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The science: too amibitous for New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, August 19th, 2009 - 32 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

Key, Mr Ambitous when it comes to cycleways and Job Summits, says that reducing carbon emissions from developed countries like ours by 2020 to 40% below 1990 levels, which the scientists say is mandatory if we want to avoid run-away climate change, is “too ambitious“.

Fair enough, I suppose. I’m sure the laws of nature will understand. Maybe they’ll cut us a break.

When we push the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere up and up, past 450 ppm, pushing the world’s average temperature more than 2 degrees higher, triggering a run-away effect of positive feed-backs that will see the temperature quickly race up by 4, 5, 6 degrees, melting the glaciers that feed the great rivers, turning the rainforests to tinderboxes, acidifying the oceans, leaving our croplands arid, we and all the other nations of the world will be able to call out in one voice ‘But 40% was too ambitious’ and the Earth will say ‘Fair enough, I suppose’.

Magically, the simple physics that any high school kid can understand and recreate for themselves won’t apply. The world will carry on as if nothing happened.

We will clap ourselves on the back for putting our economies ahead of our environment. Smarter than wasting all that potential wealth on something as silly as not screwing up the one planet we have to live on.

Want to save the world from ourselves? Nah, that’s too ambitious.

Especially when catastrophe is decades away. There’s money to be made for the rich right now.

32 comments on “The science: too amibitous for New Zealand ”

  1. Chris G 1

    We need to stop advocating inaction and maintaining an unsustainable way of life because all we are doing is jeopardising the lives of future generations. It’s that simple

  2. Andrei 2

    Magically, the simple physics that any high school kid can understand and recreate for themselves won’t apply

    Unfortunately the physics of the biosphere is not simple physics that a high school kid can understand – far from it in fact.

    And this is why scam artists have focused on climate change as a way to control the population. They can use pseudo science and selectively chosen observations to con the gullible such as yourself to support outright theft from the few productive elements left in our society.

    • Bright Red 2.1

      Andrei, I can create a simple greenhouse effect for you, in a greenhouse. All I need to do is add more greenhouse gas to the air in it (carbon dioxide, methane, water vapour – which is what a greenhouse usually uses) and the temperature will rise. Add enough and the temperature will rise so much that greenhouse gases trapped in the soil of my plants will evaporate into the atomsphere increasing the warming.

      Obviously the whole world is more complex than a little greenhouse but the basic physics are the same.

      • Sam Vilain 2.1.1

        Someone tried that experiment during the early days of the climate change debate (Ã…ngström (1900)), and it doesn’t work. This is why for decades during the early twentieth century, the consensus view was that adding COâ‚‚ would not increase absorption, because the spectra were already saturated. Actually Ã…ngström’s assistant, Herr J. Koch, did find that at lower pressures the absorption rates were indeed higher, but thought the small difference he observed would have been negligible. See these paragraphs.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2


      There you go Andrei, even you should be able to understand that. Once you do you’ll be able to take action to try and prevent humanity from going extinct.

  3. james 3

    Considering John is thinking of expanding our 100% Pure brand to cover all our of “New Zealand inc.” our inaction places our economy at risk.

    If we’re seen to be taking less action than places such as Germany, the UK, the rest of the EU and the USA what will this do to our 100% pure brand????

    10-20% Pure New Zealand doesn’t quite cut the mustard as far as I’m concerned.

    Check out the “10-20% Pure New Zealand” facebook page.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      What’s it going to do to our exports when those countries won’t take our goods?

  4. So Bored 4

    Its my ambition to be alive in 2020 along with my family, friends and the rest of the planet. If Key and his cronies dont share at least this level of ambition then might I suggest that they roll over and die as a govenment now. Collective suicide is just not an option.

  5. Nick 5

    When we push the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere up and up, past 450 ppm,

    Who’s “we”?

    Want to save the world from ourselves? Nah, that’s too ambitious.

    How can New Zealand save the World in respect of climate change?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      By doing it’s part to reduce carbon emissions.

    • How about – we could continue to be world leaders, and setting standards others might follow, we are afterall known for our innovation in other areas, why not this area too.

    • Bright Red 5.3

      ‘We’ are humanity.

    • james 5.4

      As I said before we can’t save the world, the problem is we are being left behind in terms of action on climate change.

      UK, 80% below 1990 by 2050, 34% by 2020
      USA, 80% below 1990 by 2050
      Scotland, 42% below 1990 by 2020
      Germany, 40% below 1990 by 2020
      The rest of the EU may go as far as 30% below 1990 by 2020

      Also China and India are demanding developed nations do 40% by 2020.

      We’re being left behind and our brand, our tourism, and our exports will be damaged by this.

  6. Surely protecting our natural assets (ie the planet) is whats good for our economy? Or are they really only concentrating on what can be made now, not the ability to keep making it?

    I am sick of the arguments about whether the environment is in serious jeopardy, quite frankly, I don’t like the idea of taking the risk, I would like my children (and grandchildren) to have a planet to enjoy.

    • So Bored 6.1

      You can get fairly angry at the idiots on this issue. The whole concept that it is optional to address climate change because we are small, or it might hurt our pockets is an abomination. Its one of the few things the TINA principle applies to.

      We need people like yourself and AngryGrandson to tell it like it is. Well said.

  7. This administration, The Prime Minister Of John Key himself have become a clear and present danger to all of us.
    As shrill as that sounds our local climate of See No, Hear No, Feel No Fear is just totally out of synch with the world consensus.
    We run this sputtering, Dr.Suessian machine with our lives and routine.
    Always another deadline, another goal , living our bucket list lives as we do.
    Jetting about to lie about then back to work to feed our family banks with sometimes not alot left over for treats – endless treats. What For? Rewards for surviving the pain of the richest lives in history?
    Ai yi yi.
    Making choices and changes is our privilige, doing the same old thing expecting a different outcome is…. well, bit sad really.
    Makes me mad.

  8. Nick 8

    I am sick of the arguments about whether the environment is in serious jeopardy, quite frankly, I don’t like the idea of taking the risk, I would like my children (and grandchildren) to have a planet to enjoy.

    And I am getting sick of the arguments about whether NZ can do anything about it because we cannot. We could reduce emissions 200% pre-1990 levels and it wouldn’t affect the climate one single little bo beep but it will cost NZ families $6 billion dollars if National’s proposals are put into law. I know you don’t care about making people poor but I do.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      We could reduce emissions 200% pre-1990 levels and it wouldn’t affect the climate one single little bo beep

      Have you any idea how morally bankrupt this idea is? I mean really. The mere fact that you even have the temerity to mention it tells me that the way we look at the world is irreconcilably different.

      In my world we are all in it together. We all, as a single humanity, co-operate to change our technologies and economies to match the new reality, or we suffer the consequences…collectively. We all get to do our bit, however small. Those who don’t are freeloading cheats.

      In your world its all about ‘what’s in it for me’. You probably haven’t ever thought about it, but the argument you have put forward is at it’s core the ‘cheaters’ mantra. I know you believe that you are a wonderful, hard working and fine decent person, but actually you have told us above that you are a really a parasite.

    • james 8.2

      You’re beginning to sound like the Nick responsible for this mess.

      Check out 10-20% Pure New Zealand on facebook

      It’s a brilliant marketing brand.

  9. Nick 9

    Red, I get the feeling you are female as you go into things very deeply. I don’t.

    We are being asked to reduce emissions (act A) to halt or lessen global warming (result B). There is no point in doing act A when we cannot impact at all on result B.

    Do you really think the world is going to stand up and take notice if we pass this law? Like hell. They couldn’t give a shit because we are a little mouse on a large large field. That’s the reality but you will never get that because you’re an idealist. That’s fine, I won’t call you a parasite as a result.

    • Armchair Critic 9.1

      What you are suggesting is like going out to dinner with a group of friends and not paying your share – there is a word for that.
      As a nation we are being asked to reduce emissions (act A), as our contribution as a nation to halting or slowing the progress of global warming and its consequences (result B). In doing this we acknowledge that we do not have the power to achieve this on our own and are undertaking to do this as our contribution to reaching the goal.
      Sometimes it isn’t just about you, it is about the team.

    • RedLogix 9.2

      Every nation has some excuse; too small to make a difference, too underdeveloped, too dependent, too much agriculture, too much industry… whatever. Freeloaders always have some cop out excuse to justify their behaviour.

      It’s been said before (and I admit in a better humour) but if we were to divide all the peoples of the earth into little nations of 4 million each, then every single one of them could claim that ‘we are too small to make a difference’… but the CO2 content of the atmosphere would just keep on rising just the same.

      You tell me how your excuse does not amount to parasitical freeloading.

    • If every individual or company or country on the planet has your attitude, sure it won’t work.

      We (humanity) collectively must all do our part, or we are doomed at some point in the future. I won’t argue how far away that point is, as I am not a scientist.

      NZ does run a great risk of destroying our “clean green” or “100% pure” image if we take your lead, how many billions will that cost us in lost revenue, not only from tourists but exports as well.

      • Andrei 9.3.1

        NZ does run a great risk of destroying our “clean green’ or “100% pure’ image if we take your lead, how many billions will that cost us in lost revenue, not only from tourists but exports as well.

        This may surprise you but the vast majority of the worlds population have never even heard of New Zealand let alone its ” clean green’ or “100% pure’ image” which is a fantasy that exists inside your head.

        And countries like India will be laughing at us for buying into this foolishness as we slide further behind and they develop their countries at our expense.

        Do you think either India or China have emissions targets?

        Hell no. They are developing new industries as fast as they can.

        • Draco T Bastard

          This may surprise you but the vast majority of the worlds population have never even heard of New Zealand

          But the rich countries who have people who come here as tourists and buy our produce have heard of us and our clean and green image.

          let alone its ‘ clean green’ or “100% pure’ image’ which is a fantasy that exists inside your head.

          And that is because of people like you who just don’t care about anybody but themselves.

        • All the more reason for the rest of the world to do their part, until such time as those countries take notice too.

          This debate really sounds like something my children would come out with, “I’m not doing it because he doesn’t have to”.

          Are you actually saying that this country does not have a tourism and export industry built on that image? I wonder if all the businesses that profit from it think its “a fantasy that exists inside my head.”

          The OECD has produced some excellent reports on environmental taxes/levies around the world, NZ does not sit high in comparison to other countries, and it would take quite a bit for us to do so.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.4

      …go into things very deeply. I don’t.

      Yeah, we noticed the total lack of understanding and general ignorance.

  10. Nick 10

    We will end up paying six billion dollars to China, India and Russia. They will pay nothing. Who’s the freeloader?

    • james 10.1

      Nick if we actually reduce our emissions as we’re supposed to be doing it won’t cost us anything.

      Infact many people view this as an opportunity for new markets to move from their current minority neiche and become major markets.
      But you obviously don’t like the idea of encouraging a strong and stable economy.

  11. RedLogix 11

    They are developing new industries as fast as they can.

    Logically if India and China continue to flout the will of the rest of the world in this matter there will be consequences for them too.

    Right now everyone is manouvering and positioning themselves, but as each year passes the pressure to commit to real action mounts. Ultimately there will have to be a united global response to this issue, and freeloaders, no matter how powerful (or small and insignificant) will be forced to fall into line.

    The really daft, idiotic thing is that the longer we delay to real action, the deeper the cuts we will all have to make, the more expensive and disruptive it will have to be. In the long run all this nonsensical, distracting debate will achieve is to cost us far more dearly than if we had acted when we were first warned.

    The parallels between tobacco addiction (at a personal level) and oil addiction (at a global one) are awfully close. How many millions died because they could never rid themselves of the nicotine demon that grasped them? How often would they deny any possible harm from it, how their bloody grandfathers lived to 110 sucking through 10 packets a day, how the industry that made billions out of their delusion fed them carefully crafted lies and deceptions… all so as they could carry on killing themselves slowly. In the end any lie, any ridiculous perversion of truth, any shameless inversion of logic would be trotted out to justify the poison they were in love with.

    Except that tobacco only killed those who smoked it, or sucked in the second hand smoke. The oil addicts don’t care who they harm, where or when.

  12. Logically if India and China continue to flout the will of the rest of the world in this matter there will be consequences for them too.

    Totally agree, and if not at a “political” level, perhaps at a stakeholder level. You only have to look at examples such as Cadbury’s recent backtrack over palm oil, or on an international scale, the Brent Spar case to see that stakeholders are gaining increasing power to create change in policy and practise.

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