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National willfully stupidly blind on climate change

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, November 20th, 2015 - 98 comments
Categories: accountability, bill english, climate change, disaster, global warming, national, useless - Tags: , , , ,

The global warning signs are now flashing bright red:

Record-crushing October keeps Earth on track for hottest year in 2015

It was Earth’s warmest October ever recorded and it wasn’t even close. The record-shattering month was right in step with most of the preceding months in 2015 — which is positioned to easily rank as the warmest year on record.

New data from the Japan Meteorological Agency and NASA show that the planet obliterated October records established just last year. October 2015 out-baked October 2014 by 0.34 degrees (0.19 Celsius) and 0.32 degrees (0.18 Celsius) in JMA and NASA’s analyses, respectively.


The seas will rise:

Scientists predict huge sea level rise even if we limit climate change

Even if world manages to limit global warming to 2C — the target number for current climate negotiations — sea levels may still rise at least 6 meters (20 ft) above their current heights, radically reshaping the world’s coastline and affecting millions in the process.

That finding comes from a new paper published on Thursday in Science that shows how high sea levels rose the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high.

Sea levels have already risen about eight inches (200mm) compared to pre-industrial times. That rise has helped boost the surge and flooding damage from storms such as Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan, and dramatically increased the occurrence of everyday flooding during high tide in cities from Baltimore to Honolulu.

The most recent projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate that if emissions continue on their current trend, sea levels could continue to rise another 39 in by the end of this century.

By 2050, 26 major US cities will face an “emerging flooding crisis.” Globally, storm damage could cost cities from Hong Kong to Dhaka to New York trillions annually unless adaptation measures are taken. According to Climate Central estimates, 150 million or more people are currently living on land that will either be submerged or exposed to chronic flooding by 2100.

But sea level rise isn’t going to just turn off after 2100 and according to climate scientists, current greenhouse gases are baking much more than three feet of sea level rise into the system. …

Some people in NZ understand this:

Up to 9000 coastal homes in danger from rising sea levels

New Zealand needs to completely overhaul the way it is preparing for rising sea levels, the Government’s environmental watchdog says, as up to 9000 coastal homes sit precariously close to the high water mark.

A newly released report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright also says the Government needs to start preparing for the huge potential cost of rising oceans driven by climate change, which could lead to the “managed retreat” of coastal communities to higher ground.

“Continuing sea level rise is not something that might happen – it is already happening, will accelerate, and will continue for the indefinite future,” Dr Wright wrote in her report.

“Homes, businesses and infrastructure worth billions of dollars have been built on low-lying land close to the coast.

“Rising sea levels will have major impacts in many places. In time, coastal land will become uninhabitable.”

A total of 9000 homes were less than 50cm above spring high tides, Dr Wright’s report said. Thousands more were within a metre of this threshold. …

Some people in NZ don’t understand this at all – or pretend not to:

Bil English rejects call to budget for the costs of sea level rises

Finance Minister Bill English says the Government will not budget for the costs of rising sea levels, despite a call from Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright to plan for the cost.

But English said he would not be including sea level rise as a fiscal risk in the Budget “in a hurry”. He said Wright’s report was “pretty speculative” both on the level of sea level rise and the likely cost that would incur – and whether that would change any decisions.

English said the Government was not ignoring the report, but the Government was dealing with all sorts of risks all the time and this one was “a bit speculative” and others were more immediate and costly. …

Other risks may well be more immediate, but none will be more costly. The Nats are willfully, stupidly blind to the unfolding climate crisis, and they are going to leave all the risks and costs to future governments. Fucking typical.

98 comments on “National willfully stupidly blind on climate change ”

  1. As far as climate change goes SLR is one of the least of our problems. Humans will be long gone before we see the massive SLR that is locked in with the current 700ppm CO2/CO2e. The coastal regions will become toxic to most mammals as the oceans turn anoxic. As we are seeing loss of human habitat is going to be the killer )

    Oceanic anoxic events or anoxic events (anoxia conditions) refer to intervals in the Earth’s past where portions of oceans become depleted in oxygen (O2) at depths over a large geographic area. During some of these events, euxinia develops – euxinia refers to anoxic waters that contain H2S hydrogen sulfide.[2] Although anoxic events have not happened for millions of years, the geological record shows that they happened many times in the past. Anoxic events coincide with several mass extinctions and may contribute to these events.[3] These mass extinctions include some that geobiologists use as time markers in biostratigraphic dating.[4] It is believed oceanic anoxic events are strongly linked to slowing of ocean circulation, climatic warming and elevated levels of greenhouse gases. Researchers have proposed enhanced volcanism (the release of CO2) as the “central external trigger for euxinia”.

  2. vto 2

    So not a surprise

    The National Party’s main group of supporter, farmers, do exactly the same too so wtf should we expect?

    This is the type of people they are

    • Tracey 2.1

      Not just farmers vto, their corporate supporters… also rely on in action to maintain profitt levels. The way some businesses think, WHEN TSHTF they won’t be in charge anymore it will be someone else’s problem.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        The way some businesses think, WHEN TSHTF they won’t be in charge anymore it will be someone else’s problem.

        Or they’ll be thinking that they’ll be able to make a huge profit on it.

    • b waghorn 2.2

      Given that national s support would be the urban voters that put them in power its more likely its there polling that’s telling them they don’t have to act.
      But you keep beating you’re little farmer hate drum if it floats you’re boat.

  3. Steve Withers 3

    The problem may well be National’s own voters.

    Let’s say seal level rise will, in 15-20 years, begin to flood the most low-lying homes frequently enough that they clearly aren’t livable in the near future. At that point, the public…including the slow-pokes among us – will be able to clearly see a problem that requires a solution.

    But today? What is National going to say to say to its base? “We have to start getting ready to move you from your homes in 20 years”? That is all cost and no win for any political conservative party. It’s own voters won’t support it and anyone who does won’t be voting for National.

    Cynical or not….until National’s own voters become prudent, thoughtful people nothing much will change. Almost by definition, that means nothing much can change unless the government changes.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1


    • weka 3.2

      The Dunedin City Council earlier in the year basically said that the whole suburb of St Clair would have to be relocated due to sea level rise. That’s not an announcement to be made in 2035, it was made in 2015.

      National’s problem is that they’re ideologically blind and they simply don’t care about the common good. I think that’s a modern thing, not the same as old school conservatism. So CC is seen as real but something for later people to deal with.

      There’s no reason why National couldn’t talk to its consituency along the lines of CC is going to seriously negatively affect business, productivity, profit etc so we need to do something now. The reason they don’t do that is not because of the voters, it’s because it will lessen profit in the short term and it will mean giving up some power.

      • left for deadshark 3.2.1

        I should think you mean St Kilda. weka

        • weka

          Hmm, do I? I always get those two mixed up, so you might be right. Wouldn’t it be all of the flat behind the dunes, which presumably covers bits of bother suburbs? What I meant was the flat land there.

          • BM

            These houses are built on reclaimed coastal wet lands.
            Not the smartest place to build.

            Might pay for the Dunedin city council to have a look at the Netherlands and their dike system.

            • McFlock

              Being Captain Hindsight doesn’t actually address the problem.

              And for many years thate reclaimed land was fine. Now drainage problems are becoming long term and serious, rather than occasionally inconvenient.

            • weka

              “Might pay for the Dunedin city council to have a look at the Netherlands and their dike system.”

              I take it you don’t know the beach in South Dunedin then and the problems that it causes. Nor how close the suburb is to the water table beneath. This isn’t something that can be fixed by dykes.

              • tracey

                Sounds like a capitalist scam BM. Selling properties unfit for purpose.Maybe he thinks Lesbians are the answer?

              • left for deadshark

                I don’t know how I buggered my last reply to you weka, it is about somewhere here though, all good. 😉

          • left for deadshark

            you had it right in your eyes mind. 🙂

            • left for deadshark

              you had it right in your eyes mind. 🙂

              edit : crap, I must have meant minds eye. I’m dyslexic

  4. vto 4

    You know what the funny thing is?

    The conservatives will finally catch up to the hippies and jump on board the climate change thing…

    Just like conservatives are always behind the hippies….

    Examples: solar power, living on Waiheke Coro Matakana, organic food, the list is long

    Conservatives are always slow. Bill English is slow again now. Bill English will one day catch up with the hippies…

    … such a shame and a waste of time that the conservatives cannot see this pattern and adjust

    come on Bill English, open your eyes to history, and hence the future

    • Steve Withers 4.1

      That would require insight……not a thing the folks on the Right are famous for, unfortunately. Often clever tactically about achieving ends that – strategically – are counterproductive for society in general.

      • vto 4.1.1

        “Often clever tactically about achieving ends ”

        Yes they are. Shame those skills don’t go together with insight and understanding of the planet and its occupants

  5. esoteric pineapples 5

    And no one’s even talking about ocean acidification which is a massive disaster for the planet on its own. Many acquatic species will no longer be able to produce the shells for their bodies which will see a collapse in the food chain pyramid.

    • Steve Withers 5.1

      A potentially bigger (well…more immediate) issue is bacterial resistance. A gene has now been detected in bacteria in pigs and humans in China that enables bacteria – from E Coli to Listeria – to acquire immunity more easily to anti-biotics, including our current ‘last resort’ anti-biotics. This could kill millions long before the consequences of climate change become acute. If our government was making that a priority…..and providing for it now….I’d understand such a trade-off.


      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        worth remembering that microbes have been conducting chemical warfare/defence against each other for hundreds of millions of years…we’re just newcomers to this game with our newfangled chemical compounds.

      • greywarshark 5.1.2

        It means that many of the procedures and big ops would no longer be safe to carry out so that though we had the knowledge and expertise of people and technology the invisible nasties would be waiting to invade and kill us.

    • Tracey 5.2

      Some humans don’t understand they are part of an ecosystem, and if enough of that system dies, the chain collapses and money won’t help at that point.

  6. Detrie 6

    Long term thinking, especially around the environment [and health and education] is never a priority or consideration of national, especially if any investment is needed. ‘Left leaning’ academics, medical, education and environmental people always have less influence than say local farmers, cost accountants or treasury staff. Short term, selfish politics is the norm…. The next generation will have to sort it out, somehow.

  7. Sabine 7

    peeps in Croatia going to the beach in November cause its somewhere betweeb 5 – 15 + t’was always like this.
    peeps in Bavaria going to sit outside in cafes in Novemeber at 14+ degrees? t’was always like this.
    peeps in NZ wearing winter clothes in Novembe at less then 10+ degrees? t’was always like this.
    peeps in St. Etienne de Tinnee France, altitude 1200 m, has a forcast of 5.5+ and 90% humidity, it should be snowing. It is not.

    nothing to see here, move along …….

  8. infused 8

    NZ cutting emissions ain’t gona stop the sea from rising.

  9. Chooky 9

    Naomi Klein’s book ‘This Changes Everything- Capitalism vs the Climate’

    …states it very clearly, with example after example, why we can not get definitive action on climate change from corporate capitalism…or such political parties or such organisations

    ( any Green Party or Green organisation that fails to recognise this is doomed to failure)

    …corporate capitalism and its political parties is the problem

    ( I would add overpopulation is also the problem …but corporate capitalism demands this for its markets and profits)



    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      yep. Lots of lefties seem to think that keeping capitalism, keeping political parties of the establishment, keeping consumerism and keeping the market economy intact – but regulating it all a bit better – can somehow be congruent with successfully dealing with climate change and fossil fuel depletion.

      Time we wake up from that little pleasant self delusion.

      My opinion is that unless we have a near total revolution in our present day economic arrangements, we’re fucked.

      And I tend towards Robert Atack’s line – that nothing like that will happen because the ruling elite like things the way they are, so its basically all over: chaotic disorganised coping for as long and as well as we can is what we will have left.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        that nothing like that will happen because the ruling elite like things the way they are, so its basically all over

        …corporate capitalism and its political parties is the problem

        We cannot afford the rich.

        • infused

          You can’t not afford them either.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Get rid of the rich and we have no more poverty, jobs are no longer at the whim of people who demand tribute and the environment gets to be protected.

          • tracey

            Coincidentally the majority right by the sea vote National. We dont know that… Lets give it a try.


            • Stuart Munro

              One final push and we can drive our enemies before us until we hear the lamentations of their women, or until they reach the sea.

              And NZ can begin repairing the damage these f**kwits have done to our country… only 50 years of average Cullen surpluses to pay off the debt accumulated by grossly, culpably, incompetent crook Bill English.

              • Colonial Viper

                Cullen surpluses are nothing to crow about. All he did was swap increasing private sector and household debt levels for decreasing government debt levels.

                Both Labour and National follow the paradigm of using debt as the way to supply the economy with new money.

        • Chooky

          +100…interesting article ( human solutions , if there are any, will come from thinkers like Doug Renwick ….or maybe Gaia will wreck her own revenge…maybe in the form of an antibiotic resistance crisis…or an atmospherically uninhabitable planet for humans )

          …imo the Left as in political parties internationally ( not just in New Zealand) have got to get some accord/agreement on climate change strategies…and then move as a concerted force ( after-all the parties of the corporate capitalism Right do just this)

          … the issue of climate change is too important to be left to one political party eg Greens …it must become the biggest issue for the largest political parties eg Labour in New Zealand

          ( in Australia the Labour Party under Kevin Rudd took a leading role on climate change on the international stage with the Copenhagen 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference


          …the issue MUST be addressed internationally by women

          …overpopulation (due to lack of emancipation and womens’ rights in the third world) is a major component of climate change

      • Robert Atack 9.1.3

        All I’m doing is pointing out how fucked it all is, this web page goes a long way to confirm all I’m saying, but alas with over 6 hours of video, it is way way to much info for the pig ignorant masses or politicians

  10. Rosemary McDonald 10

    An excellent discussion on Natrad this morning about this.

    Real experts, first hand experience of dealing with rising sea levels.

    Very interesting was the Mayor of Dunedin talking about the recent flooding in South Dunedin.

    The sea had caused the ground water levels to rise to the point where falling rain could no longer soak into the ground.

    [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20151120-0909-modest_sea_level_rise_will_severly_impact_areas_of_nz-00.ogg" /]

    The Mayor is not a happy chappy….

    • b waghorn 10.1

      He was on henry this morning , henry suggested maybe he shouldn’t worry about it as he wouldn’t be mayor in fifty years thereby encapsulating the whole right wimg mentality to governance.!

      • Rosemary McDonald 10.1.1

        Central Government needs to take the lead was the gist…and I believe I heard the Mayor use the word “shit” towards the tail end of his section.

        Natrad, despite some of its programming indicating otherwise, IS doing good work bringing some of these issues to the fore.

        They at least allow time for some seriously serious discussion.

        Unlike Henry’s ego pumping sessions.

        (I speak from hearsay…I do not watch telly.)

      • McFlock 10.1.2

        I suspect that in the next 5 – 15 years there will actually be a tipping point in global politics to actually do something about the various problems, especially as more refugees enter OECD nations as a result of water wars.

        Whether that results in a “hail mary” solution in time that forestalls the catastrophic 50% collapse in global population that some people are predicting, or we end up with a soylent green scenario – that’s up in the air at the moment, imo.

        • b waghorn

          I love you’re optimism but if it gets real rough humanity will descend into a dark age like non other (look at the sort of shit trump gets away with saying).

          • McFlock

            lol if trump gets to be president then there’s a serious increase in the probability that global warming will be negated by a nuclear winter.

            I wouldn’t put certain odds on it, but I’d expect the domesday clock to be adjusted towards midnight.

    • tracey 10.2

      But they cant be more expert than Messrs Key and English on this topic?????

    • greywarshark 10.3

      I remember two things that impressed me on listening to the Dunedin South piece on RadioNZ (!) this morning. One was a woman putting off thinking about the evil to come, and saying Jonah Lomu is on everyone’s mind at present.

      The other was a keen chappie who has 10 rentals there. That’s not bad but his attitude was and the comment that he wasn’t a Greenie but thought that something might have to be done because of the flooding. Obviously a capitalist, the first thing he thought of was that the Council should be taking measures to protect the area and his investment!

      This is the smart thinking of the aspirational National RW types. Don’t walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, ride on their shoulders and let them get the dirty (wet) feet.

      • b waghorn 10.3.1

        Once all those “baches” start falling into the sea there owners will rapidly become socialists so that us mere mortals can help pay to protect there investments.

  11. Murray Simmonds 11

    Thanks for posting the Links Rosemary – a very interesting and useful set of interviews.

    its easy to see where Blinglish is coming from on this important issue – if it doesn’t contribute to his much-vaunted balance of payments surplus then it just simply isn’t an issue worth bothering about!

    Political myopia.

    • tracey 11.1

      I suspect his knife edge surplus is behind the retrospective beneficiary legislation this week.

  12. Murray Simmonds 12

    yep Tracey that’s pretty much a certainty. What interested me is that, if I got this right, the retrospective beneficiary clouting was all wrapped up with the legislation “Under Urgency” to get something sorted to handle the Christmas island returnees. The benefit changes were kinda sneaked thru in the hope that no one would notice??

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