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Alt COP26: “Get in line or get out of the way”

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, November 2nd, 2021 - 30 comments
Categories: climate change, COP26, sustainability - Tags: , , , , , ,

Expect lots of blather at the UN climate conference COP26 from the neolib boys who think they know how to run the world and are instead killing it (Fuck Boris) – if we’re lucky, a bit more slowly. Back home, Labour are going to try and buy our way out of our obligations.

In case it’s not obvious what the problem is here: the world (thanks overdeveloped nations) is so far behind on GHG reduction to avert the worst of climate change that we need to radically stop burning fossil fuels (and other GHGs releasing) in a very short space of time. If you’re not on board yet with this simple fact, please do some reading, it’s a mainstream understanding now, backed by science.

Paying people in other countries to not to chop trees down so that we can keep emitting GHGs is tap dancing on the head of a pin while rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and robbing Peter to pay Paul as if this will stop the ship from sinking (while the Musk rats abandon the sinking ship and head for Mars). Labour inches us forward at snail’s pace. Complex and complete fuckups require mangled metaphors, sorry.

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn on why Labour are doing this.

And even then, they’re still planning on “meeting” more than two thirds of the target by buying credits from overseas (which, based on past experience, will turn out to be pure fraud). And the reason they’re doing that is a refusal to confront the dairy industry and force it to reduce its emissions like the rest of us.

And that’s Jacinda’s “nuclear-free moment”: spin and PR and funny accounting. Not the honest, ambitious government we hoped for and need. We deserve better than this. The planet deserves better than this. But we are clearly not going to get real climate action under this chickenshit government.

As an aside, to be clear, this isn’t Green Party policy, it’s pure Labour. James Shaw is Climate Minister, but sits outside of the majority governing Labour Cabinet who are the ones making the decisions (thanks left wing voters).

Matthew Whitehead nails the stupidity even from a neoliberal perspective,

If we pay someone overseas to not chop their trees down, this deprives that landbase from counting those carbon credits. The @RAZwaan tweet suggests that if you account all that globally it doesn’t even work (or hasn’t in the past). But even if that accounting did work, it’s still a nonsensical solution given the state of climate change.

What we actually need is two things:

  • rapid decrease in industrial GHG emissions
  • and restoring ecologies to protect the natural carbon cycle as well as the biodiverse systems that all of life is dependent upon

Planting trees and maintaining climax forests is what we should be doing as a baseline for the health of all life. Our GHG reductions need to be on top of that. If we don’t use a healthy environment as a baseline, we can never catch up on both the climate and the ecology crises. Continuing to treat the environment as a big bag of resources that we can manage is a death warrant. We’re just not good at it, and it’s antithetical to life which isn’t a grab bag, but a whole planet of interconnected systems.

Who will have the guts and vision to transition us to real action? I’m way less interested in the COP neoliberal pin head dancing than I am in who is speaking truth to power and presenting ideas and experience that might change the above.

For those feeling hopeless and frustrated, that want to see what actually works, what we can do that is worthy and life affirming and effective, this five minute speech, at the opening of COP26, by Māori activist India Logan-Riley, is outstanding,

Particularly pertinent is the argument that indigenous activists have been saying for a while,

… this history shows us that hands and minds made this present world, and so it is also hands and hearts and minds that can remake it. And it is indigenous and frontline communities that are leading this remaking. We’re keeping fossil fuels in the ground and stopping fossil fuel expansion. We’re halting infrastructure that would increase emissions and saying no to false solutions.

In fact in the US and Canada alone, indigenous resistance has stopped or delayed greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least one quarter of annual emissions.

What we do works.

In the face of mediocre leadership, indigenous peoples shine through. This is all to say that climate change is the outcome of the colonial project.

My bold. Logan-Riley ends with the fine sentiment “get in line or get out of the way”. The most appalling thing about our situation (apart from the whole death cult thing) is that we have many people working on the solutions that work, we’re just not giving them the power to use those on broad scales.

Part of what is important here is that Māori have lived experience of catastrophic environmental change forced upon them, and how to change that. This is a great gift to the west if we would recognise it.

They also have a world view that is the systems thinking absolutely necessary to get us out of this mess. Key to decolonisation is understanding that the western mind tends towards linear and reductionist thought process. Systems thinking is about the relationships between all the things. Carbon credit systems are complicated, but they’re still a linear, disconnected solution that ignores the whole system.

If someone planting a forest to draw down carbon then clearcuts that forest 30 years later for timber, and plants a new forest, and counts the carbon figures in all that, that’s a reductionist, disconnected model. It ignores the life in the forest that is essential for ecosystem stability, it ignores the people who live in the area who are dependent upon that stability as well as all the ecology outside the forest likewise dependent, it ignores the natural carbon cycle by stealing from the future, it’s ignores the massive benefits of climate forests for their own sake, and it ignores how all those things interrelate. We need to be reforesting because forests themselves give us life in multiple ways.

This doesn’t mean we can never fell trees for human use. It means that the starting points in how we design and approach landcare need to change radically. Post-carbon farming is going to be utterly dependent on nature for its ability to produce food for humans in a climate changed world, so if you’re still not getting it, think about how we are going to eat in future generations (or even our own) if we don’t have an environment to grow that food in.

There is something else here. The reason why so many humans traditionally relate to the land as a mother or similar is because when we are living in everyday, conscious understanding of that interdependency we naturally act to save it because it is also an act of self-preservation. Only crazy people believe that humans sit outside of the natural world. Many people also have a deep love of nature of its own sake, and understand that this is central to who we are as humans.

The biggest problem we have with COP is that it is based in a profound disconnect from nature. The humans that are deeply connected with nature are the ones bringing the sustainable, resilient and real options to the table.

30 comments on “Alt COP26: “Get in line or get out of the way” ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    So well put WEKA, mangled metaphors and all…

    Indigenous people are disregarded and brutalised all over the world. Initially because they were seen as barriers by colonists to territory and resource acquisition, and then racism and genocide arising from white supremacism was applied–because such populations often support non growth living systems in sync with natural resources.
    Anathema and incompatible with the internal laws of capitalism and finance capital.

    Any bad actions by indigenous populations are usually down to desperation after environmental destruction or being taught warped values by experts!

    The suits are full of shit on Climate Disaster and the NZ Govt. is terrified of taking on industrial dairying–and in fact they don’t really want to when it comes down to it as intervention conflicts with the neo liberal state and lighter than air style regulation of markets.

    • Michael 1.1

      The reason the govt won't take on neoliberalism is because it knows most of us don't want it to. We are comfortable with consumer capitalism, paid for by increasing individual and collective debt to neoliberal financiers, even though we know we are killing the only world we can survive upon. It's a bit much to ask our political representatives to do anything beyond a bit of lip service towards any program that challenges our fundamental social and economic arrangements.

      • weka 1.1.1

        completely agree. This is on the people of NZ. If we wanted to do something about climate change we'd be voting Green or Māori Party.

    • Obtrectator 1.2

      This is likely to be an unpopular opinion with some, but perhaps I should point out that the true indigenes of New Zealand were its bird population, with giant moa and Haast's eagle at the top of the food chain. As soon as a more "advanced" species found their way there ….

      • Tiger Mountain 1.2.1

        Heh, I suspect any unpopular reaction will be down to your “stealth” Māori bash…

        • Obtrectator

          It was not specifically a "Maori bash" – the arrival of humans of any colour or culture would have had the same result.

  2. Ad 2

    James Shaw is a total supporter of the carbon trading system.

    It's essential within his State Sector Decarbonisation Fund:

    Budget boosts Carbon Neutral Government commitment | Beehive.govt.nz

    It's an essential part of his Green Investment Finance fund:

    Foundations laid for strong climate action | Beehive.govt.nz

    Its deep within Shaw's financial market reporting requirements of the Financial Sector (Climate Related Disclosure and Other Matters) Bill.

    NZ becomes first in world for climate reporting | Beehive.govt.nz

    Shaw continues to lead the recent reforms to our ETS:

    Emissions pricing reaches significant milestone | Beehive.govt.nz

    And it's fully throughout the Climate Change Blueprint that Ardern and Shaw launched together.

    Achievable blueprint for addressing climate change released | Beehive.govt.nz

    This is Green policy, Labour policy, and government policy – as James Shaw said "Every Minister is a climate change minister".

    • weka 2.1

      all those links are from 2021, when Shaw is outside of Cabinet and Labour have a majority government. They demonstrate that he is doing his job properly to make small gains against the odds and despite Labour's entrenched centrist position. They don't demonstrate Green Party policy. And they don't demonstrate that we are anything close to doing what is needed to avert climate and ecological disaster.

      See if you can find the bit in Green Party policy that supports us reducing our GHGs by 7% and making up the rest from fudging numbers, and international horse trading.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        They are links to 2021 when James Shaw is the Minister of Climate Change, representing New Zealand on behalf of the government at COP 26, and James Shaw is the co-leader of the Green Party.

        All of these policies are policies that the Green Party Co-Leader is writing, forming, negotiating, putting into practice, fronting to the public and to international leadership and on which the Green Party has voted into law and into Budget each time.

        It’s the portfolio that the Green Party agreed to carry out – as the Green Party.

        So it really is Green Party policy. Clearly not all Members like yourself agree with it, but that’s really just tough because that’s what the Green Party are voting for.

        • weka

          this is tedious, we're going round in circles. We all know Shaw is Climate Minister. He's not in cabinet. Labour get to make the decisions. I'm sure he has input, but he has little power. If you think he has the power to change Labour policy and decisions he disagrees with, please explain how within the structures and process of current parliamentary systems.

          All of these policies are policies that the Green Party Co-Leader is writing, forming, negotiating, putting into practice, fronting to the public and to international leadership and on which the Green Party has voted into law and into Budget each time.

          Yes, he is writing what he can get past the Labour cabinet. He's not writing what the GP want. He is being pragmatic. It's not the same thing.

          Green Party policy is developed by the members, to change it the party has to go through a process. Go read it. MPs are empowered to make decisions within their parliamentary roles, but there is clear discrepancy between policy and what happens in reality in parliament. This you actually know, so I don't know why I am having to explain it. It's MMP 101. It happens with all small parties.

          • weka

            and that's not to diss Shaw and his team. I trust he is getting what he can. But it's ridiculous to suggest that the snail's pace NZ is moving at is Green Party policy rather than being about Labour. To suggest such is just ignorant of how MMP governments work.

            Equally, he can't come out and say, hey we wanted to do this but Labour wouldn't let us. For pretty obvious reasons.

            • Ad

              Green Party policy may or may not be the same as what James Shaw does as both leader of the Green Party and as responsible Minister. But that's got zero relevance to anything in parliament.

              If the Green Party were dissatisfied we would have heard about it. So far it's you.

              If you think he's powerless and needs to speak out more, he should take lessons from Peter Dunne, Laila Harre, Shane Jones or Winston Peters. They got billions, and they negotiated live in the media That's MMP 101.

              You could always just tell him you're not happy. He will probably respond that he's doing really well within his portfolio, and of course he'd like to go further. That's just patting the supporter on the head.

              James Shaw isn't speaking out because this is his policy right to the core. He built it, wrote it, negotiated it. He's not complaining precisely because he's getting his portfolio responsibility done.

              This really is James Shaw policy. And it is also government policy.

              • Obtrectator

                If you think he's powerless and needs to speak out more, he should take lessons from Peter Dunne, Laila Harre, Shane Jones or Winston Peters. They got billions, and they negotiated live in the media That's MMP 101.

                Um yes, and where are they all now? Maybe Shaw is playing a long game, one that ensures he and his party will be able to continue sticking around, ready for when their time does come. A lot of noise and flurry that achieves some short-term gains at the expense of one's later disappearance from the scene may be good tactics, but it's pretty ineffectual strategy.

                • Ad

                  All of those characters have retired with massive policy gains and projects delivered. Good politics is good delivery.

                  We're still waiting on Shaw's plan the Commission said he was supposed to have ready for December – but now due in the 2022 Budget. Gotta be able to show something for it after 7 years as Co-Leader, 3 terms as climate spokesperson and 1.5 terms as CLimate Change Minister.

                  Anything would be good.

                • weka

                  spot on. They are playing the long game. They want change not power, and this is how they're getting it at the moment.

                  It's a nonsense to say that Labour aren't controlling the agenda here when they have a majority government. Bizarre.

                • pat

                  "Winning slowly is the same as losing"

                  Bill McKibben

                  "If we don’t win very quickly on climate change, then we will never win. That’s the core truth about global warming."


        • Bearded Git

          This a Labour government …100 per cent Labour around the cabinet table….Shaw and the rest of the Greens have been sidelined by Labour and so are doing their best with hands tied

          • Ad

            That just disrespects the actual work and skill Shaw has brought to the portfolio.

            Imagine if James had been responsible for the mess in immigration, local government, or transport. He'd be given a solid roasting.

            He's taken a small portfolio within a fairly minor Ministry (MfE) and got a huge amount of legislation, an entire cross-government workstream, and a really big budget bid in play for 2022.

            That actually takes a lot of skill. He sure hasn't been sidelined. In fact right now he's centre stage.

  3. Tricledrown 3

    Until we feel consequences of human induced climate change attitudes won't change.

    Politicians have elections to win until more people vote green .Climate action will be a very hard sell.Putin and Xaoping didn't show.

    So the attitude of the majority is why should we change when no one else is.

    • Brigid 3.1

      Xi Jinping will address cop26 by written statement.

      Who is Xaoping?

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        Well even the Guardian has noticed that Xi Xinping really hasn't done anything new.

        The ABC digs a little deeper.

        As China's economy continues to grow, the challenge of keeping on the lights will only become pressing.

        The coal production boost for the coming northern hemisphere winter, along with growing fears about insufficient energy supply, means the nation is increasing its use of coal at a time when other nations are already reducing it.

        More than 230 coal-fired power plants are also under construction or planned in the coming years, according to the Global Coal Plant tracker.

        The new plants have a planned energy capacity greater than the rest of the world's new coal-fired power plants combined.

        Why exactly are you so keen to give the CCP a free pass on this?

        • Brigid

          Where have I given the 'CCP (sic) a free pass on this''? I haven't read his statement yet.

          You may be satisfied with the Guardian's report. I will read the original statement.


          His name is (in English) Xi Jinping. He is the President of the People's Republic of China. The Guardian manages to spell his name correctly. This seems to be beyond you, along with your inability to name the country correctly.

  4. Foreign Waka 4




    Climate is regulated by circulation and exchange of water in all its forms through air and ground. No amount of planting in NZ will make a difference if we don't stop the deforestation of the last remaining Rainforests the world over.


    Next to the strong reduction of consumerism that causes the sea to be come a grave for all water animals as well as humans as the circulation (see above) wont work.

    The issue here is that all people need to survive and many have to toil in those industries causing the destructing as they need to feed their family and have a roof over their head.

    And this essentially what it is about. If for the sake of being “right” people are being made to suffer you have no buy in of any group. And hungry people will take to the pitch forks, literally.

    True, NZ has to contribute in deed and words. But it doesn't have to hold the burden of the world. As long as we talk about race and people dividing policies, nothing will happen due to the always successful blame game. Divide and conquer.

    Industry, be it forestry, farming, agriculture, mining etc.. need to be brought to a table and discuss how they can provide solutions. No one is interested in divisive hate propaganda such as is being placated lately. I am convinced that 98% of people would follow any path that provides a solution on reasonable terms. The 2% greedy to the hilt just need to accept that the majority wants a future.

  5. RosieLee 5

    Let's start by totally banning palm kernel imports and enforcing sustainable stocking levels.

    Let's start by banning the buying up of carbon credits in other countries just to make the numbers look good. I cannot believe that we are considering this.

    Let's start by enforcing the fencing off and planting of waterways. It's not happening in a meaningful way.

    Let's start by inspecting and enforcing of conditions around effluent and waste water disposal.

    This massive talkfest in Glasgow will result in sweet FA – it's nothing more than a junket. How much is it costing?

    • Foreign Waka 5.1

      RosieLee, I fully agree.

    • Maurice 5.2

      Exactly who is going to "enforce" any of these?

      At one Farmer's meeting it was reputedly said: 'There are not enough of you'

      • Foreign waka 5.2.1

        Well, this is the problem in one sentence. WHY would we need to excessively control, check and enforce anything? The situation is so dire that any farmer of repute working the land will or ought to know that their kids can look forward to a killer time to take over their job. On land or sea.

        Palm kernel controlled via import control

        Carbon credits via government controls

        Fencing and waterways via DOC

        If all else fails, than fees on every m2 of farmland to create a fund repairing the damage will do what words obviously cannot.

        Like this one:


        How about putting a price on each cray (commercial) plus GST, an environmental fee, a fee related to age of the animal and charge the proprietor. It takes up to 11 years for a cray to mature.

        Just to reiterate on my previous comment:

        • Maurice

          "Palm kernel controlled via import control"

          That would end up at the WTO as it has with the EU in the case of the oil.


          Besides which cows would starve.

          "Carbon credits via government controls"

          Already Farmers are gaming that system with the consequences that huge tracts are being planted with non-native mono-culture Pine trees – as one instance.

          "Fencing and waterways via DOC"

          ROFL – DOC cannot even look after Crown Land let alone Farm Land

          "If all else fails, than fees on every m2 of farmland to create a fund repairing the damage will do what words obviously cannot."

          Ah! More Tax – many farms are so negatively geared that they pay little tax now and I am sure the Banks will have something to say about wanting their interest first!

          • Foreign Waka

            Essentially, all of this is just creative accounting. This will not see the environment improve anytime soon.

            If cows starve than ecological NZ has an unsustainable number of it. Farmers have negatively geared because of forecasts increasing the heard even more so. The pines are just planted for carbon credits and yes you guessed it, increasing the bottom line. We are talking about the same folks that releases viruses into the environment because they "know better" than science. Only to find a few years later that the rabbits are back, more and stronger. The wisdom of those connected to the land… yeah right.

            But we needn't worry, the land is being sold under our feet and we will not have any say of any environmental damage caused.

            Not that there is substantial effort to make things better, but ROI overrides everything.



            And yes, if a tax is needed to force a change so be it. It has worked with smoking, fuel and any other "behavior" regulator.

  6. Koff 6

    Protesters in Glasgow are sending a clear message to the Cop 26 participants in the main hall, singing "You can shove your climate crisis up your arse". Good to see Greta Thunberg smiling as she sings along.


    Big demo with striking Glasgow workers planned for Friday by climate protesters. Mass action on the streets is the only way timid politicians are going to take any action.

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