Meanwhile, the climate crisis

Written By: - Date published: 11:56 am, October 4th, 2020 - 44 comments
Categories: climate change, covid-19 - Tags: , , , ,

RNZ have reported that a large wildfire has destroyed many homes in the village of Ohau in the Mackenzie Country, and hundreds of people have been evacuated. This is massive for local residents who have lost homes as well as the impact on the community as a whole.

The fire is thought to have started overnight by arcing powerlines in high wind. It comes after a large scrub fire last month in the area.

There is another forest fire burning in Livingstone, northwest of Oamaru.

Watching the covid crisis unfold this year, I think most days about the climate crisis and how much we’re taking our eye off the ball. My immediate thoughts about us going into fire season are how unprepared we are still. One  example of the pressing issues is the vulnerability of wilding pines (the scrub fire last month was largely pines). People are calling for their removal, but we need more trees not less, for climate mitigation and adaptation. We need more forestry for mitigating the biodiversity crisis, and for human needs around shade, cooling, and resources. We need massive tree planting globally for re-establishing a sane carbon cycle alongside dropping fossil fuels. We need to be looking at replacing forests with fire resistant species not simply removing trees.

But we still don’t have a good framework for developing long term resilient systems, nor even the medium term ones that recognise it takes 20 – 30 years to replace a full size pine tree and much longer for many other species.

There’s been critique for a while now about DoC’s process of taking land back into the conservation estate and out of the overgrazing/burnoff approach of conventional farming. This however means much land is currently going through a flammable stage of bracken and tussock. Some of that land will remain flammable. Do we even have a plan about this? At the moment we are stuck in a farming vs conservation frame, and ignoring regenerative agriculture, and how regenerative techniques might be used on conservation land with climate in mind.

On the upside, we currently have less tourists driving round the south island lighting campfires, and those that are here we have better ability to educate.

Alongside an urgent need to get real about future proofing our built infrastructure, we have to start planning our environmental care in systems not linear thinking, looking at the interlocking and interacting dynamics and needs, stepping out of our siloes and seeing the bigger pictures.

Kia kaha all the folk today battling or waiting out wildfires. The rest of us might want to sharpen our minds on climate again.

44 comments on “Meanwhile, the climate crisis ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Flooding throughout Southland. Even Riverton, usually flood-free, is awash, with emergency services out, pumping water. Streets are closed. Some whomping peals of thunder last night!

  2. Cinny 2

    Much, much love to all those affected. Scary times.

    Edit – “Lake Ohau fire: ‘War zone’ – hundreds evacuated, at least 20 homes destroyed in South Island blaze ”
    Footage on the link below
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12370102

  3. Matiri 3

    In August, we stayed at one of the Lake Pukaki properties badly affected by the fire last month. The owners had cleared large areas of wilding pines in order to build – now there are masses of wilding pine seedlings everywhere they had cleared.

    Very worrying what's going to happen with a very dry summer predicted. The scale of the pine infestations are immense.

  4. Ad 4

    Mackenzie 3 day forecast a bit of rain on Tuesday but a whole bunch more wind.

    https://www.metservice.com/maps-radar/rain/forecast/3-days

    • weka 4.1

      starting to get hot now too, and I'd guess the strong wind pattern will be on for a while. Niwa's long range forecasts aren't looking promising for temp and rainfaill.

      • Poission 4.1.1

        Weather wise we may see both,wind rain and snow ( 10 day forecast).

        https://climatereanalyzer.org/wx/fcst/?mdl_id=gfs&dm_id=ausnz-ced&wm_id=prcp-mslp-gph500

        (press right > to start)

        • Ad 4.1.1.1

          That's just Spring. It happens.

          http://www.metvuw.co.nz/forecast/forecast.php?type=rain&region=nzsi&noofdays=10

          2014 October 29th there was a snowfall so bad we had to turn back over the Routeburn, and it killed 2 people on Mt Egmont.

          2015 it was snowing in Dunedin for several days in late September – I could see it from my father-in-law's Dunedin Hospital room.

          2016 there was another one late into October.

          2017 there was a late September snowfall to lake level from Wanaka to the Hawkdun Range. I remember cycling through it from Wanaka to Hawea, then climbed up Mt Iron for photos. Very pretty, and good moisture.

          2018 the snowband was so big in October 30th there was a metre of it on the McKenzie Pass and we had to get helicoptered over to the Sutherland Falls.

          And the climate forecasts for QueenstownLakes and Aoraki are all for huge amounts more rain and longer winters with more storms.

  5. Adrian 5

    My problem with the climate change argument is the use of any incident to use it as an example of Climate Change. The inland and coastal eastern TeWai Pounamu has been dry for 10s of 1000s of years as a result of rain shadow and high winds caused by geography. Wildfires have been a feature for equally as long, thats why it looks the way it does.

    The exacerbation here is human habitation practices, power lines that arc ( possibly, could have been a cigarette an old fire flare up or deliberate ) and the help of wilding pines and putting houses where the nearest fire service is a huge distance away.

    • Pat 5.1

      the 'incident' may not be directly attributed to climate change …yes the east coast is dry (and windy this time of year) and powerlines can and do arc, but as we know the extremes that fuel the likelyhood of these events are only going to increase in intensity and frequency 'as a result of the changing climate' …whether we wish to recognise that fact or not.

    • weka 5.2

      My own position is that because climate change is global, affecting weather patterns in different ways in all parts of the world, as well as affecting waterways and cycles, ecologies and biodiversity, there is no 'outside' of climate change now. Maybe there once was, but cc is here, now. The precautionary principle suggests planning around climate change now.

      So even if you can make a case for why the fires in North Otago/South Canterbury *aren't influenced by climate change, we already know that going forward issues like dryness of vegetation, management of vegetation, power lines, human settlement, land use and so on are major issues going forward. It's entirely appropriate to look at the Mackenzie Basin in the context of the next few hundred years, esp given the physic reality of how long trees take to grow. Also how long it takes sectors with long histories of obstinancy (farmers, DoC) to change. Councils too for that matter.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Some things to note – Ohau apparently means a place of wind.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/427547/dozens-of-houses-destroyed-in-large-fire-in-the-mackenzie-basin
    Waitaki district mayor Gary Kircher said the village's residents are in a state of shock.
    "They had to get out very, very quickly."It would be very understandable for them to be in that state of disbelief. I think it really hit home when I got an email with some photos from one of the homeowners with the subject line of: 'end of an era for us'.

    "The Ohau Village is mostly holiday homes and homes that people want to retire to, and very much a lifestyle almost in the wilderness, and for many people that's going to be gone."

    He said it's suspected the fire was caused by powerlines arcing in the wind….

    …Stone [resident whose house is one of those burned down] said cars have also been burnt out and the area resembles a war zone.

    Stone said the fire was now being fuelled by dry tussock grasses as it burned through the Canterbury merino farmland.

    Thoughts – This is rural land suitable for raising merino sheep, a valuable enterprise for NZ, and a useful product for various purposes.

    Retiring wealthy and visitors may have to be kept out of such areas in the onerous future we face, and the farmers become very fire conscious and actively manage to prevent fire with patrols and quick-response units they can call on.

    Thinking individuals and rural structural planners for regions, and the whole country, will have to prioritise what is needed from using land and resources in particular areas. Then there will need to be a plan to manage them for the outcomes from the appropriate enterprises of those areas to ensure safety and permanence of whatever activity has priority. Otherwise people will become just as much pests and cause deterioration of those areas being used for other purposes, as the animals being trapped or controlled do now.

    If the RMAs are going to be rolled back, then real hard decisions must be made and our country's future come to the fore, beyond the machinations and schemes of the grey/beige speculators and capital-friendly predators, who have grabbed advantage in this shitty economic system we have been importuned to adopt by high-financiers and Treasury in an 'unholy' grouping.

    This earlier post from April 2020 from Russel Norman may have points to make that fit. I haven’t read it but have to go and attend to my small affairs.
    https://thestandard.org.nz/russel-norman-climate-change-is-harder-to-visualise-than-coronavirus-but-no-less-dangerous/

  7. PsyclingLeft.Always 7

    Simon Williamson, Fed Farmer Union Member

    "The second large fire near Twizel in five weeks is a devastating blow for the region and reflects a wider issue that needs addressing, a North Otago farmer says."

    https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/north-otago/fuel-load-ungrazed-land-%E2%80%98-hazard-life%E2%80%99

    Yeah Simon, it sure does. ! (although he's looking at it from absolutely his/Fed Farmers perspective)

    As the rest of Fed Farmers also see it

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/08/25/768498/fed-farmers-dangerous-strategy

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/southland-top-stories/118855668/federated-farmers-launches-petition-against-climate-change-teaching-resource

    Jim Salinger tells it….

    Queenstown-based climate scientist Jim Salinger said Otago's fire season was now prolonged and pronounced due to climate change.

    "The fire season is certainly getting earlier.

    "These are not spring temperatures, these are summer temperatures … in Queenstown today it was eight degrees above average."

    https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/north-otago/fuel-load-ungrazed-land-%E2%80%98-hazard-life%E2%80%99

    • RedLogix 7.1

      And during the massive Australian bushfire events earlier this year, everyone was calling out 'climate change'. Maybe … yet these same locations have since received plenty of rain and much of NSW is now out of drought.

      https://www.theland.com.au/story/6918520/big-green-blobs-a-good-sign-drought-is-beaten/

      This doesn't mean the horrendous fire season had no connection to climate change, that may well be the case. But again relying on singular weather events to demonstrate a climate trend is not only bad science, but terribly vulnerable to your opponent calling out an equally cherry picked pattern to suit their argument.

      The whole purpose of data science and statistics is to avoid seeing wrong patterns in real world data.

      • lprent 7.1.1

        Yep. While climate isn’t geological time – where the 10k years of human civilisations is usually within the margins of dating error. It is certainly a lot longer than an individuals life time.

        For climate you have to dig into the paleo and historical climate history to see if there is an emerging pattern. Like the changes in frequency and severity of the el nino / la nina. Or the intensity of hurricanes in the Atlantic.

        Things that can’t easily be influenced by local human changes like changes in land-use like increase in ignition sources for fires or the clearing of brush, trees and ground cover.

        There is a problem with simply waiting until things become obvious of course. Because of the momentum of the forces involved in literally heating up the oceans and increasing its greenhouse gas content, by the time you can definitely point to climate change – you’d already deluged by ocean waves, waves of fire, waves of drought and flooding, and vast reductions in the human carry capacity of the places we and our grand-kids live in. And the climatic chaos will continue getting worse for tens of generations to come.

        Maybe … yet these same locations have since received plenty of rain and much of NSW is now out of drought.

        Yep, and based on the current rapid shifts in the patterns of the southern winds around Antarctica plus the Indian Ocean flipping the other way (not to mention the Pacific La Nina), the climate probability for Aussie this year is of a continuing deluge in the north punctuated with bouts of freezing in the south.

        A relatively rare climate/weather north and south pattern over the last few years followed by an equally rare north and south
        one immediately afterwards. Having such historically extreme weather patterns back to back isn’t likely based on history or paleo climatic events. While widespread climatic drought isn’t exactly abnormal in aussie, nor are periods or high levels of flooding. Having them without a period of relative stability between for at least a few years is somewhat unusual.

        However it is pretty much what you’d expect from modelling increased reservoirs of heat in volatile driving climate and weather patterns. Much faster shifting between known climate and weather patterns as the heat engine of sea and atmosphere balances.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 7.1.2

        I wasnt going to bother here…as it seems plain where you stand. But anyway…what "patterns in real world data"… Climate Change related… are YOU seeing? Links?

        Just you seem to revel in the contrary…

        I'm good with NIWA. And the majority of Scientists.

        https://niwa.co.nz/climate-change

        • RedLogix 7.1.2.1

          as it seems plain where you stand.

          If you had been here more than 10 minutes you'd know that I've been arguing for the climate science since this site started in 2007. On the basis of one single misread comment you've arrived at completely the wrong conclusion about 'where I stand'.

  8. RedLogix 8

    We really need to stop trying to make the Climate Change crisis argument, by using really weak linkages like this. It’s totally counter-productive and the science does not need to be undermined like this.

    There is enough unreconstructed hippie in me to have a very fond spot for the Green Party. I understand their motives, I'm happy to applaud their successes, I don't want to throw stones at them.

    Yet when it comes to climate change and the environment, I have to say their overall strategy has been a catastrophic failure. Their core problem is this, that any political plan that demands humanity sacrifices all, or even a large fraction, of it's modern development in order to 'appease the weather gods' … is going to be rejected by the large majority of people. And the Greens will politically languish around the 5% ghetto unable to get the leverage necessary to implement useful change.

    • greywarshark 8.1

      edit
      RL 'and the science does not need to be undermined like this.'

      You had better go into politics yourself. You have some ideas that you argue so fiercely against those of others who are trying to look over a spectrum of possibilities and thought to ascertain practical systems to cope with our reality and the forecast one. If you go forward under a suitable banner for you, it would be obvious which coterie and cohort you belong to.

      If it is cherry-picked science, then National. If it is elevating 'hard' science first over 'soft science', the Humanities, lower down, then Labour.

      And the Greens, apparently an object of patronising derision to any tough-minded, reasoning, objective male. And female? The Greens have been forecasting the present situation for generations now. The fact that they haven’t had breakthrough is, I suggest, the function of the acceptance by the ‘hard’ science school that their viewpoint and understanding of everything is primary and paramount (because it pays better – proof).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_and_soft_science

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        The climate change science, that I've been arguing for here since at least 2007 is on solid ground. There is any amount of data and analysis, from literally hundreds of different disciplines that feed into the core idea.

        But arguments derived from singular weather events simply do not form part of this body of knowledge. The weather signal has far more variation and noise in it than the much smaller climate signal, therefore using any single weather event, as the OP does, is simply useless. It tells us nothing, it's easily attacked and weakens the credibility of the climate change case.

        I'm asking we stop doing it. From a 'hard science' perspective that is.

        As for the rest of your comment, honestly I'm not bothered to decode it.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 8.1.1.1

          How about (at least) three simultaneous singular events? [apologies for reposting]

          @RL – I admire your optimism regarding the generation and equitable distribution of "vastly more energy" as a solution for Anthropocene challenges (climate change, pollution, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, etc, etc.). Is there a way, I wonder, to capture the energy and carbon released in future and current wildfires around the globe? Might such technology have a more immediate effect on those challenges than pouring "vastly more energy" into civilisation's ravenous maw some time in the future? “Am I bovered?” Fingers crossed “it’s over”.

          "A large “dangerous and uncontrolled” bushfire was threatening lives and homes in far north Queensland, with residents told to leave immediately."

          "Earlier on Saturday, a bushfire emergency was declared in a seaside town on Tasmania’s east coast."
          https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/03/far-north-queensland-bushfire-threatens-lives-and-homes-as-residents-told-leave-now

          Lake Ohau blaze: Residents flee for lives as huge flames bore down on homes
          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12370203

          • RedLogix 8.1.1.1.1

            I can understand the motive to exploit extreme weather events like this; they exploit the fallible human tendency to be far more engaged with immediate threat than ones that are abstract or distant, even when the latter represents a far greater hazard.

            But the climate change signal is measured in fractions of a degree per decade, while weather temperatures vary orders of magnitude more over very short time scales. This means that any attempt at using an extreme weather event, even one on a seasonal scale, is by definition cherry picking. And that no matter how many events you pick to bolster your case, your opponent (who is not me) can pick an equal number of cases to suggest the opposite. There will be places in the world right now with unusual floods, snow or cold temperatures for them to cherry pick from, with an equal lack of value.

            We've been doing this argument for at least several decades now, it's kind of time to stop making simple data science errors.

            I admire your optimism regarding the generation and equitable distribution of "vastly more energy" as a solution

            Well yes. Four hundred years ago 99% or more of humans lived in deep energy poverty, and associated deprivations that us moderns would be unable to tolerate for 10 minutes. Only a tiny handful of the elites had access to anything like a life we could tolerate. Yet here we are four hundred or so years later, and we've extended the benefits of the modern world to at least half of humanity to at least a modest degree. And this trend is only expanding.

            You and I enjoy living standards that the most powerful and wealthiest kings could barely imagine, much less access, just 200 years ago.

            The process isn't perfect by any means, but I'd argue it's been generally heading in the direction of 'more equitable' than not.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 8.1.1.1.1.1

              "I can understand the motive to exploit extreme weather events like this; they exploit the fallible human tendency to be far more engaged with immediate threat than ones that are abstract or distant, even when the latter represents a far greater hazard."

              RL, could you elaborate on your understanding of what motivates (some?) people to "exploit extreme weather events". Is it out of a genuine (but perhaps misplaced) concern for immediate and future impacts, or is there a more sinister "motive" at play?

              Engaging with an obvious immediate threat may be a "fallible human tendancy", and I agree that the disastrous consequences of anthropogenic global warming will only become more obvious over time, but surely it's only practical that individuals and civilisation attempt to address both in a timely fashion – kicking the can down the road suits me fine, but a strategy for future generations it’s not.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 8.1.1.1.1.2

              "You and I enjoy living standards that the most powerful and wealthiest kings could barely imagine, much less access, just 200 years ago."

              Hickel is being interviewed on RNZ now.

              Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save The World by Jason Hickel
              "A fundamental problem, according to Hickel, is that “green” growth is a “fantasy” with “no empirical support” that ultimately reinforces the ubiquity of “growthism” in politics. As Hickel reiterates throughout Less Is More, capitalism has put enormous strain on ecological interdependence, bringing us closer to tipping points where earth’s resilience becomes exhausted and intensifying feedback loops precipitate more and more interrelated crises."
              https://braveneweurope.com/less-is-more-how-degrowth-will-save-the-world-by-jason-hickel

              • RedLogix

                I listened to Hickels' interview to the end, and read the link offered.

                He sounds like a smugly irritating version of myself 15 years ago; all arguments I was making myself for years, until I realised they were dead wrong.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  "He sounds like a smugly irritating version of myself 15 years ago"

                  Reassuring to know that a younger version of youself would have been cheering Hickel on – demonstrates the capacity for change, and if you can change once then you can change again. How did you get over your "smugly irritating" phase, and does anyone have a pearl to show for it?

                  "Degrowth is not a proposal to homogenously restrict consumption and economic growth. It recognises that we currently live in societies wracked by severe inequality. In order for poorer nations to be able to economically expand so that they are able to reach Raworth’s social foundation and eliminate extreme poverty, richer nations such as Aotearoa New Zealand would have to manage a process whereby materials use, greenhouse gas emissions, consumption and GDP are significantly reduced from current levels. This should not come as a surprise. In 2019 Earth overshoot day, the date at which one year’s worth of natural resources are consumed, was 29 July globally, but for developed countries this typically comes much earlier." [Earth Overshoot Day. ‘Country overshoot days’, https://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/country-overshoot-days/ ]

                  "Degrowth is designed to ensure that everyone has enough to lead a dignified and materially comfortable life while curtailing the drastic overconsumption that has led us towards an ecological precipice. This recognises that the dramatic growth of inequality over the past 40 years had led to a situation where a dramatic redistribution of wealth is required for a socially and ecologically just society. While for much of history increased economic wealth correlated with enhanced health, education and happiness, this is no longer the case in developed nations. For example, while the GDP per capita in Europe is around 40 percent lower than in the US, Europe outperforms the US when it comes to healthcare, education, happiness and most other social indicators. Although inequality has increased within Europe since the 1980s, European nations tend to be more equal than the US. [Jason Hickel. ‘Degrowth: a theory of radical abundance’, Real-World Economics Review 87 (2019): 54–68.] This suggests that in addition to being ecologically necessary, degrowth can be a strategy for creating a happier and more just society."

                  "Enacting transitions towards degrowth and particularly doing so under the ecologically challenging conditions of the Anthropocene where extreme weather-related disasters and associated social issues will be frequent, will undoubtedly be difficult. Historically, people have fought for more—more bread, more rights, more wealth. Deliberately deciding to have less, albeit a radically more equal distribution of a smaller overall pie, will not be easy nor will it be an overnight transition. However, forming plans for a materially credible, ecologically sustainable, post-capitalist future is absolutely necessary if we are to avoid the likelihood of a future where the rich fortify themselves in relatively safe, highly militarized zones within temperate regions while most people are left in ruined ecologies located in sacrifice zones, existing well below the social foundation. While extinction falls prey to the fatalism of capitalist realism and technological salvation is a fantasy, degrowth is a strategy that should be pursued in order to avoid a future where ecological crises and social breakdown form an apocalyptic event that elicits nationalist, racist and xenophobic human responses."

                  https://esra.nz/ecological-crises-equitable-futures/#_edn31

                  • RedLogix

                    The clue is in his anti-capitalist rhetoric that keeps seeping through the leaky seams of his argument.

                    He bangs on about the impossibility of 'infinite growth' as if this were some killer argument against capitalism, when it's an irrelevancy. Share markets as currently shaped might love growth, but this is scarcely a necessity, they could function perfectly well on another basis such as dividend returns.

                    More importantly he's ignorant of the role of demographics and population. The industrial revolution delivered two crucial things in the 1800's, a massive drop in infant mortality and a dramatic rise in life expectancy. As a result the global population rose from just under 1b in 1820 to over 7.5b now. This meant that every 25 years or so a new cohort of young people arrived in the world, who would not only go on to have babies themselves, but are also the primary consumers of things like new homes, new household goods, a rising demand for food, clothing, education, health and an expanding tide of services.

                    Young adults are the primary drivers of consumption in any economy, and for almost 160 years until around 1980, the industrial revolution delivered them in droves. And capitalism delivered the goods they were demanding.

                    But ideologues like Hinkel, get cause and effect muddled here. It's not capitalism causing the growth, it's young adults with new families who are it's primary driver.

                    Well here's the interesting news that Hinkel shows zero awareness of, that globally this demographic growth phase finally started slowing about 40 years ago, and is now throughout the developed world stopped or in reverse. We now have for the first time in human history, in most nations, inverted demographic pyramids where the majority of people are in the older phases of their lives. And during this phase of their life investment (mid adulthood) and sustainability (late adulthood) become the primary economic drivers.

                    Industrialisation and capitalism are busy delivering what you are demanding, the stabilisation of raw growth and it's transformation into new forms of economic activity that can be sustained. As a nation Japan led the way on this, reaching the end of it's growth phase around 1990 and has now stabilised into a wealthy nation, absent the need for 'infinite growth'.

                    Instead of raw growth the Japanese very early on headed down a path of automation and quality, successfully pioneering a new phase of their economic trajectory. And they didn't need fools spouting anti-capitalist slogans to persuade them to do it.

                    As for the rest of the world, 2022 is the year when fully half the Boomer generation will reach age 65, and as we retire the shape of the developed world's economies will naturally tilt away from growth and toward sustainability. And the rest of the developing world will follow much the same path over the next few decades.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Whose argument are you talking about Red? The author of those “Ecological Crises and Equitable Futures” quotes (Sy Taffel), or Jason Hickel? You get that there is more than one person who thinks that managed degrowth is the best path to a sustainable and more equitable society/civilization, no?

                      I favour managed degrowth over clutching at fanciful technological 'straws', but of course neither will come to pass, although unmanaged degrowth/collapse is inevitable – think several COVID-19s without the wherewithal to cushion the blows. I'm relieved that I won't be around as the descent into a fortress world gathers steam.

                    • RedLogix

                      You seem to miss the point I'm making above; that de-growth is happening anyway more because of ageing demographics than any other cause. This alone should be reason for you to be happy.

                      And that our current economic model, a bit ramshackle as most evolved systems are, is going to adapt just fine if we let it.

                      But I'm left with the suspicion that at least some people here are more concerned to 'blame capitalism' for all the ills of the world, rather than understand the most dominant drivers of our world, which remain geography, demography, technology and development in that order importance.

                      Political ideologies play their role, but not to the exclusion of all other considerations … as too many political junkies seem to assume.

                      clutching at fanciful technological 'straws'

                      If I was proposing to power the world with quantum vacuum energy systems, you would have a point. It's not at all clear the idea would work in principle, much less has any credible development been made towards a realisation of it. But MSR's are not only absolutely sound on a theoretical basis, at least one substantial reactor has already run for many thousands of hours (using tech from the 1960's FFS).

                      There is nothing fanciful about them whatsoever, and dismissing them as such when they have such a real potential to avoid the collapse catastrophe you seem quite happy to pass onto future generations …. is downright irresponsible.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      RL, I'm not so fussed about which belief systems and organising principles are to blame for human civilisation demonstrably fouling its own nest – I'm more interested in the best path(s) to slowing and perhaps even (one day) reversing that fouling. If it’s possible to decrease material inequality at the same time then so much the better. Sadly, species extinction isn't reversible. These "smugly irritating" words were spoken a little over 15 years ago.

                      My subject—organizing ecological revolution—has as its initial premise that we are in the midst of a global environmental crisis of such enormity that the web of life of the entire planet is threatened and with it the future of civilization.

                      This is no longer a very controversial proposition. To be sure, there are different perceptions about the extent of the challenge that this raises. At one extreme there are those who believe that since these are human problems arising from human causes they are easily solvable. All we need are ingenuity and the will to act. At the other extreme there are those who believe that the world ecology is deteriorating on a scale and with a rapidity beyond our means to control, giving rise to the gloomiest forebodings.

                      Although often seen as polar opposites these views nonetheless share a common basis. As Paul Sweezy observed they each reflect “the belief that if present trends continue to operate, it is only a matter of time until the human species irredeemably fouls its own nest” (Monthly Review, June 1989).
                      https://www.resilience.org/stories/2005-10-08/organizing-ecological-revolution/

                      Can only hope by the time your much-touted MSRs are hyper-energising a post-biological human civilisation that there will still be something left of the natural world worth saving.

                      Human-driven biodiversity loss
                      In contrast, biodiversity losses from disturbances caused by humans tend to be more severe and longer-lasting. Humans (Homo sapiens), their crops, and their food animals take up an increasing share of Earth’s land area. Half of the world’s habitable land (some 51 million square km [19.7 million square miles]) has been converted to agriculture, and some 77 percent of agricultural land (some 40 million square km [15.4 million square miles]) is used for grazing by cattle, sheep, goats, and other livestock. This massive conversion of forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other terrestrial ecosystems has produced a 60 percent decline (on average) in the number of vertebrates worldwide since 1970, with the greatest losses in vertebrate populations occurring in freshwater habitats (83 percent) and in South and Central America (89 percent). Between 1970 and 2014 the human population grew from about 3.7 billion to 7.3 billion people. By 2018 the biomass of humans and their livestock (0.16 gigaton) greatly outweighed the biomass of wild mammals (0.007 gigaton) and wild birds (0.002 gigaton). Researchers estimate that the current rate of species loss varies between 100 and 10,000 times the background extinction rate (which is roughly one to five species per year when the entire fossil record is considered). In addition, a 2019 report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services noted that up to one million plant and animal species are facing extinction due to human activities.
                      https://www.britannica.com/science/biodiversity-loss

        • Drowsy M. Kram 8.1.1.2

          RL, can you “decode” this?

          "The blaze was one of FOUR large fires across the country, three of which were in the South Island.

          A large forest fire also broke out in the settlement of Livingstone, about 30km northwest of Oamaru about 3.15am, forcing residents to evacuate their homes.

          Dunedin man Andy Winneke caught sight of the blaze from where he was camping about 4.30am on Sunday morning.

          Sixteen crews, including a command team from Dunedin, fought to bring that blaze under control. There was also a bush fire just off Abel Tasman Drive in Ligar Bay, about 130km north of Nelson.

          Far North firefighters also battled a fire that burned more than 10ha near Ahipara from midday. Three houses nearby were evacuated.

          Meanwhile back in Ohau…"

          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12370203

  9. Infused 9

    Ugh this post.

    1. You don't need pine trees. You need natives.

    2. If you are trying to equate these events to climate change you are out of luck

    • Drowsy M. Kram 9.1

      "Ugh this post."

      Yeah, it's a buggher that climate change (driven by anthropogenic global warming) is increasing the severity of wildfires all over the world – our 'goose' is cooked.

    • weka 9.2

      "1. You don't need pine trees. You need natives."

      Actually, what we need is non-flammable species. Kānuka will burn too as good as pine. I'm betting beach will burn pretty good too. Whatever happens on DoC land, the areas where humans live need specific strategies suited to increasing risk of wildfires.

      "2. If you are trying to equate these events to climate change you are out of luck"

      Odd use of the word equate there. The weather patterns are changing. People can argue on the head of a pin about which gust of wind was caused by climate change and which wasn't, but cc is here, and acting decades ahead of time is required for both mitigation and adaptation.

  10. Macro 10

    https://twitter.com/ayanaeliza/status/1312976578398294016?s=19

    What Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Mean for Global Warming https://nyti.ms/3hDmYc9

    The Trump administration has acted to repeal or weaken at least 100 environmental regulations over the past four years, including a number of Obama-era climate policies that Mr. Trump has said stifle businesses.

  11. peter sim 11

    Never fear. Judith is praying to save us.

  12. e-clectic 12

    The Climate Emergency:

    • Unprecedented CO2 concentration
    • Unprecedented methane concentration
    • Severe weather event insurance claims escalating
    • More frequent severe weather events
    • Stronger severe weather events
    • Impacts of sea-level rise
    • Population migrations

    The Climate Crisis:

    • Nobody really gives a fuck.
  13. PsyclingLeft.Always 13

    @12…not true at all. I personally know many. And we are World Wide.

    Anyway….I was reading earlier ODT and seen this…

    Prof Colin Campbell-Hunt , chairman of the Otago Natural History Trust, the governing body of the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, said Sir Alan and Lady Mark had "devoted much of their lives to defending the country’s threatened ecology from the predations of introduced species, humans included"

    "Orokonui thanks you. New Zealand thanks you,” he said.

    Sir Alan was fearful of the sort of environment that would be left to his grandchildren and supported the Extinction Rebellion organisation and the school pupils’ march for climate action as important methods of demonstrating concern, he said.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/couple-make-donations-ecology-fund-ecosanctuary

    Truly worthy of Respect !

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