Another reminder that climate change is happening

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 am, October 12th, 2018 - 63 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, disaster, energy, Environment, global warming, Politics, science, us politics - Tags: ,

For decades climate scientists have predicted that global warming will cause warmer seas, stronger storms and increased participation.

And in America, land of the free and the brave and led by a climate change denier, there have been two recent storms which suggest that this is indeed happening.  Of course it cannot be proved that they are the result of greenhouse gas emissions but this is precisely the scenario that scientists have been talking about for decades.

As said by James West in the News and Observer about Hurricane Florence:

Climate change has changed the way that scientists conceive of extreme events like hurricanes. There no longer are pure “Acts of Nature,” but through climate change, human activities have some role in altering the weather system. We now must assess the probabilities of extreme events, how those probabilities have changed in a warming world, and how they will change in the future.

But the press is generally reluctant to talk in these terms.

No one event like Hurricane Florence is caused by climate change, and it would be irresponsible for the press to claim as such. But it is also irresponsible to cover the hurricane without mentioning the role of climate change to make such events more likely. And that is what has happened — huge attention is devoted to hurricanes without uttering the words “climate change.”

Hurricane Michael is currently devastating Florida and the south east of the United States.  John Abraham in the Guardian is highly critical of the political process and how it can deliver climate change deniers to public office.

Floridians are staring down a very powerful Category 4 typhoon that is causing extensive damage. The high winds, heavy rains, and storm surge will cost billions of dollars.

We know that climate change is making these storms stronger. The storms feed off of warm ocean waters, and those waters are much warmer now because of climate change. I have written about the science in more detail here and here. But basically, Michael strengthened because it passed over really warm waters. Waters that were hotter because of human-caused warming.

Predictably, the hurricane strengthened as it hit shore. As I write this, Michael is coming ashore and the pressure is still falling (low pressures in a hurricane signify a stronger storm). It appears that Michael may have the third-lowest pressure for a hurricane hitting the USA.

It is a wonder that a state like Florida, which will get pummeled by Michael, could vote for someone that denies climate change. Think of how backwards the situation is – the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has reportedly been banned from using the terms “climate change” and “global warming”. This policy reportedly went into effect when Florida elected a science denier, Rick Scott, to governor.

Rick Scott has been condemned by people in Florida for his backward stance. It is climate denial like his that has contributed to the suffering of residents in the state.

It’s not that my colleagues haven’t tried to help Governor Scott understand how his policies hurt his state. A few years ago, scientists met with him and urged him to take climate change seriously. He remained silent.

It isn’t that the local media hasn’t tried. Major newspapers have called upon Rick Scott to take action on climate change. But to little avail. Maybe it’s because Rick Scott invests in companies that oppose climate change regulations?

It isn’t that his political opponents haven’t tried. Recently, Florida Democrats petitioned Rick Scott to acknowledge climate change.

But still the world’s leaders fiddle while the world starts burning.  And even here in New Zealand some timid steps that are being taken have been met by considerable opposition.  Although it seems pretty clear that the reports of business pessimism reflect the political beliefs of those being polled.

So what is holding us back?  Why are we unable to act to address this most significant of threats?

Danyl McLaughlan thinks the basic problem is basic indifference.  From Spinoff:

One of the things the IPCC report makes clear is that we’re already living in the climate changed future. The world has warmed by one percent since the beginning of the industrial revolution and this is causing storm surges, fiercer droughts, stronger hurricanes, heat waves; intensifying extreme weather events all around the world, causing massive economic damage and political instability. So if we want to see how our politicians will cope with the problem of climate change in the future, all we need to do is see how what they’re doing now. And … it’s not quite nothing, at least in New Zealand: there’s the oil and gas exploration ban, the carbon commission, the Carbon Zero bill. But, realistically, it’s not even close to what’s needed.

I don’t think this is the fault of our political class or the media, who are the usual scapegoats in this debate. Even the energy industry and its lobbyists – who are, to be sure, literally destroying the world – are only doing what powerful interests have always done, and will always do: defend their own wealth and privilege, deluding themselves into believing they’re on the right side of history by defending society against a malevolent conspiracy of climatologists. The core problem is much deeper and harder to fix: it’s that not many people care about climate change.

And Matthew Hooton, who provides a very useful insight into the thinking of the right, has shifted position.  He no longer denies that climate change is occurring, but he claims instead that New Zealand is too small to have an effect and so we should do nothing but hope that the super powers make the necessary adjustments.

Given the IPCC’s prediction that we have 12 years to make some pretty major changes things are not looking good …


63 comments on “Another reminder that climate change is happening”

  1. Ad 1

    The media profile will be good for Rick Scott’s numbers. He’s got a slim but consistent lead over the Democratic challenger.

    Which is pretty weird given another two or three inches all those Miamians won’t be able to get their yachts out because the bridges are too low….

    …that, and a good storm taking out Mar a Largo.

  2. cleangreen 2

    Thank you Micky for keep this subject well alive as it is the most serious of all issues to face us all going forward now and many seem to simply ignore it as the weather around us we are seeing is becoming now more and more actively severe with extremes of weather events weekly now.

    Even my sheep are now experiencing hardship coping with these severe weather extremes and often some fail to thrive now as the dampness is causing health issue and stunned grass growth as the constant rain is drowning the grass roots even now, as water is flooding paddocks like we have never seen before..

  3. BM 3

    Good article by Mathew Hooton.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      No, like everything he says it’s pretty much a bunch of self-serving lies designed to keep the system the way it is as it benefits him.

    • Dukeofurl 3.2

      Hooton is only doing it for commercial reasons, likely no company who would give paid work to some one way outside the mainstream.

      Its reverse greenwash for those with chargeout rates of $5k per day

    • SPC 3.3

      Hooton is merely engaging in divide and conquer politics.

      This is the same person who claimed that WFF resulted in lower wages to undermine unity on the left on this issue.

      He is just attacking the credibility of the PM if she does not embrace higher petrol prices, knowing if she did National would exploit it (and that some on the left would see such a means to reduce car use as regressive).

      It is a sad fact that higher prices via carbon taxation are not popular, but they are still preferable to corporate profiteering (thus the focus on transparency here) and they do enable greater revenues for renewables/public transport investment.

  4. Kat 4

    Hoots along with the Hosk are back on the road spinning again and mainly against the integrity of the PM. In Hoots latest scribble in the Herald today he critcises Jacinda Ardern for not saying its good that petrol prices have gone up and that they should go higher. Then he calls her a hypocrite for her intentions to investigate the Cartel price rorting. Then he states: “While deeply cynical, that is in fact the right stance”.

    Yes a deep insight into how the right decipher the breeze blowing between their ears.

    Meanwhile the Hosk plants his foot and lays some more rubber. “Bugger it he says, its only $200 bucks a tank”.

    • Dukeofurl 4.1

      Hosking is wrong about nothing to see here over petrol prices

      The previous Government commissioned a study last year [Collins] of the fuel market, prompted by the observation that over the previous nine years New Zealand had gone from being in the bottom third of the OECD in pre-tax premium petrol prices to the most expensive, and by a rising spread between prices in the South Island and Wellington, on the one hand, and the rest of the North Island on the other.

      Hosking calls this the ‘natural order’ , remember this was the same guy that said only idiots have car crashes until he had one. The same guy who said no one would buy an apartment without a carpark- it was against the natural order of things

    • SPC 4.2

      I agree.

      And there is no call by them for National to support higher petrol prices, apply a carbon tax or support the Auckland levy.

    • Chuck 4.3

      This is a perfect example of Ardern virtual signalling verse reality.

      “Ms Ardern called climate change” “my generation’s nuclear free moment”.

      “This is my generation’s nuclear-free moment, and I am determined that we will tackle it head on.”

      Ardern if she was true to her “tackle it head on” would be telling us that’s the price we pay for using fossil fuels.

      Arderns credibility takes another hit…

      • SPC 4.3.1

        Tolerating corporate profiteering, without question, is not a means to combat reliance on fossil fuels. A higher price that delivered the government revenues for investing in alternatives is another matter entirely.

        • Chuck

          Well, let us see what the “corporate profiteering” is. I suspect it will blow up in Arderns face…

          “A higher price that delivered the government revenues for investing in alternatives is another matter entirely.”

          That might be the textbook answer – in reality, if petrol was $3 litre Joe public will be more outraged if it was Ardern that further ramped up taxes on fuel (after telling the oil companies to reduce their margins). At least currently Ardern can use the corporations are the bastards excuse.

          • SPC

            Just because Collins achieved nothing does not mean that trying to hold market cartels to account is wrong or futile – how many years has she tried to be National leader and failed? Ardern reached leadership successfully and with less effort.

            So you have no problem with the price being high, if corporates are taking profits, but not if the government is gathering revenues from carbon use. Yet it has having the money which allows government to afford public transport infrastructure and other investment in a lower carbon future.

            It seems the more you comment, the more you reveal that you do not care about a lower use of carbon future or the price of petrol – it’s just about what angle to attack the PM on.

            More incoherence from the right.

            The irony is people like Hosking and Hooton attacking her from the blue green wing for not doing enough to reduce carbon use (and neither are bluegreen) and Bridges attacking the government for not reducing the price of carbon by reducing government revenue because he wants the government to fall into a fiscal hole.

            • Chuck

              “So you have no problem with the price being high, if corporates are taking profits, but not if the government is gathering revenues from carbon use.”

              You are misrepresenting what I said…I was pointing out that if petrol was $3 litre – and the cause of that was more Jacinda tax’s her re-election chances would take a dive.

              “it’s just about what angle to attack the PM on.”

              Yes, the PM is a virtual signalling hypocrite.

              Did you see yesterday how Ardern “forgot” just how much tax the Govt takes per litre of petrol?

              • SPC

                The official figures are always historic and not up to date.

                Already Simon Bridges has (pretended to) forgotten this, and here you are using his talking points.

                Thanks for clarifying National’s talking points, she is not dealing with climate change and we will attack her for this (to divide and conquer the left) and if she does act (to increase the price of carbon) National will campaign on lower pterol prices to win back government.

                • Chuck

                  “The official figures are always historic and not up to date.”

                  Yes, that’s the excuse Ardern put up when busted. There are two possibilities…

                  [a] Ardern did not realise they were historic and did not take into account the recent tax/levy increases.

                  [b] Ardern knew, but it did not fit her narrative.

                  So either Ardern did it on purpose or was naive, I think it was [b]. Ardern is just another politician.

                  SPC if you think for one moment that a Labour opposition would not “attack” a Nat Govt over escalating fuel prices you are dreaming.

                  • SPC

                    The only official figures available are the only official figures available.

                    Too hard to follow?

                    You would prefer the Steven Joyce approach … an $11B hole he counted on the back of an envelope?

                    And Labour did not attack National for increasing the petrol excise. But it was National who attacked Labour for doing the same thing.

                    • Chuck

                      “Too hard to follow?”

                      That was what Ardern hoped to of happened…

                      You conveniently forget the basis for Ardern’s release of the figures – to imply how much the oil companies are making compared to the level of petrol tax the Govt collects.

                      Now if you are honest with yourself, would you of expected the PM to make an effort to show the actual numbers and not the historical numbers which are no longer relevant??

  5. Clive Macann 5

    It seems everyone knows that climate change is real and something needs to be done.
    But not done to change it. Done to cope with it.
    The idea that it is man-made is ludicrous. How did mankind ever come up with the idea that they are more powerful than Mother Nature? That is beyond me and sounds very arrogant in fact.
    Have respect for Mother Nature as she is doing what’s necessary to repair the planet.
    Floods, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, drought etc are her means of doing that.
    Mankind can’t alter that. They can only learn to cope with it. JM2CW

    • BM 5.1

      But not done to change it. Done to cope with it.

      Yeah but that doesn’t involve pollies flying all around the world so they can big note on the international stage and spend lots of time in first-class hotels and resorts as they “save the planet”.

      Coping with the effects of climate change as it happens is a far more sensible option, it’s not like you’re going to go to bed and then wake up with the sea lapping around your pillow.

      • Macro 5.1.1

        it’s not like you’re going to go to bed and then wake up with the sea lapping around your pillow.

        Except of course in Florida

        • BM

          Is this hurricane really “climate change”

          Crying wolf every time there’s a weather event just puts people off and makes them seriously question motives.

          • Macro

            There are plenty of studies to show that the intensity of tropical storms in the Northern Hemisphere have intensified over recent years. The while the frequency of tropical storms has not increased in recent years the effects of Hurricane activity has been exacerbated by AGW in a number of ways – not all to do with changing climate.
            But I’ll let Dr James Hansen explain it more fully:

            So, does global warming have a hand in the magnitude of the Hurricane Florence disaster on the U.S. East Coast?
            Yes, we can say with confidence, it contributes in several ways.
            First, there is the fact that sea level rise due to global warming is already well over a foot along the U.S. East Coast. Ice melt due to global warming accounts for about 20 cm (8 inches) global average sea level rise (Fig. 29 in our Ice Melt paper2). Slowdown of the Gulf Stream, which is a part of the AMOC slowdown, adds to East Coast sea level. The slowdown reduces the west-to-east upward slope of the ocean surface across the Gulf Stream4 , causing piling up of water on the East Coast. The combined sea level rise from these effects, which is
            also responsible for “sunny day flooding” on the Eastern Seaboard, makes hurricane storm surges greater.
            Second, the warmer ocean surface and atmosphere result in greater rainfall amounts. Of course the primary reason for extraordinary rainfall amounts from Florence was the storm’s slow movement.
            Third, warmer ocean surface provides more fuel for tropical storms and expands the ocean area able to generate and maintain these storms. Part of a given hurricane’s strength can be attributed to such extra warming of the
            ocean surface. That effect was pronounced in the case of Hurricane Sandy, which maintained hurricane wind speeds all the way to New York City because of the unusually warm sea surface off the United States East Coast.
            What about the track of Florence and the fact that it stalled, resulting in huge local rainfall totals? The track and speed of a given hurricane depend on large scale mid-latitude weather patterns that are largely a matter of chance.
            As the area in which “tropical” storms can form expands poleward, the opportunity for a mid-latitude high pressure system to push a storm westward may increase, but we are unaware of specific studies. What we can say
            is that historical hurricane tracks may not be an accurate picture of future tracks.
            The number of hurricanes striking the continental U.S. does not show a notable trend (Fig. 2). Indeed, the current decade has only the rest of this year and next year to add to its total to avoid being the decade with the smallest number of hurricanes hitting the continental United States. This small reduction in landfalls seems to be a matter of chance.5
            Damage per hurricane is more important. Global warming already has a large impact on damage for reasons given above. Those impacts, especially those arising from increasing sea level, may accelerate exponentially, i

            • Macro

              From 2005.
              From 2007

              We conclude that the definitive assertion of Gray (2005) and Mayfield (2005), that human-made GHGs play no role in the Atlantic Ocean temperature changes that they assume to drive hurricane intensification, is untenable. Specifically, the assertions that (1) hurricane intensification of the past decade is due to changes in SST [sea surface temperature] in the Atlantic Ocean, and (2) global warming cannot have had a significant role in the hurricane intensification of the past decade, are mutually inconsistent. On the contrary, although natural cycles play a role in changing Atlantic SST, our model results indicate that, to the degree that hurricane intensification of the past decade is a product of increasing SST in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, human-made GHGs probably are a substantial contributor, as also concluded by Mann and Emanuel (2006). Santer et al. (2006) have obtained similar conclusions by examining the results of 22 climate models.

              The oceans are getting warmer, and hurricanes are getting more intense as a result.

              My Bold – and that is the essence of it. Its not rocket science – it’s what we should be expecting as we trap more energy into the troposphere.
              I could cite more, but I think you get the drift.

    • mikesh 5.2

      Your religious beliefs of course do you credit, and it’s true that we should be taking steps to cope with climate change. However, the idea that climate change is man-made is not at all ludicrous, and I believe we should also be doing what we can to combat climate change.

    • SpaceMonkey 5.3

      Repair the planet…?? What would Mother Nature be repairing exactly? Might that be reining in a population of humans vastly exceeding sustainable numbers? A human population rapaciously consuming and misusing her resources? A human population industrially concocting all manner of chemical pollutants on a scale never seen before in recorded history? Are they not all man-made?

      We are part of an ecological system, not separate to it. So there’s the arrogance right there – that as a civilization we could abuse and crap on this planet without any consequence. The reality is that if lie in our own excrement long enough, we’re eventually going to get sick from it, and we’ve reached that point – actually I believe we’ve moved well beyond it. Agent Smith was on the money when he referred to humanity as a virus. Mother Nature will do for humanity what humanity cannot do for itself.

      Here we agree… we can only roll with it now and accept what is coming. That does not mean we don’t have to change anything.

    • corodale 5.4

      Yeah calling 4 JC, good book, ya could say.

      This quantitative weakening of the sun’s rays is not new, but not everyone had it on their scale time equations. It’s not calculus, well, it almost is actually.

      Media might need to keep ramrodding the data up a few categories. Support higher building codes, to save the landlords’ time on maintenance 😉

      Free-to-air-sport so community see less media. Main parties could have inter house wrestling and mixed martial arts teams, let the Greens have live TV screening of yoga, aikido and taichi.

    • JohnSelway 5.5

      “The idea that it is man-made is ludicrous. How did mankind ever come up with the idea that they are more powerful than Mother Nature? ”

      Because all evidence points directly to that being the case. You don’t know that the earth and it’s climate and biology is a finely balanced machine and small changes have huge downstream consequences?

    • Macro 5.6

      Perhaps it might help if you were to read this page:

      just a few excerpts to help you understand just what humans have done:

      The human impact on biodiversity forms one of the primary attributes of the Anthropocene.[33] Humankind has entered what is sometimes called the Earth’s sixth major extinction.[34][35] Most experts agree that human activities have accelerated the rate of species extinction. The exact rate remains controversial – perhaps 100 to 1000 times the normal background rate of extinction.[36] A 2010 study found that “marine phytoplankton – the vast range of tiny algae species accounting for roughly half of Earth’s total photosynthetic biomass – had declined substantially in the world’s oceans over the past century. From 1950 alone, algal biomass decreased by around 40%, probably in response to ocean warming – and that the decline had gathered pace in recent years.

      Changes in drainage patterns traceable to human activity will persist over geologic time in large parts of the continents where the geologic regime is erosional. This includes the paths of roads and highways defined by their grading and drainage control. Direct changes to the form of the Earth’s surface by human activities (e.g., quarrying, landscaping) also record human impacts.

      It has been suggested the deposition of calthemite formations are one example of a natural process which has not previously occurred prior to the human modification of the Earth’s surface, and therefore represents a unique process of the Anthropocene.[51] Calthemite is a secondary deposit, derived from concrete, lime, mortar or other calcareous material outside the cave environment.[52] Calthemites grow on or under, man-made structures (including mines and tunnels) and mimic the shapes and forms of cave speleothems, such as stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone etc.

      In terms of trace elements, there are distinct signatures left by modern societies. For example, in the Upper Fremont Glacier in Wyoming, there is a layer of chlorine present in ice cores from 1960’s atomic weapon testing programs, as well as a layer of mercury associated with coal plants in the 1980s. From 1945 to 1951, nuclear fallout is found locally around atomic device test sites, whereas from 1952 to 1980, tests of thermonuclear devices have left a clear, global signal of excess 14
      , 239
      , and other artificial radionuclides. The highest global concentration of radionuclides was in 1965, one of the dates which has been proposed as a possible benchmark for the start of the formally defined Anthropocene.[56]

      Human burning of fossil fuels has also left distinctly elevated concentrations of black carbon, inorganic ash, and spherical carbonaceous particles in recent sediments across the world. Concentrations of these components increases markedly and almost simultaneously around the world beginning around 1950.

      And that takes no account of the fact that the continued burning of fossil fuels has seen the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increase from around 357ppm in 1957 to over 400ppm presently.

  6. Serendipity Singers – Don’t Let The Rain Come Down … – YouTube

  7. One Two 7

    The root causes are not the weather conditions…events or changes…

    Those are symptoms…of what may or may not be causing the events…

    As a species, it is impossible to mitigate external factors, despite there being efforts to do so…

    Which leaves mitigating activity on planet earth at the mercy of the dominating ideology of capitalism…

    Does that make capitalism the single root cause of so called climate change…no…but it is closer to being a cause than a symptom…

    Opining about Trump and co being alleged ‘deniers’ totally misses the mark…they too are symptoms…

    Foscussing in symptoms is spent energy…and will achieve little meaningful by way of positive long term outcomes…

  8. Dukeofurl 8

    Something doesnt add about the strength of this Hurricane winds at the ground level .

    Official NOAA wind speeds from the towns either side of Mexico beach Florida where the eye first made landfall.

    and the otherside of the eye

    category 4 hurricane is 113-136 kt , while these places are seeing 60-70 kts sustained with gusts higher , up to 95 kts.

    The tidal prediction was for water level of 1.02 ft the actual water level maximum from the surge was 6.65ft
    That gives a hurricane surge of 5.6 ft

  9. Antoine 9

    I like the James West quote


    PS you changed the Danyl quote from “one degree” to “one percent”

  10. Ross 10

    Hurricanes have existed since the year dot. And they were as severe back then as they are now. But you already knew that.

    • McFlock 10.1

      Argues against AGW- related increase in storms by pointing to evidence of large storms in previous warm period. Well played.

      • Ross 10.1.1

        Previous warm period…when apparently there were few man made emissions. How much of the current climate change (see, I do believe!) is natural? Yes we could spend billions to reduce temperatures by a tenth of one degree. But maybe that sort of expenditure could be better utilised elsewhere. Bjørn Lomborg has made the same point.

        • McFlock

          Excellent questions. Fortunately, the IPCC has distilled the research of literally tens of thousands of professionals into a single report that you can read at your convenience.

          If you can prove them wrong, you’d get at least two Nobel Prizes (physics and chemistry), and possibly a Fields Medal to boot. Write up your differing opinions immediately, humanity will thank you for it!

          • Poission

            the almost four-decade long period of remotely sensed observations remains relatively short to distinguish anthropogenically induced trends from decadal and multi-decadal variability, implies that there is only low confidence regarding changes in global tropical cyclone numbers under global warming over the last four decades.

            CMIP5 model simulations of the historical period have also not produced anthropogenically induced trends in very intense tropical cyclones (Bender et al., 2010; Knutson et al., 2010, 2013; Camargo, 2013; Christensen et al., 2013), consistent with the findings of Klotzbach and Landsea (2015). There is consequently low confidence in the larger number of studies reporting increasing trends in the global number of very intense cyclones.

            There is thus limited evidence that the global number of tropical cyclones will be less under 2°C of global warming compared to 1.5 °C of warming, but with an increase in the number of very intense cyclones (low confidence).

            IPCC oct 2018

          • Dukeofurl

            “If you can prove them wrong, you’d get at least two Nobel Prizes (physics and chemistry), and possibly a Fields Medal to boot..”

            No need for that, you can see how the IPCC has changed its conclusions over the years, thus ‘proving’ its previous reports wrong.

            Science is proving lots of things ‘wrong’ all the time, thats what science does.

            IPCC isnt saying its infallible as you seem to suggest, most of their conclusions are in ranges of certainity, but the core of the research remains the same.

            Still has major technical questions unknown, Im not trying to ‘pull it apart’, but look up the word ‘uncertain’ in the AR5 Synthesis Report.

            My count gives 140 mentions, A whole section is even called
            “Advances, Confidence and Uncertainty in Modelling the Earth’s Climate System”

            Doesnt change the broad outlook of the results as many things are pretty certain, but its its a bit silly to say its all infallible, like you suggest.

            • McFlock

              Indeed, they clearly identify their levels of uncertainty.

              My point still stands. As you say, the “core of the research” is consistent. Prove that wrong, accolades will shower upon you as rain…

        • Macro

          Experts reject Bjørn Lomborg’s view on 2C warming target

          But you go ahead and believe it if it makes you feel better. Just remember that when forking out for your increasing insurance premiums for your sea side holiday home, because insurance companies right now are feeling the pinch as more and more claims descend upon them from damage and loss caused by storms and forest fires.

          • cleangreen

            100% Macro, it seems that many do not get it yet.

            Once it hits them in the pocket they are bound to awaken then.

            “None so dumb as those who will not listen” syndrome” again we are seeing there.

      • alwyn 10.1.2

        The original post says.

        “We know that climate change is making these storms stronger. The storms feed off of warm ocean waters, and those waters are much warmer now because of climate change.
        . . . . . .
        It appears that Michael may have the third-lowest pressure for a hurricane hitting the USA.”

        The two stronger ones were in 1935 and 1969.
        Why, when human produced greenhouse gas emissions were so much lower were the hurricanes stronger?
        It is always dangerous and misleading to use single events as being evidence for global warming.
        Of the 10 strongest hurricanes to hit the USA five were before 1940 and five were after that date.

        • McFlock

          … and 4 of the top 5 were after 1940, and the one exception was the most recent strongest one before 1940 (1935).

          • alwyn

            Sure they are.
            I simply used the 10 they listed.
            You can make a different point by selectively choosing a different number.
            That merely accentuates the point I was making about the selective use of very small samples and individual events.

            • McFlock

              Except that the IPCC report uses a multitude of data sources to show that storm severity is increasing, amongst other things. And the top ten list is consistent with the larger IPCC assessment.

              So sometimes selective use of smaller sets actually helps illustrate larger issues.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I’m pretty sure that if we had the records we could point to storms just as strong in the last Ice Age.

          What’s the average doing?

          And for that we have to look at the average number of storms and the average strength of them.

          A 1% increase in the strength of a cat5 storm won’t make a lot of difference. A 1% increase in all storms will and so will an increase in the number of storms.

          • alwyn

            That would be fine except that far to many people, both here and in comments in general talk about hurricanes Michael and Florence and don’t look at the overall incidence and average strength of all hurricanes.
            That is the mistake they are making.

            • Macro

              There are numerous studies showing that over the past few decades the intensity of hurricanes making landfall on the US mainland has increased. Hansen is but one

  11. SPC 11

    Acts of nature influenced by human activity or acts of God influenced by the Pope (and or some cynic stateside who named a storm Michael – after the Pope very recently called on the ArchAngel Micheal to save the church from the devil)?

  12. greywarshark 12

    Increased ‘precipitation’ resulting in the need for increased participation in planning by individuals and collectively through Councils and appropriate ginger groups.

    In Florida, a snappy and meaningful slogan can be –
    Rick Scott either do your job, or get off the pot!’ These complacent, well-fed people have to be taunted with coarse language before they are willing to pay attention to the hoi polloi and the commons.

  13. esoteric pineapples 13

    If we don’t do something about climate change, there is a high likelihood of nuclear war due to intense pressure on fast diminishing resources.

  14. peterlepaysan 14

    I heard, on good authority, Donald Chump, that climate change was a Chinese lie to destroy US manufacturing.

    Is this correct?

    • Mack 14.1

      ” Is this correct?”
      Trump said it was a Chinese “hoax.” I think he only threw the Chinese bit in to confuse the wacko believers, and blame some other country for the hoax, other than the good ol’ USA. It’s not a good look for his voters to realise their own country is responsible for the hoax. Even Al Gore and Hansen are Americans, after all….so best blame the Chinese…and excuse this AGW crap, along with all the other crap that comes out of the USA.
      The main message was HOAX…what part of the word HOAX, do you true believers not understand?

    • RedLogix 14.2

      Very funny. Good trolling.

  15. Ross 15

    Alas, there’s a certain amount of hysteria attached to climate change. It seems to be the moral panic of our time.

    “A hundred years ago, climate disasters globally killed about half a million people annually. Today, with many more people, that toll has dropped by more than 95 percent.”

    You’d think we’d be delighted with this fact! Apparently not.

    • SPC 15.1

      Another person unaware of the difference between moral panic and real world science?

      Arguing for the continued use of carbon until cheaper clean tech is available is like waiting on a roof for a rescue helicopter rather than leave the beach before the hurricane arrives.

  16. Jenny 16

    I am an optimist.
    What other choice is there?



    “For decades climate scientists have predicted that global warming will cause warmer seas, stronger storms and increased participation.”


    Hi Micky,

    In your lead in paragraph, at the top of this post, did you mean to write  ‘increased participation’?

    Or was that an unintentional typo? Did you mean to write, ‘increased precipitation’?

    However,taking your leading comment literally; global warming will cause, ‘increased participation” (either that, or the unthinkable). Faced with existential crisis, as Winston Churchill posed it; “What other choice is there?”

    “We still have time for a rescue, but it will be the largest project humanity has ever undertaken”
    NewScientist LEADER – October 10, 2018

    IT WAS always likely to come to this. Despite decades of ever-starker warnings, and years of increasingly obvious changes to the climate, we still haven’t done nearly enough. Now, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the UN’s advisory body on the science of global warming – we are rapidly running out of time. Limiting warming to a manageable (but still dangerous) 1.5°C is possible, strictly speaking, but it would require “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” by 2030 (see “What you need to know about the big UN climate report out this week”).

    That would mean starting not some time in the future, but right now……

    …….If we don’t act, though, the consequences are grave and they are going to hit us within the lifetime of our grandchildren. As the IPCC says, even if everyone sticks to the Paris Agreement, we are currently on course to warm the planet by 3°C by the year 2100. That would mean a decisive end to the balmy and benign Holocene climate that allowed our civilisation to flourish, and the start of something much less hospitable. Heatwaves, flooding, wildfires, drought and famine will become much more common “in every inhabited continent” – which is why most of us try not to think about it too much.

    “We still have time for a rescue, but it will be the largest project humanity has ever undertaken”

    If anything, denial is deepening. The populist revolt is hostile to climate action and its leaders have managed to tar environmentalists as just another wing of the liberal elite. Populism thrives by offering simplistic solutions to complex problems – the exact opposite of what the world needs right now (see “Economics Nobel prize given for putting a price tag on climate change”).

    The natural reaction to the IPCC report and wider developments may thus be despair. But that guarantees only one outcome: defeat. As the report makes clear, we still have time to pull off a rescue. It will arguably be the largest project that humanity has ever undertaken – comparable to the two world wars, the Apollo programme, the cold war, the abolition of slavery, the Manhattan project, the building of the railways and the rollout of sanitation and electrification, all in one. In other words, it will require us to strain every muscle of human ingenuity in the hope of a better future, if not for ourselves then at least for our descendants.

    Is it possible? Over the coming weeks and months, we will be reporting on the ways in which we might transform society to avert the crisis…..

    New Scientist 

    It may seem a contradiction in terms, but in my opinion to get the sort of international cooperation that the New Scientist says is necessary, Unilateral Action is required.

    As the pop. culture saying goes; “Build it and they will come”*. This is what is called leading from the front.

    *(or maybe they won’t come. But if we don’t build it, they will never even have the choice).

    Faced with an existential crisis Winston Churchill could not wait till he had international agreement He acted unilaterally.

    Right here. Right Now, in this country, this is the choice for our leaders, if they fail we all fail.

    • Jenny 16.1

      An appeaser is someone who feeds a crocodile hoping that it will eat him last.

      Winston Churchill

      This country and this government need to start seriously investigating and applying the policies and strategies needed to transform society, that New Scientist say in the link above that they will be laying out in the coming weeks months.

      No more of the cowardly and unprincipled “fast follower” appeaser doctrine advocated by John Key.

      As Churchill realised, someone had to take unilateral action. That meant going out in front. Even going out alone, (at least initially.)

      I know all the appeasers and cowards now as then will scream blue murder at the prospect.

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    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    17 hours ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    18 hours ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    18 hours ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    19 hours ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    19 hours ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    19 hours ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    22 hours ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    2 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    2 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    2 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    3 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    3 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    3 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    4 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    5 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    6 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    6 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    6 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    6 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    6 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    6 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    6 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    7 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    7 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    7 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    1 week ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    1 week ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    1 week ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    1 week ago