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Well done

Written By: - Date published: 5:16 pm, December 18th, 2012 - 83 comments
Categories: climate change, energy - Tags: ,

This is one of a series of posts I hope to write over the summer based to some extent or other on a recent presentation by Kevin Anderson: Professor of Energy and Climate Change, University of Manchester, Tyndall Centre.

Here are the links to the lecture (no visual for the first 60 sec), the transcript of the lecture (pdf), the powerpoint slides he used (pdf) as well as the Bows and Anderson 2011 report Beyond ‘dangerous’ climate change: emission scenarios for a new world.

If anyone can illustrate that Anderson has got this wrong I’ll be grateful and not a little relieved. But I’m not interested in any school playground type stuff that relies on ‘my dad is bigger than your dad’ type arguments – which is all I’ve come across on the net. It seems no-one is prepared or able to directly challenge Andersons figures and analysis.

Meanwhile, if I’ve misconstrued anything he has been saying, then likewise, I’d appreciate the heads up

Finally, anybody attempting  to run an AGW denialist argument on these posts will be banned. Them’s the rules. You don’t have to like them. You’ve been warned.

Most of the world’s governments made the following commitment by signing up to the Copenhagen Accord.

To hold the increase in global temperature below two degrees Celsius, and take action to meet this objective consistent with science and on the basis of equity.

Well, science is telling us that by about 2050 the mean global increase in surface temperature will be around 4 degrees Celsius. And that’s not taking into account any potential tipping point such as a run away arctic ice melt or methane bubbling up from the arctic tundra boosting that mean surface temperature even higher. And we, quite simply, don’t survive even that optimistic non-tipping point scenario.

When considering a minimum increase in  mean surface temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, the cooling effect of the planet’s surface waters has to be taken into account, meaning that average land temperatures will be somewhat higher…up around 5 – 6 degrees Celsius.

So New York could possibly experience higher temperature ranges in the order of 12 degrees C above it’s current hottest temperatures (and possibly for extended periods) while Europe might well experience periods of temperature about 8 -10 degrees C above those of the 2003 heat wave that killed 20 – 30 000 people.

None of this is based on new information or new scientific data. The sudden focus on 4 degree C and 6 degree C futures by even conservative institutions, the likes of the World Bank and the International Energy Agency, comes down to is one simple fact. We were lied to.

Major reports that scientists compiled from raw data – the reports that tracked future warming trends and that governments set policy by, were (please excuse the pun) cooked.

Here’s just some of the ways of how that was done.

 

  • The annual rate of increasing CO2e factored into major reports was in the order of 1 -1.5 %. The actual rate was 2.7% p.a. for the 20C and over 3% p.a. for this century.

 

  • Economists insisted that any reduction in CO2e should not exceed 4% p.a. because the market economy wouldn’t withstand a greater reduction. So the compilers of major reports set the year of global peak emissions to allow for rates of reduction that economists said were viable. (Commonly that meant a global peak around 2015 -2017, although some reports, in spite of available empirical data, went so far as to set the peak in the past to accommodate preferred economic scenarios)

 

  • The reports have also been western centric. The realities behind western emission trends haven’t  just been mis-interpreted (exporting emissions isn’t the same as cutting them), but they’ve been unreasonably and unrealistically applied to the global context. So, the fact that China was busy industrialising and building vast amounts of infrastructure and emitting accordingly, has been generally ignored. The fact that India will at some point follow suit has been generally ignored. The fact that the African continent will also seek to develop has, likewise, been generally ignored.

 

  • In addition to the fudging that allowed western governments to set policy based on unrealistic optimism rather than on hard science, the reports opted to incorporate percentage chances of avoidance.  In other words they endorsed taking a punt and didn’t adhere to modelling that would avoid a 2 degree C increase in temperature as per the commitments of the Copenhagen Accord.

So thanks to scientists compiling reports that were rosy, and inadequate policy being formulated on the back of those unrealistic reports, we find ourselves staring down the barrel of a 4 degrees C future. But that’s only if we manage to peak global emissions by 2020 and reduce them at 3.5%p.a. thereafter. But whatever…it’s not a scenario we survive anyway…crop yields plummet at plus 4 degrees Celsius and much of our technological infrastructure ceases to function.

According to the orthodox interpretation of the available scientific data, if we were to have just a (roughly) 50/50 chance of avoiding 2 degrees C warming (and science considers 2 degrees C warming to be ‘dangerous’ or ‘extremely dangerous’), then China, India, Africa etc would have to peak their emissions by 2025. Their annually increasing rate of emissions would need to be in the order of 3.5% (it’s currently higher than that) in the lead up to 2025. And they would have to cut emissions thereafter by 7% p.a. (not economically viable according to the economists). And on top of all that, the west would have to cut its emissions to zero. And that’s impossible. But better than that – the west would have had to have achieved that impossibility by 2010.

So  back in the real world, I’ll end this post with a quote from Anderson’s presentation (some punctuation altered for readability)

  ….  just to give you a handle, this is the sort of reductions that we need to see in the wealthy parts of the world . This is for an outside chance of 2 degrees C. We need to have about 10% p.a. – if not a bit more than that really – from energy. So we need about a 40% reduction in the next three years in our energy consumption. That’s all of our energy consumption. Not just the bits you want to measure. That includes planes, that includes ships – 40%.  A 70% reduction by 2020. And basically be completely decarbonised by 2030 – fridges, planes, ship, cars. Everything we do…projectors, power systems… everything – decarbonised – to give a little bit of space for the poorer parts of the world to help them develop and improve their welfare. So that’s what we have to try and do. And we’ll all say that’s impossible. But the question I was asked – which you probably can’t see at the back is – was, well… “Is living with 4 degrees C temperature rise by 2050 to 2070 – Is that any less impossible?…

 

And so…over to you.

83 comments on “Well done ”

  1. Still living in hope ?

    We are as good as @ 400 ppm, (atmospheric CO2) and will stay there or above for nearly the next 1,000 years, any talk of reducing emissions now is to little to late. Not only has the horse bolted, it’s jumped the fence and and mated with the neighbors mare.
    We should have been having this conversation instead of carving statues on Easter Island (we had a chance back then). We have been heading for this point for the past 10,000 years, we are bacteria after all, and like all bacteria we grow until the food supply starts to run out …………. we have just gone one step further and killed our host, because we are smart bacteria.
    Nothing is going to stop what we have set in motion.
    We might be able to slow the enviable, but that will be all.
    No government is going to tell us the truth or do anything serious.
    We need to

    Close the borders
    Close the maternity wards
    Have at least 80% unemployment
    No growth …. massive reverse growth
    Turn off the grid
    Close the petrol stations.

    Fell free to add to this list.

  2. Not trying to upstage Kevin Anderson at all, this is the latest from Guy MacPherson

    ———————————————————————

    Presented without additional commentary is this video from my recent speaking tour in Massachusetts. It’s my latest and most comprehensive assessment of the twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin, climate change and energy decline. In response to this presentation, I’ve heard via the occasionally accurate grapevine that I’ll never speak on that campus again. Guy

    The Twin Sides of the Fossil Fuel Coin
    Award winning conservation biologist and professor emeritus Guy MacPherson visits GCC and delivers his presentation “The Twin Sides of the Fossil-Fuel Coin: Developing Durable Living Arrangements in Light of Climate Change and Energy Decline.” rec. 11/28/12

    • MacPherson is an eyeopener.
      NZ is probably the best place in the world to survive until mid century but that will make us a prized refuge for the global parasites. We will need cooperatives and self defence. That sounds like Maori society. What an irony.

  3. karol 3

    Thanks, Bill.  It’s good for a non-scientist like myself to have the main facts explained clearly.
     
    On the final quote: does decarbonising things like cars, fridges, planes etc, mean that an alternative form of power is possible?
     
    A couple of years back there was talk of developing ships that could use sails part of the time.  Is that still happening?

    • Bill 3.1

      Hi Karol. I’m no scientist either. And had to go over the vid, transcript and slides a few times before I was reasonably satisfied that I was understanding what he was saying. There’s much more in his presentation than what I’ve included in this post. But if I managed to get the main facts correct and re-present them in a fairly clear fashion, then good.
      On the alternative power options. Anderson focusses on the demand side of the energy equation because the supply side will take too long to put in place to be of any use to us. We can begin work on the supply side now, but we can’t rely on it to solve the problems we face.
      Cars and planes could be made more efficient or simply abandoned. (He reckons a 90% + increase in car efficiency is possible over a 10 year period without employing any new technology) But if we have to be hitting close to zero carbon on the energy front by 2030, then I guess there is no option other than to largely give those things up. Meanwhile, it seems every ‘man and their dog’ reckon on using biomass and utilising non-existant Carbon Capture and Storage technology….which still produces carbon and therefore can’t be an option if 2030 is to be more or less zero carbon for ‘the west’.
      But away from transport, I can’t think of any compelling reason why the likes of computers need to be run or charged up from a mains electrical supply. And the same for a lot of other appliances. We have solar options or mechanical and sprung clockwork options for some stuff, while there’s a lot of stuff that is simply unnecessary junk.
      At the end of the day, I think we have a choice between crashing or burning where crashing is allowing the market economy to crash and burning involves saving the economy and burning as a result of that. At which point the market economy crashes anyway.
      Put another way, I’m thinking we either radically alter our lives right now…with some control and agency and access to resources… or have our lives radically altered in the future in a situation of little or no control and agency and bugger all access to resources.

    • Napkins 3.2

      No alternative energy source exists today, not even in small scale pilot operation, which will allows us to run the scale of modern globalised economy and agriculture that we take for granted today. None. Which means that carbon will remain in use as an energy source.

  4. Colonial Weka 4

    When considering a minimum increase in  mean surface temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, the cooling effect of the planet’s surface waters has to be taken into account, meaning that average land temperatures will be somewhat higher…up around 5 – 6 degrees Celsius.
    So New York could possibly experience higher temperature ranges in the order of 12 degrees C above it’s current hottest temperatures (and possibly for extended periods) while Europe might well experience periods of temperature about 8 -10 degrees C above those of the 2003 heat wave that killed 20 – 30 000 people.
     

    I’m sure those temperatures will make life very difficult in many areas, and not to deny the extreme seriousness of the situation, but I’m not convinced it’s the end of humanity due to crop loss. Can we put that in a NZ context? If we look at the mean high temperatures for say Chch… which is 22.7 for Jan (NIWA 1981 – 2010), and compare that to somewhere like Jordan where the average mid summer temp is 31, we see that it is possible to grow food in that kind of heat. Or am I missing something?
     
    I accept that conventional monocropping for export is going to fail in many places, but we’re not going to be able to keep growing food like that anyway thanks to peak oil and soil degradation/loss of fertility.

    • Napkins 4.1

      Except that going back to a population of 500M in the space of 50 years is going to look and feel exactly like a civilisation ending apocalypse, even though it won’t necessarily be the end of humanity.
      It’ll be like suffering 15x the yearly casualties of World War II, except that the war stretches on for half a century.
      You could bring new crops to NZ. But they won’t be suited to NZ soils and entire seasons may fail.
      Number of calories yield per hectare per year are going to decline extraordinarily.
      Shifting climate means completely new crop species will have to be found every 10 years, NZ farmers won’t have the expertise or experience to farm those new crops, there is no way to get the needed seed in the needed quantities. Livestock numbers will be devastated as neither grass nor grain nor the fertile land to grow them can be spared for animals.

      • Colonial Weka 4.1.1

        I take your point about the difficulty of mass loss of human life. But the rest needs backing up.
         
        “Number of calories yield per hectare per year are going to decline extraordinarily.”
         
        Why? Are you looking solely at conventional agriculture?
         
        “Shifting climate means completely new crop species will have to be found every 10 years, NZ farmers won’t have the expertise or experience to farm those new crops, there is no way to get the needed seed in the needed quantities.”
         
        Not convinced. NZ continuously trials new crops and new ways of growing food.
         
        “Livestock numbers will be devastated as neither grass nor grain nor the fertile land to grow them can be spared for animals.”
         
        Stock numbers per se don’t matter, as most of what we grow currently is for export. The land for meat vs crops debate can be argued both ways. What we need to look at is how to integrate animals into polyculture food systems, and how to make best nutritional use of the animals we do grow (whole animal use rather than just focussing on meat and treating the rest as waste or pet food).
         

        • Napkins 4.1.1.1

          Think about how many decades, billions of dollars, and millions of person hours it took for our country to becoming highly expert dairy farmers. All within relatively stable climate and soil conditions.
          How long do you think we will have to become experts at growing rice, sorghum and soy? Time and resources are heavily against us now.

          • Colonial Weka 4.1.1.1.1

            You mean our highly expert dairy industry that knows fuck all about sustainability and the environment that it exists within, including how to adapt? The people who think it’s a good idea to grow dairy in desert? The people whose primary focus hasn’t been growing food, but making profit? You’re looking in the wrong place and using completely the wrong measuring tools.
             
            I would instead be looking at the people that know how to grow food with relatively little industrial inputs, and who take their cues from the land and climate they are actually in. Those are the people who will be able to teach us how to adapt.
             
            Why are you focussing on rice, sorghum and soy? If Bill is right about the 700km then Southland and Otago will be growing crops from the top of the South and the North Island. And again, look at polycultures.
             
            You didn’t answer my other questions. I’m still interested in the claim that calorie yield will decline massively. I think you are speculating about the wrong things and without any real evidence.

            • Napkins 4.1.1.1.1.1

              The farmers you disparage for haivng the wrong tools and having the wrong outlook also own the land and are the guardians of the vast body of NZ farming knowledge. What you are talking aboiut doing is in the next 10-15 years, bringing completely alternative forms of non-commercial farming to the foreground in NZ, and to convert huge tracts of land to it.
              That’s certainly a plausible way ahead. I have to say though I don’t know what would need to be done to actually bring it about.

              • Colonial Weka

                I’m not disparaging traditional conventional farming techniques so much, and I agree those farmers hold a huge knowledge about the land and farming here. But the recent industrial dairying is not traditional conventional farming, it’s business. It’s doing exponentially more damage to the land than traditional conventional farming was. And the model it uses is the antithesis of sustainable land use. Those people are going to have a hard time adapting because they’re so dependent on artificial oil created imputs, and because they ignore the environment and climate they are farming in.
                 
                The old school farmers will be the ones to engage with and support. The main problem for them is that the debt on farms ties them into large industrial, export focused systems. The big concern there is that when the squeeze really starts to happen, those farmers will go bankrupt and have their land sold out from under them to overseas interests. At that point NZ will have to make its mind up pretty bloody quick what it is going to do.
                 
                There are already a surprising number of ‘commercial’ farmers and agriculturalists in NZ using some kind of sustainability model (by commercial I mean people/families who make a living at it). I think most catchments in NZ will now have at least one sustainable food production farm going, often one that’s been doing it for many years or even decades. Those people have been developing and practicing the skills we need.
                 
                There is also a wellspring of new initiatives in small scale food production – community gardens, school orchards and gardens, the home gardening resurgence, as well as alternative supply models like Farmers Markets, Oooby, bucky boxes, CSAs (community supported agriculture).
                 
                The thing here is that small/medium, localised production is so much more sustainable and resilient than conventional farming and monocrop agriculture. Multiple, diverse polycultures within a catchment are far less likely to fail than a valley growing wheat (and those polyculture growers are already diversifying the seed bank so that we are not dependent on the limited varieties necessary for industrial export cropping that will fail if the environmental conditions change too much). Look at what happened in Cuba when they lost access to cheap oil – within something like a year they converted huge amounts of food production to local and small/med scale, even within the cities. Necessity is the mother of invention.
                 
                And remember that so much of our conventional farming is focused on export. Once that changes, we will have much more land to work with for our own needs.
                 
                In terms of how to make the necessary things come about, I think supporting local initiatives is the way to go. There is nowhere in NZ now that doesn’t have things like this going on. The political action to mitigate CC is also important, but all the things I’ve just talked about are actively moving towards low carbon production already. That’s the point about sustainability models – they both solve the problem and prevent the problem.
                 

    • Bill 4.2

      In lower latitudes a 4 degrees C increase in temperature will apparently (just using Anderson’s figures here) lead to something like a 40% decrease in harvests such as maize and rice. At the same time, our population will be rising towards 9 billion (all things being equal).
      It’s not so much the end of humanity as the end of an organised global community (ie, our civilisation)…and a lot of starvation. And at 4 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures, the chances of temperature stability diminish. There is a fair likelihood that a 4 degree C rise will just be somewhere on a stopping point to some higher temperature (tipping points coming into play)

      edit. In a NZ context there is a chance our climate displacement will be something like 700km. (ignoring the possibility of tipping points)ie, it will be as though we were 700km closer to the equator in today’s climate. So, not so bad and all thanks to being islands in the middle of a vast ocean. But other places are going to be uninhabitable due to extreme average temperatures.

      • Colonial Weka 4.2.1

        Interesting. Does the 700km figure come from Anderson?
         

        In lower latitudes a 4 degrees C increase in temperature will apparently (just using Anderson’s figures here) lead to something like a 40% decrease in harvests such as maize and rice.
         

        I’m guessing he is talking about conventional agricultural models. We can’t depend on those in a post-peak oil age anyway. Thankfully, many people have been developing sustainable and resilient models of growing food and other necessities. For instance, in east coast SI droughts in the past 30 years, some organic farmers were doing better than their conventional neighbours because of specific land-use practices. And we have better systems than simply organics.
         
        I think the crop failure argument is useful to get people to take notice of the global nature of this crisis as motivation for change, but it’s also important to look at local strategies for survival. People need to see a way of this being real in their own lives, or they will just stay in cognitive dissonance and nothing will change.

        • Bill 4.2.1.1

          The 700km came from a model I stumbled across while reading stuff associated with this post. And I’ve no idea what or where it was any more.

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    So the truth is emerging at long last, almost totally vindicating what I have been saying for the past decade.

    The only problem is, this item understates the predicament. In practice there is no evidence that a rise in average temperature of 2oC is at all safe or sustainable. In fact we are already witnessing climate chaos with the Earth’s average temperature up ‘just’ 0.8oC.

    Even a 1.0oC rise in average temperature will be utterly catastrophic, since it guarantees accelerated positive feedbacks.

    Interestingly, this is the very topic I spoke to NPDC about at the November meeting. My request to speak at the December meeting about sources of emissions and what NPDC needs to do to provide the young people of the district with a future was denied by Harry Duynhoven because his agenda is to destroy his own children’s future and everyone else’s via CO2 emissions. He has clearly shown himself to be a liar, a hypocrite, a fascist (in the true sense of the word as defined by Mussolini), a bully and a coward. ……I went over all this stuff with him 5 years ago and provided him with all the evidence he needed to start implementing sane policies … and he ignored every word I said and promoted looting of NZ resources and increased emissions, the cretin that he is. Just like every other politician, of all parties. Just today the idiot Shearer was grizzling about a miniscule rise in fuel prices. And not long ago the idiot Norman was grizzling about the decline in manufacturing in NZ.

    With such idiots in charge and a dumbed-down general populace that is scientifically illiterate next generation is utterly screwed, I’m afraid.

    • Jenny 5.1

      Good to see you back.

    • Bill 5.2

      If by ‘this item’ you mean this post, I haven’t said that 2 degrees is safe. In fact, I’ve said it is considered ‘dangerous’ or ‘extremely dangerous’…in line with Anderson’s presentation.

      And yes, a 1 degree C increase may be enough to trigger tipping points…they may already have been triggered (methane in the arctic and the arctic sea ice melt).

      But if we are going to take any action…and it must be done right now and it must be with a view to making colossal changes to the way we live both individually and collectively…then I don’t believe we have an option beyond preparing for the worst survivable scenario while hoping for the best survivable scenario.

      If we are totally convinced we are ‘utterly screwed’ then we might not just as well draw the curtains, put out the lights and top ourselves?

      • Colonial Weka 5.2.1

        “If we are totally convinced we are ‘utterly screwed’ then we might not just as well draw the curtains, put out the lights and top ourselves?”
         
        Or carbon party while the ship goes down.
         
        Not sure what our options are for taking action are though.

        • Bill 5.2.1.1

          “Or carbon party while the ship goes down.”

          Nah, huffing or buzzing on petrol has never held any appeal for me. And options was the going to be the subject of the next post. I was kind of hoping somebody with a scientific background (like Lynn?) would be around and demolish the premise of this one. But hey.

        • Jenny 5.2.1.2

          The options are clear.

          New Zealand is responsible for 0.2% of CO2 emissions.

          http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/climate-change/ On the government website the country’s top science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman says: “New Zealand is a small emitter by world standards – only emitting some 0.2% of global green house gases. So anything we do as a nation will have little impact on the climate – our impact will be symbolic, moral, and political”

          This means that to have an effect New Zealand must do something symbolic and iconic that captures the world’s attention.

          Helen Clark as Prime Minister, suggested the aspirational goal, of making New Zealand “Carbon neutral”. The Green Party concretised this aspirational goal by declaring that it is Green Party policy to wind down the coal mining industry, in particular not to allow any new coal mines.
          This is in line with NASA scientist James Hanson determination that globally, coal is the number one cause of climate change.
          Luckilly for us New Zealand is not reliant on coal for most of our electricity production so a complete ban on this fossil fuel is completely realisable.
          This is the sort of iconic statement that we could make, that would capture the world’s attention. The complete and total shut down of the New Zealand coal industry.
          It is not generally known, but New Zealand had at one time a substantial asbestos mining industry employing hundreds of workers. We closed this industry down, totally.
          Coal is dangerous, it is a killer, this is a proven fact. And it kills in many different ways. It is more dangerous than asbestos ever was.

          Closing down the New Zealand coal industry, effectively banning coal, as asbestos was banned, is the sort of iconic action that would capture the world’s imagination.
          It is the single most important contribution we could make to saving the planet.
          However there is a problem. Though it is a Green Party policy to oppose all new coal mines, the leadership of the Green Party are prepared to trade away this principle for front seat cabinet positions. And for what? A few economic and social reforms that will be meaningless, swept away whent the first real climate disaster hits this country.
          This is why I have labeled the Green Party “change of focus” as Weka calls it, cowardice and treachery.

          • Colonial Weka 5.2.1.2.1

            “Though it is a Green Party policy to oppose all new coal mines, the leadership of the Green Party are prepared to trade away this principle for front seat cabinet positions”
             
            [citation needed] Won’t be holding my breath for that though 🙄
             
            As much as I would like to see the coal industry reigned in, and the idea of carbon neutral is attractive (although also symbolic in the way that Clark meant it), those are not actions. They’re ideas. You need to be more specific eg what actions would lead to either of those two things being implemented, or even just more likely? (wanting the GP to solve all your problems isn’t an action either).

            • Jenny 5.2.1.2.1.1

              A Green Party that enters a government that allows the massive open cast coal mine proposed on the Denniston Plateau to proceed will be a Green Party that sells out.

              The Denniston open cast coal mine will see a massive increase in CO2 emmissions for this country. Sneakily these emmissions will occurr in China where this coal is to being exported to and not here, and will not count against our CO2 account.

              I would expect that as a principled stand that the Green Party should be stating now that they will not be joining any government that allows the Denniston Plateau to be mined.

              I would also like to suggest that the Green Party can take action now on the whole dispicable coal for export industry. They could do this by by putting up a private members bill calling for the banning of all coal imports and exports.

              Of course National and their saptraps will oppose such a bill but more importantly for the future, it will be a test of where the Labour Party stands on this issue.

              • “will be a green party that sells out ……………………. Kiwi Saver was a sell out
                Kiwi Saver is dependent on mining, Kiwi Saver is busniss as usual. Kiwi Saver is + 6 by 2050. thanks Greeds.

            • Jenny 5.2.1.2.1.2

              “You need to be more specific eg what actions would lead to either of those two things being implemented, or even just more likely?” Colonial Weka

              #1.The first thing the Green Party need to do is announce that they will not be part of any government that allows the Denniston Open Cast mine to proceed. Neither will the Green Party be part of a government that allows oil prospecting on the East Coast of the North Island (offshore or onshore).
              #2. The Green Party immediately announce addressing Climate Change will be one of their key election planks in 2014.

              This will be a shot across the bows of parliament announcing that climate change will no longer be down played or ignored, for narrow political advantage.
              These actions as I have outlined will in themselves open a public debate on climate change in parliament and nationwide.

              #3 In parliament not being bound by collective cabinet responsibility the Green Party MPs will be free to lobby, persuade and pressure sympathetic MPs, no matter what party, to vote in support environmental bills even if it means crossing the floor and defying their leaders.
              This is how the Labour Party made New Zealand Nuclear Free. It wasn’t what they did in government, it was what they did in opposition.

              In 1984 as well as pressuring and lobbying National MPs the Labour Party in opposition called all their members to support protests against Nuclear Ship visits, this created a powerful lobby that could not be ignored by the National Government MPs which caused some of them to waver in their support for the government.

              This same lobby was what prevented the Labour Party in government, from backsliding.

              Yes, such a political strategy may cost the Green Party some votes and even some seats. But these votes or seats won’t be lost to the left but will probably return to Labour. The trade off is that the Green Party will be able to maintain their independence to give a powerful lead. There is no way that Green Party can be prevented from becoming a powerful and challenging voice in parliament after the next election, unless they decide to do it to themselves. Ultimately it will be far better that the Green Party have a free hand than be bound by a coalition agreement that will ultimately prove a disapointment to their key support base.

              The current strategy being pursued by the Green Party will only amount to parliamentary business as usual.

              Mark my words, going into coalition with a climate change ignoring party like Labour will see the collapse of support for the Green Party. You have been warned, just try to look surprised when it happens.

  6. Jenny 6

    The Green Party are noticeably moving their focus away from environmental issues, to social justice and economic issues, becoming less like an environmental party and more like just another social democratic party. (maybe a little more left than the Labour Party). The problem for the Green Party, is that this part of the political spectrum is already filled. And unless the Green Party can replace Labour, (unlikely). More likely, is that after in the next election reaching their highest tide mark in voter support yet, Green Party support will be followed by a swift decline.
    I likened the Green Party (and other politicians), ignoring of climate change to focus on social issues as tantamount to arguing over the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. Which I wrote is, “pathological verging on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.”
    In reply Colonial Weka gave us the his rational for what he calls the Green Party “change of focus”. According to Weka it is too late to do anything.
    “Politicians may be rearranging the deck chairs, but you are arguing for changing course once we’ve already hit the iceberg. Just as crazy.” Colonial Weka
    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-09122012/comment-page-1/#comment-560722

    David Letterman tells us why, US politicians, like the Green Party, have moved their focus from climate change and no longer like to talk about it if they can avoid it.
     
    “The thing that I believe now is there’s nothing that can be done about this–that’s why they’re not talking about it. I don’t think there’s a damn thing that can be done to recreate a climate in which glaciers will reproduce or come back…[John Holdren]…and his other buddies who work with Al Gore told me…if everybody started riding bicycles tomorrow, carbon [sic] emissions zero beginning tomorrow, this planet would continue to heat precipitously for 60 years…I think now, reasonably, it’s all about adaptability”. David Letterman

    • Colonial Weka 6.1

      Good grief, you do realise that the link you posted shows me saying that neither I nor the GP are deliberately ignoring CC. And I don’t think it’s too late to do anything. I think it’s too late because we won’t do anything. I’ve also said I think it is important that we do whatever we can to mitigate.
       
      Just to be clear – I personally think it is too late, but I didn’t say that that was the GP rationale for their shift in focus. What I actually said was that the GP shift was a smart, pragmatic choice so that they can get some power to make real change.
       
      I personally think it is too late for exactly the reasons Bill has outlined, and because I don’t see the political will to do anything. The difference between you and me is that I don’t blame the GP, who have done more than their fair share of the work in addressing CC. I blame NZers who’ve chosen to vote to right wing and centrist govts, and those people who don’t vote at all. We’ve had a choice, and had more NZers voted Green in the past 20 years, we would be in quite a different situation than we are now. I also blame NACT and the right wing of the Labour party.
       
      “like the Green Party, have moved their focus from climate change and no longer like to talk about it if they can avoid it.”
       
      Telling lies again Jenny. We’ve posted lots of links recently proving that the GP is still addressing CC on a regular basis. Hardly the actions of avoiders.
       
       

      • Jenny 6.1.1

        “I blame NZers who’ve chosen to vote to right wing and centrist govts, and those people who don’t vote at all. We’ve had a choice, and had more NZers voted Green in the past 20 years, we would be in quite a different situation than we are now.” Colonial Weka.

        I call bullshit on this load of sectarian self justification. Napolean once said, “There is no such thing as bad soldiers, only bad generals.”

        When miltary, or political leaders start blaming those they aspire to lead for their own failings this is a sure sign that they are not leaders.

        • Colonial Weka 6.1.1.1

          Quote Napolean all you like, there is still nothing there but assertion.Try putting up some actual arguments to support what you say.
           
          The GP did what you wanted them to do ie highlighted CC, and they didn’t get the votes. In fact they got smacked down by the electorate several times. It’s completely ridiculous to suggest that if they had been more staunch on CC they would have got more votes. People didn’t vote for them because they were (mistakenly) scared of National winning an election and because they didn’t trust the GP to not be too radical. Now they’ve changed tack and are getting more votes and alot more credibility in the mainstream, which makes them more effective at what they do.
           
          You want the GP to be more radical, but your position is a nonsense because you cannot even speculate on how that might be useful or helpful let alone come up with a coherent suggestion. Now you seem to claim that if the GP had been more radical and exhibited better leadership then the voters would have supported them, when all the evidence is to the contrary.
           
          “When miltary, or political leaders start blaming those they aspire to lead for their own failings this is a sure sign that they are not leaders.”
           
          But the GP aren’t failing, they’re more successful now than they were in the past. Besides, I was the one making the criticism, not the GP, and I’m not a military or political leader. Try arguing the actual points I made, not some vague European mythology about wars.

      • Jenny 6.1.2

        “We’ve posted lots of links recently proving that the GP is still addressing CC on a regular basis. Hardly the actions of avoiders.” Colonial Weka

        I never called the Green Party avoiders I called them ignorers. I will give you the list of climate Change factions as I see them: Let the readers decide where the Green Party fit in.

        Title: <b>Climate Change Deniers</b> Definition: The CCDs argue that climate change is not real and is not happening. CCDs explain the controversy as a result of a global conspiracy concocted by scientists, politicians and media. Unfortunately the CCDs have not been able to give any rational explanation of the reasons for this global conspiracy. Current Status: The CCDs are Pretty much at the fringes of the current debate on climate change Title: <b>Climate Change Apologists</b> Definition: CCAs admit that climate change is happening. However CCAs say that jobs, profits, economic “growth”, and a myriad other issues are far more important than taking steps to address climate change. The apologists are also adept at blaming or scapegoating others, usually groups that they have already taken a dislike to anyway. This group are quite comfortable with the idea of millions if not billions of human deaths, not to mention the resulting destruction of entire eco systems with mass animal and plant extinctions. Their previously listed preoccupations, are considered far more important than avoiding this catastrophy. Current status: The most sinister, pernicious, cynical and dangerous of the different Climate Change factions. Currently the CCAs are the main spear carriers for opposing any action on climate change. And now a third category has arisen: Title: <b>Climate Change Ignorers</b> Definition: Political leaders and parties who refuse to mention Climate Change, if they can avoid it. Usually for sectarian political advantage, ie, “not scare the horses”, “not look too radical in the eyes of the voters”, “not offend vested interest”, etc etc. Rather than alert the electorate and the wider population to the danger, the CCIs put getting bums on seats for their particular sectarian grouping, more important than even alerting their political rivals who would steal a policy march on them if they were made aware of the danger. The whole topic of Climate Change is a ‘no go area’ for these politicians. They will rarely if ever mention the subject of Climate Change, unless it is pushed right up under their noses, and sometimes not even then. If forced to, when asked about when will they act against Climate Change, CCIs reply, When we are in complete control of the presidency and the congress, (or have the majority seats in the New Zealand parliament, then they call for action on Climate Change.) In the meantime, CCIs neither deny, or apologise for climate change, they just simply ignore it. Current Status: The most ridiculous and laughable faction of all, I don’t expect it to last long.

        • Colonial Weka 6.1.2.1

          Am happy to read that when you figure out the formatting.

          • Jenny 6.1.2.1.1

            am trying

            Climate Change Factions: definitions

            Title: Climate Change Deniers

            Definition: The CCDs argue that climate change is not real and is not happening. CCDs explain the controversy as a result of a global conspiracy concocted by scientists politicians and media, unfortunately they have not been able to give any rational explanation of the reasons for this global conspiracy.

            Current Status: The CCDs are Pretty much at the fringes of the current debate on climate change

            Title: Climate Change Apologists

            Definition: CCAs admit that climate change is happening, but say that jobs, profits, the economy and growth, and a myriad other issues are far more important than taking steps to address climate change. The apologists are also adept at blaming or scapegoating others, usually groups that they have already taken a dislike to anyway. This group are quite comfortable with the idea of millions if not billions of human deaths, as well as the destruction of entire eco systems and the resulting mass animal and plant extinctions. Their previously listed preoccupations are considered far more important.

            Current status: The most sinister, pernicious, cynical and dangerous of the different Climate Change factions. Currently the CCAs are the main spear carriers for opposing action on climate change.

            And now a third category has arisen:

            Title: Climate Change Ignorers

            Definition: Political leaders and parties who refuse to mention Climate Change, if they can avoid it. Usually for sectarian political advantage, ie, “not scare the horses”, “not look too radical in the eyes of the voters”, “not offend vested interest”, etc etc.
            Rather than alert the electorate and the wider population to the danger, the CCIs put getting bums on seats for their particular sectarian grouping, more important than even alerting their political rivals who would steal a policy march on them if they were made aware of the danger.
            The whole topic of Climate Change is a ‘no go area’ for these politicians. They will rarely if ever mention the subject of Climate Change, unless it is pushed right up under their noses, and sometimes not even then. If forced to, when asked about when will they act against Climate Change, CCIs reply, When we are in complete control of the presidency and the congress, (or have the majority seats in the New Zealand parliament, then they call for action on Climate Change.) In the meantime, CCIs neither deny, or apologise for climate change, they just simply ignore it.

            Current Status: The most ridiculous and laughable faction of all, I don’t expect it to last long.

  7. Tiresias 7

    I am in my 60’s and chose 40 years ago not to bring children into the world I saw even then, chose 20-years ago to come here to New Zealand to be just a spectator to America’s decline and fall, Europe’s emulation of Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote, the Middle-East’s passionate Islamic suicide, China’s brash and brainless adolescence into a wall on a Harley too big for it and lovely India’s sad seduction by capitalism and greed.

    Now, still a spectator, perhaps I shall live to see the end of all things along with more people living than have ever lived. So hardly a privilege. Yet at least I have nothing invested in the future and so can be just a spectator.

    Then spoke the thunder
    DA
    Datta: what have we given?
    My friend, blood shaking my heart
    The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
    Which an age of prudence can never retract
    By this, and this only, we have existed
    Which is not to be found in our obituaries
    Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
    Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
    In our empty rooms
    DA
    Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
    Turn in the door once and turn once only
    We think of the key, each in his prison
    Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
    Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours
    Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
    DA
    Damyata: The boat responded
    Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
    The sea was calm, your heart would have responded
    Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
    To controlling hands

    I sat upon the shore
    Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
    Shall I at least set my lands in order?

    London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

    Then he hid himself in the fire that purifies them.
    When shall I become like the swallow? —O swallow swallow
    The prince of Aquitainia in the abandoned tower
    These fragments I have shored against my ruins
    Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.
    Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

    Shantih shantih shantih

    T.S. Eliot “The Waste Land – What the Thunder Said”.

  8. Jenny 8

    ‘The GP shift is a smart, pragmatic choice.’ Colonial Weka

    ‘The Green Party shift is arrant self defeating nonsense’ Jenny.

    To which I might add the Green Party leadership are following a well trod path of infamy.

    No doubt Russel Norman will be continue to showered with praise, as responsible and pragmatic and statesman like, etc etc ad nauseam by the mainstream media. In this he will joining the likes of Jim Anderton and Joshka Fischer and Terriana Turia and Nick Clegg. All these leaders who made the same calculation and all who failed to deliver any real measurable gain to the disappointment of their supporters.

  9. Zorr 9

    A fun talk also covering a lot of the under reporting/understatement of potential future climate change…

  10. Tom Bennion 10

    Thanks for bringing up this important talk from Anderson.

    McPherson toured NZ earlier this year. He spoke in Petone, Lower Hutt.

    I asked him whether citizens could make a clear gesture to their government about the need to drastically change our social and economic direction, by declaring that they were stopping or drastically reducing flying. An option some kiwis are taking: http://tinyurl.com/dxoqgkw

    This was not intended as any kind of dig at him personally. I had been very interested in his talk.

    His answer was that he thought people should take more flights to bring about peak oil earlier and crash the current system. I put it to him that this contradicted many of his statements of concern about the impacts of global warming.

    I asked, following his logic why not then just purchase and burn large amounts of oil in your backyard? He countered with the comment, completely contradicting his earlier argument, that you could purchase it and bury it.

    So, his logic does not impress, nor his personal approach, even if his comments about how drastic the situation is seem to be more or less consistent with speakers such as Anderson.

    • Zorr 10.1

      I don’t understand how this shows poor logic on his part? It is, maybe, ill thought out but not illogical.

      If I am to understand his position, it is that our only hope of avoiding a climate change catastrophe is to, instead, trade it in with complete economic collapse. He advocates stomping on the accelerator to speed up the car to crash it faster rather than rely on waiting for action from our governments to bring it to a complete stop safely. His point about burying the oil doesn’t make poor sense to me either because if you are engaging in just buying it in order to needlessly burn it for no gain, then why not just bury it instead and save the CO2?

      • Bill 10.1.1

        Why not just refuse to participate in any non-essential activity that involves carbon use instead? No flying in planes, no driving of your car unless it’s absolutely justifiable and no more propping up of the carbon guzzling economy via job participation?

        Doesn’t that kill, or at least seriously impair two birds with one stone?

        • Zorr 10.1.1.1

          In McPherson’s view, the change needed for, hopefully, preventing run away climate change is complete economic collapse and he ties that in to the end of cheap energy being a way for that to happen. Within this structure, people choosing not to participate merely facilitate others being able to use their share of the resource as opposed to if the markets completely collapse where there is no longer a global economy.

          Personally, I’m with McPherson because I can’t actually conceive of a government thinking beyond the scope of their election cycle.

          • Bill 10.1.1.1.1

            It’s a numbers game Zorr and really nothing to do with governments. How many people have to withdraw their participation to bring the country to a stand still? And if the usual modes of production and distribution are abandoned and rendered unworkable due to non-participation rates, then that is a market collapse. Y’know, in the old days it would have been called a general strike. But they were never really meant to be ongoing (well…some would have liked them to be), but generally they appealed to winning some short term economic gain/compromise.

            If a 10% p.a. reduction in carbon emissions really is what is needed for even just an outside chance of avoiding 2 degrees C warming, then we are not only going to have to strike against in substantial numbers, but similtaneously strike out for in substantial numbers ie, really and actually commit to a radical change in the ways we live. And that’s going to be a full time, maybe exhilarating, all hands on deck undertaking, no? And surely that’s potentially much more rewarding than participating in negative activity hoping that a negative plus a negative will produce a positive result.

  11. BLiP Viper 11

    .

    I see that the Grand Prize in the Milky Way Darwin Awards has been awared to Earth. Way to go, humans!

  12. RedLogix 12

    Given that the current economic and social systems are utterly incapable of responding to this catastrophe … the choices are simple.

    We either have to ditch the systems and devise a new ones. Or die-off.

    In the meantime Joyce bangs up taxes to build insane Roads of Negative Significance. And Brownlee upholds the perverse tradition going, back almost a century, of National Party Ministers telling Auckland they cannot have a decent public transport system.

    What is it with these Luddites?

  13. Afewknowthetruth 13

    The economic and political system that operates in the western world is run by corporations and money-lenders, for the short term benefit of corporations and money-lender. Governments are merely the local agents/facilitators of the international corporation/money-lender system.

    For the past decade I have challenged successive governments on their dysfunctional policies. The response has always been platitudes and misinformation. For the past decade I have challenged local government on their dysfunctional policies. The response has always been platitudes and misinformation -or no information at all. Indeed, the whole basis of local government is to do no research and question nothing. Just tick the boxes that say ‘protecting the environment’ and ‘promoting economic development’ which are of course, mutually exclusive concepts.

    We live in a covert fascist, police state. Anyone who seriously challenges the agenda of corporations and money-lenders risks being locked up or murdered by the state. It’s all a rigged game. And there is only one outcome possible at this late stage in the game -utter catastrophe for the next generation.

    Next April the local government will begin the ‘long term plan’ process. The public will be presented with Orwellian garbage full of oxymorons and economic ideology about the ‘need for growth’. Those who challenge the nonsense will be told they have only ten minutes speaking time to deal with a multitude of financial, economic, social and environmental matters. After which every word they say will be ignored.

    Anyone who is hooked on hope should investigate what is happening in Athabasca, Alberta, where the heart of the earth is being ripped out to get to the low grade bitumen that coats sand grains The fascist Canadian government is pressing ahead with ‘development’ of extraction, despite the extraordinarily low energy return on energy invested and the extraordinarily high CO2 emissions involved with extraction. By the same token, we are witnessing fracking throughout much of the western world -last acts of desperation to prop up a dying economic system via melting down the planet.

    The majority of politicians, mayors, CEOs of councils, councillors, CEOs of corporations etc. are extremely sick people. And we are living in a broken society. I went over all of this in considerable detail in my most recent book, ‘The Easy Way’. People do not want to know.

    I can now see very clearly how 6 million Jews ended up in gas chambers.

  14. Poission 14

    If anyone can illustrate that Anderson has got this wrong I’ll be grateful and not a little relieved

    Anderson s arguments for the emissions scenarios are based on the rate of co2 emissions,and the correlations say for pco2/t are based on the summation or cumulatative total forcings(which include all GHGS and natural variability).

    Unfortunately (or fortunately) depending on your point of view, the extrapolations do not hold,due to unforeseen luck in the implementation of the Montreal protocol. eg Velders 2007.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/12/4814.abstract

    Here and subsequent literature have found that the reduction in ODS and its radiative forcing is near equivalent to the growth in forcing of CO2 (1.6 watts m^2 vs 1.8 watts m^2) a non trivial problem.

    As ODS are the main driver in atmospheric circulation changes in the SH hemisphere in the 20th century, eg Polavani 2011 and changes will reverse the observed trends or cancel Polavani 2011b

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010JCLI3772.1

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL046712.shtml

    The GHG emissions are still problematic due to the increased industrialization of china and india,(china is the worlds largest emitter around 22% of global and nearly equivalent to the US 13% and the EU 27 10% combined) unep gap report

    http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/emissionsgapreport/

    Papers such as Andersons bring very little to the table,except showing the limitations on reduction without incorporating the developing countries.

    • Bill 14.1

      So, correct me I’m wrong. But what those links argue (and I’m just a layperson strugling through jargon) is that the closing over of the ozone hole over the next 50 years will negate some, or most of the effects of CO2 emissions in the Southern Hemisphere.

      But, if the closing of the ozone hole is going to have a marked impact on the effect of CO2 in the Southern Hemisphere, then does it not logically follow that the effects of global warming are presently more marked in the Southern Hemisphere than in the Northern Hemisphere because of the ozone hole?

      And if that is the case, then the best that the ozone hole closing would achieve is parity in the effect of CO2 in the Southern Hemisphere with the effect of CO2 has the Northern Hemisphere.

      • Poission 14.1.1

        The assessment by the UNEP of ozone climatology incoroprated a new chapter on the effects of ODS on surface climatology..In its most simplistic form,we can infer that the effects of ODS and GHG have the same sign on a number of climatological metrics , hence reversal of O3 depletion,(which is global ) will work against the increase of GHG on various subsystems.eg.chapter4

        http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/SAP/Scientific_Assessment_2010/06-Chapter_4.pdf

        There is increased evidence that the Antarctic ozone hole has affected the surface climate in the Southern Hemisphere. Climate models demonstrate that the ozone hole is the dominant driver of the observed changes in surface winds over the Southern Hemisphere mid and high latitudes during austral summer. These changes have contributed to the observed warming over the Antarctic Peninsula and cooling over the high plateau. The changes in the winds have also been linked to regional changes in precipitation, increases in sea ice around Antarctica, warming
        of the Southern Ocean, and a local decrease in the ocean sink of CO2.

        The observation-based inversion studies are subject to uncertainties in sampling and in the winds prescribed from reanalysis (Baker et al., 2006; Law et al., 2008; Le Quéré et al., 2007). Nevertheless these different types of analyses, including both models and inversion methods,
        support recent reductions in Southern Ocean carbon uptake. Taken together, this body of work suggests that the changes in wind stress over about the past three decades have reduced the net Southern Ocean carbon uptake by about 0.6–5 Gt (about 0.02–0.16 GtC/yr) compared to
        the trend that should be expected due to increasing atmospheric CO2. One context for these numbers is provided by comparison to full compliance with the Kyoto Protocol,
        which corresponds to a reduction of global carbon emissions of about 0.5 GtC/yr by 2012 (see Velders et al., 2007, and Chapter 5 of this Assessment)

        The importance of the changes in stormtracks which are the main cause of NZ weather like southerly’s is an important area,the increased GHG and O3 reduction tend to move the storm tracks poleward.and increased O3 will move the stormtracks towards the equator. this is an area of increased research. eg ..

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/7933226/Kiwi-climate-gives-glimpse-into-future

        At present the literature suggests that there will be reversals in sign,hence a level of uncertainty is a legitimate argument.

  15. Peter 15

    Ok, this is a difficult argument to run, largely because questioning the increasingly apocalyptic rhetoric behind climate change analysis has become something of the equivalent of standing between two religious true believers…

    My issue (and I read the 2011 paper) is that the warming assumption meta-analysis is all based on studies that assume that there is as much carbon in the earth to emit as we choose. In other words, the only brake on carbon emissions is human behaviour. As most of us should be aware, this is hardly true.

    Climate scientists consistently ignore peaking oil, gas, and yes, coal. Similarly, energy researchers struggle to run the complex climate prediction models, and are currently in the situation whereby they have a fair idea of the resources available, but no ability to access or run the models. Various attempts in the past to get the UN to run their models on far reduced energy reserve data have been stonewalled – too much academic pride at stake I think.

    So, what I want to see is a proper series of climate assumptions run, based on real energy reserve data.

    There will be dangerous warming for sure, that’s a given, but probably not the extreme scenarios.

    • Peter 15.1

      Sorry, if you all wanted links to back up my assumptions, there’s a shedload here.
      http://www.ourfutureplanet.org/news/504-why-are-climate-scientists-ignoring-peak-oil-and-coal

      My experience with this stuff though, is that people will believe what they want to believe, and hey, the Mayan apocalypse is only two days away.
      Jason Kerrison might be about to look a bit silly 🙂

      • Johnm 15.1.1

        Hi Peter
        Climate Scientists ignore peaking because the 1/2 that’s left to dig up and burn plus the delayed onset of the last 30 years of emissions is more than enough to finish off the Planet as a habitable place for most. And that’s not counting positive feedbacks already happening.

        • Peter 15.1.1.1

          Maybe, just maybe. The stuff I’ve seen has it topping out at 2-3%, and that’s assuming business as usual.

          It’ll get hot and unpleasant in a few places, but yeah, probably not enough to finish it off for all.

          • Bill 15.1.1.1.1

            So you have faith in our ability to continue to live and function much as we do under conditions of global warming that scientists consider ‘dangerous’ and ‘extremely dangerous’. (2 – 3 degrees) It’ll just get ‘hot and unpleasant in a few places’

            • Napkins 15.1.1.1.1.1

              Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely we will have a choice. Minimum 2 or 3 degrees C rise seems built in.
              While minimising future energy use and emissions, we need to get ready as a country for a vastly changed climate and all the economic, social and political ramifications that will bring.

      • One Tāne Viper 15.1.2

        Good questions Peter. My observation is that Anderson takes a more pessimistic view than some of his colleagues, but he’s certainly no crank.

  16. The positive feedbacks already underway are sufficient to kill us all. Methane release is the No 1.
    The only positive feedback that we can reverse is capitalism and that MAY have a marginal impact on how long we have got before our extinction as a species.
    The logic which MacPherson and others like him do not spell out is that to destroy ‘industrial society’ we have to overthrow the 1%, turn all private property into collective property, and then work out what we need to do to sustain civilisation and adapt to the already runaway planet.
    I thought that leftie Labourites were ‘democratic socialists’. Well now you can see what that actually means in the face of the looming climate catastrophe. Kill capitalism not our species.
    Either we go forward to sustainable communism or we slide back to primitive barbarism.

    • Colonial Weka 16.1

      Ignoring the contradiction in you comment (starting with we’re all going to die, ending with we will slide back into primitive barbarism), please explain how the various feedback loops will lead to the end of humanity. What are the processes that would lead to that?

      • Peter 16.1.1

        On clathrates, the problem occurs if the methane releases on land. If it releases into the sea, it’s unlikely to lead to warming (i.e. frozen methane on Arctic sea).

        • Colonial Weka 16.1.1.1

          That doesn’t answer my question Peter. How do various positive feedback loops lead to human extinction?

          • Bill 16.1.1.1.1

            Because we get runaway temperature increases until a new stable temperature is reached. Throw in a non-linearity (tipping point) on the way to the already slated 6 degree C by century end and all bets are off. The 6 degrees C suddenly becomes what?… 7, 10, 15…no-one knows.

            I guess that’s what rr was getting at. And extinction becomes a not unreasonable assumption under those circumstances.

            • Colonial Weka 16.1.1.1.1.1

              yes, yes, but how does that kill all people, specifically.

              • Bill

                Am I right in assuming you think some people will survive, more or less no matter what? Okay. Whereas I’d tend to think that given there are limits to the types of environment that the human body can endure, tipping points could see those limits exceeded on a global context.

                • Colonial Weka

                  I’m not really assuming anything apart from we don’t know what will happen. So either case is on the cards.
                   
                  But, given that extraordinary amounts of time and energy go into CC models, why is that people who believe that we’re all going to die, can’t be specific about how. Are we going to suffocate, or starve, or die of heat or cold, or kill each other?
                   
                  This is important. If people want to believe we will all die, that’s fine, that’s up to them. And vice versa. But if we are to have a conversation about what actions can be taken to mitigate CC, and perhaps give us a chance at survival, then we have to talk about cognitive dissonance, and how people manage the threat in their emotional and mental selves.
                   
                  If people want to make statements like “The positive feedbacks already underway are sufficient to kill us all”, a responsibility goes with that, to be real. My question is to get people to be real about what that means. Not in vague terms, but in specifics. Because otherwise it’s a scaremongering tool, and I don’t see how that is actually going to work as a strategy. It might wake up a few people, but most people are just going to shut off because that is how they are hardwired to survive.

                • Colonial Weka

                  “tipping points could see those limits exceeded on a global context.”
                   
                  Well, yes, obviously if the minimum temperature on the planet goes higher than what humans can live with, we all die. But I think there is a problem looking at this globally. You’ve seen my resistance to the idea that we will all starve because crops in Russia will fail. I don’t care about crops in Russia (beyond empathy for people there, but they’re probably better off than us anyway, cue Dmitri Orlov reference). I care about what is happening here in NZ. We can’t do anything about crops in Russia. We can do something to prepare for adapting food production here. 

                  Making changes in order to mitigate CC requires a global view and actions by all people on the planet. But given we’re all pretty much in agreement that we can’t stop what is going to happen, it’s just a matter of degree, I think we also have to look at the local. The changes being done locally will affect politics which affects the global. And the local gives us an actual chance of survival as well.
                   

  17. No contradiction, primitive barbarism is just the worst option for our demise IMO.
    Sustainable communism MAY give us more time to adapt and find ways of interrupting the feedbacks. Since capitalism is the immediate cause of all these feedbacks, eliminating capitalism gives us the best chance of survival.
    MacPherson says we have a moral duty to resist extinction even if we are doomed. I agree.
    Watch the MacPherson video for yourself. The link is provided by both Robert Atack and Zorr above.

    • johnm 17.1

      Red Rattler
      1+

    • Colonial Weka 17.2

      You can’t have it both ways rattler. Either CC will “kill us all”, or it will leave some of us to carry on humanity (albeit as ‘primitive barbarians’, or if we get really lucky, sustainable communism).
       
      I agree about capitalism. I don’t agree there is a moral duty to resist extinction. And I know what MacPherson says and thinks about our impending doom.
       
      But my question, which you still haven’t answered, was in response to your statement: “The positive feedbacks already underway are sufficient to kill us all.” How will that happen exactly?

      • Robert Atack 17.2.1

        The positive feedbacks already underway are sufficient to kill us all.” How will that happen exactly?

        Simply, the feedbacks will take the average global temperature above what humans can exist in.

        IE ocean temp above + 4 = no oxygen.

        This isn’t an ‘us all’ example, but about 1.5 – 2? billion people are dependent on ice melt water, one of the ‘feedbacks’ from climate crash is no ice. And a lot more ocean.

        One feedback report on the methane leaching out of the warming oceans and tundra, give humans until 2031 – 2051 (they didn’t give a month )

        Then we got the feedback of being past peak food, that will start to cramp a few ‘lifestyles’

        ‘We’ are about 60 billion tons of grain short = to the entire production of the second biggest grower. A lot of people are going to starve in 2013.

        Nuclear annihilation isn’t a feedback, but still lethal. Eventually we are going to run out of coal, hydro, and oil generated electricity, it will be payback when the last of our fossil fuel energy is used to keep spent fuel rods cool. If we can’t then we fry.

        What A Way To Go http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2em1x2j9-o

        • Colonial Weka 17.2.1.1

          We can ignore the food and water ones, those are survivable.
           
          I’d like to see some analysis on the nuclear issues: inevitable extinction or adaptation?
           
          The methane example isn’t an example of what will happen to humans.
           
          That leaves us with ocean temp rise of +4C leading to suffocation. Where does that fit in the global temp rise as Bill discusses in his post? (eg does +4 air = +4 ocean?). I’d also like to see the science on at what point oxygen depletes, and at what rate.
           
          You seem to be implying also that air temperature rise would kill all humans (I speculated on that above), but don’t give any detail.

          • Colonial Weka 17.2.1.2.1

            I can’t watch video at the moment. Does McPherson give actual detail of how he thinks humans will go extinct? Or is he speculating that they will.

  18. Andre 18

    It is happening ……….. lets reduce its long term effect for our children, and grow up ourselves………. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYBODY ON OUR LITTLE BUBBLE FLOATING IN THE COSMOS

  19. Dot 19

    Being part of changing the the world [for the better ] is rewarding
    and I am grateful that the Standard help to provide me with focus.

  20. Poission 20

    couple of typos in there which will not edit.

  21. Mike 21

    Why is it that most of those who believe in anthropogenic global warming are ideologically / politically on the left and those who don’t believe in AGW on the right?

    Or is that just my perception? Or is it because that is mostly the way the issue is portrayed in the msm? I find it interesting, as if we take just the AGW issue and not other environmental issues then apart from myself, I don’t know anyone who isn’t either ‘believe and left’ or ‘non believe and right.’ I would consider myself definitely very left leaning politically, however I do have issues with AGW and there are a couple of other issues where my view seems to be at odds with my political ideology. I also have a friend who is a raving right wing looney on pretty much everything, except he believes in a higher minimum wage and is anti free trade and anti globalism.

    Do other posters here have similar standpoints on these and any other issues where your standpoint on an issue appear to be contrary to your political beliefs? I am really thinking a great deal about this almost to the point of distraction. My mate said that it just means I am more centrist than I thought but I disagree, I see the center as taking the less extreme from the left and right (or in Peter Dunne’s case simply being a fence sitting, self absorbed, lapdog).

    • One Tāne Viper 21.1

      I don’t believe in AGW. I understand that it is real.

      • Colonial Weka 21.1.1

        +1

        Also, it’s not that the people who understand that CC is real are mostly on the left, it’s that most of the deniers are on the right. And that shows up disproportionately in the MSM and discourse*. It’s for very good reasons that most deniers are right wing**, they have the most to lose if we were to do anything substantial about CC.

        * you need then to look at who owns the MSM and why the debate has been presented as two equal sides when it’s not.

        ** although thinking about it, it might not be right wing so much as neoliberal.

        Another factor is that in the US you have a higher proportion of the population who are fundamentalist christians, and who really have no clue about scientific evidence. Those people are more likely to be right wing.

  22. As always when these discussions erupt I would like to add a couple of links.

    For those of you who think I therefore deny climate changes. We live rural, Grow my own food, started a permaculture food forest in order to kick start the local nitrogen cycle in order to diminish the need for fertilisers. We do all this without gas guzzling agricultural machines using our animal’s shit to re fertilize and do so without acidifying the soil. We set off our very limited car use with trees and repair and reuse what can not easily be recycled because we do not believe in using more than nature is able to give without going back to the stone age.

    I am however cynical about the Carbon cycle being solely out of control as a result of human activity and the resulting climate changes. We have serious pollution problems, We have serious climate issues, I agree but in the whole discussion I think we have to pay attention to Geo-engineering and weather modification too and here is why:

    What in the world are they spraying
    Why in the world are they spraying<

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