Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The Language of Climate

266 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 11 Newer→ Last

  • Martin Roberts, in reply to BenWilson,

    Back in the day, you said final goodbyes to your family when you went overseas. If you did travel, and wanted to marry a foreigner, you faced very hard questions. I can see us going back that way, albeit with Skype to prolong the agony of parting.

    In the present day, the moral picture is clouded. So many families (including yours and mine) have spread across the world in the expectation that those decisions belonged to a bygone era.

    I don't mean to draw a line, so much as to recognise that I have something in common with all those dairy farmers whose business model has become more problematic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 93 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    For those abandoning air travel perhaps it might be worth considering the cultural and social value of travel. One of the reasons NZ is open to new ideas at all is because a significant proportion of the population have traveled and actually seen for themselves that people do things differently elsewhere.

    We have a culture of acceptance of the different because many people have seen that different can also be just as good. I'd hate to see us lose that.

    As for business travel, there are just times when real face to face makes enough of a difference to be worthwhile. Yeah there is wasted travel, particularly in the upper management zones, but most businesses view travel as a cost they can minimize.

    Perhaps a better approach to the problem of air travel is to develop alternatives. Airships have potential but they aren't as fast, which for some purposes is just fine. Sea travel really is too slow for most human interactions, but it's worth noting that all mail is now delivered by air, which is convenient sure, but is also wasteful. There have been huge changes in aircraft engines, particularly around noise, perhaps a stronger focus on fuel efficiency could see a whole other class of aircraft that were even more fuel efficient.

    With more options perhaps you could choose to take a 12 hour (efficient) flight to Melbourne, heck the travel day is usually a write off anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers, in reply to Che Tibby,

    otoh we need plastics, and they’ll have to be from oil or coal.

    We have the technology - all it needs is for oil to get a bit more expensive to make the bioplastic investment attractive:
    http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Polyethylene_from_Ethanol - and also their wiki category on Bioplastics.

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The final problem is that it isn't quite carbon neutral. That's because the way we farm depends on fertiliser which requires energy input and that is usually fossil fuel energy.

    if only we could transport all those exports on carbon-neutral trucks and sailing ships, amrite?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    i thought the problem wtih bioplastics was input materiel?

    we can't grow enough plant matter to feed ourselves *and* the demand for bioplastics, biofuel, etc?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to linger,

    The exact classical logical fallacy committed in that “you stop it first before I’ll listen to you” argument is tu quoque (lit. “you also”, i.e. “you do it too”). Which is a fallacy because it still does not make doing that thing RIGHT!

    Yep, and Karl Rove made it particularly infamous - accuse one's opponents of one's own failings.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Airships have potential but they aren’t as fast, which for some purposes is just fine.

    I reckon we ain't too far away from the world that Paolo Bacigalupi creates in his excellent The Windup Girl

    Mea Culpa: I just bought a copy for $2 in a Geelong opshop and then flew it home with me! Sorry for the footprint...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    There have been huge changes in aircraft engines, particularly around noise, perhaps a stronger focus on fuel efficiency […]

    Yes, though engine noise is an efficiency problem, not just a compliance/comfort issue.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1923 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    “More immediate reasons to be cleaning up than climate change”

    Say no more.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    GE ryegrass??? Both feet in the research grant trough?

    http://www.dairynz.co.nz/news/pageid/2145881036


    “Cows fed on mixed pasture excreted half the amount of nitrogen (N) in their urine compared to cows on standard pasture”, says Sharon

    “Reducing N losses has implications for greenhouse gas emissions and nitrate leaching.”

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Che Tibby,

    otoh we need plastics, and they’ll have to be from oil or coal.

    Bioplastics are already widely available -- I use PLA probably every week in my engineering work.

    I haven't looked in-depth at the claimed agricultural problems with bioplastics. But it's worth noting that small (i.e. house) scale machines are available to recycle PLA into new filament for re-use at point of manufacture/recycle.

    In other words, you don't have to be using virgin material all the time -- and you don't have to be recycling your plastics in huge municipal schemes that send it to China for processing.

    This is all off-the-shelf technology that is available right now.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to David Haywood,

    This is all off-the-shelf technology
    that is available right now.

    ... or out of the shed - I thought of you Dr H, when I read this article...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to David Haywood,

    David!

    Tell me, is carbon sequestration any more real that it was five or 10 years ago? Because people sure do talk about it a lot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to David Haywood,

    Bioplastics are already widely available – I use PLA probably every week in my engineering work.

    I haven’t looked in-depth at the claimed agricultural problems with bioplastics.

    In the early days there was a lot of work looking at using GE to modify the pathways in plants to make better and more plastic precursors. The work has languished partly because oil is still cheap and partly because the costs of getting a GE product through the regulatory system and to market are too damn high. The final nail in the coffin was that the plants we knew most about were all food crops and nobody wanted to face the risks of cross contamination between food and non-food which meant (re)developing the methods in non-food crops which added a whole other layer of cost to development.

    There will almost certainly still be folks working on making plastic precursors in plants in the various universities around the world but it's unlikely anything will get to market without a change in attitudes toward the value of such products.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Genetic engineering the bushy-tailed phalanger to alter the sex-ratio in offspring to 80% males : 20% females?

    Now you're talking.
    Not much opposition to that , one would think.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Russell Brown,

    David!

    Tell me, is carbon sequestration any more real that it was five or 10 years ago? Because people sure do talk about it a lot.

    No, CCS is still as problematic as it was 9 years ago (!) when you interviewed me about it -- and when it was supposed to be so straightforward that it would be in widespread use within 5 years.

    It's super-hard to do without using lots of energy. In fact, it's super-easy to use more energy for CCS than you got from the coal/oil/gas in the first place.

    There may be a clever way of doing it, but no-one's discovered it yet.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • david kinniburgh,

    The Herald, demonstrating its editorial irresponsibility -publishes climate bunkum without right of reply / redress
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11234398
    ( Charles Moore was editor of The Daily Telegraph (1995-2003) and is the authorised biographer of Margaret Thatcher )

    Auckland • Since Jan 2012 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to David Haywood,

    There may be a clever way of doing it, but no-one’s discovered it yet.

    Bart, if you could use your GE toolkit to rustle up a something like a very fast-growing coral (the kind that do the zooxanthellae symbiosis trick) that would thrive in a high CO2 environment then it should get you a whole bunch of CCS money. One could imagine giant coral tanks outside fossil-fuel power plants that use solar energy to sequester the CO2 as calcium carbonate.

    I don’t imagine it would be very difficult at all.</irony>

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to David Haywood,

    There may be a clever way of doing it, but no-one’s discovered it yet.

    Replanting forests?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to David Haywood,

    What about BECCS? It struck me as a reasonably good idea.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    without a change in attitudes toward the value of such products.

    if the option is GM plants vs insane geoengineering schemes, i'm pretty sure which one we'll get.

    highlander 2.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Didn't you all know? If it was important, people would be doing something. As people clearly aren't doing anything, it can't be important. Logic demands it.

    So if we keep not doing anything, that keeps us safe. A good sign that things aren't really all that much of a problem after all, despite all those chicken little types and their fancy science.

    Like getting inoculated, just asking for trouble. Retreating before the coming tide, as if! No tide if no one retreated, is there.

    Since Nov 2006 • 609 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    Seems to be quite a bit of bioplastics work going on at Scion. Based on waste plant material I think, so no need for new GM organisms or displacing food crops.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    perhaps it might be worth considering the cultural and social value of travel

    Indeed. But what do I weigh it up against?

    At present we pay for flying like we pay for 7/8ths of our lifestyle - we steal it from the future. Only in extreme cases would I steal cash to fly somewhere, but my carbon 'budget' lacks the same conceptual hold. To start with it doesn't even feed me, and on the other hand my cheques never bounce.

    This uncertainly makes it hard to either justify my choices or challenge my unconcerned friends.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 93 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to david kinniburgh,

    ...the authorised biographer of Margaret Thatcher

    That'd be 'Barrenness' Thatcher would it?
    ;- )

    what a pillock,
    'Warmists' indeed!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 11 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.