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Two headlines to ponder

Written By: - Date published: 4:18 pm, November 10th, 2011 - 60 comments
Categories: disaster, ETS, leadership, national - Tags: ,

Here’s two headlines for you to ponder.  On the state of the world:

IEA: World is hurtling toward irreversible climate change

The International Energy Agency has warned that the world is hurtling toward irreversible climate change and will lose the chance to limit warming if it doesn’t take bold action in the next five years.

In its annual World Energy Outlook, the agency spelled out the consequences if those steps aren’t taken and what needs to be done to cap global temperature increases at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. That is the threshold beyond which some scientists have said catastrophic changes could be triggered.

But the agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, said this week that he is not optimistic that leaders are willing to make the necessary sacrifices. “We are going in the wrong direction in terms of climate change,” he said in an interview ahead of the report’s official release. He noted, for instance, that governments around the world have put increasing energy efficiency at the top of their to-do lists, but efficiency has worsened for two years in a row now. …

The report said that the current promises to reduce emissions, when taken together, will likely result in an increase of more than 3.5 degrees Celsius – and there isn’t any guarantee those commitments will even be carried out. Without them, the picture is bleaker: an increase of 6 degrees Celsius or more.

Birol said the world doesn’t lack the technology to tackle the problem – just the political will.

And on the kind of thinking that ensures our doom:

Government shifts to ETS go-slow

The government will slow the phasing in of the next stage of the emissions trading scheme (ETS).

Climate Change Issues Minister Nick Smith said New Zealand needed to carefully balance the impact of the scheme’s costs on businesses and households in difficult economic times.

The scheme currently steps up on January 1, 2013 to a full obligation for the transport, electricity and industrial sectors, Dr Smith said.

It was the government’s intention to now phase this in through three equal steps on January 1, 2013, January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2015 as recommended by the ETS Review Panel, he said. “This approach slows the cost impacts on households and businesses but continues the progress needed to drive investment in renewable energy, clean technologies and forestry.” … It was not in New Zealand’s interest to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet, he said. …

The Nats are chickening out on the ETS – as we all knew they would. In the mean time global greenhouse gas emissions are already above the worst case scenario of the IPCC, and there’s no sign of the political will to end the madness anywhere. Buckle up.

60 comments on “Two headlines to ponder ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Buckle up indeed. There’s every likelihood that things are going to become so destructive (and sadly, deadly) so fast, that CO2 emissions will collapse.

    • Afewknowthetruth 1.1

      ‘ that CO2 emissions will collapse.’

      That must rate as one of the stupidest staetements of the year

      Higher temperatures cause the release of greater quantities of CO2 and CH4 from soil, water and permafrost. And the CH4 gets converted into CO2.

      Add to that the fact that the recent droughts in the Amazon caused a huge surge n CO2 emissions.

      And when oil becomes less feely available (shortly) people will turn to coal or wood or old tyres for heating and cooking ……. in fact people will probably burn anything they can get their hands on when things start to get really grim (around 2020).

      The only factor that might mitigate would be a massive global population collapse, as indicated by emeritus professor Albert Bartlett in his brilliant lecture ‘Arithmentic, Population and Energy’, in which he points out that if humans refuse to deal with the various problem, nature will.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        You can’t even follow the logic of your own beliefs, can you? If the only thing that can stop CO2 emissions is population collapse, and CO2 emissions lead to population collapse…do I really need to spell this out for you?

        • Reality Bytes 1.1.1.1

          I think the point AFKTT is making, is that it is not a very good outcome for any of us.

          Sure things may reach equilibrium and start to cool down in a millenia or so -if we die off in massive numbers after running out of fuel- but to get to that stage there will be untold human suffering that will make all our wars to date look like picnics. Toxification of the environment, acidification of the oceans and wholesale extinctions could leave this planet in a much worse condition for much longer than millenia, it may take millions of years to bounce back, if it ever does.

          Then there is a risk that runaway climate change may continue even if our population does decrease. Our planet is in the Goldilocks zone, it might only take a bit of a nudge too far to send it on a course to becoming the next Venus turning it into yet another barren rock.

          That would be quite sad, especially if we have to power to prevent it.

          And even if you are skeptical that runaway climate change or ecological things like acidification could occur, is it not more sensible to err on the side of caution than to risk something so massive as the Earth and all those that live there?

          • Afewknowthetruth 1.1.1.1.1

            RB

            Thank goodness there are a few sane people ‘out there’ who have done the necessary reasearch, do understand the predicament we are in, and can write with compassion instead of trying to score points to demonstrate how they are right and others are wrong.

            Also, thank you for reminding us about the Precautionary Principle.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.2

            Reality Bytes, you may have formed the impression that I am skeptical (or rather in denial) of climatology. How could you not, with this witless Truther blithering on the way he does?
            I take the issues you mention quite seriously, I just don’t like schadenfreude.

            • Reality Bytes 1.1.1.1.2.1

              I think you come across quite thoughtful, as do all the folks here weighing in on their points of view.

              I appreciate everybody here’s contribution! Keep it up folks 🙂

        • Afewknowthetruth 1.1.1.2

          OAB

          You don’t need to spell anything out to me because I am way ahead of you in knowledge and interpretation, having researched economics, popualtion and the enviroment extensively over many years and having written extensively on those topics and how they interact, including ocean acifification, global dimming, positive mechanisms.

          And I have viewed dozens of lectures you refuse to watch.

          Like many stubborn, arrogant fuckwits, you keep coming back for further punishment.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.2.1

            AFKTT can you read? Seriously, are you really that fucking illiterate? CO2 emissions lead to population collapse, population collapse leads to emissions collapse. Why do CO2 emissions lead to population collapse? Drought, famine flood sound like plausible causes? What part of this don’t you understand? Oh, that’s right, it’s the fact that unlike you I’m not getting a hardon over it.

            Reality Bytes: the runaway to Venus-like conditions is not considered a serious prospect: “Earth is well under the absorbed solar radiation threshold for a runaway”. Of course we don’t need a runaway greenhouse effect for things to become very grim.

            • Afewknowthetruth 1.1.1.2.1.1

              OAB

              I have a lot of time for people who seek the truth. Indeed, my latest book is devoted to truth.

              I have no time for arrogant, conceited pricks like you who think they know it all, talk down to everyone, and denigrate great thinkers of our times, i.e. Guy McPherson, Albert Bartlett etc

            • Reality Bytes 1.1.1.2.1.2

              I’m no expert on the matter OAB, but my point is it doesn’t hurt to be cautious, nor to have an open mind regarding the possibilities. The idea of runaway climate change is just an example, and Venus is pretty significant evidence that such a thing is possible. Heck they are just talking sub-surface oceans on a Europa (a moon orbiting Jupiter) which 20 or so years+/- ago perhaps seemed ludicrous or unlikely in theory.. CERN may have proved some of Einsteins most significant and celebrated work incorrect…

              Sure runaway climate change may not be a certainty worth worrying about, BUT the exercise in hypothetical thinking could be valuable for OTHER potential hazards (ocean acidification, and biological collapse are also good contemporary ones). We don’t gain much reducing such debate to ad hominem attacks.

              Our species still has a lot to learn, and one thing I am certain of is we have only scratched the surface of what we are capable of. It’s good to celebrate our achievements and knowledge, but a bit of humility and curiosity can only help us get even further.

  2. Ianupnorth 2

    I expect the Nats to produce a green paper on this. They have had reams of academic research telling them to sort out child poverty, their only action has been to produce a green paper so the likes of Family First and Destiny Church can dictate child rearing practices.
     
    They’ll do a green paper and then Federated Farmers and the mining lobby can create the solutions.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      A green paper? We’re going to have to sort that blatantly political dog-whistle out first.

      Step one: establish a committee of inquiry into which shade of blue is right for each departmental livery.
      Step two: establish a committee of inquiry into which shade of blue is right for each type of government publication.
      Step three: establish a committee of inquiry into Joseph Fourier and Svante Arrhenius, who are suspected foreign agents trying to buy up our Kiwi Number Eight Wire Battler Farmland.

  3. queenstfarmer 3

    If the IEA is correct, then the change will be irreversible (assuming it isn’t anyway) regardless of the miniscule iota of change NZ could possibly contribute. It is only sensible that the Govt not race headlong into a futile and damaging attempt to stave off what is inevitable (if it is inevitable).

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      QtF, I expect better from you, if not from myself. I’m a lefty, devoid of ethics or responsibility, but you’re a Tory, self-reliant, committed to charity towards your fellows and their women! Do you suppose this environmental collapse is going to just side-step lil’ ol’ Godzone? Don’t you expect better from your Masters?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Wow, what a well reasoned defence of defeatism that is.

      It is only sensible that the Govt not race headlong into a futile and damaging attempt to stave off what is inevitable.

      Damaging to what? Implementing proper pollution controls and environmental protection won’t damage the economy as that’s dependant upon the environment anyway. Not doing so is what will damage the economy.

      And it’s (catastrophic climate change) not inevitable yet but it does require everyone to implement the necessary pollution controls and environmental protections. This doesn’t look likely to happen due to the idiots in government and big corporates that subscribe to your reasoning and your reasoning is just an excuse to maintain business as usual rather than doing anything about the damage we’re causing.

      • marty mars 3.2.1

        good comment draco – my view as well

        • terryg 3.2.1.1

          Hear Hear, I’ll second (Nth more like it) that.

          I just read James Lovelocks book “The revenge of Gaia”. Sobering stuff. AFKTT is probably right with his extreme pessimism; further “addict logic” will ensure he is. scary stuff.

          AFAICT the western approach has been to militarize society, in preparation for what will come. “we” (not us in NZ of course, but we’re trying to hang on to their coat tails) have all the good guns, so will take what we want. Mad Max here we come…..

      • thejackal 3.2.2

        Hitting the accelerator instead of the brake just as you’re about to crash isn’t a very good option. But that’s effectively what National are doing… facilitating polluting industries to pollute more through subsidies and a lack of proper regulation.

        Unfortunately there probably wont be any political willpower to change the status quo until climate change is laying the smack down. Let’s see how smug the politicians are then.

        • marxbrother 3.2.2.1

          Yep. looking after their natural constituents. Another case of the poor old workers subsidising polluting businesses.

        • fender 3.2.2.2

          We know what Key would say…”I dunno I wasn’t at the meeting”.

    • Galeandra 3.3

      QSF: It is only sensible that the Govt not race headlong into a futile and damaging attempt to stave off what is inevitable (if it is inevitable).

      Don’t be a cynical smart arse. Clearly everything suggested so far is within degrees of probability, so of course NZ must do what it can to reduce those possibilities. Perhaps our seriousness will spread by example to largerCO2 polluters.

      But you know this already. You’re just having fun exercising all us lefties, you don’t really care, and it’s not a debate to ascertain a point of truth, is it.

      Self-indulgence like yours earns an appropriate sobriquet: arise, Sir Wanker.

  4. lefty 4

    National, Labour, the Greens. None of them are willing to challenge the capitalist economic growth that feeds climate change.

    ETS is a make believe solution that actually makes things worse. It makes no difference how the Nats implement their scheme, or whether we have the Labour/Greens version of the same bullshit.

    The choice is stark.

    Kill capitalism or kill the planet.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      +1

      • Bored 4.1.1

        Almost plus 1…..

        I think we associate the modern industrialised world with capitalism. They are not necessarily one and the same, we could equally be an industrialised resource abusing socialist or fascist corporate dictatorship with a command economy and do the same thing….in fact we may well be the latter.

        The problem is that techno man cant actually help doing damage unless he develops the counterpoise to prevent his avarice driving for more and more. The first thing we all have to do is to understand that we do not exist in separation to the environment, that we have to respect and pay it before we do anything else. Sounds esoteric but to be practical lets make sure resources are allocated their true cost. We would then find that we could only afford a balanced exchange.

        • Afewknowthetruth 4.1.1.1

          Bored.

          In his Portland 2011 speech, Mike Ruppert was the most recent of many to pont out that the distorted form of Christianity that dominates in western societies set the ball rolling for a ‘fast crash’ (2,000 or so years) by giving people dominion OVER the Earth, rather than emphasising humanity’s place as one of many species living in harmony ON the Earth.

          As I point out in TEW, humanity was arguably on a path to self-annihilation once people adopted agriculture and started to smelt metals from ores, but it was the adoption of fossil fuels as prime energy sources that put humanity on track for a super-fast crash (of around 250 years from the advent of significant industrialism).

          There is no way out of this self-made trap within mainstream paradigms and there is huge resistance to accepting any paradigm that challenges mainstream thinking (as demonstrated repeatedly on this forum).

          • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1.1

            Sounds good, but there’s one overarching fact that dwarfs all cultural considerations: the energy density of crude oil. As I’m sure you know, this determines the energy yield that can be derived from it.

            Wood has an ED of about 16MJ/kg
            Crude has an ED of about 42MJ/kg
            Hydrogen has an ED of about 123MJ/kg

            Confucianism predates Christianity, and itself has precursors; the exploitation of natural resources cannot be blamed on religion. Prehistoric Native Americans had a carbon footprint. The industrial revolution led to a marked increase in CO2 emissions, but we were always on the road to a date with AGW.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.2

          Yeah spare me the “blame capitalism” narrative. Communist countries aren’t exactly green either. In any case, as Chomsky says: “Capitalism? Show me some!”

          (spare me the blame X narrative altogether, in fact: we need a lot less blame and a lot more action)

          Bored, I sort of agree with what you have to say about “techno man”, but I think it’s important to recognise the role of science at the heart of environmentalism. There are many competing philosophies and faiths that advocate “respect for Mother Earth”, but science gives us the evidence to make the case.

          With regard to the global energy budget, there are some unpalatable truths that must be confronted: we must stop burning fossil fuels, but countries will still stockpile them whether they use them or not. Why? Because that’s how you provide air-support to your ground troops, and if you don’t have it you’re going to lose any fight your country gets into. Sucks, but there it is.

          Politics is the bit where we try and stop it getting to that, New Zealand must add its voice to the many other countries that are lobbying for change, and we have to confront our own issues to have any credibility. We’ve all got skin in this game.

  5. infused 5

    Like I’ve said before. Until the big 3 agree to do anything, there’s no reason for NZ to do anything drastic.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      If we want to do what’s best for NZ then we need to something radical – dump capitalism and the psychopathic financial systems that have grown up around it.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          +75,000,000,000

          (the total US$ derivative liabilities that Bank of America subsidiary Merril Lynch – Key’s ex-outfit – dumped on to the US tax payer this week).

          • Deadly_NZ 5.1.1.1.1

            Oh look the empty promises Key made back in the 80’s are coming back to haunt the American tax payer. How long do we have to wait for his empty promises this time especially if he signs the trade agreement with the Americans, we could be sued for decades this time.

        • marxbrother 5.1.1.2

          ++ another one!

    • wtl 5.2

      Birol said the world doesn’t lack the technology to tackle the problem – just the political will.

      Your comment and some of those above demonstrate this aptly.

      • infused 5.2.1

        No it doesn’t.

        • Blighty 5.2.1.1

          if everyone thought like you, nothing requiring unified action would ever get done. We’ would all stand around waiting for someone else to move first.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.2

          Electric trains and public transport, taking cars off the road, decomissioning coal and oil power plants and replacing with renewables, large scale carbon taxes and subsidies for alternative energy and increased efficiency.

          • Afewknowthetruth 5.2.1.2.1

            CV.

            That would have been a great plan in the 1960s or 1970s, when fossil fuel depletion and environmental collapse were first clearly identified and their dire effects were flagged.

            50 years and 4.billion people too late, I suspect.

    • felix 5.3

      There’s no way a country as small as NZ could ever do anything meaningful to combat nuclear proliferation or apartheid either.

      • Bored 5.3.1

        Rapier like, well said.

      • Lanthanide 5.3.2

        Combating nuclear proliferation or apartheid didn’t directly cost us anything, either. It’s not like we had to shut down our nuclear weapons facilities or extend equal rights to Maori (because they already have them, more or less).

        • felix 5.3.2.1

          At the time many seemed to think those stances were costing us quite a bit actually.

        • Colonial Viper 5.3.2.2

          Lanth,

          Not sure how you can characterise losing access to top level NATO and US intelligence reports, losing purchasing rights to modern western munitions and weapon systems, and losing leverage in a whole range of important diplomatic discussions with the US as “not costing us anything directly”.

  6. side show bob 6

    Fantastic news, better still dump the whole useless corrupt scheme, it’s nothing but a lefty wet dream where they do what lefties do best, steal other people’s money.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Oh you benighted sap!
      Clue number one: carbon trading.
      Clue number two: Goldman Sachs.
      Clue number three: Goldman Sachs carbon trading.
      Clue number four: market forces
      Clue number five: cap and trade
      Clue number six: it’s the right-wing solution to the little problem Margaret Thatcher insisted we address.

      Your point is?

  7. randal 7

    the shit list:

    population pressure.
    air pollution.
    ozone depletion.
    acid rain.
    water poluution.
    water diversion.
    toxic waste.
    radiation peril.
    species extinction.
    fish depletion.
    deforestation.
    desertification.
    comin’ ta getcha boy.

  8. igivesup 8

    Why bother we are retarded as a species – exhibit A as below.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/5944305/Eager-fans-queue-up-for-iPhone-4S

    Bring on global warming to clean out a few billion of us I say.

    • McFlock 8.1

      And interesting question for that voice recognition thingee would be “how many workers in china died while making this phone?”
       It’s be a great youtube clip of it provided an answer.

    • Deadly_NZ 8.2

      Or yet another war to keep the population under control. One thing you can say for us Humans we do have some nifty weapons with which to kill each other with. And our imagination as a species will then think up more and even deadlier weapons. but it will be a drone war soon as humans can’t take the G’s. Artifical intelligence etc etc. And the aftermath of the war will be faster, better, safer,cheaper cars as the technology takes yet another jump. Yep another science fiction book written in the 50’s come to be science fact.

  9. Afewknowthetruth 9

    Things are cooking up nicely: for the elites, and this seems to be the plan:

    Keep mining, drilling and fracking in the warmer regions of the Earth, and when the ice melts in polar regions mine, drill and frack there.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-change-melting-polar-regions-faster-than-ever-before-6259145.html

    Build bunkers for a few thousand people on high ground in northern Siberia, Northern Canada, Greenland and Southern Chile.

    Wait for the hordes to die off.

    The only problem for the elites is that the temperature rise may not stop at 6oC or 8oC, and the Earth may become completely unihinhabitable for most mammallian life forms by mid century -this one.

    When I wrote ‘Burn Baby Burn’ a decade ago I speculated the Earth might still be habitable at the end of this century. But that was before yet another a decade of rampant industrialism and out-of-control emissions.

    .

    • igivesup 9.1

      “The only problem for the elites is that the temperature rise may not stop at 6oC or 8oC, and the Earth may become completely unihinhabitable for most mammallian life forms by mid century -this one.”

      No basic science suggests this is not possible.

      • NickS 9.1.1

        Ah, actually, it is possible, but very unlikely with out humans doing it on purpose due our distance from the sun

      • Afewknowthetruth 9.1.2

        igivesup

        As I understand it the temperature on Venus is around 460 oC, not primarily because it ii is closer to the Sun than the Earth is but because its atmosphere contains huge amounts of CO2.

        The greater distance of the Earth from the Sun does mean Venutian temperatures cannot be attained on Earth, but an average temperature in the 20s or 30s (oC), ten or more above the present average, is quite possible -what are called coloquially dinosaur days. Needless to say, that doews corrspond to a largely ice-free planet and no habitat for large mammals.

        Indeed, the UNIPCC flagged an average temperature 6 oC greater than current as quite feasible by the end of this century: that was in 2007, before they discovered how bad the situation really is.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.2.1

          Indeed, the UNIPCC flagged an average temperature 6 oC greater than current as quite feasible by the end of this century: that was in 2007, before they discovered how bad the situation really is.

          IIRC, that was their worst case scenario with what data they had to work with at the time (This is different to what was available as even then research was showing that the climate was changing faster than anticipated in the 4th report). Now, 6 degrees seems to be pretty much guaranteed and that’s not a comforting thought not when you consider what that means for the Earth.

  10. randal 10

    in the meantime we have the rotten tories to try and keep inline.

  11. logie97 11

    Anyone heard from the Moonman recently?

  12. johnm 12

    What afktt is saying is so terrifying that our minds recoil from it in psychic distress into denial, for if true our human hopes for the future including offspring will be relentlessly terminated. We cannot contemplate this despite all the science. The abyss and end of our civilisation makes cowards of most of us : it cannot be true?! Surely?

    • fender 12.1

      Such a waste of talent…silly naked ape.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2

      Actually, only a fool would be terrified by the things AFKTT says. A more intelligent observer would find someone with an ounce of credibility, as opposed to a moon-landings and 9/11 conspiracist.

      I think preparedness and resilience have more to offer than pants-wetting.

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