Climate change. It’s still happening.

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, April 27th, 2021 - 35 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, Economy, Environment - Tags:

As Ben says, this is hard information to take in. I remain convinced that the only way to deal with such a reality is engaging with proactive pathways for change. Please find whatever actions you can be involved in be they personal, community, political, activist, economic. Ben’s suggestions at bottom of thread. – weka.

Twitter thread from @ClimateBen

Ways to engage in the change:

 

 

35 comments on “Climate change. It’s still happening. ”

  1. bwaghorn 1

    Sorry but it ain't capitalism to blame ,its 7 billion people, we either learn to live on a degraded toxic planet or we face the truly big problem, to many people,.

    We should be paying people world wide to be fixed,spayed, cut ,tube tied .

    Maybe we should stop fighting so hard to prolong life, .

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Nope. That isn't a solution – it's a counsel of despair.

      Besides the population problem may well turn out to be the exact opposite of what you're imagining.

      https://fee.org/articles/the-myth-that-the-world-is-facing-a-population-crisis/

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/27/what-goes-up-population-crisis-wrong-fertility-rates-decline

      https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53409521

    • Pat 1.2

      One did not cause the other rather both are the consequence of utilising millions of years of stored energy in the space of a couple of centuries.

    • weka 1.3

      Population is an issue. Leaving aside the question of how to coerce people into sterilisation in a democracy, you still haven’t addressed the central issues of population: the population we have now cannot be sustained with the standards of living we have currently and avoid climate catastrophe. I’m assuming you’re not suggesting mass killing or suicide, so we’re still left with the urgent need to reduce ghg emissions immediately.

      I don’t care if capitalism is to blame or not, but it’s clear that capitalist systems are utterly failing to take responsibility for their contributions to the problem (including popluation issues). Also despite the massive benefits of capitalism those systems are even doing the basic stuff that would be easy within capitalism.

      People who support capitalism need to be able to front up with realistic solutions within those systems, at whatever level, that we can do now. Read more of the post. Climate and ecological crises are going to take out capitalism this century, it’s not going to survive if it doesn’t act now.

      • RedLogix 1.3.1

        you still haven’t addressed the central issues of population: the population we have now cannot be sustained with the standards of living we have currently and avoid climate catastrophe. I’m assuming you’re not suggesting mass killing or suicide, so we’re still left with the urgent need to reduce ghg emissions immediately.

        And that's pretty much the same question I struggled with for years. But there are more constraints on the problem than just population and CO2. I attempted to explore this question in my short series based on the Kaya Identity early this year, because just 'reduce ghg emissions immediately' is not a sufficient answer for at least two primary reasons.

        One is that while we could collapse the ghg emmissions of the developed world dramatically, that would involve around 1b people. The other 6 – 7b people would remain pretty much in the state they're in now, half in and half out of modernity. Enforcing such a condition, not just now, but for centuries into the future seems a very tall order indeed.

        But as discussed a few days ago, the challenge is not 'carbon zero', in reality it's 'carbon negative'. In order to get to climate safety we have to get CO2 back under 400ppm and heading toward 350ppm as quickly as possible. Natural CO2 sinks will not do this fast enough, therefore we have to do it ourselves. And doing that will demand vast amounts of non-fossil fuel energy. And that puts another whole constraint on the problem again.

        I wish there was some gentler way to convey this, because there is quite enough unreconstructed hippie in me to be very drawn to the Whole Earth Catalog zeitgeist. But without rejecting or diminishing the role that sustainable, regenerative and highly integrated agricultural systems can and should play into our future, the engineer in me also understands that sustaining our present global population demands we progress from the limitations of our past energy patterns (based first on photosynthesis and then fossil carbon) to new ones capable of driving vastly enhanced and expanded development across the entire planet.

        But honestly the thing that baffles me the most, is that the people who so vocally draw our attention to the problem here, are also the same ones most likely to reject all the potential solutions to it.

    • Stuart Munro 1.4

      it ain't capitalism to blame

      The extent to which corporations shape our patterns of energy consumption is considerable. We might have rather different norms had not various corporations driven the cars & roading model of development after WWII. Some other source of principled leadership is necessary – corporations don’t adopt sustainability of their own accord.

      This is not the first time by any means that societies have faced issues of unsustainable resource use. Mostly, they follow the path of Rapa Nui, and collapse. Better governed societies however, have managed to regulate resource depletion effectively. By this I mean Japan's forestry reforms of 1670 , not a profoundly dubious gesture like NZ's QMS, which largely records depletion rather than acting to prevent it.

      We should be making our housing from hemp by now – we have other uses for our forestry – chiefly protecting our hydrology from the greater variability of weather created by climate change.

    • Sabine 1.5

      Try as a women to have your tube tieds voluntarily. Heck in some countries they need their 'husbands' persmission to do that. And if the ydon't have a husband it will not be done, because their future 'husband' might want some children, and we all know that women owe children to their hubbies.

      You would be surprised to learn that quite a few women the world over would have that procedure done if they could get it without shaming and harrasment by medical staff with outdated ideas of what women owe to future husbands.

      https://theconversation.com/sexist-barriers-block-womens-choice-to-be-sterilized-99754

      https://www.insider.com/a-woman-needed-husbands-consent-to-get-her-tubes-tied-2020-2

      https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-xpm-2014-05-13-ct-met-sterilization-denied-20140513-story.html

      Just a few links that come up when you put ethics and birth control of which voluntary sterilization is one.

      Personally i would advocate for vasectomies as these can be undone….But i can't see man just yet to be so forward thinking when it comes to birth control and controlling ones own fertility, be that a man or a women.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    I have to admit changing my position on climate change. I never was a denier, but used to think the problem was being over-hyped for the sake of dramatic effect and to prompt action. However, I have gradually changed my view on that.

    A very "woke" moment for me recently as a trip to Aoraki where we went out on a boat to view the Tasman glacier. The amount of ice that has disappeared in the last 50 years is truly staggering. The guide said it was partly due to warming since the last ice age and also to do with AGW.

    To me it seemed obvious that if natural warming was the only explanation, then the glacier would have disappeared completely long ago given the rate the ice was melting. So, the only other explanation is accelerated warming of recent times.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Yup. In the late 70's I tramped across the Tasman terminal moraine from the Murchison, the same terrain is lake now, and the terminal is km's upstream. Access to the Hooker Hut is now very constrained because the glacier has receded so much. Or getting on and off the Bonnar at Mt Apsiring involves nasty climbs, where once you just stepped onto it. Getting down the Perth glacier was always challenge, but from the satellite images now I can barely recognise the terrain. The same story of massive glacial retreat repeats throughout the Alpine regions almost everywhere.

      For all of this to have so consistently happened in just one person's adult lifetime is so fast and so remarkable that when confronted with it personally it's hard to ignore.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        Ain't much left of the Aspiring Rob Roy Glacier either.

        Used to be an arena where you could see icefall all around you and enjoy the Kea skarking. Tiny scraps of ice now.

      • tsmithfield 2.1.2

        Yes, the guide was saying that the glacier used to be used by climbers for accessing Aoraki. But now it is very dangerous to walk along the edge of the crumbled rock where the glacier used to be. So now climbers tend to be helicoptered in.

    • Poission 2.2

      Glacial contraction is more from a decrease in summer precipitation,from a decrease in polar outbreaks(read southerlies) due to the poleward contraction of the jet positions.

      The consensus ie science is this is a result of ozone depletion,as are changes in circulation in the SH(annular mode)

      Additionally the montreal protocol will see (if modelling by both GCM and CCM are correct) the delay in SH changes induced by GHG climate change.

      http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/karpechko-NATURE-2020.pdf

      https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/clim/27/2/jcli-d-13-00246.1.xml#bib14

      http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/feldstein-SCIENCE-2011.pdf

  3. Adrian Thornton 3

    Most Kiwis don't take climate change seriously, that is just a plain fact…

    …"an exciting year for the two hottest segments in New Zealand's new vehicle industry.

    The two segments are SUVs which now account for an astonishing 43 per cent of all new vehicle sales, and utes which pick up another 24 per cent of the sales.

    Combined, that's 67 per cent of all new vehicles sold in this country."

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/trends-in-suvs-and-vans/110999026/twothirds-of-new-zealandnew-vehicles-are-suvs-or-utes?rm=a

    • Sabine 3.1

      soon to be replaced by the same type of car but 'battery' driven and thus…'green'.

      And here we thought a few decades ago that cars would get smaller. lol.

    • mac1 3.2

      https://www.facebook.com/100044545204726/videos/288641352969575

      This is an ad attacking the Victoria State government for their policy on EVs and it's worse than anything NZ has for attitudes towards one way to deal with climate change. Very funny and hard-hitting Australien (sic) video.

      • Andre 3.2.1

        If our government doesn't want to be just as retrograde, they'd better do something quick-smart about the scheduled imposition of road user charges on electric vehicles at the end of this year.

        If that goes ahead as planned, EVs will get charged more in RUC ($0.076/km) than it costs me to put petrol into the little Honda Fit hybrid ($0.071/km) I've recently acquired since I need to do a fair bit of daily driving at the moment.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    “Double cab” Utes for single person use are the kiwi way…SUVs for school drop offs are the kiwi way…but thankfully not too much longer

    Good suggestions in #3 above, that a number of us have figured out already, while negotiating the personal, the political and the planetary.

    Tory boofheads think they are such wits when saying “how can you be a greenie when you fly to see your mother at Xmas? You should ride a bike”…which is literally what a guy I know who spreads fert with 5 trucks said.

  5. Gosman 5

    Considering a detailed workable alternative system has yet to be developed calling for the end of the current system to save the Planet is pie in the sky thinking. You've seen the blowback from modest moves in this area and in some nations efforts to control the spread of Covid-19. Why do you think you can get radical changes through without such pushback?

    • Stuart Munro 5.1

      Because much of the pushback comes from systematic RW mouthpieces like yourself, rather than anything resembling Vox populi, vox Dei.

      Pragmatic but genuine reforms will, like the recent moves that had property investors lose their equanimity, be accepted by the broader public.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        In your dreams. There is a reason Trump won almost 50% of the electorate both times he ran for the US President. The first time was enough to win. That is what you have to counter.

        • Stuart Munro 5.1.1.1

          In your dreams.

          Oh… are you a successful gameshow host and longtime grifter then, with an inside line to offbook funding and cyber dirty tricks from a world power, and a massive support base among the ill-educated? No.

          Trump is your dream it seems.

          Who'd have thought your aspirations were so low?

        • Tricledrown 5.1.1.2

          Your right Gosman lies deception corruption fermented by the Koch bros Christian fundy militia dividing the people.

  6. Ad 6

    For the last two years we have had low rainfall in the South Island and hence much less of total generation for the North Island comes from there.

    That dry means Huntly has had the highest coal-burning fun since 2012 generating electricity for Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.

    Also last year government extended the life of Tiwai Point aluminium with more glorious subsidy (even as they stop cooperating on waste).

    What all the big generators are worried about then is government policy on electricity generation, storage and distribution. Until this is clear, really clear enough to spend several hundred million on each investment (and the project-killer RMA), you won't find new investment in wind, or big battery storage, or hydrogen in NZ (not on any scale worth a damn).

    Transpower, EA, and MBIE are doing their scrambling best, but until really strong policy settles the generators and their markets, ain't too many making moves. The next 6 months are going to be a total electricity carbon clusterf*ck.

    • Stuart Munro 6.1

      The reasoning is sound enough – but what proportion of electricity generation capacity was built by investors? We won't see investment in less carbon intensive generation until the government subsidizes it out the wazoo. Which being so, we might as well dispense with the investors, their bonuses and shareholder cuts, and the trickle down fiction that assumes that they are of any benefit to man or beast.

      • Ad 6.1.1

        We only have 51% control over those main generators now, and the rest are sharemarket listed.

        Government is also pretty hands-off the Electricity Authority (as it's designed to be).

        So it's not a situation like public health or polytechs where the government can just rock in and re-nationalise everything, and no return to NZEC.

        If NZTA are anything to go by, an integrated centrally-owned entity is actually pretty hard to shift anyway.

        • Stuart Munro 6.1.1.1

          Governments can do surprising things if they choose – but the point I was trying to make is that investors have built next to no generation capacity, and if we count measures that actively discourage solar conversions like this solar tax:

          The Electricity Authority (EA) of New Zealand has this week controversially ruled that a residential ‘solar tax’ is lawful – potentially clearing the path for similar charges on solar customers across the country.

          their net contribution may well be negative. Given that, they aren't especially sound candidates to progress the transition to a better carbon position.

          • Ad 6.1.1.1.1

            Agree.

            And it is precisely government policy signals that are to blame for that investment uncertainty.

      • Pat 6.1.2

        I suspect given the US position our government may well have an epiphany and the state investment will be announced…..unfortunately as with many other areas the action will be severely delayed

    • Alice Tectonite 6.2

      A couple of projects confirmed this year:

      Possible:

      • Ad 6.2.1

        Don't want to rain on your parade but all the investment decisions were made on all of those over 15 years ago.

        Harapaki was consented in 2006, Mt Cass was lodged in 2007 from data that began collection in 1997, and Tauhaura was lodged in 2010. That means their investment decisions began over 15 years ago.

        The one you've missed out is the big Turitea Wind Farm with Mercury – that also has a consent over a decade old, and commercial partnerships way before that.

        Don't be surprised if the government sets a quick phase-out of all geothermal energy production. On average New Zealand geothermal emits 99 grams CO2e, which is 14 times more emissions than Wind, and 3 times more than Solar.

        What we are looking at from 2021 is another decade of no investment decisions – precisely when we need it – unless there is an almighty policy and execution line in the sand from government.

  7. Pat 7

    That sounds like the pumped hydro battery you said would never happen….just before you noted that we have low hydro levels.

    • Ad 7.1

      Too right it won't happen.

      The foolishness of expecting nation-saving volumes of rain in high country steppes is as stupid as it sounds. But they are still spending $30 million just to find out.

  8. barry 8

    While I agree with Ben overall I wonder about his extreme predictions.

    I think the chances of us seeing temperatures 6 degrees above pre-industrial levels this century are vanishingly small.

    There is a large lag in the climate system and the next few decades of warming is baked in even if we do stop emitting, and that is what Hansen's statements mean. "eventually" is actually quite a long time. Which is all the more reason for acting quickly.

    The concern is that when the extreme temperature predictions don't occur (in our lifetimes) then people will think we are winning and slacken off mitigation efforts.

  9. Sanctuary 9

    A brilliant discussion featuring Adam Tooze on Novara Media on Biden's climate change policy.

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