Carbon Truths

Written By: - Date published: 12:24 pm, October 9th, 2018 - 17 comments
Categories: class war, energy, Environment, global warming - Tags: , ,

If, like me, you are among the poorest half of the population in NZ, then we could get together today and emit zero carbon as from tomorrow morning and…the reduction in NZ’s emissions would stack up to about 10%.

If, unlike me, you are a high earner (a politician say), then you’re likely in the 10% of the population that gifts us about 50% of NZs emissions. And of course, you can afford any increase to the cost of petrol and other sources of carbon. You can also make yourself feel virtuous by off-setting your carbon when you fly, as though that means the carbon your smothering our futures with somehow isn’t emitted.

And further down the track (as we pass through 2 degrees and towards 3 degrees) I, as a poor person, am much less likely to have any independent source of power such as solar panels fitted to my home, and much less likely to live in a “passive house”, and much less likely to have a heat pump that I can use for relief during deadly heatwaves. As a poor person getting older then, I’m more than likely going to among the first waves of humanity in NZ to get “taken out” by global warming.  Maybe I should take this opportunity to thank you in advance?

Thank you!

I’ve no doubt your holidays abroad, and your frequent flights up and down the country and around the world for ‘important’ business meetings, or to meet ‘important’ people, and all that nice stuff that fills your house or houses, and the boats and whatever other clap-trap you accumulate and run was well worth the price you probably won’t have to pay.

If you’re sort of middle class (not of the poorest half of people in NZ, but not that richest slice either), I’ll just point out the obvious – that you’ll be finding it increasingly difficult to hold on to your current, enabling lifestyle as you barrel into a future spewing out about 40% of NZs carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (ie – government) the clowns who claim to represent us aren’t taking all of  NZs emissions into account as they run up and around the country talking to people about how to make the future look bright –  while intending to do next to nothing about global warming. NZs an island nation a long way from anywhere, and yet government doesn’t count aviation emissions as a part of NZs carbon footprint. And it doesn’t count shipping as a part of the footprint. And it doesn’t count the carbon embedded in imports and exports as part of the footprint. It’s a bit like pummeling somebody but not taking the right hooks into account.

For 30 odd years we’ve known all we need to know about global warming and we’ve done nothing. Globally, emissions are about 60% higher every year than they were for years in the early 1990s. If I was young, I’d be hunting down people of my generation. Seriously. My generation has allowed government and business to shove future generations off a tall building and to simply holler after them that they’ll be fine if they invent that anti-gravity device on the way down.

I guess we won’t get serious, will we?

I guess most of us will be complicit in continuing to help elites save an economic fantasy in the face of planetary collapse. Some of us willfully so. I mean, some of us have pensions to save, right? And we worked hard to get where we are today, or are working hard to get where we want to be tomorrow, right? And we have selfish fears trumping anything and everything else that might enter our heads, yes?

A 10% – 15% reduction in energy related carbon emissions every year is what’s demanded of us by physics if we’re to have any chance of avoiding 2 degrees of warming.

But we don’t like numbers or the thought of anything that robs us of the dream or reality of middle class comfort. And so  imagination stretches all of the way to figuring out how to wring hands and point fingers at the same time. It was the oil companies (they knew). It was the government (they should have told us what to do). But it most certainly wasn’t down to accepting and enjoying a middle class lifestyle off the back of profligate carbon use, was it? No. It was poor people in far away countries with brown skin having too many babies. It was Donald Trump “because Paris”. It was China building power stations to fuel the construction of basic infrastructure we’ve taken for granted for years. It was the people in India who responded to the same messages of “a good life” that we’ve responded to and chased all of our days. It was their fault.

Now, what was that word Marama Davidson thought to reclaim again? That word. Look around you and throw an “s” on the end of it.

17 comments on “Carbon Truths”

  1. adam 1

    Don’t worry Bill the ‘s you speak of will avoid this post.

    They think your an extremist and have nothing constructive to say, whilst planning their next big spend. They will blame you for not framing the issue, and most of all they won’t hold to account themselves or their shitty behaviour. Why would they? They winners in the game of life!

    They are so right all of the time, why bother listening to science or reason. Bugger that, They are always right, always always right and stuff the rest of you for giving a damn about the future, or other people.

  2. Ed 2

    Best and most honest post I’ve read for a while.
    Thank you.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Traditionally, the rich & powerful used the rest as cannon folder or breedstock. Before that they used them as serfs to provide food. The masses are always useful for something. Lately it’s been as consumers & voters, to prop up capitalism & democracy.

  4. Antoine 4

    I don’t quite see where this takes you, apart from hating everyone.


  5. but, but, but Bill, get with the program…Kavanagh!! and Russians!!! and Trump!!..these are the approved topics this year..oh, yeah, and maybe some ‘pragmatic’ acknowledgement of some other stuff… like the end of life as we know it, but not too much, and certainly one isn’t supposed to get too worked up and certainly not angry and passionate and demanding actual measurable defined change to the status quo…deep breaths and pragmatism, that’s what they want..

    • gsays 5.1

      Along with Bill, you’ve hit the nail on the head Siobhan.

      I reckon the problem is it’s hard to have (‘scuse the repetition of a term) a sausage party over GCW.

      Any viable solution requires sacrifice, real sacrifice. Like not having supermarkets anymore. Or as Ed says, moving to a vege diet

      Far easier to put your energies into waving your Willy about an assassination attempt on a double spy.

      A double spy! Why care? He was a double spy.

    • Ed 5.2

      Charlie Mitchell nails it.

      ‘The IPCC report was an ideal time to kick the tyres. The scale of the change needed across all aspects of society is unprecedented in all human history, and requires all countries to do everything possible.

      If nothing else, it’s an important message for leaders to communicate. The long-term costs of climate change will affect everyone, and the sacrifices we make now will change the future.

      Instead, we were bickering about petrol prices while the world burns. ’

  6. soddenleaf 6

    Private cars. Cities worked before the private car. They will work when we ban them. But until then more cars are being imported, and nothing is set to change. So ftheplanet. Not my kids will inherit it, since don’t have any. Really. I think about English, and all those children who will inherit his pollution. Awesume how stupid the mps are, so many owning more than one home. Peters is overjoyed, I mean he leaves the planet just as it all goes to hotpot.

  7. corodale 7

    Sun cycles are hot new talk. We’re going to be pasteurised! Shall see who tempers better, the humans, or the reptilian overlords 😉

    Who remembers Hendrick Avercamp, a painter from the Dutch Golden Age? While the 30-year-war ragged on, and decades of winter froze the world to the bone, he worked on, painting humble peasant humour. The deaf mute produced around a hundred works, mainly lively winter scenes, from an insightful aerial perspective.

    • Dennis Frank 7.1

      Thanks for that, seems a genuine advance in solar physics but the sensible thing is always to wait for peer-review appraisals. If real, the 2020-30 effect will mitigate global warming way more than human efforts.

      NASA on the climate effect: “Total solar irradiance changes, though of small magnitude, do appear to affect sea surface temperatures (SSTs), most obviously at latitudes where cloud cover is small and irradiance is abundant, such as the Northern Hemisphere subtropics during summer. The increased SSTs then help intensify circulations spiraling away from the subtropics, again favoring reduced rainfall near the equator and to the south, as well as northern mid-latitudes.”

      A science education site has this: “scientists have been able to confirm that the total solar energy varies 0.1% over one 11-year sunspot cycle. This variation of 0.1% means a global tropospheric temperature difference of 0.5 degrees C to 1 degree C”.

      “the light reaching the top of the Earth’s atmosphere provides about 2,500 times as much energy as the total of all other sources combined,” solar physicist Greg Kopp at the University of Colorado told As such, even 0.1 percent of the amount of light the sun emits exceeds all other energy sources the Earth’s atmosphere sees combined, such as the radioactivity naturally emitted from Earth’s core, Kopp explained.

      “Scientists have also often speculated whether the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year dearth of sunspots in the late 17th to early 18th century, was linked with the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America experienced bitterly cold winters. This regional cooling might be linked with a drop in the sun’s extreme ultraviolet radiation. In fact, the sun could currently be on the cusp of a miniature version of the Maunder Minimum, since the current solar cycle is the weakest in more than 50 years.”

      The recent maximum was unusually weak, and had twin peaks

  8. Koreropono 8

    Brilliant, sobering read. Thank you!

  9. Adrian Thornton 9

    Great post Bill, would love to comment, but work calls.. you probably said it already anyway.

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