Envirologue by Dave Hansford

Read Post

Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why National will Never Act on Climate Change

244 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 6 7 8 9 10 Newer→ Last

  • Alfie,

    White Man Behind A Desk -- on climate change

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Here's a great little infographic from Bloomberg... What's really warming the world.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I used to love singing "turn off the sun, turn off the sun, darken the world, no radia-shun" at anti-nuclear rallies. I met some STEM geeks with great senses of humour doing that. And attracted some blank looks from... um... non-STEM people.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    In what must rate as sticking up a political finger to climate change, KiwiRail is replacing more than a dozen electric trains with diesel-powered engines for the Wellington-Auckland route.

    Naturally, KiwiRail is buying the locos "dirt cheap" out of China. I wonder if they come with free asbestos, fan blades which fly loose and faulty brakes this time?

    Simon (Ten) Bridges is the Transport Minister with special responsiblity for 19th century thinking. Why does that not surprise me?

    Thanks to Anthony Robbins for the headsup.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Labour MP Meka Whaitiri's private member's bill which reinforces the role of the Government's environmental protection agency amazingly passed its first reading by one vote this afternoon, with backing from Labour, Greens, New Zealand First, the Maori Party and... wait for it... United Future.

    The bill made sure that protecting, maintaining and enhancing the environment was explicitly stated as one of the Environmental Protection Authority's goals.

    Thank you Peter Dunne! Naturally, National is not happy and rolled out one of their attack dogs who, given his role, should know better.

    Environmental Minister Nick Smith said it was a "bad joke" which showed how shallow Labour's policies were.

    "Labour seems to think that by repeating the words 'environment' and 'protection' in the law we will somehow magically save the kiwi, address our water quality challenges and eliminate greenhouse gases," he said.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    Flightless Club...

    ...we will somehow magically save the kiwi, address our water quality challenges and eliminate greenhouse gases

    In related news, that big friendly Aussie bank is apparently about to announce that they are no longer interested in helping kiwi!
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/70458070/bnz-to-end-support-for-kiwi-recovery-programme

    They must have too much tied up in Dairy Business loans...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Leaders of countries are usually remembered for their big decisions.

    When it comes to climate change, David Cameron is determined to get rid of all the green crap, Tony Abbott intends to kill Australia's renewable energy sector and our own government is pussyfooting about in the hope of some yet-to-be-invented miracle technology might save us all.

    So it was refreshing to hear President Obama announce his Clean Power Plan yesterday. That requires US power plants to cut their carbon dioxide emissions to 32% below 2005 levels by 2030 and encourages investment in clean energy technologies. It will also serve the fracking industry with a well-deserved whack.

    Remember the agreement Obama reached with Chinese President Xi Jinping late last year --- the world's two biggest polluters are making the right noises. Obama's latest announcement takes this a step further.

    Note that 2005 rather than 1999 (Kyoto) levels are being used as a reference and Obama is bound to strike a lot of resistance from the powerful US coal industry. Even so, coming from the world's most powerful man, this initiative is great news.

    What a pity our small, once-green country didn't take the initiative on climate change when we had the chance. We could have provided an example for the rest of the world. Now that would be a legacy any politician could be proud of.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Genesis will shut down the last two coal-burning generators at the Huntly power station in 2018. That will save them $20-$25m a year and effectively achieves 20% of the government's latest carbon emission target in one easy exercise.

    Green Party co-leader James Shaw said Genesis' decision had highlighted how unambitious the Government's emission reduction targets were.

    "If the Government's aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 11 per cent on 1990 levels by 2030, this move takes care of more than one fifth of that – and that's just one business representing only 40 per cent of the country's coal use."

    New Zealand could (have) achieved the Government's target "sleep walking".

    There's no mention of Genesis moving into solar or wind or anything remotely green or sensible.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    dam(n) buster(d)s...

    no mention of Genesis moving into solar or wind or anything remotely green or sensible

    ..and let's not forget 'we the people' had only just finished building a brand new geothermal powerstation and before it could even start returning money the National Gov't sold half our share along with Mighty River!
    Nga Tamariki, indeed - will no one think of the children?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Alfie,

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    They have 5 dams and a wind farm.

    I'd forgotten that Genesis inherited the Tekapo stations from Meridian as part of that levelling out of power companies. However their wind farm is really only a toy one (22GWh pa) and over 75% of their generation still comes from gas.

    As a solar advocate I'm disappointed that at this stage solar generation only provides 0.1% of our electricity. Solar farms are becoming commonplace throughout the world, yet NZ still doesn't have a single one. I'd really like to see Genesis and the other power generators at least considering this option.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    there is no Plan(et) B...
    Interesting to note how out of step Tony Abbott is with his 'best bud' Barack Obama on the renewables and clean power front - Obama is ramping up the action pushing solar and wind, while Abbott is distancing himself and removing support from the same sectors...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to ,

    And solar technology has not reached its energy payback ratio to be economicaly viable for New Zealand conditions yet?

    I can assure you that solar is viable these days -- to me it's a no-brainer to add solar panels to your home. Yet there are just over 5,000 installed systems in the country at the moment.

    I have a modest 4kWh system down here in the south where we get less sun than many. I've saved $2,500 in the 18 months it's been operating and I'm looking at an 8 year payback. From that point all generated energy will be free for the following 15 years, probably more.

    Living rurally we pay more for power than urban users -- currently a ridiculous 42.99 cents per unit. That certainly increases motivation and speeds up the payback. But users in sunnier climes would benefit from feeding more power back to the grid.

    Honestly... every home should have solar.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    off the grid...

    I saw that the other night Ian and was so impressed I tracked down the architect who is doing some great zero energy work.

    I must confess, I'm secretly musing with the idea of building a small off-grid home. Maybe 10kWh solar, a couple of small windmills, battery storage and a backup generator, just in case. The technology is there now and it doesn't cost a fortune to build a warm, dry home which uses no external energy.

    Think of it as a retirement plan. ;-)

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Urquhart,

    Solar panels are appearing on my garage roof here in Christchurch as I type :D

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Robert Urquhart,

    Solar panels are appearing on my garage roof here in Christchurch as I type

    You'll never look back Robert. Of course your life will change a little as you keep checking to see how much power you've generated today. Or you might even become anal (like me) and keep track of it all on an Excel spreadsheet which tells you how much money you've saved since day one.

    It's a whole new green world.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Remember all those cheap carbon credits bought from Russia and the Ukraine? Turns out they were largely invented.

    A new study from the Stockholm Environment Institute says the vast majority of carbon credits purchased from eastern Europe were nothing more than "hot air" and no actual emissions were harmed in the process. According to one of the authors of the study, Vladyslav Zhezherin, "This was like printing money." In other words, fraud.

    Our own user pays Emissions Trading Scheme is skewed in many respects. For instance forresters have to be part of the scheme, but farmers do not. Why was that again?

    The Environmental Protection Authority has just released the final list of 2014 New Zealand Units (NZUs) allocations to industry -- each NZU is valued at around $NZ6.80. The theory is that taxpayer subsidies encourage our bigger polluters to stay here, rather than move their emissions to some other godforsaken country. RNZ estimates this equates to taxpayers donating about $30m a year to our worst polluters. Here's the full list -- some examples:

    NZ Steel - $7.3m
    Rio Tinto (smelter) - $5.14m
    Fletchers - $2.55m

    While I'm sure that these companies are deserving of more taxpayer largesse, somebody remind me... this saves the planet exactly how?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Tim Flannery writing in the Guardian puts paid to the theory espoused by Tony Abbott that Australia's massive bushfires have absolutely no connection to global warming.

    When, in late 2013, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott and his environment minister Greg Hunt argued that there is no link between the warming trend and extreme bushfires, they were arguing not only against science, but also contrary to common sense.

    The link between extreme weather and climate change is a critical area for public understanding, because it’s the devastating extremes, rather than a shift in averages, that have the greatest impact. To deny the link also permits people to believe that climate change is something only for future generations to worry about. It is not.

    While Key may be a clown, we should be thankful that at least we don't have to contend with an even more dangerous dickhead like Abbott.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S, in reply to Alfie,

    I think you'll find that both Mr Key and Groser are relaxed about that global warming thing.
    Anything that isn't a short term problem gets kicked down the road with this lot.
    Traders don't look at the long view, just complete the deal and then move on.

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Alfie,

    Tim Flannery writing in the Guardian puts paid to the theory espoused by Tony Abbott that Australia's massive bushfires have absolutely no connection to global warming.

    Flannery has written compellingly about the role of pre-European "firestick farming" in shaping the Australian environment. In The Future Eaters he cited James Cook's account of always being within sight of presumably human-managed fires on his voyage up the continent's East coast.

    Like his mentor John Howard, Abbott is a throwback to the Liberal politics of Menzies, whose tribal myth was that the firestick-managed hunting grounds of the "naturally" grass-covered Victorian wheat belt was a benighted wasteland until its "discovery".

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    The main point I took from Flannery's Guardian article was that we're too fixated on graphs showing average temperatures. Sure there's a steady upward trend, but that doesn't tell the full story. As he says, "...it’s the devastating extremes, rather than a shift in averages, that have the greatest impact."

    Climate change trolls like Stamper convince themselves that rising average temperatures are merely minor fluctuations from the norm. But even the ugliest troll must find it hard to ignore the recorded and undeniable increase in extreme weather events we're experiencing worldwide.

    While Australia has traditionally had bush fires, Flannery points to the increasing length of the bushfire "season" and of annual heatwaves lasting days longer than they did previously. Today NIWA is predicting further extremes in New Zealand.

    Climate scientists are warning farmers to brace for a large-scale El Nino, with rainfall expected to drop by 15 per cent in some regions and increase by the same amount in others.

    While we shouldn't expect denialists and trolls to view climate change through logical eyes any time soon, we're in trouble when governments like our own willingly choose to ignore the in-your-face reality of increasing weather extremes. Because it's those extremes which will ultimately have the most destructive affect on our planet.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Alfie,

    While we shouldn't expect denialists and trolls to view climate change through logical eyes any time soon, we're in trouble when governments like our own willingly choose to ignore the in-your-face reality of increasing weather extremes. Because it's those extremes which will ultimately have the most destructive affect on our planet.

    In Australia, Flannery's compelling evidence for the historical volatility of this region he terms "Austronesia" has long been treated as shoot-the-messenger heresy by the kind of institutional short memories that see the status quo as being somehow divinely ordained.

    When the historical droughts and fire events since white settlement have been portrayed as tragic aberrations, rather than something to be factored in to realistic planning, there seems little hope of any meaningful progress. Perhaps it'll happen once Tony Abbott's squandered his political capital in the kind of burning man event he seems hell-bent on staging....

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    the pyromantic era...

    pre-European “firestick farming”

    Snap!
    I saw a great documentary on aboriginal burning techniques just yesterday on the Arts Channel...

    here's another take on it:

    this was interesting too:
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27945-myth-of-pristine-amazon-rainforest-busted-as-old-cities-reappear/

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 6 7 8 9 10 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.