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The departed

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 am, November 26th, 2008 - 56 comments
Categories: climate change, economy, john key, national/act government - Tags:

The UK has announced plans to increase departure tax from its airports for flights outside Europe to pay for offsetting their carbon emissions. This is part of the worldwide response to climate change – countries are making emitters pay and even aviation, which is excluded from Kyoto, is now being targeted (quite rightly too, it is one of the fastest growing emission sources).

Of course, that’s bad news for New Zealand tourism. Over quarter of a million people visit New Zealand from the UK each year. Adding hundreds of dollars to the cost of their ticket will decrease their numbers and leave them with less to spend here.

So, what should we do about it? Our one bargaining chip is a clean, green image. If we could show that we have a strong emissions reduction programme, we could argue that tourism to New Zealand is overall very low on carbon – people might burn a lot of fuel getting here but little once they are here. It’s kind of like our argument against food miles – sure, it means burning some fuel to transport our lamb around the world to Britain but we emit less greenhouse gas producing it than UK farmers and, overall, we’re more environmentally friendly. Of course to make that argument, National/ACT would have to show they are committed to tackling greenhouse gas emissions. Since they are going to have a select committee to investigate whether everyone else is wrong and climate change is (in Key’s words) “a hoax”, that will be a difficult argument to make.

So, our one shot at some kind of exemption from this tax has already been sabotaged by Key’s incompetent handling of climate change; his failure to understand it is now a foreign relations and trade issue, not just a way to shore up support from ACT, the farmers, and business. But then he’s gone and made it worse. When you are a little country and you want a big country to not do something bad to you, you have to remind them what a good little country you are, what good friends you are (like Clark did last year when our special visa status was under threat). What you don’t do is mouth off that you worry it will have a “contagion effect“, as if British policy is a virus that might infect other countries, as if countries responding to climate change is the new communist domino effect. And you don’t have your spokesperson call it “protectionism“, one of the dirtiest words in international relations.

Those inept comments have sunk any slim hope we might have had of getting an exemption from the departure tax.

Test number 2 for Key, fail.

56 comments on “The departed”

  1. Observer 1

    The answer is simple. Visitors travel to Dublin/Amsterdam/Paris/etc., etc., and go from there to New ZEaland. QED and I’m sure the major airlines that fly to Australia and New Zealand will quickly pick up on this and make it work!

    WHy fret when you can resolve?

  2. bill brown 2

    ffs, we spend thousands of dollars to send Key to the other side of the world to meet his half brother. As a side issue he gets time with the Brit PM – on the day after this news breaks – and what do we get for it?

    Well, he met his half brother. – oh, and the queen.

    Money well spent I say.

  3. Observer. I already thought about that. It’s not worth the time and expense to get from the UK to Paris for a flight to NZ (Paris is the closest airport outside the UK from which you can fly direct to Singapore or another hub on your way to NZ). Basically, if you’re going to be put off coming to NZ by the extra departure tax, you’re also going to be put off by having to go to Paris to avoid it. And, either way, you’ll have less money to spend here if you do come.

    Of course, we could get serious about climate change and ask for an exemption on that basis at the same time as lessening our Kyoto liability and, oh yeah, reducing anthropogenic climate change.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Mr Key: “I am worried that this protectionist tax will undermine our tourism industry.

    Mr Brown: “Well we are realigning our tax policies in a more progressive direction, and this tax is the first step towards implementing a polluter pays principle.”

    Mr Key “Gee Mr Brown… that’s not fair.”

    Mr Brown: “Well look here, seeing as how you are new at this Prime Minister thing, I’ll see what we can do to improve the targetting of this tax to reduce the impact, if you can give me something to work with, like … hey … how about tthat all new, all gases, all sectors ETS scheme you guys have been working on for the last 6 years or so? That might do the trick!”

    Mr Key: “Ahmmm.. errr… let me get back to you.”

    Sheesh.

  5. higherstandard 5

    Ha

    I’m sure Key is feeling suitably whipped now that you’ve failed him twice.

    I’m also almost certain upon returning to NZ he’ll be announcing his immediate resignation and urge the country to look to SP for guidance

  6. bill brown 6

    HS,

    No, I’m sure he doesn’t give a shit. After all he’s got what he wanted – why just look at his CV!

  7. Razorlight 7

    Or is this a tax, dressed up as some way to adress climate change, but in fact is a way of paying for the cut in vat from 17.5% to 15%

    [without even looking at the figures I can tell you there’s no way a few hundred pounds tax on long-haul flights out of the UK could pay for even a minute fraction of the cost of cutting sales tax by 2.5%. SP]

  8. Greg 8

    That analysis doesn’t really work. The cost of the ETS (once fully implemented) far exceeds the cost of any lost tourism due to our clean green image being tarnished. Now I am by no means against an ETS – however it would be naive to close our eyes to other options without exploring them first.

  9. No-one’s claiming the ETS is just to protect our tourism industry.

  10. Strathen 10

    Isn’t our clean green image just that, an image. Going back to my varsity days, I remember being taught that we’re predominantly clean and green due to our low population density. Our Industry wouldn’t actually be able to cut it with European standards. I remember something being mention about the ISO140002 (?) standard.

    So basically, it’s going to cost us no matter what to bring NZ up to speed with the rest of the world’s standards towards emissions.

    Why do we need to worry about global warming? I thought the temperature was dropping again and we’re back to the same temperature as the mid 90’s. I guess that as long as we ignore all research from the year 2000 onwards then we should still live in fear. The left like that, helps control the population.

  11. Strathen, no its not the temeperature is the same as the mid 90s, its the policies.

  12. Strathen. Climate change is over? Quick! Tell the IPCC!

  13. Observer 13

    Steve Pierson

    The hell of Paris is well known, especially CdG Airport which is one of the places most hated – by me! (I used to fly an intercontinental every week day.) However, Schiphol is closer to the majority of UK Airports, has wonderful transit facilities, and has frequent flights to Singapore, Hong Kong, and other way-points that could be used, as well as to Los Angeles and Frisco; going west is by far the preferred approach when dealing with UK:NZ travel, it makes the time changes easier to take.

    If Scare New Zealand were to make an arrangement with an Amsterdam Hub airline and use Schiphol as its European port, it would have more overall traffic in my view, and WE would be able to visit friends and family in Bighty without paying the $250 surtax.

    OAF
    It is snowing in Yorkshire and East Lancashire right now! The first time it has snowed there in November in over 40 years. My daughter (Lancashire) says can we send some global warming over as her ass is freezing off and as a good tree-hugger she doesn’t want to use the coal fire yet!

    MR Brown.
    I’m sure that you would never take advantage of a business trip to spend time with friends and family in the countries you visit!
    Oh! What’s that? You have no friends and your family have disowned you! Ah, that explains your jealousy then!

  14. gobsmacked 14

    “like Clark did last year when our special visa status was under threat”

    Indeed. Britain has no reason to care what NZ wants. We’re nothing. It’s only effective lobbying that can make a difference. For the last nine years, we’ve had that.

    Feb 2008 (TVNZ):

    “The Prime Minister is promising to take up the case of hundreds of New Zealanders who could lose their right to live and work in the UK.

    Helen Clark says she’ll talk to the British Government about its plan to downgrade the status of Commonwealth citizens, by getting rid of the ancestry visa.”

    July 2008: UK drops plan to abolish visa, after Clark intervenes personally with Gordon Brown.

    Now John Key – “the great negotiator” – has a chance to show he can command the same respect, and get the same results. Right now he looks less like an international leader and more like a wide-eyed kid from Waipukurau on his first OE.

  15. Strathen 15

    Steve, the IPCC has been informed apparently. (I wish I kept the report I read this in as it would be mighty handy) Although the new data doesn’t sit with their message. The IPCC is being accused of unfairly dismissing recent results from tests they have used in the past from their fellow scientists. I’ve just found their website and it’s going to take me a while to get through their information. Chapter 2 is a 32 page pdf alone, so it will take me a while to find the information I need to support my posts.

    Can one suggest that the IPCC needs climate change to be a reality so as to maintain the increase in funding they have experienced in recent times? Even tree huggers like to earn more money once they have the bug.

    Admittedly I use to think that the claims of their being no climate change and it all a hoax, a hoax themselves. Although the voice is getting stronger, and as observer related a story of snow in Europe, we had snow in Dunedin, almost to sea level within the last few weeks. According to people that are pro climate change, this is an impossibility. Well, I saw the impossible, and I’m a believer. You can tell me it ain’t snowing, but when flakes of snow land on my head, settle on my car, etc. I can tell you it snowed here, trust me, I’ve seen it.

    Recently I was in Queenstown and it snowed a couple of times and settled. I spoke to a local (30+ years living there), he and his wife both told me that snow that low, this late in the year was extremely rare and hard to remember.

    Perhaps it’s just NZ and England that climate change has skipped…

  16. bill brown 16

    So what happens when Key’s “contagion effect” spreads to the European mainland – just keep moving the hub east until we hit what, Outer Mongolia?

    Oh, and global warming is a long term effect, a year’s or decade’s worth of data doesn’t show the trend. Get your head out of the sand.

  17. lprent 17

    Strathen:

    and we’re back to the same temperature as the mid 90’s

    You’re talking crap. I’m unsure what localised set of temperatures you’re referring to, but we’re talking global changes. Perhaps linking to whatever report you’re referring would be useful. Then I’d happily show exactly how much of a credulous fool you are.

    But here is the short word (I’m trying to make it as simple as possible for you). When someone says in global terms something is getting colder or hotter, it does not mean that happens everywhere at the same time. Climate is complex and not really susceptible to ‘common sense’ of the scientifically illiterate.

    For instance in a glacial period you can expect that polar and temperate regions to get chillier. However you will also find that the equatorial regions get a lot hotter in continental areas. Now I’m sure that this is making you feel uncomfortable with ambiguity, but the science is obvious.

    Glaciation locks up a lot of water vapour. With diminished water vapour, there is less precipitation on equatorial regions. That tends to cause them to lose biomass which then tends to diminish their local precipitation and you get a nasty drop in ecosystem sustainability. Eventually that causes deserts, which tends to raise the average daytime temperatures without the plants and water systems soaking up heat.

    If you look at the history of the current ice age which started about 45 million years ago, the geological record is extremely clear about the desertification of the tropics during glacials.

    Guess what the same kinds of counter-intuitive effects happen in local areas whenever there is climate change. Then like a rule of nature scientific morons like yourself start applying the stupidity of ‘common-sense’ and selective cherry-picking of research to support for your pre-determined outcome.

    In short, if you want to look like an idiot, just come and peddle that kind of psuedo scientific crap around me. I’ll help to educate you

  18. Strathen 18

    Bill – Yes I know. Does the IPCC?

  19. Phil 19

    Of course to make that argument, National/ACT would have to show they are committed to tackling greenhouse gas emissions.

    Of course you mean like the last nine years, where all the talk and rhetoric has been backed up by the enormous success of growth in NZ’s emmissions by the third fastest rate in the developed world!

    Strathen made a good point first up – our green ‘image’ is exactly that; an image. Nothing more. Perhaps we’ve gotten so good at lying to the rest of the world we’re starting to believe the marketing spin at home too?

    —-

    As GS points out above, it took 5/6 months for Helen to get the visa issue dealt with.

    Key’s started the ball rolling a few days after the announcement, and yet Steve has already decided to call it a faliure.

    ‘Word around the town’ is that it’s just another premature conclusion from SP.

  20. higherstandard 20

    “‘Word around the town’ is that it’s just another premature conclusion from SP.”

    Perhaps he should consider dapoxetine ?

  21. RedLogix 21

    Over and over the same silly, disproven arguments against man-made climate change. It really is like arguing with someone who insists that the earth is flat, and it’s… turtles all the way down. I promised myself I would quit wasting time and energy on this ages ago… but one last time:

    The CO2 infrared absorption spectrum has been known since some time in the late 1800’s. (The main peak is at 1.8 microns, I know for sure since I spent many years calibrating moisture sensing instruments that directly use the effect.) You cannot dismiss this fundametal science.

    Humans have disrupted the natural carbon carbon cycle, extracting billions of tonnes of fossil carbon, rapidly raising the CO2 level in the atmosphere in a clearly measured and quantified manner, that has never occured before in all our planetary history. You cannot dismiss this fact,

    The effect of this is to change the energy balance in the atmosphere, that lead to a prediction of how the temperature profile of the atmosphere is altered in response. The science of this is basic first year thermodymanics and again has been known for more than 100 years. The measurements exactly confirm the prediction.

    It is now clear to us that even if humans had never burned so much as a single chunk of coal, the planet’s climate would show significant variation. There are many factors contributing to this, plus we continue to learn how they all interact. It is a very complex system. It is impossible to write down a deterministic model that describes it’s behaviour. Climate is a statistical (or stochastic) beast. It is the sum total over time and geography of what we call weather. Both the mean and the variance of all those weather signals can and do change over time. Climate change will likely mean not only a change in the mean of the weather data (ie it generally gets warmer over a long period of time), but that the variance of the weather could increase (ie we see more extremes of temperature, wind, storms and the like.)

    What is indisputable is that humans are intervening in this system. Only the really obdurate deniers cannot accept that. The real question is how much? Now if the planet was a simple deterministic system, like say a pendulum, then if you added a few grams to it’s weight, then a fifth former should be able to tell you how it’s period will change. But stochastic, multivariable, interacting, non-linear systems are generally a much harder, if not impossible problem to solve like that.

    In general the only workable approach is to gather as much historic data as possible (which is usually of poor quality), observe what has happened and try to deduce from that what might happen. Everyone who has seriously attempted such a study has come to the conclusion that what humans are doing, pouring billions of tonnes of fossil CO2 and CH4 into the atmosphere, is going to affect the climate in ways that vary from bad to outright catastrophic.

    In the meantime the weather and the climate (which is just weather summed and averaged over a time period of interest) is going to keep on varying as it always has done. When you toss a coin, you don’t know if the next throw will be heads or tails, but you do know that in 1000 tosses near 500 will be heads. I don’t care if there is a frickin Ice Age next week… eventually all that CO2 is going to exert the effect that the undeniable science states that it will.

  22. Tim Ellis 22

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a bold prediction. The next test that SP sets for John Key will also result in a FAIL.

    I will further predict that John Key won’t feel at all disturbed by failing SP’s test.

  23. higherstandard 23

    I don’t think there are many that deny that humans have an effect on the climate RL – it’s just as you point out that we really have little idea how much of an effect we’re having, what the nature of the effect is and what’s the best way to address the effect that we have on climate change.

  24. KiwiGirl 24

    “Glaciation locks up a lot of water vapour. With diminished water vapour, there is less precipitation on equatorial regions. That tends to cause them to lose biomass which then tends to diminish their local precipitation and you get a nasty drop in ecosystem sustainability. Eventually that causes deserts, which tends to raise the average daytime temperatures without the plants and water systems soaking up heat.”

    So if glaciation ends, maybe we can get some water and lower temperatures back to the deserts
    and start growing more food.
    Sounds like a good idea to me. Lots more flat land in the deserts than at the poles.
    Roll on global warming…….

  25. RedLogix 25

    HS,

    If a medical researcher came to you and said, “I’ve got this brand new drug I want you to try. The lab tests suggest that it is toxic as hell, but we’re not sure what the effect on a real human is. Nobody has ever tried it before, and we don’t know what effects it will have, how severe they may be, nor when they may occur. And if something does go badly wrong, you’re on your own. Here sign this disclaimer form please”.

    Would you be keen? Or would you think that what the hell, it might just be a sugar pill and nothing bad is going to happen to me? Not being able to predict the next toss of a coin, does not preclude you from knowing what the result of 1000 tosses is.

    Humans are ignorantly tinkering with a hugely complex machine we barely understand. In my experience, ignorant tinkering almost always has a bad result. An especially bad result when our lives as we know it are utterly dependent on the continued smooth function of said machine.

  26. insider 26

    Stupid thing about this tax is that emissions from international airline flights are exempt from inclusion in national carbon accounting under Kyoto, so it is just a tax for tax sake and climate change is an excuse not a reason. the Dutch are only charging about $100 for theirs.

  27. higherstandard 27

    Red

    Busy at the moment but I’ll try to address those questions tonight as it’s an interesting comparison.

  28. jbc 28

    If the UK departure tax is a good idea (polluter pays) then NZ should not be complaining about it.

    The whole idea of making exceptions to the rules is the reason why NZ has not implemented anything of its own yet. Everything that results in a direct cost to consumers (voters) gets thrown out or postponed into a future election cycle.

    Interestingly the UK govt decided against against making the planes (as opposed to travelers) pay the tax as that could harm the aviation industry. Hmmm…

    Any govt that tinkers with New Zealander’s access to cheap petrol and cheap dirty imports will need a huge amount of political staying power. The public resistance will make the s59 repeal look mild by comparison.

  29. Felix 29

    Kiwigirl you really are an embarrassment to Kiwis and girls.

  30. Strathen 30

    Red – You’ve lost me a bit there, which really highlights how little I know, and how uneducated my comments towards this topic are. Probably also explains why my leanings very much depend on the last article I read. Think I’ll leave global warming to others.

    Although this in itself is fraught with danger as it appears these changes for the climate are going to be completely unavoidable for a layman like me. I’m not referring to my purchases becoming more expensive, or having to get rid of my gas guzzling automobile, etc. I am concerned that these changes could come right down and effect the way I will be required to think. Selfish, probably. I can only envisage a major cultural change for the entire world. Yes, they may well be needed, but will they be embraced? (Once again, these thoughts are from an ill informed person)

    A thought for another day; Will these new standards breed new criminals?

  31. strathen,

    much as I read with interest your self-effacement in regard to information supposedly received on climate change, allow me to assist you in your patent dilemma—climate is what you expect: weather is what you get.

    As true in queenstown as anywhere else. On the globe.

  32. Alexandra 32

    I agree with SP that Key has totally mishandled the situation and the discussion with Brown was a failure. It couldnt be anything less given Keys confusion on the matter. He stated to Brown that the tax ‘ is a significant concern to NZ’ then goes on to state that ” this is a small issue that needs to be kept in perspective.’ Significant concern or small issue? It cant be both. Tim Cossar statement that ‘ just a few percent [tax] could be worth many millions of dollars for NZ, is likely to reflect the gravity of the situation. That aside good on Britain for taking measures to deal with carbon ommissions. Brown would no doubt have been briefed over the Nat/Acts position re ETS and climate change generally. In that context Key’s pleadings for fairness will have fallen on deaf ears.

  33. Carol 33

    I think there are questions to be answered as to how much the flight tax will actually help alleviate climate change. Nevertheless, I think it’s a good idea to try to encourage fewer international flights, especially long haul ones. Maybe it could also involve making sure there are fewer flights that are not full. Are there any stats on how full most flights are?

    Also, perhaps our minister for tourism could be more proactive and encourage more tourism between NZ and countries closer to NZ than Europe. In the long term this re-focusing on tourism or local eco-tourism may be necessary and important.

    Other alternatives are to take NZ more to other countries, as an alternative to the tourist industry – eg exhibitions and community events in Europe.

  34. jbc 34

    Alexandra: “Key has totally mishandled the situation and the discussion with Brown was a failure.”

    Codswallop. What would you expect? Brown has not indicated that flights to supposedly “green” countries will receive a discount. It’s all about the distance – and that is how it should be.

    A passenger on a return trip from UK to NZ probably uses more fuel than they would in a year’s worth of typical motoring. The food miles comparison is silly and completely invalid.

    Food miles is about the carbon footprint of milk produced in UK vs that produced in NZ and shipped to UK. Apparently the NZ produced milk has a lower carbon footprint even when shipping is included. If that is true then very good.

    The same can not be said for 40,000km of discretionary air travel. There is no way that a traveller would cause the same (or greater) carbon output if they holidayed in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. Even if they only intended to ride bicycles in NZ.

  35. KiwiGirl 35

    Felix
    November 26, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Kiwigirl you really are an embarrassment to Kiwis and girls.

    Oh, wonderful. I’ve achieved something today, then.

  36. higherstandard 36

    RL

    Continuing our discussion from earlier….

    “If a medical researcher came to you and said, “I’ve got this brand new drug I want you to try. The lab tests suggest that it is toxic as hell, but we’re not sure what the effect on a real human is. Nobody has ever tried it before, and we don’t know what effects it will have, how severe they may be, nor when they may occur. And if something does go badly wrong, you’re on your own. Here sign this disclaimer form please’.”

    Of course I wouldn’t go anywhere near it – drugs go through a considerable testing period prior to being used in humans – animal studies to determine toxicity and effects on reproduction, then on through testing in small human cohorts prior to large trials prior to registration by a regulatory authority.

    In relation to the climate change issues and how to manage them we’re stuck with a situation where we’re hamstrung as to knowing the size of the human effect on climate change, our ability to moderate the effect and this best ways to achieve that moderation – if the climate change issue was as simple that we face when assessing whether a new medication is safe and efficacious or indeed as simple as the issues we faced with CFCs I believe we’d be in a far better position in knowing how to move forward.

  37. RedLogix 37

    Of course I wouldn’t go anywhere near it

    Same here. I’ll not try and score a point off the the obvious.

    All comparisons are flawed in some fashion, but the point of this one is to personalise the risk. The problem with climate change is that for most people the consequences are “sometime in the future, and maybe not to me”. The point of a medical trial is “Hell it is ME that he is gonna inject with that crap!”

    drugs go through a considerable testing period prior to being used in humans

    And this is a very good point, that the comparison shows up. The other problem with climate change is that we don’t get to do any trials, or animal testing. It’s a one way, once only mystery tour we are all on, with no getting off.

    I believe we’d be in a far better position in knowing how to move forward.

    Fair enough in the sense that I think you intended it. But climate change is the result of what we are already DOING as a race. If you’re speeding at 100mph towards what looks like a brickwall, there are many possibilities. The wall might really be polystyrene bricks, the car might run out of gas, a mirage might be making the wall appear closer than it seems, the speedo could be grossly uncalibrated, a hidden ramp might pop up from the road just as we reach it and launch us safely out of the way. All these are imponderables that we cannot yet decide about for certain.

    But a sane man would first of all take his foot off the gas.

  38. higherstandard 38

    Yes your analogies are all very good – but the critical issues remain that with or without human activities we will have climate change – the amount of climate change that is caused by human activity is still open to debate as is which human activities are responsible for climate change and how is the best way to mitigate those activities.

    I’d also disagree strongly with your second point that “the other problem with climate change is that we don’t get to do any trials, or animal testing. It’s a one way, once only mystery tour we are all on, with no getting off.”

    We certainly should be able to develop more elaborate models and testing rather than implementing catch all regulations which may have little or no effect.

  39. Ianmac 39

    And if the improvements to energy use and diminished polution make our patch a better place to live in, this must be good for the future. If in doing so climate change is diminished on the way, then it must be a win/win position for everyone. Isn’t it?

  40. Quoth the Raven 40

    HS – Stop the presses he’s engaging for the first time in months. Your missing the basic point that climate change in the past can often be correlated with changes in CO2 levels. Where’s Lprent to school you.

    [lprent: I haven’t read back that far yet. Of course I am a bit biased with the earth science background and a partner off filming a sinking island in PNG…]

  41. RedLogix 42

    We certainly should be able to develop more elaborate models and testing rather than implementing catch all regulations which may have little or no effect.

    Well so far all the models we do have are not looking good. It would be like Labour being 10% behind at 9:30pm on election night with 85% of the votes and still hoping that the last votes to be counted all go their way. It’s not impossible, but statistically unlikely and is an unreasonable scenario to go announcing that you have won the election on.

    Equally possible is that some entirely new insight or piece of data might completely change our view of the science and the models. But again that is an imponderable; you have to work with the information you have, not what you would wish you had.

    Nor is it likely even that no matter how good the models get, that they will ever be able to predict in a deterministic fashion exactly what the planet’s future climate will be like. What they will do is give a range of outcomes and assign probabilites to them… but weather and climate is inherently stochastic. There is no, will be no certainty on what the effects will be.

    On the other hand we do know 100% for certain what the cause is. Billions of tonnes of excess anthropogenic fossil carbon in the atmosphere.

    I’ve got this one last constructive thing to offer. I read somewhere a while back, that all of the excess CO2 in the atmophere could be sequestered (ie captured) if all of the arable land in the world increased the depth of it’s topsoil layer by just 0.2mm per year. In some ways this whole issue could turn out to a land management problem.

    Perhaps the biodynamic orgaics guys are right after all.

  42. Quoth the Raven 43

    Redlogix – All over the world we have loss of topsoil due to agriculture. The dust bowl is a perfect example. That’s where GE comes in. Herbicide resistant crops can be low till or no till it would be a great environmental boon if this was adopted more widely. It’s pretty big already, but Europe is dragging its feet on GE and we have to play along if we want to be able to export to those countries. Support of GE crops may not only be good for the envrionment but if developed nations spent aid money (like they’re burning through money now on bailing banks) on a green revolution in Africa we could kill two birds with one stone.

  43. mike 44

    Is this the same clean, green image that labour have been ruining for the last 9 years with one of the highest carbon growth rates in the developed world SP?

    Labour = all talk and no action on climate change for 3 terms but now after just 2 weeks in power we get “sabotaged by Key’s incompetent handling of climate change” surely you are taking the piss now?

  44. Quoth the Raven 45

    mike – It’s called economic growth. Something you righties seem to be obsessed with, but know little about nor how to bring about.

  45. mike 46

    QtR, the rest of the world made much more of the boom times than NZ did, that’s why we went down in the OECD rankings. Another labour failure…

  46. lprent 47

    QtR That is one cool graph. I wish G was still around to see it.

    Is there an article to go with it?

  47. lprent 48

    hs: Of course there are non-anthropogenic effects. They’re always with us. But show me where the causal effect that could have caused a greater than tripling in C02 level in the last 50 years with a slow buildup over that period. You’d have to point to a Deccan traps or the end-Permian level of effect before you see similar levels of atmospheric change globally. Of course they probably happened in a somewhat longer time frame. Certainly you can’t point to the obvious evidence of C14/C16 ratios showing that most came from old carbon. But hey – you can believe what you want

    It is always fun looking at mass extinctions. This time I suspect that only one species may have a problem.There simply isn’t aren’t enough hydrocarbon deposits accessible to cause a real problem for the biosphere. Unless of course you’ve developed a culture that has depended on a relatively constant climate for the last 10k years. However I’d suspect that developing a silicon successor would be a really good idea about now. Well at least if you want to preserve our culture(s) for prosperity. Perhaps my wingnut troll emulation program will live on to display the culture of the humans to later evolved species. Yeah right – that’d make a good tui ad.

    😈 Earth sciences were what I originally trained in. Now I write possibly human emulation programs – I wonder why? lprent – Preserving the highpoint of human culture……

    Does that suffice QtR?

  48. Quoth the Raven 49

    LPrent – That’s good, though we well maybe in the midst of a mass extinction event now, regardless of global warming. The article is just the Climate change article. I wish the righties would read that as an introduction to the topic before coming over here and labouring the same points.

  49. jbc 50

    OK Redlogix, QtR, lprent and others; you’re preaching to the converted as far as anthropogenic warming goes (in this case).

    But in the context of SP’s post everyone seems to be ignoring the elephant in the room: that a long-haul flight is the single most “carbon intensive” act that most people will commit in their lifetime (excluding coal-miners and oil pumpers).

    Based upon most of the numbers I have seen a long haul flight produces TONNES of CO2 per passenger. A return trip to NZ could emit as much CO2 per passenger than they might normally emit in a whole year. Google is your friend here. 5-10 tonnes of CO2 depending on whose figures you use.

    Why are we bemoaning that Key has not convinced Brown to back down on his air-travel carbon awareness scheme? It’s a argument that is bound to lose (in the context of global warming).

    No surprise that Frogblog has left this one alone.

    International tourism to NZ is a massive polluter. Probably close to the worst in the world and will far overshadow any green efforts of the travelers while in NZ (if there are any at all).

  50. lprent 51

    jbc: I don’t care much either way. I don’t travel out of the country and haven’t since 1991. I’m not interested in getting in a cattle truck and sent to the works europe. As far as I’m concerned silicon comms is more than adequate.

    But I’d be fascinated to see what the response is to your statement. It is moderately accurate from what I understand.

    BTW: were you planning on staying there?

  51. Felix 52

    “I wish G was still around to see it.”

    Please, not even in jest! He wouldn’t understand it anyway.

  52. jbc 53

    lprent: I sometimes stretch towards hyperbole to make a point – but in this case I think the numbers for air travel CO2 are grim enough as they stand 🙁

    I’m genuinely keen to hear an argument for the case too. The Jatropha nut jet fuel trial is the closest thing I’ve heard to a positive point – but that’s a long way from delivering. It would be interesting to see how long-haul tourism compares with other NZ industry in terms of carbon output per dollar of economic benefit / jobs etc.

    On staying here: my mind is still busy dreaming in NZ and I’m looking forward to becoming re-acquainted at some stage. Being away for 8 yrs brings the good (and not so good) into focus – on both sides.

  53. maxx 54

    Keys been in office for how long and you guys are stating he is responsible for air travel taxes in Britain (bet they dont prop up T5……)?

    BTW, Brown will be ousted within the next 12 months when the high street employers fall over post xmas.

    Gordo’s gratuitous vote buying budget is a masterpiece of leftist propoganda that will have no real beneficial effect for the citizens.

  54. higher standard,
    implementing catch all regulations

    excuse me, but is the problem for you the ‘catch all’ or regulations persé..? also, if not catch all then who ought be subject to regulation..?

  55. lprent 56

    jbc: Catching up on comments

    The air travel is a big out putter of CO2 and a few other gases of interest.

    But it is like everything else – a matter of scale. If there are say 15 million cars that produce 10% of the CO2 of a single passengers return plane trip to the UK each year – then you’d need to have the equivalent of 1.5 million return trips to the UK each year to be equivalent to cars… Same for heating, air-conditioning etc etc. The question is where do you get the biggest return (in drops in total emissions) for the dollars spent/lost.

    Aircraft would be high on my list because the engines are big plant that are basically already designed to run on a range of fuels or are relatively cheap to upgrade so that they are. Scales again – refurbishing a smaller number of engines compared to upgrading a countries car or truck fleet. Besides aircraft jet turbines should be capable of running on anything with short carbon covalent bonds (in theory).

    However insulating homes to a great standard would be even higher. It is a long-term passive investment that has multiple benefits, and would have a hell of an effect on total emission for far longer. Cars are usually off the road in 10-20 years. planes in 20-30 years, but housing is 60 years plus.

    Looking at CO2 reductions is really an area that NPV calcs would excel at. They usually going to show that some projects are far more effective over the long term than others.

    BTW: I will think of you while I’m sweltering in the kiwi summer. Of course I would be impolite to say how….. 😈

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