US warns: don’t cling to carbon

Written By: - Date published: 6:59 pm, April 1st, 2009 - 42 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags: , ,

Take heed, for the Superpower has spoken. At Round One of this year’s international climate change negotiations (in Bonn, Germany) the US has stolen the spotlight with a rousing opening address. President Barack Obama’s envoy Todd Stern stressed the need for action and warned countries like New Zealand that they’re set to become losers in the race to low carbon economies.

‘By transforming to a low-carbon economy, we can stimulate global economic growth and put ourselves on a path of sustainable development for the 21st century. I would go so far as to say that those who hang back and cling to a high-carbon path will be economic losers in the end because with the scientific facts of global warming getting worse and worse, high-carbon products and production methods will not be viable for long.’

‘High carbon’ ring any bells? New gas fired power stations? New highways? A watered down ETS? An industrial agriculture sector dressed up as a golden goose?

I wonder if members of the New Zealand delegation take note, or simply keep their noses buried in their ‘how to plead special treatment and win’ manual. Rumour has it New Zealand is one of only three countries which have refused to put forward a proposed emission reduction target. The other two? Russia and the Ukraine. Nice bed pals. (and here we thought John was seeking to emulate Barack not Vladimir).

Stern was unequivocal about the need to take climate change seriously.

‘You will not get one member of my delegation questioning the science of climate change, nor the urgency. The science is clear, the threat is real, and the facts on the ground are outstripping the worst-case scenarios. The costs of inaction or inadequate action are unacceptable.’

This constitutes a complete 180 from the world’s biggest economy (and second biggest emitter). In the regretful days of the Bush administration, lead negotiator Harlan Watson did his consistent best to train-wreck the talks. (‘A targets and timetables approach will not work for us .We’re going to resist it, obviously ..The United States is opposed to any such discussions’ and so on and so forth.)

Now Watson (in Bonn on the coat-tails of a sceptic senator) sits in the corner with his head down, shamed by the strength of Stern’s conviction. Stern got a round of rapturous applause for his efforts, a stark contrast to the silence that used to befall the room after America’s contributions.

So there is indeed hope in the crisp spring air of Bonn. But you’ve got to wonder, what’s the point of bold new leaders if countries like New Zealand refuse to respond to the call?

42 comments on “US warns: don’t cling to carbon”

  1. Johnty Rhodes 1

    Utter Bullshit from the Kenyan dickhead. There is not consensus on AGW. The last 8 years has shown no warming according to GISTEMP, NASA’s data. And before I get shot down this is run by James Hanses, Al ‘Fatmam’ Gore’s GW adviser.

    The Green New Deal is a croc of shit. We are close to a depression, increasing costs of power and Cap & Trade will prolong the new Depression.

    [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

    • Chris S 1.1

      Calm down, Johnty…

      There is not consensus on AGW

      Unfortunately, that’s not true. See, the people who have been refuted time and time again both in peer reviewed scientific literature, and the media don’t actually count when it comes to judging a consensus.

      The Green New Deal is a croc of shit. We are close to a depression, increasing costs of power and Cap & Trade will prolong the new Depression.

      Well, I guess we’ll see. These things must happen, whether you like them or not. Personally, I think moving towards removing dependence on a limited resource, oil, will only strengthen our economies. Lucky it’s a side-effect of “going green”

      • Johnty Rhodes 1.1.1

        Peer reviewed articles like the dis credited MBH98 Hockey Stick. That is/was the standard of ‘the consensus,’ well that hockey stick was shattered in 2005.

        [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

    • Chris S 1.2

      And about GISTEMP, How about looking at the trends and tell me what you see?

      • Johnty Rhodes 1.2.1

        I used the data at

        Do the graph yourself, a straight line reg. analysis has a zero baseline over the past 8 years. The rate of warming has dramatically slowed in the past 10 years, even though CO2 has increased 5%, a rather poor correlation. Even over the past 15 years the straight line trend is only 1.2 deg per century. A lot of hot air over nothing in reality. Remember, this is from GISTEMP, one of the Kenyan’s tools to con us into sacrificing our taxes in the name of saving the world.

        [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

        • ripp0


          sacrificing our taxes

          the money is YOURS..? How so..?

          Further, why don’t you keep what you’ve gotten ? take it from circulation.? rely upon the keepsakes..? Avoid such taxation thereon altogether..?

          would beat moaning, groaning and gringing here.. most efficiently..

          • Johnty Rhodes

            Yep RIPP0, part of those taxes were mine, I earned a salary and the govt. takes some to waste on UN feelgood programs, WFF.
            I do not mind paying for hospitals, schools etc but if I was offered 0% tax, but user pays + GST and you needed private insurance I would be happy with that. Sure would have a lot less un productives like the useless beauracrats we have.
            I like have a moan here, gives me a pleasure that K Rd couldn’t.

          • mickysavage


            There are more climate change scientists named Johnty that believe in climate change than there are scientists who believe that it is a load of crock.

            I and my children share this world with you. Please stop trying to undermine action that may just save it.

            Besides you should act as if it may be true. The possibility of future planetary devastation is more than enough reason to change your behaviour even though it may not happen.

            Do you really want to take the risk that you may be wrong?

  2. Bill 2

    Having read Stern’s address two things strike me.

    First is the unshaken belief that ‘sustainable growth’, ie Capitalism will not only be salvageable but will also serve as the means by which climate change will be averted or mitigated. That’s insane.

    Second thing is that taken as a whole, although the speech is a turnaround, it has no real substance. Some $ sums are thrown around, some % thrown around and the sum total amounts to nothing more than nice sounding greenwash.

    But I guess that’s all you’ll ever get from people who cannot recognise that Capitalism is the principle problem.

    • Johnty Rhodes 2.1

      More like too much socialism being allowed into the capatilist system. Capatalism is not helped by Kenyan’s demanding anyone can own a house, even if you are a bum in Chicago. Sub Prime started when the Kenyan Community Organiser got bolshy when Clinton was in power. Funny how members of Fanny Mac & Freddy May are now advisers to the Kenyan. Same voo doo economics as well, throw money at waste.

      I admit Bush stuffed things up as well, but that will be nothing after the Kenyan has finished with the USA & Western world.

      [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

      • Bill 2.1.1

        You’re obviously suffering chronic oxygen deprivation. I’d get my head out of there if I was you son.

        • Johnty Rhodes

          Sorry Bill, I did not realise it was your arse I had my head up, hope your eyes are not too watery………

          [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

          • Bill

            That would be disorientation kicking in. It’s not my arse your head is up. But at least you do realise and accept where your head is… even if the specifics are wrong.

      • ripp0 2.1.2


        open invitation.. keep clicking me for a real education in the real world.. you’ll need balls for this.. and a lotta hair to lose.. if you dare

  3. Macro 3

    Why do you always keep on dropping the ball Johnty! The Bullshit is from you! Your – “its getting colder!” cry has been shown to be false time and again. You are getting a bit boring.

  4. Schwule 4

    Frost tomorrow and my log burner is on full blast at present and that’s no April fools joke..

  5. getstuffed 5

    Fucking lies, lies, lies!

    Build more highways. Burn more fuel. Reduce the welfare spend. Cut the top tax rates. Kill all blue eyed babies.

    Do i sound like a national party person yet?

    The way your blog makes it sound that’s exactly how they think and ACT.

    You guys are pathetic, just like global warming is. I deliberately turned on all the appliances in my house to counter act the morons who turned there’s off. I will be dead long before my waste catches up with me.

    Chill out, stop caring about the bigger picture and turn this into a porn blog!

    • Johnty Rhodes 5.1

      Getstuffed – here here. They are all left wing zombies here, Clark Good, Key bad.

      Having fun, just presenting facts from NASA data and I get shouted down, I have no agenda, just want to show that AGW is a load of hot air.

      [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

  6. Johnty Rhodes 6

    Macro – I can only go by the data i have from the site

    Instead of shouting down my comment why not download the data and do a spreadsheet and see for yourself. It has actually shown a 2.2 deg per century cooling over the past 5 years. But, just to make you happy the trend from the past year shows a 59 degree warming per century.

    Remenber, this is from NASA, James Hansen’s baby not some right wing thinktank funded by dirty oil.

    [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

    • r0b 6.1

      Macro – I can only go by the data i have from the site

      And here are the graphs derived from that and other data:
      Occasional periods of cooling are just natural variation, look at the trends, all of the trends, over decades…

      Remenber, this is from NASA, James Hansen’s baby not some right wing thinktank funded by dirty oil.

      Yes, and this is what NASA say about their data:

      A vast array of physical and biological systems across the Earth are being affected by warming temperatures caused by human activity. These impacts include earlier leafing of trees and plants over many regions; movements of species to higher latitudes and altitudes in the Northern Hemisphere; changes in bird migrations in Europe, North America and Australia; and shifting of the oceans’ plankton and fish from cold- to warm-adapted communities. Based on an analysis of aggregated data, we recently published a study which is the first to link observed global changes in diverse systems to human-caused, or anthropogenic, climate change.

      The study found that humans are influencing climate through increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and that the warming world is causing impacts on physical and biological systems attributable at the global scale.

      Remenber, this is from NASA, not some deluded right wing blog troll.

  7. justthefacts 7

    Wow, I guess old the Mickey Moused eared POTUS must be serious about climate change.

    Perhaps that is why he has taken 500 people, three helicopters, twelve vehicles and two jets all the way to the G20 summit.

    • Johnty Rhodes 7.1

      JTF – do as I say, not as I do. This is typical leftwing dogma.
      And hey, leave Micky Mouse out of it, at least he was American.

      [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

      • ripp0 7.1.1


        little learning.. round and round to the right is terribly boring.. this is the result of a bird, for instance, having no left wing.. would be the same for a rowboat.. but not an airborne power plane..

        yet you choose – not the same as prefer – you choose round and round in circles.. circles growing smaller with the effort until—collapse—falling… the higher you are the worse it is..

        time for another choice.. the livable choice.. do you have the guts to take it..?

        • Johnty Rhodes

          RIPP0 – I do not deny your right to do things different, but I am happy with how things are going in fact, the circle of my influence is now increasing. In fact it is so large I do a round trip to the USA every 6-8 weeks. Thankfully the planes i fly have 2 wings so I fly straight and do not do circles until we are getting ready to land at the airport.

          The system we have has it’s faults but we will come out of it and we don’t need to alter things too dramatically.

          [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

  8. Schwule 8

    It is raining bullshit at the G20 summit.
    I hope Nobama has his wet suit on?

    • Johnty Rhodes 8.1

      Nearly had it right Schwule – could be raining bullets. Kenya could be in mourning tomorrow………..
      So many nutters there in Londanistan, and that is just the locals before all of the left wingers decend on the city.

      [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

  9. Johnty Rhodes 9

    Appropriate site to open on 1 April.

    [lprent: this dickhead later got banned for thread jacking]

  10. Johnty Rhodes 10

    Bill – I think I won that bout, first to score a blow wins, second best I am afraid for you.

    [lprent: Nope what you’ve won is a right to leave us for a while.

    At least you read something for a change. However your comments here do not constitute a ‘discussion’. It is clear from this comment that you simply wanted to thread jack, and ensure that there was no discussion. That is a clear violation of policy. I suggest you read it.

    Go away for a month and don’t come back. I’ll tag all of your comments in this thread to point out your threadjacking just to enhance the lesson.]

  11. JR seek professional help.

    Occasionally blogland can be good. You get a diversity of views where opinions are exchanged and arguments developed. At other times you get wingnuts invading and posting without thinking or reading. There is no development of ideas, just the exchange of slogans. IMHO the wingnuts are not able to develop arguments because they have this mindset that they are right and the left is wrong and nothing will change that view. Then the debate gets rather turgid.

    This is one of those debates …

  12. Ianmac 12

    Well I still think that even if Global Warming was not an issue, it would still be great to reform clean air/water, destruction of biosphere and so on. Before long the conflicts will be over clean water. Fix it before it is too late Johnty. Please?

  13. Demeter 13

    i wouldn’t’ want anyone to miss the point here. Climate change is not about “believing” anymore. It’s about whether you’re a going to be a winner or a loser in the new world order. Or, in NZ’s case, even a player

  14. Schwule 14

    You mean the new world disorder.
    When is Jesus coming back?

  15. John Dalley 15

    Earth to John Key, how long are you going to be a chump about Greenhouse Gases and still do nothing.
    For those Right Wing “Dunderheads” it’s not about “if” any more but the damage to New Zealand’s overseas trade and barriers that will be put up by our competitors.

  16. infused 16

    Porn blog, awesome. First lol I’ve had here in awhile.

    This is a load of shit. US is full of hot air. They are going to do nothing.Key is right for not putting anything forward.

    And shut the hell up about highways. Electric cars will become mainstream over the next 5 years. What are we going to drive them on, railroads?

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      What power source are we going to use to make them and power them on the road?

  17. lprent 17

    infused: Electric cars will become mainstream over the next 5 years.

    They have been saying that as long as I can remember. It is like fusion energy – always 20 years away. Sounds like you’d prefer to live in faith rather than reality.

    Tell you what, lets test your hypothesis. Put up the price of petrol to say triple the current values and see what happens. Perhaps they can magically get around their fundamental issues in electricity storage technology, like rarity of the types of rare earths required for the best storage systems.

    In the meantime, there are well known efficient public transport systems that available now – like rail. All you have to do is to start putting in infrastructure early enough.

    But wait, you elected a moronic government. They can be compared to Russia and the Ukraine for their touching inability to understand basic science

    • infused 17.1

      Live in faith rather than reality? That’s for people that cling to Global Warming, you have me confused.

      People don’t use our shitty public transport system, because it is just that. The way New Zealand is, the public transport system doesn’t work for most people. You are going to have to accept that. Unless you want to start pouring billions in to the redesign of cities. Yeah, how long is that going to take?

      It’s about being realistic. Public Transport, on the scale you guys have been talking, is not realistic in the time it’s going to take to build, the money that would have to be spent nor would it be realistic for most people to use. It’s really self evident.

      Please look in to the electric car movement. Funny how GM is about to start pushing their electric cars in to mainstream production this year eh?

      Where would the power come from? Could divert that money from public transport in to building more power infrastructure 😉

  18. Joshua 18

    It is very heartening to hear this change in opinion from the USA. Almost good enough for me to be able to live with the result of last year’s two November elections (would we have preferred a Labour/McCain result…. hmmmmm) as getting the USA on-side with climate change talks means that something will finally happen.

    If New Zealand wants to stand around burying its head in the sand we’re going to get totally hammered in terms of our international reputation. Even if right-wingers don’t believe in climate change surely they are worried about our international reputation. 100% Pure, Clean & Green New Zealand doesn’t cut it if we’re one of the handful of international countries pulling back on climate change talks. Just look at the hit Australia and the USA’s reputations took when they weren’t involved in the Kyoto Protocol.

    Infused….. tell me what’s the average age of a car in New Zealand? How much more expensive are electric cars than normal cars? What does one do about issues relating to the scarcity of battery components? By the time electric cars become affordable for the majority of us it’ll be decades into the future. In winter last year when petrol was $2.20 a litre traffic volumes across Auckland were down by 5-10% while public transport was bursting at the seams…. why wouldn’t that happen again?

    • infused 18.1

      People didn’t want to use public transport Joshua, that’s the thing. They were forced.

      Hence now it’s returned to normal.

      It probably will happen again, but it’s besides the point.

  19. TomSe 19

    Just my views on the car aspect of this discussion.

    One of the biggest obstacles to developing a coherent response to global warming is the refusal of Green change advocates to grasp that our current car-centric culture exists because in a market economy CONSUMERS LOVE THEIR CARS. Note love – not a mild flirtation, or a dilatory dalliance – a full blown ongoing love affair exists between the consumer and the motorcar. The implications for developing public policy in a democracy are obvious, yet the Green’s just don’t want to get it. But in black and white, here it is. In a democracy, you will never win substantial power on an anti-car platform. All the high minded commitment to a Green new deal will count for nothing if you are not on the treasury benches because your policies are for ideological reasons permanently in diametric opposition to something very close to most voters’ hearts.

    So firstly it seems to me the correct approach for a Green new deal, at least in the medium term, is to give up the demonisation of the motorcar as a symbol of western consumer excess and accept the car is here to stay and seek technological alternatives not to the car in general but the internal combustion engine in particular.

    Secondly, accepting the public love affair with the car should lead to a more realistic approach to developing a public transport infrastructure. Accepting that you will only force people out of their cars by prising their cold, dead hands from the steering wheel means you can make the obvious case for things like draconian congestion charging at peak flows, and accept that public transport can’t be simply an inconvenient and time consuming option that you really should do because it is good for the planet and all, but it has to be frequent, swift, reliable and CHEAPER than the car to attract sufficient ongoing and willing patronage.

    Anyway, that is my little comment for the day.

  20. Joshua 20

    If people just “love their cars” then how come car ownership rates in other cities are so much lower than Auckland’s, for example? How come places like Toronto and Calgary have 8 to 10 times the public transport usage per capita of Auckland? Are they being “forced” onto public transport, or it is because they actually have the “choice” of a decent public transport system instead of using their cars?

    One could very much argue that people are forced into driving here, as decades of under-spending on public transport (coupled with huge spending on roads) means that we have an incredibly unbalanced transport system. For example, the best option suggested by the Maxx Journey Planner for me to get from my home to my work at peak hour is a 1 hour and 55 minute walk!

    Are Aucklanders just a weird form of humanity that loves their cars more than other places around the world? The huge increases in public transport patronage over the past 6-8 years might suggest otherwise… where we’re given a decent alternative to the car we will use it.

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