Climate change causing (another) food shock

Written By: - Date published: 12:37 pm, July 12th, 2012 - 57 comments
Categories: climate change, food - Tags:

Climate change is causing the world’s temperatures and seas levels to rise but this isn’t a steady process. Instead we see more frequent and more extreme weather events. The record-busting heatwave in the US and floods in Russia are examples. So, a few people die of heat stroke and some others drown – so what, eh? Actually, the big problem is not the direct effects of these weather events on people but what they do to our production of food and other vital goods.

It’s a little acknowledged fact that the US is the world’s largest food exporter, supplying vast quantities of grains and soy in particular to the rest of the world.

The drought and heatwave is wreaking havoc.

Production from this year’s US corn crop is set to fall by 15%. short of forecast. This will be the third year in a row that heat has damaged the US’s corn crop. Along with other droughts and the ever-increasing demand from 70 million more humans per year, are the reasons that world corn reserves are at the lowest level since 1974 (which might be the lowest level on record, the article isn’t clear), with just a 8 week buffer. Corn is the world’s primary staple food.

The US has lost its position as the world’s largest exporter of wheat, the world’s second staple food, tom France (and prices jumped 18% in the second half of June as the extent of the US drought became clear.

The world’s soy supply is in even deeper trouble. Drought in South America has seen the world’s second and third largest exporters – Brazil and Argentina – record poor harvests this year and the US, the world’s largest soy exporter, is on the same track with just 40% of the crop rated in good or excellent condition during the vital growing period. World soy production won’t meet demand this year. Soy is the world’s number 6 staple food and a major source of animal feed.

That’s one country’s extreme weather event in one year. Now multiply that around the world, and over many years, with increasing frequency.

The talk about ‘food price inflation’ or ‘food price spikes’ (that one sounds nice and temporary) misses the fundamental point: the price is going up because demand is up and supply isn’t keeping up because growing conditions are being more regularly interrupted by severe weather (not to mention soil exhaustion, water contamination etc).

The only way to solve that problem is decrease the amount of food going into some mouths, or use the food we have more efficiently (as a direct human food source, not a feedstock for animals for example) – and the way we do that in our economic system is by pricing some people out of the market.

The question is who can pay more: the farmers who buy these staples as animal feed to produce meat for western tables, or the third world poor, who buy them to eat directly. Obviously, the most efficient answer in terms of getting the most calories into human mouths is a bit different from the result the market produces.

But, this is what climate change looks like. This is what we’ve brought on ourselves. It’s not a gradual, steady increase in temperatures that don’t become ‘serious’ until runaway heating starts. It comes earlier and more unpredictably than that. It’s more extreme climate events (new research has conclusively linked individual events to climate change for the first time), leading to shocks in our climate-dependent systems, most notably food production. This leads to higher food prices, shortages, and, as we saw with the food riots in 2008 and the Arab Spring that began in many countries with protests over food prices, social unrest. With the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events, we have less time to recover and rebuild our buffers each time.

The shame of is that the first major climate change related disasters, like Katrina, could have been a wake-up call before things got too bad. But our leaders ignored them, and the vested interests denied them to maintain their short-term privilege.

[PS. Other new research suggests that the biosphere is absorbing more carbon dioxide as a result of climate change than thought. It has long been known that rising levels of carbon dioxide (to a point) would promote plant growth and so would a slight rise in temperatures, and this would see more carbon sequestered in soils. But the research shows the increase is enough to offset 10% of our carbon emissions, which is a lot more than previously thought. Before the deniers going popping any corks, however, the other 90% is more than enough to wreck the climate]

[PPS. btw, you know the relatively mild and sunny winter we’re having – that’s a weather event with negative consequences too: the hydro-lake levels are at 77% of average for this time of year and inflows have been well below average all year – an industry source told me that the government would usually be talking about conservation measures with the lakes dipping below 2,000 GW/hr of storage, as they did in the last dry year – 2008 – but the government doesn’t want to talk about insecurity of supply while trying to hock off power companies]

57 comments on “Climate change causing (another) food shock”

  1. Sounds like great economic news for a country producing grass-fed meat and dairy products.

    Re the lake levels: if the average of something is 100 across all years and one year you only get 77, that doesn’t mean something terrible has happened, it means 100 is an average figure. If the average starts to go down, then you’ve got a problem…

    • McFlock 1.1

      Surely, if you have a 100-year average, and then six of the next 7 years are at 80-90% of the previous average and one year at 103% of average, then your average is falling…
               
      Of course, besides that it’s great economic news until the farmers get hit by extreme weather events and fuel prices become a barrier to global trade. 

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.1.1

        This from NIWA:

        Mean rainfall: Varies around country, and with season. Increases in annual mean expected for Tasman, West Coast, Otago, Southland and Chathams; decreases in annual mean in Northland, Auckland, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay.

      • Gosman 1.1.2

        Why will fuel prices become a barrier to Trade?

        • McFlock 1.1.2.1

          Oh, sorry, right – the supply of oil is unlimited. But that’s by the by because global warming doesn’t exist, if it is we’re not contributing it, and even if we are there’s nothing we as a species can do to stop it now, and even if we as a species could, the effects of what we as NZers can do will never be noticed eirther way, so really we should all move along, nothing to see here, business as usual….  / sarc
                 
          Tool.
           

          • Gosman 1.1.2.1.1

            Did you mean Peak oil?

            George Monibot of the Guardian had an interesting article about that recently (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/02/peak-oil-we-we-wrong)

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Did you believe that? Or are you just pretending? I hope for your sake it’s pretending, because it would be a real shame if you were that gullible.

              • Draco T Bastard

                It’s Gosman, he really is that gullible.

                • Populuxe1

                  Sadly true.
                  Might be time to revisit and start investing in the next generation of sailing ships and steam engines. One wonders what sort of efficiencies could be achieved with modern technology.

                  • Fortran

                    Populuxe!

                    Steam engines need COAL to make them work, and stokers, like my late father, to keep the fires burning.
                    Tell that to the Greens.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Not necessarily. They could be fired with wood pellets or some chemical fuel cell.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      chemical fuel cells are not a source of energy, they are a store of energy. Big difference. Fortran is right IMO. The world is going back to coal, and in a big way.

                    • Populuxe1

                      So you charge your fuel cell from solar or wind. You should see a proctologist about that anal retention, really.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You might think its a negligible difference in terminology, but trust me, primary energy sources are what matters in the future, and it won’t do to mistake a fuel tank (which is what a battery or fuel cell is) for fuel itself.

            • Bored 1.1.2.1.1.2

              Refuted by all, predictably I admit, but nevertheless correctly. Nicole Foss has an interesting ongoing dialogue… http://theautomaticearth.com/Energy/peak-oil-a-dialogue-with-george-monbiot.html

            • Deano 1.1.2.1.1.3

              christ, you’re still quoting that article based on a paper by an oil executive?

              You should do 5 minutes of research. that paper has been ripped to shreds by everyone who looked at it, except for Monbiot, who said that it’s going to doom us to frying ourselves instead.

            • McFlock 1.1.2.1.1.4

              tool

            • mike e 1.1.2.1.1.5

              Goose stepper All the countries That export oil are politically stable.Yeah right.
              The Arab spring is going to turn into a nightmare as these countries will more than likely end up going back wards and will hold onto their oil because it will go up in price selling it now is stupid .Like YOu and your thinking these countries are not going to be lapdogs any more to the wealthy corporations and the western democracies.
              Peak oil or not FUElLprices are going up and up this lull in the market is just that.

              • lurgee

                Gosman, are you the same Gosman I knew from the Sensing Murder forum? The one who challenged Kelvin Kruickshank to divine your middle name – and then ended up looking a bit foolish when he managed to do just that?

                • mike e

                  +1 dreaded 1 I would have asked crookshank the winning lotto numbers if he’s that good.

                  • lurgee

                    No psychic tomfoolery involved. Gosman made some dim comment along the lines of, “If you’re so clever, what’s my middle name”. Kruikshank then indicated he knew it, and Gosman got all blustery and oh-it’s-not-too-difficult-to-find-that-out-using-google-based-on-the-information-I-gave-you-esque. Rather missing the salient point – if it was so bloody easy, why ask him in the first place. 10 cent bombast and cheap sniping was his stock in trade there, rather gave those of us on the sane, anti-psychic faction a bad name. I recall him expressing some admiration for An Rand back then, so I suspect it is the same one.

                    • Gosman

                      Ummmm…. pretty sure you made this story up. I certainly never challenged anyone with such a purile test of psychic ability. By the way what was his answer in your made up story? Should be good for a laugh at least.

                    • lurgee

                      Can’t seem to reply to Gosman’s comment below directly. Cruikshank identified the person who challenged him as ‘Nigel no mates’ and the challenger (Pretty sure it was you, might have been one of the other skeptics, there were a couple of loose cannons) admitted, after a bit of huffing and puffing, that his middle name was Nigel, but that there was nothing remarkable about that.

                      If it it wasn’t you, I apologise for the misidentification. Who was the other one who was always screaming on about challenges and offering rewards and stuff? It might have been him.

                    • lurgee

                      Cruikshank identified the person who challenged him as ‘Nigel no mates’ and the challenger (Pretty sure it was you, might have been one of the other skeptics, there were a couple of loose cannons) admitted, after a bit of huffing and puffing, that his middle name was Nigel, but that there was nothing remarkable about that.

                      If it it wasn’t you, I apologise for the misidentification. Who was the other one who was always screaming on about challenges and offering rewards and stuff? It might have been him.

                      Shortly after Gosman’s post above, someone started posted an obscene comment (or perhaps an offer of lovin’) on my blog. Surely a remarkable coincidence?

                    • Gosman

                      My middle name isn’t Nigel or anything remotely like it. Also I’m curious how he was meant to find out this detail from an internet search when I don’t advertise my name on forums generally. The other person was Ynot. He is actually a lefty so don’t think he was extolling the virtues of Ayn Rand. Quite possibly doing the opposite and you once again misinterpreted.

                    • lurgee

                      Nah, I remember Ynot. He was pretty sane. Ditto Ginarley. Must have been the other one, whose nick escapes me all together. But you do love Ayn Rand, don’t you?

                    • Gosman

                      Never met the woman.

                    • lurgee

                      That’s not precisely a denial. Was Sharman active on the SM forum, or did he just lurk in the background, pretending he was some sort of General of Scepticism, and we were his troops? He was a bit of a mad fanatic. Don’t think it was him I’m trying to recall, however. Though he was erratic enough.

            • Robert Atack 1.1.2.1.1.6

              Another one for ya
              >The many misunderstandings he relays begin with the title. There is more than enough potential oil resource below ground to create the climate disaster he refers to. Peak oil is not about that. It is about when global production falls never again to reach past levels: a disaster, if the descent hits an oil-dependent global economy years ahead of expectations. This descent depends on flow rates in oilfields, not the amount of oil left. What worries those who believe the global oil peak is imminent is the evidence that the oil industry will not be able to maintain growing flow rates for much longer.
              Posted by
              Jeremy Leggett
              Wednesday 4 July 2012 13.23 BST guardian.co.uk
              http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jul/04/monbiot-wrong-peak-oil?newsfeed=true

              • Colonial Viper

                Yep. It doesn’t matter how much water there is left in the lake if the only way you can drink from it is through a straw.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.1.2.2

          How will increased fuel prices become a barrier to trade: by increasing the end-cost of imports beyond the ability of large numbers of people to pay for them – resulting lower volumes leading to less cost efficiency, food riots causing uncertain market conditions. That sort of thing.

        • Bored 1.1.2.3

          Because…fekk I am so Bored of explaining so perhaps have a read of this fabulous fellow, says what I would except, hard as you may find it to believe, well….better.
          http://cluborlov.com/

        • Deano 1.1.2.4

          oil prices are already becoming a barrier to trade. Oil is a third of the running cost of shipping lines

          here’s a short article, I know you won’t bother to read anything longer: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-05-07/news/31610751_1_tonnage-tax-dry-bulk-bunker-fuel

          • gnomic 1.1.2.4.1

            Just lately I read that Maersk are tightening the screws with threats of increased freight rates – yes, the company that is inciting attacks on the wages and conditions of NZ port workers. It seems the poor devils aren’t getting big enough margins so with deep regret they are going to rack up their prices.

            Elsewhere I read that trans-oceanic freight vessels are reducing their speeds so as to cut back on fuel consumption.

        • mike e 1.1.2.5

          goose brain If you can’t figure that out I can see why you are sucked in by the neo liberal BS you spew.
          No brains no pain.
          Fuel is one of the single biggest costs on farm.
          Transport they use fuel in vast quantities to move Fertilizers(Mind you we could just use you and your right wing miopic idoit BS you lot spew would solve that problem)
          and product to market.
          Goose if that becomes to expensive people will produce product where the market is not 20,000 km away .

        • Georgecom 1.1.2.6

          Gosman. Try thinking about the cost of transporting things if the price of transporting them is rising. Think about the impact on prices of the items if the cost of transporting them rises.

          Simple mathematics.

    • NickS 1.2

      Re the lake levels: if the average of something is 100 across all years and one year you only get 77, that doesn’t mean something terrible has happened, it means 100 is an average figure. If the average starts to go down, then you’ve got a problem…

      Derp.

      You have failed time series statistics 101, please try again…

      aka that’s only useful for long term changes, if you want to see what’s happening in the short term you need to use time intervals which are just big enough to be statistically significant, which is derived from the amount of noise in the data set.

      • Psycho Milt 1.2.1

        I don’t believe it takes an in-depth knowledge of time-series stats to notice the problem with concluding something terrible is happening because this number is lower than the average.

    • weka 1.3

      “Sounds like great economic news for a country producing grass-fed meat and dairy products.”

      Much of the dairy industry in NZ is dependent on palm kernel imported from Malaysia. Even in somewhere like Southland, where if you can’t grow grass fed animals there is something seriously wrong, they do this shit.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6082219/Dairys-carbon-footprint-under-fire-again

      • Jimmie 1.3.1

        Foot in Mouth with this comment I’m afraid.

        Approx 95% of feed fed to dairy/beef stock is grown on farm in NZ.

        Palm Kernal is a relatively minor input on dairy farms.

        • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1

          Having said that, dozens of dairy farms would go under asap if it wasn’t for palm kernel and tapioca imports maintaining high production levels.

          Basically those dairy farmers have overstocked beyond the point the land can cope with even using intensive highly fertilised and highly irrigated pasture growth.

        • weka 1.3.1.2

          What CV said. This isn’t farming as we’ve known it. It’s strip mining and then exporting the fertility of the land to the nth degree. We can only hope that the dairy industry collapses sooner rather than later and leaves us some fertile land to grow actual food on once the shit hits the fan hard enough to affect NZ.

          • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.2.1

            Massive amounts of fertiliser poured on, mixed with added water to get the pasture growth they need.

            On farms like that the land is simply being used as a hydroponics operation. Its not even farming the land any more.

  2. Bored 2

    Cognitive dissonance? Have a read of Orlov on why the population in general even when they hear the bad news fail to respond. We are acting like rabbits in the headlights, unfortunately for us the car wont stop before peak Oil strikes….splat!

    http://cluborlov.com/

  3. Kotahi Tane Huna 3

    What a difference a year makes. May 2011:

    Global warming is likely already taking a toll on world wheat and corn production, according to a new study led by Stanford University researchers. But the United States, Canada and northern Mexico have largely escaped the trend.

  4. infused 4

    Just shut up and let it happen.

    That’s the only way it’s going to stop.

    Prove me wrong.

  5. weka 5

    Would now be an opportune moment to rethink our relationship with water in NZ?

  6. I read a fun fact the other day – photosynthesis stops working @ 40C and @ 35C it is only about 50% as ‘productive’ which is ok if the world was eating cactus, but wheat, barley, corn, and soy hmmm

    • Temperature directly affects the ability of enzymes and thus enzyme processes that take place in the leaf of a plant. In recent research, the effects of both high temperature and low temperature have similar outcomes, but these results occur via different path ways.

      High temperature affects the structure of an enzyme. Although high temperature related to activity can be beneficial, there is a point on every enzymes activity curve where activity rapidly decreases. This decrease in activity is due to the heat energy associated with high temperatures. Denaturation is the unraveling of a protein’s (all enzymes are proteins, but not all proteins are enzymes!) tertiary structure, or its double helical- three dimensional conformation. This is in its most basic sense, changing the shape of an enzyme. More over, the shape of an enzyme is its primary tool for catalyzing reactions that would otherwise be too energy consuming to process (enzymes lower the energy of activation of a particular reaction i.e. they lower the amount of energy necessary to activate a reaction). When this shape is distorted by damaging heat, the enzyme can no longer function as an effective unit in the process of photosynthesis.

      There are many enzymes that play key roles in the synthesis of carbohydrates by photosynthesis. Eliminating just one will likely halt production until conditions are once again favorable.

      https://wiki.umn.edu/view/FR_3104_5104/PhotoSynthesis

  7. MrSmith 7

    “you know the relatively mild and sunny winter we’re having – that’s a weather event with negative consequences too:”
    No doubt James, but as we get older we fell the cold more, so even if the winters are warmer they still fell colder and the young, well they have nothing to judge the present temperature against, like they care anyway, the look out the window diagnoses will never get us anywhere short term, until the cows start flying by the window and even then I doubt it will sink in.

  8. Georgecom 8

    Accepting many of the comments above, here is perhaps some better news. Growing food need not be a disaster waiting to happen. This series of permaculture
    videos
    is worth watching

    What could be done

  9. Kotahi Tane Huna 9

    Reaction to recent events in America, from Peter Sinclair – of “Climate Crock of the Week”.

    “We’ll adapt to that” – empty words exposed.

  10. Bill 10

    And yet again, an opinion on rising prices for food staples misses the big bloody elephant in the room. Which is simply this: that only the staples that are subject to speculative trading rise in price. (Have potatoes or sorghum prices gone through the ceiling? No.) And as for all the shit being spouted about failed Russian wheat harvests last year (as though that drove the global price of wheat up) the global wheat production was the largest it had ever been.

    Which is not to say that global warming ain’t producing weather that’s whacking harvests. Just that supply and demand isn’t driving prices. Bankers/speculators are.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Well they got to dump all that freshly printed USD into some market somewhere, right? And starving poor people on the other side of the world is no problem of consequence for a London City or New York trader.

      • Paw prick 10.1.1

        What a self righteous wanker!
        How many new York or London city traders do you know?
        Do you claim to have knowledge of their colletctive conscience ?

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    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    4 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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