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Is Syria the first failed state because of climate change?

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, September 2nd, 2015 - 170 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, International, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, national, same old national, Syria - Tags:

Earth climate change

I thought I would write another post about Syria in part because the banality of the flag debate is driving me insane. If the All Blacks win the world cup I expect National’s polling to surge again and the silver fern to be adopted.  But thinking about the world’s current problems this is the most trivial of issues.

I have read a bit more about Syria and it appears clear that we may be witnessing the first nation to fail because of climate change. This comic started me thinking about this blog post. And this New York Times article provided verification.  From the article:

Drawing one of the strongest links yet between global warming and human conflict, researchers said Monday that an extreme drought in Syria between 2006 and 2009 was most likely due to climate change, and that the drought was a factor in the violent uprising that began there in 2011.

The drought was the worst in the country in modern times, and in a study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists laid the blame for it on a century-long trend toward warmer and drier conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean, rather than on natural climate variability.

The researchers said this trend matched computer simulations of how the region responds to increases in greenhouse-gas emissions, and appeared to be due to two factors: a weakening of winds that bring moisture-laden air from the Mediterranean and hotter temperatures that cause more evaporation.

The link between the localised climate change and the disruption that Syria has experienced is described in this way:

Some social scientists, policy makers and others have previously suggested that the drought played a role in the Syrian unrest, and the researchers addressed this as well, saying the drought “had a catalytic effect.” They cited studies that showed that the extreme dryness, combined with other factors, including misguided agricultural and water-use policies of the Syrian government, caused crop failures that led to the migration of as many as 1.5 million people from rural to urban areas. This in turn added to social stresses that eventually resulted in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

What began as civil war has since escalated into a multifaceted conflict, with at least 200,000 deaths. The United Nations estimates that half of the country’s 22 million people have been affected, with more than six million having been internally displaced.

The researchers said that there were many factors that contributed to the chaos, including the influx of 1.5 million refugees from Iraq, and that it was impossible to quantify the effect of any one event like a drought.

Essentially Syria suffered a major drought from 2006 to 2009 and this event was consistent with localised climate change predictions.  1.5 million people dependent on farming became displaced and fled to the cities causing extreme pressure and tension which Syria’s fragile autocratic rule could not handle. Then when civil discord broke out the State started to destroy itself.

We may not be seeing a temporary aberration.  As water in local areas becomes more and more scarce it is likely this will become a more common event.  This may be the first mass migration of people from warmer to cooler areas.  But it is likely it will not be the last.

And our Government’s response?  John Key has ruled out increasing the paltry 750 places available for refugees during this time of crisis.  And his Government’s insistence that agricultural trade is more important than protecting our environment means that we will continue to be a major part of the global warming problem.

Syria’s refugees needs other countries to treat them humanely and the world’s environment urgently needs strong decisive action. It is appalling that this Government will do neither.

170 comments on “Is Syria the first failed state because of climate change?”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Never have I been happier at the vastness of the oceans that insulate us from the world’s problems.

    • they are our problems too

      • infused 1.1.1

        They’re not actually.

          • weka

            because of the vastness of the oceans (although I agree, they are our problems, but we are insulated from them more than most places).

            • marty mars

              the oceans will not/do not insulate us and it is an illusion that these or any other refugees are not our problem imo

              for some, anything and everything will be used to try and insulate themselves from the piteous cries of the abandoned.

              • weka

                come on marty, why does NZ not have an influx of refugees but other countries do? Geography IS an issue here, alongside with compassion and politics.

                • “Never have I been happier at the vastness of the oceans that insulate us from the world’s problems.”
                  “they are our problems too”
                  “They’re not actually.”
                  “why not?”
                  “because of the vastness of the oceans”

                  I think a point has been missed

                  are the world’s problems our problems?
                  because we are part of the world.

                  • weka

                    I acknowledged that in my comment. I was responding to the idea in the original comment about insulation.

                    • yes I am aware of that – that wasn’t the point I was making that you originally responded to but I’m pretty sure I am aware of where you are at with this topic. And I think it is fair to say that we don’t align 100% on this one.

                    • weka

                      fair enough 🙂

      • Sanctuary 1.1.2

        The other thing this disaster is a symbol of is what happens when cultures enshrine a lethal cocktail of misogyny and an irresponsible, religious driven failure to promote birth control to populations massively overrunning the capacity of their countries to support them. All those miserable Syrian families at the borders with scores of squalling children, families of six, seven eight kids.

        I look at how the Hungarians and Poles are reacting, at how the Greeks are reacting, and I ask myself, would we react any better to such a deluge of displaced people hammering at our border? National poll constantly on this stuff. I suspect that what they are hearing is when it comes to illegal migration we are a nation of secret Tories. Otherwise, Key would be taking more refugees.

        But our vast distances mean, unlike Hungary and Poland and Greece, we at least have the luxury of choice. And given that this is but a foretaste of what is going to happen as over population collides with climate change that has to be something to be very pleased about.

        • Colonial Viper

          The other thing this disaster is a symbol of is what happens when cultures enshrine a lethal cocktail of misogyny and an irresponsible, religious driven failure to promote birth control to populations massively overrunning the capacity of their countries to support them.

          Seriously, apart from the cultural imperialism around you deciding what family sizes other countries should or should not have (are you going to start backing calls for poor people in NZ to use birth control to stop them breeding babies they can’t afford to raise???), what the fuck are you on about. Have you not noticed that 60% of Syria has been destroyed by warfare or is under the control of foreign supported violent militant movements.

          That’s the most important context behind the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees looking to get out of dodge, ASAP.

        • marty mars

          “All those miserable Syrian families at the borders with scores of squalling children, families of six, seven eight kids.”

          fuck you noddy

          “I suspect that what they are hearing is when it comes to illegal migration we are a nation of secret Tories.”

          yep you are

          “But our vast distances mean, unlike Hungary and Poland and Greece, we at least have the luxury of choice.”

          Choice! What a joke – you are delusional in the extreme. The choice to kill them, watch them die or help them and by them I mean all refugees – Asian, Pacific Islanders, Middle Eastern, African, Kiwi, Aussies et fucken c.

          The vast distance won’t protect you in your smug world.

        • Morrissey

          You have no idea of what you are talking about.

        • miravox

          “All those miserable Syrian families at the borders with scores of squalling children, families of six, seven eight kids.”

          Funny, just the other day someone said there were practically no kids that he saw – 90% young men – economic migrants. Now we have hordes of squalling kids.

          Just so the facts aren’t getting in the way

          Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

          2.68 Syria (as a comparison 2.05 New Zealand).

          So not the six, seven eight kids you mention, unless it’s extended families. It would be interesting to know the demographics of the ones traveling compared with those stuck in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. My guess it’s smaller families or only a chosen one (due to cost) of larger families that are trying for Europe.

  2. RedLogix 2

    A reasonable argument mickey. And entirely coherent with Jared Diamond’s work as well:



    Still one of the top ten most personally influential books I’ve ever read. The key point is that this sort of societal collapse is rarely due to just one factor alone; and that while the war headlines are the most apparent symptom, the root causes run a lot deeper and more entangled.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Thanks RL. The resilience of the society is a big determinant IMHO and the resilience of Syria is poor because of the autocratic Assad rule. Other states could have weathered this sort of threat but Syria’s resilience appears to be poor.

      • AmaKiwi 2.1.1


        “The resilience of the society is a big determinant IMHO (agreed) and the resilience of Syria (New Zealand) is poor because of the autocratic Assad (Key) rule.”

        “misguided agricultural and water-use policies of the Syrian (Key) government, caused crop failures that led to the migration of as many as 1.5 million people from rural to urban areas.”

        Add “failure to diversify the NZ economy and building roads that are likely to be flooded by rising sea levels and more violent storms.”

        I GOT IT! Key is inspired by the Syrian school of economics.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.2

        and the resilience of Syria is poor because of the autocratic Assad rule. Other states could have weathered this sort of threat but Syria’s resilience appears to be poor.

        Is Saudi Arabia is less autocratic? How about Jordan? Qatar? Bahrain?

        One big difference of course with those countries is that the US and Israel hasn’t taken the same steps to actively isolate and destabilise those nations.

  3. Tory 3

    “If the All Blacks win the World Cup I expect Nationals polling to surge and the silver fern to be adopted”. I suggest you also roll out Dot Com again to guarantee another National election win.
    Regarding the war in Syria, they have been slaughtering each other for centuries (Ottomans were experts) and their religious tensions and dislikes for each other has nothing to do with us.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      The drought that exacerbated existing tensions has though, eh. You will no doubt be insisting that we accept our measure of personal responsibility for that.

      Any day now…

  4. Matthew Hooton 5


  5. Really, if Labour wants to improve its electoral appeal it needs to drop this climate change drivel.

    Can’t the Labour leaders read opinion surveys?

    The greater majority of voters do not buy into global warming and regard it as a fraud.

    They also see measure to combat it as costly and unhelpful to business.

    The longer you make it a primary issue, the longer you’ll stay in opposition.

    Mark Latham said this in Australia a week ago, and he’s right.

    Someone in Labour needs to show some initiative and get this millstone off your necks.

    • lol – the right speaketh

      • Redbaiter 6.1.1

        “The right”


        Don’t you know who Mark Latham is Marty?

        He said the same thing about many issues Labour have taken up in recent times and he’s right about them too.

        • dukeofurl

          Tony Abbott took your advice -“drop this drivel” and look where it got him ?

          Looks more and more like he will be pushed out by a rival who accepts climate change isnt drivel.

          • Redbaiter

            Julia’s lie about a carbon tax was what got her and Kevin kicked.

            Abbot has problems but climate change is not really an issue with the man in the street.

            Its an academic/ media propaganda mission and opinion polls show most voters know it is.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Opinion polls. Are we supposed to just take your delusional word for that or something?

        • mickysavage

          Latham is weird.

          • Redbaiter

            The idea that Labour/ Labor is bogged down in “progressive” issues at the expense of its traditional cause (and core voters) is not an uncommon thesis among the left today.

            • mickysavage

              What can be more important than survival of the human race? A flag referendum? So we should ignore climate change because it is bad politics?

            • dukeofurl

              Labour in Australia , and here, has involved itself in ‘worker issues’ that are sometimes outside the experience of most voters, doesnt seem to have hurt them much.

              I fact you seem to be all praise for the narrow poll and focus group issues that Key does very well, but then you rubbish him anyway as not meeting your tiny small government factions core beliefs.

        • marty mars

          “and he’s right about them too.”


    • Sabine 6.2

      I don’t see the obsession of the right in regards to what the Left does or not does, Dear Leader, most comfortable of course, will say exactly what those on the right want to hear, anytime all the time. Why do you actually listen to Labour? Really, whats wrong with you? You should be listening to dear Leader.

      • Redbaiter 6.2.1

        Sabine, just to put you right here, I do not regard John Key and the National Party as any kind of right wing force.

        Neither do most NZers and trying to paint John Key as to the right of Vlad the Impaler will do you no good in the end. Its an idea that will just not float with the public.

        John Key was passed the socialist baton by Helen Clark and he has run on with it. except we are now in more debt, paying more taxes, and the govt is spending more money.

        I am a small govt right winger, and I don’t like JK because he is a hopeless socialist. Worse, I see him as all spin and no substance.

        I am not blind to the fact that many NZers embrace socialism. Given the narrow political spectrum that exists here their choices are ridiculously limited.

        To your advantage, most NZers don’t know of that limitation. They do know though that JK is a socialist like Helen Clark.

        So socialist political ideas might fly, but you’re still never going to get the majority of NZers to agree with your claim that JK is far right.

        • You_Fool

          Jk is a populist, like Helen Clark. Helen Clark was a socialist by default who implemented policies against her desires to ride public opinion when required. John Key is not a socialist who implements socialist policies when required to keep on the good side of public opinion.

          If you listen to either you realise where their true desires lie, but both were populist enough to do what was needed to ensure they kept power.

          On climate change: sticking your head in the sand is not a viable strategy; climate change is happening and we (humanity as a whole) need to deal with that. Also I doubt your claim very much that the majority of ordinary people regard it as a fraud; do you have links to such opinion polls? Even if that is the case then the answer is more education on the subject and bringing it to the public attention more often, not less.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      The greater majority of voters do not buy into global warming and regard it as a fraud.

      Actually, that’s only the fringe RWNJs like yourself. The majority of people want us to act far more aggressively than we are about it.

      A summary of the consultation responses said there was a strong call for an ambitious target and leadership from the government with the most common target suggested by stakeholders being 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 or a target of zero carbon by 2050.

      They also see measure to combat it as costly and unhelpful to business.

      Again, that’s just the RWNJs trying to protect their dying business models that have brought about such monumental failure.

      • Redbaiter 6.3.1

        OK, keep sticking your head in the sand, but most western countries when polled show similar results to this-


        Don’t think JK doesn’t thank you.

        • You_Fool

          That just shows that us humans are stupid and worry too much about the short term / what is currently impacting us. I notice that the trend line appears to climb after a major weather event in the states, so that shows that the respondents are worry about stuff that is in front of them.

          None of this makes climate change any less important or dire. JK ignoring it due to “opinion polls” shows that he has no care for anything past the end of his own nose.

        • weka

          1. You need to show the NZ figures, seeing as how you were talking about what Labour should do.

          2. that research is about the US. Of course it’s not going to reflect NZ. But even in the US 49% of the people surveyed worry about climate change.

          3. there is a difference between asking someone to rank what they are most worried about, and asking them if they believe in AGW. You stated that most voters regard CC as a fraud. Put up some evidence or you are a liar.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Thank you for proving, beyond doubt, that you’re a stupid RWNJ.

          See, you said: majority of voters do not buy into global warming to which I responded with link showing that the majority of NZers actually wanted us to do more about it than what National or you want us to do. You then responded with a Gallop poll from the US (which doesn’t apply to NZ) that showed that climate change isn’t their top worry which is not indicative of belief of climate change being a fraud or not.

          I mean, just believing the way you do proves that you’re an idiot but you just proved, big time that you’re an absolute fucken moron who can’t follow basic logic.

          • weka

            +very many ones. Not sure which is worse, the troling or the stupid. But yeah, I think RB’s set a bench mark on their reputation here.

    • weka 6.4

      “The greater majority of voters do not buy into global warming and regard it as a fraud.”

      Citation needed. Seriously, because to me what you’ve just said appears to be key to your whole comment but is actually an outright lie. Put up some evidence or expect to be called a liar from now on.

      • Redbaiter 6.4.1

        Don’t you think your eagerness to label people as liars says more about your own morality?

        How about you use some logic?

        The theme pushed by the left is that Climate Change threatens our very existence. If people believed that don’t you think it would be at the very top of their list of concerns?

        • weka

          No, and there are pretty good political analyses for why it’s not at the top of the list. But I see you have failed to provide any evidence for your assertion that most people think CC is a fraud, so liar you are then. I don’t think that says anything about my morality, but rather it says something positive about my debate skills and logic. If you can support your statement with evidence, I’ll be happy to change my stance.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Don’t you think your eagerness to label people as liars says more about your own morality?

          Nope. Liars need to be called out. Fuck this being nice BS.

          And I note that you still can’t produce any links to back up what you’re saying.

    • AmaKiwi 6.5

      Bill Clinton has been crusading very successful on the economic BENEFITS of making changes that deal with climate change.

      The prospect of change might be frightening, but the changes are often very beneficial.

      Maybe Labour leaders need a platform of “here are the economic and employment benefits of dealing with climate change.”

      Hopefully they are already doing it in secret, waiting for the 2017 election campaign.

    • save NZ 6.6

      Yes I totally agree with your Rebater, as a closet Act voting troll myself, I find any environmental regulation abhorrent and think that all the ocean and landmasses should be drilled a reasonable distance from my house and tax payers should pay for all the clean up and give me corporate welfare too.

      Get rid of the RMA – can’t you see that the 99% of resource consents which are granted are too little – we want the harbour, all forests exported, Fonterra privatised and in foreign hands, and 25m2 studios for the working poor and large gated houses for affluent people, it is crazy how easy it is to just throw out planning guidelines and encroach your neighbours. It’s a great way to make more profit in the Auckland property market. Of course that is to create affordable houses! Wink, wink, nod, nod.

      I was so pleased to see zero effort was made to be sustainable under any planning rules for the new .2 HA giant shopping mall out Westgate way, in one of my Hero’s John Key’s electorate. The beauty is that the council chipped in corporate welfare to build it and now the ratepayers can help pay for the infrastructure bill too – all that wastewater going somewhere, not sure – don’t care – someone else problem and expense. How cares about the F-ing climate! Even better closet Len is considered a lefty, overseeing all this S*&t – voters have few places to turn too. You couldn’t make this stuff up, ok we can manufacture and use dirt against people but what can they do about it.

      Lets face it, it’s global.

      Likewise in our higher power the USA, my lobbyists got Obama to do the neoliberal ‘third way’ approach of granting Shell final approval to drill for oil in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea while visiting Alaska today to put a spotlight on the realities of climate change and to forge his climate legacy.

      Works a treat. Just get the competition to start doing conflicting crazy approaches to policy (placating business, pretending to care about things voters care about like the environment) and then our right wing antics suddenly don’t look as bad and we are out of the spotlight!

      I too am a climate denier, but just in case I’m pleased the government have put tax payers money into an irrigation scheme to protect our friends and even had to wrestle it off those stupid democratic bodies – but the government do it so often now – even I am amazed how good they have got at it!

      Also getting rid of that Pesky lefty John Campbell, after that story about the business getting bottling rights to send our water to China for a mere $2000 council fee, while the farmer next door was losing his livelihood due to the drought – well what can I say, just come to our Nat party conference, know the right people and the doors will be greased for you.

      Some people might call it corruption but hello, I call it smart business in a global economy.

    • Paul 6.7

      Time waster.

  6. infused 7

    What Hooton said.

  7. photonz 8

    Mickey asks”Is Syria the first failed state because of climate change?”

    Obviously not.

    States around the Sahara have been under states of decay or failure for thousands of years because the climate has been changing.

    Think Timbiktu in Mali, Meroë in Sudan, Kingdom of Kush etc.

    The Mayan civilisation was destroyed by drought in 800-1000AD

    Other examples are Ethiopia in the1980s. Arabia in 629AD, Great European Famine of 1315–17, Anasazi Indians in whats now USA in 1275,

    And here’s several hundred more examples over the last couple of thousand years

    China alone has had nearly 2000 famines in the last 2000 years.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      You’re right. MS should have said anthropogenic climate change.

      • photonz 8.1.1

        For thousands of years we’ve had thousands of droughts that weren’t caused by man made climate change.

        Are we to believe they have suddenly all stopped?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          “Belief” doesn’t come into it, unless you’re too lazy or cognitively challenged to follow the science.

          • photonz

            So Syria had a war caused by many problems, just one of which might have been a drought a few years before the war, which may or may not have been partly caused by climate change.

            yeah – that’s a really strong case.

            Still odd that for thousands of years that planet has had thousands of droughts from natural causes, and now all the natural ones have completely stopped, and today every single drought is now caused by climate change.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Is that what you think people are saying? Is your utter incomprehension a result of laziness or a cognitive deficit?

              • photonz

                Every time there is a drought anywhere, it will it now blamed on climate change.

                I don’t THINK people are saying that. They ARE saying it.

                [Read the articles. This is not a case where there is a drought and man made climate change is being automatically blamed. The scientists are saying that the area is warming and that this matches predicted change caused by man made climate change – MS]

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  So what part of the fact that climate affects weather patterns are you confused about?

                • You_Fool

                  While I may be playing into your trap… I guess you haven’t noticed the difference in time spans? Hundreds of droughts over thousands of years vs hundreds of droughts over a hundred years; nor the fact that the more recent are the worst in recorded history.

                  But yeah, the fact that the climate has changed drastically since humans started pumping shit into the environment has nothing to do such an acceleration

                  • photonz

                    Wrong – there’s been far worse droughts historically.

                    Wrong – it’s not hundreds of droughts. China alone has had 2000 major droughts in 2000 years.

                    There’s no doubt humans are having an effect on the climate, but today every drought is blamed on climate change.

                    And the natural droughts that have happened for thousands of years are apparently never ever the reason for a drought today.

                    Many in the pro-climate change lobby cherry pick the data to back up their preconceived ideas of the most extreme change, and are equally delusional, if not more so, than those in the denier camp.

                    • maui

                      Got a reference for the 2000 in 2000 years theory?

                      Drought is a natural phenom, but we now know we’re having the worst droughts in recorded history and that is linked to human climate change. So it’s fairly obvious to link the droughts we’re having to climate change I would have thought.

                    • photonz

                      Maui says “we’re now having the worst droughts in recorded history..?


                      So the droughts that have killed millions and millions over the the last couple of millennia we’re as bad as what we’re having now?

                      “Between 108 BC and 1911 AD there were no fewer than 1,828 major famines in China, or one nearly every year in one or another province; however, the famines varied greatly in severity.[1][2] There were 95 famines in Britain during the Middle Ages.[3][4]”


                      Maui says “So it’s fairly obvious to link the droughts we’re having to climate change I would have thought.”

                      So why today are we getting droughts caused by climate change, but not any more naturally occuring ones like have happened for thousands of years

                    • weka

                      Photonz, you seem to be confusing famine with climate. Famines are caused by various factors, including drought but not limited to that. Drought is also caused by various factors (climate, land use etc). But really you just want to argue CC denial.

                      People, please stop arguing with CC deniers. Just call it bullshit. Arguing with them is just sucking vital energy from taking urgent action. We’re in the time of post-denial now.

                    • photonz

                      weka – how do you correlate my quote “There’s no doubt humans are having an effect on the climate” with being a climate change denier?

                      Or you just throw labels, however incorrect they are, at people you disagree with.

                    • maui

                      Just looked at your reference to the 2000 famines that you say are caused by DROUGHT. The author puts the reason for famines under four headings

                      economic, natural, social, political

                      Defining natural causes,

                      Natural causes are due to deforestation, irregular rainfall, flooding of rivers, locusts, earthquakes and typhoons

                      No mention of droughts anywhere there as a significant cause. I think you should realise now that you have no argument, goodbye.

                    • weka

                      weka – how do you correlate my quote “There’s no doubt humans are having an effect on the climate” with being a climate change denier?

                      Or you just throw labels, however incorrect they are, at people you disagree with.

                      The denier mentality comes in many shades now. You’ve been quacking like a duck all the way through. If you weren’t a denier you’d have said so.

                    • weka

                      “There’s no doubt humans are having an effect on the climate, but today every drought is blamed on climate change.”

                      Just to clarify, climate change affects all weather. It’s here now. There is no weather that’s not happening in the context of AGW. So the whole thing about “is this specific weather event/local phenomenon caused by CC?” is a red herring and a logical and real world cul de sac. It’s also a waste of time. CC is here, it’s real, and we need to be acting on it. Now.

                    • photonz

                      weka says ” If you weren’t a denier you’d have said so.”

                      What a stupid thing to say. Everybody who is not a denier, now has to state they’re not, otherwise they are. Pathetic.

                      Clearly you got your pigeonholing wrong.

                    • Poission

                      Just to clarify, climate change affects all weather.

                      Conversely weather effects climate (the aggregation of weather statistics) eg Marvin 1919.

                      “each striking feature on a long record is, therefore, no evidence of the persistent recurrence of peculiar irregularities, but is simply the residual scar or imprint of some unusual event, or a few which have been fortuitously combined at about the time in question.”

                      Marvin, C. F., 1919: Normal temperatures (daily): Are
                      irregularities in the annual march of temperature

                    • Pat

                      if it is accepted that climate effect is anthropogenic then it is reasonable to accept that any weather event is a result of that effect…for the simple reason the weather patterns would be different without the noted effect…how difficult is that to comprehend??

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Or perhaps it’s dishonesty. I’m being charitable though.

              • photonz

                Your need to constantly abuse tells us a huge amount about what sort of person you are, and shows us you have a lack of confidence to debate intelligently.

                Even your abuse is repetitive – same sort of labels, every time.

                I don’t see how you haven’t bored yourself to tears writing the same thing sort of abuse, over and over, as you were writing six and 12 months ago.

                Do you not have a life?

                If you want a debate, let me know.

                If you just want to abuse, I’ll leave you in your hole.

                • The lost sheep

                  Hey Photonz.
                  Anyone whose been here for a while knows that when OAB meets a strong point that challenges his stated position, he always uses obfuscation as a means of retreat.
                  Then he will keep obfuscating until you give up and he therefore gets the last ‘word’.
                  I used to think he was just taking the piss, but I now think he honestly believes that this tactic actually fools people into thinking he has dealt with all the inconvenient points with intellectual integrity and ‘won’ the argument.

                  Bizarre eh? But best just to pull out when he obviously has turned his back on a genuine engagement with the debate?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Anyone whose been here for a while knows that when OAB meets a strong point that challenges his stated position, he always uses obfuscation as a means of retreat.

                    No, he just insults the idiots, like photonz and you, who don’t actually have a point but believe that they do despite the facts proving that they don’t.

                    • photonz

                      The current point being argued was today someone always blames drought on climate change.

                      You now say the facts prove the opposite.

                      Which is totally idiotic.

                      It just shows you’ll make up any ludicrous nonsense, as long as it opposes the people you think are your opposition.

                    • The lost sheep

                      True that he attacks weak points.
                      But It is his avoidance of strong points that don’t suit his position that i am pointing out.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The current point being argued was today someone always blames drought on climate change.

                      No it wasn’t. The question was if Syria was the first state to fail due to anthropogenic climate change. You talked bullshit about it in which you tried to say that the physical evidence was wrong and then assumed you’d won the argument.

                      Now that is being idiotic.

                      But It is his avoidance of strong points that don’t suit his position that i am pointing out.

                      Photonz didn’t actually have a point as they were bullshitting.

                  • photonz

                    I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s probably what happens when you hide away wasting your life whinging on a computer.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Says someone who’s been whinging on a computer while having not the first clue about what I was up to in the meantime.

                • maui

                  You are being dishonest though, you’ve picked a whole swag of civilisational collpases and blamed them all singly on drought. Most if not all have a combination of factors for their collapse, even the scientists don’t know exactly what happened so I’m not sure how you do. Your Great European Famine example appears to have been caused by too much rain, not not enough rain! It’s clear what barrow you’re pushing here.

                  • photonz

                    maui says “You are being dishonest though, you’ve picked a whole swag of civilisational collpases and blamed them all singly on drought. ”

                    You mean like the reason above given for Syria’s current situation?

                    • maui

                      The author makes a valid argument, you however chose to rewrite history and can’t tell the difference between famine and drought. As of right now I can only really trust about 50% of the words you’re saying really, most of them are the joining words.

                    • photonz

                      You’ve just said how ridiculous it is to blame the the collapse of a civilisation just on one thing like drought – then you back-peddal furiously to say that the author above makes a good point.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Is it being blamed on one thing? The only person who has made such a statement is you.

                      Or perhaps you are simply ignorant of the meaning of “catalytic”.

                • weka

                  If you want a debate, let me know.

                  If you just want to abuse, I’ll leave you in your hole.

                  Yes, please do. Just go away. There is no debate on whether CC is real or not. The only sensible response to deniers is ridicule, abuse or ostracisation.

                  • The lost sheep

                    It’s Dogma then Weka?

                    • weka

                      The internet is a big place. If you want to argue about whether climate change is real, do it somewhere else (or at least take it to Open Mike). This thread isn’t about whether CC is real or not.

                    • The lost sheep

                      “This thread isn’t about whether CC is real or not.”

                      The thread is about whether or not climate change has ’caused the failure of the Syrian state’, and that is the point Photonz is debating. He has explicitly stated there is no doubt humans are having an effect on climate.

                      It is your intolerance of dissenting views that I was pointing out. You are coming across as a classic dogmatic bigot.
                      There shall be no debate because this is incontrovertibly true, and anyone who dares to question this deserves to be silenced, ridiculed and abused?
                      It sounds to me like you are well on the road to burning heretics at the stake.

                    • photonz

                      As I said previously, there are people who are so “into” climate change, that they take every price of evidence to make it seem as extreme as possible, and ignore everything else.

                      Which is pretty much identical the way deniers come to their opinions at the the other extreme of the spectrum.

                      They’ve lost touch with objectivity, and reality.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “every drought is blamed on climate change”

                      [citation needed]

                      In fact, “all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.”

                      If you want you can pay attention to the science, or not. Your call.

                    • weka

                      The thread is about whether or not climate change has ’caused the failure of the Syrian state’,

                      Actually, it’s not. It’s about whether CC was a significant contributing factor, and why we should be taking notice of that.

                      and that is the point Photonz is debating.

                      No, they’re not. They’re trying to undermine the basic premise (that CC is here now, having impacts here now, and that includes creating mass social upheaval via drought in unstable places) and they’re doing it via inaccuracies that have been pointed out repeatedly (eg that famine has mutiple causes and isn’t an inherent indication of drought). Maybe photonz does really take CC seriously and is just stupid. But I don’t think so.

                      He has explicitly stated there is no doubt humans are having an effect on climate.

                      Much of climate change denial has moved on from “it’s not real”, to “it’s real but not going to affect us that badly” and “it’s real but there is nothing we can do” and “it’s real but it’s not happening in this particular instance”. All of those are forms of denial. Am happy to debate that dynamic with you, in Open Mike. Am not willing to pretend that what is happening here is in this thread is honest and valid debate.

                      It is your intolerance of dissenting views that I was pointing out. You are coming across as a classic dogmatic bigot.
                      There shall be no debate because this is incontrovertibly true, and anyone who dares to question this deserves to be silenced, ridiculed and abused?

                      photonz has been ridiculed for the mistakes and inaccuracies they put up. I came along much later in the piece and pointed out that the whole debate is a waste of precious time because we need to focus on responses that CC that aren’t a distraction. Ok, so let me coin a new term. Maybe photonz isn’t a CC denier, they’re a CC distractor.

                      This isn’t dogma from me, it’s intolerance. It’s consistent with my belief that the situation with CC is serious beyond what we understand. And urgent. By all means see if you can convince me otherwise, but it’s going to take more low level arguments that can’t tell the difference between famine and drought.

                      It sounds to me like you are well on the road to burning heretics at the stake.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Actually, it’s not. It’s about whether CC was a significant contributing factor, and why we should be taking notice of that.

                      The Headline is ..
                      “Is Syria the first failed state because of climate change?”
                      and Mickey introduces his argument with…
                      “it appears clear that we may be witnessing the first nation to fail because of climate change.”

                      So forgive us for not understanding that he actually meant ‘contributing factor’.

                    • weka

                      well I can certainly see that if that’s all you read, and out of context, that you would be left with that impression.

                    • The lost sheep

                      And the front page precis…

                      “A climate change induced drought from 2006 to 2009 appears to have sparked the instability that has caused the Syrian Civil war. The mass exodus of citizens that we are witnessing may be the first of many climate change induced events.”

                      So while the source material quoted clearly discusses cc as a contributing factor, the article here at TS very explicitly draws a concrete linkage to causation.

                      So how is it taking it ‘out of context’ to challenge the linkage the article itself has actually made?…..

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person may, 2nd may or (Archaic) mayest or mayst, 3rd may; present plural may; past might.
                      (used to express possibility):
                      It may rain.
                      (used to express opportunity or permission):
                      You may enter.
                      (used to express contingency, especially in clauses indicating condition, concession, purpose, result, etc.):
                      I may be wrong but I think you would be wise to go. Times may change but human nature stays the same.
                      (used to express wish or prayer):
                      May you live to an old age.
                      Archaic. (used to express ability or power.)

                    • weka

                      you’re quibbling over semantics, meanwhile Rome burns. Of course, if you believe that Rome isn’t burning, that it’s just a few scrub fires on the periphery, then you will try and stop the people who are running round attempting to put the fires out, because they’re making you uncomfortable and they’re threatening your tenuous hold on your lifestyle.

                      btw, here’s a couple of clues,

                      I have read a bit more about Syria and it appears clear that we may be witnessing the first nation to fail because of climate change.

                      Look at the words appears and may in that sentence [edit, snap OAB]. Look at the question mark in the title. Micky is clearly inviting discussion about this, but photonz refutes it completely with their opening comment. Not only that, but the argument they make is (a) classic denier material and (b) stupid and incorrect. What ensues isn’t a discussion about in what ways CC contributed to the Syrian situation and why this is so important, but a debate between a couple of deniers (people who say there is no contribution, because) and everyone else who already thinks that this is highly likely.

                      If someone wants to argue that the Syrian situation was not largely influenced by CC, that’s fine, but they need to do it with some level of intelligence and not descend in troling at the first opportunity. This is high level debate culture, up your game or expect to get hammered.

                      photonz is part of the problem. You probably are too. You are right, I don’t care what you believe at this point. If you want to undulge your fantasy about CC, take it somewhere else. These threads should be about the seriousness of the situation and what we can do. Everything else is denial and we simply don’t have the time

                      Now, I’ve explained enough. You’re not stupid, and I’m not going to keep on with arguing over semantics when the world is burning. If you want to argue that CC isn’t that serious, go somewhere else. If you want to argue about the ways in which CC affected Syria, have at it, but it better be a bloody good argument after all the bullshit that’s gone on here today.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Thank you OAB.
                      And now maybe you can give us the meaning of the word ’caused’?

                      That might help us to clarify whether these 2 statements are synonymous, or whether they convey different meanings….
                      “may be witnessing the first nation to fail because of climate change”
                      “may be witnessing the first nation to fail with climate change as a contributing factor

                      Because if they are synonymous, then statements like these 2 must be also…
                      “Labour lost the election because of a public perception of weak leadership.”
                      ” A public perception of weak leadership was a contributing factor to Labours election loss”

                      No fine points of meaning to discuss there then?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


          • AmaKiwi

            What was said of Bush can be said of Key:

            “What does President Bush think?”

            “Oh, President Bush doesn’t think. He believes.”

        • Paul

          Climate denier.
          Time waster.
          Go away.

  8. johnm 9

    ” Climate Change Helped Spark Syrian War, Study Says ”

    A severe drought, worsened by a warming climate, drove Syrian farmers to abandon their crops and flock to cities, helping trigger a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, according to a new study published Monday.

    The authors acknowledge that many factors led to Syria’s uprising, including corrupt leadership, inequality, massive population growth, and the government’s inability to curb human suffering.

    But their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compiled statistics showing that water shortages in the Fertile Crescent in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey killed livestock, drove up food prices, sickened children, and forced 1.5 million rural residents to the outskirts of Syria’s jam-packed cities—just as that country was exploding with immigrants from the Iraq war. (Related: “Half of Syrians Displaced: 5 Takeaways From New UN Report.”)

    After examining meteorological data, the researchers determined that natural variability alone was unlikely to account for the trends in wind, rain, and heat that led to the massive drought. All these factors, combined with high unemployment and bad government, helped tip Syria into violence. ”


    • dukeofurl 9.1

      Thats not the original research which I have linked to.

      The authors admit their links between civil war and drought are very weak, but of course once they are in the general media that gets conflated as ‘proof’

  9. dukeofurl 10

    But back to the connection between the drought and the civil war:

    It seems that it mostly speculation as the NYTimes gives this disclaimer from the authors of the research.

    “The researchers said that there were many factors that contributed to the chaos, including the influx of 1.5million refugees from Iraq, and that it was impossible to quantify the effect of any one event like a drought.

    “Whether it was a primary or substantial factor is impossible to know,”

    Having read the full research article, which is mostly standard climate change analysis.

    Their only direct evidence of the drought and the civil war is ‘one farmers opinion’

    Iis the Arab Spring uprisings , which spread throughout ME a more likely spark point.

    A decades long brutal dictatorship along with deep sectarian divides which shut out the majority group from influence. You could say attempts at neoliberal policies were partly to blame

    “Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father in 2000, shifted to liberalizing the economy by cutting the fuel and food subsidies on which many Syrians had
    become dependent. These cuts continued despite the drought, further destabilizing the lives of those affected”

    “An abundance of history books on the subject tell us that civil unrest can never be said to have a simple or unique cause. The Syrian conflict, now civil war, is no exception.”

    Failed state because of climate change. ? Seems to be a lot of wishful thinking, that even the authors here struggle to accept.

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Destruction of a society is often a complex thing with a variety of contributing factors. I am suggesting that anthropological climate change and the displacement of 1.2 million farmers is likely to be a significant factor.

      And stand by as temperatures continue to rise. More resilient states are also going to fail.

  10. Steve Wrathall 11

    So, in summary, drought causes conflict, except when it doesn’t.

  11. Clean_power 12

    Alarmism and speculation without end: whatever can be attributed to climate change will be attributed to climate change, the new religion with many priests.

  12. Observer (Tokoroa) 13

    To: PhotoNZ

    You are probably too young to know that by the late 1940s….London was being choked by a things called smog.

    Smog is composed of heavy particles in the atmosphere produced by burning coal and fossil fuels. It produces savage respiratory collapse. It also made London look worse than the black hole of Calcutta.

    The same particles produce problems in drinking water.

    So do you know what London did Photo NZ?

    Do you know the process by which it changed London life dramatically?

    Fortunately for London you were not there to veto their wish to clean up the atmosphere.


    Ps: you you will be horrified to know that The Great California followed London’s lead successfully too.

    • photonz 13.1

      Wow. London was polluted. And it cleaned up it’s act.

      Who would have known.

      And why on earth do you think I would have vetoed their wish to clean up the atmosphere?

      This is a bizzare group of people. Even when you state clearly that climate change is real, you still get labelled a denier unless you agree with the most extreme predictions.

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        Feel free to go away.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1.2

        Which are the “extreme predictions”? Are you making shit up again?

      • weka 13.1.3

        “Even when you state clearly that climate change is real, you still get labelled a denier unless you agree with the most extreme predictions”

        Not only a denier/CC distractor, but a trole as well. Why don’t you just fuck off? You’ve made your points and can’t defend them, so what are you even doing here if it’s not to distrupt the thread or push a CC minimisation agenda?

        • photonz

          God you’re stupid weka.

          Repeatedly I’ve said climate change is real, and repeatedly you say I’m denying climate change.

          It’s like debating with a an imbecile.

          [Chill out and lay off with the abuse – MS]

          • Colonial Viper

            Surely it takes one to know one, and you persist in it regardless.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Weka’s comment at 3:16pm (above) may help you understand their reaction to your “contributions” here today. Perhaps.

            • photonz

              It’s laughable.

              Weka says that even people who agree that climate change is real, are still deniers.

              It’s a great example of how cult-like some people’s thinking has become.

              It makes the Gloriavale cult look sane by comparison.

              • weka

                classic troling. Fuck off.

                • photonz

                  You’re the one that made the bizarre comment that even people who agree with climate change are still deniers.

                  Did you really expect to say something so idiotic and not be pulled up on it?

                  And you again your reaction to anyone who doesn’t agree with you is cult-like.

                  I see extremists at your end of the spectrum just as delusional as those at the other end in denial.

                  You’re both the same. Take the most extreme information you can to back up your opinion, and disregard anything else.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    For the second time, what “extreme information” are you citing?

                    Weka’s point stands, because you’ve been telling lies, mate. Your lies about the OP, for example. Have you used a dictionary to look up “catalytic” yet?

                  • weka

                    @photonz, either respond to my explanation or fuck off trole.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                So you’ve changed your mind, and are no longer inventing lies about what other people have said? Are you now prepared to accept the meaning of quotation marks too? Have you managed to work out what links are?

          • weka

            Much of climate change denial has moved on from “it’s not real”, to “it’s real but not going to affect us that badly” and “it’s real but there is nothing we can do” and “it’s real but it’s not happening in this particular instance”. All of those are forms of denial.

            Thanks though, because now I’ve coined a new term. You are a CC distractor, whose mission is to derail attempts to discuss the seriousness and immediacy of CC. The arguments are pushed off into cul de sacs about whether x event is climate change, or it’s not really that bad. But the debate has all the hallmarks of the old denier debates.

            • Colonial Viper

              Yep. Purpose of this arsehole is to derail and distract the rest of us from having a serious discussion.

            • photonz

              Weka – it’s laughable that you talk about climate debate – you’re not even interested in debate – only people who parrot exactly the same view as you.

              That’s not debate – it’s cheerleading.

              A large part of the world are not interested in climate change. Like conservation, those are things you worry about when you have a safe secure lifestyle, and are not worrying about where the next meal will come from.

              The absolute worst, most disastrous thing we could do, it put all our resources into fighting climate change, but having little effect.

              We need to decide how much resource we put into fighting climate change (if any) and how much we put into adaptation.

              Because every dollar we put into fighting change (which may happen anyway) is a dollar we can’t use to adapt.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                And there it is.

                Weka’s assessment of your behaviour completely vindicated.

                • photonz

                  And there it is.

                  Your umpteenth post in a row totally devoid of intelligent comment about the subject at hand.

                  As the climate scientists have said, even if we stopped all carbon emmisssions at 10pm tonight, we’re still up for 50 years of climate change.

                  So it’s blatantly obvious we’re NOT going to stop it.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke


                    Since when did Tory scum start pretending to be part of the solution?

                  • weka

                    “So it’s blatantly obvious we’re NOT going to stop it.”

                    Of course. The only thing we have control over now is how bad it’s going to get. The debate on ts has acknowledge that for years.

                    People like you want us to gamble one way, people like me want us to gamble the other.

                    I want us to use the worst scenarios supported by science as our starting points and then act from there.

                    You want to argue that it’s not really that bad, and god knows what else because most of this conversation has been you saying that idiotic things like drought = famine = drought, but hey we’ve always had that so let’s not get too carried away and try and do the things that will actually save the planet. Sheep wants to argue over fucking semantics. In the meantime Rome burns.

                    So of course I am going to tell you to fuck off. Either up your game in terms of the actual arguments or fuck off, because you are part of the massive problem that is preventing us from doing the things that need to be done.

                    • photonz

                      You’re the one whose desperate to derail the conversation and start name-calling people deniers, even if they’re not.

                      As I’ve said, we could bankrupt ourselves trying to combat climate change – and likely still fail.

                      So I see your “solution” as potentially the most disastrous path we could take.

                      President Bush didn’t get much right, but one thing I think he did (probably accidentally) was his prediction that it would be technology that would solve issues like climate change.

                      My new car uses less than half the petrol of my old car.
                      My current light bulbs use 80% less power than my old bulbs.
                      My current heating uses 75% less power than my old heating.
                      My intellectual property exports now gets around the world via internet, rather than courier.

                      So personally, I’ve spent a significant amount, and my emissions are significantly reduced.

                      However I see several billion people around the globe who long for a middle class life, and will probably get it. And who are we to tell them that they can’t put out similar emissions that we do?

                      More to the point – would they take any notice?

                      Climate change is coming, like it or not, so we will need to adapt.

                      So we’re far better spending money on adaptation, than we are throwing money down the toilet trying to stop the inevitable.

                    • weka

                      That’s not what this thread is about.

                      Everything you have just said confirms you as a denier. Ten years ago you would have been arguing over the science and what was real. Now you can’t do that and be socially acceptable so you are arguing for adaptation instead. As Lynn points out this makes you an ignorant, selfish fuck.

                      I’m not going to address your individual points, because that’s not what this thread is for.

                    • photonz

                      Weka – your name calling is pathethic.

                      You obviously have a pathological need to abuse anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

                      And then make up false opinions for them from ten years ago, even though you are totally ignorant what they thought a decade ago.

                      That’s really odd.

                    • weka

                      🙄 Still can’t address the points. Trole.

                  • lprent

                    That is because what gets added into greenhouse gases now is still changing climate more than a thousand years later. It is a continuous process making the future worse until people stop adding long life greenhouse gases into the

                    So what you are saying if I can interpret your numbskull ignorance a bit.

                    “It doesn’t matter if I can’t change it within my lifetime, and I am only interested in my own comfort”.

                    This is a continuous process. What you add in to the greenhouse gases now will still be adding to the crap on descendants and family members over the next few thousand years. It will be making the cost of adaption that much harder for several thousands of years.

                    You are announcing that you are a selfish cretinous arsehole who doesn’t even care about his own family. Pretty typical

                    • photonz

                      So I’m the “selfish cretinous arsehole” even you are coming from a point of total and complete ignorance on whether or not you put out significantly more emissions than me (which I would bet you do).

                    • lprent []

                      That is very unlikely. I use a tank of gas in my 18 year old car on average about every 7 weeks these days, and my consumption is still falling (less trips to my parents in Rotorua). I buy virtually everything with bulk from locally made. The exception is computer gear, but that tends to last for long periods. Our small apartment is awesomely insulated.

                      About the only thing that I do that involves any emissions is probably the small gas and coal portions of the power for running this site. That is only because frigging Gerry Brownlee forced the power company with a low emission profile to take on more dirty assets. But at least the computers also warm the apartment.

                      Unlike you, I have been looking at and thinking about this for more than 3 decades. While you appear to have been thinking mainly about how crafty you are at offloading your pollution on to your kids and grandkids, and those of your siblings.

  13. Colonial Viper 14

    I’d just like to say that climate change did not feed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of rebel armaments and (conservatively) ten to twenty thousand anti-Assad foreign fighters into Syria.

    • dukeofurl 14.1

      Would fossil fuels be connected to the money , armaments and foreign fighters ??

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.2

      No it didn’t. It just contributed to the conditions that made that outcome possible.

    • mickysavage 14.3

      I am not claiming that climate change is the only reason but the stress caused by the drought and the dislocation of farming families appears to be the stressor that tipped things over.

      Agreed that Iraq and the destabilisation the west has caused is another contribution to the mess.

      • dukeofurl 14.3.1

        Unfortunately only ‘one farmers opinion’ was given as evidence for the drought being a primary cause.
        However even the authors cite previous studies which doubt any civil war has one cause.

        Or as they say
        ““Whether it was a primary or substantial factor is impossible to know,”

        Sorry MS if they ‘dont know’ , its only speculation to say ( and without evidence, after this was an academic study) that the drought ‘tipped things over’

  14. photonz 15

    One anonymous bloke says “In fact, “all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.””

    So even when it’s colder and dryer, it’s really warmer and wetter?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      ” <=== that symbol is called a "quotation mark".

      The “quotation” in question is also what's called a "link". On the "internet", you can "click" (with your left mouse button) on a "link". This basic step can help you avoid mis-attribution errors like the one you just made.

  15. McFlock 16

    My current boredom is contributed to by tory fuckwits being intentionally obtuse and derailing a geopolitical thread with semantic idiocy and passive-aggressive AGW-denial.

    Their contributions are not the sole cause of my boredom. There are other contributing factors IRL.

    But their contribution certainly adds to the monotony by derailing an otherwise interesting discussion. So yes, it is broadly correct to say that stupid tory fucktard shithead mouthpiece ego-wanking felchmeisters have caused me to be a bit bored today, and it is precisely correct to say that they have made me more bored than I otherwise would have been. Indeed, if today I pass the threshold of boredom that involves me banging my head on the desk from the fucking monotony that is this grey, featureless day, then it would even be correct to say that said tory cocks in fact “sparked” the head-desking event.

    Holy shit these tory fuckwits are boring. It’s like watching paint dry for three hours only to discover that actually the paint was dry to begin with because they never got around to putting the next coat on due to a five hour argument about the meaning of “paint”.

    • mickysavage 16.1

      Agreed. Well put.

    • weka 16.2

      You’re a treasure McFlock. Best comment of the day by far, and thanks for the actual laugh out louds.

      This should have been a very interesting conversation.

      • McFlock 16.2.1

        cheers 🙂

        My personal take is that it’s the longest-running (and therefore most serious) conflict sparked off by the food shortages in the area, but not the first or only one. The Syrian war started at the same time as the Arab Spring unrest, which ISTR began in a food stall in Tunisia.

        Contrasting Syria with Tunisia (which managed to quell the protests), Egypt (when the army saw the wind direction ans swapped sides), and Libya (where the lack of modern air defences resulted in an essentially risk-free bombing campaign to get rid of Gaddaffi, albeit with typical post-war “wtf we do now? Um, let’s just fuck up” that US-led wars love to have), Assad has enough generals tied to his mast to keep the army going, and enough air defence to make a bombing campaing painfully expensive, and enough resources to fight a war of attrition, at least for a while.

        Although if ISIL transfer a lot of the US gear they got from Iraq’s army into Syria, that might tip the balance against Assad. But if ISIL get too successful, trukey will concentrate on bombing them more than the kurds (yeah apparently they’ve started that again).

        Syria’s still going because Assad was in the sweet spot of not being strong enough to maintain complete control, but using demographic factors within Syria and external support from Hezbollah (combatants) and Russia (tech, especially anti-aircraft) it can drag it out into a war of attrition. I suspect it will end up with Syria having reduced borders formally recognised, maybe even with a kurdish state alongside an ISIL state.

        My two cents, anyway

  16. For those of you interested in the timeline of destabilization in Syria and the creation of ISIS. Here is a link that gives real information about Syria and how the West interfered with its internal politics.

    And as far as wars being influenced by climate here is another great example. WWII was won by the fact that the German army got caught and stopped in its tracks in one of the worst winters in Russia. It had nothing to do with the fact that the Allied troops and Russia attacked Germany form both sides. Nope all about the Russian winter! Not joking here!

  17. Arto 19

    Thank you for clearing that up.

    Silly me for thinking that the US’s support for terror groups inside Syria and from beyond, waging war against the Assad government was the reason for the carnage and horror in that country.

    Now I know better.

    Thank you.

  18. Benoni 20

    The majority of Syria’s population are Shia muslim of the Alawite sect who are similar to the muslims of Iran. The rebellion is by Sunni muslims who are a very large minority of the population. Sunnis hate Shia almost as much as they hate the Jews because they regard them false believers who are an insult to the prophet. Militant Islam is a growing Sunni phenomenon throughout the Islamic world and is promoted and financed by Saudi Arabia through its propagation of Wahabi Islam. The Sunni war against Shia in syria is a pan Islam war that has no end. The Alawites have nowhere to go and they do not want to be despised and demeaned by the rule of Sunnis in their own country. The Sunnis are self righteously attacking raping and pillaging the surrounding people and in doing so are going back to the religous roots of Islam. This has nothing to do with the weather.

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    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    2 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    2 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    2 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    2 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    2 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    2 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    3 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    3 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    4 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    4 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    4 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    4 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    5 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    5 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    7 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
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    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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    5 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
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    5 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
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    5 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    6 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
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    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
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  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
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    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
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    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
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    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
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    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
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    2 weeks ago