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Shapes of things (2012 and all that)

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 am, December 31st, 2011 - 29 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

lprent: From Gareth at Hot Topic, his views on what 2012 will bring. I’m currently sceptical on the impact of the known Eastern Siberian methane releases – but Gareth is more worried than I am. The rest is likely. If anyone else wants to make some predictions, I’ll give them a good look for guest posting them.

 

‘Tis the silly season, time for journalists with little real news to report to reflect on the year past and make predictions for the year to come. I don’t normally play that game because there are too many interesting things to write about on the climate beat, but this year I’m going to make an exception.Glenn “Climate Show” Williams persuaded me to have a chat with him on his summer Radio Live show — and yes, we did cover the last year, and the prospects for 2012. The audio’s available to stream for the next week from the Radio Live site (select Dec 28th, then the 1-15pm segment — my bit starts after about 5 minutes). You may regard this post as an expanded version of my comments there (and a bit of recap on the last Climate Show of the year).

So: 2011 was the year of extremes, beyond any shadow of doubt. Wherever you looked around the world, there were record-breaking floods, heatwaves and hugely damaging extreme weather events. The USA alone had 14 separate extreme weather events with billion dollar plus damage bills (NOAA puts it at 12 with 2 more to finalise, the World Meteorological Organisation plumps for 14). The year broke no records for global average temperature — 2011 will probably end up as the 10th or 11th warmest year in the long term record — but it will be the warmest ever La Niña year. Here’s a WMO graph to illustrate the point:

 

2011LaNina

The prospects for 2012 depend in large part on what happens to the El Niño Southern Oscillation this year. Will the current La Niña hang around for another year, decay to neutral conditions, or swing round to an El Niño? The odds, according to NOAA’s Klaus Wolters (on Dec 7th) are interesting:

Based on current atmosphere-ocean conditions, I believe the odds for this La Niña event to continue right through early spring (March-April 2012) are higher than 50%. Beyond that, it is worth noting that of the ten two-year La Niña events between 1900 and 2009, four ended up as a three-year event, so I would put the odds for this to occur in 2012-13 at 40% right now. Interestingly, the other six all switched to El Niño, leaving no ENSO-neutral case. Will be interesting to see how 2012 evolves.

It will indeed. A return to El Niño conditions in the first half of 2012 would boost global average temperatures, and that, coupled with the currently active phase of the 11 year solar cycle, might be enough to push 2012 above 2010 and 2005 for a new record. But more importantly, a return to El Niño would also change the patterns of weather around the world, and with them change the places that experience record extremes. Exactly how this will play out is impossible to predict, because the timing of a move out of La Niña conditions is difficult to forecast, and because the nature of El Niño’s impacts on weather patterns around there planet depend on the season (see WikipediaNOAA and NIWA for more).

So what do am I looking out for in 2012?

  • More extreme weather events, with a pattern shift if ENSO changes phase.
  • Possible new global temperature record, if El Niño arrives early enough in the year.
  • Continued Arctic sea ice melt (in both volume and area), with a possibility1 of a new record minimum in September.
  • Lots of fine words at the Rio +20 conference in June, but little concrete action. Ditto for COP 18 in Qatar in December.
  • At least one nasty surprise emerging from current research. I hope it isn’t East Siberian seabed methane, but we’ll know more when the papers describing the 2011 Arctic research season are published.

And a very happy new year for all Hot Topic readers…

29 comments on “Shapes of things (2012 and all that)”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Methane hydrate stability and anthropogenic climate change (Archer 2007) concludes that the likely timetable for methane clathrate release means the consequences will be “chronic rather than catastrophic”. Not exactly good news but…

  2. tc 2

    What if ?
    Conventional theories on the PPM ( parts per million ) content of carbon in the atmosphere that is perceived as the tipping points already been reached as they were wrong as to where that point was.

  3. RedLogix 3

    I’ve fretted on and off about the possiblity of a methane catastrophe for years. Every source you read has a different take on it, ranging from frankly hysterical to blythly dismissive.

    Unlike the general CO2 climate change predictions; a methane catastrophe is an innately discontinous event. It’s not a linear projection from the current state, it’s a quantum leap into completely unknown territory. This means no-one can predict anything about it with any confidence.

    But this does NOT mean that the risk does not exist and waiting until the proof was upon us is simply waiting far too damned long. It would be game over for humanity at that point.

    I’ve concluded, based on nothing more than a gut reaction, that the probability of a catastrophic methane event could be something like 10%. That’s Russian roulette territory and should worry us.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      I still think our best hope is that catastrophic weather events will degrade our capacity to emit to the extent that the problem becomes moot. Perhaps I’m just being horribly pessimistic.
      And yes, the time to act has probably passed: we have forty more years of warming queued up even if we stop burning fossil fuels and making concrete etc. right now, which means more methane releases…
      It will be a different world.

      • Reality Bytes 3.1.1

        Or perhaps another possibility that could bring things into equilibrium:
        As Fossil Fuel extraction becomes more difficult, breakthroughs in economics for alternative renewable (eg. solar, tidal etc) energy sources could change our entire energy consumption structure. Fossil Fuels could become uneconomical to extract and use as an energy source, although still used for some plastics, cosmetics or whatever non-energy products (which would go up in cost, also a good thing meaning we don’t dump so much plastic waste).

        In some ways I think we are quite fortunate that our easy oil reserves are limited. It means we have to get off our lazy asses as a collective species and come up with a more feasible bulk energy source.

        I hope we see some great breakthroughs in clean energy that help us all in 2012.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1

          Forty-seven joules per kilogram.

          • Reality Bytes 3.1.1.1.1

            47 mega joules even, AFAIK

            Of course petroleum is an incredibly convenient energy store, but in some ways that convenience makes us lazy and wasteful. Up until very recently we humans have neglected efficient use of petroleum products and energy because of it’s convenience factor.

            But times are a changing, we now have electrically powered personal transportation vehicles that may not have the same range as their fossil-fueled cousins, but are practical enough for most tasks.

            Even if a rechargeable/non-petroleum system provides only a fifth of the range vs a petroleum system, there are a myriad of other benefits: less dependence on an unsustainable energy source, less pollutive repercussions, etc. I believe these ’47 joule conveniences’ can be overcome by other more pressing ‘conveniences’ like having a habitable planet to live on.

            Thinking outside the square is the answer imo. Stuff like faster recharge capability can provide the convenience factor. Rapid mechanical swap of batteries like we do already with LPG gas bottles perhaps?

            Efficient bulk renewable/clean energy harvesting is the key to provide the raw energy we require. This is ultimately the area that we could benefit most from in terms of energy technological breakthroughs.

            With this in mind, I actually do agree with SOME of John Key’s asset sales.

            But for very different and more nuanced reasons than his fire-sale approach.

            I DO support selling of OBSOLETE assets like fossil fuel power plants. I honestly could not fault Key if this was all he proposed for asset sales (but of course that wasn’t the case).

            I DO NOT support selling renewable energy systems, things like geo-thermal and hydro. Other than maintenance these assets simply create energy, FOREVER, with no reliance on dirty fuel sources that are also liable to socio-political-market forces beyond our control.

            I realize hydro schemes change the landscape forever and in some ways very harmfully, but once that damage is done we should reap the benefits forever. We should not be paying dividends to some fat cat investment tycoons for the pleasure of a few short-term bucks for our national sacrifice to get these things established in the first place.

            • Reality Bytes 3.1.1.1.1.1

              before the physicists jump in here and start schooling me on the first law of thermodynamics. I meant hydro/geo systems ‘harvest’ energy, not create 🙂

              • Colonial Viper

                Good thoughts, but allow me to critique, nothing personal.

                So if you sell the fossil fuel plants to private interests, you would expect them to crank them up in order to get a return on investment, right? Whereas if they were under Govt. control you could just mothball them when appropriate – right?

                BTW whats the embodied energy of a Toyota Prius? And of the Li-ion batteries that you have to replace every few years?

                Because if you are thinking that these hybrid (and electric) cars are really going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or reduce fossil fuel use by replacing a beat up Honda Civic or Toyota Corona which is already on the road…you better calculate how much energy it takes to manufacture, ship and upkeep one of the new hybrids.

                I am betting that keeping a 1990 Honda Civic on the road instead of replacing it with some hybrid monstrosity reduces net greenhouse gas emissions.

                Replacing an older car fleet with a newer car fleet wastes energy and causes net emissions. Even work it out in terms of tonnes of new steel and aluminium which need to be refined.

                • Reality Bytes

                  Of course the asset sales didn’t happen like this, but in an ideal world here’s how I’d like them to be sold:

                  Obsolete fossil burning energy sources would be sold with the understanding they would eventually be mothballed since the ultimate national(not the party) goal would be to switch to renewable energy supply systems eventually. Coal/oil burning power plants could be sold with the understanding they would be wound down as their natural lifespan design specs are reached. The only upgrades would be anti-pollution upgrades (which may be subsidized by the govt/tax-breaks).

                  Of course these limitations and regulations would reduce the net value of these assets, but so what, that is what they should be worth, they are anachronistic liabilities. But I realise National is selling things as they see fit with no real thought given to issues like the ones that concern me. But even so – I would be ok with the Nat’s selling off these ‘assets’ without such regulatory care regardless, since I’d hope a more progressive government would get voted in after them one day with more passion for move us towards a cleaner energy future.

                  On Prius’ I know what you are talking about.

                  Prius is not our saviour, I know that. Let’s remember this is virtually a first generation experimental product and is merely a proving ground for a couple of things: recycling brake energy, and using a battery system as a storage buffer to try and waste less fossil fuel produced energy. It’s a small step with a couple of useful technologies imo, that’s it.

                  I realize the required changes are bigger than that, we need to be thinking in terms of simply not being so wasteful with energy in the first place, and more conservative with the stuff we do use. I bet over half of the non-renewable transportation energy us westerners use is for ridiculously redundant trivialities like pointless trips to the local dairy or supermarket for some forgotten non-essential.

                  Motivating a 2 ton vehicle with an inefficient engine to travel on a several kilometer round trip purely for the purpose of picking up some cream/cigarettes/bread/whatever seems a ridiculous use of such a limited fuel imo.

                  For people that use their own pedestrian/bicycle power, more power to them, and my thanks, that is part of the answer right there imo. Get fit and get tasks done for a fraction of the environmental and economical impact. If all us able-bodied folks did that, hell our nation would be out of the crap economically and energywise.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    the Prius is 15 years old. That’s 4 Japanese car generations, not 1. Put another way, the Prius, as inadequate as you know it is as a solution has come only that far in 15 years.

                    We don’t have another 15 years to wait of course, so its all over for hybrid and electric car development as the great hope to combat energy depletion, which you appear to have identified.

                    As for people changing their lifestyles, making fewer trips, cycling and becoming much fitter. I predict that you are right and it will happen. But my spin on it is that it will only happen after people are forced to. That is, after petrol is $3/L or $4/L.

  4. Gareth 4

    lprent posted this around the same time as I added this update at Hot Topic:

    [Update 31/12: Jeff Masters’ end of year review counts “32 weather disasters costing at least $1 billion worldwide. Five nations experienced their most expensive weather-related natural disasters on record during 2011–Thailand, Australia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia.” The year of extremes, indeed…]

    [lprent: will do something about it after I get back to a computer ]

  5. Jenny 5

    This week has seen record breaking summer temperatures recorded at the South Pole.

    South Pole (and nearby AWS sites) have recorded record warm temperatures on December 25, 2011. South Pole Meteorology Office notes the following:
    “The temperature topped out at -12.3C/9.9F yesterday at 0250 UTC/1550 NZDT 12/25, not quite to 10F”

    University of Wisconsin Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) at Nico and Henry AWS sites appear to have experienced record warm temperatures – and more will be posted on them after the data has been reviewed.

    University of Wisconsin-Madison Antarctic Meteorology Program

    Preliminary reports from Antarctic meteorologists, seem to suggest that the cause of the record high polar temperatures was a tongue of hot air that penetrated the Antarctic interior.

    Similar tongues of cold weather, coming down, from the Arctic have been implicated as being the cause of the record breaking snow falls and record breaking low temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere Winter.

    The unusual mixing of cold air and warmer air have been put down to changes, (particularly eddies) in the circumpolar winds.

    Scientists have likened this effect as leaving the fridge door open. (ie Your kitchen gets colder while your fridge gets warmer)

    Though overall, the average Northern Hemisphere winter temperature was higher than usual, the tongues of cold weather, leaking from the Artic saw records for winter lows broken on the Eastern Seaboard of the continental US.

    If the changes in the circumpolar winds continue, – these wandering tongues of both hot and cold air, are likely to become more common.

    Lynn, based on this, I predict that the coming Southern Hemisphere winter will see records for snow and low temperatures, in both the South and North Island.

    Hitting particularly hard in the South – I also predict, that again we will be caught by surprise by this ‘natural disaster’.

  6. Lostinsuburbia 6

    I look forward to considerable inaction from the Government punctuated by copious emissions of hot air.

  7. Jenny 7

    Dylan’s, prophetic “A hard rain’s gonna fall” is a question and answer exchange between a parent and child, about what kind of world this generation will bequeath the next.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this song was written about the threat of climate change.

    Where have you been, my blue-eyed son ?
    Where have you been my darling young one ?
    I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
    I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
    I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
    I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
    I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
    And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
    It’s a hard rain that’s gonna fall……

    Bob Dylan, 1962

    • Carol 7.1

      Back in the day that great song was thought to be about a nuclear holocaust.

      • Jenny 7.1.1

        Quite likely Carol, though Dylan as Quixotic as ever, denied it.

        But what is undeniable is that the lyrics conjure up some kind of warning, and when it comes to climate change, the chorus, “a hard rain is gonna fall”, is strangely apt.

        Rain Storms worst ever, “since records began”

        And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son ?
        And what did you hear, my darling young one ?
        I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warning…

        And after the rain will come the snow.

        “Snowmageddon”

  8. This year is just going to get worse
    Now where did I put that Kiwi Saver investment broacher ?

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2011/12/50-doomiest-stories-of-2011.html

    50 doomiest stories of 2011
    Posted by Jim at Monday, December 26, 2011

    Here are 2011’s most profoundly doom-laden stories, chosen arbitrarily by Des. Last year, this feature was The Twelve Doomiest Stories of 2010, to evoke “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, but twelve stories just aren’t enough to capture the zeitgeist of doom that permeated the year.

    Nuclear meltdowns at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi plant and the resulting widespread radioactive fallout dominated the doomscape for months, much as BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster dominated 2010. Desdemona figures that we can count on one huge technogenic catastrophe per year, as civilization slides down the energy-production curve and loses the ability to maintain its complex, aging infrastructure.

    2011 was a bad year for the Amazon basin, with illegal deforestation spiking as farmers anticipated government pardons. The Belo Monte dam was approved, as a “green” form of energy production for Brazil; it will destroy 400 square kilometers of rainforest. Conservation activists were murdered.

    But climate disasters comprised the overwhelming majority of doom stories in 2011, with reports of species extinctions and agricultural failures from all over the globe. Record droughts and floods struck a number of nations, with La Niña getting much of the blame, and 2011 saw increasing acceptance of the idea that the global climate is changing rapidly before our eyes. Pakistan was hit with another round of record monsoon flooding, adding to the misery from 2010. More ominously, global civilization has been unable to muster the necessary humanitarian response, implying that we’ve passed Peak Humanitarian Aid. The long drought in East Africa continued to drag on, creating huge refugee flows and killing endangered wildlife across a wide swath of the continent. Texas experienced record agricultural losses and depopulation as the ongoing drought makes the center of the state uninhabitable.

    • Oscar 8.1

      Kiwisaver needs to be immediately clamped down on with respects to the banks.

      The fact that Banks are now utilising those KS funds as “their money” and leveraging further lending off of it signifies to me that this is a glaring oversight that needs to be rectified forthwith.

      Do you know where your KS money actually is?

      • Robert Atack 8.1.1

        Do you know where your KS money actually is?

        Or if you have any left ?

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          Its a big problem. The MF Global scandal in the US shows that even if you own a “segregated” or “allocated” account, things which are definitely supposed to keep your assets safe and you at the front of the queue should the institution go under…it doesn’t.

          JP Morgan will simply reach into the books and take your money and assets first and ask questions later.

  9. And here is parliaments predictions for 2012 http://oilcrash.com/articles/wake_up2.htm

    Conclusion

    The global economy is heavily dependent on affordable oil.

    It may seem counter-intuitive that, when oil reserves and production capacity are higher than ever, the future of the oil market appears bleak. The problem is that production capacity is not expected to keep up with demand. That fact leads to severe economic consequences.

    To replace the declining production from existing oil wells and increase production, oil companies are forced to extract oil in more difficult and expensive conditions (deep-water, oil sands, lignite to liquids) from smaller, less favourable reserves. The marginal (price-setting) barrel of oil costs around US$75-$85 a barrel to produce. This will continue to rise with higher demand and exhaustion of reserves.

    Although there remain large reserves of oil which can be extracted, the world’s daily capacity to extract oil cannot keep increasing indefinitely. A point will be reached where it is not economically and physically feasible to replace the declining production from existing wells and add new production fast enough for total production capacity to increase. Projections from the IEA and other groups have this occurring, at least temporarily, as soon as 2012.

    The difference between the global capacity to produce oil and global demand is the supply buffer. When the supply buffer is large, oil prices will be low. When the supply buffer shrinks – due to demand rising faster than production capacity or production capacity falling – prices will rise as markets add in the risk that supply will not be available to meet demand at any given point in time.

    When a supply crunch forces oil prices beyond a certain point, the cost of oil forces consumers and businesses to cut other spending, inducing a recession. The recession destroys demand for oil, allowing prices to drop. Major international organisations are warning of another supply crunch as soon as 2012.

    The world may be entering an era defined by relatively short periods of economic growth terminating in oil price spikes and recession.

    New Zealand is not immune to the consequences of this situation. In fact, its dependency on bulk exports and tourism makes New Zealand very vulnerable to oil shocks.

    Clint Smith
    Research Analyst, Economics and Industry Team
    Parliamentary Library

    Again Kiwi Saver anyone? ……. I mean Labour were going to make it compulsory ???
    They must have missed the above report, along with the ‘brighter future’ crowed 😉

  10. johnm 10

    Probabilities and Predictions for 2012
    1.Planet will continue to heat up producing more extreme weather events. Refer James Lovelock
    2. Maybe an aerial assault on Iran to definitively remove any possibility of it making a nuclear weapon.
    3. U$$$$ will continue collapsing as an economic and social entity. Unbelievable? 46,000,000 on food handouts and up to 50% of Americans can be defined as in poverty. The American Dream is dead. There will be social protest and even riots caused by the hopelessly neoliberal regime imposed on them. The 1% must stop bludging of their fellow Americans.
    3. As the U$$$ weakens it won’t be able to buy more and more Chinese manufactures even on more debt which means the Chinese economy has peaked out and will decline. They may require less coal from Australia which will reduce their export income.
    4. The U.K. economy will continue spiralling downwards as the scams of the city of London run out of financial players.
    5. The Euro zone may well break up as its weaker members wake up to the banker neoliberal rip off being imposed on them. Example? Ireland, the people are paying for the private casino banker gambles that went sour, their traitorous politicians in on the get rich scheme sold them out though there was no legal obligation to do so.
    6. We have reached the end of growth refer Richard Heinberg. That is we have reached the limits of oil and other resource extraction and their supply is heading downwards.
    7. Population will continue to increase making all the above problems worse. The whole human race has grossly overshot environmental limits this means that nature will reduce our numbers whether we like it or not.
    8. The Oceans are all but destroyed with acidification and 90% of all large fish GONE. Man’s greed continues unabated look at the Japanese still heading South to kill whales despite the Antarctic treaty they signed prohibiting this. Good on SeaShepherd they are the only real heroes in this mess!
    9. Global collapse to an eventual simpler system is well under way the material party of the 20c is over, we are into the contraction phase of Industrial Civilisation.
    10. The rich and politically powerful continue to deny the commons and seek to increase their wealth and privilege by privatizing public assets and resources where ever possible (Using junk fiat currency, in itself not worth the paper its printed on therefore get some real assets.). Key is one of their class and is performing his class role.
    11. Expect deprivation and poverty to increase almost everywhere.
    12. New Zealand will continue to polarise into relative haves and have nots having rejected Labour’s offer to remedy this to some extent with: Extending working for families to beneficiaries, raising the minimum wage, free child care up to 6, taking GST of fruit and Vege, maintaining the commonwealth (not privatised wealth) with no sale of assets or privatization of ACC. The have nots will find life getting slowly harder and harder. Key’s attitude is “it’s their own fault, they made the wrong choices” from the hot comfort and beaches of his Hawaii retreat-all right for him! The New Zealand egalitarian dream is like the American one DEAD. Expect more prisons and blaming the have nots even though there aren’t the jobs for them. God help us when Australia is unable to one day act as our surplus labour safety valve!

  11. >Extending working for families to beneficiaries, raising the minimum wage, free child care up to 6, taking GST of fruit and Vege, maintaining the commonwealth (not privatised wealth) with no sale of assets or privatization of ACC<

    All the above are something only available in a world with expanding energy supplies etc, we are in a new paradigm now = next year 'we' may have 10% (on average) LESS than we have now.

    No matter who is running the show it is going to go to crap, and sooner than most can imagine.

    If the government owns a power station and there are no generators available to replace the existing ones, or a few computers crash, then it doesn't matter who owns the bloody things, they will just be empty defunct buildings, along with the whole grid.

    For Labour to do anything it would need a functioning economy with law abiding people, once the supermarkets start to run out of food, even mother Teresa couldn't stop the ignorant masses getting pissed.

    I replaced one of our water pumps yesterday, if I couldn't find 1 x 25mm nipple the whole system would have failed, this is the same with so much of our infrastructure, it is very dependent on coal powered factories all over the world for its 'wingdings' , no functioning factories in the US or China = no functioning anything in NZ*, like I said it doesn't matter which bunch of wankers are pretending to run the show, at some stage in the near future they are going to have to admit we are screwed, and at this stage I can't see any of the scum having enough vertebrae to come close to telling the truth IE Labours compulsory savings scam, backed 100% by The Greeds and National.

    It doesn't take many brain cells to work out that just like the 'American dream' ponzie savings scams are as dead. …. but as we can see one thing the general dumb public lack is grey matter, well the ones that think voting is going to help anyway.

    * Japan had to borrow a generator/power turbine thing from South Korea after the Earthquake,

  12. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jan/01/european-leaders-downplay-2012-prospects?commentpage=1#end-of-comments

    European leaders predict 2012 will be worse than 2011

    Angela Merkel says new year will ‘undoubtedly’ be harder than the last as eurozone crisis hangover prompts more austerity
    Europe is set for an austere 2012 as fallout from last year’s eurozone crisis and bailouts lingers on, leaders warn. Photograph: Michael Probst/AP

    The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has warned that the year ahead will “undoubtedly” be harder than 2011 in the starkest of a series of downbeat messages from European leaders dominated by fears over the economy.

    Merkel said Europe was experiencing its “harshest test in decades” but would ultimately be made stronger by the crisis.

    Urging greater European co-operation to salvage the Euro, Merkel said the German economy was performing well “even if the next year will undoubtedly be more difficult than this one”.
    Her solemn new year greeting, broadcast on Saturday, set the tone for those of her European counterparts.

    The Greek prime minister, Lucas Papademos, spelled out a continuation of harsh austerity measures, while the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, warned that sacrifices would have to be made if the country was to avoid “financial collapse”.

    The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, said people had to be “courageous” when facing the challenges ahead. “I know that the lives of many of you, already tested by two difficult years, have been put to the test once more. You are ending the year more worried about yourselves and your children,” he said, adding: “This unprecedented crisis, which is without doubt the worst since the second world war, is not over”.
    But Sarkozy, who is lagging behind in the polls just months from a presidential election, vowed that there were nonetheless “reasons to be hopeful” and that no further public spending cuts would be made.
    Napolitano was less eager to gloss over the economic position of a country which last year was feared to be on the brink of becoming the next eurozone country to seek a bailout. “Sacrifices are necessary to ensure the future of young people; it’s our objective and a commitment we cannot avoid,” he said in his new year speech.

    “No one, no social group, can today avoid the commitment to contribute to the clean up of public finances in order to prevent the financial collapse of Italy,” Napolitano added.

    As growth stalls in countries across Europe, governments are coming under pressure to make further cuts to spending and fears are growing that 2012 could bring a second recession.

    In Greece – the first country to have sought a bailout in 2010 – Papademos warned there would be no let-up in the austerity measures, which many Greeks feel are too tough. “We have to continue our efforts with determination, so that the sacrifices we have made up to now won’t be in vain,” he said in a televised address.
    Papademos, an economist who was appointed to lead an interim coalition government in November after the resignation of George Papandreou, insists the measures are essential if Greece is to continue to receive bailout funds.

    [Robert. I really do respect your depth of knowledge and enduring committment to this topic. Well it’s more than a ‘topic’ .. you are right, the fundamental piles and underpinnings of our techno-civilisation are rapidly rotting out from under us. I get it.

    However I’d love to see your contributions here better valued. At the moment too much of what you are posting comes across as undigestable lumps of anger, frustration.. and not much in the way of inspiration or hope. Not many people want to engage with that much negativity. Too often you bring on yourself a form of self-fulfilling Cassandra’s curse.

    How about widening the scope of what you comment on? Not everything needs to be brought back to this one monomaniacal focus. Engaging in some give and take conversation with other posters would be constructive. I’m aware that I’m treading on the margins of patronising you … you’re a smart guy and you know what I’m getting at. You’ve been a very outspoken and dedicated voice and that I respect a lot; but I’d be delighted to see it become a more effective one. RL]

  13. randal 13

    one thing is for sure and that is the yardbirds are not going to reform.
    but you can still get “Blowup” from the hip video store and watch them in the deep underground.

  14. One Anonymous Bloke 14

    Two items of interest: Much ado about methane from Real Climate, and a TED video detailing some new developments in nano-materials that might be part of the solution.

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  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
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  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
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  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
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  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
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  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
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  • Supporting small business to prosper
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  • Bali Democracy Forum to focus on democracy and inclusivity
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