Climate change – beyond the politics and the maths and the fear

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, March 17th, 2017 - 66 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, Environment - Tags: , ,

In the winter of 2014 Russel Norman, as co-leader of the NZ Green Party, said that climate change was the not just the most important issue of our time, it was the most important issue of all time. It seemed radical then, and appeared to go largely un-commented on. James Shaw said a similar thing last year, and then again, twice, in a speech this year. I remember feeling a surge of excitement and relief to hear this expressed by Norman, not only because we definitely need the suits to be thinking in this way (so all power to Norman and Shaw for taking that message to those communities), but also because hearing the deep truth from people in power brings hope and change.

In the past year I have noticed that the idea of climate change being the most important issue we face is popping up all the time. Many people are now saying it, and this my friends is change happening. People weren’t doing this even a few years ago. We need to be ready for what happens next, and we need to make sure that as more and more people wake up, that we (collectively) follow the path of change, not the path of denial or rearranging the deck chairs or going down in a ball of flames. There will always be those who can’t cope, or are too invested in the status quo, or are mired in the bleakness of what we face, or have given up. That all needs a response, but we need to be careful that all our energy doesn’t go into what is wrong, and that instead we urgently focus on what is right and what is working because that is where the change is. Where are the points in the system that we can apply pressure to tilt the table in favour of life?

For me Standing Rock has stood as a beacon of light in the almighty grey of facing up to how bad things are. Likewise other direct action climate activists. Here are people who are willing to give up their normal life and fight for what is right because the need is urgent and it is now. Climate change isn’t a background concern, it’s in their faces and backyards and so they act. We don’t all have to throw our bodies on the gears of the machine but some of us are going to have to and the rest of us need to back them up.

So I don’t mean that everyone has to quit their job and join the front lines. Although that would certainly change things very fast, I don’t think it’s a realistic expectation and I do think more of us than currently are could start to make such radical changes. But what I really mean is that we all now need to be on a war footing, all of us. Not because CC is a war, but because the recognition within communities during the Great Wars was of the need to put normal life in the context the greater cause. People understood the need to work together for the common good and this was largely a shared cultural value. As was the need do this in a way that enabled normal life to continue even where it was different. And to sustain this over years.

If we think it’s a choice between joining the front lines and doing climate action on the side without really changing ourselves, then we miss the other opportunities. The question needs to become “what can I do that centres the cause into normal life, that recognises this as the most important issue of all time?” or, more simply, “How do I integrate climate action into my everyday life?” This isn’t a question with a finite, set answer, it’s one that evolves over time. Change is a process and we need to adapt here too.

No-one is coming to save us. It’s up to us. All of us. While we certainly need high level change, we don’t have to wait for government or everyone else in order to act. We can change now, not because we are sure of what to do or what will happen, but because it’s the right thing to do any way you look at it other than neoliberally.

There are people leading the way. Standing Rock, the oldie activists, the awesome young activists who have integrated climate action into whatever creative endeavours they are living their lives through, and all of them are saying act, act now, and act affirmatively. We don’t all have to live radical lives, but we do need a radical change in how we are thinking. We need to find the way that best uses each of our skills and situations and resources to put all hands to the pump. We all need to be climate changers.

For those of us that like arguing, let’s keep arguing, but let’s also make our argument a medicine.

Well, I was listenin’,
To the outgoing seasons
About climate change and some of the reasons,
When the sky opened, like I’d been hope’n
And there came horses by the thousands
And there was thunder on their tongues
And lightning on their minds
And they were singin’ this old melody
From some other time

They sang don’t waste your hate.
Rather gather and create
Be of service, be a sensible person
Use your words and don’t be nervous
You can do this, you’ve got purpose
Find your medicine and use it.

~ Nahko

66 comments on “Climate change – beyond the politics and the maths and the fear”

  1. Ad 1

    What we haven’t yet seen is any convergence of public debate between water, housing ownership, and climate. And it won’t break through further unless it does.

    Until then I see the climate debate only going as far as the Greens on about 11%.

    At the moment NZ Super is the only issue really able to be intergenerational.

    Even oil remains in glut and off any global political interest.

    Honestly I see global political debate veering well away from climate for many many years.

    • weka 1.1

      “What we haven’t yet seen is any convergence of public debate between water, housing ownership, and climate. And it won’t break through further unless it does.”

      This is a good point, although I think we are closer than you do.

      How to you see the convergence of housing and climate?

      • Ad 1.1.1

        On housing and NZSuper:
        flailing about for the limits of state intervention, resources, and tax across both.

        On housing and transport:
        Global oil’s much longer tail assisting local suburban growth for decades ahead.

        On housing and climate directly:
        beyond minor managed retreats, housing is simply more pressing as a human right and need.

        Even immigration and refugees beat climate change for global attention, and will do for decades.

        The Paris agreement is already the high water mark for global interest and intervention on climate.

        I’m sure we’ll all keep doing our best, person to family to city, but too much has changed in world affairs already.

  2. Tui 2

    Weka, thank you for your informative and intelligent post! i hope that at least 1 of our pollticians reads it.

    we must all take a stand now Weka and do what we can no matter how small to stop climate change. i’ve stopped going on needless car trips and only buy local as this not only helps the local employment but helps reduce global warming. tho i know i can do more.

    Kia kaha kia toa, Weka!

    ~Tui

    • weka 2.1

      Thanks Tui! The car one is so important. I live rurally, no public transport, and very little interest locally in sharing private transport. For me the cutting down on driving means a change in priorities in my life. Basically I have to spend more time at home and that means learning to be satisfied with that. This is a big challenge for many of us because we are all socialised into having what we want when we want it, even the best of us around CC I think. So I imagine if this was WW2 and we were all like I don’t care about winning the war so we can be safe again, I still want to drive whenever I want 😉 I really need to find some oldie oldies to tell me what it was actually like at that cultural and social sanctioning level.

      • Carolyn_nth 2.1.1

        WWII was a different time, and not so much of a consumer society in NZ. My research in the Warkworth area – a couple of oral histories told me that the state and other authorities were pretty authoritarian in what was allowed re-consumer goods.

        Petrol was rationed so the cars were up on blocks, except mostly for the local doctor who had more of an allowance.

        US servicemen in the area in the 40s had more consumer items – mainly food and other consumerables. People were not allowed to accept anything from the US servicemen. Military police went to people’s homes and did an inspection if they suspected people of having illicit material from the USians. Some people buried stuff they got from the US servicemen in their backyards. These things weren’t found in the inspections.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          Do you know what the public transport was?

          One side of my family were farmers, and from what I understand there was a fair amount of trading going on by people who had excess food and amongst those who knew each other.

          I think the thing I am interested in is what was the cultural/social response to the rationing and other changes happening. My understanding is that there was a social prohibition on not pulling together.

          • Carolyn_nth 2.1.1.1.1

            Well, generally people in the more sparsely populated NZ in mid-20th century NZ did help each other out quite a bit. But it was also quite a repressed or suppressed population, with strong social sanctions against breaking social codes.

            My other talked a bit about her experiences of rationing when I was growing up. She seemed to be very strongly schooled into doing what was right.

            We have a less repressed and explicitly authoritarian society these days. So I don’t think it makes for an easy comparison with life under the threat of climate change.

            The people alive now, who can talk about their memories of WWII, were mostly children or teenagers at the time. So they won’t necessarily be able to say much about the social codes.

            There was a lot of very real fear of a Japanese invasion, especially in the north of NZ. That tended to promote an immediate sense of needing to do what was necessary.

            People generally seemed to have been generous: eg taking US servicemen home for Sunday dinner. But also, NZ wasn’t really very much of a consumer society then. People were always much more into DIY and being frugal.

            But it was also a time of quite strict social mores. People did seem to break the rules in small ways. Sex outside marriage was quite strongly sanctioned. But there were allegedly many illegitimate children left behind by the US servicemen. I have talked to one such “child” – now a quite oldish woman. And I have heard reports from an oral historian of children at the time witnessing a local woman “entertaining” a US serviceman in a public toilet.

            Where there is repression, some people will try to hide the ways they break the strict codes.

            This article says some workers unions protested against the rationing of NZ goods, saying they needed more food to do their jobs properly.

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I think the Depression has a big impact on that generation too, so when the war came they were already thinking about some pretty significant issues and what the collective good was. Maybe for NZ the Depression is a better thing to look at.

            • Red Hand 2.1.1.1.1.2

              I was born as the war ended and my mother had ration cards or tickets for at least one item, I can’t remember which. I recall it as just part of life and don’t remember any complaints. We were taught not to waste anything. This was really drilled in. Don’t throw food away, repair bedding, clothes, shoes. It was just part of life. I get anxious about the waste these days.
              The wartime letters I have read mention concern about Japanese bombing, rather than actual invasion. Auckland had blackout regulations. People grew veges in the backyard.
              I knew a woman soldier in the NZ Army who was banned by a US military policeman from the Peter Pan dance hall in upper Queen St when she returned from war service overseas because her skirt was too short. She was scathing about this happening in her own country. She called them Yanks.

            • stever 2.1.1.1.1.3

              Talking to my parents (alive during WWII in England) one big difference was how the Govt behaved, particularly because the Govt (1) had huge advertising campaigns about how it was wrong to waste anything, about digging for victory (i.e. grow your own), about helping each other; and (2) lots of information on how to cook nutritious meals on a small ration, how to make do and mend household items, how to build a shelter in your own back-garden (shelter supplied by the Govt for free).

              So, a big difference was that the Govt intervened, and both propagandised (in a good way…) and also gave help.

              There’s none of that today, and it seems it’s what’s needed to change people’s minds, but I guess it’s philosophically (or selfishly) not what politics is about any more.

              However, I’m betting it would come back given a perceived extential threat. So, perhaps Govts doesn’t see CC as an existential threat at the moment…which is of course (if true) for lots of reasons.

              Coming back to Weka’s article…I think that this shows that (even in an obvious war where people in your street are being killed by bombs and you’re all rationed severely in what you can buy to eat) people (sad to say) DON’T act together for the greater good. So, they NEED to be told and helped…and that’s missing currently.

              • Carolyn_nth

                I think these days, it needs people at the flax roots to lead by example.

                I searched papers past with keyword “rationing”, and set the filter to 1939-45.

                There are a lot of articles about it. But, there were as many about rationing in other countries as for NZ. NZers were seeing themselves in relation to the wider international war effort.

                It looks to me like there were some complaints: eg employers associations complaining about how petrol rationing was negatively impacting on their business, and seeing petrol as a necessity in the current world where there is a ceaseless flow of goods.

                And people were keeping petrol stations busy in the days leading up to the start of petrol rationing.

                Aucklanders queuing up for ration books.

                I couldn’t find any NZ government posters or promotion of rationing.

                But, it seems to me, even with the legal restrictions, many people in NZ tried to push the boundaries of austerity.

                • exkiwiforces

                  I’ve seen a rationing posters in a couple of books I’ve got they are almost the same the UK ones. My grandmother was in charge of the issue of ration books at post office where she work and she said there were people trying to get than their far share. Worst thing was they were former friends of the family.

                  I understand a lot bantering went on as it was the only way to get round the rationing and of course there was always the black market.

                  I do know one firm in CHCH offered a sum of money for the coal we were mining as it was said to the best coal in the Grey valley as our coal was to the old Dunedin Foundry and I think the old Hillside Foundry.

              • weka

                Thanks stever, that’s exactly what I was looking for.

                Thinking about what the govt runs advertising on nowadays, I’m thinking the anti-drink/drive campaigns. So we still have our toe in the water for using that channel.

                It’s a big challenge, but I think our best hope is to get the strongest LW govt we can, and then to start pushing them to do the right thing. We can’t wait for them to lead on this, but when there is enough happening in the community it will be far easier for them to act. This is both local body and national government.

                We need at least two distinct things. A govt that understands the value of intervention and believe in CC. And a big enough public movement to push them to do the right thing.

                “So, they NEED to be told and helped…and that’s missing currently.”

                Which makes me wonder, in the absence of the govt doing that currently, who or what would people listen to?

          • Carolyn_nth 2.1.1.1.2

            I don’t think there was ever much public transport in rural areas. Still isn’t.

            And this article talks of people using horse and cart in a rural area in response to petrol rationing.

            But car transport had only really taken off throughout NZ between WWI and WWII. I have listened to oral histories (recorded in the 1990s), of people recalling going to school on horse back in northern rural areas. So that would still have been a fairly recent experience for many rural people in the late 30s and 1940s.

            Electricity was only laid onto local communities around Warkworth and nearby areas about 1936. So people were used to some pretty basic technologies.

            In Auckland after the demise of horse buses and horse trams, in the early 20th century, there were electric trams and electric trolley buses. The trolley buses were still in operation in the 1960s.

            • exkiwiforces 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Going by the oral history of my Grandparents, those rural areas that still had the railways often ran mixed trains (sometimes it was the guards van) or the good old NZR buses. The areas that didn’t the rail like Nelson, parts of the Buller, not sure about Westland area had Newmans or White Star coach services.

              At the family owned coal mine on the coast during the WW2 they were running a 35hr week and the workers were still getting payed for a 40hr. They did managed to get it down to a 30hr week and still achieve its coal quota for the week, but state mine across the valley started to complain.

              BTW, Weka a very good read and see effects of climate change where I live all to often

              • Carolyn_nth

                Yes, I have that attitude drummed into me also, about not wasting anything, and recycling everything. It was a habit with my mother, too. I’m still a bit like that.

                I think there was a fear of invasion in the north of NZ. Though the examples prior to that – Pearl Harbour, German attacks on nauru Island, were bombings.

                this from one of my links above:

                Those who lived through that period, however, recall genuine fear. Speculation was rife about where the Japanese would land, and what they would do to New Zealanders. People in exposed coastal areas felt especially vulnerable. Trench digging, air raid practices and complex emergency planning were under way in every city. Hospitals were ready for casualties.

                From what I’ve heard, NZ service people were not that positive about the Yanks – especially the men because the US servicemen were quite popular with civilian NZ women.

                I think my (boomer) generation were usually brought up to be quite frugal, and not to waste stuff.

                But neoliberal accelerated consumer culture has created a whole different ethos. I think it will take a lot to turn that around as people start to realise resources are limited, and the earth cannot take much more damage and plundering.

                • Red Hand

                  I think it would be easier than you might think because all the choice and the effort of disposing of worn out stuff and packaging creates anxiety.

                  Once people found out that fewer choices of good quality stuff they could keep for years made them feel calmer and more confident they would change. And a decent living wage and work hours that allowed time for mending. I remember my mother enjoying her mending with the sewing machine and her knitting and darning, which she taught her children, boys and girls and gardening skills, and dad taught us the workshop skills.

                  I get worried about what has been lost, but my own children are happy, so that is a consolation. I still worry though. I think the fundamental problem we have in NZ is the too low wages and the inadequate skills training and education. I believe strongly that a socialist government is needed to change this.

                  • Carolyn_nth

                    Yep. People would need to see the government, state services, and those around them are working for and with them.

                    needs a whole change in attitude all round.

                  • exkiwiforces

                    Yes, can’t agree more on what you said there.

                • exkiwiforces

                  My great grandfather from grandmothers side which own the coal mine on coast was very well connected to NZ Labour party at the time. My grandmother can recall visits from senior members of wartime government and wrote down of the conversations and reading letters from Ernst Bevan the then British coal minster (close relative from grannies side ) among the other things. My grandfather was a Infantryman and was meant to a part 9th reinforcements was full off the troop ship at wellington the last minute and said every 3rd or 4th man pulled off and sent nth. Then moved to Tasman area to work in Baiggets mill in the last years of the war.

                  My grandparents have always said at the time the Jap threat was real the deal.

                  Like you, I try and lead a fugal lifestyle because of its long term benefits it has.

                  “But neoliberal accelerated consumer culture has created a whole different ethos. I think it will take a lot to turn that around as people start to realise resources are limited, and the earth cannot take much more damage and plundering.”
                  This comment is so true to the point. For example when I came back from East Timor (INFERET) 70 to 80% of the unit brought a house. The same unit came back from Tain Kot during the draw down in the Gan 70 to 80% of the unit brought toys (car’s or bikes etc). All us old hands just shake our heads and swear at them for being Muppets when they complain they can’t buy a house. BTW I’m 43 and will be discharged in next 18 to 24mths due my mental state.

                  • Carolyn_nth

                    Your grandparents have kept a very valuable record of the time – and maybe shows some old lessons and role models we need to learn again.

                    I think serving in war zones must take a very heavy mental and emotional toll.

                    Hope your discharge leads to a new positive direction for your life.

                    So we need more role models like Russel Norman and the Standing Rock people, to lead the way for those people who are unaware of the current dangers re-climate change.

                    • exkiwiforces

                      I started late in my oral history of my grandparents and It was only because of what Len Richardson, Paul Maunder, the Locke family and their follow travellers said about Great Grandparents. Hoping one day we can throw it back at them.

                      We have this silly thing at work called lessons learnt or OILS. Some of us old hands in HQ called it lessons relearnt because our senior leadership/ pollies keep making the mistakes of yesteryear.

                      “I think serving in war zones must take a very heavy mental and emotional toll.” Just ask my partner since I’ve home after begin AME out theatre in Nov. My only regret will be I won’t be there when we boot the TNI out of West Papua.

                      Yes we need new roll models now, but I’m not sure if old Russ is one of them. “But we can start with ourselves as future role models by leading front by teaching what we know now and what we know from the past mistakes. Its going to a long slog, but hell its going be worth it in the end as life wasn’t meant to easy.”

  3. Corokia 3

    Andrew Little stating that there would be no new taxes demonstrates that he and Labour don’t get it. We need a carbon tax. We need it before 2020.

    • weka 3.1

      That might change if there is a strong L/G coalition. However in the spirit of the post, I would say given that that is what Little is saying now, what are *our choices? I really don’t think we can afford to wait for them, we need to lead and they will follow.

    • Bill 3.2

      This is a conversation that desperately needs to happen. Can we force the hands of politicians/policy makers so that the conversation is had?

      There are (as far as I know) two studies that have been done on the impact of a carbon tax. And both studies conclude that a tax will not result in the behavioural changes required.

      If we look to other jurisdictions that have implemented a carbon tax, the resultant reduction in emissions has been utterly under-whelming (not even close to the levels required)

      If we look to studies that have focused on how a tax could be applied, the take home message is that they can’t be applied in a way that would work (ie – poor people get hammered and the high emitting high earners just carry on)

      If we want to look at the general impact of tax on behaviour, then we don’t have to look any further than NZs ‘smokefree by 25’ campaign. That campaign, in spite of enormous tax hikes being applied to tobacco has flat-lined, and cessation rates aren’t really any different to what they were before the campaign was launched.

      So if Andrew Little or anyone else wants to go down the path of a carbon tax, then they really do need to demonstrate that it will work and not have us throwing our eggs into a basket of false hope.

      When they fail to show it will work (and they will fail) then we need a Plan B. (Hint: Plan B isn’t a market solution)

      • Andre 3.2.1

        Bill, I’m not sure what you mean by “they can’t be applied in a way that would work”. British Columbia has introduced a carbon tax that rebates the revenue back to people. It seems to be effective in reducing emissions, and BCers seem to be happy with it.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/02/business/does-a-carbon-tax-work-ask-british-columbia.html

        No, it won’t drive immediate reductions in high value activities that really need the energy density of liquid fuels for which there’s no current substitute, like aviation. But it does drive emissions reductions in lower-value activities for which there is a ready substitute, such as electricity generation.

        Australia also got measurable results with their carbon tax, until it got axed. Both BC and Australia set their tax at a pitifully low level and still got results. If it was started at a higher level, say $60/ton and rapidly regularly increasing from there (as recently proposed by a Republican group) you can be sure results will be better. At a level like that, I really suspect New Zealand’s few remaining thermal generators would be shut very quickly, and fossil fuel users for process heat would suddenly put serious effort into alternatives.

        Electric cars are now viable for most driving in NZ, and electric vehicles for a lot of heavier applications are very close. The price of fuel going up from a carbon tax can only speed up that changeover.

        Smoking is a really crap analogy. Users are addicted, and there is no reasonably substitute. So there will continue to be users no matter how high the price goes.

        ” (Hint: Plan B isn’t a market solution)” And if can be painted as authoritarian, it will be. Thereby dooming itself to vastly less popular support than even a tax.

        • Antoine 3.2.1.1

          $60/ton is probably not enough to close some large gas generators, but I guess your “rapid regular increase from there” will do it (sooner or later depending on how rapid it is)

          A.

          • Bill 3.2.1.1.1

            Tobacco has gone up 10% every single year on top of increases in government budgets. A 30g packet of tobacco costs about $50 – which is roughly double what it cost 5 years ago.

            And smoking rates are not declining any faster than they did before 2011.

            A €300 ($NZ 460) surcharge per tonne of aviation fuel will increase the cost of flights by about 25%.

            Please explain how a 25% price increase in a plane flight will lead to a reduction in aviation related emissions of 15% per year?

            Or explain to me how even a doubling in the cost of petrol at the pump will lead to a decrease in transport related emissions of the order or magnitude required?

            Smoking has a readily available and very cheap alternative. Doubling the cost has done next to nothing over and above what was already happening with regards smoking rates.

            So why will something that has failed with regards smoking somehow suddenly work with regards fossil fuel? What’s the rationale for thinking it will be any different?

        • weka 3.2.1.2

          Electric cars are now viable for most driving in NZ, and electric vehicles for a lot of heavier applications are very close. The price of fuel going up from a carbon tax can only speed up that changeover.

          Do you know if anyone has projected how long that might take in NZ? I’m thinking of all the people that can’t afford to buy an electric car, and how long before there will be a reasonably priced secondhand market.

          (not getting into the GHG and ecological footprint of replacing the fleet via manufacture and disposal).

          • Antoine 3.2.1.2.1

            MoT does scenarios for electric vehicle uptake I believe, also some energy industry bodies do.

            It’s quite uncertain at this point of course.

            A.

          • Andre 3.2.1.2.2

            It strikes me as a bit of a fool’s errand trying to do that projection, since there’s so many variables. But it seems pretty clear that electric vehicle price reductions and speed of adoption are beating most projections from just a few years ago.

            https://cleantechnica.com/2017/03/16/30-cities-look-trump-anti-science-trump-massive-10-billion-electric-vehicle-purchase/

            “reasonably priced secondhand market” – for early adopter types it seems to me we’re already there. You can get a Nissan Leaf for under $15k. I last bought a car 4 years ago, and there was nothing I could get my head around actually buying back then. But if my little nana’s shopping trolley got totalled, or the engine crapped out again, I’d certainly stump up for a Leaf.

            Plus there’s so much work on biofuels (from non-food competing sources) I’d say the chances of significant quantities coming on-stream in the next decade are pretty good. Including some definitely out-there thinking.

            http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/renewables/robotic-kelp-farms-promise-an-ocean-full-of-carbon-neutral-low-cost-energy

            • weka 3.2.1.2.2.1

              I was thinking more in ball park figures e.g. 5 years, 10 years, 30 years?

              I move in circles where people pay under $5000 for a car. So I guess the next question is how many people needing to replace a car this year fit into that bracket vs the $15,000 one.

              • Bill

                The turnover for the vehicles that travel the most distances (ie, fleet cars…vehicles owned by companies, governments, rental agencies etc) is about 7 years in the UK. That turn-over feeds directly into the second hand car market. Don’t know what it is for NZ, but imagine it’ll be much the same, give or take a year or two.

                • weka

                  Interesting. Someone in the car industry probably knows how long that takes to trickle down.

        • Bill 3.2.1.3

          There are a number of tax related schemes. But none of them come anywhere near close to achieving the year on ~ 15% reduction in carbon emissions from energy that are required.

          Both aviation and shipping sectors have alternative fuels and proven technology but didn’t pursue matters because oil was cheap and easy.

          A €300 (about NZ$ 460) charge per tonne for aviation fuel (very much more than your $60 per ton) would only result in something like a 25% increase in the cost of a flight. And that simply wont impact on the number of frequency of flights high emitters make.

          Smoking is a really crap analogy. Users are addicted, and there is no reasonably substitute. So there will continue to be users no matter how high the price goes

          Smoking’s far from a crap analogy. The time-frame to get to zero is the same as for carbon and the proposed mechanism is exactly the same. And there’s a reasonable substitute to smoking – vapourising. It’s what I do and it gives me my nicotine for maybe $2 or $3 per week.

          God knows how you jump from ‘non-market’ to ‘authoritarian’. Posts were done on all of this and I remember you opining none of the ideas were worth even speaking about because political parties would never implement the proposals. (Never mind that any other as effective policy would do and that the posts could have been seen in terms of merely demonstrating that possible 15% reduction scenarios exist.)

          • Andre 3.2.1.3.1

            Long-haul aviation is still a very small part of global emissions (but fast-growing to be sure). I’m not sure why you’re so fixated on it.

            The easy reductions come from electricity generation and industrial process heat. Both of which are easy substitutes and don’t rely on the energy density of lquid fuels. Coincidentally, those sectors are much larger emitters, and are the most price sensitive.

            The next easy reductions come from land transport and shipping, for which energy density is a bit more important, and are a bit less price sensitive.

            https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data

            • Bill 3.2.1.3.1.1

              I’m not fixated on aviation. It’s just that’s where the study has been done. And so aviation offers up illustrative examples of what impacts to expect from a carbon tax.

              Also, when you talk of air flight, you have to account for all the supporting infrastructure that also consumes energy – the hotels and conference centres and the transport networks to and from the airport to facilities that only exist because of the airport.

              So a train might use more fuel for an actual journey, but a train may not have all the carbon intensive infrastructure associated with it that a plane has.

              You know that electricity generation is only a small amount of total energy used, yes? NZ already has an electricity network that’s fairly “green” in comparison to other countries and could get to 100% fossil free with a bit of political will.

              Meanwhile, something like 40% of our energy related emissions come from road transport. And if the idea is to have electric cars and electric heating and electric cooling and electric whatever else – then the grid needs to be expanded by factors of 2 or 3. And that takes time that we simply don’t have anymore.

              Also. you land industry with higher fuel costs, where you think they’ll re-coup those costs from? Hint. It’ll be from us in the form of higher prices. And those of us that are poorer and who contribute far less than others to emission totals will get it in the neck while richer, higher emitters just absorb price increases.

              • Andre

                “Also. you land industry with higher fuel costs, where you think they’ll re-coup those costs from?”

                That’s the point of rebating the revenue from a carbon tax back to the people – as BC does and I mentioned where I jumped into this thread at 3.2.1.

                • Bill

                  And if the tax with the rebate system that BC ran came anywhere near to achieving the required and across the board ~ 15% per year reduction in emissions, then that would be fantastic and a scheme everyone should push to be adopted.

                  But it didn’t. It wasn’t even close. (About 3% or 4% per average per year over the first 5 years…17% on a per capita basis and only an 8.5% drop in non-per capita measures over that 5 year time span)

                  I don’t know what people aren’t understanding about this, but a carbon tax cannot produce the reductions we need.

                  The academic studies have been done. They are thorough. They demonstrate the fallacy of relying on taxes to bring about the necessary steep and maintained drops in emissions that we need.

                  But sure. Carbon taxes are popular and I guess that’s all that counts.

        • Ad 3.2.1.4

          I’ve just changed cars from the Volvo S80 petrol.

          Tested the Highlander PHEV. Nice. But second hand still $50 – $60K and out of my range.

          Looked hard at the Peugeot 508 hybrid. On most measures not stacking up against what I chose, which was 508 diesel 2015.

          • Andre 3.2.1.4.1

            Lemme guess, eliminating range anxiety by buying able to pull into a petrol station and fill up in a few minutes is still a big factor for you.

            But for some people, they will have a second dinosaur-fueled vehicle for those times they need that (like my old Defender that’s been part of the family since I took it through Africa and it now only gets used a few thousand km per year), or they would be ok with hiring a suitable vehicle for the few occasions it’s needed.

            • Ad 3.2.1.4.1.1

              We are a one car unit.

              Volvo got us from 45000 to 230,000k.

              We cycle into town in summer. Otherwise Auckland just too unsafe.

              Would have liked more options, but the diesel easily won out.

              • In Vino

                You are aware that diesel has been renounced by Renault (and was almost banned totally by French Govt. – it may yet happen) because even your new efficient diesel engine still pollutes the air worse than the most efficient petrol engines?

  4. AB 4

    “we definitely need the suits to be thinking in this way ”
    Sadly I think they get to be suits by not thinking in this way?
    And that I think is a big problem – the people who make decisions have vested interests in the status quo.
    I am quite pessimistic about any real action happening – not before people start dying from the effects of CC anyway. And I mean ‘important’ people, people from first-world countries

    • left_forward 4.1

      Are you ready to take ‘real action’ yourself? This is the point that Weka is making – not waiting for your so-called ‘important’ people to act first.

    • weka 4.2

      The people of climate intelligence really need to lead the way. Shaw in particular comes from Suitville, so we need to support people like him who want to turn NZ in the right direction. Have a look at his background, including that he’s been a GP member since his teens I think (his maiden speech in parliament is good). There are more and more people out there like that. We don’t have to worry about the ones who won’t change, we need to find the ones who want to change and help them. What we’re after is a cultural tipping point.

  5. joe90 5

    not only because we definitely need the suits to be thinking in this way

    It may be via their bottom line but the suits are thinking about it.

    The world’s biggest fund manager has threatened to vote out directors of companies that fail to address the risks posed to their businesses by climate change.

    In a post on its website, BlackRock, which controls assets worth $5.1 trillion (about £4.2 trillion), said climate risk was a “systemic issue”.

    It said it planned to engage with the companies that are “most exposed to climate risk” over this year to help them tell investors – like BlackRock — about the financial impacts of global warming and the shift to a low-carbon economy.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/climate-change-blackrock-manager-threatens-directors-ignore-global-warming-a7631266.html

  6. roy cartland 6

    What an inspiring read, Weka. If you aren’t already using your voice in the public forum (whoever you are!) you should really consider it.

  7. gsays 7

    Great post, weak.
    fwiw, I decided to stop flying from the manawatu to akl, for week long jobs, (well paid, satisfying work), and have gone back into kitchens.
    Hot, cramped,stressful, poorly paid….

    Not smug or anything, just a conscious choice, forced by CC.

  8. Kelly-Ned 8

    Are you all really sure?
    Have you actually seen the temp graphs going up? (They aren’t)
    Are you actually sure that CO2 which is such a small and very necessary gas is causing the issue (if there really is an issue)?
    Are you really sure? Actually read the data yourselves?
    Not being manipulated by vested interests? (on either side)
    I have yet to see convincing argument that gets beyond ‘we all believe it’ or ‘They all said so’
    But please do send me a link as I’ve seen lots of stuff that says it is all natural causes, but I am open to persuasion.

    [I usually don’t let climate change deniers comment under my posts. The only reason I’m not moderating you out of here is because of the usefulness of replies below. But if you try and run any kind of further denialist lines in this thread not only will I move your comments, but I will ban you from commenting site wide for wasting my time and creating diversion from the post. – weka]

    • Andre 8.1

      I’m an engineer, my first degree was math and physics. It’s been known since around 1820 that the earth is a lot warmer than can be explained by how much heat it gets from the sun. It’s been known since around 1850 that the only plausible physics explanation for this is the greenhouse effect from a few gases. Water vapour is actually the biggest contributor, but since it goes in and out of the atmosphere in a matter of minutes it’s a feedback effect, not a primary cause. Of the primary cause greenhouse gases, CO2 has been known to be the biggest since about 1850. We’ve increased the CO2 by about 50% since then.

      All of this is based on simple physics, some of which I’ve had cause to use and verify during my career.

      If you’re honestly interested, SkepticalScience will keep you busy for hours. It’s got answers to almost all the questions in an easily read format, written by actual experts. So it’s a lot more complete and credible than just some random dude on the internet. Although some bits are a bit old and could do with some updating after the El Nino we’ve just had.

      https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2

      I have yet to see convincing argument that gets beyond ‘we all believe it’ or ‘They all said so’.

      The molecular structure of CO2 doesn’t give you a big enough clue, eh. That big carbon atom with a couple of little oxygens bound to it.

      You can figure it out for yourself. Or not. You look to be far too lazy if you ask me.

    • lprent 8.3

      Let’s put it like this.

      It is all “natural processes”. Hydrocarbons leak and push the level of greenhouse gases up and down. That is what allows the earth to be as warm as it is.

      Carbon gets boosted into the atmosphere from volcanoes chewing up old sediments all of the time as seafloor is subducted. Thwre are a lot of natural processes change sediments into gas and changes gas into sediment.

      The problem is that humans are making if happen too fast. They are grabbing fossilized carbon and bootstrapping it into the atmosphere extremely fast. At several thousand times that natural rate.

      This isn’t even a new issue. Excessive tectonic activity has done this many times over earth 4.5 billion yewr history.

      But here is the point for a particularly ignorant and stupid commenter. None of that has happened in that 3-4 million years that modern humans evolved from the primates that you emulate so well.

      So we aren’t evolved to handle the type of world that humans are creating for themselves.

      I suggest that get off your lazy self satisfied arsehole and so some reading beyond the moron sites that the carbon industry has set up for idiots like you. Learn some basic science, then come and ask some rational and informed decisions rather than looking like a homo habilis trying to figure what to do with a club….

    • Kelly-Ned 8.4

      So you edit out all genuine debate? Justifying it by labelling a questioner as a denialist?
      Well that is sure to get an unbalanced debate going.

      [yes, that’s right. The internet is big place, go somewhere else if you want to debate the reality of CC. You are now banned from this thread – weka]

      • lprent 8.4.1

        If it looks like an ignorant denialist, sounds like someone who hasn’t bothered to research anything, and repeats tired old lines paid for from the heritage foundation – then they probably are an idiotic denialist.

        Your task would be to prove that you are capable of being able to argue. I’d suggest Open Mike because if weka doesn’t kick you off this post, then I’d be quite glad to – with less politeness and more extreme displeasure. I REALLY don’t like dimwitted fuckwits who prefer to play being a victim rather than dealing with legitimate queries that require they display some intelligence and knowledge of the subject,

        I’m not big on tolerating whining idiots who I suspect are paid to astroturf lines. I tend to abuse them and ask if they have are inadequate in the genitals. I have no hesitation to drop the level of debate down to your level of stupidity – before eviscerating you and then kicking you off the site.

        I’d suggest that you do what weka says. She got the lead on moderating you. It is a politer way of living than dealing with me

  9. exkiwiforces 9

    The thing is the big end town is already getting ready. Because the most valuable commodity next to oil is water without it we are stuffed and the next is good farming land for crops. I remember reading a Janes defence report that the Syrian civil war when it kicked off as the first climate war as the crops failed and price of bread went through the roof.

    We are seeing fishing boats from a Asian nation in all sort places now from the Sth Pac, the Southern Ocean and using its money to blackmail Sth Pacific nations to under report its catches.
    http://politik.co.nz/en/content/foreignaffairs/1054/NZ-to-attend–Pacific-security-crisis-meeting-with-US-Quadrilateral-Defence-Operational-Working-Group.htm

    Hence why I’m a hawkish toward Defence as I watch climate charge effects on food supply chain and current trends.

    got to go a wet season storm has hit darwin

    • weka 9.1

      Yep, that stuff scares me considerably more than the actual changes to the climate. And it’s a big motivation behind my politics, that we need a LW govt no matter what now, and the whole ‘National and Labour are the same’ rhetoric is just starting to look downright dangerous.

      • exkiwiforces 9.1.1

        Yes it’s concern to me as well in where we are heading ATM, as current trends don’t look good. I’m following number of areas Sth Pacific and Southern fishing zones, India, regional china, Horn of Africana and of my old stomping ground Middle East of late.

        The water debates of Australia and New Zealand are probably are my greatest concern whoever controls that in the future will control everything else in the food supply chain.

        Having a done Combat Survival and refresher courses, water is priority above all else. The human body can only without water for 7days and 30 days without food unless you a fatty.

        Your post has been a bloody read today. Unlike most people here I trend look from a Security/ Defence POV at where we could be heading. For those who don’t know Climate Change is now part of strategic plaining in most defence planning

        As I said before in previous post. Yes we need new roll models now, but I’m not sure if old Russ is one of them. “But we can start with ourselves as future role models by leading front by teaching what we know now and what we know from the past mistakes. Its going to a long slog, but hell its going be worth it in the end as life wasn’t meant to easy.”
        Yes folks Climate charge is real deal, unless mother nature pulls something out of the hat like super volcano blowing its top.

        • weka 9.1.1.1

          “For those who don’t know Climate Change is now part of strategic plaining in most defence planning”

          That’s good to know. Doesn’t surprise me, the US military were taking notice of Peak Oil before the mainstream started debating it. If your job is to survive, then that shit matters.

          Yes we need new roll models now, but I’m not sure if old Russ is one of them.

          How do you mean?

          “But we can start with ourselves as future role models by leading front by teaching what we know now and what we know from the past mistakes. Its going to a long slog, but hell its going be worth it in the end as life wasn’t meant to easy.”

          Are those your words?

          • exkiwiforces 9.1.1.1.1

            “Yes we need new roll models now, but I’m not sure if old Russ is one of them”

            My comment above about Russel Norman is I don’t follow Green party and I haven’t met him or seen him talk so can’t really sort of comment on weather he could be a role model.

            “But we can start with ourselves as future role models by leading front by teaching what we know now and what we know from the past mistakes. Its going to a long slog, but hell its going be worth it in the end as life wasn’t meant to easy.”

            Yes they my words.

  10. JC 10

    Appreciate the Post Weka. And intent to get this out there….

    Despite what we can do locally, (Like Charity at Home)..

    Electric Cars aren’t going to fix it!

    Its Cows! And..

    1990-2014
    Gross emissions increased 23.2 per cent.
    The key drivers of the increase in gross emissions were:
    carbon dioxide emissions from road transport
    carbon dioxide emissions from chemical industry and food processing
    methane emissions from livestock digestive systems
    nitrous oxide emissions associated with agricultural soils
    fluorinated gases released from industrial, and household refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

    The agriculture and energy sectors were the two largest contributors to emissions (49 per cent and 40 per cent of gross emissions respectively).

    http://www.mfe.govt.nz/climate-change/reporting-greenhouse-gas-emissions/nzs-greenhouse-gas-inventory

    Interestingly Russel’s Down on Cows currentlyfor a range of reasons!

  11. johnm 11

    Just my opinion:
    BAU will continue until it can’t
    We can’t arrest CC now it has its own momentum.
    All we certainly can do is adapt and prepare.

    A unified reasonably happy people in an egalitarian nation will do best.
    All social deprivation must be ended.
    We must end taking the growth wealth drug.
    Immigration must end and we must learn to be more self-sufficient.
    A sort of unified fortress NZ.
    The 20c fossil fuel binge party is ending and with it globalisation.

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