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NRT: Climate change: Cross-purposes

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, February 3rd, 2012 - 48 comments
Categories: climate change, energy - Tags:

No Right Turn has a look at two of the incoming minister briefings impacting on climate change. They are incoherent and it is clear that neither ministry talks to the other. If it wasn’t affecting a important long term issue, it’d be as funny as a Yes Minister episode. But since it does, it just highlights the growing incoherence of this incompetent government and their increasing politicization of the civil service.

The government dumped its Briefings to Incoming Ministers today, and I’ve spent the last few hours skimming a few of them. As someone interested in the sustainability of my future, I was particularly interested in the energy and environment BIMs; unfortunately, what they show is that the government is working at cross-purposes in this area.

First, here’s the Ministry for the Environment [PDF], with a clear idea of what we need to do:

The Government, therefore, needs a mix of policies that demonstrate credible action in the short term and position New Zealand well to deliver the substantial emissions reductions needed in the longer term. A smooth transition to a low carbon economy will be needed, with the emphasis being on options that enable New Zealand to produce more with fewer emissions, generate co-benefits and gain competitive advantage.

And then there’s the Ministry of Economic Development’s briefing for the Energy and Resources portfolio[PDF]. Its chief priority?

Encouraging investment in the Crown’s petroleum and mineral resources

Yes, while MfE is talking about the need to move to a low-carbon equality, MED is pushing for more oil, more gas, more coal, promising self-sufficiency and mega-profits if we subsidise foreign oil explorers more. As for the government’s target of 90% renewable electricity generation by 2030, they have this to say:

The Ministry’s view is that commercial enterprises are best placed to identify the lowest cost generation mix, the government’s role is to ensure there are no undue barriers to invest in generation of any type, and environmental effects are priced wherever possible. The relative economics of generation types is dictated by exchange rates (a higher exchange rate favours high capital cost options such as wind), emissions price (a high emission price favours renewables) and input resource availability and price (the availability and price of gas has a major bearing on gas plant economics).

“Leave it to the market”, in other words. Unfortunately, according to their own projections [XLS], the market is not going to deliver. The reference scenario in the latest New Zealand’s Energy Outlook shows us achieving just 81% renewables by 2030, thanks to new builds of gas, oil, and even coal generation.A competent Ministry would highlight this discrepancy, and present options for resolving it. A government which cared about the target would demand they did so. Instead, MED’s “leave it to the market” approach puts us on the path to failure.

But its worse than that – because while they’re ignoring renewables, MED is also talking up new non-renewable generation:

New Zealand also has significant non-renewable resources which could be developed. As well as traditional oil, gas and coal, there are emerging new technologies – such as underground coal gasification, coal seam gas and methane hydrates – which open up new future opportunities. Supporting technologies such as carbon capture and storage will in time make it possible to develop some of our resources that are not currently environmentally or economically viable.

They don’t go into any further detail on this, but it displays the mindset at work. MED doesn’t care about climate change. They don’t care about sustainability. All they care about is digging things up and burning them – and the cheaper, the better.This sort of disconnect between goal and implementation will doom our climate change policy to failure. It is the government’s job to do something about it, to ensure that their departments are working to achieve their goals, rather than to thwart them. The question now is whether they will, or whether they’re happy for this subtle sabotage of their own stated policies.

48 comments on “NRT: Climate change: Cross-purposes ”

  1. jaymam 1

    How does NZ compare with all other countries? Doesn’t NZ have the highest proportion of renewable energy? In which case why should we wreck our economy trying to look better?

    This is what I found with a quick search. I can’t find a world renewables table with NZ in it. Can someone find such a table please. Sweden tops the countries in one table.

    “In 2010, 74% of the electricity generated in New Zealand came from renewable sources”

    “Sweden leads the European Union on renewable energy, producing 44.4% of its energy from renewable sources”

    • lprent 1.1

      You are talking about electricity generation for NZ rather than the whole energy picture which is what NRT and those briefing papers are looking at.

      Dig around and have a look at all the energy usage in NZ compared to other countries including all transport and heating rather than just the electricity generation.

      This should be obvious right? You can make any old thing up if you simply discard inconvenient facts – something that the denier fools are adept at (they certainly aren’t adept at checking facts or science).

      But the question NRT was asking was why should we plan on doing worse than we already are now?.

      But I guess you’d prefer to ask your own questions using questionable comparisions. Right? It is a familiar tactic.


      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        Pretty sure jaymam was genuinely asking, not being a right-wing troll.

        • jaymam

          Yes I really want to know. OK, I missed out the other energy usage.
          I have worked with electric power and electric transport for years, and electricity is being used for Auckland’s new trains. Freight should be taken by railway where possible. I believe there is an excellent future for electric cars one day.
          I still can’t find a world renewables table with NZ in it. Even with all energy uses I’d guess that NZ would be very high on the list.

  2. tc 2

    1. Someone’s going to get roasted for forgetting to black those contradictions out
    2. More ‘look over here not there’ playing to the climate debate which’s fertile ground
    3. Clear evidence more rationalisation required in the public service i.e. more cuts.

    Given the effort in blacking out the other BIM’s I’m picking 2.

  3. Clashman 3

    The climate has always and will always continue to “change”. We have now had 15 years of cooling, while co2 levels have continued to increase.
    NONE of the climate models advanced by proponents of AGW have predicited this cooling cycle which now must call into question the validity of the models.

    “According to IPCC scientist Mojib Latif , it could be just the beginning of a decades-long deep freeze. Latif is known as one of the world’s leading climate modelers.”



    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Just wait for another 10-15 years when it will be difficult to construct misleading graphs out of the raw data.

    • lprent 3.2

      We have now had 15 years of cooling, while co2 levels have continued to increase.

      I read to that statement and suddenly realised that you were a scientific moron. Go and look at a real actual report with verifiable figures from NOAA.

      The only reason to quote anything from Watts is to demonstrate that years of being a TV weatherman rots your brain.

      • Clashman 3.2.1

        So the IPCC scientist is a moron too?

        • lprent

          No, but the reporter who wrote the orginal article and you are… If you’d ever bothered to check back to the Watts post you’d have found that even he put up a link to Latif’s refutation


          • muzza


            Perhaps you can agrue the point with this guy then LP….

            • lprent

              I’ve argued with many people until I am blue in the fingers. What is irritating is the complete dorks that like this clown who seldom bother to read back through their own links to understand it. In this case you go to Watts site, find a update has been added long ago, go down that and find that the “IPCC scientist” that he was quoting had completely refuted the interpretation that the idiot reporter at the Daily Mail and Watts had put on it.

              How hard is that? How lazy was it for a denier to have not done the same thing before trying to assert the “truth”. It took me less time than it probably took him to write his comment.

              Based on past experience with CCD’s, I suspect he never ever read Watts post. He just copied and pasted some lines. It does seem to be too difficult for most CCD’s to actually read and understand the material that they link to, let alone look for material actually written by people who know what they’re talking about.

              • ropata

                Evolution denial, AGW denial, GFC denial, there is a theme there.

                Suspicion of edjumacation, trust in poor sources, lack of critical thinking.

                There’s one born every minute.

      • Clashman 3.2.2

        Straight to the personal insults. Big of you

        • lprent

          That is because you deserve them for being such a dickhead that you haven’t checked what Latif said about the article you are referring to.

          See the several places I have pointed you to Latif explicitly saying that your interpretation is completely wrong.

          If you act like a fuckwit, I have few qualms about saying that you are. You can read can’t you?

          • Richard Christie

            Agreed, links to Wattsupmybutt or Prisonplanet TV or Monckton NMHL (Never Member House of Lords)’s website are invariably risible.
            You want science, go to original sources, NASA for example, don’t bother with denier websites.

            oops I forgot, NASA aren’t reliable ’cause they faked the Moon landings and rely on, gee…. models…. in their flight simulators.

  4. randal 4

    yes it is trivially true that the climate is always changing but what is of greater concern is why it is changing due to the effects of fossil fuel use, industrialisation and other manifestations of human intervention..
    unfortunately we live in an age where politicians cannot say no to the demands of consumers for devices and processes that are destroying the environment for no good reason except to pander to atavistic desires of voters to emulate or exceed others in useless gimcracks and geegaws such as cars and jets and other producers of heavy metals, carbon particulates and noxious gasses.
    you dont need to be a scientist to see for yourself what is happening.

    • Clashman 4.1

      The much vaunted computer modelling has FAILED to predict the cooling of the last 15 years. How can any further predictions be accurate when they will be based around warming that hasn’t happened?
      You do know that the computer models take no account of the Suns input into climate?
      You dont need to be a scientist to see for yourself that is bad science.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        The much vaunted computer modelling has FAILED to predict the cooling of the last 15 years.

        Which would be a surprise because there has been no cooling.

      • lprent 4.1.2

        Look at the links you provided yourself and in particular to the refutation of the article that he used to


        The Mail on Sunday article said that Latif’s research showed that the current cold weather heralds such “a global trend towards cooler weather”.

        It said: “The BBC assured viewers that the big chill was was merely short-term ‘weather’ that had nothing to do with ‘climate’, which was still warming. The work of Prof Latif and the other scientists refutes that view.”

        Not according to Latif. “They are not related at all,” he said. “What we are experiencing now is a weather phenomenon, while we talked about the mean temperature over the next 10 years. You can’t compare the two.”

        He said the ocean temperature effect was similar to other natural influences on global temperature, such as volcanos, which cool the planet temporarily as ash spewed into the atmosphere reflects sunlight.

        “The natural variation occurs side by side with the manmade warming. Sometimes it has a cooling effect and can offset this warming and other times it can accelerate it.” Other scientists have questioned the strength of the ocean effect on overall temperature and disagree that global warming will show the predicted pause.

        I realise that this may be too complicated for you to understand – but you are a fool listening to a fool talking about a interpretation done by an idiot reporter who just had his primary source imply that the reporter was a fool.

        So many fools that you are rapidly degenerating into be a dickhead.

        • Clashman

          Ah yes the too complicated argument. Warming=cooling Drought=floods etc

          Within a few years “children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” Snowfall will be “a very rare and exciting event.” Dr. David Viner, senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, interviewed by the UK Independent, March 20, 2000.

          Suppose Ive misinterperated that too?

          • lprent

            Yes, you are correct – you have misinterpreted.

            What does a climate scientist consider is a “few years”. My guess is that would be several climate cycles. Since those are at least decade long events for things like southern ocean oscillation, jet stream movements, ocean currents, and just about everything else that a climate scientist considers to be important.

            Quite simply when you train in a discipline then your perception of time shifts as well. When I did earth sciences, a short time became thousands of years. When I started to do a lot of programming it became milliseconds.

            Your problem is that you appear to be too stupid to challenge your own presumptions.

          • Jackal

            What’s something said in 2000 got to do with the recently released National ministers briefings? Looks like you’re a throw back Clashman… still bitter about a debate you lost years ago.

            Anyway… I put it down to a lack of good leadership. On one hand there are the industries that don’t want to change and then there’s the majority of the public that want to protect the environment.

            Trying to meet the orders of industry while also trying to appear to be doing something about climate change to placate the public and international pressure leads to such contradictions across briefings.

            By releasing such contradictory information, National has shown that they do not even bother to check for consistency, which will assuredly lead to problems when they try to formulate policy.

  5. Clashman 5

    Whoah now I am a Fuckwit? Why so easily upset, worried your wrong?

    • lprent 5.1

      As I said…

      That is because you deserve them for being such a dickhead that you haven’t checked what Latif said about the article you are referring to.

      It literally took seconds using the links you provided to find that out that Latif explicitly said the interpretation that you used of his work was incorrect. And yet you were too lazy to look.

      What do you think that makes you?

  6. Clashman 6

    I’ve had enough abuse I’ll leave you guys to it.

    • lprent 6.1

      Good. It isn’t like you add anything useful to the discussion. It appears you can’t read your own links.

    • muzza 6.2

      Clash don’t worry too much about it mate – The warming crew have swallowed the shit hook line and sinker, so your better off smashing your head on a brick wall. Any fool can tell that the research/reporting has been so badly twisted knowing what is true from what is false is, lets call it, hard going….that is exatly the point of it though, to keep people is suspended confusion!

      The lack of any coherrent strategy only serves to illustrate who this government is answering to!

      • Richard Christie 6.2.1

        “Any fool can tell that the research/reporting has been so badly twisted knowing what is true from what is false is, lets call it, hard going…”

        You hit the nail on the head. Any fool would conclude that.

        • Richard Christie

          To which I might add that there is no confusion in regard to AGW research and current consensus on that research. Every reputable scientific body on the planet is on board with it, in all the physical and earth sciences. No exceptions.

          • muzza

            Nah, no confusion what so ever mate!

            C02 = EVIL, lets just get rid of it 100%, and see how things look!

            Note: Sustainable, renewable, less environmental destruction – I am all for that!

            Buying into the “Every reputable scientific body on the planet is on board with it, in all the physical and earth sciences. No exceptions.” – NO!

            As sure as politics is corrupted by money, so is science!

            • Richard Christie

              “As sure as politics is corrupted by money, so is science!”

              Call the police then, show them your evidence and earn yourself a medal.

              Or, you could forget the konspiracy theories as they’re for suckers and the dim of wit, instead go to the original scientific sources for your information on climate science, all PRATTS and canards in the denier’s big bag of stupid instantly evaporate when confronted with original sources.

              • muzza

                How about you show the trail, and altruistic authenticity of every cent of funding of your “original scientific sources”, Only at that point in time, following an investigation of the funds origin, and validity of source being deemed’ “honest money”, can you claim you have not been fooled. If you cant show that level of evidence, then you can take what you do find to the police, and get that medal for yourself!

                Last project I worked on was “sanctioning of international payments”, so you get to learn rather alot about “dis-honest money”, and its intended destinations. No conspiracey there, just the flow of money, some clean, some dirty!

              • Colonial Viper

                Call the police then, show them your evidence and earn yourself a medal.

                Calling the police in on matters of research funding? You sorta have no idea, do you?

                • Richard Christie

                  You have evidence of corruption call the police, police deal with corruption or refer it to bodies such as SFP in NZ.
                  Forget the konspiracy theories that posit that the entire scientific community on the planet are trying to hoodwink you. It only makes you look like a kook.
                  NASA is not lying to you. Really it isn’t. The Royal Academy doesn’t endorse fraud. Believe me.

    • tc 6.3

      Exactly the sort of mentality the govt is playing to…..whilst you’re busy denying climate change your country been sold out from under you.

      Game set match, thanks for playing the distraction game.

  7. ChrisH 7

    There’s nothing on climate change (or peak oil) in the Ministry of Transport BIMs either.

    Not an issue with the government road gang I guess.


  8. Seamack 8

    People who resort to “attacking the messenger”, with ranting, unsupported, abusive, personal attacks should crawl back in whatever vermin infested hole they crawled out of.

    It does the advancement of knowledge no good.


    [lprent: You mean the operator of the site isn’t allowed to call someone a fuckwit when a commentator is talking pure drivel. Yeah right… Everyone is allowed to do that here provided they make the point about why they are doing it.

    However just to make it clear even for a luser like yourself.

    1. I am the system operator – so this is the ‘hole’ I am from. Surprisingly few of the other commentators will share your opinion because it was an issue they’d have left long ago (voting with their comments). Instead we seem to have increasing readership (and fewer fools)
    2. Since I run the site which means that I help set the rules along with the other authors (see the policy). You’ll notice that trying to dictate the rules of the site to the people who run the site is defined as being a darwin offense.
    3. You aren’t even a commentator worthy of respect because you change your handle so often that noone apart from me knows who you have been. Sysop’s like myself can figure out exactly who you are.
    4. My first degree was in earth sciences. It isn’t hard to figure out when someone is talking total crap in areas that I trained in. Your comments fall into that category.
    5. The first rule about advancing knowledge is to look at the evidence. I looked at your links which appears to have been more than you did. I pointed out the problem with your interpretation; that the person you were holding up as an example said that your interpretation was wrong. So you repeated the same incorrect assertion multiple times.
    6. Of course we have also been subjected to similar tactics including the faux outrage and lack of reading your own links many times before. It just looks completely stupid.
    7. And you’re wondering why you’re treated with disdain?


  9. randal 9

    hey clashman.
    wassup bro.
    is whaleshit late with the brown paper bag?

  10. grumpy 10

    ………and meanwhile…….sitting at snow covered Copenhagen airport, en route to Zurich and then to Berlin on Sunday, locals are saying the coldest (albeit late) winter will bring unusually low temperatures to both my destinations – what would I not give for some localised Global Warming right now……….

    • lprent 10.1

      Climate change means that the climate becomes less stable. Having more heat in the system means that there is more energy to push air masses around. In your case where you are, it means a higher probability of pushing cool air masses from the artic further south…

      Given the oddities of the north Atlantic climate, I’m expecting that overall global warming is likely to make winters and even summers in northern Europe to have more than usual cold snaps for many decades. The artic warms up by pushing colder air and water south and having warmer air and water from the south moving north. That very active mixing of air masses is going to cause some exceptional extremes, so I’d expect that Europe and the top of North America are going to get ‘interesting’ weather for a while.

      I am half expecting to see the same in the south of NZ whenever the circum antarticia flows start breaking down and antartica starts heating up more rapidly. But that will be som time away.

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