What can we do about climate change – air travel emission offset

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, January 2nd, 2019 - 257 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, disaster, Economy, Environment, global warming, sustainability, tourism, transport - Tags:

So it is 2019. We may have a decade left to get on top of the climate change crisis our world is facing.

Imagine the year is 2050. The polar ice caps are gone. The centre of the earth is pretty well uninhabitable. There are a couple of billion climate refugees seeking a safe haven to live in. Numerous states have failed because the issues were too immense and we are in some Mad Maxian future where life and the environment are brutal.

When your grandkid asks you what did you do to stop this from happening what are you going to say to them?

Of course the politics is all important. Us activists have to steel up the parties on the left to make sure that they make the hard decisions especially in Government. There is no substitute for the power of the state and the immense good that it can achieve. But there are also the myriad of personal things that we can also do.

I enjoy air travel. That ability to get on a plane and travel anywhere in the world in a remarkably short time is something that I really look forward to. And in the past 12 months I have had the pleasure of travelling to Rarotonga, the Philippines, Singapore and Fiji not to mention Wellington and the South Island.

But I am very conscious of the environmental cost of air travel. David Suzuki estimates that it contributes between 4 and 9% of the total effect of greenhouse gas emissions. And because many of the emissions are deposited straight into the upper reaches of the atmosphere they are more potent.

Most if not all of the major airlines now offer offset programmes. For instance this is a link to the Air New Zealand programme. It advises me that my trip to Dunedin has generated just over 300 kilograms of CO2 and that this can be offset for the very modest price of $6.96.

It seems almost too good to be true.  And I have the nagging question inn the back of my mind, are offset programmes greenwash designed to assuage the consciences of middle class air travellers or are they something we should do religiously if not compulsorily.

Air New Zealand use Climatecare.org. The organisation claims to have sequestered 33 million tonnes of CO2. There are carbon credits and there are carbon credits, as the experience with some of the Eastern Union Kyoto credits shows.  But on the face of it climatechange.org appear to be reputable.

In the hope that it will make a difference I have decided to offset every plane trip that I take from now. And to review the literature to make sure that I am getting the most efficient spend for my money.

I have no view about the efficiency right now except the optimistic hope that reforesting part of the planet will be a counterbalance to the greenhouse gasses that my travel is generating. Best to start now and hope it will be sufficient. Of course we may reach the stage when international air travel has to b e severely regulated and curtailed.  But if asked in 2050 what did we do to address climate change we should be able to say that we addressed every aspect of our lives and sought to make it carbon neutral.

257 comments on “What can we do about climate change – air travel emission offset ”

  1. francesca 1

    Too many people in first world countries consider overseas recreational travel their god given birth right
    Talk about privilege. If we’re not prepared to notch back the perks of being wealthy
    in an unfair world we truly are fucked.
    Read some good books if you want to broaden your mind, it’s easier on the planet.
    Save the offsets for truly necessary travel

    • + 1 yep. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    • RedLogix 1.2

      Overlooking of course the extraordinary advances in aircraft efficiencies. And neglecting the ongoing R&D to reduce, or even eliminate, the CO2 footprint of the industry.

      Offsetting is real and works, the science behind it is legitimate. There is the separate question of trust and long-term effectiveness. Can we plant enough trees to indefinitely sustain air travel as we currently know it? Probably not. It’s a short to medium term stopgap solution.

      Ultimately I’m expecting a whole new generation of non-fossil fueled travel. It’s not going to happen within the next decade, but it’s definitely do-able. (And the internet will develop to the point where we can increasingly substitute remote viewing for physical presence.) Eventually living standards will rise and costs will inexorably fall such that travel will become accessible for a majority of humans.

      This will of course bring a whole raft of other unintended consequences (all progress does), but I’m OK with crossing that bridge when we get to it.

      • Andre 1.2.1

        As much as aircraft have improved efficiency, they’re still an order of magnitude worse than trains in terms of passenger-km/MJ. So if we ever get to putting a realistic price on GHG emissions, I’d expect part of the response to be shifting from short-hop and medium-distance flight to high-speed trains. Which are much easier to electrify, as well as shorter total trip times for up to maybe 500 km trips.


        • RedLogix

          Agreed. I’m not wedded to air aviation per se, I do agree it’s overused in some contexts where surface transport would make a lot more sense. Hell even Musk’s aptly named Hyperloop could change the calculus of this dramatically.

        • patricia bremner

          Yes Andre, and as you rightly said no waiting before and after.

        • mickysavage

          Would be great to have a high speed train between Auckland and Wellington.

          The Beijing Shanghai train is a realistic alternative to flight when you factor in waiting time before and after flights and boarding times.

          • Craig H

            Auckland and Hamilton look to be the obvious first choice if we go there. Wellington and Palmerston North probably next, and then link the two lines later.

    • AmaKiwi 1.3


  2. thebiglebowski 2


    [Thanks for the link. In future, please write a preview so readers know what they are clicking on. In this case the video is comedian Steve Hughes. TRP (Little Lebowski Urban Achiever 1988-91)]

  3. Pat 3

    “Only 5% of the world’s population have ever been on an airplane .
    Though the aviation sector is growing rapidly, according to the statistics only 5% of the world’s population has ever flown on an airplane. Many people, especially from the underdeveloped regions, have never ever been in an aircraft and it is not likely that they will have an opportunity to fly in all of their lives. However, at the same time a small minority of the world’s population fly very regularly.”


    “Just because the number is unknowable does not mean it is un-guessable. One way to approach the question is to look at surveys, but the data are spotty at best, sometimes conflicting, and often out of date. In 2003, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimated, based on its Omnibus Household Survey, that one-third of U.S. adults had flown in the previous 12 months. And—the closest thing we’ve seen to the number we’re after—18 percent of Americans said they had never flown in their life, meaning that 82 percent had.”


    5 or 6% of humanity……a fairly blunt demonstration of privilege.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      a fairly blunt demonstration of privilege

      Or considering that around 100 years ago almost no humans had flown in a plane, you could argue that extending this benefit to approximately 500m people in such a short historic period is a remarkable achievement. Indeed the vast majority of this number would be since 1980, just a mere 40 years.

      The biggest problem the aviation industry faces is rapid growth, and a shortage of pilots. Which hardly suggests this ‘privilege’ is being constrained or limited by some nefarious plot.

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        “a remarkable achievement…”

        that has doomed future generations to hell.

        Hubris and priviledge – lethal

        • RedLogix

          All progress brings unintended consequence; right from the day we invented agriculture 10,000 or more years ago.

          There is no nirvana, no perfect world. And if there was we’d very quickly tire of it. Life is one problem after another.

          • Robert Guyton

            Sure, creative tension is the stuff of living, but if we are constantly extinguishing those things that threaten our wellbeing (“our” being all living beings), we’ll surely be getting better at the game and improving the playing surface at the same time?

            • RedLogix

              Up until around 1850 the notion of “good” and “more” were two birds sitting next to each other on the same branch and we could safely capture both with the same stone. The human impact on the planet did not exceed her capacity to regenerate the natural capital we drew down on. Since then the two birds have moved well apart; our sheer numbers and resource intensity has ensured this.

              This is one of the four big ethical challenges the entire human race is grappling with right now; the extremes of wealth and poverty, the evolution of a just and accountable global governance, the positive synthesis of both the masculine and feminine world views, and the guardianship of the natural planet we all depend on. And each of these linked in a symbiotic fashion.

              We’re like climbers on a rugged face that is history; we constantly encounter obstacles and challenges and occasionally overhangs that look impossible. We must be informed by our past, but going backward is no longer possible without a catastrophic fall. We have only one option, to move upward however daunting.

              • francesca

                A shift in consciousness is not “a step backwards”
                The old technology fix we’re hoping for doesn’t challenge us to review our entitled consumerist behaviour

                • RedLogix

                  I specified four moral challenges the human race is grappling with. Each representing a ‘shift in consciousness’ in the way we relate to each other and our planet.

                  But nothing in that implies we have to ditch our ‘old technology’. How far do you want to go back? To the 1950’s? The 1800’s or perhaps to before we even had fire? Exactly what do you have in mind?

                  • Robert Guyton

                    I have in mind reviewing and reclaiming old technologies from across the span of human habitation on the planet, thinking, problem-solving etc. being technologies in my view.

                    • RedLogix

                      I’ve no problem with that; but people who advocate ‘ditching technology’ while typing on the internet kind of irk me a bit. I can understand their motive; but rarely are they specific in exactly what they mean by it.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The most efficient technologies should be used. Old ones usually aren’t.

                  • francesca

                    The “old”I refer to is our addiction to a consumers approach to our world.We keep on wanting new stuff and new sensations and long for the technology fix that will allow us to have it all
                    Personally, a trip round my back yard is full of wondrous extraordinary life being played out, if we have the eyes and ears for it
                    Check out for instance the amazing tale of sex and violence, south african immigration and romance gone wrong in the praying mantis world post 1976
                    I look forward to a world where we’re literate about our natural surroundings and aren’t so enormously anthrocentric, falling in love with the whole of existence.
                    I suspect our needs for stuff and overseas distractions would be greatly reduced and we’d all be a lot happier

                    • RedLogix

                      Your words above remind me very much of an old friend sadly gone.
                      A highly trained scientific mind, he also embodied the same observational ethic, a deep lifelong intimacy with the natural world at his feet and within grasp of his camera’s lens.

                      I truly have no issue with the positive essence of what you value here; at the same time we should not dismiss what modernity delivers to us. In historic terms it’s a miracle really, and we should nurture and improve on it assiduously.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “Today we participate almost exclusively with other humans and our own human-made technologies. It’s a precarious situation, given our age-old reciprocity with the many-voiced landscape”
                      — David Abram

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Old technologies, like…gathering and cooking one’s own food?
                      Providing entertainment for one’s young children by …telling them stories? Old technologies like those?

                    • WeTheBleeple


                      ‘To see a World in a Grain of Sand
                      And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
                      Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
                      And Eternity in an hour.’ William Blake.

                    • the other pat

                      absolutely …. YEAH BABY YEAH!!!!!

                  • Robert Guyton

                    We could ditch heated towel-rails without causing too much suffering. Could we start a list of those modern technologies we could do without?
                    Electric toothbrushes?
                    Television sets?

                    • RedLogix

                      We could probably cut our per capita resource consumption by at least 50%, perhaps more. Absolutely worth doing. My personal favourite would be aiming towards dramatically increasing the lifecycle of common ordinary items; the amount of cheap junk we buy and throw away within weeks or months is heartbreaking.

                      But this only applies to the top 1 billion or so people; as we bring the remaining 6 billion people into the modern world this strategy alone will be insufficient. The four big ticket items to address are electricity, transport, steel and concrete. These are the dominant CO2 contributors.

                      Transport we have in our sights, by 2030 I expect we will be most of the way there, at least 85% of new vehicles will be EV, airtravel will be another 20% more efficient overall. (The big one that will be very hard to substitute is the large diesel engines that power the massive container ships.)

                      Steel and concrete will remain stubborn to address. Personally I like engineered timber a lot, but it has limitations. Concrete is ubiquitous and while there are alternatives https://inhabitat.com/11-green-building-materials-that-are-way-better-than-concrete/ nothing stands out as the universal substitute.

                      Electricity is actually fairly easy once we get our political act together globally. Low cost PV’s, solid state lithium batteries, solar thermal plants, pumped hydro (hundreds of locations all over Australia at disused mine sites) and new gen nuclear using maybe thorium or fusion will eliminate the generation problem. A global HVDC link connecting all the continents, with 2% losses from one side of the planet to the other will ensure renewables are fully scheduled; it’s always sunny or windy somewhere.

                      Cleaning up plastics out of the oceans is going to be a way harder problem. Extracting the excess CO2 out of the atmosphere, back under 350 ppm even tougher. Ensuring wild sanctuaries for a diversity of life another major task.

                      And all this before we consider hosts of potential new materials and technologies being energetically pursued everywhere. I try to keep up, but it amounts to little more than dabbling my toes in an ocean of information. Even if only 1% of the research being done right now comes to fruition … the world will change dramatically.

                      And we’ve still to see the real impact of the internet in changing the way we work and do business. We have all manner of opportunities to do agriculture and landscape management far better than we do at present.

                      The good news is that as more people join the top ‘golden 1 billion’ their birth rates will plummet. Already most of the developed world is at below replacement levels; the human population is likely to top out at no more than 11 billion and probably less.

                      The challenge we face is not technical … it’s political. It’s my contention that the main constraints is a lack of trust between
                      naturally progressive and conservative political actors everywhere and a consequent resurgence of extremism and authoritarianism.

                      In my estimation the three extremist mistakes of the 20th century, communism, the nation-state empire, and a blind, often greedy materialism must be put behind us before we can fully embrace the opportunities that lie on the table right under our noses.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Are we bringing the remaining 6 billion people into the modern world”?
                      Engineered timber, yes, most certainly and I include and highlight bamboo in there. I’m trialling as many as I can down here in Southland – so far, very promising.
                      “Cleaning up plastics out of the oceans is going to be a way harder problem.” That seems to me an easy one, not sure why I think that; some sense or other, hopefully – it seems “doable”. C02 – I doubt it; we’re in for a ride, I reckon. The birth rate issue, like the ocean plastic one, doesn’t send shivers down my spine; something about natural balances, some sort of “colony intelligence” perhaps. Over all, we can, by applying all of our “knowings”, get our colony, or a percentage of it at least, through this; shame about the colonies of other beings we’ve burned off in the process of learning how to run the show, or rather, our show. No guarantees though; we might or might not succeed; I’m hoping.

                    • Andre


                      large diesel engines in ships – substitute in small mass-produced nukes, preferably thorium since the waste problem is much smaller and it’s harder to make weapons from it. As a bonus, once economies of scale kick in for making small nukes for shipping, they’ll become much more viable as electricity generators for remote areas.

                      Concrete – about half the CO2 released is from coal getting burned for process heat – that can come from electricity or concentrated solar. The other half is released during the calcination process as part of making the cement. But that’s a point source emission inside a closed chamber so it’s very easy to capture. Furthermore, over its lifetime concrete reabsorbs a large portion of the CO2 released during calcination. So, change the process heat source to zero-emissions, capture and store the CO2 from the calcination, and concrete goes from being a large source of emissions to a small slow and steady CO2 sink.

                      Steel – most of the coal used in steelmaking is for process heat, part of which is the carbon stripping oxygen from the iron ore to reduce it, also liberating heat. But it can be done electrolytically, it just costs a lot more. I’ve yet to see any kind of analysis of where rising GHG prices and dropping electricity prices push the economics towards electrolytic, there is a crossover point somewhere that it becomes cheaper to do it electrolytically rather than using coal.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ Andre

                      Yes … thanks for the updated info. I didn’t realise concrete reabsorbs CO2 … that’s rather cool.

                      We do need an industrial scale CO2 absorber, that’s cheap and efficient. The coal industry has been somewhat motivated to develop one, but so far I’m unaware of anything useful.

              • Jenny - How to get there?

                When you are going through hell, keep going.
                Winston Churchill

                Just as you say Red. There is no turning back. We either make it to the other side, or we don’t.

                Our 6 billion souls are dependent on the agriculture and the technology created by us and previous generations. We can’t stuff the genie back into the bottle even if we tried.

                Our only hope is to chart the best way forward.

          • marty mars

            Yep. The hig problem I see is that the western mindset is still non acceptance. Still blame others and not actually accept responsibility for what our wonderful progress has done – fucked us up but hey our phones are cool. I’m not absolving myself of responsibility either – I did it too but the time for bullshitting is surely over.

            • RedLogix

              I find that kind of odd, given that it was the ‘western mindset’ which gave us the science behind CO2 and global warming. And is the source of most of the impetus, research, engineering and development that is attempting to make a difference.

              As ‘westerners’ our biggest failing is that we tend to be materialistic in our outlook, which narrows and constrains our thinking.

              • Odd that the mindset that caused it, can also analysed it, but not actually accept responsibility and make real changes to mitigate it, even as their darker skin coloured brothers and sisters go under.

          • Robert Guyton

            “There is no nirvana, no perfect world. And if there was we’d very quickly tire of it. Life is one problem after another.”
            I don’t see a perfect world as one where a person could be bored – built in to that nirvana perfection would be the opportunities to think and do exciting things – nirvana to me, would be a dynamic state, not a sweet-scented doldrum.

        • Tuppence Shrewsbury

          Unelightened troglodytes should not curse those who understand the issues

          • Robert Guyton

            Then it’s the enlightened troglodytes we should be consulting, Tuppence!
            You one?

          • lprent

            I guess that is your statement that you are not one of the enlightened (trog or other hominid specie)

            It is always hard to see that you understand anything apart from how to be a dumb animal grunting a repetition of the statements of others.

            Your oracular statements just identify you as a rather retarded parrot.

      • greywarshark 3.1.2

        Red Logix
        You belong to the group who still want to be in the 20th century. Your paeans of praise to our clever modernity, now need to focus on different targets than airplanes and air travel. Yes we were clever, now we have to be clever enough to put that aside as old hat. Making airplanes is old hat, it’s a dying industry.
        The smart people are looking to what’s next. That is what is needed, and fits entirely to the business styles of today.

        • RedLogix

          You belong to the group who still want to be in the 20th century.

          Unwarranted assumption.Put your thinking cap on; I’ve consistently argued the exact opposite.

          Everything is evolution; we move inexorably from one step to another. For instance for thousands of years we depended on wood and animals for our energy sources. The we progressed to coal, oil and gas. Now we’re on the cusp of direct utilization of solar energy and possibly next gen nuclear. Each stage has enabled us to reach the next. There was no way we could have leaped directly from hunter-gatherers to thorium reactors.

          So while it’s easy to deride 20th century tech as ‘old hat’, it’s not so easy to argue for what must come in the 21th century unless we build on what we already have.

          And if you think I’m stuck in the 20th century, why then am I the one frequently linking to new tech breakthroughs like perovskite PV’s?

          • Robert Guyton

            Yes, build upon what we know and have, and work toward settling the farm, climatically/ environmentally, socially and spiritually, etc. It’s no good burning down the house in favour of sleeping under the stars, just as re-using/re-purposing stuff we’ve littered the place with can be better than consigning it to a hole and making the new stuff from flax 🙂

          • greywarshark

            But that implies, Red Logix as you say, building on the older technology. But how old do you mean? In the 21st century we may require to pick up very old skills and tools that have been replaced by the faster modern ones using different energy sources. There may be a mix of very old and new. Reading through the writings of thousands of years ago there may be advice that will solve one particular problem.

            • RedLogix

              I’ve no problem at all exploring all our options; but here is the crux, we have to do so while sustaining our existing systems.

              Politically this is vital, the moment you tell right-wingers that we have to stop doing what we know works and keeps civilisation going, is the moment they dig their heels in and refuse to co-operate.

              We have to change and conserve at the same time; which is exactly how evolution works.

              • Draco T Bastard

                We have to change and conserve at the same time; which is exactly how evolution works.

                Actually, evolution is quite happy to throw away that which isn’t working without a backwards glance.

                The problem is that we’re not so willing to do that. If we were we would already be turning huge numbers of our farms back into forest as we seek to ‘protect’ our land’s capability of sustaining us. We’d be looking at minimising international trade so as to minimise CO2 emissions.

                And, no, we wouldn’t be waiting for a global government to do it for us.

                Evolution throws away that which doesn’t adapt to the new situation and we’re pretty much refusing to change.

                • RedLogix

                  evolution is quite happy to throw away that which isn’t working without a backwards glance.

                  It depends on what level you look at it. Evolution may ditch an entire species, extinction is a common event after all, but in terms of functional structures, biochemistry and genetic mechanisms it’s remarkably conservative. In terms of how life works the same basic mechanisms have been around for hundreds of millions of years; but shuffled, rearranged and refined over and over.

                  Biological continuity is the rule, not the exception. Much the same can be said of human social and technical evolution; the explicit forms are endlessly variable, but they all share deeply embedded assumptions and modes of behaviour.

                  we wouldn’t be waiting for a global government to do it for us.

                  No more than we can necessarily wait for the nation states to get their act together either; but in the long run a globally enforceable rule-book will be essential.

                  • Jenny - How to get there?

                    …..but in the long run a globally enforceable rule-book will be essential.


                    Enforced by whom?


                    My model for global change argues for a lead from the front, not enforcement, from some mythical overarching powerful international body.

                    Churchill did it. He didn’t wait till until the League Of Nations could agree to confront fascism, he took the lead and unilaterally launched his country into war against fascism.
                    By so doing, by taking unilateral action – challenged all other nations’ leaders to follow, (or not), his nation’s lead.

                    We can’t wait till we have international agreement, we need to take unilateral action against climate change now.

                    Few country’s are better placed to do so.

                    We have seen a small glimmer of this type of leadership from Jacinda Ardern, with her ban on issuing any more permits for oil and gas exploration in our territorial waters.

                    She could and should go further. And demand the end of all oil and gas exploration.

                    Would that really be a step too far?

                    No doubt the oil companies and financiers behind them would see this as a declaration of war. They are already screaming and moaning about the existing partial ban on new exploration.

                    But so be it. If we are ever to make progress against climate change, this is the sort of line that has to be crossed at some time, by someone.

                    ‘New Zealand government says will not issue new oil, gas exploration permits’
                    Reuters, April 12, 2018

                    The 22 existing permits would not be affected by the decision and any discoveries from firms holding these licenses could still lead to mining permits of up to 40 years, according to an emailed government statement.

                    Under the partial ban, New Zealand will still be drilling for oil and gas, eight years after we are supposed to be “Carbon Neutral”.

                    (These 22 permits cover an offshore surface area greater than the whole of the North Island)

                    • solkta

                      Mentioning Churchill in that context is meaningless. He loved war. It was his thing.

                    • And, technically, it was Chamberlain who declared war against Germany. France did so at the same time and many other countries followed suit in the next few day (including us and the Aussies).

                      However, I agree with Jenny’s point. A major, influential nation saying ‘enough’, is certainly one way forward.

              • greywarshark

                RedLogix about evolution, it is true that we do need to know what has been done in the past, and build on it. I don’t see that automatically happening, often quite the reverse; scientists in Canada looking in horror at a top politician ordering the throwing out of decades of environmental records!

                They are supposed to be a democracy. What is democratic about that I ask. I thought our leaders were not supposed to behave like crazed dictators. So we need to build on the past carefully. And what if we are not taught about the past. Then we take orders about which piece of the past are being revealed, what we are to hold, and what else we will never know..

                These things must be kept in mind. Nothing is straightforward as some people here seem to think.

      • Pat 3.1.3

        “The biggest problem the aviation industry faces is rapid growth, and a shortage of pilots. Which hardly suggests this ‘privilege’ is being constrained or limited by some nefarious plot.”

        What an odd response.

        The privilege requires no nefarious plot…it is rationed the same way almost everything is….by price. And the biggest problem facing the aviation industry is the same one facing the entire world….the effects of burning billions of years of stored energy in a few centuries,,,,everything else is pointless justification

        • RedLogix

          What an odd notion of ‘privilege’? Of course capacity and price determine how many people can fly; how else could it be? What other mechanism do you have in mind?

          While the production of CO2 by aircraft is of course a problem we all have; specifically the biggest challenge facing the industry itself is growing demand. It’s the same story everywhere, developing countries pulling people up into the middle class driving resource demand. Meeting that without destroying the planet is the challenge.

          I really don’t see how resentfully muttering ‘privilege’ is the slightest bit helpful. Maybe you could explain?

            • RedLogix

              So what; this is exactly what you’d expect. Where do you go from here?

              Collapse all of humanity back back into pre-industrial poverty, where only a tiny few thousand elites controlled everything; or pull up the ladder to the other 6 billion people moving rapidly into the middle class. Or exactly what do you have in mind?

              I’m arguing the only constructive path forward is that we keep pulling all of humanity out of poverty AND do it in a way to prevent ecological collapse. Anything else is defeat.

              • Pat

                “I’m arguing the only constructive path forward is that we keep pulling all of humanity out of poverty AND do it in a way to prevent ecological collapse. Anything else is defeat.”

                No you are demonstrating your unwillingness to accept that the action you advocate achieves the opposite of what you claim…despite the fact the evidence is clear….enjoy your delusion while you can.

                • RedLogix

                  I posed two plain questions and you avoid answering them. I make my case and argue for it in both general and detailed terms. It’s only reasonable that I ask again, exactly what do YOU have in mind?

                  • Pat

                    It is quite clear, the consumption patterns of the wealthiest 2 billion on this planet need to reduce, and mind numbingly quickly…whereas your (non) solution is to avail the consumption patterns of the wealthiest (approx) 1 billion to an additional 6-7 billion…..you may not like the idea of your falsely perceived right to consume being reduced but be assured it will be one way or another…..better to have some agency in how it is achieved.

                    • RedLogix

                      OK so you’re going with Option 1; collapse humanity back into pre-industrial poverty.

                      I call that defeat.

                  • Pat

                    call it anything you like…..it dosnt change reality

                    • greywarshark

                      Thanks pat
                      You have defined the crux of our problems in these short exchanges. I am taking a copy of them as an example of why it is impossible to reach the corners where no light can go in people’s minds and understandings of our future as sapient and insightful human beings.

                    • RedLogix

                      The reality is that collapsing our civilisation will most likely be a very ugly, brutal process. It implies the probable mass death of billions and dooms the survivors to a dark age longer and more grim than any before.

                      I’m not blind to that at all. I’ve referenced Jared Diamond’s work on the nature of societal collapse many times; I’m quite aware of how and why it happens. Only this time it’s not one relatively isolated corner of humanity lying in the vice; it’s ALL of us. Billions.

                      But as much as I’m vividly aware of the possibility, I refuse to embrace this as my philosophy; I refuse to justify a resentful, willful nihilism that takes a sneering satisfaction in demanding that everything must be wrecked and undone.

                      Quite the opposite … I demand we fight this every inch of the way, that we strive to transcend ourselves and the frightened tales we spin in the dark. We can write a much better story.

                    • RedLogix


                      I passed through those dark corners years ago. They’re desolate and lifeless.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      RedLogix: “We can write a much better story.”
                      I entirely agree and am wielding my crayon daily in an effort to write a chapter, a paragraph even, a sentence, before I’m too late.

  4. Andre 4

    A few days ago b waghorn asked my opinion of offsets, so I’ll repeat it here.

    I think offsetting is a scam dreamed up to sucker money out of naive greenies that want to kid themselves that all the flying and driving they do can be done without damage to our common environment.

    While it’s possible there may be a few more trees getting planted because of offset schemes (I doubt it), trees should be getting planted because of the standalone merits of doing so. If the carbon they suck out of the atmosphere is worthy of additional reward (and I think it is), then that should be paid from the proceeds of greenhouse gas pricing. But I’m wary of the potential for scam artists to latch onto sucking money from fraudulent tree-growing schemes.

    Anyone want to have a go at persuading me I’m too cynical?

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      Greta said it best.
      Andre; can you think of any situations outside of air travel emissions where offsets are worthwhile?
      (Maybe calling them “mitigations” might help).

    • mickysavage 4.2

      Too cynical? Probably not …

      I agree we should be replanting anyway and replanting only to offset further CO2 production may not actually be beneficial. Although I am interested in the concept of treating CO2 production in terms of a budget.

      I raise this because I can’t see air travel being heavily regulated any time soon. Offsets may at least ameliorate the damage being caused.

      • Andre 4.2.1

        I’m not sure I’d be a fan of heavy-handed regulation in any case. I’m old enough to have been affected by Muldoon’s carless days and no-petrol-sales-weekends, and I don’t ever want to see repeats of that kind of nonsense. I’m liberal enough that I value people’s freedom to choose how they allocate their resources in pursuit of happiness, and travel is a valid choice. As long as all externalities are fully paid for in all the options, which isn’t the case currently.

        Seems to me applying the same taxes as domestic users pay to international flying (and shipping) would be a useful first step – I really can’t see any justification for international movements of people and goods to be tax-advantaged relative to domestic movements. Followed by a realistic and continually rising greenhouse gas tax that applies to all sectors.

        I worry about the idea of a budget for greenhouse gases getting subverted into some sort of ongoing right to emit. Across the board GHG taxes seem a better response – make it clear that the taxes will rise as quickly and steeply as needed to meet or exceed emissions reduction targets.

        • patricia bremner

          Yes the tax would be fair if it was used to counter carbon absorption in the atmosphere or sea.
          Our family travels to and from Australia once each year for a 5/6 month stay. We do this to catch up with family who went there for work. We also still have family in NZ.
          Friends do a trip to Britain every four or five years to at least meet their grandchildren. This is the reality of the diaspora.
          I would welcome any useful scheme to offset as long as it was fair.
          The Mining Industry flew staff to and from their work on a regular basis. That should be taxed as well, but no doubt ordinary citizens will bear the brunt of the tax and corporations will be treated lightly, as they currently are in many instances. Power, water, etc.
          Diesel trucks are a moot point. They are mostly business owned!!

        • greywarshark

          You don’t want heavy handed nonsense? You have no idea of the possibilities ahead. We are already seeing small bits of h-h-nonsense, and the harder things get the more we will see. Or do you mean that you personally can pull strings so that you don’t have to put up with h-h-nonsense. Carless days, people pulling together, limiting themselves so all can deal with difficult times. Perhaps ration books, having to limit what you buy to ensure there is enough to go around. Oooh that’s not even heavy; it can get worse.

        • alwyn

          These were not a Muldoon tactic.
          They were put in place when we had the Kirk/Rowling Government of 1972-1975.
          There was a provision that Cabinet Ministers could obtain petrol when no-one else could if they had a matter of urgent public importance.
          It was Matiu Rata (I think) who interpreted that as justifying him filling up to go to the races.
          Cabinet Ministers and their self-importance hasn’t changed very much in the last 45 years has it?

      • Graeme 4.2.2

        Offsets are probably heading in the right direction but at present are local and voluntary. The issue around air travel and really all travel and transport is that international emissions are un-regulated and hence un-taxed. We should put cruise ships in the same category as well, these things make aircraft look quite good.

        But maybe voluntary social pressure and action is more effective than regulation and compulsion at changing human behaviour.

        • Robert Guyton

          Agreed. I’d be hoping for a “cascade” effect that would start at the grassroots and ripple up through to governance. Like all good things 🙂

      • bwaghorn 4.2.3

        Is their anyone clever enough to work out how many hectares would need to be planted yearly to offset all flights world wide . ??

        I’m picking we would run out of room quickly.

        • Andre

          It’s not quite an answer to your exact question, but a while ago I checked out worldwide total biofuel production vs worldwide aviation fuel use. In short, currently the world produces almost as much liquid biofuel energy as worldwide long-haul aviation uses.

          So if we ever get to a zero net GHG emissions world (or even net-negative), long haul aviation will still be with us, fueled by biofuel. Short and medium flights could convert to electric (or high-speed trains)

        • Pat

          around 80 acres a day for NZs jet fuel consumption. (not accounting for the forcing effect)

    • greywarshark 4.3

      Let’s keep the offsets and make sure the trees are planted. Drop into the Where to From Here and tell us all what stories you find to fit or derail your suspicions that there might be not as many being planted as expected. Find who is interested in this and is checking, there will be someone, encourage, monetise your concern and support them.

      • Andre 4.3.1

        TBH I’ve found it easier to salve my conscience by reducing my flying (none since Jan 2015) and reducing my driving as much as possible. As well as a major efficiency drive in home power use, where I’m down to around 40% of what I used 5 years ago.

        I’m not really interested in putting effort into re-investigating something that really looked a scam to me when I looked into a few years ago. I’d rather spend my time looking at things I really think will make a difference, such as electrifying everything.

        • greywarshark

          That gives me a shock. We have to be more open than that I believe. Writing off things because they may be a scam, or have been scammed, doesn’t utilise all the opportunities there are.

        • Robert Guyton

          Reducing your flying? Good on you, Andre. That’s probably the most powerful thing any individual can do, with regard air travel emissions and the best place to start.

        • greywarshark

          I would be interested in how you reduced you electricity usage. I think there are things I could be doing ahout that which would be good for mu purse and the environment.

          • Andre

            Biggest single item is changing all light bulbs to LED. A 100W incandescent light costs $0.02 to $0.03 per hour to run, and puts out around 1400 lumens of light evenly distributed in all spherical directions. You’ll get about the same amount of light from a 20W to 25W compact fluorescent that costs a quarter or a fifth to run. But for most real-life light fixtures and situations a 9W or 10W LED that puts out 800 to 900 lumens gives pretty much the amount of useful light, because almost all that light is in a downwards hemispherical direction, at a tenth the running cost. If a light is on an hour a day year-round, the incandescent will cost $7 to $10 in electricity and last 2 to 3 years, the compact fluorescent will cost $1.50 to $3 and last 5 to 10 years, the LED will cost $0.70 to $1 to run and should last 30 years or more. Those LEDs are available at Bunnings for around $3 apiece (I went nuts when they had 6packs for $9) Be sure to buy warm or neutral colour, unless you like your living quarters to look like the alien autopsy room in bad scifi films.

            Probably the next biggest was dialling in my hot water. My place is low-pressure hot, with very high pressure cold. So I had the hot water close to 70 degrees so I could get a decent shower. I put in a booster pump for the hot water line to the shower, turned the temp down to 60 (and checked I was actually getting 60, go lower and the risk of growing Legionnaire’s disease in the hot water cylinder goes way up), and modified my Feltonmix showerhead with a hot-melt glue gun to block up about 2/3 the holes. That’s also noticeably reduced my water use, but the long hot showers are still just as soothing (better than drugs if I’ve got a nasty headache).

            In the kitchen I generally only boil as much water in the jug as I immediately need. If I’m cooking something in boiling water, if I can I’ll boil the water in the jug and finish it in the microwave, and be conscious of using just enough water. For most veges I’ve changed from using the stove to doing them in the microwave with no or minimal added water. I don’t use the oven much, but when I do I’ll use the smaller compartment rather than the bigger one if I can. If I do use the oven, it shows up as a huge glaring red spot in my energy use charts, like the red spot I get from the hotwater when I’ve had guests that used the shower a lot. I’ve also got a new fridge which uses less than half the electricity of my old one. And decided I could manage using just the freezer compartment if the fridge, rather than having a separate chest freezer. Which has actually saved me more than a few instances of “i wonder if that’s still going to taste OK since it’s been there a few years now”.

            • greywarshark

              Gold, thanks Andre. Also going to transfer this to How to get there as this is part of learning how to do things differently and more effectively.

    • One Two 4.4

      Agree, Andre

      Offsetting is a scam

      Air New Zealand use Climatecare.org. The organisation claims to have sequestered 33 million tonnes of CO2

      Observing use of #33 is not required when assessing offsetting…

      But it serves as a signal that climatecare are manufacturing the headline figure…

      • Andre 4.4.1

        OMG. You might be onto it, One Two.

        33 is a 3 and a 3. So if we take 3 threes and add it to 33, we get 42. Which, as we all know, is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

        • One Two

          It’s marketing/advertising and some PR, Andre…simple enough…

          Each of those individually and collectively are renound for being economical with ‘truth & facts’…

          As I said, I agree with you on offsetting being a scam, as well as you not spending energy confirming as much…

          It is a scam…the marketing spin numerically tells ‘us’ that much…

    • patricia bremner 4.5

      Then why are governments worldwide planting trees if it is a scam?

      • Andre 4.5.1

        It’s the private companies taking money from people wanting to feel good about themselves for trashing the environment bit that’s the scam.

        Plus, when I last looked into it, the offset schemes didn’t look like they really resulted in any more trees getting planted or forests not getting chopped down. It looked like it was just adding a bit more to what was getting skimmed by middlemen and ticket-clippers.

  5. Chris T 5

    I’m always a bit cynical about these “off-set” things

    Ignorance more than anything else probably, but where does the money go?

    Ie how is paying money doing anything? The planes are still in the air pumping crap out.

    • Robert Guyton 5.1

      How about personally-applied “offsetting”, that is, if I fly, I plant 20 trees I otherwise wouldn’t, or something along those lines. Is it just “official/governmental” structures you mistrust, or the simple principle?

      • One Two 5.1.1

        Good idea, Robert…

        There are many forms the offsetting could take which the ‘flyers’ could potentially apply to themselves…

        Planting trees may not always be possible for practical/logistical reasons…

        Are you aware of programmes in NZ for general tree planting for the public?

      • marty mars 5.1.2

        I think we need to go cigarette tax on it plus make them filthy with no seats or services just a big barn-like fuselage, everyone in together.

        • Robert Guyton

          Or allow on-board smoking again 🙂

          • alwyn

            I have seen arguments that the banning of smoking on public transport led to the drop in the use of same and people instead using cars more.
            That was of course back in the 1970s when a lot more people smoked.
            I haven’t the faintest idea about whether this argument made any sense at all. Personally I doubt it.

        • Andre

          For some reason that comment brought back student day memories drinking in the Fitz in Palmy.

        • greywarshark

          All sitting in the bare cabin with our parachutes and tin hats on like pictures from wartime?

      • greywarshark 5.1.3

        Why does it have to be trees planted? What about shrubs, say hebe. What amount of carbon is sequestred by a shrub? Is it a matter of how many leaves it has, or how deep the roots go?

        Planting a manuka in a honey producing area would be very useful and targetting wisely wouldn’t it? What if we made honey producing manuka the second most important environmental icon to kauri? Get all keen on them and make flyers and dairy farmers plant one for each cow they have, each year?
        Now there’s a way to advance an industry on the back of another.

  6. jcuknz 6

    Every time I hear that folk have gone across the world by air to TALK about conservation etc I wonder why they do not instead use devices to do their talking from here which is very possible with group connections instead of bun fights overseas.
    I would admit that I am unlikely, very unlikely, to see 2050 and have crossed the Pacific ten times [ five trips] to visit son in the States before deciding that ‘cattle class’ is not for me any more. and object to the cost of better.

  7. Chris T 7

    The lack of clarity as to what big companies off-setting actually involves and how it changes emissions

    • jcuknz 7.1

      I doubt that it makes a drop of difference and Roberts’ suggestion makes sense if you happen to own the land to do it on. Of course most people do not.

  8. jcuknz 8

    Having done a fair effort not to use plastic bags with starting Greenpeace sack bags , wheelie shoping bag etc I can see absolutely no point to the virtue signaling ban of plastic bags in various shops where the paper bags are a very poor substitute and definitely not an alternative to the paper bags I used years ago with string handles etc.
    The current paper bags that Countdown use to delivery my groceries only get half filled, if that, and a good paper bag of the past could be used to the brim.
    But I’m a silly old man with memories of the past of course 🙂

    • greywarshark 8.1

      Plastic bags ban not worthy? Wet blanket. Dissing a useful positive move is a thumbs-down behaviour.

    • patricia bremner 8.2

      jcuknz, No you are not “A silly old man”. Our chemist has gone over to solid brown bags with string handles. We reuse these when buying fruit Cheers. How ever banning plastic bags is a good thing. Complain about the quality of the paper bags… after all you are paying for them.

  9. Ad 9

    i’m happy to wait fot Shaw’s carbon blll.

    orherwise, air traffic IS our tourism and university economies. Its nt worth risking them, and that doesnt stop our own individual or corporate contributions.

    • alwyn 9.1

      “i’m happy to wait fot Shaw’s carbon blll”.
      Personally I shudder to think what Shaw’s bill will be when we look at the amount of International travel he does to attend massive talk-fests about how we must cut emissions. His carbon mitigation bill must be enormous.

      Perhaps we could start with some good examples being set by our MPs, particularly by those like Shaw and his ilk.
      For example I looked at the emissions for a round trip from Auckland to London via Singapore. That will be typical of the jaunts he undertakes.

      For 1 person they are estimated to be 7.4 tonnes in Economy, 14.2 tonnes in Business and 22.2 tonnes in First class.
      Can I suggest that Mr Shaw travel in Economy rather than up at the pointy end? He mightn’t get the best Champagne but he’ll be responsible for a great deal less carbon being released.
      He could also travel with a greatly reduced staff. He doesn’t really need someone to carry his briefcase does he?
      People paying their own fares are happy enough in Economy. Why does Shaw have to be kept well away from the Commoners who pay his wages?

      I remember, back in the mid 70s travelling to Europe on the same flight as then deputy PM Hugh Watt. He thought Economy was good enough for him, and that is where he was seated. Why are the current lot of the view that it would be undignified for them to travel in the main cabin?

      • Robert Guyton 9.1.1

        alwyn – that claim; our representative shouldn’t fly to a conference, is daft, in my view. Surely you can see that the gains that can come from such meeting, way out-weighs the harm caused by their flight? Surely! Disabling your appointed representative who has the power to make major changes to the issue under discussion, is…dafter than daft! Please tell me where my thinking on this is faulty, Alwyn!

        • bwaghorn

          Na in the age of internet all greens should be leading the charge by attending all meetings by video conferencing.
          Your excuses for him are part of the problem.

          • Robert Guyton

            Surely, bwaghorn, you’ve heard it said, many, many times, that the real gains made over the period of a conference, are made after-hours, when the conference-goers are talking “off-camera”
            And if you are aware of the phenomenon, why would you seek to hamper Government MPs from doing that? You have them stay at home and … twiddle their thumbs? That would be a disservice to the country.

            • greywarshark

              Don’t know if you are entirely tongue in cheek here Robert but you have made a good point. Face to face, so you can see the whites of their eyes, is useful.

            • bwaghorn

              I thought after conference stuff was more about raising temps 😎

          • jcuknz

            My thoughts exactly Bwaghorn
            As for travelling alone in a large jet because it is there seems hypocritical too.

      • joe90 9.1.2

        He thought Economy was good enough for him, and that is where he was seated.

        Yeah, in a wide body aircraft with elbow room and a 36 inch seat pitch.


      • shadrach 9.1.3


        It has always struck me as hypocritical the amount of air travel ‘climate campaigners’ engage in. Perhaps they’ve never heard of teleconferencing? Or Skype!

      • the other pat 9.1.4

        well lets make a new law…..every 1k you travel you must pay for and have planted 100 trees….might reduce things a bit……and every time a politician talks they must plant 1k trees also.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      orherwise, air traffic IS our tourism and university economies. Its nt worth risking them,

      As it stands its not worth keeping them going because they’re uneconomic.

      • shadrach 9.2.1

        Of course not. All the people employed by those economies can simply go on the benefit and grow organic potatoes in community gardens, right? And the taxes the country receives? Well we can just stop paying the benefit to people without jobs right? Oh wait…

    • patricia bremner 9.3

      But should we be owning the actual cost of those activities to the environment?

      • Ad 9.3.1

        private contribution is on this point more effective than more government taxes and more regulation.

        Shaw and Ardern will be watching the long term of those transport taxes on Macron. The crowd said no.

        • Draco T Bastard

          private contribution is on this point more effective than more government taxes and more regulation.

          Government taxes and regulation are there to ensure that costs are apportioned. Without them, they’re not as the market has, so far, failed to implement them.

          • Ad

            state implementation has on this point been far far worse than the well-proven market response from AirNZ.

            • Draco T Bastard


              AirNZ collapsed until the government bought it back out.

              This suggests that the market response failed miserably.

              Got any other BS to shovel?

              • Ad

                airNZs response to enabling the traveller to reduce emissions is well documented, as this post notes. and its the most successful airline traveller carbon sequestration programme around.

                you can of course point to the state programme that does it better anywhere in the world.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I don’t need to. I just need to point to the fact that when AirNZ was privatised it collapsed. Under government ownership it didn’t and it introduced a carbon sequestration program.

                  Rather important point that.

                  • alwyn

                    I think you are misrepresenting history a bit.
                    The problem Air New Zealand had was that they bought out Richard Murdoch’s stake in Ansett without ever having taken a look at the books.
                    The then management of Air New Zealand were hang-overs from the old state owned days and were putty in the hands of someone like Murdoch.
                    In other words they really had no idea what they were up to.

                    Much the same thing happened when the old Public Service types were still running the BNZ after it was privatised. Their lending policies were a joke and almost broke the bank.
                    Or much the same thing when Cullen spent about $700 million to buy the railways back from Toll.
                    Who ever let him near the countries finances.

  10. DJ Ward 10

    Offsetting is an interesting subject.

    If a forest owner cuts down his trees, then sells the forest into an offsetting sceme and replanted then there’s no advantage.
    Forests absorb CO2 but large portions of that once harvested is temporary. How much is used then later burnt, or goes into landfill and is later captured as methane and burnt. How much is eaten by bugs, microorganisms and released as CO2 in breathing. A certain % will be captured long term, and the rest is recycled into the atmosphere.

    All plants capture CO2. Biofuels like creating methane from cow poo, IE grass. Or methanol, ethanol is a good way of not introducing more CO2 into the system.
    Using plant materials to create plastics locks away CO2 probably better than growing a forest. Using waste plant matter to create charcoals for the steel industry locks the carbon into the steel etc.

    So investing in offsetting is a good way of helping with Climate Change. The options given to the consumer shouldn’t however just be limited to planting more trees. We could add 100,000 Ha and you would hardly notice the change because one plant (tree) is replacing another plant. A better investment could be helping the other alternative methods becoming viable by helping R&D and infastructure.

    Maybe the Airlines can give the customer a few options when they purchase a ticket how the offsetting money is spent.

    • patricia bremner 10.1


    • Robert Guyton 10.2

      “Using waste plant matter to create charcoals for the steel industry locks the carbon into the steel ”

      • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1

        Grow trees/hemp/plant
        Use energy to convert plant matter into a high carbon substitute for the coking coal presently used for making steel
        The steel now contains some, but not all, of the carbon captured by the plants.

        Simple logic. If it’s viable is another question.

        • Robert Guyton

          ‘skuse my ignorance – is the coking coal used to fire burners that melt the constituents of steel – none of that carbon is incorporated into the steel, is it? Probably is, by the sound of it, but just asking (metallurgy ain’t my thing 🙂

          • DJ Ward

            The carbon is used to get oxygen out of the mix but it’s also used to create the steels properties. The most important element outside of special metals.


          • Draco T Bastard

            is the coking coal used to fire burners that melt the constituents of steel

            No, it isn’t.

            It’s used for its high content of carbon.

            none of that carbon is incorporated into the steel, is it?

            Quite a lot of it is but most goes into the atmosphere as CO2.

        • DJ Ward

          There is this NZ tech that had great promise but I haven’t heard much since this article and TV articles from the same time.


  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    The centre of the earth is pretty well uninhabitable.

    I’m pretty sure that the centre of the Earth is already uninhabitable. The pressure would be immense never mind trying to move through all that solid iron and uranium.

    It advises me that my trip to Dunedin has generated just over 300 kilograms of CO2 and that this can be offset for the very modest price of $6.96.

    How much would have been emitted if you drove?
    How much if you’d taken a ship?

    Knowing how much is only useful if you have something to compare it with but there is this:

    Has Flying Become More Eco-Friendly Than Driving?

    But if members of the eco–jet set were to fly commercial—and join a few hundred other people sardined into coach—it might be a different story. It may seem counterintuitive, but a provocative study released earlier this year argues that in the U.S., flying from place to place actually consumes significantly less energy – and hence produces significantly fewer emissions—than driving does.

    And then there’s the time constraint as well.

    I have no view about the efficiency right now except the optimistic hope that reforesting part of the planet will be a counterbalance to the greenhouse gasses that my travel is generating.

    I’m all for reforesting as much as we can but the farmers keep telling us we need more farms and the politicians keep telling us we need more people to sell to.

    • DJ Ward 11.1

      Driving vs Flying.

      I would suggest driving becomes better as you increase the number of people in the car. 5 people in a car Auckland to Wellington must be better than 5 people flying. Your link points that out the decrease in car efficiency is caused by decrease in average passengers in cars. Mentioned but not elaborated on was Buses, are not efficient vs cars or planes.

      An EV, charged by a fossil fuel power station would still beat the plane as energy efficiency is at least twice that of an ICE car. Charged in a high renewable network like ours, EV cars are far better greenhouse gases wise. The link points out smaller efficient ICE cars are better than planes.

      Your farmers keep telling us we need more farms comment.
      I think that’s more corporates, not so much farmers, buying low efficiency land and wanting to convert it to high income farms for the capital gain. The problem with farms converting some land to forestry is many did that in the past but they simply made no money at harvest time. About 5 Ha of hills was converted to forestry on the farm we are on. At harvest time the land was returned to pasture as the owners after harvest costs made such a small amount the 30 years the land was set aside was a waste of time. They were sold the story the money made on the 5 Ha would be large but it was all bullshit.

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1

        The problem with farms converting some land to forestry is many did that in the past but they simply made no money at harvest time.

        That’s turning it from one type of farm into another. It’s not turning it into a forest with no forecast cut down date.

        • greywarshark

          I guess government could give some incentive to the farmer that locks up land like that through tax incentives etc. Free advice, workshops where farmers can learn, make contacts, make buddies. It could be an in-thing to do.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Buy out the farm and turn it into a national forest with stage 4 protection seems to be the best option. Make it so that it can’t be cut down or harvested ever.

    • alwyn 11.2

      “I’m pretty sure that the centre of the Earth is already uninhabitable”

      But surely you aren’t trying to tell me that Jules Verne was lying when he wrote that book?
      Oh woe. Is there no author I can rely on?
      Next you will be telling us that there is no Santa Claus.

      • fender 11.2.1

        Don’t fret, Simon (Bridges) says Santa is a man and that’s how it should be. He’s probably spending the recess with the kids drafting a members bill in an effort to make it law.

        • alwyn

          Well given that Santa Claus comes from the Dutch words Sinter Klass and HE was definitely male I suppose Bridges is correct.

          “Santa Claus comes from the Dutch words “Sinter Klaas”, which is what they call their favorite saint, St. Nicholas. He is said to have died on December 6, A.D. 342. December 6th is celebrated as his feast day, and in many countries this is the day he arrives with his presents and punishments.”

          On the other hand, as the father of 3 young children Simon may merely have been explaining what children think on the subject. Mine certainly thought Santa was a man when they were tiny.
          That you obviously don’t have any children, or don’t pay them any attention is clearly apparent. Bad luck.

          I don’t think that Simon would be wasting his time on things that are clearly the product of your overheated imagination. I suppose that Marama Davidson is probably going to claim that Santa was a c**t though and claim him/her as being part of her taonga.

        • DJ Ward

          He doesn’t have to. It’s pretty hard to change the name. Although I have no doubt Feminists will attempt to demand equality even with a defined imaginary and traditional figure.

          Father Christmas. Pretty hard to say that’s not a man.


  12. Kay 12

    Many moons ago (into the 1980s anyway) domestic air travel within NZ was still a luxury item. As a student at the time the only affordable option for getting from Whangarei to Wellington was the old Railways bus and the Silver Fern/Silver Star down the main trunk line, about 15 hours if you were lucky. Friends who went to Otago Uni would spend almost 2 days getting there by bus-train-ferry-train. IIRC it was the arrival of Ansett that made flying more affordable.

    I guess my point is this- we were use to getting places taking a while. But lets say all the old rail lines were reopened tomorrow and with higher speed services- we’re now all so conditioned to ‘instant gratification’ (plus this idea that we’re so busy that not a second more that necessary should be spent getting from A-B, hence the necessity to build roads that shave 30 seconds off travelling time) that could we oldies revert back to that mindset of slower travelling overland, and could those who have never experienced it make the change? Personally, a 6hr Auck-Wgtn train and I’d happily partake. Anything to avoid bloody Auckland airport. I’d probably even go up more than once a year as I currently do.

    The Cheapest fare I can find for the Northern Explore train (currently running 3 days/week is $119 one way and it takes 11.5hrs. Obviously I can fly return for that so sadly it’s a no-brainer. So clearly, there has to also be the financial incentive for cleaner form of transport because that’s still the primary consideration for the majority of people.

    • greywarshark 12.1

      I was thinking that perhaps train travel could be an experience, able to move around more than a plane and therefore the longer time could be enjoyable. A room of quiet for people working on their laptops, a series of musicians in with the food bars, an old-time milk shake bar, a vegetarian bar run by private people plus a selection of award winning Kiwi pies. Reasonable prices. Free water. It would be enjoyable. And no alcohol would be best, or 2% available. It tastes pretty good.

      The trains and the post need to stop thinking duh! this thing is old hat, we’ll manage it down. There must be some bright sparks in these otherwise dull corporates looking to eke out more money by reducing services and mechanising.

      Start boosting train travel use by group concessions. The proiftability could be established at a lower level once more had been enticed back to a greater volume of travellers, and once there was a reliable number at certain times of the year, then good specials could be booked like grabaseat does for Airnz.

  13. mauī 13

    One of the best scheme’s I’ve heard of is where a man named James is put into a bull ring enclosed by giant bunsen burner like flames. Then the bull is released and James must plant his satchel full of pine seedlings into the ground before the exit gate is opened and he has an escape route.

  14. Jenny - How to get there? 14

    With human beings. perception is everything

    As Professor Gluckman put it, when he was the government’s top science adviser.

    Since New Zealand’s total greenhouse emissions are only 0.2% of the world total, New Zealand’s greatest contribution to fighting climate change will be by setting an example.

    On the national stage our leaders need to set an example

    Parliament and the government need to take Gluckman’s advice and ban all air travel for all MPs, (at least within the country.

    What’s the problem?

    Our Grandparents generation of MPs could run the country without taking to the air. And this generation of leaders are far better served by telecommunications than previous generations were.

    And if government won’t act, At very least the Green Party could, and eschew all internal air travel for their MPs.

    • Robert Guyton 14.1

      “And if government won’t act, At very least the Green Party could, and eschew all internal air travel for their MPs.”
      And if someone from Southland should become a Green MP, his/her family can just live without them for those years when the MP’s required in Parliament!

      • alwyn 14.1.1

        If they are a list MP they can do what anyone else from Southland would do if they got a job in Wellington. They would pack up and move.
        I have no problem with Electorate MPs living in and travelling backwards and forwards to their electorate.
        List MPs should all be expected to live in Wellington. The MP should be able to travel around the country for work purposes but their families should get no travel at all.

        • Robert Guyton

          In my example, the Green MP wins Invercargill (quite possible, now that Sarah Dowie’s gone … quiet.
          What then? Does the family have to relocate to Wellington?
          Why do you condone electorate MPs flying, but not list?

          • alwyn

            I believe that an electorate MP has duties in, and to, the electorate.
            They should be able to maintain a home in the electorate and have accommodation in Wellington as well.
            List MPs don’t have any such responsibilities and should simply move to Wellington.

            Some commenters have assured me that Green MPs adopt an electorate and pretend to carry out duties there. No one has ever been able to show me where they have an electorate office and staff there though.

            All MPs should continue to have unlimited travel, for work, within New Zealand. I just don’t see why the List ones should be able to pick somewhere nice to live and have accommodation provided in Wellington as well.
            At one stage there were about 5 MPs who all claimed that they represented Tauranga.
            There were also 2 Green MPs who pretended that they were representing Waiheke Island.

            If a Green MP wins an electorate of course they should live there and commute. It would also keep the party alive as I don’t expect them to exceed 5% in 2020

            • Robert Guyton

              ” I just don’t see why the List ones should be able to pick somewhere nice to live and have accommodation provided in Wellington as well.”
              What if they … already live somewhere other than Wellington….somewhere like…Southland? The whole family has to up-sticks and move to the Capital?
              Really ???

              • alwyn

                My parents, and their children at the time, moved from Invercargill to Napier when my father got a new job in Hawkes Bay.
                So does everyone else who changes employment to a job in a new city.
                Why should a list MP be any different?
                Their whole job is in Wellington. If they want the job then they should move.
                Wellington isn’t really that bad you know. A little breezy but that would merely blow away the cobwebs.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Because it might only be for 3 years…
                  Because their children might be loving the school they are in?
                  Because the grandparents might be living there…
                  I dunno, alwyn, because the like where they live?

                  • alwyn

                    If all those things are so important to you then you shouldn’t apply for a job in another city.
                    The first reason is the funniest of course. How many jobs are guaranteed for the rest of your working life these days?
                    Besides, MPs who miss out at a subsequent election get 3 months redundancy pay after they depart from the house after an election.
                    Nice bonus if you can get it. It comes to a minimum of about $40,000.

                    List MPs often move from one place to another anyway. When Cullen, who was an Electorate MP in Dunedin, went onto the list he immediately moved to Napier and commuted down from there.
                    As a Napier boy myself I can see why he would do it but why should the taxpayer have to support his desires for a nice climate?

                    One of the Green MPs, Kennedy Graham, moved from Christchurch to Waiheke Island after he got elected as a list MP.
                    Here he listed his home as being Ilam, in 2009.
                    By 2014 he was exclusively living on Waiheke
                    It is not clear just when he moved as for a number of years he listed “homes” in both places.
                    If he chose to move away from Christchurch why didn’t he go to Wellington where his job was?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Why should a list MP be any different?

                  Because they’re employment term is only three years?

                  You should really be asking why private profiteers get to bludge off of the necessity of NZers from having to supply a fixed set of housing in Wellington.

                  But, of course, you won’t as that goes against the rentiers need to profit from government spending despite doing nothing to earn that money.

            • Jenny - How to get there?

              …..If a Green MP wins an electorate of course they should live there and commute…..

              No one is arguing against that.

              But should they commute by air?

              Parliamentarians of the past, even within living memory, commuted by rail. And parliamentary business still got done.

              What is it about modern MPs that makes them so precious?

              If the Green Party were sincere about addressing climate change, the very least they could do, would be to set an example.


              Also within living memory, there was a time when IT consisted of landline telephones, surface mail, telegrams, broadcast radio and TV, and possibly short wave radio in special circumstances. That was it.

              Modern MPs are much better served by IT than their predecessors.

              Social media, smart phones, email, Gmail, skype, video conferencing suites, facebook, twitter, real time news sites. Plus broadcast channels.
              Giving them a virtual presence where ever they are in the country, (or indeed the world).

              P,S., p.s.

              How many people alive today can say that they have ever received a telegram?

              We are a dying breed. (Sigh!).

              • Draco T Bastard

                What is it about modern MPs that makes them so precious?

                It’s not modern MPs, you idiot, but the fact that parliament needs faster responses than it did two hundred years ago.

                • McFlock

                  Oh, bollocks.

                  If they need to talk with their minions, they can skype from the train. Most of the rest of it is reading so they know what they’re talking about.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    200+ bills are voted upon in the house every year. Dunno about you but I’d prefer that ‘our’ representatives are there to actually vote on them rather than give their proxy to one person and take a holiday.

                    • McFlock

                      Pretty good for regular sitting days being Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
                      Commute mondays and fridays, have some monday evening select committees, and bob’s your uncle.

              • alwyn

                “Parliamentarians of the past, even within living memory, commuted by rail. And parliamentary business still got done.”

                That is correct but if you look at the sitting pattern of Parliament you will find that it was very different to today.
                Parliament, back in the 60’s for example typically sat only from about the beginning of June until the end of October.
                Thus there were about 7 months of the year when the MPs didn’t have to go to Wellington. Only the Executive had to be there.
                I really don’t think we could go back to that situation of course. There is also no real ability for anyone from Auckland to get to Wellington other than by flying. The days of the overnight Limited are long gone. As someone who traveled on it a couple of times I can only say “Thank God”.

                • Jenny - How to get there?

                  Parliament, back in the 60’s for example typically sat only from about the beginning of June until the end of October.
                  Thus there were about 7 months of the year when the MPs didn’t have to go to Wellington. Only the Executive had to be there.


                  ‘And the work still got done’.

                  If needs must, we need to return to that pattern.

                  I might venture that MPs in those days were more attuned and closer to their electorates. Not a bad thing, in my opinion.

                  And if, as you make out, rail travel is such a pain, then they would be sure to make every trip count, and we could possibly get a lot less time wasting theatrics, and repetition.

                  Most of the decisions of government are made by cabinet which has been reinforced by the Waka Jumping legislation.

                  As backbenchers are unlikely to ever mount a revolt against cabinet, you almost gotta ask, why are they even there.

                  They might be better off keeping in touch and getting the ear of their constituents on important matters.

                  • alwyn

                    “you almost gotta ask, why are they even there”
                    Select Committees. Most of the real work of Parliament is done there. They are the only valid reason why we need the MPs.

                    If you really want to see why the backbenchers don’t revolt you only have to count the numbers there and among the Ministers.
                    Some people will tell you that we must increase the number of MPs so that we have enough competent people to supply the required numbers of Ministers.
                    Utter rubbish. It is the number of members in the Government Parties that sets the number of Ministers, not the other way round. There have to be enough Ministers to outvote the backbenchers in Caucus.
                    Why do you think there are about 100 Ministers and the same number of Under-Secretaries and so on in the House of Commons?
                    It is because there are typically well over 350 members in the ruling party and they have to be kept loyal with jobs.

                    There may be only about 20 in Cabinet but look at the vast hordes who are also given jobs so that they are kept quiet and so they overpower the backbench.

                    We have the same thing here. It is just that the numbers aren’t as large.

                    • Jenny - How to get there?

                      Ah yes, Select Committees.

                      First off, there is little reason that a lot of work by select committees cannot be done on line.
                      Listening to testimony – Skype,
                      Reading submissions – Email,
                      Research – Google,
                      Background reading – PDF, downloads, Kindle.
                      Consulting experts – Email, Skype, and telephone conversations. (You would probably have to do that anyway. Because most experts in their field are busy people, and not likely to drop what they are doing at a moment’s notice to go to the Beehive

                      What else?

                      Oh yes, Come to a conclusion, write up a report – laptop, desk top (much easier to do when there is a digital trail of the committee’s deliberations). Then email a copy to a parliamentary secretary to pretty up for presentation, or read out in the house.

                      Did I miss anything?

                      Secondly, if after all that, the Cabinet are of an ideological bent, and they disagree with the findings, they can just ignore the Select Committee’s recommendations and pass the law they wanted all along.

                    • alwyn

                      I did read your question “why are they even there” as being about why we have back bench MPs in the Parliament at all, rather than being a question as to why they are physically present in Wellington.
                      You could possibly run the Select Committee system with geographically dispersed MPs. I don’t know quite how people submitting ideas would react to speaking to a TV camera but most of them would learn.
                      Your comment here does appear to accept that they should actually be in Parliament doesn’t it?

                      Well you seem to do so right down to the last paragraph. I don’t think they are quite as blatant as that. I think they just make sure they control a majority on the committee and refuse to accept any modifications their Lords and Masters in the Cabinet don’t want.
                      We would need to know what someone like Wayne thinks. He is probably the only person who contributes to this blog who really knows how it works.

            • Draco T Bastard

              List MPs don’t have any such responsibilities and should simply move to Wellington.

              Which is where you are wrong.

              Most parties have their List MPs represent the electorate that they’re living in as a kind of shadow electorate MP. It, of course, has no status other than the fact the people who talk to them are, as a matter of fact, talking to an MP.

              Some commenters have assured me that Green MPs adopt an electorate and pretend to carry out duties there. No one has ever been able to show me where they have an electorate office and staff there though.

              It’s not pretend as the RWNJs will assure you. All you need to do is go down to your local Green electorate office and talk to them. You will thus be represented in parliament.

              I just don’t see why the List ones should be able to pick somewhere nice to live and have accommodation provided in Wellington as well.
              They live in one place and need to be in Wellington as well.

              Fairly obvious even to the brain dead.

              At one stage there were about 5 MPs who all claimed that they represented Tauranga.


              There were also 2 Green MPs who pretended that they were representing Waiheke Island.

              I’m pretty sure that you’ll find that there wasn’t and that if you approached either of the two they’d represent you to parliament anyway.

              Really, your ignorance knows no bounds.

              • alwyn

                “It’s not pretend as the RWNJs will assure you. All you need to do is go down to your local Green electorate office and talk to them. You will thus be represented in parliament.”
                Please tell me where these fabled Green Party Electorate Offices are?

                Adresses please so I can get in touch with some of the Green MPs. And the hours they are open.
                They certainly don’t seem to list them on either the Parliamentary or Party website do they?
                Not like most of the real Electorate MPs do.

                Have a look at Roche and Graham in this return

                • alwyn

                  The last comment is about the pair who chose to live on Waiheke Island.
                  I ran out of time while trying to edit the comment.
                  They were certainly both living there and according to your own statement they act as a “shadow MP” in the electorate where they live.

              • alwyn

                ps for Draco.
                Have you found the locations, addresses and office hours for these phantom Green Electorate Offices?
                I used to ask the same question of a commenter named Weka who used to appear here.
                She couldn’t do it, it made her angry that she was shown up as a fantasist and she would ban me for a few months.
                Come on. Surely you can either produce details of half a dozen Green Electorate Offices or have the courage to admit that they are a myth?

          • Gabby

            They could do their electorate stuff while parlymint’s in recess bobs. Plenty of time to hitchhike back down.
            Anyway, what selfrespecting greenmp wouldn’t prefer to ebike home?

            • Robert Guyton

              Whaddabout their family stuff?
              I wonder if one could e-hitch-hike? That is, only accept rides from electric vehicles?

              • Gabby

                One absolutely should bobs. Anything else is moral bankruptcy.

                • Robert Guyton

                  But would any morally superior drivers of e-cars pick them up, knowing that some of their peers still fly? Damned by association. Seems fair.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      Since New Zealand’s total greenhouse emissions are only 0.2% of the world total, New Zealand’s greatest contribution to fighting climate change will be by setting an example.

      And what example do you actually mean?

      One where we try to live within our nation’s resources or one where we welcome everybody here who wants to live as we have for the last 150 years?

      It’s hard to say as you seem to be in for the latter but make noises about the former in regards to Climate Change.

  15. Jenny - How to get there? 15

    Is this the future for travel across the Tasman?

    Get rid of the vehicle deck and the shopping deck and replace them with passenger seats, and the cost per unit would drop dramatically.

    This vessel would take two days to cross the Tasman instead of 3 hours by plane.

    We quite happily cram ourselves into airplanes for 48 hour flights to Europe

    With real time satellite early warning of weather patterns combined with this vessels speed, all bad weather could be skirted around or avoided.

    If I was an entrepreneur, or government official, I would be thinking of this.

    Make seats cheap enough. Or alternatively stick near-prohibitive carbon charges on aviation fuel to represent the true cost of the damage to the environment and you are in business.

    My parent’s generation traveled the world by surface ship. Even though international air travel was available, it was prohibitively expensive. My Mother as a young single woman made the return trip to attend the Olympic games in Australia on the famed Oriana.


    • Jenny - How to get there? 15.1

      Correction: Distance between Sydney and Auckland 2,161 kilometers

      Speed of Incat 107Kph

      Accounting for docking and maneuvering, roughly 24 hrs.

      Bring your car, or camper, drive on drive off.

      • greywarshark 15.1.1

        What are the unintended consequences of a small ship travelling at 55 knots or kms an hour whatever? Whales dolphins etc, during fog with other ships, and is there going to be a permanent keeper watching out on this boat human or robot or AI. I have heard about container ships running into people, would there be time to realise the hazard and get out of its way.? Would you have to register your ocean position so that you didn’t get charged for causing an obstruction if it ran into you?

        • Jenny - How to get there?

          Ocean going cargo and cruise ships upload their real time position already.


          These high speed ferries are in operation around the world, already. I haven’t heard of one running down a whale, or mincing up a pod of dolphins.. But I suppose it could happen.

          But, what about those lime green scooters, Eh?

      • Gabby 15.1.2

        You want to waste energy carting cars around the place jens?

    • Draco T Bastard 15.2

      We quite happily cram ourselves into airplanes for 48 hour flights to Europe

      [Citation Needed]

      I mean, basically, you’re talking crap.

      HINT: There is no plane around that can stay in the air for 48 hours non-stop.

      The reason why no-one listens to you? Because you talk crap.

      • Jenny - How to get there? 15.2.1

        Hi Draco,

        You are right. How sloppy of me. I was in a rush and didn’t have time to check my figures.

        So I just picked some figures that I hoped would be on the conservative side.

        My bad.

        Of course there is no passenger plane that can stay in the air for 48 hours. I didn’t mention that, because I thought that was a given.

        I was against a deadline for an appointment. But as you say, no-one listens to me anyway, which is why I didn’t bother to check my figures, at least in this case. Usually, unlike what you are accusing, I am very painstaking, but as you say since no one listens to me, I sometimes wonder, why I bother.

        So I just picked some figures that I hoped were on the conservative side. (And they were.)

        The following are the actual figures:

        (and they are even better than the ones I gave).

        According to flight information non-stop Auckland to London, (including stop-overs), is 25 hours. Not 48 hours, (as I mistakenly put in, in my haste).

        Also, it wouldn’t take the Incap two days to cross the Tasman, as I put in my comment. But only one day.

        Even less of a hardship than I imagined.

        Especially if the fares where considerably cheaper than an air ticket. If you could take your car*, or camper, it might be even more attractive to cross-Tasman travellers.

        *(Tessler or Nissan Leaf hopefully)

        New Zealand, A World Leader On Climate Change

        Look Draco, the point of my post, is that there are alternatives. Alternatives that actually don’t cause that much hardship. And which previous generations would actually consider luxurious and speedy.

        If we really had an administration that was serious about climate change, they would impose a carbon tax on aviation fuel, that would give surface transport, like boats and trains, a, (big), cost advantage.

        We would be the first in the world to do so.

        In my opinion, such an, (admittedly,) radical measure, would make New Zealand a leading country in the war against climate change. Making us an enviable destination, for business and innovation leaders, no matter what they had to do, to get here.

        In an increasingly troubled world where New Zealand is seen as an oasis of stability…..

        In a world where virtual presence is a reality…..

        Where climate change is a pressing issue…..

        The big Data hubs are looking for place to relocate where their huge energy needs are supplied by renewable energy. Why not here?

        In a previous thread where I argued the Hauauru Ma Raki wind farm should be restarted, so that we could finally shutter coal fired Huntly Power Station. Many argued that the wind farm would be surplus to our needs if Ti Wai Aluminium mill was closed down. If Ti Wai was closed down, as many pointed out, the country would be awash in surplus (renewable) electricity.


        • RedLogix

          I’ve done at least 20 work trips this past few years that exceeded 50 hours door to door. Not all one flight, but the longest was almost 4 days of non-stop travel. 2-3 days is not uncommon.

          So your 48 hours was not all that far off the mark in practical terms.

          • Jenny - How to get there?

            Sounds tough.

            Hey Red, Just out of curiousity, while you are here.

            How would you feel about doing all that travel, by surface transport, as they did it in our grandparents time?

            A lot slower of course but less pressured. Dead lines would have to be stretched to match.

            Ships and trains being a lot more roomy than planes, maybe, if you wanted, you could bring your family or significant other along, and make a holiday of it.

            With modern communications you need never be out of communication with your workplace or clients.

            I don’t know what your work is, but would you be able to use the down time in some other productive way?

            All this conjecture, reminds me of an episode of the Jetsons where George Jetson sick of commuting around the world at hypersonic speeds goes out of his way to cross the Atlantic in an old antique DC 3. Instead of taking 3 hours it takes 24

            His family are appalled.

            • RedLogix

              Land travel would change things dramatically; we forget that before the Boeing 747 the very large majority of people rarely traveled at all; or if they did it was once or twice in their lifetime on arduous, often dangerous journeys. Even if modern tech made these journeys a lot safe and comfortable; they’d still eat up a LOT of time. Some of the the places I’ve worked at these past few years might take up to an impossibly long month to get to; and another one to get home.

              But I can’t dismiss your notion either; it’s entirely possible that ships and long distance trains might come to dominate passenger travel once again.

              • Jenny - How to get there?

                Thanks for your considerate comments Red.

                In the episode of the Jetsons that I mentioned above, a sight gag used to emphasise the point of how pressurised his modern life is, George Jetson checks his wristwatch. His wristwatch has an analogue face with an hour hand, and a minute hand, and a second hand, and a tenth of a second hand, which is shown whizzing around the dial.

      • alwyn 15.2.2

        “: There is no plane around that can stay in the air for 48 hours non-stop”.

        There are actually. There have been quite a number that have been up for that long by using refuelling in the air techniques. I understand that the US President’s plane Air Force 1 could do that if required.

        There has even been one that flew round the world in abour 9 days without landing or refuelling.

        I think any sensible person took the comment in the way it was intended.
        In your case of course I suppose one can merely say.
        “The reason why no-one listens to you? Because you talk crap.”

    • Graeme 15.3

      The reality of operating something like that across the Tasman will either be passages at similar speed to current vessels, or a very uncomfortable trip due to sea conditions. That’s why the “fast” ferries weren’t successful on Cook Strait.

      And the carbon impact per person may still be similar to air travel.

      • Andre 15.3.1

        Didn’t they also get made to slow down once they were in the Sounds? Because their wakes were causing too much damage? Then once they had to go slow in the Sounds, much of their time advantage disappeared.

        • Jenny - How to get there?

          That is true. In the Hauraki gulf and especially in Queen Charlotte sound. In Queen Charlotte Sound, when this type of vessel was first introduced, their powerful wake was washing away beaches and even washing onto roads and peoples properties, and so speed restrictions had to be put on this type of vessel. Subequently navigating Queen Charlotte Sound took way longer than crossing the Cook Straight, taking away this type of vessel’s advantage. On a proportionally much longer crossing where this type of vessel spent more time in the open waters and proportionately less time near land, I expect the speed advantage over other surface vessels would be significant.

          Out on the open ocean the reason for these speed restraints wouldn’t apply.

          Back near land, of course they would.

          A bit like the Concord, could fly faster than sound, but was speed restricted overland.

          Maybe time lost slowing down near land could be made up by customs and border control duties being done on board,while still in transit. Arriving at downtown ports would also eliminate the painful commute to and from the airport, another time saver.

        • Jenny - How to get there?

          Andre 15.3.1
          3 January 2019 at 12:31 pm
          Didn’t they also get made to slow down once they were in the Sounds? Because their wakes were causing too much damage? Then once they had to go slow in the Sounds, much of their time advantage disappeared.

          Hi Andre,

          That is all true.
          In the Hauraki Gulf, and especially in Queen Charlotte sound, two of our busiest waterways, there are strict speed limits on these types of vessel. In Queen Charlotte Sound, when this type of vessel was first introduced, their powerful wake was washing away beaches and even washing onto roads and peoples’ properties, and so speed restrictions had to be put into place to protect public safety. Subequently navigating Queen Charlotte Sound took way longer than crossing the Cook Straight, taking away this type of vessel’s advantage. On a proportionally much longer crossing, where this type of vessel spent more time in the open waters and proportionately less time near land, I expect the speed advantage over other surface vessels would be significant.

          Out on the open ocean the reason for these speed restraints wouldn’t apply.

          Back near land, of course they would.

          A bit like the Concord, which could fly faster than sound, but was speed restricted overland.

          Maybe time lost slowing down near land could be made up by customs and border control duties being done on board, while still in transit. Arriving at downtown ports would also eliminate the painful commute to and from the airport, another time saver.

          As for the other negative consequences of this type of surface crossing mentioned by Graeme, above. Bad weather. At 107Kph and careful real time satellite plotting of the course, such a vessel could out run, or avoid most if not all bad weather.

          In the narrow confines of the Cook straight this type of high speed ‘Smart’ maneuvering is not possible.

          Fronts are zones of transition between two different air masses. The zone may be 20 miles across or it may be 100 miles across, but from one side of a front to the other, one clearly would sense that the properties of an air mass had changed significantly (e.g., contrasts in temperature and dew point, wind direction, cloud cover, and on-going weather). The frontal zone represents the leading edge of a wedge of cold/cool air. If the wedge is moving into an area of warmer air, the front is called a cold front. If the wedge is retreating and warmer air is moving into an area previously occupied by cool air, the front is termed a warm front.


          Cold weather fronts which are the fastest of bad weather fronts, usually approach at speed of 25 Mph. Out on the open ocean even with fair warning bigger slower vessels often can’t avoid or outrun approaching bad weather fronts, especially if they come from the side. High speed vessels can.

          These are sprinters not cruisers. Saying that, if they were caught in a bad storm, yes, the consequences could be quite unsettling.

          But of course they could choose not to sail at all, if extreme weather is forecast for the whole Tasman. And don’t forget weather prediction is getting smarter and more exact.


          As for Graeme’s other negative comment, that such a vessel would have similar emissions per passenger as a commercial passenger jet. I would be surprised if this was true. But am happy to see the figures. That is if they could be provided.

          • Andre

            “The Condor Express is powered by four 20-cylinder Ruston RK270 diesel engines, rated to reach 7,080kW. Each engine powers a Lips LJ145D waterjet mounted on the transom. Each of the drive trains incorporates a Renk ASL60 reduction gearbox. Steering, reversing and thrust vectoring of the waterjet nozzles are carried out by a Lipstronic Jet Control System, which also provides the autopilot system. Fuel consumption is 212g/kWh or 0.21l per passenger mile in full deadweight conditions at 44 knots.”


            0.21 litres per passenger-mile is a bit worse than commercial airlines are achieving. However, the load condition for that fuel consumption figure probably also includes a full load of 200 cars. Swap out the car decks for passenger accommodation and then you’re probably looking at a fuel consumption per passenger figure that’s maybe a half or a third of an airliner.

            • Jenny - How to get there?


            • alwyn

              “0.21 litres per passenger-mile”.
              A quick, back of envelope, calculation I have just done says that is more than 5 times the aircraft number.
              Assuming that Auckland Wellington is about 360 miles. An Airbus 320 carries about 170 passengers (and they are normally full on this route in my experience). The plane uses about 5,000 lbs fuel/hour (according to Google). The flight is about an hour.
              Then we have 5,000 lb is about 2,800 litres.
              The consumption per mile would be about 2800 / (360 * 170) litres/ passenger mile or about 0.045. That is only about one fifth of the ships number.

              • Andre

                Your back of the envelope isn’t far off. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_economy_in_aircraft

                I plead conversion error from MJ/passenger-km to litres/passenger-km that correlated well with a much older figure I remembered for airliner fuel use.

                • Jenny - How to get there?

                  “The Condor Express is powered by four 20-cylinder Ruston RK270 diesel engines, rated to reach 7,080kW. Each engine powers a Lips LJ145D waterjet mounted on the transom….

                  …..Fuel consumption is 212g/kWh or 0.21l per passenger mile in full deadweight conditions at 44 knots.”

                  Quote supplied by Andre

                  The Incat vessel featured in the video above, is a much newer vessel than the Condor Express. Renamed the Francesco, after Pope Francis, this Incap vessel is currently plying a service between the cities of Buenos Aires in Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay a distance of 203Km. I couldn’t find any comparable figures on its efficency per passenger. but it’s new owners, Buquebus Ferries, claim that it rivals air travel over this route.

                  …..Francisco (formerly Lo,ez Mena) is the first dual fuelled high-speed Ro-Ro ferry to operate with liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the primary fuel….


                  It is also mentioned in the promotional video that this Incat vessel is designed to run on LNG, or distillate.

                  LNG as a fuel is not possible for airliners because of the prohibitive weight penalty of the pressurised containment vessels, and the space they take up. For instance you couldn’t fit them in the wings, where most modern airline fuel tanks are.

                  LNG of course is a fossil fuel.

                  But LNG could be easily swapped out for hydrogen, which can be produced either renewably – Good. Or from fossil fuels – Not so good.

                  Renewable hydrogen can be produced by two methods electrolysis using electricity generated by either wind or water power, or thermolysis, (ie heating water to extremely high temperatures, using concentrated solar collectors).

                  Interestingly Australia because of its high average sunshine and clear skies is well suited to producing hydrogen through thermolysis and could become the hydrogen producing capital of the world.



                  The missing ingredient

                  All of he above is of course, just idle speculation and wishful thinking. But the point of it, is to show that there are alternatives to hugely polluting jet travel, (beyond questionable palliatives like off-setting). And these alternatives are possible and achievable with current technologies. There are lots of off the shelf solutions to climate change, this is not the problem.

                  The problem is a failure of leadership, in particular the lack of political will in our body politic to challenge the fossil fueled status quo.

                  Possible ways on how to go about creating that political will are HERE

                  And HERE

                  In my opinion if we are ever to make climate change this “generation’s nuclear free moment” as the Prime Minister maintains, then our MPs especially our Green MPs need to start putting their money, or at least their travel plans, where their mouths are. And start putting up legislation to challenge the rest of Parliament to do the same.

                  In the words of Greta Thunberg, “We need to pull the emergency brake”

              • Graeme

                Dead right, modern passenger aircraft are very fuel efficient compared to most other forms of transport.

                Wave piercers have to work very hard to do what they do, and burn a lot of fuel. And they only go fast in a very flat sea state. Much of a swell and they slow dramatically and the ride is terrible. The thought of going out of, or into Wellington, Manakau or Kaipara in one would put me off.

                • Jenny - How to get there?

                  Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.

                  …many dismissed the Shinkansen as ‘ridiculous’. A senior railway executive described the project, in 1964, as the height of madness…..

                  …..This was one enormously expensive project. To make matters worse, after five years of construction the Shinkansen’s budget had spiraled out of control. Nearly doubling over the original estimate.
                  Because of that the two visionaries leading the project, the president of Japanese Railways and his Chief Engineer, both resigned before the project even finished. The media were calling it Japan’s Great Wall Of China, a massive but ultimately misguided effort, when other countries were looking towards jets and automobiles as the future……

                  ….. it made cars on intercity express ways look like they were standing still. And once profitable airways started losing money. And inter-city air routes were being threatened by a train.


                  • Jenny - How to get there?

                    Not saying that New Zealand should ever attempt anything as ambitious as this.

                    But electrifying the whole main trunk and double tracking the line to Whangarei are doable, and may have the same revolutionising effect, on the country’s economy and people, that the Shinkansen had on Japan. The economy of Northland especially will get a much needed boost.

                    This is something that if championed by the Green Party could get the support of NZ First.

                    We live in an age when activists need to become politicians and politicians need to become activists.

                    The Green Party need to start. The first thing they could do is boycott the free air travel gifted to MPs, and lobby NZ First MPs to do the same.

                    The second thing they could do is table legislation to remove the free air travel perk for MPs for travel within New Zealand, and challenge Labour to back it.

                    Thirdly unite with NZ First to demand the double tracking the line to Northland and complete the electrification of the main trunk.

                    The cost saving may not be measured in money but, in lives saved.

                    ‘Road toll: 2018 now deadliest year on New Zealand roads since 2009’
                    NZ Herald, December 31, 2018

                    …..Sometimes you have to make a leap of faith

                    • Jenny - How to get there?

                      It’s time for our MPs, to get off the gravy plane.

                      It’s time for them to lead and set an example.

  16. Infused 16

    You stop having kids.

    Until that’s addressed and the world population shrinks you’re wasting your time.

    In any case ride sharing is here and going to disrupt public transport.

    We also have interesting things like the hyperloop.

    In any case nz dosent really have the right terrian

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      In any case ride sharing is here and going to disrupt public transport.

      No it won’t. Public transport is still more efficient and cheaper.

      We also have interesting things like the hyperloop.
      No we don’t. It’s one of those things that sounds great but will go the way of the Brabazon and pretty much for the same reason.

      In any case nz dosent really have the right terrian

      And that’s you’re problem right there. A problem that seems inherent in every single RWNJ.

      The belief that we’re just not good enough.

  17. joe90 17

    Air travel generates an estimated 859> million tonnes of CO2 annually and a 1000 MWh ( 0.001TWh) coal fired electricity plant generates an estimated 6.3 million tonnes of CO2.

    Annually, coal fired plants generate 10,000> TWh of electricity.




    • DJ Ward 17.1

      Lots of misrepresentation there Joe90.
      The 6.3 million tons is based on 80% use when the actual figure is 52.5%.

      The use of coal is decreasing. 9707 TWh 2014 vs 9282 TWh in 2016. Not greater than 10,000. My guess for that is the change to gas fired plants.

      I’ll do the maths for you.
      A 1 GW plant at 52.5% efficiency creates 4.13 million tons. The global 2020 GW therefore creates 8,351 million tons. Or Airplanes are about 10% of coals pollution.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      But which is worse?

  18. JohnSelway 18

    I absolutely love international travel have visited some 20 odd countries in the last 15 years. I know air travel is heavy on CO2 but I just cn’t quell my need to explore the world.

    • solkta 18.1

      If you “just cn’t” then that is a mental health issue and you should get some help. I think what you mean is that you don’t care enough. Or did you mean you’re just a.. ?

      • greywarshark 18.1.1

        John you could start exploring the insect world. I remember one scientist say ing how fond of bumble bees he was; another wekas; Forest and Bird saving long-tail bats. Fascinating. Or get to know the many foreigners here. They need to have over 100 translators ro covcer all the languages, or try, at one Auckland Hospital.

      • Infused 18.1.2

        Air travel will get cheaper and cheaper. Those that can afford to are notgoing to stop.

        My guess is that you cant afford to.

      • JohnSelway 18.1.3

        I actually do have a mental health issue but it isn’t related to my air travel.

        I’m sorry but I just love to see the world every chance I can

    • Gabby 18.2

      That’s the problem isn’t it selly. It’s not a need though is it.

      • JohnSelway 18.2.1

        For me it is a desire that I must fill. Some people spend their money on cars, or collectibles or other objects of desire. I spend mine on travel.

        • Gabby

          i.e. not a need.

        • greywarshark

          John Selway
          Try sitting in your outdoor chair sipping your favourite cold brew and reading or watching videos of travel and foreign places. That sort of thing is really modern and someone will show you how it all works. Much cheaper and very satisfying. You could contact people in the country you are exploring and talk to them and get to know them and their area, as acquaintances. Some people do this with ham radio, they have regular contacts they keep in touch with.

          That’s my second helpful comment. Brick wall stuff though I think. Just an idle mind floating probably embalmed in alcohol.

          • greywarshark

            I’ve been using my grey cells. What you could do John, and have your cake and eat it too as the saying goes, is to volunteer for overseas work. There is Medecins sans Frontieres who look for volunteers who have skills that would be useful.


            Availability for a minimum of 9 to 12 months MSF expects at least 2 years of active commitment during which time fieldworkers may complete 2 to 4 field assignments. Because of the degree of responsibility MSF aid workers are expected to assume, the time needed to acclimatize to a project and context, and the need for continuity among field staff for the benefit of both our locally hired staff and patients, MSF requires a 9 to 12 month time commitment for all roles in all assignments with the exception of surgeons, anesthesiologists and ob-gyns who may be accepted for shorter assignments (six to eight weeks) due to the nature of their workload while in the field.

            Relevant professional experience working in developing countries and/or humanitarian contexts …

            If you are one of those males who like the idea of sexual encounters while away you might like the book written by aid workers in the 1990s.

            Interesting how they were criticised for expressing disappointment with their employer, the wish to control people speaking out honestly on poor systems, mistakes or fraud is very strong. (NZs here receiving any government money cannot criticise or advocate. ‘No Oliver, you can’t ask for more, or request that the porridge shouldn’t have weevils.’

            Shashi Tharoor, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information and an overseer of the peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia. Thandoor stated that “[i]t didn’t seem right for people to work for the organization and trash it the way these people did.” Doing so while collecting a paycheck, he said, was “slightly contemptible

        • Robert Guyton

          Every society has a small proportion of people who must travel and explore the wide world. Their effect on the environment is minuscule, it’s the tourists we should be berating 🙂

  19. R.P Mcmurphy 19

    It is my right to go to Makoo Peekaboo and Outa Mongrolia any time I like!

  20. greywarshark 20

    DTB says “2 January 2019 at 12:40 pm
    The most efficient technologies should be used. Old ones usually aren’t.”

    Yet thinkers about society call for caution.
    After writing 1984 George Orwell received an accolade from Aldous Huxley, who thought that political differences wouldn’t finish off society, it would be the demand for efficiency. Human life is not inclined to run as a well-oiled machine. Yet we have leaders apeing machines, introducing robots everyday, and though occasionally they are very useful, mostly they make us less and less self-sufficient and ineffectual and valueless.

    Aldous Huxley:
    Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that…the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World.

    The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency.

    Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.

  21. WeTheBleeple 21

    “I’m not going to stop flying”

    “Science will save us”

    “It’s the Green’s fault they travel too”


    Word salad of the hubris and hopeless.

    • RedLogix 21.1

      I’m very happy for you in your wonderful food-forest. I’m a little bit envious really and the more people who go down your path the better. But keep in mind, you’re very much embedded into a high tech civilisation on which to some degree you are still dependent.

      Please don’t piss on our efforts to keep it all going.

      • greywarshark 21.1.1

        The only way forward is if Greens and Techies combine and can think together, referring more to what Greenies think will happen and then Techies looking at what is happening now, and can be done in the future incorporating Greens ideas.

        That would be a major change preparing the thinking for the other major changes to come, and trying and prepare a pathway for the everyday people who haven’t had enough thinking time, or haven’t been taught how to think and prioritise, and haven’t learned to spend time on reflecting on life and what they expect and hope for, and wield some power to make decisions.

        • RedLogix

          The only way forward is if Greens and Techies combine and can think together,

          Broadly speaking yes I completely agree. While there is a tension between the two, each is the guardian of part of the solutions we need. And in many ways that is the easiest part of what we face; I keep saying the problem is not technical … it’s political.

          The most pressing issue is this … winning the trust and volition of the mass of humanity. And to do this we have to be both honest about the dangers and visionary with our promises.

      • WeTheBleeple 21.1.2

        I’m certainly not keen on keeping it ALL going.

        So if I piss on some folks fires I’m hoping it helps.

        I am not anti tech or anti science, I’m anti stupid. Scientists are brilliant I love the most of them I’ve met – they’re also capable of the dumbest shit. Also, we don’t have the time for some untested tech to emerge we need to stop tilling, start caring for dirt, planting, charring, water harvesting, divesting…

        This involves a high tech/green future obviously. We can have our cake and eat it too you tech boys will be screwed though if we ecologists weren’t here. You ignored us for decades look what’s up now huh.

        Agriculture HAS TO change. Energy… Bring on the solar, the tidal, the hydro, geothermal, biodigestion, pyrolisation, when we pull off a combo like that we won’t be lacking, provided the environment is humming too. It’s the critical aspect. We’ve got to recharge the planet we need to divert resources to grand schemes and dreams, not every man and his dog getting theirs and waiting for miracles.

  22. Jenny - How to get there? 22

    “When your grandkid asks you what did you do to stop this from happening what are you going to say to them?”


    ‘Grandma, what did you do about climate change when you were Prime Minister?’

    ‘Hello Darling, what a great question’

    Way back in 2019, when the Green Party, in response to the climate emergency, banned all internal flights for the their MPs on principle, and as a leading example of the way forward.

    As the then leader of the Labour Party and the country, to prevent our parliamentary ally, the Green Party, becoming isolated, or put at a disadvantage compared to the climate change denying parties and MPs. I immediately responded, by supporting a Green Party Bill to extend this ban to all government and opposition MPs. (As part of this package, I also supported our other government ally New Zealand First to begin double tracking the rail connection to Northland).

    This became a leading example to the world, and was the beginning of the world wide switch away from commercial aviation, towards surface travel that you see today.

    I also supported legislation to move the subsidy for free air travel, into supplying all MPs, both government and opposition, with the latest state-of-the-art video and IT suites, to put them more in touch with their constituents and each other. 

    Happy birthday darling, I hope you like the mini-AI electric train set I bought you.

    • alwyn 22.1

      Unfortunately I suspect you were then woken up by an Airbus 380 flying at a low level over your house on its approach to Auckland’s third International Airport.
      It was such a nice dream though wasn’t it?

    • Jenny - How to get there? 22.2

      Imagine that, A mini-AI train set.

      How fun would that be.

      Maybe the real future for Artificial Intelligence is not Skynet but Mattel

  23. WeTheBleeple 23

    This video store represents the human race.

    Climate change is digital.


  24. Robert Guyton 24

    “This video store represents the human race.”
    Because it’s shutting down?

  25. Jenny - How to get there? 25

    We will never shift the public and society’s attitude to flying, while our leaders set such a disgusting and selfish benchmark.

    ‘Pigs in a trough’

    Climate change, What’s that?

    ‘MPs cling on to a free ride’
    The Dominion Press, August 10, 2013

    …..The perks have long caused scandal and outrage, especially the travel allowance. MPs fly free in New Zealand, even if they go to Queenstown on a skiing holiday.

    Mr Key said in late 2010 that the system needed to be reformed.

    The Law Commission had recommended the independent Remuneration Authority should set travel and accommodation expenses for MPs. At present they are set by the Speaker of Parliament, an MP himself.

    Critics said MPs determining their own perks broke the rule that nobody should be judge in their own case.

    Public criticism of the system has been bitter. Cartoons regularly showed MPs as pigs with their snouts in the public trough.

    “We just can’t go on like this,” Law Commission head and former prime minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer said in December 2010…..

    …….Labour MP Ruth Dyson, chairwoman of the government administration select committee that changed the bill, says: “Travel to and from Parliament is part of your job, and the allocation of resources to perform your job is something that the Speaker authorises.”

    Asked if she sees a problem with MPs deciding their own entitlements, she says: “No, I don’t.”

  26. greywarshark 26

    I don’t know if you already have this or this adds to the total wisdom coming forward but put up this link.


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