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Hockey stick becomes a wheelchair

Written By: - Date published: 2:15 pm, April 30th, 2013 - 23 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, farming, food, global warming, science - Tags:

This was originally posted on The Daily Blog last week. 

Early last month there was a study published by Marcott et al with a reconstruction of the climate from available proxy data  since the last major glacial events which ended about 11,000 years ago. As the editor summary states at the AAAS’s Science Magazine

The pattern of temperatures shows a rise as the world emerged from the last deglaciation, warm conditions until the middle of the Holocene, and a cooling trend over the next 5000 years that culminated around 200 years ago in the Little Ice Age. Temperatures have risen steadily since then, leaving us now with a global temperature higher than those during 90% of the entire Holocene.

This warming after the last glaciation coincided and probably triggered the rise of the agricultural based culture that our civilisations are still highly dependent on today.

Since then, as can be seen in the chart from Jos Hagelaars which is a composite of 3 studies in different periods , the average world air temperatures haven’t varied that much – at least until recently.

The AB12 line at the end of the chart is a rather optimistic* projection from the IPCC AR4 report projecting the coming century. Since the atmosphere and oceans together constitute a heat transfer mechanism called weather, and we are looking forward to a severe shift in climate, I’d anticipate that the agricultural foundation of our civilisation is going to have problems that it has never seen.

The average resolution of the data with a reasonable level of confidence on the Marcott study is only at about 120 years because much of the period relies on measurements taken from the debris and sediments left by the natural world. Each sample comes from long ago and typically has been churned by biological systems and erosion, and in any case reflects local climate conditions. So what is seen is for each point on the graph is a composite of samples across many locations and across decades rather than a year by year record.

It overlaps with the finer grained data from the past ~1500 years from Mann et al 2008 derived in part with from still living or fossilized trees and actual instrumentation after our ancestors started to use thermometers. And the expansion of the studies used to make up that is below that.

As usual, the great “skeptics” clobbering machine is in full swing on the Marcott study. dana1981 at Skeptical Science (a site that specialises in observing the breed) observes:-

The Marcott paper has been subjected to an immense amount of scrutiny, particularly in the climate contrarian blogosphere, with criticisms about everything from the wording of its press release to the timing of its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) publication.  Unfortunately climate contrarians have been so noisy in their generally invalid criticisms that the media has begun to echo them, for example in this Washington Post blog.

There was such unusual interest in the paper that Marcott et al that they put out a response in which  they explained some of the underlying science for the people unfamiliar with the techniques.

But as dana points out the difference between actual skepticism and the rubbish that many of the more pathetic scientifically illiterate climate skeptics like Ian Wishart practice.

It’s worth taking a moment here to reflect on real skepticism.  Spending literally dozens of blog posts attacking a study because its results seem inconvenient is not real skepticism. Comparing climate scientists to the mafia is not real skepticism.  Nitpicking minor details in press releases and media articles while ignoring the discussion in the paper itself is certainly not real skepticism.

If you want an example of real skepticism, look no further than Tamino’s Open Mind blog.  Tamino read the Marcott paper, noted they had expressed doubt about the robustness of the final uptick in their proxies, looked at the data, identified the proxy dropout issue, tried some new analyses, and found that the proxy uptick is probably real but probably smaller than it appears in the paper.  Also see similar efforts by Nick Stokes.  These are the approaches of real skeptics.  At least the manufactured controversy over the Marcott paper has served to show who the real skeptics and “honest brokers” are.

The irony is that the climate contrarians are being their own worst enemies here.  A ‘hockey stick’ shape means less past natural variability in the climate system, which suggests that climate is relatively stable.  It’s revealing that in their zealotry to deny that the current global warming could possibly be unnatural and unprecedented, the contrarians are actively trying to undermine their only potentially valid remaining argument against serious climate mitigation.

Nevertheless, all signs indicate that the current rate of warming is very rapid, probably unprecedented in the past 11,000 years; that if we’re not at the highest temperatures during that timeframe, we will be soon; and that despite the contrarians’ best efforts to argue otherwise, we’re not yet doomed to catastrophic climate change.

But Dana181 is an optimist about how resilient our civilisation is, especially in it’s agricultural underpinnings. It is pretty clear to anyone like myself has a background in earth sciences that the IPCC reports are conservative because they are limited to solid confirmed data. But we’re still severely limited in what we know about what affects climates past, present and future.

But what we can be sure of is that the weather will get a lot more variable and extreme as the energy in the ocean and atmosphere builds up. It could be that this happens slowly enough for farming to adjust. But when you look at the dependence of farmers in extreme climates around the world who are reliant on regular weather like the monsoons in Bangladesh or the mild winters in the gulf stream washed areas like Europe, it is clear how reliant we are for food on our relatively unchanging climate of the past 11,000 years.

I also found this great visualisation of the snow over europe in 2010 when the massive warming in the arctic pushed the cold jetstream down over europe. I’d expect that this sight in Northern Europe will become more common for some decades until the north gets somewhat warmer. More energy in the Arctic weather systems means that there is more energy to push cold air south. Eventually (quite some time away I hope) the same will happen in our South Island when the West Antarctic ice sheet starts breaking up and the extra energy in the south will forcing the southern jetstreams further north.

That is what climate change does – it shifts weather patterns as the atmosphere and oceans disperse the heat.

Visualisation of the snow over europe in 2010

This image just illustrates how vulnerable Northern Europe is to climate fluctuations. As near as I can figure it out, the snowfall was almost exactly on the bounds of the last glaciation in that region.

23 comments on “Hockey stick becomes a wheelchair”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    Yeah, the glaciation map tells a very similar story.

    Meanwhile, looks like 400ppm by mid 2015 or so.

  2. Bill 2

    Seems the jury is still out on whether wind speeds increase or decrease in a warming planet.

    But if they increase, then all the irrigation schemes and drainage projects and ordered displacements (let’s just ‘forget’ about soil types for the moment) that might be brought to bear on agriculture…well, you can irrigate and drain flattened crops all you like I guess.

    • Murray Olsen 2.1

      I’d put my money on wind speeds increasing as the energy in the atmosphere increases, but a decrease could be possible if the extra energy were evenly distributed. I expect dustbowls like the ones that emptied out the middle of the US and A, mixed with swamps. I should note that I’m not a climate scientist and I don’t have a hell of a lot of money, but I am very worried.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1

        I think its clear that at the moment the “plan” is for there to be a medium to serious global catastrophe.

      • lprent 2.1.2

        It should (on average) cause increased speeds during the interim as the poles heat up and get rid of their ice. It depends on how much heat gets pushed/pulled into the polar oceans

        In the longer term, I’d expect that the equilibrium that happens in a 4 centuries or so will depend on the heat absorbtion levels in the oceans. Currently the estimates for that keep rising. But since we only have a few decades of decent information we simply don’t know how much is due to effects like the el nino/la nina and other similar effects.

        We’ll have better data in the next half century, when I suspect it will all be somewhat moot anyway.

      • Jenny 2.1.3

        The cyclone Bopha effect.

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

        ……the strongest tropical cyclone to ever hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, making landfall as a Category 5 super typhoon with winds of 160 mph (260 km/h). Bopha originated unusually close to the equator, becoming the second-most southerly Category 5 super typhoon, reaching a minimum latitude of 7.4°N on December 3. Only Typhoon Louise of 1964 came closer to the equator at this strength, at 7.3°N.[1] After first hitting Palau, where it destroyed houses, disrupted communications and caused power outages, flooding and uprooted trees, Bopha made landfall late on December 3 on Mindanao, an island that had been devastated byTropical Storm Washi in December 2011. The storm caused widespread destruction on Mindanao, leaving thousands homeless and more than 600 fatalities.

        After hitting Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces, Typhoon Bopha crossed the southern and central regions of Mindanao, cutting power to two provinces and triggering landslides. More than 170,000 people fled to evacuation centers. The typhoon moved to the South China Sea west of the Palawan island province, eventually dissipating on December 9.

        Quickly following after Cyclone Sandy which went unusually North to strike the heavily populated East Coast of the US. Bopha hardly got any attention in the Western world. But the devastation was enormous. Philippine expats. I spoke to here, explained to me that in Northern regions where hurricanes are more common, most houses are heavily reinforced against Cyclonic weather. Not so in the South close to the equator.

        Hurricanes and cyclones reach such incredible speeds due to the twisting motion imparted to them by the earth’s rotation. Known as Coriolis. The coriolis effect (or force) is most experienced in (relatively) narrow bands between the tropic of cancer in the Northern Hemisphere and the tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. After which other weather effects become dominant. Greater temperature inversions nearer the poles tend to slow winds down. In the other direction Coriolis effects become weaker the closer you get to the equator and the less dominent it is in weather systems. That is why hurricanes are pretty much unknown on the equator. However, with more energy in the system you can forget all that. Monstrous seasonal storms will become much more common way beyond their current boundaries. Generally Hurricanes lose strength as soon as they cross land. New Zealand with miles of open ocean presenting a very thin target could see winds that dwarf anything ever seen before anywhere in the world. During Hurricanes, open ocean acts as a heat engine imparting energy to the storm. More ocean, more energy.

        I think we can safely discard the notion of “life boat New Zealand”

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Our civilisation and way of life depends on massive energy usage. Building renewable energy generation of any scale and electric cars to go with it takes massive energy usage.

    And meanwhile, we’re stuck in a political economic paradigm extolling the virtues of selling, consuming and using up more and more, faster and faster.

    It’s going to be a very interesting next 50 years.

  4. karol 4

    I am awe of physical anthropology/archaeology and studies of earth’s early pre-history. I am always more intrigued by such studies than by space exploration. I never did past stage one archaeology/anthropology, but I learned enough to appreciate the sophistication of the science.

    And I always get more fascinated with archaeology/pre-history than with space exploration. The length of time for the earth to evolve in a way to enable human habitation and agriculture is particularly fascinating.

    The impact of climate change on agriculture is a major worry. And NZ’s agriculture industry, at least in the mainstream, doesn’t look like taking notice, or looking for ways to prepare for the possible changes. It’s all the same old short termism.

    • lprent 4.1

      We are relatively lucky in NZ. Because we’re skinny and surrounded by oceans and have a good mix of currents and are mid-latitudes, we’re unlikely to have many extremes of climate shifts. The oceans buffer the climate extremes.

      Unless of course we get too much CO2 in the atmosphere and the Antarctic icestore really melts, in which case we have no idea what will happen (apart from sea level rises of up to 70m over a few hundred years).

      • Murray Olsen 4.1.1

        How lucky will we be if the cyclone zone comes far enough south to include half the North Island? I know the ocean heat sink around us makes the difference between summer and winter less than continental, but why couldn’t the annual average shift drastically?

      • Jenny 4.1.2

        We are relatively lucky in NZ. Because we’re skinny and surrounded by oceans and have a good mix of currents and are mid-latitudes…..

        lprent

        Lucky?

        Only if you believe people in other countries are going to agree to die quietly in their millions, (possibly billions).

        • lprent 4.1.2.1

          I’m expecting famines, wars and refugees. These happen in normal times as well (you only have to visit Auckland to see the results). But the key thing is that this will be a very slow and drawn out disaster. Because while it is fast in geological terms, those timescale terms has a second that is about a decade in length (which is why you see much of the conversation in climate referred to in decadial terms).

          People and societies adjust in those gradual timescales. That is what makes it different to the your top three catastrophic extinction events which were/would be deaths at a opinion time.

          BTW: I knew that I’d finally gotten the earth sciences perspective when I was in university and realised that I’d started thinking of a million years as being a quite short time period. I was looking at some block faulted limestone looking for fossils to date it at the time.

  5. Jenny 5

    Here is a little pop quiz for you karol. And you too Lynn.

    On a scale of One to Six.
    Six being the Permian–Triassic extinction event.
    One being a non-event talked up by a global conspiracy of scientists to boost their funding.

    Where would you place climate change?

    6. Permian–Triassic extinction event. The worst ever, (so far) with up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species wiped out. It is the only known mass extinction of insects

    5. The famous KT event that ended the age of the dinosaurs. It is estimated that 75% or more of all species on Earth vanished.

    4. Global Thermonuclear War (The only mass extinction event in this list that has never occurred). Due to imponderables, like Nuclear Winter, radiation sickness, famine, water contamination, infra structure breakdown, disease etc. The death toll can only be a guess. Some estimates are 30% fatalities. Some more extreme guesses, total extinction.

    3. World War II
    World War II is the deadliest human conflict in history. Over 60 million people were killed. 2.5% of the world’s human population.

    2. World War I. Estimates of casualty numbers for World War I vary a great deal; estimates of total deaths range from 9 million to over 15 million

    1. Global climate change conspiracy. While not exactly a mass extinction. When this global conspiracy is finally uncovered, it is expected that all universities will be closed down and all leading members of their faculty will be indicted and their millions of intricate fake reports and false figures will be burnt. All lying copies of National Geografic and Scientific American will also be burnt. Following this. The arrest of all their co-conspirators in every government and military force in the world. Including all the Pentagon Chiefs and Heads of Staff. Climate Change conspirators like John Key and Barack Obama will not escape the dragnet.

    Enter your number in the comments.

    • lprent 5.2

      Same order as a nuclear war over the next century. Mostly because we just have no idea about how to deal with a changing climate on our agricultural base.

      We can probably handle the rising sealevels, crazy weather, and the other assorted mayhem (although I’d suggest avoiding living in much of Bangladesh, any atoll, seashores, and anywhere land has been reclaimed from marshes (BTW: I live on a ridge).

      But famine and pestilence are going to be a major problem. We simply don’t have the technology at present to cope with rapidly changing climates on food crops.

    • Murray Olsen 5.3

      3.8
      It wouldn’t be as bad as nuclear war simply because of the longer time scales, but if it triggered one due to scarcity of resources – 4.5

      • Jenny 5.3.1

        Good. At least we are all on the same page then.

        The next thing is: What are we going to do about it?

  6. johnm 6

    ‘Climate Collision Course: CO2 Levels About to Hit 400 PPM
    In a first in human history, “it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400-ppm level without losing a beat.” ‘

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/29-2
    http://guymcpherson.com/2013/04/the-irreconcilable-acceptance-of-near-term-extinction/#comments

    ‘Now we know that the Earth has shown a remarkable ability to regulate its temperature within a range conducive to Life, and that several natural carbon cycles have served as temperature regulators. When humans extract carbon from geologic reservoirs hundreds of millions of years old, dumping it into the surface reservoirs (especially the air), we are attacking the Earth’s metabolism.

    There’s no known means of getting rid of the excess carbon we’ve already disgorged. The only secure way to sequester carbon is to leave it in the ground. Fossil fuel extraction must stop.’

    ‘The truth is, we are in terrible, terrible times on every front. Judge that however you wish, call me whatever, but we are in terrible times and they are going to get a lot worse. Climate change is not for the faint of heart, that is for sure. There is a growing number of credible people who are convinced, based on science, that we have very few years left on the planet. Maybe fewer than 10, and certainly no more than 35.

    Global warming alone is sufficient to cause extinction of all life, and it is far worse than most people know because all our information is so filtered and politicized. We have triggered between 8 and 12 feedback loops that contribute to increased warming, depending on which expert you pay attention to. Living beings are dying, forests, the oceans, hundreds of species per day are going extinct, plants are dying, rivers are dying, aquifers are depleted, and the dying is going to get a lot bigger before it gets smaller. The things that are causing the dying, including the CO2, are increasing every year. Every year we put however much percentage again over last year’s amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. If we could stop right now, which is not possible, the earth would continue to warm because of the melting glaciers, ice caps and permafrost that have been triggered. The role in climate stability that the ice caps and ice sheets play is critical to understanding what is occurring and what will occur. ‘

  7. Jenny 8

    In the fight against climate change coal has been identified as the number 1 causative factor.

    James Hansen has said: “If we can’t stop coal, it is game over for the climate.”

    “No new coal mines”

    The Auckland Campaign against coal

    An Auckland Coal Action campaign against a proposed new coal mine which is to be situated halfway between Miranda and Pokeno has achieved its first victory.

    After organising a mass signing of submissions to go to the Waikato Regional Council to oppose the consent.

    The good news is that this consent has been declined.

    This is only a partial victory, as the council have given Glencoal one month to resubmit

    The grounds for the council’s knock back of the mine consent are:

    Lack of consultation with local iwi about cultural values.

    Lack of information about dust control in drought conditions.

    Lack of information on the use of a local stream (not the Kopuera)

    Lack of information about the stability of the sides of the mine.

    The application will be permanently declined if Fonterra does not provide this information by the end of May.

    All we need to do now, is turn this partial decline of Fonterra’s consent for the Mangatangi coal mine into a permanent one.

    If you are in Auckland and you want to do something about climate change, make sure you support Auckland Coal Action.
    ACA meetings are held the first Saturday of each Month in the Quaker Meeting House, 113 Mt Eden Road Auckland.

    All welcome.

    Next meeting is May 4 from 2pm onwards.

    This is a link to the ACA leaflet put out to the Mangatangi community about the coal mine.

    http://aucklandcoalaction.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/mangatawhiri-mine-leaflet.pdf

    aucklandcoalaction.org

    The Auckland campaign for a coal-free Aotearoa

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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    5 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    5 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    6 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    7 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    7 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    2 weeks ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 weeks ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago