Another failure at Lima

Written By: - Date published: 7:48 am, December 14th, 2014 - 70 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, global warming, International - Tags: , , ,

I gave up on the prospect of international climate change negotiations ever achieving anything significant after the failure at Copenhagen (we clearly lack the will to save ourselves). Sure enough the current talks at Lima, after failing to reach agreement, went in to “extra time”. Nothing will come of it:

Lima climate summit extended as poor countries demand more from rich

Climate talks in Lima ran into extra time amid rising frustration from developing countries at the “ridiculously low” commitments from rich countries to help pay for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The talks – originally scheduled to wrap up at 12pm after 10 days – are now expected to run well into Saturday, as negotiators huddle over a new draft text many glimpsed for the first time only morning.

The Lima negotiations began on a buoyant note after the US, China and the EU came forward with new commitments to cut carbon pollution. But they were soon brought back down to earth over the perennial divide between rich and poor countries in the negotiations: how should countries share the burden for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and who should pay?

In addition to finance, one of the biggest areas of contentious is “differentiation” in UN parlance – which countries should bear the burden of cutting emissions that cause climate change. The US and other industrialised countries require all countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions. That would be a departure from the original UN classification of the 1990s – which absolved China, India and other developing countries which are now major carbon polluters – of cutting their emissions. Developing countries are suspicious that the text being developed in Lima is an attempt to rewrite those old guidelines. …

Round and round and round we go…

There have been more than 20 years of Conference of the Parties (CoP) meetings, such as those at Lima, with little in the way of concrete outcomes, said Ahmed Sareer, the Maldivian negotiator who is about to take over the leadership of the Alliance of Small Island States.

“How many CoPs will it take for us to really see any tangible results? We have been going from CoP to CoP and every time we are given so many assurances, and expectations are raised, but the gaps are getting wider,” he said.

While I have come to expect nothing from these talks, this year’s failure is particularly galling because of the active role that NZ played in it:

Lima week one recap: climate talks falter as governments evade scrutiny

Hopes were high going into the talks that goals announced last month by the world’s two biggest emitters of heat-trapping greenhouse gases – China and the US – would speed efforts to streamline text to manageable levels that could eventually be signed by all countries at next December’s summit in Paris.

But tension spilled over late on Friday and into Saturday following days of procedural wrangling when richer nations including the EU, Australia, Canada and New Zealand attempted to strip out any reference to a review or revisit of their current emission reduction commitments.

The reason that we want to avoid scrutiny of our record, of course, is that it is appalling, and getting worse. Far from meeting our reduction targets we are emitting more and more (the only action the Nats are taking on the issue is – lying).

I’m struggling for an optimistic note to end this post on. Can’t find one.

70 comments on “Another failure at Lima”

  1. Chooky 1

    +100 Good Post….on probably the most important issue of our time …which the world has to get right if it is to avoid catastrophe

    Future generations, our children and grandchildren, will judge this John key Nactional Government on this

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      I think their slings and arrows are going to hit everyone, not just National.

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.1

        Correct.

        I doubt that the world’s elite will allow action to occur until things are much worse than today. This is how shortsighted our “leaders” have become. It makes me think that none of them have kids or grandkids under 20 years old.

    • jcuknz 1.2

      Will there be any “future generations” to complain?

      • Chooky 1.2.1

        good point….my teenage son who works with a good but conservative farmer says that the Green message should be;

        “VOTE GREEN FOR YOUR GRANDCHILDRENS’ FUTURE”

        He says this is the message that will get home for the Greens.

  2. Pat O'Dea 2

    Don’t give up hope Anthony

    “I gave up on the prospect of international climate change negotiations ever achieving anything significant after the failure at Copenhagen”

    This is the United Nations greatest test and it is failing.
    A solution will never come from these international treaty negotiations it never has and it never will. Ban Ki moon senses it. And it comes out in his statements.

    This is how it will be. This is how it has always been.

    Just like League of Nations could not agree on how to confront the rise of fascism, the UN will fail to agree on how to confront the rise of climate change.

    In the 1930s humanity was in a global contest between totalitarianism and democracy.

    Humanity are now in global contest with the physics of the climate.

    In human affairs big or small what often makes the difference between resolute action and indecision and confusion is leadership.

    Just as the UN has failed to address this crisis so did the League of Nations fail to address the big crisis of their time.

    What turned the tide was when one (relatively) small plucky island nation decided to put up a fight regardless of the League of Nations, regardless of the other major powers inaction and capitulation, regardless that (at that time) defeat looked almost certain.

    The message is clear, forget any hope of concerted global action arising out of international bodies like the UN, every country is on its own. The competition is on to see which country, becomes by its actions against climate change, the world leader which sets an example by their resolute that the rest of the world will have to follow.

    Let us forget about aspiring to become fast followers.

    It is up to political activists and politicians convinced of the danger, in whichever country they are from, to push for their country to become that world leader.

    For us here in New Zealand we are better placed than many to take that role.

    70% of our power is generated by renewables, we need to make that 100%.

    Coal plays a very small part of our economy, we need to make that nil.

    Australia our closest physical and cultural neighborl is one of the worst polluters in the world any resolute actions we take here will have political ramifications there.

    Why?

    Because as well as being, one of the worst polluters, Australia is one of the worst effected, and many Australians are worried and concerned. Latest polls show that 6 out of 10 Australians don’t think their government is doing enough about climate change. All they need is lead from across the Tasman to turn that disquiet into a demand that cannot be ignored.

    From Australia the fight back will spread to the world.

    This is how the war will be won.

    • r0b 2.1

      I admire your optimism Pat, and I thank you for it. You are right, this is the most likely way forward.

    • Ad 2.2

      Well said Pat and much appreciated.

    • Manuka AOR 2.3

      “For us here in New Zealand we are better placed than many to take that role.”

      Aotearoa is better placed than just about any country on the planet to take that role. It is to our shame that we have not yet done so.

      “70% of our power is generated by renewables, we need to make that 100%.”
      All it needs is a small amount of political will. We can do it. We must do it.

  3. Pat O'Dea 3

    “Get Over It”

    As the latest UN summit on greenhouse gases convenes in Peru, climate scientists report that a 3.6 degree rise seems inevitable, which they believe is “the tipping point at which the world will be locked into a near-term future of drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding.”

    Flipping back to one last bit of patter from The Newsroom: The EPA administrator tells McAvoy, “The last time there was this much CO2 in the air the oceans were 80 feet higher than they are now. Two things you should know: Half the world’s population lives within 120 miles of an ocean.” “And the other?” “Humans can’t breathe under water.”

    I propose that it is time for us to accept as a premise in whatever environmental discussions we have — or indeed, in any deliberations on anything taking place in the future — the fact that the world is coming to an end.

    ….it’s time to accept our impending demise. Those are profoundly difficult words to write, but they are necessary: Our times demand a new rhetorical honesty. It is deceitful and irrelevant to sustain the charade that things may improve. Instead, it’s time to start talking about how we will die.

    (Maxine Kumin has a poem called “Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief.” It was.)

    As depressing as this is, it has at least the virtue of being true, unlike the kick-the-can-down-the-road policies that pretend the solution for global warming lies in producing (someday!) cars that get 150 mpg and cities powered by wind farms. And expecting Westerners (the 12 percent of the world’s population who consume 60 percent of its resources) to use less stuff.

    If there’s a silver lining, it is not a very satisfying one, but for what it’s worth: I think it may prove refreshing, even exhilarating, to develop a new trope, a new truth, that lets go of the pretense that things will turn out ok.

    “The progress narrative” that has undergirded Western culture for millennia was nice while it lasted, but it’s also responsible for getting us where we are today, as it stoked the fantasy that we were invincibly moving ever forward, and that our rampantly voracious overdevelopment (exploration, imperialism, conquest, growth, “civilizing” nature) had no costs, no limits, no consequences.

    If we don’t fight when the going is easy, our losses will be slight, and our victory will be certain.

    We will have to fight when the going is hard, our losses will be heavy, and our victory is not guaranteed.

    There may even be a third option

    We will have to fight when our losses will be overwhelming, and our defeat is certain.
    Because it is better to die fighting than to die surrendering.

    Winston Churchill

    • Ad 3.1

      I would recommend to you the film Interstellar.

      The first third is a forecast of a really climate-damaged world and all its consequences (The rest is “2001” redux).

      Sad too that a dairy-vulnerable economy is the most climate-change-vulnerable economy I could imagine due to its vulnerability to water.

      Would love to see someone like you post on managed retreats etc.

      • Poission 3.1.1

        Sad too that a dairy-vulnerable economy is the most climate-change-vulnerable economy I could imagine due to its vulnerability to water.

        The trends in nz precipitation ( and its future values) will be unaffected by decisions at lima.

        The causal mechanisms (as detailed in the literature model behavior) are a result of Ozone depletion which is not covered by the KP but the MP.

        The SAP for the ozone assessment(2014) explains as such.

        The ozone hole impacts the Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation by cooling the polar lower stratosphere in spring, which increases the gradient in temperature between the equator and pole. While the precise mechanism by which the cooling of the polar stratosphere changes the tropospheric circulation is still unclear, such a response is robustly simulated in models.

        The contribution of Antarctic ozone depletion to the observed change in the Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation (Figure ADM 5-1) in summer is substantially larger in most models than the contribution from greenhouse gas increases over the past three to five decades. The role of ozone
        depletion is largest in summer.

        Climate models simulate a southward shift of the Southern Hemisphere midlatitude maximum in precipitation in austral summer in response to stratospheric ozone depletion. There is some evidence of a
        consistent pattern of rainfall trends in observations

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          Your knowledge sounds deeper than mine.

          What impact will this model have on South Island snow pack?

          • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.1

            Well for what it is worth I recall vividly tramping down the Godley Glacier about 40 years ago. It was one of the most memorable days I ever spent in the mountains.

            Now I look at the same area on Google Earth and all I see is the wreckage of a glacier retreated many km back up the valley.

            It’s the same story everywhere else in the Alps.

    • “The progress narrative” that has undergirded Western culture for millennia was nice while it lasted, but it’s also responsible for getting us where we are today, as it stoked the fantasy that we were invincibly moving ever forward, and that our rampantly voracious overdevelopment (exploration, imperialism, conquest, growth, “civilizing” nature) had no costs, no limits, no consequences.

      This is precisely backwards. Were the “progress narrative” still meaningful, we would be dealing with climate change via large, state-funded megaprojects along the lines of Apollo or Polaris. But the progress narrative ended about 40 years ago and the societies that emerged from the 1970s were paranoid about big government and about science and technology, and thus about big government applications of science and technology. The hippies and religious conservatives declared an all out war on modernism and public reason, and they won. As Neal Stephenson pointed out some years ago, we no longer have the capacity to get the big stuff done.

      The conspiracy theories about scientists and climate change might as well be straight out of the 70s playbook (as is the anti vaccination lunacy).

  4. cogito 4

    One thing’s for sure, Tim Groser is an apologist and buck passer who is a disgrace to NZ.

    • groser will go into the history books as one of the major villains of this time..

      ..an old man..who is on the one hand selling out our sovereignty to the corporate-world/lawyers..with his pimping of the tpp..

      ..and on the other..he is the minister for doing nothing about climatechange..

      ..i can’t think of anyone doing worse for us..in such a hands-on way..

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    (we clearly lack the will to save ourselves)

    Is it that we lack the will to save ourselves or that our ‘representatives’ lack the will to go against the corporations?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Given the public vilification and character assassination they face for doing so, it is possible they also lack the means.

      • Manuka AOR 5.1.1

        “Given the public vilification and character assassination they face for doing so, it is possible they also lack the courage.

        fify

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          Nope, the means: they are reliant upon public approval, and that approval is contigent on many factors, not least of which are those controlled by corporations.

          • Manuka AOR 5.1.1.1.1

            Well, I disagree.

            If they are that reliant on “public approval” then they have lost all autonomy – they have effectively become slaves.

  6. The Murphey 6

    Q. What is that people would actually like to see happen? What would constitute progress? What is the path and where does it originate?

    Discussions on ‘climate change’ are a pointless endevour and will unlikely come in the form which might be envisaged because it is not a root cause. ‘Climate Change’ is a symptom.

    Until the root is identified then mitigated amended or altered there will not and cannot be a change of tact which the majority of planets earths inhabitants would find playable.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      The root cause has been identified. It was identified in 1896, and events in between have only increased our confidence in the validity of that identification.

      We need a change of tack, and a change of tact may well be the way to achieve it.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      What is that people would actually like to see happen?

      The rapid reduction on the use of cars to near zero.

      What would constitute progress?

      The reduction of CO2 emissions to levels that the biosphere can handle. That’s going to mean planting lots of trees/ forests and the reduction of traditional farming.

      What is the path and where does it originate?

      Being sustainable and it originates with us.

  7. b waghorn 7

    There is a show on ch1 +1 on Africa and mans effect re climate etc

  8. Clean_power 8

    Some people must be doing very well traveling to these exotic places, enjoying polite company, fine foods and beverages. Did I say travel: did they burn fossil fuels to get there?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      It’s heartening, in a way, how these witless gimps no longer maintain outright denial of reality and are now more focused on puerile carping.

      Still, never forget their lies are the problem.

      • Clean_power 8.1.1

        Monologues in front of a mirror are never good!

      • RedLogix 8.1.2

        Well no OAB – I see it as very encouraging that cp understands the symbolic and ethical power of personal example.

        For a start he or she must have already reduced their personal carbon footprint to zero. If only the rest of us had the same courage the problem would never have arisen in the first place.

  9. George Hendry 9

    Tena ra tatou katoa. 🙂

    The Israel-Gaza ‘peace process’, all 47 years of it, has never been completed because that was never its purpose. Some of us have realised by now what its real purpose is. If we like we can pretend it’s only ‘over there’, nothing to do with us.

    The international ‘carbon-reduction negotiation series’ has achieved little because from its early days that became its purpose – to achieve as little as possible while pretending otherwise. A bit harder to pretend it’s nothing to do with us.

    A scam often called ‘9/11’ , recently renamed ‘ISIS’ in the local dialect is another example of an approach to a problem whose real purpose is (where have we read this before?) to increase and prolong a problem while pretending to solve it.

    TPPA. Now in whose interests might that possibly be?

    Who are doing all this? The 1%.

    (Come on – cut the crap. You know they are. They did the WW2 thing as well, correctly guessing that they wouldn’t actually be risking getting dirty on any battlefield. They were right, too, about getting rich selling the weapons.)

    Why?

    World rule and depopulation. (“We have too many slaves – damn things keep breeding – we need to restructure and let most of them go. But we can’t have them eating, breathing and emitting carbon for free.”)

    Ridiculous, conspiracytheory, muttermutter etc. Problem, it just happens to fit all the facts. Come on, guys – name me even one it doesn’t fit :))

    They were right before, so why wouldn’t they assume they’re going to be right again. The sea may rise by however much, storms may increase but they’re not expecting these things to hurt them much – with all that ownership of the world’s wealth they can surely afford to move to higher ground and dig in there. Brave new world – fewer emissions, happy climate, even greater wealth % for them.

    So what can we do? Really?

    There are people who can answer that, plenty of them, just not those likely to be asked. They live (and die, much more frequently) in Gaza, Bangladesh, West Papua, South Auckland, you know the list. What we fear they have been going through for years, decades.

    Or ask someone you know who has been quite comfortably well off but just got told by a doctor they have three months to live.

    What do they all, always, say?

    • Ad 9.1

      Have you just finished watching Snowpiercer?

      You impute too much intelligence to the world.

    • Manuka AOR 9.2

      Kia Ora George, “What do they all, always, say?”

      “Do something, while you still can” ?

      • George Hendry 9.2.1

        Kia ora, Manuka.

        Pretty much.

        Every day counts. The fewer of them there might be, the more each one matters.

        The worse each day might be (due to poverty, racism, torture etc) the more each moment matters.

        Only I can take responsibility for my life. The moment, I do, I view my circumstances, no matter how externally dire, differently. This is a real power, one I might never have gained without the assistance provided by my awful circumstances. Or that I might never have gained without being able to watch others do what they believe to be the correct thing, knowing it will probably get them killed.

        The inescapable conclusion is that there is indeed an afterlife, another level of life, and that some find this out while they are still with us.

        Is this idea ‘blind religion’?

        To find out, carefully examine just how much science goes into ridiculing it. Perhaps someone will provide us with an example.

        • Manuka AOR 9.2.1.1

          “Only I can take responsibility for my life. The moment, I do, I view my circumstances, no matter how externally dire, differently. This is a real power, one I might never have gained without the assistance provided by my awful circumstances. “

          So, as more people become affected by the awful effects of climate change, for example, there will also be the chance for them to wake up and at least in their own lives, to enact change on some level, not necessarily physical. (I think that is what you are saying?) It is a pity that it seems to take some terrible crisis to bring most people to that point of change, or readiness for change, and greater awareness.

          • George Hendry 9.2.1.1.1

            I appreciate your efforts to understand what I’m trying to say 🙂

            The HANDY set of models, having looked at the original seems mainly about being prepared to make the effort to read and understand. After a while the maths starts to figure.

            Understandably these models are about human survival, given the frequent statements elsewhere that the planet, minus humans, has previously experienced and therefore survived more extreme conditions.

            The previous civilisations seem to have been destroyed by infighting rather than resource depletion, so resources could recover after people had disappeared without managing to use them up entirely. I expect there have always been a few of limitless greed but limited ability to put their greed into full effect.

            There seems no reason to assume that this civilisation won’t go the way of all the others, which is to say most of their people die in one go near the end but not all, as there need to be some left over for the gradual recovery. Civilisations will go on ending like this until there is collective understanding of how to identify the ultragreedy minority and how to put them in neutral, along with earthwide acceptance of the need to do it.

            Some civilisations (eg Australian Aborigines) seem to have succeeded with this if indeed that civilisation has continued for 40,000 years, their only failure having been to have got out of practice recognising and neutralising catastrophically immature colonists when they appeared.

            • RedLogix 9.2.1.1.1.1

              The simple reason that Aboriginals managed such a stable culture for so long is simple. In the absence of settled agriculture or much technology they never developed an Elite class to prey on the Commoners.

              As a result their society could attain a stable equilibrium with their environment. Exactly as predicted by the HANDY model.

            • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1.1.1.2

              Understandably these models are about human survival, given the frequent statements elsewhere that the planet, minus humans, has previously experienced and therefore survived more extreme conditions.

              The Permian Extinction Event wiped out 95% to 97% of life on Earth. It’s the only known instance where there was also a mass extinction of insects. It’s been recently postulated that that extinction event was caused by a rapid shift in temperature, namely, a 6 degree rise in temperature. Basically, exactly what we’re looking down the barrel of ATM.

            • Gosman 9.2.1.1.1.3

              “…their only failure having been to have got out of practice recognising and neutralising catastrophically immature colonists when they appeared.”

              Or to develop technology beyond a stone age level.

    • Manuka AOR 9.3

      “Or ask someone you know who… just got told by a doctor they have three months to live.”

      This is a very appropriate image ref for the world going through climate change, as we are increasingly being told we have less and less time before our cities are flooded, our lands are burnt and dry, and our homes or shelters torn apart by ravaging super storms. Many cannot yet see it, even while it is happening all around them.

      3.3 metre ocean rises predicted:
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/63871503/West-Antarctic-ice-sheet-melt-accelerating

      … and could happen very suddenly:
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/science/news/article.cfm?c_id=82&objectid=11315512

      NZ just had its warmest winter on record, while Aus had extreme heat, with at least 10 degrees centigrade above average in places, for several days in January 2013.
      http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=230497

      The changes are so extreme that the world weather agency has called for new baselines for measurement: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/as-climate-changes-world-weather-agency-calls-for-new-baseline-20140710-zt34x.html

      While NASA has predicted the collapse of civilisation within decades, due to “economic instability and pressure on the planet’s resources: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11220886

      • RedLogix 9.3.1

        Just a note on that last link of yours. The NASA funded headline is misleading. While it is true that some of the funding for the people involved does come from NASA – the paper itself not something that organisation directly commissioned or necessarily accepts. The linkage is a lot more indirect than that.

        That said – it’s still a fascinating model. I suggest linking to the original paper:

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800914000615

        rather than the sensationalised drivel in the msm. I realise it looks quite formidable on first glance – but it’s not necessary to grasp every line of the maths to understand the remarkably simple model underlying it. The graphs and text are pretty self-explanatory.

        • Manuka AOR 9.3.1.1

          Thanks Red, Yes, you are right: “It is an independent study by the university researchers utilizing research tools developed for a separate NASA activity… As is the case with all independent research, the views and conclusions in the paper are those of the authors alone. NASA does not endorse the paper or its conclusions.”

          It’s good to have access to the original study (or would be if I could understand it, heh 🙂 )

          • RedLogix 9.3.1.1.1

            Science has it’s own language and rituals that are usually quite impenetrable for outsiders. But it’s helpful to remember that it is often only the referees and a handful of specialists in the field who will read every detail of a paper with complete and critical understanding.

            But with some basic skills it’s usually not too hard to extract an overview of what it’s about – and take on faith that the technical details of the paper are either correct, or will be corrected at some time in the future. In this case the guts of the model is outlined here:

            As indicated above, Human And Nature DYnamics (HANDY) was originally built based on the predator–prey model. We can think of the human population as the “predator”, while nature (the natural resources of the surrounding environment) can be taken as the “prey”, depleted by humans. In animal models, carrying capacity is an upper ceiling on long-term population. When the population surpasses the carrying capacity, mechanisms such as starvation or migration bring the population back down. However, in the context of human societies, the population does not necessarily begin to decline upon passing the threshold of carrying capacity, because, unlike animals, humans can accumulate large surpluses (i.e., wealth) and then draw down those resources when production can no longer meet the needs of consumption. This introduces a different kind of delay that allows for much more complex dynamics, fundamentally altering the behavior and output of the model. Thus, our model adds the element of accumulated surplus not required in animal models, but which we feel is necessary for human models. We call this accumulated surplus “wealth”.

            Empirically, however, this accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels. Based on this, and on the historical cases discussed in the introduction, we separated the population into “Elites” and “Commoners”, and introduced a variable for accumulated wealth. For an analysis of this two-class structure of modern society, see Drăgulescu and Yakovenko (2001) and Banerjee and Yakovenko (2010). This adds a different dimension of predation whereby Elites “prey” on the production of wealth by Commoners. As a result, HANDY consists of four prediction equations: two for the two classes of population, Elites and Commoners, denoted by xE and xC, respectively; one for the natural resources or Nature, y; and one for the accumulated Wealth, w, referred to hereafter as “Wealth”. This minimal set of four equations seems to capture essential features of the human–nature interaction and is capable of producing major potential scenarios of collapse or transition to steady state.

            Or in short. The basic ‘predator – prey’ model is already very well understood both from observation of nature and mathematical modelling.

            What this paper does which is novel, is to treat civilisations as two interacting predator-prey models; one being the predation of humans on nature and the resulting store of wealth, and the other being the predation of the Elites on that store of wealth that the Commoners create.

            They run simulations with different starting points and parameters and plot the predictions. Mathematically it’s pretty simple stuff – and you sort of have to take it on faith that it works. But the results are fascinating and very suggestive.

            The authors themselves would be the very first to point out that this model is very much a first order approximation, and makes some pretty big generalisations. A lot more work needs doing, but it is one hell of an interesting line of investigation.

            • Manuka AOR 9.3.1.1.1.1

              I’ve just realised that you were discussing this on the Inequality thread earlier today as well. It is thought provoking, and worth more and wider discussion at some stage. Thanks heaps for the background/ explanatory info.

            • Murray Rawshark 9.3.1.1.1.2

              What interests me with this model is not the maths, which is pretty simple, but the premise that the elites prey on the workers. This is at complete variance with the neoliberal idea that workers are a drain on the wealth that the elites manufacture out of the force of their own will. I suspect that if some Randian fool programmed the model, it would collapse immediately. Maybe I’ll pretend I am one and have a go. Might even be able to publish something 🙂

              • RedLogix

                Well as you know I’m a bit of a mathematical try-hard. I’d appreciate a bit more of an explanation myself actually.

                • Murray Rawshark

                  Are you familiar with the standard Lotke-Volterra equations?

                  • RedLogix

                    OK read the wikipedia article. Rough sense of it.

                    Interesting to see the assumptions:

                    1.The prey population finds ample food at all times.

                    2.The food supply of the predator population depends entirely on the size of the prey population.

                    3.The rate of change of population is proportional to its size.

                    4.During the process, the environment does not change in favour of one species and the genetic adaptation is sufficiently slow.

                    5. Predators have limitless appetite.

                    • Murray Rawshark

                      What that model gives you is two coupled difference equations for the two populations, where the population of one depends on the population of the other. They are normally modelled as coupled differential equations and, for many initial conditions, they give periodic solutions. For some systems, this is almost the behaviour seen in nature, but the basic equations are too simplified to describe most things.

                      The HANDY model used here has four coupled equations, with two prey species, and the food supply, here called natural wealth, is also a variable. It relaxes the assumptions built into the L-V equations, except that maybe the elite still has limitless appetite.

                      Having four equations and more constants of proportionality means that it can model more complex situations and the predicted range of behaviours will be broader. The secret to obtaining anything near realistic results is knowing the correct values for alpha, beta etc. These are also functions of the main variables.

                      I would solve these numerically, in a standard Runge-Kutta solver. Fourth order should be fine for good results.

                    • RedLogix

                      Thanks Murray. That should be enough clue batting. I’ll go do my homework.

  10. barry 10

    The correct formula is quite simple.

    There is a level of total emissions since industrialisation (e.g. since 1800) that will lead to an atmospheric cabon level of 450 ppm C equivalent. That is an arbitrary level which is about the most we can possibly allow it to get. Within reason it doesn’t matter when or how quickly or how it is composed.

    These should be shared amongst the world’s countries according to population (some sort of average). Countries that have already used their share should aggressively cut back or engage in some real carbon trading. Those that industrialised late will have some spare capacity for growth or credits to sell.

    It is about doing our “share” (in a real sense instead of how right wing politicians use it to mean do nothing).

  11. Pat O'Dea 11

    The Herald On Line has published a report by Simon Terry of the Sustainability Council, part of which details the government’s creative accounting around greenhouse gas emissions.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11361280
    Oddly, (or maybe not), the Herald chose not to publish this article in their printed edition, which has a much higher readership.

    fossil fuel and agricultural emissions have been steadily rising, rather than falling to meet targets New Zealand has pledged to. On current plans, those international commitments are instead to be met using various forms of creative accounting.

    For the first period under the Kyoto Protocol from 2008 to 2012, gross emissions were 20 per cent over the target. But New Zealand plans to settle up using credits issued for the carbon absorbed by pre-existing crop forests.

    The catch is that those forests are due to be cut down in the 2020s and the bulk of the carbon will then be released again. So counting these crop forests largely just delays the time when the overshoot needs to be reconciled. Result: the bill goes on the Visa card.

    During the second commitment period from 2013 to 2020, New Zealand is projected to be 33 per cent over target. Again, the country is planning to use credits based on carbon absorbed by its crop forests and that roughly halves the overshoot (to 15 per cent).

    For the other half, New Zealand is signalling that it wants to make a tricky swap that would effectively allow it to use foreign credits minted for the first period to square up for the second period.

    Further complicating this is that while the credits are UN certified, they are mostly of dubious environmental integrity – sourced out of the Ukraine and Russia at a price of less than 50 cents a tonne.

    On this record you have to wonder if New Zealand can maintain any international credibility on climate change matters.

    Just as in 1981 it remains up to us to rescue New Zealand’s international reputation.

  12. Pat O'Dea 12

    The current National Government by only paying lip service to the Kyoto Agreement repeat their history of treachery and dishonesty on the world stage.

    In 1981 the National Government of Rob Muldoon signed up to the Gleneagels Agreement on sporting ties with Apartheid South Africa and then proceeded to do everything to undermine it and besmirch New Zealand’s international reputation. It took the people of New Zealand to rescue our reputation in front of the world and particular the people of Africa.

    A reputation that we can be proud of and still holds us in good stead. (Even if National MPs and the current Prime Minister are willfully forgetful of their role).

    Just as now, just as then, New Zealand citizens are called on to rescue our international reputation.

    No new coal mines

    No deep sea oil drilling

    • Gosman 12.1

      Deep sea drilling or coal mines probably aren’t economically viable at the moment due to the massive fall in the price of oil over the past year and the preference for nations to use shale gas/oil.

  13. karol 13

    On Morning Report this morning Tim Groser was spinning slickly, claiming NZ was doing great on its environmental/climate change policies.

    Incredibly, Groser did not know of a recent climate change report that wasn’t very glowing for NZ.

    [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20141215-0711-climate_change_expert_says_lack_of_progress_no_surprise-048.mp3" /]

    But a little later, an environmentalist responded and provided a counter to Groser’s claims.

    [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20141215-0812-lima_climate_agreement_not_enough_for_environmentalists-048.mp3" /]

  14. Gosman 14

    Have you ever thought that constantly phrasing this topic as glass half empty (or even the glass is about to melt) as opposed to glass half full is a turn off to the wider population?

    • mickysavage 14.1

      Have you ever thought that with the science so undeniably certain our politicians should lead on the issue and persuade the population that something has to be done for the good of humanity?

      • Gosman 14.1.1

        The evidence to date suggests that approach doesn’t work. People are more likely to respond to positive policy developments on this rather than the “We are all doomed!” approach you are suggesting. People don’t tend to respond to a crisis style solution unless they can see actual clear evidence of the crisis. At the moment people don’t see that in significant numbers. Perhaps if there was a massive melt in Greenland and/or Antarctica that led to a 20 or 30 cm rise in sea levels you might see this. However at the moment the argument is simply too academic for most.

        • mickysavage 14.1.1.1

          I agree the evidence to date suggests the approach does not work. The increase in CO2 levels continues unabated. The cause is largely because of failed political processes and idiot politicians who are not brave enough to make a stand and do what is necessary. “Persuasion” will not work while there is a significant section undermining the possibility of even reasonable attempts to do something about the problem.

          • Gosman 14.1.1.1.1

            The trouble is you are not likely to stop opposition. Unless you try and impose draconian anti-free speech and other totalitarian measures. Of course that is exactly what the critics argue is the reason behind efforts to combat the effects of AGW. So maybe a better approach would be to try and build a consensus for action without resorting to alarmist doom and gloom.

            • mickysavage 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Sugar coat it? But then the opponents will say that there is nothing to worry about.

            • Paul 14.1.1.1.1.2

              There isn’t the time to wait for deniers like you to be convinced.
              Saving what we can of the human planet comes above pleasing you.

            • felix 14.1.1.1.1.3

              ” that approach doesn’t work”

              …because people like you work very hard to ensure that it doesn’t work.

              “you are not likely to stop opposition”

              …which comes from people like you working very hard to ensure opposition.

  15. johnm 15

    Lima is just more hot air! The actor that really counts, the Planet, is doing its own thing now making our actions irrelevant, and that thing is: we are quite likely to be extinct as a species by the end of the century! Our habitat destroyed by a new rogue climate.

    • johnm 15.1

      Humans are the first and hopefully only suicidal species. Too bad we will take millions of other species with us.
      “We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.”
      — Kurt Vonnegut

  16. Jimmy 16

    The focus is wrong, its not emision control thats needed, its population control.
    A hard subject, but if human population was controlled to a specific chosen level, everything else would fall into place.

  17. Pat O'Dea 17

    “Is there any doubt that if the people, and not governments, were responsible for saving the planet, their answer would have been swifter and more efficient?

    Young people, all over the world, have very different priorities from corporations and industry … but they also have much less political clout.”
    ROBERTO SAVIO
    Common Dreams

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