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Break Free 2016

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, May 12th, 2016 - 60 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, global warming - Tags: , , ,

We’re a bit late getting to this, but, check out Break Free 2016:

Break Free From Fossil Fuels is a two-week global wave of escalated action to keep coal, oil + gas in the ground.

#breakfree2016

May 4-15, 2016: A global wave of mass actions will target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects, in order to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy. Across the world, people are showing the courage to confront polluters where they are most powerful — from the halls of power to the wells and mines themselves.

At the beginning of 2016, the fossil fuel industry faces an unprecedented crisis — from collapsing prices, a new global climate deal, and an ever-growing movement calling for change.

We have never had a better chance in history to break free from fossil fuels and build a just transition to clean and renewable energy.

Fighting climate change requires the courage to confront polluters where they think they are most powerful. For years, communities on the front lines have led that struggle, and this May we can join them.

The world is becoming dangerously hotter by the day. Through peaceful direct action across the globe we can demonstrate to those in power that people everywhere are prepared to resist the fossil fuel industry’s plans to wreck the planet. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. Let’s seize it.

There are still events coming up in NZ, including today in Dunedin.

60 comments on “Break Free 2016 ”

  1. Pasupial 1

    About 60 protesters have lined the footpath outside two branches at the intersection of George and Hanover Sts in the central city… Police are at the scene.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/382982/protesters-picket-banks-dunedin-branches

    • Bill 1.1

      Are people being blocked from getting in and out?

      If they are (and I’ll remark that occupying an entrance is probably intimidating to many) then all I’ll say is that inconveniencing the people you want to get ‘on side’ isn’t the best of tactics.

      The general customer has no or little option with regards using whatever bank and the general customer is a very small bit player in climate change who needs help and encouragement, not a guilt trip.

      Would I making a similar comment if the runway at Dunedin Airport was being occupied? Probably not. My magnanimity only goes so far 😉

      Maybe relevant – the most effective McDonalds protest I ever participated in involved being all happy and friendly and handing balloons out to the toddlers who were going in with their mums. We also handed the mum a small flyer. They went in. They enjoyed their meal. They came out livid and very supportive of what we were about.

      • Pasupial 1.1.1

        Hmm that ODT link seems to have vanished – this is the updated one:

        About 100 people protesting over fossil fuel and climate change issues blocked entry to three ANZ Bank branches in central Dunedin.

        http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/382982/protesters-picket-dunedin-banks

      • weka 1.1.2

        Looking at the video I tend to agree. Would have still been effective if they had protested in the doorway but let people through to go banking and hand them a flier or sing them a song. And done some street theatre.

        Is the ANZ worse than other banks? The group didn’t get its message across very well.

        Nice to see some co-ordinated protesting though.

        Ha ha, totally agree about the airport too.

  2. Richardrawshark 2

    Better ways of protesting oil n gas.

  3. Richardrawshark 3

    Should we spend our time advertising for oil n gas or should we not use our time for good, and target the car manufacturers for more, better and cheaper electric cars, should we not set our focus on the Solar panel and associated manufacturers to offer more energy saving systems we can afford.

    I have been one of those of the opinion that the constant protests and occupations since the spring bok tour on anything and everything, has turned legitimate protest action into what, being labelled a rent a mob.

    Proper protesting has lost a lot of integrity.

  4. Macro 4

    Spiralling out of control Amazing graphic of monthly global temperatures from 1850 – 2016.
    Why we need to break free from Fossil Fuels and fast.

    • Bill 4.1

      I’d say ‘immediately’. To which you’d reasonably respond that…nope – didn’t happen. Sadly, I think one day you’ll look back to your ‘fast’ comment and be saying the same thing.

      • Macro 4.1.1

        Bill its an impossible dream to think that the world will stop burning fossil fuels overnight. And I am well aware that even if such a thing were to happen warming will still continue into the future. When I say fast I mean exactly that. At the beginning of WW2 Britain was well behind Germany in terms of military production. The allies needed to gear up their production but it did not happen overnight. Similarly now we need to move to a war footing – but in reverse – where all resources are focused on working towards the reduction of fossil fuels as fast as possible yet maintaining the population. This can only be done by central control and oversight just as Beverbrook controlled war production.
        What I am saying is that the world needs to move to a war footing to tackle this most pressing issue. Governments of the western world adopted the so called “war on terror” for much more specious reasons than the dangers presented now with Global Warming. it is not far fetched to think of a “war on AGW” – I do not like the term Climate Change – that is only the consequence of Human caused Global Warming.
        According to the accepted science the world had a Carbon Budget of around 565Gt of Carbon left in 2011 (of which we have burned around a third to date) stay within the 2 degree limit. I’m ready to accept that even that figure is maybe a tad optimistic and that Climate sensitivity is actually higher than that used to project the above figure. We have had around 1 degree of warming already and a study in 2011 concluded that, were burning of fossil fuels to cease overnight, there was a sufficient energy imbalance to continue warming to 1.3 degrees.
        So we have a minute window left. It is closing fast, The quicker we as humans can change our ways and reduce our burning of fossil fuels the safer the planet will be for those to come.

        • Bill 4.1.1.1

          Nothing there of any consequence I’d disagree with. According to Anderson the arithmetic is a reduction of 10 – 15% per year and zero by 2030. That’s fast. It’s kind of the range I imagined you were referring to. And like I said…I don’t think we’re going to do it. I see no signs of it being tried. I see no ‘war footing’. I see nothing but a steady stream of rhetoric from politicians and policy makers that is a million miles away from what is needed and another million miles from what they are actually doing.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1

            In NZ that’s getting 10% of car and truck numbers off the road a year, and 10% of cows and other live stock off the fields a year.

            As well as reducing the sales of imported and consumer items by 10% a year.

            • weka 4.1.1.1.1.1

              That doesn’t sound that hard tbh.

              Is that 10% of each previous year or 10% of the original year every year? eg if there are 100 cars on the road this year is it 90 next year, 81 the year after etc or is that 90 next year, 80 the year after etc?

              • Colonial Viper

                10% of that year by the next year, so yes, .90 then .81 the year after etc.

                A final decrement down to 0 as Bill says by 2030.

                • weka

                  So the problem isn’t that that is impossible, it’s that it would affect the economy right?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It certainly is not impossible (although I would choose very slightly different numbers).

                    The problem is threefold:

                    1) Seeking agreement across all influential quarters of Kiwi society that this plan *MUST* be undertaken.

                    2) Coping with the massive internal social and economic disruptions which would result.

                    3) Managing NZ’s resulting international status and reputation as a pariah or quasi-failed state.

                  • Pat

                    @ weka “the economy” is just another way of saying the wants and needs of society…..many of the wants may be discretionary, not so the needs.

                    • weka

                      Good point and nice to see the economy being reframed back into something more real than how it gets promoted and misused by people like National. If we looked at the needs and wants of society in the context of CC it would look completely different than what all our economic institutions talk about now.

                      When I say CV’s targets don’t look that bad I mean that if the will were there we could do those drops (and put other things in place that were not fossil fuel based) but there would still be the problem of this behemoth system the underpins the needs and wants if society and the fact that it is completely enmeshed with fossil fuel use and because of that would collapse if we did the right things. It is also fundamentally unsustainable in the way it functions eg in how it relates with the environmental world but also things like how it fails to account for the value of voluntary work esp by woman.

                      What I wanted to understand then was to what extent a small country like NZ could transition into another model that better served the needs and wants if NZ society and didn’t wreck the environment. Assuming the political will was there (CV’s point one, a big assumption), is there any real reason why we couldn’t manage the system in a sustainable way. How would NZ make a living without ff?

                      Some of that is easy. If we relocalised the food supply we would have enough farm animals to feed ourselves and we’d use regenag methods that restored land and probably sequestered enough carbon to offset those animals. Relocalising food would also enable farmers to make a living and for the area they exist in to have its own support in meeting its needs. We adjust to our needs rather than wants (eat less meat and dairy and more plant foods), and we get multiple drops in emissions eg very small food mikes, no fingers burning coal).

                      What I can’t see us whether the undercutting of the useless economy (eg financial, shareholding etc) even matters.

                      Yes that’s all pie in the sky but I am curious if the real problem here is will and attachment to wants rather than a real problem of economic collapse.

                      CV’s point 2 then becomes about extent. WW2 type belt tightening or people under going serious hardship.

                      And point 3, how much is fear and how much reality?

                      I know lots if that can’t be answered, I’m think more at the level of a thought experiment.

                      Edit, when I say transition to another model I don’t mean smash capitalism because I think that is beyond our reach. I mean utilise the basics of what we have to enable us to do the drops in energy use right now.

                  • Pat

                    The initial cuts would be relatively easy and could be acheivable within the current system however to implement a program such as described would indeed require a wartime type footing and therein lies the problem
                    These impacts will occur sooner or later whether we choose them or not and if we choose them we might create something workable….however I remain convinced that the NZ public will not accept the disruption until it is an imminent personal life threat AND that which may be workable in the NZ context is neither transferable nor applicable to the world a whole.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The other thing is that we actually need to spend *more* not less fossil fuels to get ready for the future.

                      If we want to lay more rail in between cities, more electrified trams tracks in cities, build up more geothermal and wind energy plants, build lots of thermally efficient housing, that is all going to take a lot of investment in fossil fuels.

                      You cannot build that infrastructure while collapsing down the amount of FFs you are burning.

                      From my standpoint NZ needs a 15 year crash course transition to a new economy, and it is a plan which will likely require us to burn more, not less FFs during that time.

                      Once we’ve completed the transition and we have repurposed the dairy farms away from cows and we have laid down the new rail etc. then yes, we can get off 75% of FFs.

                    • weka

                      @CV, interesting point, although theoretically the other option is to reduce our power usage and use the FF we would otherwise use to build the infrastructure, so at least keep us where we are now, or even reduce a bit as we get the infrastructure in place.

                      There is a huge amount of waste happening in our society, we could trim the fat fast and free up those ff for the powerdown/transition.

                      @Pat,

                      The initial cuts would be relatively easy and could be acheivable within the current system however to implement a program such as described would indeed require a wartime type footing and therein lies the problem

                      These impacts will occur sooner or later whether we choose them or not and if we choose them we might create something workable….however I remain convinced that the NZ public will not accept the disruption until it is an imminent personal life threat

                      I think either we won’t change until the environment forces us, or we will get a GFC that will force us, or there will be a tipping point in the culture and we will change fast and late. In the meantime the more prep we can do for those potential scenarios the better, esp where that prep is pushing us to change as well.

                      AND that which may be workable in the NZ context is neither transferable nor applicable to the world a whole.

                      I agree. From a sustainability perspective each place needs to find its own solutions.

                    • Pat

                      @weka “I think either we won’t change until the environment forces us, or we will get a GFC that will force us, or there will be a tipping point in the culture and we will change fast and late.”

                      we will BE changed suddenly and TOO late.

                • Pat

                  down to 25% of current use under that regime by 2030

              • Pat

                not just cars and cows however….tractors,buses, trucks, trains.aircraft,shipping…..AND maintain the wherewithal to support the population

  5. Tarquin 5

    Stopping people from going about their lawful business and upsetting the elderly – what a bunch of lemons. I agree with peoples right to protest but this was just stupid.

  6. mlpc 6

    Nothing wrong with protesting, but the people who stopped oldies going about their lawful business are low-lifes who should have been warned by the cops, and then arrested if they didn’t cease and desist.

    • maui 6.1

      Well the bank looked pretty closed to me… It defeats the purpose if you’re part of a blockade and you start letting people through.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        Agree. But it also defeats the purpose if you’re part of trying to get people on side and sympathetic if you start pissing those same people off.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          Reminds me of the unions which shut down the Cook Strait ferry every time it was school holidays.

  7. weka 7

    I’ve just watched that 5.1 link from Pasupial and am in two minds now. At first I’m thinking this is really bad, making multiple elderly and older people step over you (that puts their health at risk). But then I looked at how young the protestors were and thought holy shit, these are the people that are going to be living in the worst of it. And the elderly people have had a lifetime in which to change and haven’t. Very interesting social dynamic.

    I disagree with Bill that those people are small fry with regards to CC, but I think the protest should be giving them information and options (what other banks are divesting faster etc?)

    I thought the woman speaking was good, but I think the biggest thing they weren’t doing was explaining why that kind of disrespect to elderly is happening ie that things are so urgent now we have to do things that upset the social norms around respect. They can still apologise and reinforce that it is necessary.

    • Bill 7.1

      I disagree with Bill that those people are small fry with regards to CC…

      Okay, let me try to be more precise. The agency that most people have over direct contributions to CO2 emissions varies hugely… Donald Trump probably directly contributes much, much more than I do and so has much, much more scope for making a bigger dent in emissions than I have with regards mine.

      Most people don’t actually contribute a huge amount of CO2 via sources they can control. Some people do contribute a huge amount of CO2 via sources they can control.

      It’s those people who contribute much more than average who have to change, change a huge amount, and change right now. As CV touches on up above, there is a need, in terms of preparedness, for some people to actually increase their emissions in the short term.

      And as a society we need 10- 15% reductions from energy per annum….transport, electricity demand etc.

      Hit the Trumps of the world – we’re not all equal in terms of culpability.

      • weka 7.1.1

        That’s similar to the argument that some people make that NZ doesn’t need to reduce our emissions, we’re just to small an emitter to make a difference, so we should target big countries like China and the US. Which I disagree with (leading the way, shifting the culture, creating tipping points etc).

        I’m not willing to bet the planet on people like Trump changing. We all have to change. There is no powerdown without those elderly people wanting to do their banking changing also.

        CV’s argument is about how we use our remaining FF collectively to change. That’s doesn’t obviate the need for individuals to also change.

        I’m guessing that the root of your argument is a social justice one. Which I have some sympathy for. But I think the situation is so serious that none of us escape responsibility. It’s not about who is to blame, it’s about all of us being part of the system that causes the problem and benefiting from it. Anyone living in NZ benefits hugely from the industrial economies that have caused CC, there is no way around that. Do I think some people are less able to change because of circumstance? Sure. But that’s a different thing than an overall argument that a pensioner needs to change less than others.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          Sure, individuals have a responsibility to set a good example, just be aware that me walking to work every day, instead of just on some days, isn’t going to accomplish sweet FA in the big picture.

          Now, if we could get groups of a few hundred or a few thousand people together to do things differently (co-operatively and communally), now that might begin to have an impact.

          • weka 7.1.1.1.1

            Of course, but you can’t get a group to do something if the individuals in it won’t. So I don’t exclude those elderly people from responsibility. We’re all going to have to respond to some degree.

            • Bill 7.1.1.1.1.1

              We’re all going to have to respond to some degree.

              Has anyone here claimed otherwise? On the elderly, if they were flying around the world every year to be with their grandchildren (as some do) then sure, a wee word.

              But really, bar some of the wealthier retired, what contribution do the elderly or retired make in terms of emissions? Like me and others, many of their decisions are based on financial possibilities and a consequence of that financial restraint is much, much lower emissions. (Can’t afford to run the electric, take the car out for a spin, bugger off on holiday….)

              • weka

                I just disagree with the place you are arguing from. I think everyone needs to change as much as possible and so framing it as some people are bigger emitters so they should be targeted is not IMO the best approach.

                Lots of middle class retirees in NZ who might not even be flying overseas but are still partaking majorly in the consumerist culture that is creating CC. I don’t think that elderly people living in poorly insulated homes should be cutting back on power usage, but I also don’t see why as a class older people should have less of an expectation of change on them. Lower income people who are resource depleted already, sure. But I won’t generalise that to all superannuitants. And given this is a converation about divestment, how many superannuitants have investment income that comes from dirty sources? Drive less, buy local food, reduce consumption of goods etc. Lots of ways that older people can change.

                • Bill

                  Almost all I’ve said n this thread has been peppered with sign-posts to the economic inequality that tracks emissions….ie, richer tend to emit more than poorer.

                  I haven’t excused any group of people on the basis of age or anything else apart from ‘lack of financial means’…and that for very practical reasons – they have fuck all emissions due to not being able to afford the activities that would produce those emissions.

                  Divestments.

                  Well, I’m unsure, but… Kiwi Saver. Is it fossil free? If it’s not, can an individual have an investment option with Kiwi Saver that is? Does a person with a private retirement plan have any say over their investment portfolio? On all of the above, I suspect not. But like I say, I don’t know.

        • Bill 7.1.1.2

          That’s similar to the argument that some people make that NZ doesn’t need to reduce our emissions

          No it’s not.

          It’s a simple fact that I don’t make decisions such as ‘should I jump in the private jet and fly off for a game of golf at Carnoustie, or to pop into the Rio Olympics, or to spend a few days on some island or at some resort…Burning Man festival, Cannes Film festival, etc etc etc.

          Neither do I make a decision as to whether I should helicopter out from my electorate…I’ve some vague recollected notion that John Key does.

          Neither do I make a decision about to where to fly overseas for a holiday. Or whether I should fly to ‘that’ business conference, business seminar, science convention….

          The personal decisions that I and many other people on the planet make with regards our immediate CO2 emissions are of a completely different order – and for many people, bordering on irrelevant.

          I don’t think it’s beyond belief to think that one days worth of emissions from a Trump of this world could equate to over a years worth from the likes of me and many others. Now, does sanity suggest that no more pressure be applied to the Trumps than to the likes of me?

          Final point. If the Trumps won’t change (and the politicians, the scientists, the academics, the entertainers, the business high flyers etc) , then it’s incumbent on us to bring the systems and frameworks they rely on crashing down. I have absolutely no personal problem on that front. Meanwhile, build the hospitals and other necessary infrastructure that the poor have thus far been denied by that very same system that allows the Trumps to have emissions 100x or 1000x that of the individual average (which is an overestimated 5 tonnes by simplistic calculations…the 30 odd billion in yearly emissions divided by global population)

          • weka 7.1.1.2.1

            If you feel that you personally have nothing more that you can change, that’s fine. But you have already made changes, so I don’t think you are actually typical. Most people still have a lot they can change personally and they are well below the consumption level of people like Trump. Of course there will be people with less agency to change, but I think there are very few people who can’t do anything.

            I think we are coming from very different places here. You are looking at the maths and making an argument about broad numbers and where the best effect would be. I’m looking more socially and seeing that all of society needs to get behind the wheel and do whatever they can. Those things are necessarily incompatible.

            I’m also talking about NZ, not globally, so will just restate that everyone in NZ is privileged by the global economies that are set on destroying the planet. I’m also thinking about things like the idea of people walking away from their useless jobs, and wondering to what extent that would or would not apply to the working poor as well.

            As for bringing down the systems, sure, but I’m not willing to wait for the revolution to come, and needless to say those elderly people trying to get into the bank aren’t going to fare well in that transition either.

            • Bill 7.1.1.2.1.1

              It’s not a case of ‘nothing more to change’. It’s …look. If we could remove a given 1 billion people from the planet tomorrow, then depending on the 1 billion people we chose, emissions would either drop by 50% or more, or the result would be no discernible difference in emissions.

              And what I’m picking from your comments is that you think that’s just a mere detail in the scheme of things.

              • weka

                I have no idea what your last sentence means.

                • Bill

                  What I mean is that you know the detail, but see no point in making use of it – ie, focusing hard, but not exclusively, on those responsible for the 50% of emissions. It’s ‘not the best approach’ was what I think you wrote.

                  Difference is I see it as a golden opportunity to get to grips with the first tranches of necessary reductions and simultaneously undermine the acceptability of our acquisitive culture…y’know, the one that holds up the individuals in those richer tiers as exemplars and their lifestyles as something to be attained or emulated.

  8. Xanthe 8

    More immediate and possible is to fight the “solar surcharges” that are now being brought in by local power companies. They are quite sucessfully defending the status quo . The distribution network was sold off (we lease it back) . They are holding back the inevitable introduction of distributed renewable generation for as long as possible. This is something real now and we could actually make a difference.

  9. Xanthe 9

    hmm wikipedia disagrees with me about the leaseback of the power network
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transpower_New_Zealand

    But then i found this
    http://www.converge.org.nz/watchdog/15/04.htm

    so we are being misled?

    might go and search the panama papers see whats in there

  10. Jenny 10

    Nobody could deny that action of some kind is necessary.

    I applaud the actions of the mainly young people of 350.org

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fossil-fuels-may-not-dwindle-anytime-soon/

    But rather than target the banks and risk upsetting the public that they are trying to win over, they might be better targeting the coal mines.

    George Monbiot, Well worth a listen.

    @3:24 minutes

    “…it suddenly hit me with tremendous force that we were missing something huge here. Something which should have been obvious from the outset, but because of the way the problem was framed, even I who had just spent three years working on the issue had completely missed it.

    Which is that we were talking entirely about our consumption of fossil fuels, without talking about the production of fossil fuels. (and) If you attempt to deal with the problem at only one end, only at the demand end rather than the supply end you are almost certain to fail. Because the supply end will continue to undermine the demand end.

    And this is especially the case with climate change where the measures we deploy to try to reduce our emissions tend to be weak and negotiable, whereas the extraction of fossil fuels from the ground is a hard fact. And that is a non negotiable fact, and when they have been extracted, they will be burned. Regardless of what those weak and negotiable measures might say.

    So unless you restrain the extraction you are not going to solve the problem.” GEORGE MONBIOT

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9ViX90ehOQ

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The major powers spend lots of time and effort and military might to ensure that the spice must flow.

      • Pasupial 10.1.1

        CV

        Do you still favour Trump over Clinton? It’s seems an easy enough choice through the lens of Anthropogenic Global Warming. He wants to open more coal mines and denies AGW. She accepts the reality of AGW, but isn’t set to do much about it (while accepting campaign donations from fossil fuel companies).

        Your comment made me think that perhaps a reason for the Drumpf’s distinctive appearance is that he is actually a trainee guild navigator: Frequentlly immersed in a swirling orange melange vapour that saturates his every pore. In which case, he must wear contacts when in public to hide the eyes of Ibad.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          Ha. Good point.

          Yes I still favour Trump over Clinton.

          At the end of the day, it’s worth remembering that Trump has hundreds of millions in property throughout Florida, New York and the rest of the east coast which will be worthless if climate change continues.

          Nothing makes a guy like Trump take an issue more seriously than seeing his property literally go under water.

  11. Bill 11

    Dropping this in here because I’m busy – else I’d possibly do a post on the basic premise.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2016/may/12/the-arsonists-of-fort-mcmurray-have-a-name

    • Jenny 11.1

      Hi Bill, A post on this topic, it would be great.
      A post on those mostly responsible for this devastation and the policy makers and political leaders who could regulate to rein them in, would be a good follow up to Weka’s What are we waiting for Pt: 1 Which was about what individuals could do in response to climate change.

      To remain mute about those responsible for this devastation is not an act of sensitivity toward the citizens of Fort McMurray. It is to stand idly by while these corporations move on to claim their next victims. To argue, as prime minister Justin Trudeau has, that making the connection between climate change and this infernal fire isn’t “helpful,” is not a gesture of statesmanly maturity. It is the prevarication of political cowards.

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2016/may/12/the-arsonists-of-fort-mcmurray-have-a-name

  12. RedLogix 12

    Companies working on large-scale solar thermal projects in Australia say they are tantalisingly close to achieving the dream of building plants big enough to replace coal-fired energy in Australia.

    Experts speaking at the Australian Solar Energy Exhibition and Conference in Melbourne last week said the technology had been proven in other countries, and projects in Australia were viable, but the challenge was getting major investors to gamble on something new.

    James Fisher, the chief technology officer of Australian solar energy company Vast Solar, said solar thermal energy had been the “poor cousin” to photovoltaic solar panels for some years, but that may finally be changing.

    http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/may/13/tantalisingly-close-is-solar-thermal-energy-ready-to-replace-coal-fired-power

    • Jenny 12.1

      Great stuff R.L.

      It’s all ready to go.

      All that is missing is the political will.

      That is where New Zealand must come in.

      As Sir Peter (professor) Gluckman writes on the Government website on climate change; New Zealand’s greatest contribution to fighting climate change will be by setting an example.

      “New Zealand is a small emitter by world standards – only emitting some 0.2% of global green house gases. So anything we do as a nation will have little impact on the climate – our impact will be symbolic, moral, and political”
      Sir Peter Gluckman
      Chief Science adviser to the office of the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

      http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/climate-change/

      New Zealand produces only 0.2 percent of global greenhouse emissions. While Australians are the world’s biggest coal exporter and a major green house gas emitter in their own right, as well as being the world’s biggest emitter per capita.
      But possibly even more than all these things, is that Australia is suffering from the direct effects of climate change now.

      The links between Australia and New Zealand are strong.

      The same language, the same colonial and post colonial history, both with a strong indominatable native population and culture.

      Hell, even our flags look the same.

      Where we go, Australia will likely follow. Australians will demand it. And where Australia goes bigger powers will also go. Small wheels turn bigger wheels, which in turn move even bigger wheels.

      This is the way of global change. Leadership is the key.

      And it has always been this way.
      The endless round of meetings at the League of Nations couldn’t stop WWII, and the Paris COP 21 and all the other previous meetings of international leaders has made not the slightest dent to Greenhouse gas emissions from going up, or seen a turn from Business As Usual.

      It was only when England under Churchill’s leadership stood up to fascism, that a truely global fightback could begin. And it won’t be until at least one country begins the serious fight against climate change that the rest will also join in.

      That leading country could be us.

      Why not?

      We are better placed than most, already 80% of our power is generated by renewables, we need to make that 100%.

      And unlike many countries we are not heavily dependent on coal for our energy needs, – coal being the most dangerous fossil fuel of all. New Zealand could easily become Coal Free. From there New Zealand could do a lot more about reducing emissions from transport. Transferring the $11 billion earmarked for more motorways to public transport.
      New Zealand needs to start showing the world that it can be done.

  13. Pasupial 13

    A followup piece in today’s ODT:

    Otago Daily Times Facebook page readers condemned the action of about 100 people protesting about climate change at three ANZ Bank branches in George St… called it “disrespectful”, “disgusting” and “ignorant”.

    This was the fourth recent protest in New Zealand cities against claimed ANZ Bank financial links with fossil fuels…

    Environmental advocacy group 350 Aotearoa executive director Niamh O’Flynn, a former Dunedin resident and University of Otago student, said the protest had been successful and “the public response has been great”.

    Ms O’Flynn, who now lives in Auckland…

    A police spokeswoman said there had been no arrests.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/383067/anger-over-protesters-blockade-banks

    I get that 350 Aotearoa were unhappy at the lack of coverage for the previous actions (if I missed it, could someone please link). However, I think that their chosen means of escalating the protest was a bit flawed. It might have worked, if they’d received the arrests they’d been courting, but as it is; it all looks a bit counterproductive. If they’d wanted to blockade an entrance, then stopping the staff entering would have achieved more.

    I’ve been impressed by O’Flynn’s committment and enthusiasm at other actions in the past, but in terms of media messaging it seems appropriate that her first name is pronounced; naive.

      • Pasupial 13.1.1

        Jenny

        A coalmine does seem to be a reasonable target in this month of protest. As does the Australian blockade in Newcastle, and these other examples:

        Last Sunday, around 1,000 people closed the world’s largest coal-exporting port in Newcastle, Australia and other bold actions are happening at power stations, oil refineries, pipelines and mines everywhere from the Philippines, Brazil and the US, to Nigeria, Germany and India.

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/13/civil-disobedience-climate-change-protesters

        I think 350 Aotearoa would have been better advised to have blocked the rail lines from the West coast to Lyttleton – a lot of black trains run that way. Huntly is defunct otherwise that would’ve been a good choice too, maybe Taranaki “landfarming” fracking waste sites?

        I can see the attraction of urban banks as a protest venue in ease of travel for protesters and reporters. But although they received coverage, the message has been overshadowed by the drama:

        An 85-year-old woman blocked from entering a Dunedin ANZ has called on protesters to have “more respect for people”… This comes as one of the protesters has criticised the actions of Dunedin police, who she said encouraged customers to use “reasonable force” to get into the banks over top of sitting protesters.

        A police spokeswoman responded, saying it was “disappointing” a protester was seeking to blame police for the “disruption to the public caused by the actions of the protest group”…

        Instead of closing the banks as was done in other New Zealand cities, ANZ staff and police encouraged customers to walk through and on top of protesters sitting in the way. All the protesters were committed to the use of peaceful civil disobedience aimed at ANZ as the largest funder of fossil fuel projects in the Pacific region, she [the protester] claimed.

        http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/383223/respect-call-after-protesters-bar-entry

        • Pat 13.1.1.1

          the effectiveness of this type of action may be debatable, particularly if the stated goal is to garner support, however if nothing else it forces people to confront the issue which is in itself a form of success……and gets CC on the front page….no publicity is bad publicity someone once said.

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1.1

            If this protest group had any sense they would have protested at the ANZ corporate building in Auckland, not at some branch serving the public staffed by low level personnel earning $21/hr.

            • Pat 13.1.1.1.1.1

              beg to differ……the disruption to “innocent” elderly customers generates the discussion even if negative and forces those ignoring the topic to at least acknowledge it even if in a negative light…..who knows maybe some of those disgruntled individuals will reflect/discuss and reconsider..

              Grandma complains to family about those nasty protesters to children/grandchildren and maybe gets a “they have a point though Nana…”

              • Colonial Viper

                It’s a dicey way to do it. it does bring publicity to the cause.

                However the discussion can turn both ways.

                Like the old union strikes on the Cook Strait Ferry during school holiday peak times.

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