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Oh dear

Written By: - Date published: 5:14 pm, December 9th, 2008 - 55 comments
Categories: climate change, national/act government - Tags: ,

Rodney Hide on National and ACT’s select committee into the ETS:

“I am especially pleased to see that the issue of the scientific and trade implications will be considered alongside the impacts on the economy.

“There is definitely not a monolithic view on the fact of human induced climate change and I welcome this government’s willingness to hear from scientists and others who are sceptics. I have to say I am one and it is appalling that the previous government accepted human induced climate change as a new religion with former US vice- president Al Gore as its prophet.”

Hear that? It’s the sound of our international credibility going down the gurgler.

55 comments on “Oh dear”

  1. gingercrush 1

    Please source statements made by people.

  2. Daffodil Gal 2

    *repeatedly bashes head against wall*

  3. It’s possibly Hansard, gc, which won’t have been published yet

  4. bobo 4

    Cringe… I think Leighton Smith might be his environmental adviser. Nice to see we are going back to being 20 years behind the rest of world scientific opinion. Think I will start wearing my stubbies again.

  5. Tane 5

    gc, I got it from an offline newswire service. I’ll source it later when it goes up on Scoop.

  6. burt 7

    So have I got this correct, it’s cold in winter because there is less CO2 in the air during winter? The angle of the planets axis and the amount of solar radiation that reaches the earth because of the tilt has nothing to do with it. [noone is claiming that seasons are caused by carbon dioxide. You’re sailing pretty close to that ban for being too dumb again, burt. SP]

    Likewise it’s warmer in summer because there is more CO2 in the air during summer?

    I’m not decided either way on AGW. One thing I do know is that humans have massive ego’s and like to think they are in control or can control something as massive as the climate on earth.

    Personally I think the sun spot activity has a lot more to do with global warming than the Al Gore deciples want to know about.

    However all of this will be resolved in the next 10 or so years as the sun spot cycle is declining at the moment and expected to decline more over the next few years.

    Given the last 2 years have seen a slight decrease in global average temperatures and have also seen a decrease in sun spot activity I think it’s foolish to jump on the religious band wagon of socialist command & control via ETS taxation scheemes.

    I do wonder if the possibility that the current decline in sun spot activity is a driver for urgent introduction of ETS legislation, get it in before it’s proven we don’t need it then we can all pat ourselves on the back when it’s suddenly “proven” to be working as “Pastor Al Gore” said it would.

  7. Santi 8

    “It’s the sound of our international credibility going down the gurgler.”

    What international credibility? If you mean Helen Clark and her labour government, you need to wake up: they are no longer in power.

    [lprent: I really have to finish that banning plugin. Your two weeks are long up and I haven’t pulled you out of moderation yet. Rectifying]

  8. Felix 9

    Wow, burt.

    Have you ever, ever heard anyone suggest that the seasons are caused by c02?

    Where did you pull that one out of, genius? Are you on the pipe again?

    Or is this your noble attempt to give Wodney someone to be less retarded than?

  9. Pascal's bookie 10

    burt, this headline will excite you, but look at the graph…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/05/climate-change-weather?commentpage=1

  10. Lew 11

    burt: I’m not decided either way on AGW. One thing I do know is that humans have massive ego’s and like to think they are in control or can control something as massive as the climate on earth.

    With apologies to David Hume, is it more absurd that some humans consider we can by our actions change the temperature of our biosphere (and have a huge volume of evidence to support this thesis), or that some consider that we are so puny and insignificant that no matter what we do we couldn’t possibly affect something so grand and mighty (and have precious little evidence to this conclusion)?

    L

  11. pk 12

    Isn’t the biggest issue that (assuming AGW is true) all current approaches including ETS and Kyoto will not make a difference?

    There are two other blocks – there is sufficient concern about the current AGW model to not make a quadrillion $ bet – and even if it’s true China and India are not going to play ball – never mind the yanks – so it’s all an intellectual masturbation exercise.

  12. Lew 13

    pk: Isn’t the biggest issue that (assuming AGW is true) all current approaches including ETS and Kyoto will not make a difference?

    To an extent this is counterfactual, since it’s unknowable whether they will or won’t until schemes are implemented and bedded in – and none yet are. It’s truue that the EU scheme isn’t exactly awe-inspiring. However, the general principle holds – make something cost more and people will tend to prefer other less-costly options.

    even if it’s true China and India are not going to play ball – never mind the yanks

    If in the long term they want favourable trade terms, access to technologies and expertise and other soft-power sorts of alliances with the EU they will. And that argument is irrelevant in NZ’s case, since – whether those countries participate or not, our current trade partners do, and they’re just gagging for an excuse to slap tariffs on our premium products – not to mention our methane-producing dairy industry.

    L

  13. ianmac 14

    Burt reminds me of those penguins clustering at the waters edge and none of them wants to be first in in case….
    Wouldn’t any move to clean and green the planet be in every living things benefit?

  14. Janet 15

    What will Rodney say to those Pacific nations literally trying to keep their heads above water? They are becoming an increasingly vocal lobby.

    .

  15. Lew 16

    Janet: Sink those annoying Pacific islands, then all the displaced islanders will come here and work for minimum wage on 89-day rolling contracts!

    L

  16. burt 17

    SP

    [noone is claiming that seasons are caused by carbon dioxide. You’re sailing pretty close to that ban for being too dumb again, burt. SP]

    Too dumb… So have I got this right, the temperature change in the seasons is directly a result of the amount of solar energy landing on the surface of the planet. The tilt in the planets axis being the reason for higher sun exposure during summer and lower sun exposure during winter. Sun spots have a direct effect on the amount of energy reaching the planet from the sun and also effect the formation of clouds. The seasons prove the amount of energy reaching the planet from the sun effects temperature.

    However relative increases in solar energy during periods of high solar activity and decreases during period of low solar activity have nothing to do with the temperature on earth. Ummm….

    If you know much about radio transmission problems (which are well documented in relation to solar cycles and fluctuations) you would know that solar activity is anything but constant over time.

    Here is some info on solar variations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

    This bit is interesting.

    There have been proposals that variations in solar output explain past climate change and contribute to global warming. The most accepted influence of solar variation on the climate is through direct radiative forcing. Various hypotheses have been proposed to explain the apparent solar correlation with temperatures that some assert appear to be stronger than can be explained by direct irradiation and the first order positive feedbacks to increases in solar activity. The meteorological community has responded with skepticism, in part because theories of this nature have come and gone over the course of the 20th century.

    And the latest theory (Al Gore’s religious following) is suddenly accurate and explains everything that has never been explained before and we need to introduce taxes to change behaviours and stop the effects that mighty humans are having. Oh yeah….

  17. burt 18

    Janet

    What will Rodney say to those Pacific nations literally trying to keep their heads above water? They are becoming an increasingly vocal lobby

    Do these same people plan to lobby NZ to pass laws that will halt the movement of tectonic plates as well ?

    Land masses have been moving, sinking, lifting, bending, separating, overlapping etc for some time now.

    I don’t know how else to tell you this… Earth didn’t came with a “stay exactly the same forever” guarantee.

  18. lprent 19

    burt: The problem is not with the amount of energy reaching earth. That doesn’t change on any appreciable time scale (ie more than decades, less than millions of years). Over the past million years and next million years, the suns energy varies but within a limited range (ie our star is mildly variable) and out orbit does not change except fractionally. Remember climate change from greenhouse effect sis going to measured in decades at worst, and in less than hundred years at best.

    What we have is an insulation problem. After energy arrives inside the atmosphere, more of it is retained locally, and less radiated to space. The reason that this happens is that CO2, CH4, and other things are far more efficient at ‘scattering’ the energy down to infrared levels. This is exactly what happens in greenhouses with the glass after visible light enters, but the IR from scatter on plants and the ground doesn’t leave.

    Radiation at that level is also less likely to get out of the atmosphere. So in effect there is a change in the energy receipt / energy escape ratio out of the atmosphere. In other words the entropy of the radiation will be reduced in a shorter distance in the atmosphere than it was previously.

    In the long term that means a new balance will happen at the current greenhouse gas levels (with the consequent effects on reflection). If the levels keep rising, then eventually it’d we’d wind up at a balance somewhere well above what it is now and below that of Venus (because the insolation at our orbit is less).

    At some point it is unlikely that human civilisation will be unable to cope, and I’d expect that a lower rather than higher levels based on examples in history.

    So the things you’re arguing about are completely irrelevant to the discussion – for intents and purposes over a decade long time scale, they are a steady-state. I’m pretty sure you know all this, which means that all you’re trying to do is obstrufication.

  19. burt 20

    ianmac

    Wouldn’t any move to clean and green the planet be in every living things benefit?

    Given that greenhouse produce growers (and hydroponics growers) increase CO2 loading in these closed environments to increase plant growth – arguably the best way to green the planet is to increase atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Here is a link with some interesting info about CO2 levels and plant growth.

    Carbon Dioxide In Greenhouses

    …increasing the CO2 level to 1,000 ppm will increase the photosynthesis by about 50% over ambient CO2 levels.

    …Natural gas, propane and liquid fuels are burned in specialized CO2 generators located throughout the greenhouse.

    So while we tax people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse growers are deliberately cranking the stuff out to increase crop production.

    The things we do eh…. But I do agree we should all do our bit to minimise our pollution footprint, I’m just not convinced that “Pastor Al Gore” is the prophet we should be following at this stage.

  20. lprent 21

    burt: For your tectonic plate one. Looks like you’re just screwing around. Tell me the time scales for major tectonic movements. Is it centuries? Thousands of years? More?

    If you want to be a dickhead with spurious arguments, why not expend some effort and find some credible arguments.

    Or are you running an education campaign to demonstrate stupid arguments?

  21. Janet 22

    Burt
    Watch out for the hungry polar bears losing their homes thanks to human ignorance and greed. They might be coming your way.

  22. lprent 23

    burt:

    People using greenhouses are growing plants, which breathe CO2. The more of it that they have the faster they will grow.

    People using green houses suppress animals which excrete CO2 because they eat plants.

    Adding CO2 seems like a reasonable idea if you want to grow more plants.

    Any other stupid arguments you want to use?

  23. Lew 24

    burt: You’re being wilfully stupid. `Pastor Al Gore’ isn’t the lead for this – it’s the IPCC, and quite frankly, if you believe the skeptics over the IPCC then you no longer believe in science.

    Come on, you’re better than this – I’ve seen evidence in your previous posts here and elsewhere. Stop wasting your time and our time pretending to be scientifically illiterate.

    L

  24. burt 25

    lprent

    Looks like you’re just screwing around. Tell me the time scales for major tectonic movements. Is it centuries? Thousands of years? More?

    That varies lprent. Large areas of Napier were swamp pre 1930. The “big” earthquake lifted that in about a minute. Same for large areas of Wellington Airport Kilbernie etc. Sea levels have never been constant, shells are observable in soils thousands of meters above current sea level and historic sea level plains are observable in many coastlines.

    I’m not being deliberately difficult here, I’m just pointing out that life on earth is pretty random. Things happen pretty quickly some times and it’s not always predictable or avoidable.

  25. Felix 26

    So which is it, burt? Are you being willfully stupid (a jerk) or genuinely stupid (stupid)?

    I’m guessing it’s a bit of both based on your past behaviour.

  26. lprent 27

    burt: I know this – the joys of doing a earth science degree are that you get a morbid curiosity. With change – it is a question of time scales against the timescales of human societies.

    Most earth changes happen in a minimum of thousands of years for anything significant. Meter level changes locally don’t affect globally. Even something like the deccan traps with its consistent outpouring of gases like CO2 took at least thousands of years to cause global effects.

    The difference is where you have an effect that triggers a feedback. It is likely that things like the recent glacials in the last 40 million years are caused by a natural effects tipping one of those. For instance ocean currents…

    The problem with the greenhouse effects is that we’re looking at decades as the likely timescales. We are also doing things that are likely to trigger feedbacks in natural systems that we rely on for our civilisations. That is scary.

    Now if you can show that doubling the CO2 and doing more than that with CH4 (not to mention the other emissions) isn’t likely to trigger those effects, then I’ll get less worried. At present the science keeps showing that we are more likely to trigger feedbacks in the biosphere than less likely, and has done so ever since the problem was first discussed in the 1950’s.

    The danger is in the detail, and the more we learn, the more the people who actually know this stuff get worried. The IPCC has consistently under-estimated the risks in my opinion, and the effects that they’re talking about are bad enough.

  27. Quoth the Raven 28

    burt – A few points about your, as Iprent said, spurious arguments. Drags out plant physiology texbook. In C3 plants photosynthetic rates do increase over a broad CO2 range. However in C4 plants photosynthesis is CO2 saturated at low concentrations. So C3 plants would benefit from increasing CO2 levels but C4 plants won’t. Photosynthesis is also obviously inhibited at high temperatures, remembering that a leaf can be 4-5 degrees hotter than the outside air when the sun’s hitting it. Most importantly plants are adapted to the environments they have evoloved in, if the environment changes too fast then will not be able to adapt – ecological collapse. Face it burt with desertification, increased severity of storms, droughts, flooding, etc, climate change will not make the world a gardeners paradise. What I’ve heard is that food production will certainly decrease and that will obviously be bad for everyone.

  28. Rex Widerstrom 29

    Climate change scepticism aside, one surely cannot help but wonder whether NZ sticking it’s neck out yet again in an attempt to set an example which a significant portion of the rest of the world chooses not to follow or lags far behind in adopting, to our cost, is not an ultimately futile gesture.

    Sure, when we’re all toast we can turn to China, India and other major CO2 producers, purse our lips and say “See! If you’d been more like us we wouldn’t be in this mess!”. Of course we’ll be saying it in smoke signals since the cost of an ETS as proposed by Labour and the Greens will by then have made that the only viable means of communication.

    But choosing to navigate the road to hell in our V8 with the airconditioning on full and accepting our infinitessimally small share of the guilt is also an option, considering that, come the end of the world, our self-sacrifice won’t have made a measurable difference.

    [And yes, my glass is always half empty, why do you ask? :-P]

  29. lprent 30

    burt: Incidently, I think that the highest risk of CO2 emissions for humans in the short-term is the probability of triggering another northern hemisphere glaciation. All of the evidence that we have indicates that these are incredibly sensitive to ocean current changes, and that the onset is measured in years or decades.

    I won’t bore you with the arguements, but it is pretty much related to tempature and salinity differences changing. That provides the energy for the currents. If they move then you find major land-based climate changes happening very rapidly, because unlike the sea, land doesn’t provide high levels of heat storage.

    That is one of the reason I get annoyed with people that start saying, oh but look, there is no global warming because it is getting cooler here. The topic is climate change, and that could move in different ways in different regions.

    Incidentially your point about human hubris is wrong. There are demonstrated climate shifts from human intervention in the past. Look at the dust levels in northern europe in the last couple of centuries.

  30. Lew 31

    Rex: Actually, given the overwhelming orthodoxy of emissions reduction policy and the propensity of many of our major trading partners to act in protectionist ways, the question is: which will hurt more: implementing a world-leading ETS to prove our environmental bona fides, or endangering our clean green brand and premium markets in Europe and (soon) North America by not having one?

    So as I’ve said before – if not for the environment and future generations, do it for the economy and this one. Unless you think that over the next few years we can realign a huge chunk of our trade to China and India, the only two major economies which remain heterodox.

    L

  31. Dan 32

    Damn, QoT beat me to the plant science geekery (my one chance to make use of it, up in smoke)… anyway, I was going to point out the effects of increased CO2 on tropical rainforests, the Amazon in particular:
    It can be demonstrated with the use of oxygen isotopes in water that the rain that falls in the western Amazon basin has already been through many plants on the way. Rain comes from the water evaporated from the Atlantic, and clouds do not penetrate far to the west before it falls. Trees absorb it, then transpire from their leaves, and on it goes until it hits the Andes.
    The water exits the leaves through holes called stomata, which are for the purpose of taking in CO2 (mainly), and if CO2 concentrations increase, the number of stomata decrease, and the amount of water leaving a plant’s leaves decreases. gradually the amount of precipitation in the western Amazon drops, leaving scrubland, and then desert.
    As you can see, CO2 is not a wonder-fertiliser for plants, without having to invoke any warming at all (which however, is quite real, and will aggravate the effect)

  32. Rex Widerstrom 33

    Lew:

    [Please don’t read a sarcastic tone into this, it’s a genuine question]

    Do you really think NZ’s clean green marketing image is dependent upon whether or not it has an ETS? It seems to me to be based on a lot of emotive imagery (snow capped peaks, melting ice (ironically) trickling over rocks, Tuis calling in the distance, sheep grazing in dazzling green paddocks etc).

    Is the consumer in Harrods mulling over whether to buy the NZ leg of lamb or the French one really going to stop and think “hang on, who has an ETS?”.

    Or if not at that level, are you saying that governments will start to use lack of an ETS as an excuse for protectionist measures? No more cheap clothes and tat on a principle?

  33. gingercrush 34

    Lew makes good points as always. I’m not a believer of climate change. I don’t debate the subject, I don’t criticise anyone that believes in it. I barely read the science. I still don’t believe it. I have the same attitude as I did with bird flu which was completely overblown and turned out to be barely anything. Yet we were all meant to be in a world epidemic.

    But where Lew is right is regardless of your beliefs in climate change. This country must be seen as doing something something it. Carbon tax, ETS or something else; it doesn’t matter. Just do something to combat climate change or else face real economic consequences. Because like he said, Europe which is known for its protectionism, Obama who so far has shown protectionist aspects and other countries will use it against us.

    Rex: I think a number of British people are increasingly going back to local products just as a percentage of Kiwis are increasingly looking at local products and produce. It may be a small percentage in Europe. But there is a small movement overthere and here and these people are demanding not only organic products but they do take carbon profits into account and there is a belief that consuming must take place at local levels. These people, are a number who are interested in good quality food that may in future decide not to buy New Zealand lamb and other products we grow, make etc because of actions in regards to climate change issues etc. Already we know that air miles is an issue. Still I think those movement more look at local products as the key and not necessarily climate change action etc.

  34. Dan 35

    Rex: perhaps you missed the “Food miles” issue – people in Europe do care about where their food comes from, and we will need to be proactive to overcome the idea that distance=bad. As far as tourists go, an ETS is more relevant – if people start feeling guilty about the emissions from flying all the way around the world, we need to be able to say to them “you may have flown all that way, but now that you are here, you can have a nice green holiday, because we have clean public transport, renewable electricity etc.”, and while the actual ETS may not convince them, it is the way (or a way) to achieve the results that will.

  35. Westminster 36

    There is a scientific consensus about the link of CO2 and climate change. The widely reported “differences” appear ideological not scientific. I wish the denialists would simply read science periodicals and peer reviewed journals rather than right wing blogs and the rantings of tin hat wearing paranoids. What bugs me is that the science is consistently hijacked in the media and in discussions such as this but ideologically-driven argument rather than evidence and reason. It’s as annoying as the Evolution denialists and the Holocaust denialists and, like them, it uses the same kinds of tactics: like picking on some minor point of issue of inconsistency and use that little acorn of argument to grow a tremendous oak of stupidity. Look, fuck all this bullshit. Something needs to be done about climate change. And it needs to be done now. We look stupid and ignorant arguing the fundamental science. That debate is over. Has been for about five years. Let’s just get on and fix the damned problem. Even if ideology has got the better of you and you continue to deny the science what’s the harm of shifting to a more productive and sustainable economy? If you deny climate change, the worse that should happen by addressing climate change as if it were real is that we end up less dependent on extortionate oil, have cleaner air and water and a much better deal for the environment. That’s it. That’s the worse case scenario. But if you’re wrong and climate change is real and we don’t do something about the worst case scenario is fucking terrible. I just don’t understand why denialists just don’t go with the flow. Feel free to say, “I don’t believe the science and evidence” but just don’t impede the rest of us from getting on a doing something about climate change.

  36. burt 37

    lprent

    If human activity has had a serious effect close to irreversible in decades then the effects are not at peak now. The lag between inputs and predicted outcomes requires urgent action, yet we seek to use it to save a few thousand residents of an low lying island where every cm makes a difference. Bloody noble idea but on a planet where solid rock floats like a super slow motion wobbly jelly with hollows filled with condensed water – shit happens and at least these people have a heads up warning of more than a few minutes, days or years. People are more temporary than land on this planet, but nothing lasts forever.

    Throughout time sea levels have been changing, changes in land mass form will have more significant effects on sea level than melting ice. Floating ice that melts makes no difference to sea levels.

    I feel for any humans displaced by global climate changes but decimating our fragile economy to show the world why changes should be made seems like folly to me.

  37. lprent 38

    Westminister is exactly correct. The science debate on this has been over for a while. The problem for a while is not that there are going to be effects, it is looking at the risks of various possible effects.  Frankly Act’s attitudes just look archaic to anyone that knows the science. To me they look like dickheads because it is clear that they don’t understand the theory, and always nitpick on things that aren’t particularly related (ie they don’t understand the theory or the evidence).

    The political debate is about how to ameliorate these effects. That has barely started and certainly hasn’t had any real affect on the growth of emissions to date.

    I’d point out that likely direct effects for NZ are low impact. Inland continental areas and low lying areas are the landmasses that hit the worst in possible scenarios. Since that is where a large proportion of our current and future markets lie… It is important to us as well.

    We’re economically connected to the overseas markets that are getting very worried about effects in their region. Northern Europe, Northern America in particular are likely to have real problems, so they’re slowly taking action. Those actions will include all of their trading partners because you can’t ameliorate the problem locally.

    That is where Lew and others arguments come into play. There will be direct pressure from those countries.

    As China, India, etc get further into their growth, you’ll find that they get pretty concerned as well. They’ll see significant effects probably even sooner, and be less able to cope.

  38. lprent 39

    burt: I think that you’ve been already answered. Not doing something about it is likely to even worse things to our ‘fragile economy”.

    We are configured to be massively linked into the world economy and not be a hermit kingdom like North Korea. We will see economic effects early coming in from our trading partners. We trade in luxuries which are easy targets for domestic politicians in those countries.

  39. burt 40

    lprent

    So it’s boiled down to how we market NZ?

    The ETS is to stave off the predicted slump in tourism due to ETS type schemes on the other side of the world. OK.

  40. Chris G 41

    “Throughout time sea levels have been changing, changes in land mass form will have more significant effects on sea level than melting ice. Floating ice that melts makes no difference to sea levels.”

    Thats straight from a blog or some crackpot journalist burt. You’d be hard pressed to find that in a peer-reviewed paper in a good journal. There is some serious misinformation out there.

  41. lprent 42

    CG: I missed that.

    burt: Apart from the simple temperature effects, of course state changes have an effect. Ice is less dense than water (which of course is why it floats). So good, it will then reduce the sealevel right (imagining a classic science illiterate argument). But that is incorrect because of displacement – nett effect probably nothing for sea ice. Apart from the volume change in warm water, the salinity changes and their effects on currents, the temparure changes and their effects on currents, the biosphere changes and their effect on everything.

    But most importantly… Except that a high proportion of the worlds ice is tied up on land in Greenland, Siberia, Antartica, Alaska, etc etc. If that melts then there are major changes in sealevels – it currently has no effect on sealevels because it is on land.

  42. lprent 43

    No burt, in the short-term for NZ, it is if we are allowed to market our goods to markets that do have a lot to worry about. If they look at us and say that we’re putting their lives and their children at risk, they’ll buy goods elsewhere.

    It won’t be the consumers doing it either (although I’d expect that will be significant). It will be trade barriers because our production and delivery costs in emissions will be too high. They will simply tax us at the border for the costs that we should have already built in. No-one likes a freeloader, especially those paying the costs for local production and services.

    Face it, it is get with our markets or get out within a few short decades…

  43. Dan 44

    Yes burt, tectonic movements such as earthquakes may have a greater effect (in the short term, at least) and less warning than sea level change but there is an important difference – we didn’t cause the earthquake, we didn’t forecast the earthquake, and we couldn’t stop the earthquake happening, or at least reduce its affects.
    Just because someone might be hit by an meteorite, that doesn’t mean we should drop rocks off bridges

  44. Quoth the Raven 45

    GC – No doubt that bird flu was overblown by the media, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that such a possibility, an animal flu virus mutating and becoming capable of human to human infection, is a serious risk. Does 1918 ring a bell? From memory I think that was a pig flu virus that mutated. Tens of millions of people died. A new influenza virus such as that is always a potentiality, though nothing to fret over and drum up media driven fear over. That particular bird flu mutating is still a possibility, so the risk has by no means past.

  45. Dan 46

    Whenever I hear someone complaining about how bird flu never became an epidemic, and what a waste of time preparing for it was, I can’t help but imagine what they’d say if the Govt had played the odds and done nothing, and then human-to-human transmission started happening… along the lines of “you knew about this a year ago and you haven’t prepared, curse you Helen Clark, and your irresponsible government, why couldn’t you be more like some kind of benevalent protector, like some kind of gigantic…um…..nanny?”
    Anyway, although the stockpiled Tamiflu may never be used, the rest of the preparations were hardly a waste of time. Our civil defence procedures got a good look at, and if an epidemic does arrive, and without the warning of H5N1, then this sort of practice could make a huge difference.

  46. Rex Widerstrom 47

    gingercrush, Dan:

    Thanks for the responses. I can see where there’s a possibility that our being seen to be doing something about climate change may ameliorate the concerns of some Norhern hemisphere consumers about the distances travelled by our produce and the carbon that produces.

    However the “buy local” movement has a lot of other drivers including a desire to have confidence in the levels of pesticides etc (including none at all when buying organic). They naturally believe that local producers are more responsive and accountable to such concerns.

    If that’s going to be advanced as an argument in favour of an ETS (and I accept that, prima facie, it’s a reasonable argument) then it would seem to make sense for us to be doing some market research to ascertain just what influence these various factors have upon consumers in our major markets.

    lprent suggests:

    As China, India, etc get further into their growth, you’ll find that they get pretty concerned as well. They’ll see significant effects probably even sooner, and be less able to cope

    A glass half full man, I see 🙂 Personally, I doubt a country that can shrug off international outrage at everything from executing its citizens as a spectator sport to censoring the internet will give a damn. And as for India, I suspect they’ll continue to have more pressing problems similar to Mumbai for some time to come. Plus there’s the factor that for individuals to alleviate their burden on the planet has costs – in everything from paying for recycling in your rates to buying a Prius – that the average Indian consumer is unlikely to be able to meet.

  47. lprent 48

    Rex: You’re confusing two separate human traits. Political repression, and physical safety. They get processed quite differently by people and their governments.

    I was referring to the number of their populations that live in river deltas, river mouths, or on the coast lines in continental areas, and their safety. If the affluence levels levels in those countries rises as fast as I expect, then I’d also expect that there will be the commiserate rise in the interest of the safety of their populations. The populations will demand it because what use is a government that cannot ensure the physical safety of their general population.

    Continental river and coastal cities get hit by multiple factors from increased runoff going down the large rivers, salination of water tables, tidal effects from sea level rises, increased storm activity, etc.

    If a country like the US, with their vast spare capacity,  has problems with the after-effects of a single storm in a city like New Orleans. Then imagine what happens to a city like coastal city on a river mouth like Shanghai, or a city like Delhi, located on a vulnerable flood plain when they have a event.

    I suspect that it will only take a relatively few of those weather related incidents that can partially be related to climate change in a short time period with high death and displacement rates to cause governments in those areas to look at climate change in a whole new light. While they’re cleaning up their own act, they will also target others.

  48. Lew 49

    Rex: Dan, GC and Lynn have largely made my arguments for me, but to address your specific questions:

    Do you really think NZ’s clean green marketing image is dependent upon whether or not it has an ETS?

    I’d say it’s a necessary but not sufficient condition to retain brand credibility, yes.

    Is the consumer in Harrods mulling over whether to buy the NZ leg of lamb or the French one really going to stop and think “hang on, who has an ETS?’. Or if not at that level, are you saying that governments will start to use lack of an ETS as an excuse for protectionist measures? No more cheap clothes and tat on a principle?

    Changes in consumer behaviour take place at the margins, and the idea of the brand is not to entice people to choose NZ products over no products; it’s intended to entice them to choose NZ products over similar competing products from other suppliers. So cheap clothes and tat aren’t really at issue for us – but French (or more likely, Welsh and Irish) lamb is; French, Spanish and italian wine is, and most critically Scandinavian, Australian and Canadian tourism certainly is.

    However the “buy local’ movement has a lot of other drivers

    Quite true, and this is why gaining competitive advantage on variables where we can assert a point of difference (carbon neutrality, GE free, etc.) is all the more critical.

    it would seem to make sense for us to be doing some market research to ascertain just what influence these various factors have upon consumers in our major markets.

    To an extent this is subject to Heisenberg uncertainty, since the more market research is conducted into hot-button issues such as the environment the more it tends to reinforce the impression that it’s important and relevant. I expect some such research has been conducted as part of the 100% Pure brand strategy, and I agree that it’s important to know what you’re doing. However a perceived lack of research is no justification to halt, undermine or otherwise endanger an existing campaign which enjoys widespread support in NZ industry and is well-regarded in our markets.

    L

  49. Phil 50

    Re; Debate on sea levels in pacific islands

    Outside of normal tidal movements, sea levels don’t “rise” in one part of the same ocean, and remain level in another. To do so, water would have to disobey some fairly fundamental laws of gravity.

    NZ doesn’t have rising sea levels, as far as I’m aware. Yet, miraculously, the pacific islands do… something doesn’t add up. I suspect it has more to do with some dodgy mining practices in the islands, than GW.

  50. Dan 51

    Phil: Just a quick oceanographers point – sea level around the world is not constant, it follows a level called the geoid, which is not regular, and then is further distorted by gravitational effects, currents, thermal expansion – which could, as far as I’m aware, mean that sea level rise affects one area more than another.
    Secondly, I don’t know about NZ, but sea level has quite definitely been rising in most of the world – the difference in the Pacific islands is that the rise there is not constant. I cannot remember why, but while the average sea level in NZ, for example, rises smoothly and fairly constantly, in the islands some years are very high, some are low. Thus, if the small amount of rise that has occurred so far is paired with a high sea level year, it is quite enough to rise above low lying areas.
    I believe that what is said about the swamping of pacific islands is that while it used to happen, it is now more frequent, and there is only so much an island can take before it is uninhabitable, because the freshwater source is contaminated, and plants stop growing.

  51. lprent 52

    Dan: Yeah my partner is off doing a documentary on an island in PNG that is having the problem. They’re not exactly sure of what is causing the change. She is away for another 2.5 weeks *sigh*. The main effect is the salination of the fresh water bubble in the atoll.

    From my understanding, the likely reason for the variability in the pacific islands is the moving of ocean currents with the el-nino cycle. But the theories keep moving as they get more evidence.

    NZ doesn’t really get it because of the dominance of the very continuous currents coming from Antarctica.

  52. twisted 53

    Whenever I hear someone complaining about how bird flu never became an epidemic, and what a waste of time preparing for it was, I can’t help but imagine what they’d say if the Govt had played the odds and done nothing, and then human-to-human transmission started happening along the lines of “you knew about this a year ago and you haven’t prepared, curse you Helen Clark, and your irresponsible government, why couldn’t you be more like some kind of benevalent protector, like some kind of gigantic um ..nanny?’

    Apart from the ridiculous tamiflu programme, the govt did diddly squat. birdflu was mainly a MSM rark up.

    Anyway, although the stockpiled Tamiflu may never be used, the rest of the preparations were hardly a waste of time. Our civil defence procedures got a good look at, and if an epidemic does arrive, and without the warning of H5N1, then this sort of practice could make a huge difference.

    The Stockpiled tamiflu will never be used. Period. Its expired.

  53. rex,

    care to elaborate on “the average Indian consumer“..?

    are they up for more than you and/or less than me.. and how do you figure the average..??? serious, genuine questions, so please allow me try for some greater reality to the divers and devious commentary on this particular blog.

    to mind from reading down, congrats to lprent for the “insulation” problem – so very apt; to westminster for the acorn destined to stupidity. Of course, and in deference to those in clear need of it, stupidity (like lets say like yesteryear’s Easter Islanders) would be one helluvah way to endure the hell-on-earth human future that do nothings would warrant. what’s a shorter life to the insane?

    Janet, thank you for the bear thought — tho I suspect the particular offender you refered to is more likely to go meet the bears (in cooler places) than the clawed furries c’mon down for hots! Anyway they prefer raw meat. May even get to be rawhide. About the only place left on this planet of ours where he’d be deemed cool!

    Unmentioned so far has been rising ocean carbon dioxide levels.. a particular regional pacific problem.. and one I daresay kiwis could align themselves well with aussies on. more perhaps concern to likely future fish stock and food chain/s.. and doing something to help ourselves etc..

  54. And then there is another way of proving things—reduced demand! Just in from the EIA(US) I see Reuters Tom Doggett get his aussie audience with:—
    Global oil demand will contract for the first time since the early 1980s as world economic growth slows to a near standstill, the US government says.

    The forecast for 2008 and 2009 is bad news for energy companies and oil producing nations that depend on robust prices, but could benefit cash-strapped consumers by sending gasoline and heating costs lower, according to a US Energy Information Administration report.

    World oil demand is projected to fall by 50,000 barrels per day in 2008 and 450,000 barrels per day next year, the EIA said, led by a 1.2 million bpd contraction in top consumer the United States this year a 200,000 bpd drop in 2009.

    The immediate global issue is to arrest emissions growth. How the UN and US are aiming DO that I have covered a little – gimme a click – for that.

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