Fast followers – not

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, April 1st, 2015 - 30 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, International - Tags: , ,

The Key government’s cover story for doing nothing on climate change is that NZ should not lead, we should be “fast followers”. Well, we’re not even that. James Shaw tweeted this morning:

NZ amongst the many nations to fail the first test of the Paris climate deal.

.. with a link to:

The dog ate it: late climate homework

Today the world was supposed to discover whether or not it can succeed in agreeing to a global climate treaty in Paris in December. That deal is to be based on “national contributions”—aims and policies that countries promise to implement after 2020. Individual states are supposed to announce their contributions by March 31st. Needless to say, most haven’t.

That would be us.

Today’s deadline was informal: participants were merely invited to meet it. But a global treaty failed in Copenhagen in 2009 partly because negotiators felt blindsided. The process adopted for Paris was intended to avoid that. It has flunked its first test.

This piece is not an April Fools joke – though in a rational world it would be.

30 comments on “Fast followers – not”

  1. tinfoilhat 1

    Disappointed but not surprised.

  2. saveNZ 2

    Key and Abbott – climate change deniers.

  3. Sable 3

    Keys and his mates care little about the environment. Its akin to intentionally burning the house you live in down but what the heck.

    That said I do not believe things would be a whole lot better under Labour. Their attitude to the environment, especially our rivers is hardly exemplary.

    Lets hope for a Greens /NZ First government next election.

    • saveNZ 3.1

      NZ First is more Green than Labour on some issues.

      Many people voted Winston because he wanted rail, he wanted ports in Northland, he did not support RMA taking away protection to the environment, he does not support TPPA blindly, etc etc. Yes his brand might be more conservative that Labour, but many of his policies are more Green than Labour.

      People are worried about the high price of power, the lack of affordable alternatives, global warming, lack of rail and public transport, and NZ’s very poor record on that.

      NZ under National and to a small extent labour are Green-washing their polices. Pretending to be Green but nothing of the sort, a sort of Crosby Textor device out to steal voters from the other parties.

      Likewise we have Red washing, MP’s in Labour who are actually more blue than red. Just go over to National – god damn it – so old Labour supporters can start voting for Labour again!

      Even the most conservative people are rejecting National values and polices now. Wake up.

      Even in the leafy suburbs right and left come out to support the Kauri tree not being felled and the ports of Auckland stealing our harbour.

      Voters DO NOT want right wing polices they want centre policies across the board (apart from hIgher taxes) and real support for the environment and our Kiwi way of Life!

  4. Bill 4

    Anyone care to help me out with how a meeting, designed to arrive at a plan for avoiding catastrophic global warming (Copenhagen 2009), lent itself to the idea that negotiators felt blindsided?

    Did some dastardly scientific cabal with-hold scientific data? I fucking well think not!

    What the fuck is wrong with these so-called negotiators that they feel it’s fine to seek ‘advantage’ (that being the only thing involving ‘blindsiding’ that I can bring to mind) in the face of a descending, scientifically verified, brutal and devastating, soon to be here, reality?

  5. outofbed 5

    This Green Party Activist says actually Rail is not the answer for freight in NZ any more then road
    But coastal shipping very much is.
    A very efficient and cost effective solution to moving freight around the country
    And if you took away the road transport subsidies and gave them to coastal shipping
    We would all be winners

    • saveNZ 5.1

      @out of bed
      Great to see more data on this as an option. What about sea pollution though? I don’t know much about coastal shipping for fright but apparently cruise ships are extremely polluting to the sea. They are just discharging massive amounts of waste into the ocean.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        I’d think that the difference between moving a freight train and a container ship of comparable weight is that it would take a hell of a lot more bunker fuel to move the ship compared to the diesel necessary to shift the train.

        Of course, there are sail and bio-fuel options…hmm…but then the bio-fuel option applies to planes too…or then there are dirigibles, that use much less fuel than planes.

        Anyway, regardless of which way you want to cut it, long haul road transport is stupid.

        • weka

          If you look at food miles, they’re worse for the food transported within NZ than that coming from overseas. I assume that’s because of trucking, but I’m not sure trains would outperform ships.

          • Bill

            ..but I’m not sure trains would outperform ships.

            Only going on what I imagine the different frictions to be between wheels on metal rails versus hulls pushing through water…

            • weka

              we need a transport engineer now.

              • Sacha

                Trains can be electrified. Coastal cargo ships, not so much.

                • Bill

                  Yes, trains can be electrified…or run on bio-fuels and whatever other scenarios for other given transport options I mentioned above at 5.1.1.

                  I guess you could do shipping on a combination of prevalent current/tide + a solar option + sails + bio-diesel.

                  Trains on bio-diesel supplemented with solar perhaps? Hell….it’s not inconceivable to fit some type of sail arrangement to a train.

                  • Bill

                    So, from page 48 of the NZTA report linked to by outofbed (below)

                    The assessment of transport efficiency in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions indicated the following:

                    •The main factor determining the efficiency of the rail transport mode is the number of wagons/containers hauled by the train.

                    •A secondary factor determining the efficiency of the rail transport mode is the type of locomotive and the number of locomotives per train. (The fuel consumption and CO2 emission rates tabulated in table 6.7 were calculated for one locomotive only. In practice, two locomotives can be used for freight trains and so fuel consumption and CO2 emission rates can be changed significantly.)

                    •To have equivalency with the road mode in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per kilometre a container is transported, the rail mode has to transport at least 25 containers per train and the maritime mode at least 297 containers per vessel.

                    • When considering the maximum number of containers that can be transported by each transport mode (ie 550 for coastal shipping, 40 for rail, and 1 for road), the maritime mode is shown to be slightly more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions than the rail mode, and markedly better than the road mode. In fact, both maritime and rail modes are about twice as efficient as the road mode.

                    Note: It must be remembered that this comparison is only applicable to the specific conditions for this research project. Factors such as topography, trip distances, cargo vessel/train capacities, freight vehicle fuel consumption and the vessel/train loading may alter the relative efficiency ranking of the various modes for other journeys

                    So the question on a simple analysis becomes which,of rail or shipping (assuming both are moved to bio-diesel), can be most efficiently supplemented by other energy means or with an eye to travel conditions?

                    • weka

                      I’d guess we could do both with a mind towards reducing consumption across the board.

              • Bill

                No not really, it’s basic physics.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  According to Wikipedia, quoting the US Transportation Energy book

                  Transportation mode Fuel consumption
                  BTU per short ton mile kJ per tonne kilometre
                  Domestic Waterborne 217 160
                  Class 1 Railroads 289 209
                  Heavy Trucks 3,357 2,426
                  Air freight (approx) 9,600 6,900

                  Edit: I tried to format it as a table: didn’t work.

                  • weka

                    Thanks, I think that shows that a mix of train and shipping would be a vast improvement on trucks.

                    (would also need to look at the audit on construction, maintenance and decomissioning, plus the ghg emissions on energy production for transport and meta aspects).

    • weka 5.2

      “This Green Party Activist says actually Rail is not the answer for freight in NZ any more then road”

      Interesting idea OOB. How does that stack up with the efficiency of having functional rail that is used for freight and passenger transport?

      I agree about the coastal shipping though. Pretty sure that trains have a higher carbon footprint than ships.

      • Sacha 5.2.1

        I very much doubt that electric trains powered by renewable generation have a higher carbon footprint.

        • weka

          compared to sailling ships? Where does the electricity come from?

          If we follow the path a long way we inevitably find that we’re basically using too many resources no matter what we do and that this underpins everything else. It’s good to look at reducing ghg emissions, but really what we need to be doing is consuming less, and stopping looking for tech ways to keep consuming more.

          The rail vs sea debate looks a bit academic to me unless we start putting it in real contexts eg how many goods/people need to move from Dunedin to Christchurch each year, via what tech etc. When we start doing that we realise that we’re trying to move too much too often for too many people, not matter what tech we use.

          • Sacha

            NZ has a huge advantage by already having a high proportion of renewable generation. We also have a huge challenge in reducing emissions.

            Switching long-haul frieght off diesel trucks or boats is a good step in that direction. Instead, we have the news that Kiwirail is thinking about buying diesel freight locomotives to replace electric ones.

            • weka

              True, but we also live in finite islands and don’t have infinite power generation capacity even if it is renewables. Which is why I’m suggesting that we look beyond the initial sea vs rail, transport only emissions analysis. Consumption and perpetual growth economics make a mockery of the train vs sea comparison.

    • Macro 5.3

      Actually it depends on where you want to send the container (or send the container from). Hamilton or Rotorua for instance couldn’t be reached by sea. Once the container is on a rail truck it might have one or two or more changes in train, but essentially it is handled only once. Whereas if (for instance) it was shipped from Marsden Point to Tauranga and then by rail to Hamilton it would require double handling at least.
      There is benefit in improving our coastal shipping infrastructure, as well as our rail. Both will be needed in the future.

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