Hansen calls for Key to lead on climate change

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, May 25th, 2011 - 71 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, john key - Tags:

Visionary climate change scientist James Hansen has written an open letter to John Key.

Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister of New Zealand
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

Dear Prime Minister Key,

Encouraged by youth of New Zealand, especially members of the organization 350.org, I write this open letter to inform you of recent advances in understanding of climate change, consequences for young people and nature, and implications for government policies.

I recognize that New Zealanders, blessed with a land of rare beauty, are deeply concerned about threats to their environment. Also New Zealand contributes relatively little to carbon emissions that drive climate change. Per capita fossil fuel emissions from New Zealand are just over 2 tons of carbon per year, while in my country fossil fuel carbon emissions are about 5 tons per person.

However, we are all on the same boat. New Zealand youth, future generations, and all species in your country will be affected by global climate change, as will people and species in all nations.

New Zealand’s actions affecting climate change are important. Your leadership in helping the public understand the facts and the merits of actions to ameliorate climate change will be important, as will New Zealand’s voice in support of effective international actions.

The fact is that we, the older generation, are on the verge of handing young people a dynamically changing climate out of their control, with major consequences for humanity and nature. A path to a healthy, natural, prosperous future is still possible, but not if business-as-usual continues.

The state of Earth’s climate is summarized in the attached paper, whose authorship includes leading world scientists in relevant fields. The bottom line is that Earth is out of energy balance, more energy coming in than going out. Thus more climate change is “in the pipeline”.

Failure to address emissions of carbon dioxide, the main cause of human-made climate change, will produce increased regional climate extremes, as seen in Australia during the past few years. But young people, quite appropriately, are concerned especially that continued emissions will drive the climate system past tipping points with irreversible consequences during their lifetimes.

Shifting of climate zones accompanying business-as-usual emissions are expected to commit at least 20 percent of the species on our planet to extermination – possibly 40 percent or more. Extermination of species would be irreversible, leaving a more desolate planet for young people. They will also have large effects on New Zealand’s principal export industry, agriculture

Sea level rise is a second irreversible consequence of global warming. Some sea level rise is now inevitable, but with phase down of fossil fuel use it may be kept to a level measured in a few tens of centimeters. Business-as-usual is expected to cause sea level rise exceeding a meter this century and to set ice sheet disintegration in motion guaranteeing multi-meter sea level rise.

Prompt actions are needed to avoid these large effects. Phase-out of coal emissions by 2030 is the principal requirement. Also unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground. These conditions, plus improved agricultural practices and reforestation of lands that are not effective for food production, could stabilize climate.

I have had the opportunity while in your country to meet your science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman and your climate change ministers, Hon Nick Smith and Hon Tim Groser, and discussed these issues with them. If I can be of any help with the science of climate change I am very willing to assist your government. Implications for New Zealand are clear.

First, New Zealand should leave the massive deposits of lignite coal in the ground, instead developing its natural bounty of renewable energies and energy efficiency. If, instead, development of such coal resources proceeds, New Zealand’s portion of resulting species extermination estimated by biological experts would be well over 1000 species. Most New Zealanders, I suspect, would not want to make such ‘contributions’ to global change.

Second, New Zealand should lend its voice to the cause of moving the global community onto a path leading to a healthy, natural, prosperous future. That path requires a flat rising carbon fee collected from fossil fuel companies domestically, with the funds distributed uniformly to citizens, thus moving the world toward carbon-free energies of the future.

Prime Minister Key, the youth of New Zealand are asking you to consider their concerns and exercise your leadership on behalf of their future, indeed on behalf of humankind and nature.

With all best wishes,

James E. Hansen,

Adjunct Professor
Columbia University Earth Institute

Cc Sir Peter Gluckman
Hon Nick Smith
Hon Tim Groser

71 comments on “Hansen calls for Key to lead on climate change”

  1. Peter Bains 1

    Hope key tells him to get fucked. We do not need to lead the world, Australia are struggling to introduce a price on Carbon, so we at best should follow Australia.

    • Oscar 1.1

      How much is a tree? That should be the price of Carbon.
      Oh, trees are free when you have a green thumb you say?

      Oh silly me, and here I was thinking Carbon was a rare earth element.

      Since when do we start paying for something that is so commonly abundant, and is the very basis of all life.
      Might as well carry a “breathometer” and get charged nanocents for every exhale we make.

      Will certainly give “Waiting to Exhale” a whole new meaning.

      • Andy-Roo 1.1.1

        Did you read the damned letter?

        Troll!

        • side show bob 1.1.1.1

          Hansen can go fuck himself,. Climate change, now what was it last week AGW, it’s all bullshit dreamt up by thieving socialist bastards and their number one hobby, wealth redistribution.To quote professor Bob Parker ” Global warming is “shonky science” this at a conference in Hawera yesterday.. It’s a con folks but of course you all knew that didn’t you. Billions upon billions wasted on a lie. Hansen goes on about sea level rise but doesn’t tell you it has only risen by .03 of a mm in the last ten years. In fact the AGW idiots are now claiming the Earth is expending and glacial melt is just keeping pace with this expansion, you just can’t win with these AGW wankers.

          • Andy-Roo 1.1.1.1.1

            What planet do you live on?

            “it’s all bullshit dreamt up by thieving socialist bastards and their number one hobby, wealth redistribution”

            Thats just the lens that you chose to look at this issue through. I think you will find plenty of green activists that do not support carbon trading scheme bollocks that just shift pollution from one country to another and make money for Goldman Sachs.

            But I suspect that I am wasting my time talking to you.

          • NickS 1.1.1.1.2

            After a couple minutes of fruitless googling and manipulation of teh terms, I can’t even find a trace of this professor of yours. Which doesn’t surprise me the least given that fact you all you’ve done is proclaim shit without any backing evidence.

            In short, links please. Especially for the last claim, as that sounds oh so like a colossal strawman. Otherwise, I doth think you are nought but a troll, that should disemvowled.

          • johnm 1.1.1.1.3

            Roll Up! Roll Up! Side Show Bob has something to say! May not be worth listening to but he can shout- Fair Ground Freak!

          • Georgecom 1.1.1.1.4

            Bob. The wealth redistribution bollocks was dreamt up by the thieving right wing financiers, tax cutters and asset sellers. It’s called an emissions trading scheme, designed to make nice fat fees for carbon traders. Better system is a simple carbon tax payable to the state.

    • r0b 1.2

      Hope key tells him to get fucked

      I hope you live long enough to come to realise how profoundly stupid you are at this time.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      Peter Bains, perhaps you haven’t noticed, but trailing behind Australia is what Key is good at.

      • Jim Nald 1.3.1

        New gaps are opening between electoral promises and delivery.
        It’s all getting a bit trickey.

    • Georgecom 1.4

      We don’t need to lead the world in selling state assets. We should wait until the US and China sell some power companies and airlines to overseas companies before we sell ours. Eh Peter.

  2. ianmac 2

    You are not Aspirational then Peter? Like Key.

    • Jim Nald 2.1

      It’s coming to pass now that yet another one of the things John Key was promising
      is going down the toilet.

      John Key’s extremely bold ambition to be a ‘fast follower’
      is now swiftly slipping to a whimper of aspirationally being the ‘last follower’.

  3. ZeeBop 3

    There are two classes of thought, one-debt-will-make-us-rich that is financial, future, ecological debt and without being in debt we could not hope to be self-aware as social, economic, or human beings. And then there is the second calls of thought, that debts-need-to-be-paid-back or they leave a wasteland of toxicity.

    Now the debt-is-good group won’t except anything, but will tolerate a carbon tax failing because at least lets them make more debt-tax-money if it succeeds.

  4. Oscar 4

    Hah!

    Go Stephen Harper. At least Canadia is on the right path.

    Don’t want more CO2? Plant a tree.
    Bring back how it used to work. Plant trees on farmland, and let the farmers sell them off when they reach full maturity (as well as having a pretty secure supply of wood to build new houses with the next time another natural disaster hits NZ)

    Oh looks there, sea level rises aren’t happening as quickly as thought.

    Or.. what about the 150 Million Climate Refugees by 2010? Haven’t seen those yet.

    What about the fact that constant cloud cover on the Earth has increased steadily over the last decade?

    And my personal favourite Reduced CO2 is harmful to plantlife

    We should be putting more research into investigation of the long term toxicity to humans in higher CO2 levels. When Grimsvotn and Eyjafjallajökull release more CO2 in the atmosphere than the city of London does over a 20 year period.. what’s the point in investing in Carbon Sinks?

    Remember the 80’s? Save the World. Plant a Tree. Earth will love you for it.

    Why are we so busy rushing around like we have a bee in our bonnet when time is NOT of the essence. The UN have proved that conclusively now that they’ve pushed their climate refugee prediction out to 2050… then to 2080, 2100, 2120….

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      you’re a science fiction writer, I can tell.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        No, science fiction writers have a tendency to stick to facts when they apply. Oscar’s just another denier disbelieving reality.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Unlike you I actually read the links you provided Oscar. None of them actually say what you think they do…. which is quite sad really. As with most of the dreck you fools come up with, it’s self-refuting and internally contradictory.

      As r0b said.

    • lprent 4.3

      Oscar – I think that has been mentioned before that you need to acquire a scientific education. You links clearly show this. As RL pointed out your links did not mean what you thought that they did. The first one was a hoot. The fool who wrote it appeared to have missed that he was accidentally proving the opposite of what he argued.

      In the case of the refugee link you didn’t even get the right date on the number. It was 50 million by 2010 and 150 million by 2050. It was just a paper postulating an idea based on a methodology. One amongst literally thousands. Furthermore the paper was on how do you measure refugees from climate change? The most likely scenarios would show up as being refugees from famine, war, floods, fire, etc indirectly caused by weather shifts. Or even direct weath like twisters or storms. History is replete with examples. How do you disguingish from that noise to seeing what climate effects are. This is another variant of weather vs climate.

      Umm no point in going into that either because your title for your third link clearly shows you still haven’t grasped the implications ofthat.

      OMG that last link? Are you aware that plants breate in CO2? If you put them into a glass jar without ventilation they will suffocate. In fact if we put you into a glass jar you’d do the same – but from an absence of oxygen – hold that mental picture…

      • Jim Nald 4.3.1

        Might he suggest that he will survive ok if he is put into a glass jar, tightly screwed shut, with a breathing locoweed … and the lights be turned off?

  5. Sookie 5

    Do these Denier idiots just hang around in the blogsphere waiting for someone to post something about climate change so they can throw the same old tiresome spaz attack? Hmm, perhaps they’re being paid per word by the brothers Koch and other such morally bankrupt bankrollers. Very dignified and reasonable letter from Prof Hansen, but it will fall on deaf ears as usual. Dirty, stinking Southland coal is the future, apparently. Just ask Gore District Council.

  6. Oscar 6

    Coal isn’t the future. It’s now.

    Not that I’m a fan of polluting the environment just to get at it.

    Hansen is “the father” of AGW. What assertations does he have to back up his wildly inaccurate claims, amongst the ongoing backdrop of ever increasing climate understanding?
    Not that the government funded IPCC would ever admit that perhaps their methodology is wrong. It’s always “the data is wrong”

    Far more reasonable ways of generating heat and electricity. Germanys got the right idea, as do the villagers in Kenya with their methane powered gas cooking.

    Not that anyone in NZ would ever see themselves cooking with crap.

    NZ has supervast resources of CNG – an easily extractable natural gas, that is plentiful and totally renewable within a short timespan, as opposed to the 1000 – 5000 years it takes coal to develop.

    Denier idiot? Not likely. Just a denier of having to pay for a gas that all life on earth relies on.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Just a denier of having to pay for a gas that all life on earth relies on.

      In that case go stick your head in a room full of it. Yes life relies on CO2… but that says nothing about how much. Life relies on a lot of things, but all in the correct balance and proportions.

      • oscar 6.1.1

        and pray tell, what is the correct balance and proportion? The CO2 level has been many thousands of times higher (as much as 8000ppm iirc) than now.
        So my argument stands… What is the optimal balance for CO2 that doesn’t adversely affect humans?
        As for the arctic sea ice, it wouldn’t have anything to do with the increasing volcanic activity happening undersea in that region, heating up the ocean? No sirree, it doesn’t.

        • lprent 6.1.1.1

          As for the arctic sea ice, it wouldn’t have anything to do with the increasing volcanic activity happening undersea in that region…

          At last – something you are actually correct on (although I suspect that wasn’t your intent).
          Keep trying to use your brain – eventually you’ll wear out the blockages.

        • RedLogix 6.1.1.2

          Oh yes CO2 was much higher at times in the past… but life on earth was nothing like we know it now.

          What we do know is that almost all the modern life forms and ecologies that us humans utterly depend on, evolved during recent periods when CO2 levels ranged between about 250 and 350ppm. We know that is the safe range.

          Anything outside of this puts us into unknown territory where we can only expect the consequences to be all bad for the biosphere as we currently know it. The planet itself will survive quite happily; we probably will not.

  7. ETS and carbon tax is like some fat chick paying you to run around the park, while she stuffs her face with doughnuts
    350.org is just BS feel good crap, the amount of CO2 + other nasties = 450 ppm now, CO2 hangs around for about 1,000 years.
    We can’t buy, borrow or tax our way out of this one folks.
    Might as well let the deniers have their day, as the only way ‘we’ are going to stop fucking this environment is when we die off. So the faster we get to that point the better. I suggest we all go and fuck for the future, as adding more children will help speed up the proses.
    Lets give mothers a living wage and help them reproduce.

    • johnm 7.1

      Hi RA
      What expert do we believe in? I accept James Lovelock’s viewpoint. he says it’s too late, no matter what we do climate change is heating up the planet and will continue until Earth reaches a new stable hot state with most of the Earth’s ice gone. Positive feedbacks are happening such as Summer ice retreat in the North Pole area allowing more heat trapment in the revealed ocean. I agree we “can’t buy, borrow or tax our way out of this one folks.”
      If we could cooperate as a species ,we should voluntarily work to reduce our population downwards as rapidly as possible to try and adjust to harder times coming.But Human nature! We know this is impossible, people will not give up their right to reproduce.
      New Zealand is irrelevant except on a moral and leadership level which won’t happen as our governments subscribe to growth at all costs-the modus operandi of the cancer cell which kills off its host eventually.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Yeah pretty much it’s too late. The majority of the climate change which is coming over the next 100 years now cannot be practically avoided without modern western societies reducing their energy use by a third or more, and hard limiting what developing countries can grow into.

        This is never going to happen and will present the biggest problem sadly not for my children, but for their own.

        Not even taking into account here that world population is going to increase by about 25% to 9 billion people in the next 50 years*

        *Yeah if we get that far 🙂

        • Peter Rabbit 7.1.1.1

          And thats a major part of the problem is we as a species are continuing to bred at rates far out of proportion to what the planet can support. With the exception of the Greens (who got hammered the last time this discussion was raised in MSM) the main political parties are all to scared to even discuss it

          If we are serious about minimizing the effects of climate change in conjunction to implementing appropriate environmental policies we need to be implementing policies to ensure that population growth is properly managed both domestically and through our aid programs.

          • Robert Atack 7.1.1.1.1

            With the exception of the Greens … yeah right

            Alas Peter The Greeds have produced the most children, compared to every other parties in the house, for some insane reason they think they are breeding ‘wonder humans’ with footprints the size of mice, when in reality their children have used up the resources of several small African villages already.
            As far as the environment goes they are the biggest joke in the house. ie Kiwi Saver.

    • johnm 7.2

      Hi Robert Atack and AFewKnowTheTruth
      Here is a link to a brilliant speech by Mike Ruppert(Because it gives us the TOTAL picture of what’s happening) talking about the new human species of Post Petroleum Man which will inherit what’s left of the Earth after the demise of Petroleum Man. He also considers the religion of our times,Infinite Growth which necessitates the effective denial of the reality of Climate Change. he also mentions Japan is mortally wounded as an Industrial Economy which will reverberate throughout the World’s economy. Refer link:

      http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-lifeboat-hour/2011/5/23/the-lifeboat-hour-052211.html

  8. Charlie Parker 8

    I didn’t read the letter. Climate Change is a religion of the Harold Camping variety, but with a twist: instead of volunteer donations, they’re taken forceably, through tax. The high priests jetset around the world spilling millions of tons of jet fuel vapour and hot air into the environment -essentially invalidating what they preach.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      OK so if you are not going to even read or make the effort to understand a single stroke of climate science … yet you claim to know that it’s all a fake.

      And what a bizzare fake it is too… started over a hundred years ago and now upheld by tens of thousands of researchers in many related fields, in hundreds of different institutions around the world, and backed by dozens of highly respected science societies.

      What’s more the details of this plot have been carefully created and coordinated for internal consistency over many decades without the details of any of this massive conspiracy being leaked; no damming meeting minutes, no detailed emails explaining exactly how and when vast amount of data in numeorus diverse fields would need to be altered, no whistle-blowers running to the media with fistfuls of smoking gun evidence. Not once in what, three decades now?

      You flatly accuse these scientists of creating a fake. That is what you are saying. Creating a fake like that has certain logical implications; fakes and lies have to be created and take energy to maintain, which always leaves a trail of evidence. The more people involved in a scam the more difficult it is to keep that evidence secret. With the huge number of people involved in climate science it’s wholly ludicrous to think that such a secret have been covered up for so many decades.

      The problem here is not with the science. At some level of residual rationality you know the science is probably objectively right. The problem for you is that what the science is telling you undermines your self-identity, and you do not want to have to deal with the implications of it. As a result you have a bad conscience about this and that will cause you to behave stupidly.

      For most people emotion trumps reason every time.

      • Charlie Parker 8.1.1

        My my, what a bad case of projection you have there!

        • RedLogix 8.1.1.1

          This has nothing to do with the science Charlie. You know nothing of it, you have no interest in it.

          While I’ve spent months of my life attempting to grasp the fundamentals of the science, I don’t pretend to be anything like an authority or an expert. As with many, many aspects of our lives we inevitably have to trust experts to do their best in good faith.

          And that’s the great thing about science, it’s ultimately self-correcting. There is always a chance some new observations or insights arise that change our current climate change science. It’s unlikely at this late stage that the current understanding around CO2 will be completely overturned as you are hoping for Charlie… but it won’t be changed by ignorant rants and smears.

          The only thing that changes science is better science. It’s got nothing to do with ordinary people like you and me who are not qualified to participate.

          However this is all about you, and the moral choices you decide to make here and now. Let’s put it this way. If I am wrong then all that will have happened is that we have transitioned our economies off carbon perhaps a little sooner than we otherwise were forced to do so by peak oil anyhow. It’s a change we eventually HAVE to make so I’m pretty relaxed about simply getting on with it in a managed fashion. It’s not even all that expensive to do.

          If you are wrong… then you’ll chosen to fuck over our childrens and grandchildren’s lives in a very brutal, ugly way. They will hate you for your stupidity and self-centred greed.

      • lprent 8.1.2

        Man, what a long winded way of saying that Charlie is too stupid to understand the science, so he will attack what he doesn’t understand.

  9. John D 9

    NZ is already around 85% renewable energy IIRC. We have a very large number of trees that were not taken into account in the Kyoto protocol negotiations.

    Apart from the rather dubious arguments around agricultural emissions that I have commented on elsewhere, it would appear to me that we are already ahead of the game.

    • neoleftie 9.1

      well we face extremely challenging times – at present no cash, ahead limited resources. talk about the big bang creating the universe how about the big bang and crunch limiting growth. In NZ we are blessed with water and sustainable energy. Now we just need to utilise the two effectively, in a long term manner and NZ will be able to transform this century, from an oil transport dependant economy to a sustainable system…massive infrastructure and societal change is upon us.
      Tax breaks for farm shelter belts – improves productivity, grass growth, CO2 absorbtion and creates unskilled jobs – one small policy that provides positive benefits in anumber of areas.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        well we face extremely challenging times – at present no cash

        Seriously, cash is not a resource. If Government needs it, just create it or tax it.

        The US is printing dollars like its going out of fashion. They have expanded their M2 stock of money by half a trillion dollars (or more) in just 2 years. Half a trillion USD – magicked into existence out of thin air. That’s what I call funny money, people.

        http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h6/current/

    • MrSmith 9.2

      For those who aren’t familiar with Denialism deck of cards, then please check this out.

      http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/deck.php
       
      John D just played this card ‘No Problem” http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2007/04/denialists_deck_of_cards_the_2.php

      • John D 9.2.1

        Did I say “It was not a problem”?
        I said we were ahead of the game,

        Compared to, say China, which is building a new coal fired power station every week or two.

      • Jim Nald 9.2.2

        Cheers. That is very good.

        Can someone, after looking at how Shonkey has been playing us the past 2.5 years, come up with his deck of cards?

        Maybe one of The Standard’s regular contributor can start and the rest of us can help.

  10. r0b 10

    In completely unrelated news:

    May shaping up as hottest ever

    A May which has produced floods, destructive storms and a lethal tornado is heading to be the hottest on record, with average temperatures more than 2.5C above normal.

    • Carol 10.1

      Yep. I still haven’t switched on a heater in my place at all this year. I have been telling people it’s weirdly and unusually warm. (And am hoping it means a bit of an electricity saving this year).

      • lprent 10.1.1

        I have had the heater on twice this year. In each case when we have had higher winds + rain leeching heat from the exposed windows. A three story building on a ridge line with lots of single glazed windows is almost a definition of a natural fridge in that kind of weather – regardless how good the insulation is.

        It is pretty warm in Auckland for winter this year. But I suspect that it is in the top of the usual range when you’re looking over the decades.

        However it is still just weather.

  11. Tam 11

    John D – I think you will find that we are not ahead of the game. Can you please provide evidence to your claim of 85% renewable energy? If you have a look at our goals for emissions cuts you will see we are indeed lagging behind many others – including the UK http://www.newenergyworldnetwork.com/renewable-energy-news/news-type/policy-news/uk-proposes-50-emissions-cut-by-2025.html

    compared with..

    http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/climate/emissions-target-2020/index.html

    Not too mention our increasing obsession with oil and lignite.

    A very large number of trees? – I’m sorry is this your scientific evidence?

    I find climate change deniers and their lack of scientific understanding appalling. You spread lies and ficticious data to support an idea that humans can continue to abuse the environment for minimal gain.

    • John D 11.1

      OK, I was wrong on the 85%, according to Wiki it is 73%

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_New_Zealand

      I find climate change deniers and their lack of scientific understanding appalling

      On a recent thread, a was accused of “propaganda” and “jerking off”, yet when I was challenged I provided evidence to back up my claims from the IPCC and EPA.
      So if you wish to make this wild accusations about my scientific understanding, then I might politely ask you to Foxtrot Oscar.

      • William 11.1.1

        But you’re still wrong.
        You originally said “NZ is already around 85% renewable energy IIRC.”
        The ~73% only applies to electrical generation, it does not include all the other forms of energy we use, eg transport fuels, natural gas as an industrial feedstock etc.
        You’ve a long way to go yet to show your scientific understanding is credible.
         

        • John D 11.1.1.1

          I was referring to the generation of electricity. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear.

  12. MrSmith 12

    Wrong John D.
     
    We have a major problem, According to UN data, gross emissions from New Zealand in 1990 were 61.2 million tonnes of CO2.
     
    The problem is UN data now shows our net emissions rose 62.4 per cent in the period from 1990 to 2008 by 48.9 million tonnes.
     
    So now our emissions are around 110 million tonnes now .
     
     
     

    • John D 12.1

      How much of that increase in emissions is due to population increase?
      I seem to recall a figure from Statistics NZ that showed per capita emissions had decreased, but I could be wrong. It’s on the Stats NZ website somewhere.

      Of course, we have a solution to population increase. No pressure.

        • John D 12.1.1.1

          Is suggesting that you visit the Stats NZ website a form of denialism? Interesting.

          • William 12.1.1.1.1

            If you’d bothered to go to that website rather than just looking at the url you’d see that the specific card offered was “red herring”. That’s exactly what your energy per capita point is.
            Besides which you didn’t suggest anyone go the the stats site, you merely offered a vague memory of having seen something there without bothering to do the work of searching.

            • John D 12.1.1.1.1.1

              I did bother to go to the URL, and I gathered that it was about a red herring from the fact that MrSmith had written “Red Herring” above the Url.

              However, I don’t see how this is a red herring. If we are reducing per capita emissions already, then the increase in emissions is primarily driven by population increase.

              Perhaps we should reduce the population. Who is jumping first?

              • William

                It’s a red herring because as I said in my comment @ 1.50pm, Kyoto commitments are irrespective of population growth. What population we decide to have is a decision we must make. If we want to increase the population (as we have) then we must make compensatory reductions in our energy use to achieve 1990 levels.
                Your comment about jumping is worthy of dpf at kiwiblog. Population will fall naturally if the birthrate & immigration are reduced.

                • John D

                  So you re suggesting that we reduce birthrate and immigration?

                  Problem with this is that we end up with an aging population that has no one to look after them (China is already encountering this with its one child policy)

                  Another issue is that debt and currency devaluation means that a reduced population in the future will have much bigger liabilities than ours.

                  Thirdly, many western countries are already in population decline in their indigenous people (e.g Netherlands).

                  What has the Kyoto protocol got to do with anything anyway? It is due to expire soon and there is nothing in the pipeline to replace it.

    • William 12.2

      Not sure where the UN figures you quote come from but the Min of Environment report at
      http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/greenhouse-gas-inventory-2011/greehouse-gas-inventory-2011.pdf
      claims the 2009 figure for CO2 equiv of the six major gasses is ~70.5Gg (70.5 million tonnes), which is a 19.5% increase over 1990. (table on page vii). At 415 pages I haven’t read the whole document    🙂
      To answer John’s population question, population has increased by about 27% over that period. However, the Kyoto commitments don’t make allowance for that change. Yes, our population is under our control so it is an anthropogenic effect.

      • John D 12.2.1

        @William, so I am correct then. Thanks for the clarification.

        It is good to know to know the per capita amount of emissions. Some may come from economies of scale, more efficient uses of energy etc. Of course, we need to continue on this track.
        I am not sure reducing the population is an immediate solution.

        BTW, I think Nick Smith had claimed per capita emissions had increased. Another porkie

      • MrSmith 12.2.2

        Never trust the Government William, this is where I got my figures if your interested.

        http://www.ideacarbon.com/recent-features/index.htm/h4tw5h45

        • William 12.2.2.1

          I can’t see where you got your current figure of 110 million tonnes.
          Your first link gives a 1990 net figure of 30.1Mt, which they claim increased by 62.4%. That gives a current net figure of 48.9Mt, not an increase of 48.9Mt.
          Surely their statement should say
          “net emissions rose 62.4% in the period from 1990 to 2008 to 48.9 million tonnes.”
          not
          “…from 1990 to 2008 by 48.9 million tonnes.”
          Perhaps their error is accounted for by their desire to make a buck off carbon markets.
           
          As to your 110Mt, did you get that by adding 61.2Mt (a gross figure) to 48.9Mt (an incorrect net figure)?
          I mightn’t trust the government, but I trust the back room civil servants more than the business’ trying to spin things.
           
           
           
           

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