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Disgraced again on climate change

Written By: - Date published: 8:52 am, December 9th, 2011 - 89 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, International, national - Tags: ,

Heaven knows we’re not short of bad news on climate change.  I lost hope after the failure of the Copenhagen conference in 2009.  The Cancun conference in 2010 was a waste of time.  The Durban conference for this year is just wrapping up, at time of writing it appears that nothing of significance was accomplished there either.

Just to add insult to the injury of another wasted year, the government has taken the opportunity of the Durban conference not to make progress, but to disgrace us yet again.   NRT reports:

Climate change: Shameful

The world is currently meeting in Durban, South Africa, for talks on the future of the Kyoto Protocol. Unfortunately New Zealand is already distinguishing itself as a roadblock to negotiations:

The New Zealand Government is jeopardising its good name in international negotiations at this fortnight’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban. It has been identified as one of a small number of States stalling progress in forming an international climate agreement. Other parties have privately condemned its conduct and predict it could risk the possibility of a credible outcome.“Negotiators and observers have been telling us that New Zealand is taking an exceptionally irresponsible position in the talks”, says Rachel Dobric of the New Zealand Youth Delegation.

And we’ve already won a silver fossil of the day as a result:

The 2nd place Fossil goes to New Zealand for proposing the most Flexible Mechanism imaginable with no oversight or review. Bring on the wild west. They want to be able to use any market mechanisms they wish with absolutely no oversight or international review! There would be no way to ensure that the units from one mechanism have not been sold two or three times to another such mechanism. This would likely unleash a wild west carbon market with double or triple counting of offsets and a likely increase of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

These are a perfect example of how under National we have transformed from a climate change leader into a villain, from a country trying to do something about the problem to a country actively disrupting negotiations in an effort to prevent there from being a solution. But its a dangerous path to take. As a small country, we depend on our international reputation and our mana. And National is systematically trashing both in an effort to protect the unsustainable profits of its farmers and cronies.

In a followup post NRT reports that NZ went on to win a second Fossil of the Day award the very next day.  Not only are we not pulling our weight as a country on this vital global issue, we’re also disgracing ourselves publicly on the international stage.

Meanwhile in other completely “unrelated” news – “Koch Political Group Brags About Bullying GOP Lawmakers Into Denying Climate Science”.  Read it and weep.


89 comments on “Disgraced again on climate change”

  1. Andy-Roo 1

    Ok – sorry if I offend anyone by saying this – but Fuck This Shit.

    This is incredibly irresponsible, and short sighted behaviour. Criminally stupid, immoral – come at it from any direction and it just plain stinks.

  2. vto 2

    I have posted a couple of pretty expletive-laden posts in the last 24 hours concerning the terrible manner of people in various circumstances in our fair lands, namely the Pike River fiasco and lack of anybody taking responsibility (from corporate to govt level), the same thing with South Canterbury Finance and with the general approach of this govt to DOC and the environment. Also the news regarding the poor woman been harassed in Invercargill (post at 8.13 on open mike).

    I had subsequently been pondering a post on this attitude and approach to all realms of life in NZ and how it is exactly the wild west. The attitude of take what you can get your hands on and fuck the rest – it is all fair game. You know, all’s fair in love and war. We are all competing against each other so get stuck in and if you can get away with it go for it. You are only a criminal when you get caught. etc etc etc.

    This attitude is the attitude of John Key. It is the attitude of the banks and money changers that he worked for. It is embedded in his psyche. It was also reflected recently in a comment/interview of that blue stalwart David Kirk when commenting on the RWC he said “you only get out of life what you can take” (I know,, how is that? But that is what he said. Google it if you dont believe me)(Kirk was always named as possible future PM material – imagine that with an attitude like that?)

    This poor attitude to life and our neighbours is the base line for these types of people. Abd to look at the opposite – imagine if English stood up like a man and said “yes there are questons to answer re SCF and we want to find out”, or perhaps the Minister, the actual person, who removed the underground mine safety regulations stood up like a man and said “look I may have made a grave mistake – let’s have a look at it and if wrong I will apologise and stand down etc”. This is the honourable, strong, mature approach which gains credibility and kudos and rapidly builds strong attitudes and connections through society. This approach by the leaders would rapidly filter down to the likes of those dogs harassing that poor woman in Invercargill and the police etc who have to deal with it.

    But we do not have that attitude and approach. This lot n govt have the above weak shameful approach, as has been proved time and time and time again, most recetly in the last few days.

    And to finally come back to the point of the post – the exact same attitude and approach is clearly being expressed yet again in the current climate change talks in Durban, to the disgust of countries way more civilised than us.

    I am disgusted.

    (apologies for long post and no time to re-check for grammar etc. hope it makes sense)

    • It makes very good sense, vto.

      This kind of ‘attitude’ becomes prominent when there are no structural/institutional mechanisms to punish it and no social processes and connections stable and powerful enough to enforce it at a micro-level.

      We’re all just spoilt children operating on a completely distorted account of what it is to be an individual.

      Being an individual is not just about the ‘negative freedom’ to make uncoerced decisions but, rather, its the ability to be ‘autonomous’ – i.e., ‘self-governing’, which, like all ‘governance skills’, requires training by and from others and can only operate – or even make sense – in a socially predictable world with its conventional ways. 

      The modern world increasingly lacks the structures, institutions, capacity to develop (train) autonomous individuals, and the general stability and predictability to prevent the kinds of behaviours that make you so justifiably angry.

      Opportunistic self-interest is about the only strategy that can be materially successful in that environment, at least in the short term.

      Luckily, the world is not entirely lacking in the resources needed to produce better people, but they (the resources and the people) are probably getting rarer.

  3. Afewknowthetruth 3

    The ‘Orcs’ have won.

    • Fotran 3.1

      The orcs may have won, but the International Conference organisers are very happy to be able to arrange to have the next conference somewhere in the world, at vast expence and of course air and travel miles.
      Conference organisers are usually the only people who win at such conferences.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Exactly gents. This is when the left if strongest, is when we articulate what we believe in. Sure the vapid and greedy will scoff, but this kind of stuff is the truth. And the truth can never be shamed.

    Thanks for saying it.

  5. shorts 5

    its not often I’m ashamed to be a New Zealander… but these stories highlight an area I most certainly am

    what a difference a political party can make – especially one that simply doesn’t care

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    There would be no way to ensure that the units from one mechanism have not been sold two or three times to another such mechanism.

    Wow, this is an exact corollary of what the global banksters have been doing with their recollateralization and rehypothecation leverage schemes.

    Who is our PM and all his rich mates again? Figures.

  7. Johnny 7

    Crazy shit

  8. Sweetd 8

    Nice photoshop on the factory exhaust

  9. John D 9

    Meanwhile, the people of NZ continue to pay the Chinese to manufacture HFC-23 so that it can be destroyed and made into carbon credits.

    Here’s a suggestion – why don’t we give up on all this international treaty stuff and just get on with it at home? We are already over 75% renewable energy.

    Insulating our houses would be a good start

  10. John D 10

    Incidentally, Kyoto achieved absolutely nothing in terms of emissions reductions. It was a complete and total failure.

    Why would KP2.0 be any better?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      I suspect that AFKTT would agree with you here.

      ‘Decoupling’ growth from GHG emissions clearly does not work. All ‘developed’ countries do is outsource their production (and their pollution) to even worse emitting developing countries.

      So yeah, the answer is not another Kyoto Protocol treaty mark 2. It is the ending of net economic and population growth, world wide.

  11. queenstfarmer 11

    So NZ is “disgraced” by failing to “pull its weight” at a series of conferences that acheive nothing (besides the massive carbon footprint of hosting the events). Oh no.

    • John D 11.1

      the next one in Qatar will have an even bigger footprint. Just think of all those air-conditioners

    • mike 11.2

      Billiant logic there queenst. Kind of like saying it doesn’t matter that Jesse Ryder got out for 0, because the NZ cricket team never makes a decent score anyway.

      Having said that I fear it’s likely that the majority of attendees at these conferences who have any real power have no intention of achieving anything other than protecting the oil industrys interests and shopping for gawdy souveneirs for their wives.

      • John D 11.2.1

        Mike – I think the attendees are protecting their own interests rather than those of the Oil Industry.

        It’s all a charade really. Haven’t we got more important things to worry about right now, like the imminent collapse of the global financial system?

        • Draco T Bastard

          The immanent collapse of the biosphere is slightly more important that the delusional financial system.

          • John D

            That’s your opinion. However, there is a definite correlation between emissions and recession. if we head into a recession/financial collapse, then emissions will drop anyway.

            This is most definitely the case for NZ and is stated on the govt climate change website.

            • mike

              “I think the attendees are protecting their own interests rather than those of the Oil Industry.”

              Thanks for that vivid analysis John, I guess I was trying to imply that those two sets of interests seem to coincide.

              “However, there is a definite correlation between emissions and recession. if we head into a recession/financial collapse, then emissions will drop anyway.”

              So… If there is a recession then emissions will fall, if there isn’t then they won’t. And your point is?

              • John D

                My point is, for the hard of hearing, is that we are heading into a recession, therefore emissions will fall.
                No amount of treaty negotiations has ever managed to decrease emissions.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Heading into a recession. LOL. We never left one, and by the way, this is not a cyclical downturn we are heading into, it is a secular step change.

                • mike

                  I heard you John, the coming recession will do more to prevent climate change than any treaty. I also heard you say we would be better served directing our efforts towards preventing the recession. But if we did that would negate your climate change gains.

                  So your point is that we don’t need to bother with useless treaty negotiations because the recession will take care of climate change, and we’d be better off trying to figure out how to prevent the recession. Got it.

                  • John D

                    I didn’t say that we should try to “prevent” the recession. Nice strawman by the way.

                    I don’t think we can do anything about the coming financial meltdown.
                    The best we can do is try to look after ourselves. Indeed, that might be “consuming less”, living off the land, helping others etc.

                    My point is that, should this meltdown occur, then climate change negotiations will be irrelevant to the general populace. We’ll be putting all our energy into survival.

                    • mike

                      “My point is that, should this meltdown occur, then climate change negotiations will be irrelevant to the general populace. We’ll be putting all our energy into survival.”

                      Fair enough. But I’m not convinced that we should abandon putting pressure on our leaders on global warming just because it hasn’t worked so far. Because climate change negotiations might well become irrelevant to the people after the meltdown, but regarding that survival thing, climate change itself might not.

            • Draco T Bastard

              That’s your opinion.

              No, that’s basic fact. We can live without money, we can’t live without the biosphere.

              However, there is a definite correlation between emissions and recession. if we head into a recession/financial collapse, then emissions will drop anyway.

              We haven’t come out of the last recession yet and emissions have been climbing. Also, emissions need to drop a hell of a lot faster than what recessions cause to stop catastrophic climate change.

              • John D

                We can live without money

                I’d like to see this happen in the big urban centres of the world. OK if you have a quarter acre in Godzone with a few chooks. Not so great for the rest of humanity who are locked into the monetary/debt trap.

                • McFlock

                  People do all the time. Depending on circumstances and the economy, you might be able to survive on barter in the long term, or simply without cash for a few days (longer with survival skills like dumpster diving).
                  The point being, though, that in a hurricane with acid rain, survival odds decrease markedly. Not to mention the fact that inflation would immediately skyrocket so money would become worthless, anyway.

            • Ari

              People thought that, but they were wrong. Emissions continued to increase during the global financial disaster.

  12. clandestino 12

    We wouldn’t need this crap if we dealt with the fundamental problem – individuals need to consume less.

    • John D 12.1

      We wouldn’t need this crap if we dealt with the fundamental problem – individuals need to consume less.

      Sent from my iPad

      • felix 12.1.1

        Ah, that old chestnut.

        Using a computer is exactly the same as using a computer while driving a hummer and throwing all your rubbish into the sea.


        • John D

          I don’t drive a hummer, or throw my rubbish into the sea. Hummers are the dumbest vehicle ever invented, other than the stretch hummer.

          • felix

            Irrelevant. My point wasn’t about what you do, it was about you accusing clandestino of hypocrisy on a false premise.

            You tried to imply that anyone who consumes anything is not allowed to point out that people consume too much, and that’s just a bullshit argument.

            • John D

              So why do you think we consume too much?
              Do you wish for a more primitive society where women die in childbirth and our life expectancy is 40-50 years?

              Who, exactly, is “consuming too much”?

              • felix

                Why are you asking me? I haven’t said anything about thinking that people consume too much.

                Your argument was with clandestino and I showed that you failed to make the point you were hoping to.

                Did you even understand what I wrote?

                • John D

                  My comment was aimed at anyone who wanted to pick it up.
                  I keep hearing that we are “consuming too much”

                  So, whoever wants to answer, what do you suggest we do, grind everyone into poverty, ban shopping?

                  • felix

                    If it wasn’t directed at me then don’t reply to me with it.

                    How about you respond to my comment with either some sort of coherent acknowledgement that you accept the point or a rebuttal of it, and then I’ll get to your next bit of spas-kiddie logic after that.

                    • John D

                      Hi felix,
                      OK I apologise for replying to you and not to clandestino. I used the wrong link to reply to and it therefore upset the threading.

                      I am deeply sorry for this and I hope you accept my unconditional apology for any offense or anguish this may have caused

                    • felix

                      Yawn again.

                    • John D

                      It was just intended as irony, you know a little light-hearted joke.
                      Oh never mind ….

                      I have been banned from here for less.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Wow you are unimaginative aren’t you.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    what do you suggest we do

                    Live within the natural limits.

                    grind everyone into poverty

                    Nope, the only reason why we have poverty is because of capitalism. Sure, once we start living within the Earth’s limits we’re going to have less each but that doesn’t mean that we will be in poverty.

                    ban shopping?

                    Well, to be more precise we’d need to ban consumerism. You’d still get to go shopping you just wouldn’t get to do so if you didn’t need to, i.e, no replacing the Pad/Phone/PC every 6 months. You’d have to keep it until it was actually dead.

                    • John D

                      We could start by replacing all those air-conditioned offices with ones with opening windows. Outside of Auckland, we really don’t need AC here in NZ.

                      The energy consumption of these things must be horrendous. Not to mention all those recycled germs.

                    • McFlock

                      “We could start by replacing all those air-conditioned offices with ones with opening windows. Outside of Auckland, we really don’t need AC here in NZ.”
                      I’m in dunedin and have had offices where the temp got well into the thirties (centigrade, just in case someone wants to be a wag 🙂 ). A lot of the time it was simply a case of “warm in winter = hot in summer”. Sometimes it was just architects being morons, getting an award, and then leaving workers to deal with the resulting problems. 
                      I’m not sure that such arbitrary dictats from the mount tend to add to discussions – a bit like when folk say “it’s easy for a student to live on $165/w” and then follow up with some theoretical, geographically specific, buget to “prove” their point.

                    • John D

                      Replying to the comment about A/C below, I was trying to come up with practical suggestions on how we might make some things better.

                      However, this is not good enough. We need to tell our politicians that we want more laws to stop us doing things. We need other people to tell us that we can’t buy a new iPhone every 6 months.

                      We don’t want to find solutions. We want other people to tell us what we can’t do.

                      Can’t you see why people don’t buy this crap?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Can’t you see why people don’t buy this crap?

                      Because people aren’t informed. It’s not a question of “buying this crap” but of being aware of what the limits are. Unfortunately, we’ve had a couple of centuries and especially the last 50 years of being told that we can have everything that we want rather than the truth – that we must live within the Earth’s limits.

                  • Afewknowthetruth


                    Things will return to normal* whether ‘we ban shopping’ or not. However, banning unnecessary shopping would assist in things returning to normal.

                    “normal is how people lived before the first empires emerged around 8,000 years ago, and is how tiny remnants of humanity which have not been industrialised still live today.

                    • John D

                      So “normal” is when a person dies of disease at aged 35-40, when a woman dies in childbirth 50% of the time, and we live in cold houses that have no electricity or light other than burning tallow

                      Good luck chaps.

                    • Ari

                      Not really, burning tallow would make things worse. 😛

  13. Afewknowthetruth 13


    I’ve just picked up on this thread and must inform you that contrary to your assertion, emissions do not drop necessarily during a ‘recession’. Indeed, the IEA put out an alarming report recently pointing out that anthropogenic emissions were the highest ever in 2010.

    Also note that, the moment, the world population is increasing by around 200,000 a day. That means around 80 million more humans are ‘consuming’ the Earth every year = greater emissions.

    Although liquid fuel consumption is the US has declined in recent years, it has leapt in China and India. And the consumption of low quality coal has increased almost everywhere.

    In the very impoverished regions of the world, such sub-Saharan Africa, people chop down the last surviving trees for firewood because they have been unable to afford paraffin/kerosene for cooking since the price began to rise significantly around 2003.

    The really big one almost nobody talks about is global dimming ,whereby a reduction in the level of pollution in the upper atmosphere, which is an inveitable consequence of peak oil biting hard in a few years time, will allow more sunlight to reach the Earth’s surface and will give an impetus to the positive feedbacks that are already ‘kicking in’ in the Artcic region. Methane and CO2 have been coming out the ground at a phenomeal rate as the permafrost has melted over the past couple of decades and any warming will accelerate those emissions, just as warming in the Arctic alters the albedo and increases the warming.

    Another very interesting one most people have missed is that the Amazon has gone through two major droughts recently and was one of the greatest emitters of greenhouse gasses during those periods.

    The nub of the matter is this: an industrial civilisation of several billion people is totally unsustainable on this planet (and any industrial civilisation is arguably unsustainable).

    The catastrophe we are currently caught up in is the culmination of at least 8,000 years of population growth and inappropriate technology which went into ‘hyper-drive’ in the 1700s.

    If you ever decide to become informed about these issues there are a few books which cover them all.

    Of course, most people get very uncomfortable when confronted with reality and tend to turn away from such books.

    • John D 13.1

      I’d be more than happy to have book recommendations thrown my way, so let me know.
      I do try to stay abreast of these issues, but always happy to get a fresh set of eyes.

      Yes, really….

  14. Afewknowthetruth 14


    “So “normal” is when a person dies of disease at aged 35-40,”

    No. Normal is when many die during childhood and most of those that survive childhood make it to 50 or even 70. Try reading some Dickens.

    ‘when a woman dies in childbirth 50% of the time’

    That is an absurd statement: By your logic there would be few women who survived giving birth twice. Have you ever noticed that many of the refugees who walk to relief centres in Africa are accompanied by 4, 5, or 6 children?

    “and we live in cold houses that have no electricity or light other than burning tallow’

    Yes. That’s pretty much how humanity lived for 199,900 out of the past 200,000 years, and is how a great portion of humanity (perhaps the majority) live today.

    It is very, very difficult for some of those born into captivity in the industrial slave system to understand that:

    1. humans are mammals that evolved as hunter-gatheres

    2. humans are bound by the same laws of physics, chemistry and biology as all other mammal species.

    3. the Industrial Revolution changed the way.’civilised’ humans live.

    4. we are in the early stages of the reversal of the Industrial Revolution.

    5. there are far too many people for a smooth transition to a zero net carbon economy to be achieved

    6. unless industrial activity ceases soon nobody will get through the ecological bottleneck that lies ahead because continued industrial activity is reducing the size of the bottleneck.

    • John D 14.1

      So let’s say I found a carbon neutral energy source, that was pretty much safe, had a high energy density (unlike wind or solar), and was naturally abundant. So much, in fact, that we have thousands if not millions of years of the stuff available to us.

      How would you feel about things then?

      • Afewknowthetruth 14.1.1

        ‘So let’s say I found a carbon neutral energy source, that was pretty much safe, had a high energy density (unlike wind or solar), and was naturally abundant.’

        I’d say you had found something that millions of people have been looking for since around 1900 and have failed to find, almost certainly because it doesn’t exist.

        I’d say it almost certainly too late because we do not have time to uncouple society from fossil fuel addiction (and there is a lot of evidence we have already put sufficient carbon dioxide into the atmpshere and oceans to trigger abrupt climate change).

        I’d say that even if such a carbon-neutral energy source exists it would not overcome the problem of CO2 emissions relating to the production of iron form Fe2O3 and CO2 emissions from the production of cement from CaCO3.

        Only if society was prepared to live without any additional steel and cement being manufactured would that energy source be of value.

    • McFlock 14.2

      ‘when a woman dies in childbirth 50% of the time’
      That is an absurd statement: By your logic there would be few women who survived giving birth twice. Have you ever noticed that many of the refugees who walk to relief centres in Africa are accompanied by 4, 5, or 6 children?

      Well, to be fair that’s a bit dumb. Besides the obvious problem that even if your arrival logs were representive of reality there is no guarantee that the women are mothers of all the children they care for, are you perhaps suggesting that the counter-proof would be all those mothers coming into refugee camps after dying in childbirth?

      • Afewknowthetruth 14.2.1


        Are you trying to make a point or are you just arguing for something to do?

        My mother was one of seven siblings and so was my father. Both were born before electricty was commonly available in homes.

        Clearly the 50% death JohnD quoted was absurd and most certainly did not apply to either of my grandmothers.

        Multiple births were the norm in most non-hunter-gatherer societies for millenia.

        • McFlock

          making a point that you are as bad as JohnD for making blanket assertions without source – and I don’t mean ‘spend $20 and buy this book because i agree with it, it has the answers, i promise’ (me paraphrasing, there).
          e.g. half a minute on google got me this – yup, anarchic areas  seem to have a maternal mortality rate in the region of 1%. Not 0.001% in developed countries. But then this has rates approaching JohnD’s 1 in 2 (and is a commonly-referred to piece of research for students beginning epidemiology, btw). But I do accept that the 39+% height is a result of mixing industrialism (centralising births to deaths in hospitals) with inadequate knowledge about hygiene, rather than being the norm for your noble savage. But because you provide no actual supporting evidence, JohnD deserves the benefit of the doubt.
          You can feel smug and superior knowing that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket, but JohnD is your opposite. All that is going to happen is both of you will feel smug.
          I want to see who’s gonna win 🙂

  15. Afewknowthetruth 15


    Jared Diamond’s Collapse is fairly definitive on social and ecological aspects but is very long are repetitive and misses the imminent impact of Peak Oil.

    This covers pretty well everything and is very easy to read.


    • McFlock 15.1

      go on – answer JohnD’s question. Then we can laugh if he comes back with fission.

      • John D 15.1.1

        Why is “fission” funny?

        Still locked in Gen 1 Uranium reactors?

        Or to be more explicit, which bit of the LFTR technology do you have a problem with?

        • McFlock

          giggle- predictable as hell.
          well, besides the doubts as to whether e.g. nz scales enough to make it worthwhile, the radioactive iodine in my sushi begs to differ. And before you say the latest generations are much safer than the current stock, that’s exactly whatthey said about the current stock, so excuse me if I play safe on this one. Thorium is definitely an improvement on competing designs, but it still involves taking high volumes of naturally toxic substances and irradiating them.
          And generation is one problem – the other significant issue is energy generation for transportation such as trucks and shipping.
          Don’t get me wrong – AFKNTT has a massive hard-on for worst-case scenarios and I tend to disagree, but we have major issues of powering transportation with batteries that even approach the power density of hydrocarbons, and we still have climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, and significant water shortages in the middle of warzones or at funky intersections between two or more nuclear powers to deal with.
          We are at the cusp of some very interesting times.

        • Afewknowthetruth


          Fission is funny because people have been talking about fusion since 1950 and so far have got nowhere with it. That’s 70 years of failure on the fusion path, as opposed to succes in a matter of a couple of decades on the fission path.

          Other apsects -the production of steel and concrete- are answered above.

          • McFlock

            I think JohnD might have a 50s view of backpack fission generators being safe and an almost limitless resource.
            Not gonna happen.
            Fusion is ticking along in development – I think one or two of the scientific reactors have achieved positive energy outputs, just not reliably or large enough to justify the massive $$$. It’ll happen, but the other half of the trick is to get the energy where it’s needed. And a lot of the time the destination is moving. Although I think DARPA has some conceptual plans around that – but knowing them it’s just to make tanks with rail guns.

        • Ari

          Two words:

          Peak Uranium.

          Want to use throrium to irradiate water? Same deal.

          Nuclear technologies are a stopgap that costs more than just solving the problem with renewable energy like solar, hydro, and wind.

          • John D

            The Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) shows a lot of promise for future energy generation. It addresses most of the concerns about Uranium based generation:

            (1) Thorium is a naturally abundant mineral that is available throughout the world. We have thousands of years of known supplies.
            (2) The waste products are much less that from Uranium. In fact many of the so-called waste products are actually useful elements such as Neodymium and Beryllium
            (3) Non-proliferation – thorium doesn’t produce material that can readily be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
            (4) Passive safety – the LFTR uses a plug that needs to be kept frozen to keep the fuel in the reactor. If the power fails, the fuel drains into a tank and the reactor shuts down. Conversely, solid fuel reactors such as Fukishima require energy require energy to cool the reactor, which can lead to meltdown.

            A pilot thorium reactor was developed in the 1950s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the USA. For some reason (perhaps the arms race) the US government decided to go for the solid fuel design, based on Uranium.

            Governments are starting to take an interest in Thorium reactors; the Chinese seem to be most likely to go for it.

            If you are interested, Kirk Sorensen’s blog at http://www.energyfromthorium.com has some interesting ideas.

            New Zealand has a lot of hydro energy, so is unlikely to go for nuclear any time soon, but Australia would be a good candidate with its massive dependence on coal generation.

            • Colonial Viper

              There is no time or money left to develop and deploy commercial thorium reactors on the 100MW plus scale.

              That makes them a purely academic proposition of no real world use.

              • John D

                Your evidence for this is what, exactly?

                • Colonial Viper

                  You want evidence for something that doesn’t exist and isn’t going to?

                  Are you an idiot?

                  Put it this way, if a working 1MW prototype reactor doesn’t even exist yet then its basically still science fiction.

                  • John D

                    Powering an industrial economy with wind is science fiction.
                    Incidently, the Chinese are quite interested in Thorium power, and the UK House of Lords recently showed an interest.

                    However, you are clearly more intelligent and better informed than these people, so I will defer to your greater wisdom.

            • McFlock

              I still wouldn’t want to drive a truck powered by a thorium reactor, nor would I like it in ships coming into Tauranga harbour.

  16. David 16

    I’m here in Durban. New Zealand came third overall in the Fossil, and has been targeted by the NGOs present as one of the big four countries blocking negotiations. The word is that Tim Groser MP had a temper tantrum on Thursday night and had to be disciplined by the Chair. The Kyoto Protocol text was rewritten overnight last night, apparently due to NZ and Australian arguments.

    Things are looking dire here. It’s the 38th hour of Friday 9 December 2011 right now. We’re overtime and likely to run until tonight, or tomorrow. Chances of any agreement are mixed; of a good agreement, poor.

    You can follow our liveblog on http://www.youthdelegation.org.nz or our regular Twitter updates on http://www.twitter.com/nzyd.


  17. deuto 17

    The reports coming out of Durban re NZ’s official stance etc have made me really angry. but I have not had much time to pursue this. I tried to find who was on the official delegation but have had no luck to date. However, came across this impressive post by Kennedy Graham on Flogblog this morning that may be of interest if people have not already seen it.


    Would like to thank David and the other members of the youth delegation for trying to hold up against the official delegation position and recommend visiting their website as in David’s comment at 16 above for more information.

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