that the Republicans will win in their demands for another $4T of federal spending cuts.

            Please don’t waste my time Rusty. You know that Obama has been deadlocked with Republicans over the last month on these issues.

            (Oil) Production doesn’t seem to be declining.

            Sure, have it your way 🙂

            (In 2-3 years time it will be self evident to even the most casual observer, especially when you focus on trends in oil production available for export).

            • Rusty Shackleford 8.1.1.1.1.1

              “It is at both the State and Federal level; and it is likely that the Republicans will win in their demands for another $4T of federal spending cuts.”
              I genuinely forgot about this. The first round of cuts amounted to something hilariously small. Like 3 billion, or something. $4T will probably only take them back to Bush levels (or some such).

              “In 2-3 years time it will be self evident to even the most casual observer, especially when you focus on trends in oil production available for export.”
              How much are you willing to bet? Considering people have been saying this since about 1973, I like my odds.

              • Colonial Viper

                How much are you willing to bet?

                OK clear declining trend in total oil available for export visible by the end of 2014, viewed from a 10 year time period centred on that date (i.e. 2009-2019).

                I’ll bet you $500.

                Considering people have been saying this since about 1973, I like my odds.

                It was true for the US in 1973, and it has stayed true for the US since then.

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  Yea, OK. I will donate $500 to the charity of your choice.

                  The charity of my choice is the Mises Institute. I wanted to make it the Koch Foundation but they appear to be too rich to bother with small donations (not that I have any particular affinity with the Koch’s just that they seem to be particularly reviled by the left at the moment). I reserve the right to change it to the National Party at my discretion.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Would prefer a NZ registered charity mate.

                    The fact that you would select a Koch Family Foundation – essentially charitable fronts for think tanks and activist groups pushing for the disadvantage of 98% of Americans – is telling.

              • Lanthanide

                “Considering people have been saying this since about 1973, I like my odds.”

                “People”, maybe. But the IEA in their annual report last year said that it appears conventional crude oil production peaked in 2005 or 2006. That’s the international energy agency, the group set up by the UN to monitor this stuff, that is, The Experts.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Yeah, the “experts” who kept saying that oil would peak around 2030 – until last year when they realised that it had already peaked.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Yeah, I’m not trying to hold the IEA up as the paragon of information or anything.

                    But the fact that they were in the denial camp for so long only underscores the point.

          • Bill 8.1.1.1.2

            “The capitalist system pulled the western world, and much of the eastern, out of dire poverty last century.”

            That’s ardent bloody nonsense Rusty. Poverty is by far the main product of capitalism. I’m guessing you might be confusing the proliferation of purchasable materials or new technologies with measures of poverty and concluding that because there is more stuff and technology, there must be less poverty?

            Poverty can only ever be measured in relative terms. And capitalism exacerbates the differential between those who have and those who have not. ie inherent to capitalism is the creation and spread of poverty. (The big lie would have us hold that the opposite is true. But a moment of reflection on the situation of the majority of the humanity should put that lie to rest. Some got ‘better off’. But always at the expense of a far greater number of others.)

            • Rusty Shackleford 8.1.1.1.2.1

              How else do you measure prosperity? My life is better now (all things being equal) if I was born today than at any other time in history.

              “But a moment of reflection on the situation of the majority of the humanity should put that lie to rest.”
              The poorest people in the world basically live the same way they did 300 years ago. However more and more people are improving their standard of living. ie. they can afford the stuff that makes life better; fridges, phones, cars etc. That I live a relatively prosperous life does not mean there is another person made equally worse off.

              • Colonial Viper

                That I live a relatively prosperous life does not mean there is another person made equally worse off.

                Yes it does – where do you think the oil and ores you depend on come from? You use it, no one else can access it.

                The poorest people in the world basically live the same way they did 300 years ago.

                Yep. We tolerate hungry children in our own country even as the PM tucks into a multi-thousand dollar Michelin banquet.

                Of course you may shrug your shoulders and say “that child is still better off now than in the 1930’s or the 1830’s”, but to others, it’s a wholly acceptable state of affairs.

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  “Yes it does – where do you think the oil and ores you depend on come from? You use it, no one else can access it.”
                  So, I don’t get the ore and oil. I’m measurably worse off. How does that make the other person better off?

                  “Yep. We tolerate hungry children in our own country even as the PM tucks into a multi-thousand dollar Michelin banquet.”
                  We have a giant redistributive welfare apparatus. Why is it failing those kids?

                  • weka

                    We have a giant redistributive welfare apparatus. Why is it failing those kids?
                     

                    Because capitalism needs poor people to do the shit work. And apparently now it also needs a certain level of unemployment.
                     
                    The welfare system is hardly redistributive. Benefit rates are deliberately set at a level that ensures poverty.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      If it were really the case that the free market needed low level workers, why are firms so keen to robotize so much of their production?

                    • weka

                      If it were really the case that the free market needed low level workers, why are firms so keen to robotize so much of their production?
                       

                      Because robots are cheaper than cheap labour? And having the cheapest possible labour alongside the unemployment created is preferable to making sure that people have jobs that provide a livable wage, because profit is far more important than those people.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    How does that make the other person better off?

                    Because they would still have it and use it to their own benefit you moron.

                    And don’t tell me that they got paid because, more often than not, they didn’t. Their oil was taken, their land poisoned and they got shafted and sometimes killed.

              • Bill

                I dunno whether you’re trolling or just not very thoughtful.

                300 years ago there were highly developed centers of population (cities) throughout areas of Africa. Then came colonialism, slavery and the ‘civilising’ of the natives.

                300 years ago the cultural and technological level of development in the main population centers of the likes of modern day Bangladesh were on a par with or surpassed those of London at the time. Now-a-days Dacca is one of the world’s most impoverished cities.

                300 years ago, Indian industrial innovation was more advanced than in Britain. (eg ship building, cotton manufacturing etc) The British elites got their hands on it all through the violence of colonialism

                And if the outward expressions of wealth are important then by your logic, Egyptians of 3000 years ago lived a far more prosperous life than Egyptians of today.

                And so on.

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  Was that technology and civilization available to all members of society?

                  Pyramids aren’t wealth. Well not for the average person anyway. Funny, Keynes loved pyramids.

                  • Bill

                    Is the technology and wealth in the US, Europe, Asia or the Pacific available to all members of US, European, Asian or Pacific societies? Is global wealth and the privileges that accompany it able to be accessed by the global population?

                    Ostentatious skyscrapers in downtown Manhatten and companies worth hundreds of billions aren’t wealth. Well not for the average person anyway…

                    Now fuck off and stop trolling. Thankyou.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      More so than the feudalistic societies you described previously.

                      Many of the sky scrapers (or the businesses that populate them) in NY are almost entirely worthless to society and the economy as a whole. They got that way by pulling the crank of govt power.

    • Jenny 8.2

      Another good excuse for doing nothing.

  9. marsman 9

    Have often wondered whether a small, VERY efficient wind turbine on every rooftop plus perhaps some VERY efficient solar panels would be enough to provide all our domestic electricity needs. Even a series of solar panels along our rail system?

    • Rusty Shackleford 9.1

      Why don’t you go and get some quotes for your own house?

    • Lanthanide 9.2

      Wind turbines by their very nature are more efficient (in terms of power/cost) the larger they are. What you’re suggesting doesn’t make sense, unless we discover new fundamental physical laws or clever designs no one thought of yet.

        • Colonial Viper 9.2.1.1

          Some think that you have to go to vertical axis systems for micro wind generation, but they are not clearly proven yet either.

          • marsman 9.2.1.1.1

            Vertical was my thought too… I have no scientific knowledge in this area but am very interested to read other people’s comments here. Thank you.

            • Drakula 9.2.1.1.1.1

              Marsman; I think that you are on the right track each house having it’s own wind turbine and solar panels is a very good idea and I have read articles of houses doing this and even selling power to the grid.

              As for wind turbines, the idea is not new the famous Norwegian explorer Amunsden had a solar wind mill that kept them going through an artic winter.

              The technology has been round for some time, and there is huge improvements so why can’t we buy these commodities at reasonable prices? And why is there so little political will to allow consumers to convert into producers?

              The capitalists argue that if alternative power production is large scale it can be cost effective, yes, but what we have to ask ourselves is; cost effective for who?

              The consumers or the shareholders? Is it about empowering the consumers by giving them/us a choice or is it about creating a depenency on the power producing corporate monopolies?

      • weka 9.2.2

        Wind turbines by their very nature are more efficient (in terms of power/cost) the larger they are.
         

        How does that compare to the energy loss of transporting power over long distances?

        • Lanthanide 9.2.2.1

          Small turbines compare very very poorly.

          That’s why we have large wind turbine farms on windy places with cables transporting the power over long distances.

          If small turbines closer to home were more efficient, that’s what we’d have. They aren’t, therefore we don’t.

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-north-africa-light-europe-solar-power

          “Africa is one of the best places in the world for concentrated solar power (CSP), largely because of vast tracts of unused land that are in close proximity to road networks and transmission grids. With solar resources in North Africa about 20 to 30 percent higher than in Europe, according to supporters, the difference more than makes up for the added transportation costs to get the electricity to Europe.”

          http://www.desertec.org/

          • weka 9.2.2.1.1

            If small turbines closer to home were more efficient, that’s what we’d have. They aren’t, therefore we don’t.
             

            There’s a difference between energy efficiency and what happens within a caplitalist economy.
             
            You still didn’t answer the question: does comparison of small wind vs big wind look at power loss over long distances?
             
            I think we’re also confusing turbine size with farm size.

            • Lanthanide 9.2.2.1.1.1

              “There’s a difference between energy efficiency and what happens within a caplitalist economy.”

              That’s true, energy efficiency is not the same as economic efficiency. But they go closely hand in hand for the most part. If something is really energy efficient but completely uneconomic, then it probably isn’t going to happen and so isn’t really worth considering, especially on a large scale (see: toroidal fusion).

              “You still didn’t answer the question: does comparison of small wind vs big wind look at power loss over long distances?”

              Yes. I gave an example with the Desertec stuff – the huge high voltage cables going from northern Africa to Europe still have low enough loss to make building solar in Africa economically feasible.

              Specifically for wind energy, you simply have to look at what the market is doing. The market doesn’t build small turbines because big turbines with transport works out better in the long run.

              • weka

                That’s true, energy efficiency is not the same as economic efficiency. But they go closely hand in hand for the most part. If something is really energy efficient but completely uneconomic, then it probably isn’t going to happen and so isn’t really worth considering, especially on a large scale (see: toroidal fusion).
                 

                But we know that passive solar is incredibly efficient and well within the realms of financial constraints. Power companies can’t make money out of it though, so who is going to promote it? Architects? The building industry? Why would they bother? If we wait for market reasons to sort our shit out we may as well give up now.

                • Lanthanide

                  “Power companies can’t make money out of it though, so who is going to promote it? Architects? The building industry? Why would they bother? If we wait for market reasons to sort our shit out we may as well give up now.”

                  If you want to build a passive house, there are companies that will do it for you.

                  • weka

                    Of course. But if we want NZ to find a useful way of managing the impending energy crisis, waiting until everyone ‘wants’ to build a passive house isn’t going to work.

        • Colonial Viper 9.2.2.2

          Future electricty production needs to be at a far more localised level. Town by town or neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

    • weka 9.3

      We can do even better than that Mars. If every new house in NZ was built using passive solar for heating and lighting, solar hot water and judicious use of solar panels, along side using less and wasting less power, we’d solve the problem for this generation and probably the next. Existing houses could be retrofitted to an extent.
       
      The issue isn’t political will. It’s that the general public don’t realise how bad the situation is and are still happy to work to spend as a way of living.

      • Lanthanide 9.3.1

        “we’d solve the problem for this generation and probably the next.”

        We’d only solve it for anyone lucky enough to live in one of the new houses. These houses would have a considerable markup per square metre compared to regular inefficient houses.

        “Existing houses could be retrofitted to an extent.”

        Not really. Solar hot water is too expensive unless you’re doing a new build, and that’s a big part of many of these systems. To really get decent levels of energy efficiency I think you’d be looking at costs of upwards of $50k per house, and some houses simply won’t be possible to retrofit at all (not north-facing or obscured by other buildings/trees/land).

        We should of course take the CHCH rebuild as an opportunity to make a big difference, though. But we won’t.

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

        • weka 9.3.1.1

          We’d only solve it for anyone lucky enough to live in one of the new houses. These houses would have a considerable markup per square metre compared to regular inefficient houses.
           

          The easy solution there is to build smaller houses (we don’t need the size houses we are building currently). If passive solar were the standard, the costs would come down. Likewise any solar tech.
           

          Solar hot water is too expensive unless you’re doing a new build, and that’s a big part of many of these systems. To really get decent levels of energy efficiency I think you’d be looking at costs of upwards of $50k per house, and some houses simply won’t be possible to retrofit at all (not north-facing or obscured by other buildings/trees/land).
           

          Only if you think of housing and energy crises as individual responsibilities. And you seem to be not taking into account the need to stop using so much power in the first place. Many handy people could build and fit back up solar hot water themselves, it’s not that hard.
           
          I agree there are geographical issues.
           
          I suspect you’re also thinking from a limited palette. Retrofitting includes things like building glass conservatories on north sides of houses that have sun. These are not high tech, expensive solutions.
           
           

  10. Rusty Shackleford 10

    This article has zero footnotes. Also the link is broken.

    [lprent: Fixed the link. Got transcribed from the e-mail incorrectly. ]

  11. freedom 11

    The controlled supply of electricity is crucial to the operation of an oppressive authority over a populace. If free people had access to low cost reliable independant electricity production the lies that fuel the fires of fascism would begin to be questioned. Production of electricity is a large generator of commerce but this is merely an attractive aside for the actors in the farce we call Democracy. The goal of controlling electricity is to restrict freedom. The reliance upon the electricity grid infrastructure is intergrated into the very fabric of society. This is a tool of oppression against the free advance of human development but also an efficient defense against the human ability to turn technology into a weapon.

    When Tesla, amongst others, developed free energy technologies the powers that be had little choice but to close it down. The idea that people could receive free electricity scared the living nightmares out of them. When it became clear how the forces of nature could be manipulated to destroy itself it was a no-brainer that the science was distorted edited and forgotten. A few trinkets were allowed to remain because erasing Tesla only generates more problems. Instead of celebrating the success of the endeavour, they discredit the achievements of the technology and misinform the public as to its viability.

    The need for petroleum is only another arm of this misanthropic scheme. The illegal and concerted efforts to destroy the technology of electric cars and other low-cost, zero-harm forms of transportation are so well recorded it is now simply accepted that suppression is the norm of these industries.

    There are solar technologies which can and do replace the need for any external infrastructure of electrical services regardless of the environment they function in. The contemporary military applications of solar technology clearly show the disparity between authoritarian use and the publicly restrictive applications of these same devices. There exist today solar films that work atop any roofing materials producing a stable and continuous supply of electricity more than suitable for modern domestic needs.

    the only question is why you are not allowed to use them

    • Drakula 11.1

      Brillient Freedom, you are asking exactly the same questions as I am.

      There is also a voltaic film that can be stuck to the window that can act as double glazing as well as generate power.

      The above technocrats have completely missed the point havn’t they. It’s not all about getting 100% efficiency and being 100% dependant on a corporation, it’s about each household having a choice to purchase a device that will save them !% to 99%

      Even 1% saving is better than 0% my point and Freedoms point is that people should have a choice!!

      WHY???????????

  12. Jenny 12

    Coal Kills!

    Kill Coal!

  13. BR 13

    “When Tesla, amongst others, developed free energy technologies……….”

    Tesla developed nothing of the sort. You obviously do not understand science and physics.

    Do you also believe that people have invented cars that run on water?

    Bill.

    • freedom 13.1

      no i do not believe anyone has invented cars that run on water, but i sincerely believe people have invented engines that run on hydrogen produced through conversion of the water molecule.

    • Colonial Viper 13.2

      BR highly doubt you have studied the works of Tesla.

  14. BR 14

    “no i do not believe anyone has invented cars that run on water, but i sincerely believe people have invented engines that run on hydrogen produced through conversion of the water molecule.”

    You believe that it is possible run an internal combustion engine to which is attached an electrical generator. The electricity from this generator is then used to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, which are then used as the fuel to run the engine.

    Have I got that about right?

    Bill.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Once you have the electricity why not just use that to motivate the vehicle instead of going yet an additional step of creating hydrogen?

  15. BR 15

    “BR highly doubt you have studied the works of Tesla.”

    Am I missing something here? Can you explain these “free energy technologies”?

    “Once you have the electricity why not just use that to motivate the vehicle instead of going yet an additional step of creating hydrogen?”

    I was asking whether “freedom” believed that people have invented cars that run on water; a widely held belief that is part of an equally widely perpetuated myth which says that the patents for all such vehicles have been purchased and shelved by prevailing interests, (oil companies, oil exporting countries etc.) to explain their complete absence from the marketplace.

    Bill.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Am I missing something here? Can you explain these “free energy technologies”?

      Sorry I reckon I am reasonably intelligent but I am not a Tesla level genius.

      BTW diffuse energy appears available at the quantum level but AFAIK no human technology can harness and concentrate it.

  16. BR 16

    “Sorry I reckon I am reasonably intelligent but I am not a Tesla level genius.”

    You have just said that you doubt that I have studied Tesla.

    One doesn’t have to be a genius to explain the basic principles of an idea.

    It now appears that it is you who haven’t studied Tesla.

    “BTW diffuse energy appears available at the quantum level but AFAIK no human technology can harness and concentrate it.”

    So it’s not a capitalist conspiracy then.

    Bill.

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    Different Strokes: If a multicultural immigration policy imposes no obligation on immigrant communities to acknowledge and ultimately embrace their host nation’s most cherished traditions and values, then how is that nation to prevent itself from being reduced to a collection of inward-looking and self-replicating ethnic and cultural enclaves?THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’S ...
    6 days ago
  • Could There Be Method In Massey University’s Madness?
    Protective Zone: Reading the rules and guidelines released by Massey University, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that its governing body considers the whole concept of free speech a disruptive threat to the orderly imparting of orthodox academic knowledge.IN TRUE ORWELLIAN fashion, Massey University has announced its commitment to ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: We need more trees, not less
    Farmers held a hate-march on Parliament today, complete with MAGA hats, gun-nut signs, and gendered insults. While supposedly about a grab-bag of issues - including, weirdly, mental health - it was clear that the protest was about one thing, and one thing only: climate change. And specifically, forestry "destroying" rural ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The IGIS annual report: Dead letters and secret law
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Cowboy clampers will be stymied
    Clayton Mitchell, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs The ‘wheel clamping’ Bill that will cap clamper fees to $100 passed its third reading in Parliament today. New Zealand First welcomes The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to combat predatory wheel clamping behaviour in what is currently a largely unregulated business. Cowboy clampers are: gouging ...
    1 day ago
  • Mental Health Commission back on track
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its first reading in Parliament. “Today’s progress takes serious action on the mental health and addiction crisis the country is facing,” says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft. “The re-establishment ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    2 days ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    2 days ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    2 days ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    3 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    3 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    1 week ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks ago

  • New Zealand to attend G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Japan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters departs New Zealand today to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nagoya at the invitation of this year’s G20 President, Japan. “This is the first time New Zealand will attend a G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and we are deeply honoured that it is at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    31 mins ago
  • Ambassador to the European Union announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of diplomat Carl Reaich as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the European Union. “The Ambassador to the EU is one of the most important and senior roles in New Zealand’s foreign service, advocating for New Zealand’s interests with the EU institutions,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    48 mins ago
  • New inventions boost Predator Free 2050 effort
        Innovation and technology are behind five new tools to give nature a helping hand by helping eliminate predators, funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “The new tools will be trialled in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • APEC 2021 Bill passes first reading
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2021 (APEC 2021) Bill in Parliament today. The temporary bill supports New Zealand’s security preparations for hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 2021. “APEC is the leading economic and trade forum ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Making progress for our kids
    The Government is making progress on improving the wellbeing of the one million New Zealanders under the age of 18,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on World Children’s Day. The Government has today recommitted to the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history – the United Nation’s Convention on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Māori women in business contribute to our economy, whānau and communities
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter has released a new report celebrating the contribution of Māori women in business across Aotearoa New Zealand. “Māori women are leaders in our communities, they employ many people and support our economy and our communities,” Julie Anne Genter said. The report, Ngā wāhine kaipakihi: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Two schools on the way for Omokoroa
    Four parcels of land have been bought in Omokoroa, in the Western Bay of Plenty District, for an education facility that will accommodate both a primary and secondary school on a campus-like facility, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Two parcels were acquired from private land owners and two were ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Families Package helps over 1 million New Zealanders in first year
    1 million New Zealanders warmed by the Winter Energy Payment 36,000 families bank the Best Start Payment in first year 6,000 more families received the Family Tax Credit, 220,600 in total   They receive an increase too – from an average of $117 to $157 a week for Inland Revenue clients, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Clamp down on wheel clamping passes third reading
    New rules to clamp down on overzealous wheel clamping and extortionate fees charged in order to release a vehicle have passed their final stage in Parliament today. The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill has now passed its third reading. “These changes mean $100 will be the maximum wheel clamping ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill passes first hurdle
    An independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is a step closer after it unanimously passed its first vote in Parliament today.  The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill lays the groundwork for establishing the Commission as a fully independent crown entity – delivering on a key recommendation of He Ara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
    We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to screen travellers for border and immigration risks off-shore before they travel to New Zealand. It was launched in August and became mandatory on 1 October 2019. More than 500,000 NZeTAs have been issued since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
    A proposed national plan of action to reduce the number of seabirds caught in fisheries is being circulated for public feedback. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage say New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity with about 145 species in our waters. It has more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
    The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception. The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey. “It is important people can make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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