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NRT: Climate change: Action is affordable

Written By: - Date published: 11:56 am, April 15th, 2014 - 34 comments
Categories: climate change, science - Tags:

no-right-turn-256It looks like No Right Turn is back from his larping and looking at the third IPCC report of AR5. Thats worth commenting.

Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the second part of its Fifth Assessment report, showing the dire future we faced if we did not act to reduce emissions. Over the weekend, the IPCC released the third part of the report, showing that such action would be perfectly affordable:

Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report, which concludes that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable.

“It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team.

The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades, the report found. Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Edenhofer said, but only if it replaced coal burning.


Diverting hundred of billions of dollars from fossil fuels into renewable energy and cutting energy waste would shave just 0.06% off expected annual economic growth rates of 1.3%-3%, the IPCC report concluded.

(And that’s ignoring the benefits of cutting emissions, for example in reduced deaths from air pollution).

To put that in context: it would mean that the average cost of adapting to climate change next year (calculated by comparing per-capita GDP with a growth rate of 1.5 vs 1.44%) is less than $30. Remember that next time Bill English stands up in Parliament threatening economic Armageddon if we try and do anything about it.

Of course, the costs will not be equally distributed. They will be substantially higher if you are a shareholder in Genesis Energy (which runs on fossil fuels), or in English’s case, a dairy farmer. Which makes it clear what arguments against emissions reduction have always been about: protecting dirty established industries. But the price of protecting those industries and the wealth of those who have invested in them is to dump enormous costs on our children. Bill English, John Key, and numerous other government Ministers have kids; I really wonder how they can look them in the eye over this.

34 comments on “NRT: Climate change: Action is affordable ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Of course it’s affordable. Not doing it is the action that’s unaffordable.

  2. Philj 2

    They look their kids in the eye, just as they do to you and me.

  3. Tracey 3

    grossers attitude of not doing anything until everyone else does is ridiculous and childlike. is this the surface of national being scratched and is it what they teach their own children?

    is this the personal responsibility national and act have been banging on about for decades?

    • NZ Groover 3.1

      Ahhhhh, Tracey, Tracey Tracey. Why don’t you lead the way. Turn off your electricity, sell your car, get rid of your mobile for the sake of the planet. Waiting until everyone else does would just be ridiculous and childlike. For the sake of your children Tracey, set the right example.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        You are aware the flip side of that is that everyone who drives an inefficient car, or who drives more than ‘x’ km, or who flies, or who has a domestic consumption above ‘x’ kW, or who owns a motor launch, or who owns other gas guzzling toys, simply gets lynched, right?

        I mean, that would in all likelihood do the trick and save the lives of billions of people. 80% of energy related CO2 emissions come from 20% of the population afterall (both globally between nations and within nations). And, if Pareto’s Principle is run 3 or 4 times, we get (very, very roughly) 1% of the population being responsible for about 50% of energy related emissions.

        So what’s between 1% and (say) 3% of seven billion? Who are they, where do they live and what do they do? And are you one of them?

  4. Bill 4

    Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report…

    See right there in the opening sentence? That looks like a big fat lie. The only way it can be anything but a lie is if there is a particular meaning being attached to the word ‘catastrophic’ as used in the scientific community to demarcate between, for example, very dangerous climate change, devastating climate change, and catastrophic climate change.

    Once upon a time, not so long ago, 2 degrees C was punted as an amount of warming that would likely be kinda sorta safe. With the scientific data that was available, it was reckoned that the odds of particular events unfolding (species extinction etc) was such that 2 degrees was ‘okay’. There’d be consequences (not too many given the favourable odds), and the effects of 2 degrees could be mitigated for.

    Then more scientific data came in and the likely consequences of 2 degrees warming were seen to happen at 1 degree…in other words, 2 degrees didn’t involve favourable odds after all and was not at all safe. And we’re already at 0.8 degrees and probably heading north of 2 degrees.

    So I ask, what exactly does the IPCC mean when it uses the term ‘catastrophic’? ‘Catastrophic’ could well be ‘off the scale’ in their lexicon. Y’know, they could be saying we can avoid 6 degrees or runaway global warming when they use that term. Big wow. We’re poked at much, much lower levels of warming.

    Go to page 17 of this pdf for the 1 degree and 2 degree stuff http://kevinanderson.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/MCC-Climate-Change-presentation-Jan-2013-Anderson.pdf

    • Naki Man 4.1

      ” Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Edenhofer said, but only if it replaced coal burning.”

      Great to see they think the global fracking boom can help to slow global warming in the transition period. Not very good news for Gareth UFO Hughes and the rest of the Green Taliban.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1

        If it replaces coal, meanwhile, the party you shill for issues coal mining permits.

      • Bill 4.1.2

        Just love those could’s and if’s.

        Replacing a high source of CO2 with a lower source of CO2 is still….CO2. Here’s a question. Can you point me to an independent source for the amount of CO2 and other AGW gasses produced by the fracking process itself? Can you show an instance where the use of shale gas has actually led to an overall decrease in emissions as opposed to allowing coal to be exported elsewhere?

        Also – what is this ‘slowing’ of global warming you mention? I take it you mean a decrease in the rate of accelerating emissions, which is still….global warming. Which goes back to my point about slightly lower sources of CO2 still being a problem. We have to reverse the emission trend, not slow it down.

      • Paul 4.1.3

        Green Taliban

      • Bill 4.1.4

        I think this may only be referring to the UK shale gas industry, but I believe the argument applies to NZ too.

        the shale gas industry acknowledges that it will not produce significant quantities of shale gas before around 2025, by which time our international commitments on climate change would not permit it to be combusted in any significant quantities


    • weka 4.2

      Yeah, I’m kind of curious about this ‘we can avoid catastrophe line’. On the one hand, I agree it’s a lie. On the other hand, maybe the general population is in the right place to start making changes if they are presented with something they can cope with at this time. Whereas if they were told we’re all going to die in a screaming mess unless we give up our laptops and flat screen teevees and live in a mud hut, they’d just change the channel.

      • Bill 4.2.1

        I’m going to reasonably go with ‘catastrophic’ meaning 6 degrees and runaway change/tipping points. And I’m also going to cynically suggest that it’s being assumed the common understanding of catastrophic in regards to AGW will leave people thinking about 2 degrees.

        As for the general population making changes, I’d point to the fact that (roughly) 80% of energy related emissions are down to the behaviours and actions of (roughly) 20% of the population. (And between 40 and 60% of energy related emissions down to the activities of between 1 and 3% of people) There are millions…in fact billions… of people who aren’t really contributing to AGW in terms of energy use.

        Last thing policy makers and politicians want is people to be tuned into that particular channel (to steal your metaphor). That could lead to class war on steroids.

        And just on that 20/80 point; it’s energy use that is the big one. Yes, there are changes needed in land use and agriculture, but energy is the main human contributory factor when looking to the cumulative CO2 total in the atmosphere and oceans, and it’s the one we can most definitely do something about, and it’s also the one that, were something to be done, poses the most immediate and obvious threat to social elites and their privileges. Their productive economy (and therefor all their privilege and status) relies on the burning of fossil fuels.

  5. captain hook 5

    pinheads like nakki man dont really understand that in twenty years the whole petrol era will be over and all those hardly davisons and plastic replica hot rods will just be pieces of junk. like their owners.

    • srylands 5.1

      You are totally wrong. The marginal cost of reducing emissions in NZ is high. We already have high renewables.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        Working to the margins gets you dead.

      • srylands 5.1.2

        This modelling is a good indicator of the huge price signals required to achieve meaningful emissions reductions in NZ. It is probably the highest in the world. The cost to the poor would be catastrophic.

        So look at these cost curves and explain how we can reduce emissions in NZ at a small cost? If we could, the last Labour Government would have done so.


        • Bill

          You any idea how fucking ridiculous it is to throw up financial costs as an excuse for inadequate action? How’s that go srylands? “We simply couldn’t afford to not do the shit that led to us being absolutely fucked and in a position where all the money in the world was worth precisely zero.”!?

          • srylands

            Stop being an idiot. Thats why we have international emissions trading. It makes no sense to reduce the most expensive emissions first.

            I don’t get how the Greens whinge about power prices and want to destroy markets to save folks $200 per year. Then they say “don’t worry about costs” when it comes to mitigation. That approach will fuck the poor.

            Climate change is an urgent priority. It requires rational policy responses using price based mechanisms that a broad coalition of countries buy into.

            I suggest you read some of the excellent reports published on price based mitigation and then come back when you are better informed. You are simply crying slogans. That’s why you get called the Green Taliban.

            • Paul

              You say slogans….
              Then you say Green Taliban.
              What a joke!

            • Bill

              There is absolutely no market solution to AGW. Heavy – very heavy regulation (y’know command economy stuff) might work. But even that’s debatable.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Money is nothing. There’s only two Questions that matter: Do we have the resources to do it? and do we have to do it?

              the answer to both is YES!

    • srylands 5.2

      That is debatable. The Australian government is about to commit to a $12 billion new Sydney airport to open in 2025. For all those petroleum fueled planes in 2034.

      • McFlock 5.2.1

        and if it’s like Ciudad Real Central Airport, it won’t be their problem…

      • Naki Man 5.2.2

        Good point srylands

        • Draco T Bastard

          SSLands never makes a good point – he just regurgitates the religious point of view that he’s swallowed.

          Oh, wait, so do you.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.3

        The Australian government is about to commit to a $12 billion new Sydney airport to open in 2025. For all those petroleum fueled planes in 2034.

        Kerosene fuelled planes will still be flying in 2034, yes. Predominantly military ones, and those used most often by the 1%.

    • Naki Man 5.3

      I will be more than happy to drive an electric car when the price comes down and they use power from an external source

    • Naki Man 5.4

      If wussel had it his way we would all be riding a wooden bicycles on mud roads and we would all be broke.

      • Colonial Viper 5.4.1

        If John Key had his way, he would turn the land, rivers, infrastructure and people of NZ into monetizable commodities for sale for corporate profit.

      • Paul 5.4.2

        That was a mature comment Naki.
        You really strengthen your arguments when you resort to insults and fabrication.

  6. captain hook 6

    none of you lardos will address the reel issue which is incipient total environmental degradation, collapse and a major reversal of human activity.
    the decision will be a natural response exponentialised, adventitous and beyond mans ability to control.
    fuck I’m gonna be dead and miss all the fun!

  7. Jenny 7

    Which makes it clear what arguments against emissions reduction have always been about: protecting dirty established industries.

    But they have contracts!

  8. aerobubble 8

    Bridge made a slip in parliament today by declaring that jobs would be lost if oil and gas exploitation di not took place on the west coast, and that aren’t the heritage mines such a great boon for tourism.
    Well does Bridge think tourists will be rushing to, lining up, to see old oil and gas well sites, does Bridge understand nothing of the low technology and danger involved by the pioneers of mining on the west coast, that so intrigues the tourists. Is Bridges for real, that the loss of pristine forest, its ecology, can take continual chucks carved off it, does he understand that without a broad base biology collapses. That Labour opening up to mining is actually another reason why we should stop!!!! Not an argument for more. Really does Bridges see no need to protect tourism into the future after the oil and gas companies have moved on, that will bring tourist jobs for decades, centuries to come??? That will prove more vaulable, sustainable, to the west coast, and that’s even before a pollution crisis. Why does National hate rural NZ, its aquifers, its landscapes, its biodiversity, its uniqueness, and in a world moving away from hydrocarbion they are rushing to exploit more.

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