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Key of the seven veils

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, December 3rd, 2009 - 59 comments
Categories: john key - Tags: , ,

seven-veilsHere’s a wee gripe in the morning. John Key. Did you ever see such a prima donna?

Headline on Newsroom this morning: “Key And Copenhagen – Prime Minister John Key is preparing to relent on his refusal to attend the world climate change conference in Copenhagen”. In The Herald: “Key books flight to Copenhagen – just in case”.  Radio NZ: “Key likely to go to Copenhagen climate summit”. A dozen similar stories elsewhere.

Enough with the dance of the seven veils! Stop milking the “tension” for all it’s worth and just go already. It’s shaping up to be a defining moment in history. You wanna be in the photo don’t you? Or is it that you’re so embarrassed about your pathetic emissions targets and ETS that you’re afraid to look some real leaders in the eye?

59 comments on “Key of the seven veils ”

  1. prism 1

    Really like your wee pic. Is the Standard going to feature such regularly, sort of like the p.3 girl in the newspaper?

  2. sweetd 2

    Copenhagen will be a damp squid, nothing will come from it. Key was right, he should have stayed away.

    • Eddie 2.1

      and now Key’s wrong, sweetd? Or kinda half wrong/half right waiting to see which way the wind blows?

    • felix 2.2

      All squid is damp, sd. I think you mean “squib”.

    • roger nome 2.3

      Damp squib, god damn it!

      If you don’t know the idiom don’t goddam try to use it mofo.

      • vto 2.3.1

        No I think sweetd is right, Copenhagen will be like a damp squid – everybody will stand at a slight distance with awkward smiles while secretly holding their noses and poking it with a long stick. And the squid will do nothing but lie there slowly rotting …

      • sweetd 2.3.2

        Lighten up roger, it was a spelling mistake. Who slammed your dick in the dick in the door this morning?

        • Zorr

          If you have difficulty with the spelling differences between “squib” and “squid” (which really can’t be attributed to a typo) then maybe you should think about your pointless posts a bit more before making them. If you can’t get simple idioms right, imagine what else you might be getting wrong!

  3. felix 3

    Key is due on bfm any moment. Let’s see what his position is today, eh?

  4. Nick C 4

    New Zealand has no reason to be embarrassed about its emmissions targets. They are far higher than the US and China.

  5. Tim Ellis 5

    I think Mr Key will be able to look other world leaders in the eye just fine at Copenhagen.

    Unlike Australia, the US and China, New Zealand has an emissions trading scheme. Unlike Europe, the New Zealand ETS includes agriculture and forestry. Japan’s ETS is voluntary. Norway’s scheme is restricted to specific sectors.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Yeah, an ETS that loads 90% of the costs onto the taxpayer. Joke.

    • prism 5.2

      Our ETS document contains all the letters of the alphabet, but are they the ones we need? Is it worth the paper it is written on?

    • Unlike Australia, the US and China, New Zealand has an emissions trading scheme

      Well we did until Smith got his hands on it. Now we have an Environmental Trashing System …

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Interesting quotes from Key.

      “He can cement his personal relationships on this and other issues, New Zealand can make its case in a modest way, there ought to be some sense of proportion about this the whole world is not waiting to hear what New Zealand says.

      Shorter version, “‘l’m going for the photo ops; no-one mention our ETS thingy.”

      “If New Zealand does nothing or closes down and every person leaves that would have about as much impact as stopping China for about 24 hours not even that, but it’s worth doing we must play our bit.”

      Shorter version, “It’s not really worth doing anything about, but I’ll go along and play both sides off each other”.

  6. ben 7

    Can we stop with the “NZ ETS is pathetic” line please?

    The proposed US ETS will get them to parity with 1990, we are 15-20% below that. Our real income per capita is half theirs. And we depend on high-emissions agriculture more than them, so the cuts will hurt more. And we don’t get the arbitrary free pass that being a former communist regime or a former major coal mining country gets.

    Australia looks likely to have no ETS whatsoever.

    New Zealand is making a relatively large sacrifice. Enough with the “pathetic” line.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      An ETS that loads 90% of it’s costs onto the taxpayer? Pathetic.

      • ben 7.1.1

        I think that number came from Simon Terry’s lobbying group so I’m not sure whether to believe it.

        But, yes, I agree with you that taxing anybody other than the polluter defeats the ostensible purpose of an ETS.

      • Gosman 7.1.2

        Better that Australia’s ETS though 😉

        • Pascal's bookie

          for now. Be interesting how it plays out if a new govt doesn’t have to try and pander to a stupid opposition in the senate.

          • Tigger

            Our ETS will do nothing for years but cost us money. Australia’s nothing at no cost is looking pretty nice to me at the moment…

            • lprent

              They signed up for Kyoto.


              So regardless of not getting their ETS through this time, they will be paying.

            • Bill

              Why will they be paying? Where is the enforcement mechanism? None. Nothing there.

              “It is now clear that Canada will refuse to be sanctioned for abandoning its legal obligations. The Kyoto protocol can be enforced only through goodwill: countries must agree to accept punitive future obligations if they miss their current targets.”

              Meanwhile, climate scientists are suggesting that Copenhagen must fail because, well …”I would rather it (an agreement) not happen if people accept that as being the right track because it’s a disaster track,” said Hansen, who heads the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

              Which brings me to a point that seems to have been lost in the too-ing and fro-ing of climate change debate. While it has been informative and educational witnessing the arguments of CCDers commenting on this blog being knocked over (I’ve certainly learned a thing or three), the whole exercise has distracted from the travesty that passes as a political solution to climate change. This isn’t a fault of or limited to ‘the standard’…it seems to have been pretty widespread that the debate over what to do has been swamped by red herring arguments about the existence of climate change.

              Which means that we are more susceptible to being fobbed off by any bullshit that emerges from Copenhagen. The debate on alternatives to ETS’s and the like just hasn’t happened, which goes back to Hansen’s point I guess. Anyway. Glad that’s off my chest.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      The proposed US ETS will get them to parity with 1990, we are 15-20% below that.

      Our ETS won’t reduce our GHG emissions at all which is what makes it pathetic. It won’t be doing the job it’s supposed to.

  7. Santi 8

    Key is a dithering fool. The nats should replace him with someone with balls before its too late.

    • Gosman 8.1

      Ummmmm…. yet he makes Phil Goff look positively microscopic in terms of comparative Poll ratings.

      Does this mean you also think Labour needs to change leaders as well?

  8. GFraser 9

    As soon as Obama declared his intention to attend, it was only a matter of time before Key announced a change in his plans.

    • sweetd 9.1

      without Obama attending, as the US is one of the largest polluters in the world, the event was really just a photo op. Key was right at that point not to go. Now it has a chance to become something else, maybe better, but I still think nothing will come of it.

  9. gobsmacked 10

    I believe our Prime Minister. He says he is not going to Copenhagen, and that’s good enough for me.

    And when he says he is going to Copenhagen, that’s good enough for me too. He’s a man of his word.

    Unless he changes his mind again. But if he did, that would be the right thing too.

    He’s always right, just in a different way on a different day.

  10. Winston Smith 11

    What a waste of time and energy ratifying the global rort that Phil Hide-The-Decline Jones and his cadre of warmist cult-followers have committed … that’s the real dance of the seven veils

    The Australian senate has finally seen through climategate and Hide-The-Decline’s own employers have closed him down – time for New Zealand to wake up as well

    • outofbed 11.1

      Hey Winston hope this clears up your confusion

      We often get requests to provide an easy-to-understand explanation for why increasing CO2 is a significant problem without relying on climate models and we are generally happy to oblige. The explanation has a number of separate steps which tend to sometimes get confused and so we will try to break it down carefully.

      Step 1: There is a natural greenhouse effect.

      The fact that there is a natural greenhouse effect (that the atmosphere restricts the passage of long wave (LW) radiation from the Earth’s surface to space) is easily deducible from i) the mean temperature of the surface (around 15ºC) and ii) knowing that the planet is roughly in radiative equilibrium. This means that there is an upward surface flux of LW around [tex]\sigma T^4[/tex] (~390 W/m2), while the outward flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) is roughly equivalent to the net solar radiation coming in (1-a)S/4 (~240 W/m2). Thus there is a large amount of LW absorbed by the atmosphere (around 150 W/m2) a number that would be zero in the absence of any greenhouse substances.

      Step 2: Trace gases contribute to the natural greenhouse effect.

      The fact that different absorbers contribute to the net LW absorption is clear from IR spectra taken from space which show characteristic gaps associated with water vapour, CO2, CH4, O3 etc (Harries et al, 2001; HITRAN). The only question is how much energy is blocked by each. This cannot be calculated by hand (the number of absorption lines and the effects of pressure broadening etc. preclude that), but it can be calculated using line-by-line radiative transfer codes. The earliest calculations (reviewed by Ramanathan and Coakley, 1979) give very similar results to more modern calculations (Clough and Iacono, 1995), and demonstrate that removing the effect of CO2 reduces the net LW absorbed by ~14%, or around 30 W/m2. For some parts of the spectrum, IR can be either absorbed by CO2 or by water vapour, and so simply removing the CO2 gives only a minimum effect. Thus CO2 on its own would cause an even larger absorption. In either case however, the trace gases are a significant part of what gets absorbed.

      Step 3: The trace greenhouse gases have increased markedly due to human emissions

      CO2 is up more than 30%, CH4 has more than doubled, N2O is up 15%, tropospheric O3 has also increased. New compounds such as halocarbons (CFCs, HFCs) did not exist in the pre-industrial atmosphere. All of these increases contribute to an enhanced greenhouse effect.

      Step 4: Radiative forcing is a useful diagnostic and can easily be calculated

      Lessons from simple toy models and experience with more sophisticated GCMs suggests that any perturbation to the TOA radiation budget from whatever source is a pretty good predictor of eventual surface temperature change. Thus if the sun were to become stronger by about 2%, the TOA radiation balance would change by 0.02*1366*0.7/4 = 4.8 W/m2 (taking albedo and geometry into account) and this would be the radiative forcing (RF). An increase in greenhouse absorbers or a change in the albedo have analogous impacts on the TOA balance. However, calculation of the radiative forcing is again a job for the line-by-line codes that take into account atmospheric profiles of temperature, water vapour and aerosols. The most up-to-date calculations for the trace gases are by Myhre et al (1998) and those are the ones used in IPCC TAR and AR4.

      These calculations can be condensed into simplified fits to the data, such as the oft-used formula for CO2: RF = 5.35 ln(CO2/CO2_orig) (see Table 6.2 in IPCC TAR for the others). The logarithmic form comes from the fact that some particular lines are already saturated and that the increase in forcing depends on the ‘wings’ (see this post for more details). Forcings for lower concentration gases (such as CFCs) are linear in concentration. The calculations in Myhre et al use representative profiles for different latitudes, but different assumptions about clouds, their properties and the spatial heterogeneity mean that the global mean forcing is uncertain by about 10%. Thus the RF for a doubling of CO2 is likely 3.7±0.4 W/m2 the same order of magnitude as an increase of solar forcing by 2%.

      There are a couple of small twists on the radiative forcing concept. One is that CO2 has an important role in the stratospheric radiation balance. The stratosphere reacts very quickly to changes in that balance and that changes the TOA forcing by a small but non-negligible amount. The surface response, which is much slower, therefore reacts more proportionately to the ‘adjusted’ forcing and this is generally what is used in lieu of the instantaneous forcing. The other wrinkle is depending slightly on the spatial distribution of forcing agents, different feedbacks and processes might come into play and thus an equivalent forcing from two different sources might not give the same response. The factor that quantifies this effect is called the ‘efficacy’ of the forcing, which for the most part is reasonably close to one, and so doesn’t change the zeroth-order picture (Hansen et al, 2005). This means that climate forcings can be simply added to approximate the net effect.

      The total forcing from the trace greenhouse gases mentioned in Step 3, is currently about 2.5 W/m2, and the net forcing (including cooling impacts of aerosols and natural changes) is 1.6±1.0 W/m2 since the pre-industrial. Most of the uncertainty is related to aerosol effects. Current growth in forcings is dominated by increasing CO2, with potentially a small role for decreases in reflective aerosols (sulphates, particularly in the US and EU) and increases in absorbing aerosols (like soot, particularly from India and China and from biomass burning).

      Step 5: Climate sensitivity is around 3ºC for a doubling of CO2

      The climate sensitivity classically defined is the response of global mean temperature to a forcing once all the ‘fast feedbacks’ have occurred (atmospheric temperatures, clouds, water vapour, winds, snow, sea ice etc.), but before any of the ‘slow’ feedbacks have kicked in (ice sheets, vegetation, carbon cycle etc.). Given that it doesn’t matter much which forcing is changing, sensitivity can be assessed from any particular period in the past where the changes in forcing are known and the corresponding equilibrium temperature change can be estimated. As we have discussed previously, the last glacial period is a good example of a large forcing (~7 W/m2 from ice sheets, greenhouse gases, dust and vegetation) giving a large temperature response (~5 ºC) and implying a sensitivity of about 3ºC (with substantial error bars). More formally, you can combine this estimate with others taken from the 20th century, the response to volcanoes, the last millennium, remote sensing etc. to get pretty good constraints on what the number should be. This was done by Annan and Hargreaves (2006), and they come up with, you guessed it, 3ºC.

      Converting the estimate for doubled CO2 to a more useful factor gives ~0.75 ºC/(W/m2).

      Step 6: Radiative forcing x climate sensitivity is a significant number

      Current forcings (1.6 W/m2) x 0.75 ºC/(W/m2) imply 1.2 ºC that would occur at equilibrium. Because the oceans take time to warm up, we are not yet there (so far we have experienced 0.7ºC), and so the remaining 0.5 ºC is ‘in the pipeline’. We can estimate this independently using the changes in ocean heat content over the last decade or so (roughly equal to the current radiative imbalance) of ~0.7 W/m2, implying that this ‘unrealised’ forcing will lead to another 0.7×0.75 ºC i.e. 0.5 ºC.

      Additional forcings in business-as-usual scenarios range roughly from 3 to 7 W/m2 and therefore additional warming (at equilibrium) would be 2 to 5 ºC. That is significant.


      • Winston Smith 11.1.1

        yeah whatever… your source is just about as impeccable as Hide-The-Decline Jones.

        Just keep on spouting your warmist memes like the obedient little cult-follower that you are.

        • RedLogix

          Yeah whatever… your sources are as brain dead moronic as Monkeytunes Monckton.

          Just keep on spouting your denier memes like the obedient little cult-follower that you are.

          [See… how easy that is? Feel the nice warm sensation in your pants? Note how much quicker and easier it is than putting up an argument? Or have you given up… and this is now the best you can do?]

          • Winston Smith

            another sucker cultist eh Red? What’s to argue about?

            The climate change rort has been exposed for the shallow and contemptable scam that it is, with its manipulated data and hidden agendas

            It’s nothing more than a cynical tax-gathering opportunity for governments and an opportunity for triple-bottom liners to skim profits around the world with a load of froth and very little substance.

            Next you’ll be trying to tell us that Al Gore is a straight up kinda guy and that all these billion dollar ETS slush-funds are vital to our future…


            • RedLogix

              What’s to argue about? There’s none that you seem to be willing to put up. But I can play this silly game all day:

              The climate change denier rort has been exposed for the shallow and contemptable scam that it is, with its manipulated data and hidden agendas.

              It’s nothing more than a cynical opportunity for big oil and industrial companies to triple-load their bottom lines with skimmed profits all around the world, with a load of froth and very little substance.

              Next you’ll be trying to tell us that Fred Singer is a straight up kinda guy and that all these billion dollar slush-funds are vital to our future


              [See how easy it is to trot out this kind of drivel? Any fool can do it. Try harder Winston.]

        • outofbed

          So obviously with your immense scientific background you can tell us what is wrong the above explanation

          Hide the decline Jones ?
          Maybe you should read this about a third of the way down headed

          “Lost and tampered data’


          Be warned it has graphs in it

          • Winston Smith

            newsflash Chicken Little, the sky isn’t falling, it’s raining IPCC climate scientists

            [deleted large quantities of copy’n’paste]

            go figure

            [lprent: The system thinks that comment was spam, largely cut and pasted from other sites with no input from you at all. So do I. Link-whoring is against the policy of the site.
            There were some interesting linked articles in there. But not for the reasons that you probably put them there for. I’ll hold them for a while for maybe constructing some climate change posts on.
            Your task (should you be capable of doing it) is to add some original thought to a comment those link(s) make sense (and where I can’t just look up the ‘origional’ part on google). ]

        • Daveosaurus

          “yeah whatever ”

          I am profoundly in awe of the quality and thoroughness of your rebuttal.

      • prism 11.1.2

        Thanks oob – your info snakes down the page – will copy it and chew it off in bite sized pieces and know a lot more than presently. What cult is WS referring to? Sounds interesting. Is it the one in the NZ TV show?

  11. Gobsmacked : lovely.
    And as predicted our fine smiley minister of tourism is going to Copenhagen. ta da!

  12. Gosman 13

    “It’s shaping up to be a defining moment in history.”

    In the imortal words of John McInroe, “You cannot be serious!” LOL!

    Ironically the most that will come out of the Copenhagen Summit is likely to be an awful lot of hot air as well as political posturing.

  13. gobsmacked 14

    There’s going to be some spectacular contortions from the Nat dittoheads on this. Should be fun to watch.

    Here’s just a small sample of the “Good on John Key!” chorus (because he wasn’t going)


  14. outofbed 15

    I think that there is a 5% chance that he won’t get a photo with Obama

  15. outofbed 16

    When they ejaculate over the photo at least that will give Key some spunk

  16. randal 17

    I think they have a whole storeroom of spare john keys they keep up the terrace somewhere and he can be in about five places at once anyhow. tell me I’m wrong.

  17. outofbed 18

    it always good to have a spare set of keys

  18. Mikayla 19

    Well well well. As I have previously said, I found it outreageous when John Key announced that he had no intentions of attending the Copenhagen Climate Summit. I was quite surprised really, since he is usually all for photo ops. Perhaps that’s why he decided not to go in the first place-to try and steer away from the public image that his favourite thing in life is being seen in photos with Obama. Anyway, back on topic. So I was pissed off to put it nicely when he said he wouldn’t attend. Most other important world leaders would be attending, and when Key didn’t go it would damage our international reputation of being an environmentally concerned country. So that was bad. But now, Key has made himself a bigger idiot, by deciding to go, after stating strongly that he wouldn’t. He comes across as a weak, indecisive leader, and New Zealand does not want to be labelled with that image. And back to him not going in the first place. New Zealand needs to be properly represented, and not sending our Prime Minister doesn’t give us the strength of countries that sent their prime ministers and presidents. And it’s not like we have nothing to bring to the table. They are creating the new Kyoto Protocol. That’s big. And we have more to take to it than some other countries, like Australia.

  19. Zaphod Beeblebrox 20

    It’s good that he’s going- surely. Can’t see any downside to that.

    It’s worth asking though- ‘if you are capping costs to the polluters, who therefore have no incentive to cut emissions, how are supoosed to hit our target?’

    I know they are hoping like hell that forestry will save them, but unless no trees are cut down and lots more are planted, new measures will need to be taken before 2020.

    Looks like 2020 is going to be year that targets are going to be set for- I can’t see the current ETS staying as it is for too long if they want reductions by then.

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