Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, December 20th, 2012 - 221 comments
Categories: climate change, energy - Tags: , ,

If you and I were told that (variously) our sons and daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews were going to be killed tomorrow, would I be right to suspect that we might sit up and take notice? And if the news was relayed to us by a reputable source, would I be right to suspect we’d immediately fall into a somewhat frantic mental process intended to discover any options that might prevent their deaths? And would I be right to suspect that we’d be relieved if the same source informed us that all we had to do to save all of our younger family members was to immediately stop doing what we were doing?

I mean, you would stop, wouldn’t you?

And if the lives of your family members were tied in with the lives your neighbours, friends and workmates families, and if all of their lives rested on the same course of action, then you’d seek to convince any reluctant friend, neighbour or workmate to join in with the simple act of stopping. Wouldn’t you? I mean, you wouldn’t hold back and continue on with what you were doing and say that you’d only stop if and when everyone else had stopped – not in a situation where the lives of the younger members of your family depended on your action. Because, you know, they’d die if you did that. And that’s not really anything a sane person would consider – is it? –  continuing to do something that was going to kill their family? Surely not.

Anyway, I guess we’re going to find out. Because that’s the situation we’re in today. And there are no ‘ifs’ about it. The lives of your children, of your grandchildren, of your nieces and nephews depend entirely on the action you don’t take today. And it’s the same for me and mine.

And I know, I know…at about this point you’re maybe thinking I’m a nutter and taking refuge behind that comforting thought while simultaneously dismissing what I’m saying. So I’ll just admit it right here and now. I’m a nutter. No doubt about it. So there you are. Are you relieved? Good.

Okay – meanwhile, the hard, impersonal scientific facts are that we need to reduce the amount of carbon we expel into the atmosphere from our energy use by 10% this year. And that means that you need to stop doing things that use energy that result in carbon being released into the environment. And I need to do the same. And next year we need to reduce the amount of carbon we put into the environment from our energy use by a further 10%. And we need to keep doing that year on year until, basically, we aren’t putting any carbon from our energy use into the environment.

And if we do that, then we just might (and it is only ‘just might’) hold global mean surface temperatures below 2 degrees C. And that just might save the lives of our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. It’s a long shot. And it’s a long shot based on very conservative and optimistic projections of available scientific data. Which…well there’s no point complaining about it. It’s the best we’ve got.

And that same conservative science tells us that at the moment we are heading for a 4 degree C increase in global mean surface temperatures by mid-century or thereabouts. That means we are heading for an increase of global mean land surface temperature of 5 or 6 degrees C…and with that, almost certainly tipping points and even higher temperatures. And…yeah, when I say ‘we are heading for’ it’s not as though we’d hang around very long in those conditions.

So 10%. Actually, we need a bit more than that, by not doing tomorrow what it is we are doing today. Do you want to be incremental about it? You want to hang on while you let go? Okay. Let’s explore some options.

Next time you are asked to fly up, down or across the country to attend some business meeting or conference – tell your boss or whoever that you’re not doing it. (every 1g of aviation fuel burned produces 3g of CO2). Next time you jump in your car and put the key in the ignition, ask yourself whether the 150 – 200g of carbon you’ll spew for every single km driven can be justified. Next time you go to crank up the heat in you house, put on an extra layer of clothing instead. Take shorter showers, buy efficient light bulbs, buy local. Do all that stuff and whatever else you can think of.

It won’t be enough.

At some point you’re going to have to bite the bullet, walk away from your job that, lets face it, has a high probability of only existing to make somebody somewhere some money and is of no value, or may even be of negative value to society.

And that still won’t be enough.

Imagine six fully heated houses with one room in each house (under) occupied by persons replicating the same energy guzzling pastime or activity that could just as easily take place in a more communal and less energy consuming setting. That scenario has to be knocked on the head.

And someday you’re going to have to do it. You and your neighbours are going to have to cook for and eat with one another. Every day. Which is okay. Because from the sense of community that inevitably grows around the activity of eating together, you and your neighbours can begin the next steps that are going to be absolutely necessary if there is to be any chance of undershooting that 2 degree C increase in mean global surface temperature.

You’re going to have to radically alter your living arrangements some more. Those six hot water systems continually topping up the temperature in those 100l or whatever hot water cylinders? They have to be replaced by one, maybe larger cylinder that services a much more energy efficient and communal use of hot water. The six TV’s all tuned to the same channel have to become 1 TV in the dedicated TV room that you and your neighbours share.  The 7, 8 or 9 cars you collectively own won’t be needed any more seeing as how no-body is commuting to a job any longer. So that’s easy. One car or vehicle, used by you and your neighbours in such a way as to maximise the utility of every journey might be all that‘s required, while you and your wider community establish local infrastructures to provide local needs.

And so it goes on and must go on. Because according to the available scientific information, which is the most accurate and neutral source of any information we have, by 2030 – just 17 years from now –  you and I must be living carbon free lives with regards the energy we consume.

And all for merely an outside chance of avoiding a mean global surface temperature increase of 2 degrees C which, if achieved, would mean we salvaged an outside chance of survival for our daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and, depending on our current age, ourselves.

Worth organising for? Worth getting together over?

I’d like to think so. More than that,  I need to see it happen. What about you?

221 comments on “If ”

  1. aerobubble 1

    Take gun control in the US, the constitution says that its a right to bear arms as a part of a militia, so why would it be hard to force more extreme gun owners to form militias and take out insurance to cover when a member goes ape shit. Its precisely because American society cannot think outside of the individual rights and responsibilities that the children are killed. The buddy system should be used in the guns cult of the US. We don’t need to remove guns, we need to hold account the community of gun owners to their collective responsibility for the heinous crimes against children.

    And so the same goes for carbon, we need to raise the cost of the private automobile, its killing the opportunities of out kids and grandkids, and may even collapse civilisation.

  2. Steve Wrathall 2

    Won’t somebody think of the children.

    • Sorry Steve but we actually are. Do you really want to trash the planet your kids and grandkids are going to inhabit? How do you plan to apologise to them?

      • Steve Wrathall 2.1.1

        Our children will not thank us if we “stop doing things that use energy”. We’ll die, and so will they.

  3. Steve Wrathall 3

    and the polar bears

  4. ieuan 4

    Can someone explain to me how my children are going to die if it’s 5deg warmer on average?

    How much warmer is Austrarlia on average than New Zealand, 5deg?

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t reduce our impact on the planet or take all practical measures to reduce the amount of carbon we pour into the atmosphere but this sort of dooms day stuff is really just nuts.

    • Yep there has been only a little increase in temperature and the polar caps are not melting. And those one in a hundred weather events that seem to occur every year are nothing to worry about.

      Nothing to see. Just move on and keep consuming …

      • aerobubble 4.1.1

        The problem with the loss of north polar sea ice melting is this is where the warmer waters cool down and drop down cycling around the world oceans. If that stops the planet still needs to cool down. Now ask yourself, how did ice cover Europe at the last ice age? Well when warm moist air is force up nearer space, it expels heat radiation into space, and the moisture participates into rain and snow. Hence at some point there was massive cooling over the continents of the N.hemisphere. A warmer ocean means more moisture up take and so more rain and snow on the continents. This means population displacement, more storms, more rain, colder winters…

        During the ice age humans crossed into America, the warm seas and ice trapped hinterland opened up a passageway along the shoreline.

        Now think about this, for millions of years carbon was being absorbed by the oceans, eventually causing a massive collapse of sea life, and laying the sediment that became the oil we use today.
        That carbon once existed in the biosphere, when the animals grew to huge sizes, where the atmosphere was thicker and hotter, now we have in two hundred years dug up a significant proportion and burnt it into our biosphere.

        Those who think nothing will change are completely bonkers stupid, ultra head in the sand types, or worse, have made a buck in the world and think they are geniuses. Its all about how fast, how harsh it gets how quicker, removing a small proportion won’t change the structural changes we already caused, and soon to be added the melting of tundra soils.

      • Colonic Wiper 4.1.2

        Yep, consume just like you and every other human on the planet. Thats what we do, we consume.

    • David Viperious H 4.2

      Well I am a complete novice at this but here goes

      1: The Polar Ice caps will melt.
      2: The Seas will rise 1-5 meters depending on where you are.
      3: Crops will burn in the ground
      4: there will be NO water for Irrigation
      5: People will die from.

      1: Heat stroke
      2: Dehydration
      3: Starvation
      4: Violence All the other poor sods in the same Boat.

      Scarey Enough for you?

      • mickysavage 4.2.1

        Yep and although New Zealand may become Australia like in terms of climate but with lots of rain on the west coast around the tropics particularly in Africa and Asia it is going to become very difficult to survive. And there will be a stampede of population away from those areas. And the carrying capacity of the world will become increasingly compromised at a time that it needs to increase.

        • aerobubble

          I disagree, there were in the past large land mammals, giant sloths…

          …so the question is, will increased moisture in the atmosphere, brought about by heating of oceans, lead to more rain on the Australian land mass. I think yeah, probably.

      • Gosman 4.2.2

        ” there will be NO water for Irrigation”

        Ummm…. where will all the water magically disappear to?

        The fact there is warmer tempratures does not necessarily mean less water. In fact there may well be more water, (a problem in itself) as higher evaporation rates in some places lead to more rain.

        Your post is another example of the basic problem underlying many people pushing for radical action on climate change.

        • mickysavage

          In parts of the world it will. In the pacific for instance increasing sea levels will cause salination of fresh water supplies. And I agree in other parts of the world there will be too much water falling from the skies.

          So is this a good thing? Or should we do something about it?

          • Fortran


            do you not think that some of the Pacific island the water level problem is caused by natural erosion, and has been for thousands of years, as the coral grow during that time ?

            • lprent

              as the coral grow during that time

              Silly. Just sit and think for a second…

              Where do corals grow? Yes that’s right – in the frigging water.

              So what happens when the the water level is rising? Well it certainly gives more room for corals to grow – underwater.

              And for the final question – where do people like living? I’ll give you one guess – they don’t live underwater with the corals!

              Do you feel like a dumb git yet? How about doing some reading rather than rabbiting on with something you obviously haven’t thought about.

              The coral atolls etc that currently exist are the result of sea level falls in the past. Notably the “holocene” hotspot many thousands of years ago when sea levels were many 10’s of metres above present day levels and corals grew up to the water level. I’m sure that the corals didn’t like the subsequent sea level drop just as much as the humans living on atolls are going to hate the sealevel rises caused by selfish idiots a world away polluting the atmosphere..

            • mickysavage


              Just ask Lprent and talk to him about http://www.thereoncewasanisland.com

              • lprent

                My partner Lyn dragged a couple of Aussie earth scientists over to Takuu to have a close look at their atoll during the filming of their doco on the island. Some of the footage of the erosion and storm surges are pretty evocative.

                • Descendant Of Sssmith

                  See you can buy the DVD now. That’s great. Will order a copy over the weekend and send some money TS way as well.

                  It’s been an interesting year but sadly for many things have got worse. One hopes blighted future is not where we are headed and that people will not tolerate neo
                  Overall bullshit for much longer.

                  Sadly Labour still offers little. Would it not be amazing if Labour suddenly revealed they would reinstate a 40 hour working week 8 hour working day.

                  Whoops was asleep and dreaming for a minute.

                  • lprent

                    Lyn spent quite some time setting the DVD distribution up this year. All seems to be running well.

                    Enjoy it. Briar and Lyn made a very elegant documentary about the people on Takuu.

                    Eventually the Labour caucus will bounce back out of their currently confused state and start getting coherent again. I have seen it happen before. And they have been looking better in patches over this year. It just isn’t sustained..

      • Un petit roitelet 4.2.3

        David V H, an addition to your list

        5: Tropical Infectious Diseases
        – Malaria
        – Dengue fever
        – Yellow fever
        – Filariasis
        – Many viral encephalitides

    • One Tāne Viper 4.3

      A 5° average increase globally will lead to extremes far greater than that locally.

      For each extra degree, the expected impacts include:

      5-10% changes in precipitation across many regions
      • 3-10% increases in the amount of rain falling during the heaviest precipitation events
      • 5-10% changes in streamflow across many river basins
      • 15% decreases in the annually averaged extent of sea ice across the Arctic Ocean, with 25%
      decreases in the yearly minimum extent in September
      • 5-15% reductions in the yields of crops as currently grown

      The “doomsday stuff” is most assuredly not “nuts”. The impact on food resources of a 5° increase in global average temperature would be catastrophic, not to mention rapid sea level rise. Oh, and China probably runs out of water at about 4°.

      • Northshoreguynz 4.3.1

        Gwynne Dyers book Climate Wars spells out some interesting sceanarios. Some very scary indeed. E.g.what if India diverts the waters from the Himalayas away from Pakistan?

      • Dr Terry 4.3.2

        Bill writes a timely and critically important message, and certainly he is not “nuts”. Thanks to him and to you OTV for your words, suggestions, and warnings.

    • AmaKiwi 4.4

      “Can someone explain to me how my children are going to die if it’s 5deg warmer on average?”

      Because there is a maximum temperature at which plants can survive.

      No vegetation equals no animal life. 5 degrees will mean vast expanses of the planet will no longer support ANY plant life and therefore no animal life, your children included.

  5. vto 5

    I can’t wait for the day when cars stop clogging up our streets, stinking the place out, making it so dangerous and making it very unpleasant for those who the streets were originally made for, the pedestrians.

    Good riddance to cars … n their current form.

    • Gosman 5.1

      Streets were made for ease of movement. The form of transport used on them was often a secondary thought. I am sure many in Ancient Rome used to hate the streets being filled with litter-bearers as they went about their business.

      • vto 5.1.1

        Well not quite. Look at any old photos of old cities like ancient Rome (well, check the sketches) or ancient Auckland. They were primarily, of course for ease of movement, for pedestrian movement. Pedestrian has been without doubt the primary use of streets since the first time two dwellings were placed a few metres apart. Any other modes of transport like horseys were by far and away the tiny minority.

        Return the streets to the people!

  6. Gosman 6

    This is why climate change activists are making little head way. The idea that the only way to save the human race from complete devastation is some communitarian way of living such as what used to occur on collectivised farms in the former Soviet Union or the more radical Kibbutz in Israel just doesn’t appeal to people in large enough numbers. If you do want to push this then the liklihood is that the policy will need to be forceably imposed.

    • aerobubble 6.1

      We’re forced by government already in lots of ways, the question is surely what ways, and who should bear the brunt. No personally I find the polluters should.

    • One Tāne Viper 6.2

      Bullshit, Gosman. Are you saying that “cap and trade” is a left wing response? And then you woke up.

  7. Populuxe1 7

    Needlessly hysterical to say the least – in fact it’s fear mongering. Yes we may have to evacuate coastal communities. Yes drought is likely going to be a problem. Yes we might have to build a lot of tidal barriers and so forth. There will be drastic changes and our society will never be the same again. But think of the children? Really? You went there?

    • Gosman 7.1

      Agreed, and fear mongering doesn’t tend to be very effective especially for a long term problem.

      I am reminded of people who try and argue that we should treat AGW like the Allies treated defeating the Nazis and Japanese in WWII. It is an overly simplistic argument that ignores the reality of an immediate threat AND that people are often willing to accept short to medium term pain for a perceived longer term gain.

      The whole argument here by contrast is ‘Suffer the immediate pain or your grandchildren will die’. As a persuassive argument it leaves a lot to be desired..

      • Dr Terry 7.1.1

        Really, Gosman? You infer that our successors hardly matter? This is not persuasive? What would it take to persuade you?

      • AmaKiwi 7.1.2

        A friend had her house and community destroyed by Hurricane Sandy (New Jersey). Few people in her region doubt that global warming was the cause of this super hurricane two months after what used to be the summer hurricane season.

        Their solution? The assholes in charge (government) are going to re-build the town on the same flood plane with the same roading for automobiles, no solar, etc.

  8. The Baron 8

    Yawn, and here in lies the point – GW turning into the communal living wet dream that socialists have harboured ever since Marx said “hello”.

    This is less about saving the planet, and more about forcing everyone into the communes isn’t it, Bill. The forced change in consciousness that everyone needs to share and care in the manner that socialism not only requires, but demands. The total subsumation of the human spirit beneath the oppression that is the amorphously defined “greater good”.

    So here’s the deal I offer – when Gareth Hughes cuts up his Koru Club and Airpoints cards, I will too ok? Oh, and lets add to that all those other climate change hypocrites that recently sunned it up in Doha. When I see changes from the doomsayers, I’ll be happy to join in.

    Won’t hold my breath…

    • Dr Terry 8.1

      The Baron and others: you are reading far too much into what Bill is rightly trying to tell us.

  9. Gosman 9

    I am a little curious why lefties are surprised by the opposition to tackling climate change when they make the case that the ONLY solution is to adopt radical leftist policies. They kind of miss the point that getting consensus to make change requires a broad based approach not an all or nothing mind set.

    • If humanity is insignificant in the history of the universe, individualism is insignificant in the history of humanity.

    • Dr Terry 9.2

      Now Gosman, do not fix all this upon “lefties”. Believe me, there are enormous numbers of “righties” in this world who are equally bothered by the threat of climate change.

    • Jenny 9.3

      It is not often I agree with Gosman on anything. But this I do agree with:

      I am a little curious why lefties are surprised by the opposition to tackling climate change when they make the case that the ONLY solution is to adopt radical leftist policies. They kind of miss the point that getting consensus to make change requires a broad based approach not an all or nothing mind set.


      • aerobubble 9.3.1

        Solutions offered, like higher fuel costs? Only lefties raise taxes? So John Key raising tax on petrol 9c per litre over the next three years, is so left-wing. While, the Greens are asking for QE like the US and Japan already have, because we all know the US and Japan are left-wing. Sorry, but you are cooking the cuckoo mate.

  10. Tom Bennion 10

    The complaints above about Bill being alarmist seem to me to be a matter of style.

    So, if you dont have a problem with the facts he is presenting, how would you present it?

    Assume you have the recent World bank report ‘Turn Down the Heat’ in your hand, and the statement from World Bank President Jim Yong Kim “It is my hope that this report shocks us into action,” and his video where he refers to his 3 year old son living in a completely different world if urgent action is not taken: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO9uGejvS3Q

    Please dispense your wisdom on better presentation of said items.

    BTW, young people get it. They have moved on from debates about who is being alarmist or not: http://generationzero.org.nz/

    • Gosman 10.1

      Generationzero looks like another big talkfest to me.

      What I would like to see is a large bunch of these leftist activists to go off and create this brave new world of tomorrow right now. They could then promote the benefits of the lifestyle by example rather than the theoritic nonsense that seems to be spouted.

      However they never quite get there and for some reason seem to require other people’s money to help them achieve their goals, or they seem to need to convince more people before they can start properly transforming society.

      • vto 10.1.1

        “What I would like to see is a large bunch of these leftist activists to go off and create this brave new world of tomorrow right now. They could then promote the benefits of the lifestyle by example rather than the theoritic nonsense that seems to be spouted.

        However they never quite get there and for some reason seem to require other people’s money to help them achieve their goals,”

        is an exact replica of

        What I would like to see is a large buinch of free market private enterprise disciples go off and create their own electricity companies right now. They could then promote the benefits of free market and private enterprise activity rather than the rhetoric nonsense that is spouted.

        However they never quite get there and for some reason seem to require tapxayers electricity companies to help them achieve their goals.

        (apply equally to the NZX, irrigation schemes, etc_

        • Gosman

          As the people buying power company shares will be presumably doing so with their own money your argument lacks validity.

          • vto

            Bullshit argument gosman. In case you hadn’t noticed, the electricity companies belong to the people of NZ via their government. Stop taking other peoples property to achieve your own ends. Fail.

            • vto

              Also gosman, go check draco’s post at open mike, number 19. It is about how selling public electricity companies has failed in Germany and is being bought back.

              I’ve got a pin here for you to dance on

            • Gosman

              When you buy something VTO do you equate that as ‘taking other people’s property’?

              If you do I find that a rather unusual viewpoint. I personally don’t know how you live with the moral dilemma that you constantly face on a daily basis.

              • vto

                That is a tiny eency wee pin gosman, give it up.

                Let me quote you back to you “However they never quite get there and for some reason seem to require other people’s money to help them achieve their goals”

                Money is a form of property. The electricity companies are a form of property. Why don’t the free market and privatre enterprise disciples go and create their own ones instead of taking other peoples to help them achieve their goals? Why don’t they? It is a free market and the easiest place in the world to do business. Why don’t they create their own ones gosman?

                To enjoy the right wing playsheet and show the rest of the world this great and wonderful utopia, prove it. Make your own electricity companies. Problem is that this playsheet does not work and so you need to take other people’s electricity companies

                • Gosman

                  You are quite correct that money is a form of property, (or at least a representation of it in abstract form). Hence people are exchanging one form of property for another when they purchase something.

                  I could turn your argument around and argue that the people, (in the form of the Government), are taking the property from individuals when they accept money for a share in the Power companies. It would be equally nonsensical.

                  • vto

                    Nothing but more pin heads.

                    You argue that lefties take from others to achieve their ends.

                    I point out that that is exactly what righties do. Examples include taking electricity companies so that righty business people have electricity companies to invest in (rather than do it independently of other people); taking electricity companies to support the wilting NZX (government has specifically said this is one of the purposes); taking water in canterbury for irrigation (by not being able to achieve it through usual means, so delete those means and simply take it).

                    Why don’t right wing ideologues go about their business independently and leave other people (either individually or communally via government) alone? The left wing acknowledges that they want to and do do things in a communal manner. The right wing says one thing and does the opposite.

                    over to you for next pin ….

                    • And this wealth that Gross man says is his comes from where?
                      If he earns it as a wage he has already forfeited most of the wealth he produces to parasites who don’t produce.
                      If he buys and sells shares or pimps for those who do he is a parasite or bought and paid for by the parasites, courtesy of their working class hosts as per above.
                      The reason why the masses will rise up and resist extinction is that they know that those who live off them have no credibility and are liars and thieves.
                      Wake up Gross man and feel the heat.

                    • Gosman

                      Slightly different argument. If I take your property without permission with nothing in return it is not the same as exchanging your property with my property.

                    • vto

                      But you are not doing that, and neither are the lefties with which you started this argument on.

                      Now, back to the actual point … got an answer? Or just more broken pins…

                    • Napkins

                      Privatising of the commons and of public assets is the theft of ALL our property. Gosman seems fine with that, curiously.

      • karol 10.1.2

        The actions required are larger scale and more of a collective effort than is easy to do in the current context. Some of us do try to live as low an energy life-style as possible. But we still need to work and survive in a system based on extensive energy use.

        Nevertheless, there is a hope that we can lead a little by example. But the extensive measures needed require government action and changes to the system.

        • Gosman

          i.e. coersion.

          • framu

            so is any kind of collective decision making coersion? or just when you dont agree with the collective decision?

            you must hate democracy a whole lot

            if there was an opt out would you take it? (thats a full opt out – leave the country through a method of your own creation, no assistance of any kind, you get the picture)

            • Napkins

              Following your bosses orders or you’ll lose your family home to the bank is a not too subtle form of coercion eh.

          • mickysavage

            Let’s see, coercion or world wide devastation.

            What would be worse?

      • One Tāne Viper 10.1.3

        Gosman: “What I would like to see is a large bunch of these leftist activists to go off and create this brave new world of tomorrow right now. ”

        Silly goose; you’re living in it. Everything that makes this country great came from the left, and we’re not done yet.

  11. Tom Bennion 11

    Ahh Gosman. Ever the optimist about human endeavour. We put a man on the moon. Dont worry. We will sort this.

    I like Naomi Klein’s recent take on this:

    “We are all in denial. All of us. People are holding back a tremendous amount of anxiety. You don’t let yourself care about something that you have no idea how to fix. Because it’s just too terrifying. And it would derail your whole life ….

    “That’s why there has to be a narrative, a plan, for how we integrate so much of what we’re already doing into a common project. Because so long as people feel like nothing that they know now applies, then they will work really hard to keep this information at bay.

    “This is our meta-issue. We’ve all gotta get inside it. Because this is our home. We are already inside it, like it or not, and it’s inside us. So the idea that we can somehow divorce from it is a fantasy that we have to let go of.”

    Anyway, in terms of a plan:

    My view is, following the Klein quote, that the biggest task is just to get people’s heads around the speed and scale of change required – which Bill has about right I think. I know it is trite to talk about change as opportunity, but that mindset is important. So alarm, plus a plan, is the way to talk about this.

    I think it would also help if we were much more ambitious. The problem actually demands it. We should not just talk about NZ and a ‘dash to carbon zero’, but also seek to establish ourselves as the leading nation on active carbon sequestration – we have the forests to sequester carbon on a crop rotation basis (creating biofuels as we rotate, but also sequestering the resulting CO2 – think wood burning power stations with sequestration). Some of the algae-as-biofuel crowd are heading in the same direction. You can put carbon in hard objects (cement in buildings) as well as underground as a gas. Think the Christchurch rebuild involving the world first large scale roll out of CO2 sequestering buildings – what an opportunity!

    Transition town people are on to it I think in terms of reduced energy use in food production and just making sure ‘good-neighbourliness’ keeps the rule of law intact through what will no doubt be testing times.

    We can all drastically reduce our flying, and I think that sends a good signal to government about our concern and that the requisite political will exists for change.

    I am intrigued about the possibilities of mobile phones as national energy efficiency meters. Think about a phone app that tells you when thermal stations are on. We could have a ‘drive out the thermal’ campaign. hell, even letting people know what the day to day emissions are in a section of the our local newspaper would help. Anyway, phones and the internet present myriad ways to turn personal concern into group action.

    And we can have some fun. My cargobike is currently being fitted with an electric motor: http://evlab.co.nz/. You will see me commuting late January in Wellington. I am going to try out advertising from electric bikes. Might even be some money in it ….

    • Watch yourself on the road Tom, beware of the Gross eyed man in his topmobile.

    • @ Tom Bennion,

      The bit about addressing people’s denial is of utmost importance. I have recently had interactions (when trying to address some forward planning re coastal changes…something I thought was pretty common-sense) where it is plain that people will quite happily leave their “children” to die, or at least clear up the bigger mess they are creating, rather than come out of the comfort zone of denial.

      If a person has enough were-with-all be it resourcefulness or finances and combines that with intelligence and can get examples of positive ways forward going, then this probably is the most effective way to address this hell-bent-denial. People can then tangibly see the benefits.

      Good one Mr Tom Bennion for doing just that!

    • Jenny 11.3

      In contrast to Bill’s call for individual actions. IMO What is immediately needed is state action.

      Government as the organised force that commands the economy and regulates industry can achieve far more than isolated individuals, or even communities of like minded individuals.

      NASA climate scientist James Hanson has determined that the mining and burning of coal is the number one cause of climate change.

      ergo. All coal mining has to stop.

      This can only be done by government decree. And it has to be done soon.

      This has to be a number 1 government priority.

      I can hear the screams from trade unionists and business both. “What about the jobs.”

      If rather than their own narrow self interest, jobs were really what they are concerned about, then New Zealand used to have a thriving asbestos mining industry, let’s open up those mines again. That will create thousands of jobs. After all asbestos is nowhere near as deadly as coal. (sarcasm) for those that think I was serious.

      But seriously, an industry based around renewables is far more labour intensive than any of the fossil fuel industries. That is why they are hated so, by those who can make massive profit and incomes off the relatively few people needed to extract coal, oil etc.

      Once the state starts taking climate change seriously citizen action and innovation will follow.

      Putting it all on individuals to take action against climate change is putting the cart before the horse. All it does is guilt trip individuals for the failure of our leaders.

      Once governments act to stop coal they can move onto other things. Public transport provision, for one, over private motor vehicles and more motorways.

      What’s next?

      Let’s see. Wasteful energy use would be another target. Instead of being a 24 hour society we need to cut back to at least a 12 hour day. All night time lighting, industrial and commercial can then be turned off. Also all advertising. If you must buy toilet paper and petrol. Make sure to do it during business hours.

      Even an idiot can see all these initiatives require state action, similar in fact to the actions governments take in wartime.

      What if instead of putting the country on a war footing, Churchill told the people of Britain, ‘individuals can go and fight fascism if you feel like it.’ (In fact many did and in Spain they were slaughtered by the thousand)

      The fight against climate change, like world war, requires an organised response.

      Anything less is doomed to failure.

      The actions Bill is calling for are only frittering around the edges. Not only that, but from my reading they look to be terribly awkward and impractical.

      Maybe some actions the type Bill is suggesting will be required. But they will never happen if the organised state is still carrying on business as usual. In fact, people taking the actions Bill has called for, while the state is still carrying on business as usual, would just look silly.

      • Jenny 11.3.1

        Anything done by human beings that is truly worthwhile requires team work, whether it is building a house, or a railroad, or crossing an ocean.

        The fight against climate change will require the biggest cooperative effort in human history.

        By it’s nature, teamwork requires leadership. In the fight against climate change, currently leadership is the missing ingredient.

        Our political leaders need to step up. Forget sectional self interest, start demanding action from all parties. Don’t send those who speak up on climate change to the back benches. Don’t modify your stance on climate change to suit your more conservative coalition partner. Demand action and demand it repeatedly till you get it. That is leadership.

      • Colonial Weka 11.3.2

        How are you planning on getting govt intervention? It’s self-evident that the state should be doing something. But the point is its not.

        • Jenny

          The State is a servant of the government, the government is all about politics, politics is all about pressure. The pressure needs to be kept on all parties in parliament over climate change, simple as that.

          How is that done? Protest actions supported and or organised by Green Party organisations and branches and joined by Green Party MPs, backed up with serious lobbying of individual MPs who may be sympathetic in the other parties.

          Putting up of private members bills on climate change that though not passing, will challenge the Labour Party on where they stand on climate change. One day soon Labour will be the government again. When Labour starts voting with National and ACT on private members bills put up by the Green Party it is a clear indication of where people should put their votes if they want action over climate change.

          One immediate thing that should be done is for the Green Party to call for a multiparty inquiry into climate change. This inquiry should be identical in structure and purpose to the multiparty inquiry into manufacturing that was called by Labour and supported by the Green Party.

          My guess is that such an inquiry, if called by the Greens will be viciously opposed if not actively boycotted by the Labour Party. If I am right this will give a true indication of how any coalition agreement with Labour will operate.

          If I am wrong this could be the founding of a serious coalition that will act against climate change.

          Not challenging Labour over where they stand on climate change will be the end of the Green Party as an independent force in parliament. (and outside parliament as well).

          • Colonial Weka

            Leaving aside that I think that using the GP as a sacrificial lamb in a strategy that’s bound to fail is a waste of time and energy, how are you planning on getting the state to intervene? You’ve written off Bill’s ideas, so I’m curious. Without getting individuals to make the changes in their personal and community lives, how are you going implement your ideas? We know the GP doesn’t support them, so what’s next?

            “When Labour starts voting with National and ACT on private members bills put up by the Green Party it is a clear indication of where people should put their votes if they want action over climate change.”

            But people don’t want action over climate change, we know that already, otherwise they would have voted Green for the past decade and changed their polluting ways. Try reading Bill’s post again, because this is exactly what he is addressing.

            • Jenny

              But people don’t want action over climate change, we know that already, otherwise they would have voted Green for the past decade and changed their polluting ways.

              Colonial Weka

              Excuses, excuses.

              Excusing the Green Party retreat from addressing climate change by turning to nasty misanthropy, scapegoating and blaming everyone else, is a new low.

              As the Green Party go further and further down this path, logic will impel you to ramp up your scapegoating and blaming of everyone else.

              When it is a failure of leadership.

              What is your next step/

              From blaming the whole electorate, to laying blame on Maori and Island New Zealanders, because they are less engaged and vote in lesser numbers than any other group in the population?

              IMO your excuses and apology for Green Party backsliding is frankly quite disgusting.

              • Napkins

                Always an easy all care and no responsibility job, this pissing into the tent from the outside.

                If you’re this serious about your convictions, why not join the Green Party (like thousands of other New Zealanders) and put yourself forward to the members for a leadership position.

                Let the Green Party membership decide on the merits of your ideas and leadership, instead of dictating to them what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

              • Colonial Weka

                Jenny, irrespective of what I believe and whether or not I’m making excuses, you still haven’t said how any of that could realistically happen. Ideas are free, and easy to come up with. We all know what is wrong and we all know what needs to be done. The tricky bit is actually doing something. The big difference between you and I is that you’re still in the wishful thinking stage, whereas I’m much more pragmatic, working with what is possible in the real world.

                There is a place for challenging organisations like the GP about what they are doing, and it’s definitely important to keep CC in the public eye as much as possible, but your ideas for strategy just don’t make sense. Undermining the GP… how’s that working out for you? How much serious and useful debate is that generating here?

                You’ve stated that Bill’s ideas about proactive change at the individual and community level are the wrong approach, and that government intervention is the right approach. I’m still waiting to hear how you think govt intervention could be brought about. I don’t want to hear wishful thinking (“oh, if only the GP talked about CC all the time”), I want to hear about actions that could actually work given the situation as it is today.

          • Robert Atack

            This talk backs up your argument for ‘leadership’ and how important it is if we have a hope in hell, its about victory gardens

      • blue leopard 11.3.3

        Where’s that real Viper’s comment gone?
        Would be nice to see you back 🙂

      • blue leopard 11.3.4

        I’ve just seen evidence of the difficulty in “State” intervention. There is an interdependence between the governing body and the people. If the governing body intervenes and people’s level of awareness on a certain issue is not great, this will be perceived as dictatorial and will not be recieved well

        Whereas if the governing body doesn’t do anything until awareness finally lifts out of the gutter, well we are all doomed.

        I believe that governing bodies prefer to err on the side of caution on this dilemma.

        I’m not concluding anything here, just pointing to an issue I believe exists when it comes to the level of action that you are calling for.

        • Jenny

          If the governing body intervenes and people’s level of awareness on a certain issue is not great,….. this will spark off a massive nationwide public debate on this issue.

          Do you think this debate can’t be won?

          Don’t you think this public debate must be held at some time?

          Without such a debate how can a mandate for change ever be achieved?

          At present this public debate isn’t being held at all, because of our political leaders (not just Greens) deliberate avoidance of it.

          Opposition MPs should be continually advancing and arguing for legislation to rein in climate change, caps on CO2 emissions, bans on coal exports, bans on fracking, bans on more oil drilling. Openly and publicly calling for parliament to back Auckland’s demand for funding of public transport similar to the $billions central government pour into more Auckland motorways which make matters worse. If necessary demand the cancelation of the North Western hugely expensive motorway tunnel being dug under Waterview and switch that funding to rail or buses.

          Unfortunately and shamefully, at present any opposition political leader who raises the issue of climate change is publicly hobbled, perceived by his own side to be threatening to topple over the whole apple cart of apology and avoidance presently being pushed by both the Labour Party and the Greens.

          Politics is all about pressure, at present the only evident pressure on parliament over climate change is coming from the fossil fuel and roading lobby, backed up by right wing politicians determined to continue with business as usual. Any left wing politician who dares speak up is silenced. The rest remain silent either because they are intimidated, or because they have their sights on sinking into a comfortable acceptance (and eventual assimilation) by the established order.

          This at a time when the very opposite is required. When instead of going with the flow the accepted political wisdom needs to be challenged. And challenged strongly and repeatedly.

          Weka’s talk of the risk of becoming as he puts it “sacrificial lambs” is an open expression of a lack of nerve by the Greens, at a time when history instead calls on them to be steadfast. Instead Weka wants the Green Party to nervously hang back less they become a sacrificial lamb.

          The Green Party should ignore calls from the likes of Weka to sell out, not just because it is the wrong thing to do. But because it will be the end of the Greens.

          There is little doubt in my mind if the Green Party miss this historic calling they will become history themselves, bringing on what they fear most, a complete collapse in public confidence and eventually voter support.

          As Churchill once said: “The only thing we have to fear. Is fear itself.”

          If the Green MPs are convinced of the dangers of climate change then they must speak up, they mustn’t give in to the fear posed by Colonial Weka of becoming “sacrificial lambs”.

          Dismiss the gutless arguments of cowards and quislings.

          Reject the siren call of MSM and establishment acceptance.

          Become instead Climate Change Churchills. Never shut up, never be quiet, never be intimidated, “Never give in”

          From the public platform provided to you by the very fact of being in parliament, continually thunder about the impending existential threat posed by climate change at every opportunity, in the house and at all other forums. Believe me the headlines will come. And also believe me, your opponents, who are only getting stronger by being appeased, will be left floundering like landed fish, completely wanting on being openly and publicly challenged. They have no facts to back up their arguments for doing nothing. Their only reply can only be a sullen silence.

          The National and Labour Party’s greatest weakness is their lack of adequate response to climate change. Rather than cover for this weakness, it needs to be exposed. Let Labour and National make their defence arguments if they can. But they won’t, because they can’t. All they can hope for, is that the Green Party will let them off the hook by going along with the game and shutting up about the danger as well. Promise them front bench seats if they agree.

          So far the Greens have gone along with this game. When will they realise that they are being played.

          • Colonial Weka

            Jenny, stop telling lies about me and what I believe.

          • blue leopard

            Good food for thought Jenny, you make some good points.

            I think public debate is the most promising avenue for movement on this (and other) issue/s; largely due to its awareness raising capacity and it might help people to become familiar with the issues, less scared and thus to start engaging with what is really to be faced; rather than being stuck in denial.

            Hopefully you are using war as an analogy to make [some very good] points, rather than suggesting the approach be one of “making a war” on carbon creation. I have heard that such “wars” are pretty ineffective and believe the angle of “making energetic progress” in the positive direction is a more effective, more inspiring way to address issues.

            I recall a BBC program, that was some type of green award competition. It gave examples of businesses that had been doing things the same old way and then showed them making changes and it was very inspiring because the changes, not only made things less toxic and more pleasant, many benefits accrued too. For example there was what I recall a carpet factory that had a problem with all its toxic waste and toxic fumes from the dyes they used. They shifted to using non-toxic dyes and this had the added benefit that their waste, turned into a profitable product in itself (mulch for gardens I think….the program was a long time ago!).

            I did perceive the Greens jobs in green energy idea being of this type of aim. If one can get people seeing benefits (rather than focussing on what they might be losing), there is more chance of more people catching on and success.

  12. Blue through and through 12

    Sooooooo Global warming. This old chestnut.
    The earth has cycles, how else do you explain the ice age covering most of Nth America that created the great lakes. Fish fossils being found in deserts etc. Was there a secret human civilisation that created that too????
    All the pro global warming scientific data is based on a thousand or so years the earth is billions of years old. In affect their data is based on a grain of sand in the sahara!

    • One Tāne Viper 12.1

      [citation needed]

    • PlanetOrphan 12.2

      The Universe has been expanding for 13.7 billion years, we’ve observed it for about 50.

      Is the Universe still expanding ?
      Not enough data M8!
      I’ll tell ya in a billion years
      If the planet hasn’t melted down in the interim M8!

    • Tiresias 12.3

      Yes the Earth goes through climate cycles. The Earth’s tilt on its axis alters over time changing the heating patterns on the surface. The Earth’s orbit around the sun varies by a small degree over time resulting in a closer approach in mid-summer – or in mid-winter. Ten thousand years ago or so the Sahara was a verdant plain much like the US plains of the cowboy and buffalo while Canada and Northern Europe were beneath an ice sheet hundreds of metres thick.

      These changes, and the effects of them, happen over hundreds of years – apart from catastrophic events such as the collapse of an ice-barrier which can allow the contents of a lake the size of Lake Erie to sweep over half a continent in the space of a week, or the breaching of the Pillars of Hercules by rising sea levels which led to the inundation of the Mediterranean basin in a fortnight, and the even more recent breaching of the Bosphorus which flooded the Black Sea basin in just a few days. We know sea-level can be a thousand feet below what it is today, or a thousand feet higher.

      So hey, we know such things happen so what the hell? The Earth has survived it before. What matters a few hundred major cities on the coasts today? What matters the grain belts of the US and Russia and the rice belts of China turning into the Sarhara? What matters the forced migration of millions of starving people into lands occupied by those only a little better off? None of that has happened before, of course, but we’re a very adaptable species and the Earth has proved a very adaptable planet. I’m sure there will still be honey for tea.

      • lprent 12.3.1

        …but we’re a very adaptable species and the Earth has proved a very adaptable planet.

        Everything you said was correct. But you completely missed the point whilst stroking your ego in public.

        We have no idea how “adaptable” our current civilisation (or anything like it) is and that is what is really at stake here. History isn’t particularly encouraging where there have been previous climate shifts.

        Arguably, Earth’s carrying capacity for humans in their “natural state” as hunter gatherers (which you seem to be predicating your silly argument on) is probably in the order of only a few millions. The billions that it is now carrying are completely reliant on sophisticated technologies that allow them to support a population of billions. In particular we’re reliant on farming, food storage, and food distribution technologies.

        If you look back through history you’ll find quite a few societies falling apart when the climate patterns have shifted or changed during the benign climates of the last 10k years of this interglacial. And those were local and quite limited changes. They usually caused falls in the coherence of the cultures reliant on the climates and a rapid descent into internecine warfare.

        So what happens when the Earth starts having widespread, rapid and extreme climate changes measured over a few decades across the whole world, rather than the much more gradual cycles of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years?

        How do farming techniques cope with the changes and still provide sufficient food for all of those people? In fact since we’re already well beyond the sustained carrying capacities of our current food production and distribution systems, what happens to the soils that we’re so dependent on these days. We can’t even fall back on the oceans because we’ve eaten them out.

        It makes piss-all difference to the Earth. It will heal itself in time just as it has with previous blights like the Deccan volcanism. And I’m sure that having a few million hunter-gatherers running around won’t affect it.

        The issue is if we want to keep this civilisation that our ancestors built. Fatuous comments like yours just tend to indicate exactly how little you understand about the fragility of human civilisations

        • Draco T Bastard

          I think you’ll find that Tiresias was being somewhat facetious. In fact, to me, it reeks strongly of sarcasm.

        • NoseViper (The Nose knows)

          Tiresias ‘ comment seems to be despairing rather than diminishing of the argument. The final quote ” I’m sure there will still be honey for tea.” is connected to Peter Sellers mock serious travelogue of Balham Gateway to the South. And as for honey, we need to save the bees.

          What could help if people stopped childbirthing exponentially. I think I read in Bravemouth on Billy Connolly’s life that he remembered a Catholic neighbour who had 21 children. The nostalgia for large families even of over 5 children should be discouraged.

          • lprent

            Yeah, I was thinking some of that when I was reading it. But of course some of the sillier arguments about why climate change doesn’t matter are based around “the climate has always changed” and “earth abides” which that comment was channelling.

            The problem is never the planet, nor even the survival of humans. The issue is just how fragile the underpinnings of the current civilisation actually are when you’re looking at the effects of climate shifts on food production and distribution.

            I like civilisation…

            • Tiresias

              No, my final comment “I’m sure there will still be honey for tea”, is a reference to Rupert Brooke’s poem “The Old Vicarage, Granchester”, a stunning celebration of the peace, serenity and timeless rustic beauties of rural Cambridgeshire – written in 1912 when of course no-one had any idea what was about to overwhelm that world.

              And of course Brooke himself, a man of leisure and fortune, intelligent and alive to beauty, culture and civilization died at 28 on his way to Gallipolli in 1915 – killed by a mosquito bite.

              So yeah, I was making a point = tho’ somewhat too subtly it seems

            • Jenny

              I like civilisation…


              Me too.

              I like antibiotics and vaccines, only possible from large factories, I like medical science and socialised medicine taught in huge universities, I like universal literacy and education, I like high school sports day, I like chess club and school dances, I like astronomy and science.

              I quite like flush toilets and water treatment plants. I dislike dissentary and plagues, I like languages and culture.

              I am not a big fan of shit.

              Living in a log cabin with no books, or media of any kind, no sanitation with no knowledge of the world beyond the next valley, with no knowledge of the past or dreams of the future. Hmmm?

              I like birth control and pediatrics and obstetric medicine and childcare, I am not to keen on wars.

              Admittedly as a project civilisation is a work in progress, is it worth saving?

              Damn right.

              • RedLogix

                Thing is Jenny … we need to work out which bits of civilisation are worth saving and which we have to get rid of. And how to separate them out.

              • Colonial Weka

                “Admittedly as a project civilisation is a work in progress, is it worth saving?”

                Ah, ok. Now I completely understand where you are coming from. You still believe that civilisation is compatible with preventing CC. Hence the fairy tale that if the GP just spoke out in the right way we could all be saved.

                That’s just not true. You can’t have pharmaceutical factories and flushing toilets unless you are willing for lots of people on the planet to die (probably starve). We are well past the point of being able to prevent CC, best case scenario is mitigation via energy descent. And energy descent means a big reduction in the standard of living we have now.

                It’s not all bad news though. It is possible to have a good quality of life with a lower standard of living. Many cultures have had entirely adequate ways of dealing with their shit – lack of flushing toilets does not equate to lack of hygiene or sanitation. Likewise, lack of books does not equate to lack of culture, lack of knowledge about the world, or enforced boredom.

                And you might want to change your mind about the value of avoidance of plagues via burning fossil fuels when you start seeing people younger than you dying from modern diseases like type 2 diabetes.

                and btw, vaccines were being produced without large factories in the 1800s. I’m fairly sure we could still produce antibiotics with the powerdown.

                Your abhorrence of the non-civilised strikes me as quite ignorant, but it certainly does explain alot about the stance you take on CC. Fear is a great movitator, but it doesn’t always strike true.

                • geoff

                  If you DONT have flushing toilets then YOU are willing to have lots of people to die. Flush toilets are probably the single biggest saver of lives in the history of mankind.



                  • One Tāne Viper

                    “…willing to have lots of people to die.”

                    I thought you were against emotive language? Weka notes that “lack of flushing toilets does not equate to lack of hygiene or sanitation”, but even were that not so I don’t see any “willingness”.
                    Lots of people already have died, incidentally.

                    • geoff

                      Youseem to desparately want to get into a shit fight with me 🙂

                      I was just using the phrase that weka used.

                      Now where did i say i was against emotive language?
                      Perhaps youre refering to my distaste for bills hyerbole?

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “Hyperbole” supported by Climatology.

                      Bill’s call to arms is one voice among many.

                      Just as philosophies, religions and ideals know no boundaries, so the protection of our planet itself involves rich and poor, North and South, East and West. All of us have to play our part if we are to succeed. And succeed we must for the sake of this and future generations.

                      Margaret Thatcher. 1990.

                    • geoff

                      Bill’s hyperbole is not supported by consensus. Even your fringe loopy references dont go on about everyone’s children dying. Pull your head in.
                      Also, don’t go quoting Margaret Thatcher to me, even if she agreed with me I’d rather throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to that c*nt.

                    • Bill

                      Hey Geoff. Where’s the hyperbole? It’s true that the post has an emotive component. But there’s nothing exaggerated in it. In fact, quite the opposite. (You missed the bit about having 17 years to get carbon free on fuel use being based on conservative and optimistic extrapolations of the available scientific data?) Maybe what you mean to say is that you don’t like the analogy at the outset of the post? If so, say that…maybe even be helpful enough to suggest a better one that would have improved the point being made… but don’t go slinging baseless fucking accusations.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “…fringe loopy references…”

                      Hansen? Sato? Those guys from NASA? The guys whose predictions have been supported by observations time and again? The ones describing 2°C of warming as a “disaster scenario for much of humanity…”?

                      Who’s looking for a shit fight?

                      At least we agree about Thatcher.

                    • geoff

                      Hey I already said I was in for a shit fight. Thought I may as well drop down to your level.

                      Capitalism is a disater for humanity. Many people have and will die from it. But describing it with hyperbole is not necessary. Not only that, capitalism has proven to be destructive. The global warming thing is still a prediction.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “Still a prediction”

                      Nope. Polar amplification, for example, predicted and now observed. Ditto more warming at night and in winter, ditto Arctic more than Antarctic, ditto stratospheric cooling.

                      Ditto a shift towards more extreme weather events (cf: Munich Re’s info on trends in insurance claims, and the aforementioned Hansen and Sato on “Perception of Climate Change” for two examples. There are others)

                    • geoff

                      Is it 2030? No. Therefore the most extreme possible outcomes, which you are championing, are still possibilities not actualities.

                      Actually you’re not championing the most extreme possible outcomes of climate change, you’re championing your interpretation of them. Your interpretation seems to be some kind of sci-fi dystopia where everyone and everything is completely doomed. It’s like you read the word ‘disaster’ and let your imagination run wild…

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “Your interpretation seems to be some kind of sci-fi dystopia where everyone and everything is completely doomed.”

                      It may seem that way to you. Perhaps some sort of “not putting words in people’s mouths” training is in order, because the closest I’ve come to saying anything like that is to point out that “lots of people have already died”, and sci-fi doesn’t enter into it.

                      Still, I think I’ve registered your distaste for hyperbole 🙄

                    • geoff

                      It may seem that way because you haven’t said that the hyperbole is unwarranted. I can only assume you implicitly agree with the doomsday scenarios because you’re so touchy when I merely questioned them.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “…you implicitly agree with the doomsday scenarios…”

                      That there are “doomsday” scenarios (which in this context really means “possibilities”) is undeniable. That doesn’t mean I think “doomsday” is the only possible outcome. I suspect it’s the most probable outcome of BAU, though.

                    • geoff

                      Ok so, basically, you’ve decided that the most probable outcome is that we’re all f*cked, and the Earth is going to resemble Venus?

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      Yawn, what a bore. Enjoy the underside of your bridge. I’m off to the pasture.

                    • geoff

                      I’ll take that as a yes then.
                      Ya big drama queen, you love this pointless bickering just as much as everyone else on TS.

                      [RL: You were the one who came here and said you were “up for a shit fight” so I’m not at all surprised you’ve been treated the same. Frankly I’m beginning to find you boring as well. For someone whose claims to be a ‘scientist’ your comprehension, dialectic and communication skills are dissapointing. You’re not even very good at basic logic.

                      Either start offering some quality debate or I’ll invoke Bill’s original warning.]

                  • Colonial Weka

                    “If you DONT have flushing toilets then YOU are willing to have lots of people to die. Flush toilets are probably the single biggest saver of lives in the history of mankind.”

                    Why, because the NYT said so?

                    It’s true that flushing toilets saved the lives of many Europeans (and look how that turned out), but that’s because at the time that flushing toilets were invented Europeans were in the habit of living in overcrowded cities and throwing their faeces around without understanding the need for sanitation. But sanitation isn’t dependent on flushing toilets, it’s dependent on having systems in place that prevent the transmission of pathogens in faeces to other humans. You can do that without flush toilets.

                    Other cultures have had proper systems in place that weren’t dependent on putting faeces into potable water and then pumping it as a pollutant into the sea or land.

                    “If you DONT have flushing toilets then YOU are willing to have lots of people to die”

                    What OTV said. But you missed my point. I’m saying Jenny can’t have it both ways. We either powerdown to mitigate climate change, or we keep our western lifestyles and let many more people die from CC that if we powered down.

                    • geoff

                      Hey I love to ignore the scientific consensus as much as the next man (just ask one tane mcViperTits) but in this case I’m sticking with the NYT and The Economist and the microbiologist Bruce Levin who was on RadioNZ with Kim Hill some weeks ago.

                      Where the fuck are your links to these great alternative systems that cater to major cities and dont use energy and all the rest of it? Come on man/woman, pony up!

                    • Colonial Weka

                      Neither of the links you provided are definitive of scientific consensus. The NYT article wasn’t even about flushing toilets.

                      But read my other comments. You linked to an article about sanitation in the UK in the 1800s or thereabouts. improved their sanitation. Of course the Brits had an improvement. If you throw your shit in the street, the only way is up from there.

                      “Where the fuck are your links to these great alternative systems that cater to major cities and dont use energy and all the rest of it? Come on man/woman, pony up!”

                      I dropped some links below. I’ll provide more links when you demonstrate how we can manage municipal sewerage systems when we powerdown.

                      You still seem to be under the mistaken impression that we have a choice. Let’s not argue about that, but please read all my comments on this page as in the context of a powerdown, not BAU.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “Where the fuck are your links to these great alternative systems that cater to major cities and don’t use energy and all the rest of it? ”

                      I think the main point of this discussion is that there aren’t any, and there aren’t going to be any, either, without some significant changes that are going to happen whether we like it or not, and that adaptation involves planning.

                • Bill

                  You can’t have pharmaceutical factories and flushing toilets unless you are willing for lots of people on the planet to die (probably starve)

                  There is no compelling reason why pharmacautical factories wouldn’t exist in a post-market economy. And the availability of flushing toilets would be determined by the same factors as today (availability of water and infrastructure maintenence)

                  There is also a fair chance that with the skewing effects of market dynamics removed from the equation of production and distribution that many things will be done much more efficiently and that some things could improve markedly without the hobbling effect of having profit as the primary (and too often, sole) determinng factor on whether things are done or not done.

                  • RedLogix


                    Just wanted to say how very much I’m appreciating this series of posts. This strikes to the very heart of problem that faces us as a species.

                    The nature of this problem is global. We know exactly what we need to do to; but we lack the global political mechanisms to effectively act.

                    • Bill

                      Thanks for the note of appreciation RL. More to come in the weeks ahead.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “…we lack the global political mechanisms to effectively act.”

                      This cannot be true, or measures to reduce CFC emissions would have failed.

                    • RedLogix

                      That’s sort of true. We actually have a whole lot of proto-global mechanisms already. The historic process of establishing the sovereign nation state was a slow and painful one, taking place in various stages over many centuries; roughly from the signing of the Magna Carta, through the French Revolution, the demise of the European monarchies post-WW1 and the birth of the Welfare State.

                      There is no reason to think this progression is finished. The first round of globalisation from roughly the 1840’s to 1914 manifested as a series of competing European empires; the second round post 1945 has been dominated by the American empire … but in parallel with this the UN has persisted and numerous global entities like the IMF, The World Bank, WTO and thousands of technical and trade standards organisations have been gradually putting in place the foundations of global governance. The abolition of CFC’s was achievable in this framework because there were no powerful interests opposed to it.

                      What is missing of course the mechanism to make challenging political decisions that impinge on major national or corporate interests. The response to AGW is a perfect example of this impasse.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      What we lack is the capacity to act quickly in the face of those vested interests you mention. I think to a large extent they are our (short term, short sighted) interests too, which makes it even harder.

                      Bill is right. The more of us embody the changes that have to be made the more political will to take effective action will grow. However I think the weather may be a more persuasive factor.

                    • Jenny

                      …. we lack the global political mechanisms to effectively act.


                      Of course we do, it just doesn’t work like that, it never has, and probably never will. Global treaties like Kyoto and Cancun and Dohar will keep on failing. The world will never act altogether as one, no matter how many well meaning global climate conferences occur.

                      Like all human collective endeavour it takes leadership, to get things started.

                      All great human endeavors begin with someone taking the lead

                      All it takes is for one country to take that lead, and others will follow, only a few at first but then more and more until it becomes overwhelming if not universal.

                      Someone has to be first, someone has to give that lead.

                      Why not us after all New Zealand has been emotionally bullying the world for over a hundred years now. We did it with votes for women we did it with social welfare, we did it with anti apartheid and anti nuclear and God forbid we did it with Rogernomics.

                      Now we need to do it with climate change.

                      New Zealand needs to choose to be a world leader and we need to do it now.

                      Globally coal is the number one cause of anthropomorphic climate change.

                      We need to ban all coal mining and all coal (and oil) exports. The opposition parties need to announce, to New Zealand and the world, that on being elected that is their intention. To have any impact on climate change New Zealand needs to make an iconic stand like this within the next four years. The world will need to follow in the next ten.

                      The Bathurst escarpment mine on the Denniston Plateau must not start. Any attempt by either government or private industry to open any new coal mines anywhere in the country must be met with massive protest. The protests must be as big as possible to become a powerful counter movement in opposition to the powerful fossil fuel lobby.

                  • Colonial Weka

                    Bill, I was talking about the powerdown necessary to mitigate CC. It’s true that some people could have flushing toilets, esp as many already exist. But there is no way that you can have flushing toilets for all humans, or even developed countries. The infrastructure needed to build, maintain and run municipal sewerage for flushing toilets, and then dispose of the waste, is completely dependent on burning fossil fuels. Worse, it requires massive amounts of water, and pollutes massive amounts of water, and water is going to be one of the big issues over the next decades.

                    Flushing toilets also waste precious fertiliser that we will need to grow food intensively to support a high population.

                    Composting toilets are a perfectly acceptable alternative. The Chinese have sustainable agricultural systems based around humanure that have been in existence for thousands of years.

                    There are modern systems that combine composting toilets with flush toilets, but it will be a pretty hard row to hoe producing those once the cheap industrial plastics and metals are no longer available. It’s just easier to use dry composting.

                    • geoff

                      Well if that’s what you believe then be willing to accept that it is likely that many people will die from poor sanitation.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      “Well if that’s what you believe then be willing to accept that it is likely that many people will die from poor sanitation.”

                      Please provide evidence that absence of flushing toilets always equates to poor sanitation. I should warn you though, you are arguing from a place of extreme ignorance. Go do some research. Here’s a couple of random starting points. Reading the science of humanure will help you understand the hygiene is the issue, not flushing toilets.

                      “In 1952, about 70% of Chinese humanure was recycled. This had increased to 90% by 1956, and constituted a third of all fertilizer used in the country.26 Lately, however, humanure recycling in China seems to be going downhill. The use of synthetic fertilizers has risen over 600% between the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s, and now China’s average annual fertilizer usage per hectare is estimated to be double that of the world’s average. Between 1949 and 1983, agricultural nitrogen and phosphorous inputs increased by a factor of ten, while agricultural yields only tripled.27

                      Water pollution in China began to increase in the 1950s due to the discarding of sewage into water. Now, about 70% of China’s wastewater is said to be dumped into China’s main rivers. By 1992, 45 billion tonnes of wastewater were flowing into China’s rivers and lakes annually, 70% untreated. In urban areas, 80% of the surface water is polluted with nitrogen and ammonia, and most lakes around cities have become dumping grounds for large quantities of sewage. It is estimated that 450,000 tonnes of humanure are dumped into the Huangpu River alone in a year. Half a million cases of hepatitis A, spread by polluted water, occurred in Shanghai in 1988. Soilborne diseases, practically non-existent in China twenty years ago, are now also causing problems. “Increasingly, Chinese urban authorities are turning to incineration or landfill as the ways of disposing of their solid wastes rather than recycling and composting, which means that China, like the west, is putting the problem onto the shoulders of future generations.” 28

                      For a sense of historical perspective, I’ll leave you with a quote from Dr. Arthur Stanley, health officer of the city of Shanghai, China, in his annual report for 1899, when the population of China amounted to about 500 million people, roughly double that of the US today. At that time, no artificial fertilizers were employed for agricultural purposes – only organic, natural materials such as agricultural residues and humanure were being used:

                      “Regarding the bearing on the sanitation of Shanghai of the relationship between Eastern and Western hygiene, it may be said, that if prolonged national life is indicative of sound sanitation, the Chinese are a race worthy of study by all who concern themselves with public health. It is evident that in China the birth rate must very considerably exceed the death rate, and have done so in an average way during the three or four thousand years that the Chinese nation has existed. Chinese hygiene, when compared to medieval English, appears to advantage.” 29

                      Sounds like an understatement to me. ”


                      “There is no reason to believe that the manure of a healthy person is dangerous unless left to accumulate, pollute water with intestinal bacteria, or breed flies and/or rats, all of which are the results of negligence or bad customary habits. It should be understood that the breath one exhales can also be the carrier of dangerous pathogens, as can one’s saliva and sputum. The issue is confused by the notion that if something is potentially dangerous, then it is always dangerous, which is not true. Furthermore, it is generally not understood that the carefully managed thermophilic composting of humanure converts it into a sanitized agricultural resource. No other system of fecal material and urine recycling or disposal can achieve this without the use of dangerous chemical poisons or a high level of technology and energy consumption.”


                      btw, Bill I meant to say, Chch is a very good example of why municipal sewerage is problematic. Chch would have been much better off with a decentralised system, but even then, having shit in a very fluid state is hard to control in a disaster.

                  • Colonial Weka

                    “There is no compelling reason why pharmacautical factories wouldn’t exist in a post-market economy”

                    Again, I meant powerdown. And I think small, localised facilities could produce limited amounts of drugs for sure. But like with flushing toilets, the infrastructure to maintain big pharma just won’t be possible. Think drug trials, hygiene protocols, shipping, all the plastics and metals needed, all the chemicals needed etc.

                    • geoff

                      “In 1952, about 70% of Chinese humanure was recycled. This had increased to 90% by 1956, and constituted a third of all fertilizer used in the country.26 Lately, however, humanure recycling in China seems to be going downhill.”

                      yeah probably on farms! That’s a rural solution. If you hadn’t noticed, the bulk of the civilised world now lives in cities. People concentrated in one spot means that their shit is concentrated and needs an industrial solution.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      And what if there is no industrial solution? You need to keep up here mate, this whole conversation is about what happens when we don’t have high tech industry like we do now.

                      Besides, humanure can be managed within cities perfectly well. There are people who already do this. Composting toilets are not a new thing in NZ. To do it on a large scale, you just need to put good systems in place for managing the waste/fertiliser. At the moment we put it into potable water and then use that water to pollute waterways and land. That’s insane.

                    • geoff

                      Im ok with there being no solution in your scenario, Im just realistic about it killing lots of people while you’re playing with their shit.

                    • geoff

                      Do you not realise it’ll take energy to handle the composting shite too? Learn some physics, first law of thermodynamics, you cant get something for nothing. Your ignorance is astounding.

                    • Colonial Weka

                      “Do you not realise it’ll take energy to handle the composting shite too? Learn some physics, first law of thermodynamics, you cant get something for nothing. Your ignorance is astounding.”

                      I can guarantee that I know far more about the science of thermophilic humanure composting than you do. If you are genuinely interested in learning about this (even if just to be informed enough to criticise), then Joe Jenkins is the man to read. He has the science on the composting process, the health issues involved, and he’s developed a system that takes account of the energy required (his is not the only useful system though).

                      “Im ok with there being no solution in your scenario, Im just realistic about it killing lots of people while you’re playing with their shit.””

                      How weird. You are saying that you would prefer people to die than to adapt and use a perfectly good system when we can no longer maitain existing sewerage.

                      You still have yet to produce any evidence that I am wrong and that it’s not possible to run a humanure system that is hygienic, and that the ONLY hygienic system of dealing with human shit is flushign toilets.

                    • geoff

                      “I can guarantee that I know far more about the science of thermophilic humanure composting than you do. If you are genuinely interested in learning about this (even if just to be informed enough to criticise), then Joe Jenkins is the man to read. He has the science on the composting process, the health issues involved, and he’s developed a system that takes account of the energy required (his is not the only useful system though).”

                      Right, so we have to build an entirely new infrastructure, parallel to our existing one, while we still have energy to do so?

                      “How weird. You are saying that you would prefer people to die than to adapt and use a perfectly good system when we can no longer maitain existing sewerage.”

                      No I didn’t say I’d prefer people to die , I said that, assuming your scenario (which I don’t necessarily agree with), I think lots of people will die.

                      You still have yet to produce any evidence that I am wrong and that it’s not possible to run a humanure system that is hygienic, and that the ONLY hygienic system of dealing with human shit is flushing toilets.

                      Is there presently a city that runs a composting ‘humanure’ system that you are describing?

                    • RedLogix

                      If you are worried about how to manage composting toilets in cities with multi-storey buildings, you might also want to consider how the lifts will be powered.

                      The point is that adaptation to power-down in order to achieve carbon zero will demand a whole range of changes … to almost everything we do. Carping at one challenge in isolation is kind of pointless unless you are willing to examine everything else that would be going on as well.

                      Personally the best I think we can hope for is a lifestyle that is medieval in terms of energy consumption, but hi-tech/sustainable in terms of agriculture, education, health and resource consumption. Achieving that is a big leap from where most wealthy Westerners are now at; but actually not very far removed from how many billions of people live right now in the world.

                  • geoff

                    Where’s the hyperbole?! Read your own first paragraph man, you could get an opinion spot at the Herald with that sort kruft. You’re better than that.

                    • Bill

                      You don’t understand analogies and the use of qualifiers at the beginnings of sentences? Y’know, that wee word ‘if’? There is no hyperbole involved in a series of theoretical questions.

                      And there is no hyperbole involved in simply transferring the response from a theoretical situation (as posed by those questions) and applying them to a real life situation.(assuming the analogy is a reasonable one)

                      People will die in the unfolding real world situation of rising mean surface temperatures. And since the effects are a wee few years off, it’s reasonable to assume the generation taking the brunt will be the current younger generations. And it happens or is (maybe) avoided by what we do now. You geddit?

        • TheContrarian

          “…whilst stroking your ego in public.”

          Tell me again, Old Wolf, about your earth science degree, years of programming experience, MBA and how wasting your time is a ban-able offense.

          • Napkins

            Nothing like wisdom from the know it all yoof.

          • lprent

            Oh – that wasn’t a waste of time. What makes you think that it was?

            There is a bit of a difference between how I handle moderating and how I handle commenting and I’m pretty modal about which is which.

            When I’m moderating you see those bold notes on your comments… Comments just look like comments.. But like my habits in writing posts I usually have to be annoyed to motivate me to write long comments. And I do take a particular delight in tormenting naivety or straight dumbness in questions of climate change. That pesky earth science degree comes to the fore under those circumstances and provides the content (not to mention the old history reading hobby). But the techniques used in those comments are from something you foolishly didn’t mention – decades of experience at needling on online social networks.

            I have to keep practising that skill set or else it may go rusty. I choose to mostly exercise it on people being idiots about climate change because polite discussion usually just hits a head of solid bone.

            I regard needling as a educational way to needle the point home. And it is kind of fun for me when I want to let off a bit of steam…. 😈

            • geoff

              Have some fun with me then.

              I have a problem with the predictive climate models that are having people crying ‘the end is nigh!’

              Why should I believe the dire predictions of the incredibly complicated climate models, when I know that modelling the behaviour of even simple physical systems is rife with difficulties?

              • RedLogix

                As someone who has spent the last month modelling a simple physical system I agree with you. There are many difficulties. I’m looking at a trend plot right now in another window and puzzling over the next refinement needed and how to make it more robust.

                However my model is still way more useful than any other alternative. I tried examining chicken entrails but the result were patchy and the boss grumbled about the smell.

                Besides your argument cuts both ways. There is no apriori reason to think that any errors in the climate models must be overestimates … they could equally be underestimates.

                • geoff

                  “Besides your argument cuts both ways. There is no apriori reason to think that any errors in the climate models must be overestimates … they could equally be underestimates.”

                  Right, so the model has some unknown predictive power and therefore it is unreasonable to start shrieking hysterically about the end of the world.

                  • RedLogix

                    Well maybe. Lets assign some simple probabilities to the power of the climate models.

                    Lets assign a 33% probability to the models being overestimates, ie too high; a similar 33% probability to them being more or less correct and a 33% chance to them being too low. All I’m doing here is responding to your idea that these climate models have a poor or “unknown” predictive power so I’ve simply allocated some very simple numbers to this claim. There are only three possibilities and there is no reason to favour one over the other, so I’ve made all three equally likely.

                    Given that two out of three cases result in dire consequences; ie a 66% probability of a civilisation-disrupting catastrophe … your own logic should give you pause for thought.

                    • geoff

                      Now wait a minute, that’s not my logic, that’s your arbitrarily chosen probabilities.

                      Why split into equal 33% chunks? Why not have 1% chance that they are underestimates, 6% roughly correct and the 93% over-estimates? Or the opposite? Or any possible combination?

                      I stand by my point, the climate models have unknown predictive power and so I think the hysteria (for the moment) is unwarranted.

                      That’s not to say that the models are wrong, just that I’m not yet going to get hysterical yet .

                      What I am reacting to is the recent posts linking to sites that seem to suggest that ‘your children and grandchildren are going to die horribly!’. That sort of thing is not helpful.

                    • RedLogix

                      Why not have 1% chance that they are underestimates, 6% roughly correct and the 93% over-estimates? Or the opposite? Or any possible combination?

                      Ah but that is a different argument. You are no longer arguing that the models have poor predictive power … you are now claiming that there is an apriori 93% chance they are overestimates. But all this does is restate the usual denier position with no evidence or rationalisation.

                      As things stand I could with equal logic claim that there is a 93% chance they are underestimates.

                      I didn’t arbitrarily choose my estimates. Given YOUR claim that the models have large and unknown uncertainties, then I simply said there are three possibilities, that they are low, correct or high .. and using your own logic I assigned an equal probability to each.

                      I was actually being generous to your own argument.

                    • geoff

                      I cant reply to your post below (presume that only so many replies are allowed) so I’m replying to it here:

                      “As things stand I could with equal logic claim that there is a 93% chance they are underestimates.”

                      Yes you could, that’s my point, you don’t know what the predictive power is and neither do I. No-one will know until the measurements are in. That’s how science works. You make a hypothesis and then you test it.
                      Unfortunately we don’t have a lab version of the earth.

                      My problem is with Bill’s sensationlist approach. Do you personally agree with his sentiment, that essentially the end of the world is approaching?

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      Geoff: “…essentially the end of the world is approaching?”

                      It depends which of the predictions you have a problem with I guess. I don’t think there’s much doubt that we are putting the global food supply at serious risk, and that mass starvation is a very real possibility. Or that sea-level rise will render many densely populated areas uninhabitable.

                      Bill is mostly relying on Kevin Anderson, who is no crank.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes you could, that’s my point, you don’t know what the predictive power is and neither do I.

                      “Don’t Know” = “High Uncertainty”

                      High Uncertainty = Wide Possible Range of Outcomes

                      Wide Possible Range of Outcomes = Could be Low, could be Correct, could be High.

                      This is why, in response to your claim, I assigned an equal apriori probability to each case. This is what I mean by ‘don’t know’.

                      On the other hand you are using the term ‘don’t know’ in a completely different sense; you are implying that the future climate is unknowable. For instance on the very next toss of a coin it is impossible to know prior whether it will land heads or tails. One can of course over many coin tosses one can predict an outcome with very high confidence.

                      That of course is the distinction between weather and climate; while weather is inherently stochastic and cannot be reliably predicted beyond a day or so, climate by contrast is quite amenable to modelling and prediction with considerable precision.

                      Or you could be saying that climate is something that is inherently unknowable, like saying that “there is a planet someone in the universe where there a three-legged creatures who wear funny hats”. Now this statement could be true or false, but we have no way of knowing this. Pretending however that climate falls into this category is called the “head up arse” method of understanding something you don’t want to understand.

                      Besides all this is a moot point; the actual models produced so far have given pretty good results; although as lprent states …they’ve all turned out to be underestimates.

                  • But Geoff as time goes by it appears with increasing certainty that the predictive models are not only valid and appropriate but they are actually conservative in their predictions and things may be getting much worse than we thought.

                    And maybe your kids and grandkids will be OK but other’s kids and grandkids are going to have their quality of life trashed.

                    And you do not engage in the detail. All you seem to be saying is that “it is not clear what will happen therefore it may be OK” without showing any understanding of the science.

                    Such wilful blindness is, with respect, the last thing that this debate needs. Why don’t you go and educate yourself a bit and then come back and argue your point.

                    • geoff

                      Well I did say in my original comment that I am asking proponents of the dire scenarios to convince me that I am wrong. I’m afraid to say that you’re response has not been helpful in that respect.
                      You haven’t provided any information or links to me, you’ve merely accused me of being ignorant. Which is somewhat I ironic as you yourself accuse me of not engaging in the detail
                      I do not think I come from a position of complete ignorance, I am a scientist trained in physics and have been following the climate change debate for about 14 years.
                      I do not doubt that the climate is warming, or that it is being caused by human activity. What I have trouble with is the certainty about the dire predictions that some people are claiming.

                    • Napkins

                      Geoff you’ve made a fundamental error of thinking. The question is not whether the forecasts have a 5% likelihood of being right, or a 25% likelihood of being right.
                      It’s that the magnitude of consequences if they are right is so massive, so damaging, that they must be considered in a most serious way.
                      A similar example is the fact that very few office buildings ever suffer a serious fire over the entire life time of the building. Is that now a reason for not taking steps to minimise and mitigate the possibility in office buildings?

                    • RedLogix


                      Exactly. That is precisely the point I was working towards.

                      Geoff probably wouldn’t be willing to play Russian Roulette himself; but for some reason appears willing to do so with the lives of future generations.

                    • geoff

                      @Napkins (again I cant respond to you because TS wont let me):

                      Geoff you’ve made a fundamental error of thinking.

                      No I haven’t. If we had a hypothetical situation in which there was a 0.0001% chance of something horrible happening to a loved one UNLESS you cut your arm off, would you cut your arm off?

                      Just think, the magnitude of the consequence if it occurs is massive, so damaging that they must be considered in a most serious way. So do you cut your arm off?

                      Hey if it was 50% then yeah you might do it, but 0.0001%? hmm, maybe not.

                      Now I’m not saying that the climate models are wrong, I’m saying that, at this stage the outcome is not completely known. If you think it is then you’re being very naive. You may say that the models have already been accurate but humans have a much much longer history of being really shit at making predictions.

                      [lprent: The maximum indent of a thread is 10. It is wordpress that puts in the limit, but it’d have to be set at some level because otherwise we’d run out of display area… 😈 ]

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “the outcome is not completely known”

                      Since the Anthropocene era is picked to last up to 500,000 years, that’s a pretty facile observation.

                      What we do know is that our previous best estimates were far too conservative, and that observations have us tracking into worst case scenarios. Still happy to wait and see?

                    • Napkins

                      geoff of course you have made a fundamental error in thinking. Do you really think that there is a 99.9999% chance that the current climate models are invalid? That’s the example you used after all.
                      Even if there is only a 5% chance that the current climate models are correct, the ramifications are so huge that they must be seriously considered. Please consider them.

                • What I have trouble with is the certainty about the dire predictions that some people are claiming

                  Well list the predictions and then argue how they are wrong. As to not providing links well there are about a gazillion of them out there dealing with climate change. If you want a good local source try http://hot-topic.co.nz.

                  • geoff

                    I’m not the one making the big claims! If someone is making the big predictions then they have to justify them, not me. Point me to the article where it says.. ‘a consenus of scientists say that your children and grandchildren are going to die horribly as a consequence of global warming’.

                    • RedLogix

                      I’m not the one making the big claims! If someone is making the big predictions then they have to justify them,

                      In terms of the impact on climate, the science has justified this amply, repeatedly and with increasing force.

                      That this temperature change will have a myriad of consequences is equally obvious to anyone with the slightest understanding of the immensely complex physical and biological systems that our civilisation depends upon.

                      Sure the planet will adapt over a period of thousands of years; but we have 7 billion or more people to feed each and every day. Just one decade of disruption to those systems could easily result in mass deaths.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      George: “Point me to the article…”

                      Hansen and Sato Paleoclimate implications for human-made climate change makes for pretty grim reading. As they say “the trouble with Hansen is he’s never been wrong”.

                      Oh, and while you were bagging models, I wonder if you are aware of the various successful predictions that global circulation models have already made: winter warming more than summer, nights more than days, Arctic more than Antarctic. Stratospheric cooling, polar amplification, the effects of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo…

                      “All models are wrong. Some are useful.” George Box.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      PS: Do’h! I meant Geoff, not George.

              • One Tāne Viper

                Geoff: “…incredibly complicated climate models…”

                Oh, are they? Have you ever actually seen a global circulation model? They’re pretty simple in fact. The main bottleneck involved is the available resolution.

                • geoff

                  I had a look at your Hansen Paleo climate thingy as well. Didnt say nufink about all the children in the world burning up in hell. Plus he’s not consensus. He’s one bloke.

                  • One Tāne Viper

                    It mentions that among other things “Rapid reduction of fossil fuel emissions is required for humanity to succeed in preserving a planet resembling the one on which civilization developed.”

                    “…paleoclimate data imply that 2°C global warming would be a disaster scenario for much of humanity and many other species on the planet.”

                    Hansen and Sato are in fact two (very expert) blokes, but point taken. The “consensus” is best expressed in IPCC AR4. Which has proved far too conservative to the extent that worst case scenarios are being observed decades too soon.

                    • geoff

                      You seem unable to realise that “disaster scenario” does not equal Bill’s “all your children will die”. Why keep defending the sensationalism, one tane mcViperTits? Are you Bill’s missus? This is supposedly about science and you keep wanting to equate it to tribalistic grunting.

                    • Bill

                      Do yourself a favour and pay attention to this and my previous comment. Now either back up your bullshit or pull your head in. Where in the post does it say “all your children will die”? It fucking well doesn’t say that anywhere, does it? Odd you should use such hyperbole while decrying me for…oh yeah, using hyperbole. Actually, it’s not odd. It’s pissing me off. And since today is a ‘short fuse’ day, you just might want to reflect on the fact that you’re pissing off an author with bullshit comments.

                    • geoff

                      Hey I had to paraphrase your rhetoric because you painfully went on for about a thousand paragraphs! (oops hyperbole!)

                      Pull my head in? Thaat’s rich.

                      What do I care if you’re the author? You going to ban me? Because you dont like my opinion? Sound’s like you’d do well in the Labour cabinet…

                      [RL: I am one of several long-standing moderators here. As the author of the post Bill is perfectly able to ban you if he wishes. Indeed if you had read the first post in the series Well Done Bill made it perfectly clear “Finally, anybody attempting  to run an AGW denialist argument on these posts will be banned. Them’s the rules. You don’t have to like them. You’ve been warned.” He did this to prevent the discussion from de-railed by the same old tired denialist lines that have been used to create doubt and inaction for a decade now.

                      As far as I’m concerned Bill has been remarkably tolerant with you.]

                    • Bill

                      No. I won’t ban you for having an opinion. But I will ban you if you continue to put words in my mouth. You use quote marks to indicate I’d said something very particular. ie, you lied.

                    • geoff

                      Ok. Merry Christmas.

              • lprent

                You have to look at the type of models being made and realize that they are probabilistic.. Typically you tend to build them for best through to worst case to examine the range and what factors are most significant. In this case you haven’t looked at the basis of how the IPCC models were put together and why they were put together.

                The climate models that are used were the most conservative that could have been used because they only used the “agreed” science where the ultimate sceptics (climate scientists) in the field were in general agreement on the downside.

                Where the measurements were unclear on things like the actual increases in flow rates of ice fields with increased water or the effects of removal of coastal sea-ice on glacier movements, then it wasn’t put into the models – the known rates of a cooler climate were used instead.

                Where there was something unknown at the time like the absorption rate of CO2 into cool deep ocean currents. Then the most conservative (in that case the highest) rate was used.

                So the model was hellishly conservative because it didn’t include very many feedback effects. The reason for that is obvious. Humans haven’t changed their climate before so the data wasn’t available as it’d never been observed. The geological record was used where available, but since natural processes run hundreds or thousands slower then human generated shifts, they are usually conservative estimates.

                Then they used as the change variables the input of greenhouse gases on a range from immediate reductions in fossil fuels to the usual exponential growth….

                The nett problem with the approach is that the results that the models came out with are the best possible results for humans based on the knowledge at the time. The reason why the models were put together was to assess risk to human populations, to identify something to measure reality against (bearing in mind human civilisations has never seen significant climate changes), and to identify the areas where the knowledge was weak. In other words to assess risk.

                Reality is proving to be somewhat less forgiving than the models. It looks like everything is running several times faster as the IPCC’s 2005 “worst case” model. The models physical modelling appears largely accurate. It just under-estimated feedbacks – which was expected bearing in mind how they were designed.

                The most obvious symptoms of that are the near loss of the Arctic sea-ice mass decades before predicted by the models, and the the extra snow falling on East Antarctica nearly a century before predicted. The latter is starting to scare the hell out of me – I wonder at the fools who don’t understand what that means.

                So the IPCC models have already “failed” in that they are too conservative in their feedback effects. Models always fail to accurately predict reality. What they are meant to do when used for this type of purpose is to identify what to look for.

                Evidentially you’re so hung up on the process of modelling that you’re forgetting to look at reality… 😈


                Incidentally I work with models and simulations of various types all of the time for what I work on. Your comparison between simple and complex models is ludicrous…

                …modelling the behaviour of even simple physical systems is rife with difficulties.

                The more complicated a model is, the more likely it is to reflect reality. It is the simple models that usually don’t reflect reality. Any person who spends a lot of time on simulations knows that the usual problem with simple models is that there is an absence of constraining factors that tend to make them positive feedback systems rather than negative with the usual results.

                The very first simulation I did back in 1981 was like that. I was modelling the water flows of a actual river based on the known data about it’s water catchment area. The catchment was always either acting like a sponge and soaking up the water or it was acting like a concrete surface with immediate run-off. Took a bloody long time to model the natural soaks.

                In the real universe there are very few unconstrained natural processes. The easy way to understand this is to realize how remarkable it that there is a universe at all. If there were any unconstrained processes running out there, then the universe as it is known wouldn’t exist. Think of unconstrained black holes or lack of galaxies if gravity was different for instance, or minor variations in things like the strength of weak nuclear binding forces.

                When you run a simulation of the known processes for any model and it gives you a runaway solution, then modellers then spend a lot of time looking for the constraint in reality…

                • karol

                  The more complicated a model is, the more likely it is to reflect reality. It is the simple models that usually don’t reflect reality.

                  And I think that is true of the relationship between society, politics and the media, too. And how all the factors interact need to be considered before planning solutions or news directions. Climate change is particularly central to a lot of considerations because, it includes not only the scientific knowledge and predictions, but the way the media, society and politicians respond to it.

                  The media try to fit it into their simplistic approach to impartiality. They do this by trying to represent the those who understand climate change and the sceptics, as two equal sides to the debate. Instead, an objective approach would be to follow the scientific evidence, not focus on the “2 sides”. The 2 (un)equal sides are usually divided into a simplistic political division between left and right wing.

                  • Descendant Of Sssmith

                    The rightwing model of societal improvement is the classic example:

                    Step 1. Get your shit together

                    Step 2. There is no alternative so if you don’t get your shit together we’ll make your life miserable by denigrating you, making you jump through hoops, taking money away, intruding in your lives, denigrating you again, taking services away or making you pay for them even though you can’t afford them, denigrating you and your family for good measure.

                    Step 3. Same as step 1.

                    Closed system with a circular loop. Small escape pod at top for those who are somehow resilient enough to do 1. Large vacuum cleaner at bottom to suck up those that lose jobs, become unwell, have accidents, get old.

                • geoff

                  Ok thanks for the response. Now these models, the IPCC ones, what is their output? Average global surface temp map time series? Or do they go into great detail regarding terraforming that the earth will undergo etc?

                  The more complicated a model is, the more likely it is to reflect reality.

                  Well, I think Einstein would disagree. A model should be as simple as possible but no simpler, that’s the adage right?

                  Your comparison between simple and complex models is ludicrous…

                  I was comparing simple and complex systems, not models. I was merely saying that the model for a simple system will be less complicated than for a complicated system. And, speaking from personal experience, even simple systems can be difficult to model let alone the climate of the entire earth. I don’t think there’s anything particularly ludicrous about that.

                  If there were any unconstrained processes running out there, then the universe as it is known wouldn’t exist.

                  What, like dark energy? I’m not sure what you mean by unconstrained processes? Are you talking about something that has no parameters or something that has parameters that can change? I don’t see how you could have a model without parameters but please enlighten if there are some.

                  As I have said above, I am not a ‘denier’, I just have trouble going from ‘yes we are experiencing climate change and we aren’t sure how bad it is going to be’ to ‘your children and grandchildren are going to die horribly because of climate change!!!’.
                  Am I being unreasonable?

                  • One Tāne Viper

                    Unreasonable? It depends what your reasoning looks like.

                    Hansen and Sato: Paleoclimate implications for human-made climate change (linked in my comment above):

                    “Rapid reduction of fossil fuel emissions is required for humanity to succeed in preserving a planet resembling the one on which civilization developed.”

                    “…paleoclimate data imply that 2°C global warming would be a disaster scenario for much of humanity and many other species on the planet.”

                    Tie that in with Anderson (as per Bill’s previous post on the subject):

                    “…we need about a 40% reduction in the next three years in our energy consumption.”

                    Doesn’t look too flash, no?

                    • geoff

                      Yeah I can tell you that I’m not being unreasonable, I was being rhetorical. If you think screeching ‘your children are going to die!’ is a good way to bring people around to your way of thinking then you are completely deluded.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “If you think screeching ‘your children are going to die!’ is a good way to bring people around to your way of thinking then you are completely deluded.”

                      If you think that strawman is a good characterisation of Bill’s post it isn’t me who’s delusional.

                      You were saying “I just have trouble going from ‘yes we are experiencing climate change and we aren’t sure how bad it is going to be’ to ‘your children and grandchildren are going to die horribly…”

                      And I explained how the “die horribly” scenario is supported by Climatology. Then you moved the goalposts and it’s all about effective messaging, and yeah, on that subject I know what you mean.

                    • geoff

                      Hey I’ve had a wee look into it, turns out the ‘We’re all gonna burn up in a clathrate gun hell!’ scenario is not a consensus view at all. So Bill’s hyperbole is just that, and you seem to be going along with it. Cherry picking worst case scenarios to suit your drama queen streak.

                      Hey I felt like a shit-fight after all!

                    • geoff

                      “If you think that strawman is a good characterisation of Bill’s post it isn’t me who’s delusional.”

                      It’s not a fucking strawman, he says…”If you and I were told that (variously) our sons and daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews were going to be killed tomorrow, …”

                      That’s just plain old scaremongering, sensationlism. No better than MSM Patty Gower shite.

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      “That’s just plain old scaremongering, sensationlism. ”

                      IPCC AR4 talks about the need to keep temperature increases below 2°C.

                      Now we seem locked in to 4°C, you might want to revisit why 2°C was considered to be a maximum “safe” threshold.

                      “the risks of net negative impacts on global food production occur at temperature increases upwards from 2-2.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels.”

                      That sort of thing.

                    • geoff

                      200th comment.

                  • lprent

                    Now these models, the IPCC ones, what is their output?

                    Google is your friend… It is all public information. You’re after the first IPCC book.

                    A model should be as simple as possible but no simpler, that’s the adage right?

                    Yes – but if you’re trying to model climate, then the simplest model should include all of the things that change climate, typically statistically. This isn’t physics dealing with deliberately isolated experiments. It is earth sciences where everything interacts with everything else. You are trying to model the real world rather than what you seem to be thinking about – modelling single or limited numbers in the way that physics or chemistry does it.

                    Let me put it this way. You put up a list of things in the inner solar system that should not be included in a climate model for a hundred years or more. I’ll tell you if you’re right or wrong – if I have time.

                    There are a number of relevant factors that aren’t in the models, but they have either been deliberately excluded for lack of knowledge or because the effects are unlikely to cause major differences over a hundred year period. Things like the flips in the magnetic poles or lunar precession for instance.

                    • geoff

                      I don’t really feel like you’ve responded to my comment but no worries I know you’re time is limited and I’m over this debate now.

                    • lprent []

                      Distracted today. Trying to get code finished before I disappear from work for the next two weeks. But it looks like I’ll be taking the target hardware with me because I still have two things left to finish.

                    • RedLogix

                      I just have trouble going from ‘yes we are experiencing climate change and we aren’t sure how bad it is going to be’

                      We will never be “sure” in the sense of being absolutely certain. When you demand absolute certainty you are requiring an impossible criterion. Like the guys at CERN cannot tell us with absolute certainty that they’ve found the Higgs boson, but there is a very good probability that they have. For all practical purposes this is good enough result given the context and nature of the experimental setup where they can run trillion of collisions to obtain vast amounts of data and demand 6-sigma or more levels of confidence.

                      In the context of climate change we are at the point where ‘for all practical purposes’ we now know that 4 degC mean temp increase is going to happen and that this will have very bad consequences for us humans. But as you say we have only one planet and we cannot afford an experiment that goes wrong. If it does there is no Plan B. Therefore it is perfectly reasonable to apply a much lower level of confidence to the result.

            • TheContrarian

              Yeah, you’re not an arrogant blow-hard in the slightest.

              • lprent

                I’m definitely arrogant. I do find this kind of strange that you think this is a problem. It is pretty hard to be a either a programmer at the levels I work at or to run a site like this without a high degree of arrogance.

                But it is a arrogance based on competence rather than bullshit (which incidentally seems to be your forte). I seldom bother to do or say something without a pretty good reason as I really don’t have your apparent levels of spare time.


          • fender Viper

            Says the guy stroking his when he can’t wait to announce his flying off to concerts, inability to shift champagne filled suitcase and superior knowledge of hotels.

            Fark off Contrarian creep

  13. scotty 13

    Wouldn’t it be more efficient , if you ,Fisani and the other 137 RWNJs fuck off and form gosworld,
    where you each have your own private road and electricity infrastructure.
    No collaborative socialist crap eh Gos
    Fucken lizard brained idiot.

    • Gosman 13.1

      Why would we want to do that when the systems in place in the wider world largely favour us? I don’t see too many people on the right calling for radical changes. I do see many on the left doing so. Interesting idea though. I believe someone once wrote a book about it…

      • scotty 13.1.1

        What are these “systems “in ‘your’ wider world you speak of gos?
        surely not shared collaborative systems .
        eew, you closet commie you

      • Dr Terry 13.1.2

        Gosman – I know you must always try to have the last word. But I suggest you look a bit harder and longer than forecasting what left and right might think or do. We are talking here about human kind. Can you ever get your mind of political categorisation?

  14. muzza 14

    The more present danger to people is what obviousness is being missed, and some of the events which are eating away at society are those I link to, among others.

    While people have been deliberately distracted, either not paying attention at all, and mindlessly consuming and thinking/speaking vacuous nonsense, or fed distractions about CC, which again keep them from the important factors taking away those same lives which Bill speaks to.

    The daily corruption of the individual/society is now so wide/deep and divisive that much of what is being taken from them, is referred to as conspiracey, so fooled/herded are people into the desired pen’s, that they no longer see why/how/what is happening to them.

    Stop focussing on the distractions, and take back control, stop being deceived by the systems which are taking all our lives/futures in various ways, stop waiting for those same systems to turn around, because they WONT EVER, they are not designed that way!

    Start seeing the danger that surrounds all of us, start seeing it, for what it is, and start accepting that much of what you thought was conspiracey, is in fact those systems working to take you further down the wrong path.

    The sooner people begin to look in the right direction which should be a mirror, then and only then will change be possible, and the big deceptions will become clear, as will the solutions, to them.

  15. JonL 15

    “I don’t see too many people on the right calling for radical changes”
    No – because the system at the moment suits them fine – and most of them are to thick, or focussed only on how much money they can cream of others in the next year, to give a shit. I’m all right mate so f**k you!
    Anyway – they won’t be around when the shit hits the fan and social structures that they make full use of to better themselves, aren’t important to maintain, once they’ve got what they want and Hey – communities – that’s what you use to bleed off all the money and power from whilst you kick it in the face while loudly screaming about individual rights (but never responsibilities)

  16. ad 16

    Just some mild provocations:

    – Global warming will be good for New Zealand’s agricultural economy. Climate may be less stable, agreed. But New Zealand will be in a climactic sweet spot, and this is exceptionally good for high value niche crops, and less so for those requiring really stable cool climates in bulk commodities such as forestry or carpet wools.

    – Global warming is also going to be good for South island tourism, with more snow dumps and faster melts.

    – Global warming will increase our global competitive advantage in fresh water availability. We just need a whole lot more water storage dams as in those proposed for Hawkes Bay.

    – Global warming will be harmful to coastal communities, particularly low lying parts of Auckland in storm surges. But Auckland is already being rebuilt to cope with all but the worst scenarios. And our coastal cities will fare far better than many in (say) Florida or Bay of Bengal.

    – There is absolutely nothing we can do that will make a difference, it’s all too far gone to worry about it, we should merely revert to coping mechanisms.

    I don’t have any links at all for these. Just mere observation.

    • aerobubble 16.1

      Last summer was great for growing milk, lots of rain. This one looks set to be dry. So milk output do vary depending on the climate so its a good thing that uncertainty will increase???

      • ad 16.1.1

        Personally I would hope that we take the slow path to weaning ourselves off millk as a bulk commodity upon which our economy relies. I know that will take generations, but it has to be done. If the climate in the upper North Island forces or assists that, good.

    • One Tāne Viper 16.2

      “…mere observation wishful thinking.” FIFY

      • ad 16.2.1

        Obviously. But look back on what our agricultural economy looked like 25 years ago. particularly in Otago, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Martinborough.

        Absolutely there is environmental damage with higher density of land use if all one makes is bulk commodities. But we really have transitioned. We need to accelerate that, and the right way.

  17. Napkins 17

    Tens of thousands of extra deaths and many billions in climate related damage was caused by the 2003 European heatwave.
    Pump it up another 5 degrees and additonal deaths would have leapt over one hundred thousand, and additional damage may have reached 100B dollars.
    As the point has already been made, this is not about taking a cool day and making it a bit warm, this is about already extreme scenarios becoming completely intolerable.

  18. clashmanviper 18

    The likely outcome is the end of our current civilisation. On balance, I say good fucken riddance.

    • AmaKiwi 18.1

      The solution is to reduce the human population by 80 or 90 percent, but none of us here are volunteering to die. Are you, Clashmanviper?

      • Robert Atack 18.1.1

        I had a vasectomy at 40 something, with no kids, that was after about 6 months of looking into the shit storm on the horizon.
        Copulate don’t populate
        The children I never had will make zero difference to our collective situation, but man it makes me feel fortunate.

  19. clashmanviper 19

    Are you suggesting that my suicide will drive 80-90% of the population to follow my lead due to the pain and anguish caused by my death?
    Whoops…reply to amakiwi 18.1

  20. the pigman 20

    Yup, we should all walk away from our jobs now and stop enriching the elite immediately.

    I wonder though, will you practice what you preach?

    Although I’m sure the realities of post-apocalyptic life and death are not going to be as thrilling as those introduced to us by books, computer games and films, I’m pretty sure most people would rather welcome them with some material resources (not talking about ¥¥ in the bank) and comfort (not talking about the A/C cranked to full, either) rather than compromised and already without dignity in a society which will continue to prey on, exploit and destroy those it feels are vulnerable.

    I’ll keep up the transcendental meditation though, just in case I get some hint of consensus 😉

  21. Permission to post this ………………..
    2012: What We Can Learn From Drought, Disaster, And Devastating Violence,
    By Carolyn Baker

    Snip –

    Here are some suggestions for how we can respond to the very challenging curriculum of the future:

    1) Understand that 2013 is going to harder than 2012. Whatever the planet experienced in 2012, we are likely to see more blatant severity in similar experiences in 2013. The psychotic break that we are witnessing throughout industrial civilization will only intensify, and we will be more directly and dauntingly challenged—physically, mentally, and emotionally as we attempt to navigate it.

    2) There’s nowhere else to go. Relocation may be an option and may work for some, but in terms of climate change, economic collapse, and peak oil, there really is no “safe” place on earth where the repercussions of these will not affect everyone. Consider adapting in place instead of relocating.

    3) You’re on your own in community. Both are true, and we need to fully grasp the implications of this. We cannot function exclusively alone and survive, nor can we be totally dependent on the community. When natural disasters ravage the landscape and possibly our homes and individual lives, no government program is going to save us or even alleviate much of our suffering at all. Whether it’s George W. Bush, Jr. and his empty promises for Katrina victims in New Orleans or Obama talking sweet nothings to Staten Island Hurricane Sandy survivors, help is not on the way. The only help you can receive or give will be constructed in advance through your connectedness with the community and through your own efforts.

    At some point the only food to which you will have access is the food you have stored, grown, or know how to grow. Perhaps even sooner than famine, we will all be confronted with untenable water shortages that will invariably end the lives of millions of human beings.

    4) Your ultimate mission in this life is to serve. Take care of yourself and your family? Yes. Prepare mightily? Yes. And if these are all that matter, you will be haunted by an empty meaninglessness that nothing can assuage except compassionate service that taps the treasure-trove of the many gifts you brought with you to this planet. The expression of your gifts does not need to be elaborate. In fact, one of the simplest and more heartful ways to serve is to take every opportunity, every day to create beauty.

    You may also want to consider taking these trainings:

    **Emergency Response Training which you can learn more about through a number of service providers in your community

    **Training in dealing with trauma—your own and the trauma of others. A number of resources can be found online.

    5) Develop a new relationship with the body and the emotions. Those who are attached to living in their heads and disregarding their physical well being are destined to perish. So also are those who refuse to work consciously and constructively with their emotional landscape. While there is nowhere to go on the external landscape, there is definitely somewhere to go on the internal one. Lovingly care for the body and soul, and begin living now as if the only healthcare that will ever be available to you is what you can provide for yourself through alternative treatment. Fundamental to your self-care are a diet of natural, whole, organic foods and daily exercise, preferably in nature.

    6) Become a student of how other people in other cultures have survived the unraveling of their societies or have lived through collective trauma. It is not only important to learn about how some survived but also to learn about how others did not.

    7) Become a student of your own demise. Contrary to popular opinion, the contemplation of one’s own death, if it is truly contemplative, does not automatically lead to depression. While I understand that my audience is not primarily Buddhist monks, I am aware that those folks are required to spend many hours a week contemplating death. Some report that rather than feeling depressed, they feel exhilarated and exceedingly grateful for their lives. Regardless of what happens in 2013, none of us gets out of here alive. Given the realities of climate change and peak oil, it is possible that our status is similar to that of the hospice patient, whether we aware of it or not. One half of preparing for the future is preparing to survive; the other half is preparing not to.

    8) Discern the difference between joy and happiness. Consumer culture has muddied the meaning of “the pursuit of happiness” and made happiness synonymous with having lots of stuff and a cushy lifestyle. Happiness, in fact, is transient—it comes and goes with circumstances. Joy, however, is a condition of the soul resulting from a sense of meaning and purpose, regardless of one’s circumstances. Many individuals suffering deep pain and loss still possess a sense of joy in their depths. Discover and create your radical joy for hard times.

  22. Colonial Weka 22

    Interesting that so little of this conversation addresses the points that Bill raised.

  23. Peter 23

    We can say all of this, but until every single one of us gives up our cars, most aspects of our lifestyle, our wonderful trips away to other parts of the world or nice parts of New Zealand, and probably most of our current forms of employment, we are literally pissing into a nor-west wind.

    We can run the planet on renewables, but we have to work out systems to run on 10-20% of the energy we use today. That isn’t easy, for most people, it’ll be gut-wrenching change, such that no one will vote for it, and if it’s imposed from above, you can expect a fairly rapid reaction stopping whatever programme is imposed.

    There is simply no other way to look at the numbers.

  24. Kevin Moore yelling into a vacuum.

    Kevin Moore speaking with Cathy Thurston, Manager Community Services, New Plymouth District Council, in November 2012, shortly after the council had used ratepayers money to promote destruction of the future via the squandering of rapidly depleting resources and the generation of an inordinate amount of pollution.


    Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CypMKK87pFw

    • Bill 24.1

      Kevin Moore needs to focus. There is absolutely no point in approaching people that he himself refers to as ‘box tickers’ and throwing a full smorgasbord of shit at them. There is no way they will engage or respond in that scenario.

      Bureaucrats are conservative ‘cogs’ in very conservative institutions. The same generally applies to politicians.

      If Kevin Moore approached the bus driver he mentions only in terms of everything being beyond their comprehension and narrowed his focus, then he might find some traction. Put aside the money system and the psychology of 1930’s Germany, peak oil and all the rest of it.

      A 4 degree future is what the science is pointing to. That’s easy to convey. And the consequences of 4 degrees aren’t something we can live with. That’s easy to convey. And talk to people, not at them.

      So stop with the short term dire predictions that will be used as a ‘get out’ by any audience should those predictions prove to be incorrect or even just sound implausible on first hearing. Let them, over time and depending on the sources they choose to explore, form their own (right or wrong) opinions. All Kevin has to do is get people to acknowledge and respond to the main point…four degrees = impossible future.

      And then, when and if the bus driver and the cleaner and the lawyer and the christian are all coming together in large enough numbers and pressuring bureaucrats or politicians on that very simple and focussed point…on the main point… then there will be positive responses.

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