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If only Key was as passionate about climate change

Written By: - Date published: 8:18 am, February 12th, 2015 - 43 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, john key, national, sustainability - Tags:

This is what John Key said two days ago in Parliament about ISIS:

This will be a government that will take seriously its responsbilities when it comes to standing up to ISIS.  As I said at Waitangi I will not as leader of New Zealand stand back and see Jordanian pilots burned to death.  I will not [stand back and] see young children behedding soldiers.  I will not sit back when people are thrown off buildings because of their sexuality and then be lectured by the left about human rights.”

If only he was just as passionate about climate change. He could have said something like this:

This will be a government that will take seriously its responsbilities when it comes to dealing with climate change.  As I said at Waitangi I will not as leader of New Zealand stand back and see Pacific Islands swamped by rising sea levels.  I will not stand back and see our environment trashed and our glaciers disappear.  I will not sit back as the glaciers melt and previously arable land becomes desert and then be lectured by the left about sustainability.”

But instead of this when it comes to dealing with climate change we get the rhetoric about how we are too small to make a difference, that our emissions are negligible, that it will hurt our economy if we do something meaningful, that it is up to the large countries to get their house in order first.

If only John Key was passionate about climate change.  Because if even a country like New Zealand will not do its part there is little if any hope that world will collectively do what is required.

43 comments on “If only Key was as passionate about climate change ”

  1. Heather Grimwood 1

    Climate change, so frighteningly ignored by this government MUST be addressed above all else, for without that endeavour all else is futile. I suggest inhouse (Beehive) classes on the subject be mandatory, as it’s obvious National M.P.s albeit many supposedly having prestigious education, were not offered or did not listen to the relevant information, available for about four decades.

  2. Colonial Rawshark 2

    NZ has to transition off fossil fuels over the next 15 years. Neither Labour nor the Greens have a serious plan to do this. Both still believe that oil sucking “economic growth” is the way ahead in order to keep promising NZ’s middle classes that the status quo high energy lifestyle is sustainable.

  3. weka 3

    GP energy policy,

    1. Responding to climate change and the end of cheap oil

    Along with our Climate Change policy, all policies in this document will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and assisting in the transition away from our current heavy reliance on oil.

    B. Transitioning away from fossil fuels

    Support the development of a fully renewable electricity generation system, except for emergency supply, by 2030.

    Develop a national transition strategy which includes:

    Maintaining energy security while phasing out the use of fossil fuels;

    Examining the role of direct electric power, biofuels, and hydrogen from renewable energy for public transport and transport services;

    Assessing the impacts of peak oil and climate change mitigation on transport, our trading relationships and main industries, and an investigation of the role of new technologies in these industries;

    A comprehensive public information programme to enable broad-based public participation in the reduction of energy consumption and transition away from a dependence on fossil fuels;

    Developing an international strategy to:

    i) Share technology and expertise with smaller Pacific nations; and

    ii) Cooperate with other nations and develop an international agreement on sharing the remaining oil, to reduce conflict over its allocation.

    Fund research and development of sustainable energy technologies where New Zealand has a natural advantage, such as wind (including for shipping), and wave, current and tidal power systems.

    Significantly reduce fossil fuel use in transportation through sustainable urban planning and design, transitioning to low emission vehicles and fuels, and facilitating active modes (walking and cycling), integrated public transport, rail transport (including freight), and coastal shipping (see our Transport policy).


    You can follow the links to see the rest, how it would be implemented and how it fits in with other policies (eg CC, transport).

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.1

      The Greens will only have 3 terms max in Govt to transition the country off fossil fuels. Then the Tories get another 3 terms. And that is our runway gone. The Greens can’t spend the first of their 3 terms ‘examining options.’ This has to be a war effort and a war economy.

      • weka 3.1.1

        if the GP told the bald truth, do you think they would get into government?

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Nope, but because they haven’t told the bald truth, when they do get into government they won’t have a mandate or electoral support for taking effective action.

          • weka

            What is your solution then?

            (you already know that I think the value of the GP being in govt is to shift the agenda and consciousness, as well as stopping right wingers from fracking the place. I’m also not convinces that once in govt the GP can’t being new perspectives to the table).

            • Colonial Rawshark

              My answer is for politicians to stop lying to us and tell us the actual truth about what the next 10-20 years is likely to bring, and for us as voters to stop accepting their lies as being pragmatic, necessary and smart.

              • weka

                Ok, so that leaves out half of parliament. The rest are L, GP, NZF. Are you suggesting they tell the truth and stay out of parliament, which means at least another term of National? That takes us to 2020, which is probably the window gone for preventing runaway CC.

                I’m open to being convinced that the GP, or any of the left parties, should change their strategy, but I’d like to see some better detail. In the meantime, undermining the one party that is actually prepared to do something seems less than sensible.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  I’m having a hard time identifying the use of a LAB/GR government which heads off the cliff at only 80 miles an hour instead of the NATs at 90 miles an hour.

                  People are going to have to psychologically prepare themselves for the changes which are coming up. Being lied to by authority figures on a continuing basis is extremely harmful in that regard and in fact works against people successfully adapting.

                  In the meantime, undermining the one party that is actually prepared to do something seems less than sensible.

                  Well, if the political parties aren’t going to be honest with us, it’s time that we are honest with each other.

                  • weka

                    That doesn’t actually address my question though. I’m happy to tell you why I think the GP are better off in govt than out (not least, to prevent the massive damage that a 4th term of NACT would do), but I still don’t understand if you have a strategy beyond your sense that it’s time for politicians to stop lying to people about CC and PO. You might be right, I’d just like to see some discussion about how that might happen in useful ways.

                    “In the meantime, undermining the one party that is actually prepared to do something seems less than sensible.”

                    “Well, if the political parties aren’t going to be honest with us, it’s time that we are honest with each other.”

                    Yes. So how about – the GP are the party most likely to push the govt to prepare NZ for the coming crises of PO and CC, so it’s good for them to be part of govt to do that (and we are much more likely to move in the right direction with a left wing govt than a right wing one), but we have a couple of problems. One is that if the GP tell the truth about PO/CC they won’t get the votes to have influence in govt. The other is the real shifts need to happen with the general public and in communities. So we need to be honest with ourselves about CC and PO and support left wing parties to do whatever they realistically can.

                    You’re way better at framing things than me, so I’m sure you could to that better, and I think it’s going to be more useful than “Labour and the GP are never going to do the right thing” (which is how your original statment comes across.

                    “People are going to have to psychologically prepare themselves for the changes which are coming up. Being lied to by authority figures on a continuing basis is extremely harmful in that regard and in fact works against people successfully adapting.”

                    I agree with that. Unfortunately I think another term of NACT will reinforce the tendancy to cognitive dissonance and then heads in the sand. On the other hand, as I said, I’m open to being persuaded that the GP going hard out and telling the truth is better, I just don’t yet see how.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      You’ll note that I’m not disagreeing with you in the least that we would be better off with LAB/GR in power rather than NATs etc.

                      My vision of that however is not unlike 3rd Class passengers on the Titanic getting a better deal.

                      The other is the real shifts need to happen with the general public and in communities. So we need to be honest with ourselves about CC and PO and support left wing parties to do whatever they realistically can.

                      Well I think this is spot on, but having honest conversations amongst ourselves the citizenry while supporting political parties which refuse to do the same is a bloody far bridge.

              • Gareth

                The emperor has no clothes:

                Senior political scientist in the UK: “Too much is invested in 2C for us to say it’s not possible – it would undermine all that’s been achieved.”

              • tracey

                how do you proposexmaking that happen.

  4. fisiani 4

    Not another rant at John Key. Talk about climate change and the enormous impact that New Zealand is making in agricultural research if you want but why a post just to try to take a poke at Honest John.

    [lprent: Yeah right. I notice that you aren’t particularly good at refuting anything in BLip’s list. ‘Honest John’ Key – just another silly myth… ]

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Because if even a country like New Zealand will not do its part there is little if any hope that world will collectively do what is required.

    The world won’t do what’s needed even if the majority of people want to because the rich are getting richer in the present system and so they will lobby the government to prevent change to a sustainable system and the governments will listen to them and not the people. This is what the rich wanted when they instituted representative democracy and why they keep fear-mongering about participatory democracy. We have an oligarchy/plutocracy because the rich set it up that way.

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    Hopefully John Key will be alive long enough to be dragged out of his rest home and charged with crimes against humanity when they hold a Nuremberg style trial for world leaders who did nothing to avert the upcoming climate change catastrophe. He may argue he was voted in by New Zealanders, but so was Hitler so that excuse shouldn’t stand.

    • fisiani 6.1

      Having a poke at Honest John is one thing but come on .. comparing him to Hitler??? Get a grip. New Zealand is leading the world in research about our main greenhouse gas, the farts coming out of of our cattle.

      • Wynston 6.1.1

        Honest John? Thrrrp!

      • Hayden 6.1.2

        New Zealand is leading the world in research about our main greenhouse gas, the farts coming out of of our cattle

        …by posting them to The Standard under the name “fisiani”.

      • dv 6.1.3

        Nope not farts.

      • lprent 6.1.4

        Basically you are wrong (and scientifically ignorant). NZ spends some (not much) money learning how to deal with an industrial pollutant from both ends of cows (they excrete more from burping than farting).

        Methane is a short residence greenhouse gas. While it is a more effective greenhouse gas than CO2, it isn’t by much over longer timescales.


        Methane has an atmospheric lifetime of 12 ± 3 years. The 2007 IPCC report lists the GWP as 72 over a time scale of 20 years, 25 over 100 years and 7.6 over 500 years.[21] A 2014 analysis, however, states that although methane’s initial impact is about 100 times greater than that of CO2, because of the shorter atmospheric lifetime, after six or seven decades, the impact of the two gases is about equal, and from then on methane’s relative role continues to decline.[36] The decrease in GWP at longer times is because methane is degraded to water and CO2 through chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

        In short agricultural methane production can be easily be viewed as being a simple pollutant

        On the other hand, the CO2 that NZ is emitting into the atmosphere from fossil carbon has a variable residence time. But 20% of which is resident for thousands of years as it goes in and out of geological sinks. It’s accumulated effect on climate change is many orders of magnitude that of our emitted methane over longer time periods. So much so that when you look over the scale of centuries, that the effect of emitted methane is insignificant from current decades, but the CO2 emissions are still causing major harm.

        NZ as far as I am aware is doing bugger all research on climate change gases. It is doing a bit on a agricultural industrial pollutant (that has some greenhouse gas effects).

        The way that the dickhead government gets to saying that our CH4 is more important than our CO2 is by counting in tree plantings. However those are a transitory store and not even a geological store of carbon. Locked in for mere decades. They shouldn’t have counted that and only did so for as a scam for tree farmers claiming tax credits.

        Basically you appear to have been taken in by a spinner. Stupid eh?

        • Robert Atack

          Sorry Iprent
          As far as human time frames go methane is as good as immortal
          The amount in the atmosphere has gone from a global 11,000 year average of .7 ppm to as much as 2.3 ppm in the northern hemisphere and 1.8 ppm south of the equator, so a 12 year life span is wrong, the atmosphere doesn’t flush the methane out every 12 years, and ‘old’ CH4 is still CH4, it has the same forcing factor over CO2 as the new stuff
          The forcing factor may increase with the quantity in the atmosphere, with some reports saying it is 300 – 1,000 times as strong in the area it is being emitted, like the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.
          “They’ are predicting a 50 Gigaton ‘burp’ any day, at a minimum. 50GT = more carbon than humans have injected into the environment as CO2 for the past 200 years
          And let us not forget once the CH4 ‘dies’ it becomes CO2 (mostly) which then hangs around for over 1,000 years
          I postulate that CH4 has been the driving factor behind most extinction events in the past, as CH4 is the most readily available GHG, and currently there is enough CH4 trapped under the ESAS to turn planet Earth into Venus, As Hanson said once the catherate gun goes off*, it is all over for us, we will be unable to counter such a catastrophe.
          We should know inside of a couple of years how wrong or not ‘we’ are )
          I’m sure as hell not gambling with a child’s life that I might be wrong.
          * it started with a vengeance in 2010 ish.

          • Robert Atack

            ——– Forwarded Message ——–
            Subject: CH4/CO2 Att Rajendra Pachauri
            Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:03:25 +1300
            From: Robert
            To: mailbox@teri.res.in

            Dear Dr Rajendra
            I understand you mentioned me to a college in New Zealand, with regards
            to my question on the forcing factor of CH4/CO2, thanks for that.
            Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get my question answered via anyone
            associated with the IPCC, but that is par for the coarse so not unexpected.
            I will give you my thoughts, I will be happy to be proven wrong.
            So here goes, if you are still there 😉
            I’ve read several times that ‘we’ are at a worse point than we have ever
            been in known climatic history, and during that history it has been
            proven that parts of the planet heated up by 16C over as little as 10 years, if
            that is close to being true, and we are in a worse situation, then +16C
            could be just around the corner.
            Its the methane that is going to get us, as the last straw, you know
            better than me I’m sure how fast the CH4 content is rising in the
            atmosphere, (supposedly hit 1.910ppm) being about 1.85ppm at the moment (unless you know more?), and always increasing, so with that fact in mind, what would the immortal effect of CH4 be compared to CO2?
            How about this question?
            If you have a tube of CO2 and you fire infrared light through it, what
            is the resulting blocking of infrared transmission (absorption and
            re-radiation) per molecule or per gram of CO2 inside the tube?
            Then do the same thing with a tube full of CH4. How much more does CH4 absorb-re-radiate than CO2? This was done crudely by John Tyndall 1859 with primitive equipment? What is the answer now that we have lot of very sophisticated equipment? That is what I cannot find out.

            I posted this on a blog site the other day, again I’m happy to be proven
            > It is looking like it will be all over within the next 10 years,
            > currently the environment is the closes to a massive temperature rise
            > of no less than 9C, it has EVER been, never before has CO2 gone up so
            > fast, never before has there been so much CH4 trapped by the rapid
            > thawing ice,never before (to the best of our knowledge) has CH4 gone
            > from an 800,000 year (?) average of .7 ppm to 1.85 ppm in as little as 100
            > years. NEVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            > http://www.planetextinction.com/documents/Methane,%20the%20Gakkel%20Ridge%20and%20human%20survival.pdf
            > Everything is pointing to us currently at about 1,000ppm CO2/CO2e
            > 400 ppm CO2
            > 400 – 600ppm CO2e as CH4
            > 100 ppm N20 (or some such? I isn’t that smart)
            > and someone calculated the negative feed back of the particulates
            > (smog) acting like a curtain = about 60 ppm CO2e
            > Its the methane, and ‘they’ don’t want you to know, or it is so
            > fucking bad they haven’t a clue of how to tell you.
            > WASF.
            So I think it is way to scarey a subject for you guys, or you are under
            political pressure to dumb down methane to maintain the bullshit shell
            game that is carbon trading?
            And you wouldn’t want your US masters, being outed for adding tons of
            CH4 to the environment via fracking. And of coarse everyone via coal.
            To tell the truth I gave up on the IPCC the very first time I read
            something you put out.

            Good luck
            Robert Atack

      • tricledrown 6.1.5

        Fishyanal you need a dear John letter.
        Honest John sounds like the name of a pimp!

      • 328 lies and counting, from good old ‘Honest John

      • When will fisi and his NACTUM chums cut the crap?

        When there are no fish left?
        When fertile farmland becomes desert?
        When coastal cities are swamped by rising sea levels?

        Our generation will be judged for crimes against the climate and Earth’s ecosystem, perhaps not by formal trials, but history will blame us for choosing Exploitation over Conservation.

      • joe90 6.1.8

        Honest John

        The Fox and the Cat, Il gatto e la volpe, aka John “Honest John” Worthington Foulfellow and the idiot Gideon really have led Pinocchio astray.


      • tracey 6.1.9

        pretty sure you are the only one here wanting to poke the PM

      • KJT 6.1.10

        Cattle do not fart! Fizzer.

  7. The Murphey 7

    Passion does not exist for dead eyes Key who has no soul

    Look into the eyes of another and you shall know them

  8. Maui 8

    Wellington had the worst drought in 70 years last year, was 20 days away from running out of water.

    This year, east coast of the South Island has worst drought in 43 years.. so far.

    And if this is predicted to get worse, who know how much worse with climate change, then people had better start waking up. So much for leaving the place better for our children.

  9. There is nothing this or any other government can do about ‘climate change’, we are locked into extinction full stop.
    @ 401 ppm CO2 and maybe 600 PPM CO2e – with methane, and another 150 ppm CO2e in the other gasses/global dimming dust etc = 1150 ppm CO2e.
    We have employed and bread ourselves into this situation, even if we had 90% unemployment, a moratorium on birth, and an out right ban on burning fossil fuels, it would still not be enough.
    To save this set of environmental living arrangement’s, we would need to remove maybe 150 ppm CO2 + most of the methane etc – to force the climate to switch into a mini ice age ….. that is the size of the problem, squiggly light bulbs, low water use shower heads, 110 kmh expressways through Kapiti, EMPLOYMENT, ie maintaining this ‘system’ will do nothing to reverse the situation we are in … NOTHING

    Vote for that !
    This latest report suggests +8 by 2050 ?
    And even this goes into happy chapter mode, but the first part – that explains where we are at, is worth a read
    Forget the carbon, it’s the methane.

  10. Kevin Hester 10

    We have passed the point of no return with regard to the 6th great extinction that is now under way as a result of abrupt climate change. Noam Chomsky wrote recently on this issue with his article entitled

    Friends of mine from the Arctic Methane Emergency Group attended COP20 at Lima and presented quoting extensively from Dr Natalia Shakova’s woek on the potential of a 50 gigatonne release of methane as a result of hydrate destabilisation due to a warming arctic ocean and loss of sea ice and upwelling associated with ice cap retreat.
    Here is the AMEG presentation;

    Posted by Kevin Hester on Sunday, 7 December 2014

    Sam Carrana’s recent methane report.

    Methane update from Professor Guy McPherson.

  11. Kevin Hester 11

    Noam Chomsky’s work on The End of History. The situation is vastly worse than we are all being told.Wake up.

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  • PM Ardern chairs APEC Leaders’ meeting on COVID-19
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