2014: won’t get fooled by climate denial again

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Meet the new year, same as the old year. You might think we won’t get fooled again, but I have a horrible suspicion that the fools who rule will be planning for business as usual…

So the New Year rolls in, and the climate system does its best to remind us that all is not well. New Zealand records its second warmest year since 1870, Australia its hottest since records began. In the US, like some drunk rolling home after a party, frigid air that should be over the North Pole has staggered down south and set up camp over the centre of the continent. The huge temperature differential between that cold air mass and the Atlantic has juiced up the jetstream, which has been firing record-breaking storms at Britain and Ireland. Giant waves have been pounding seaside towns, while rivers flood and cliffs collapse. Meanwhile, Moscow is having its warmest Christmas in 100 years.

In the halls of academe, new research suggests that the climate system’s sensitivity to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide might be on the high side of expectations, making four degrees of warming over the rest of the century a very real risk — if we do nothing to restrain our emissions of greenhouse gases.

So what are the prospects for 2014 bringing us some meaningful action to cut emissions? The climate news isn’t about to get any better. At the end of March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release the summary for policy makers of the second chunk of their fifth assessment report (AR5), on the impacts of climate change — both measured and expected. You may confidently expect bleak news.

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A few weeks later, the third part of the report — on how to go about cutting emissions — will be released. It will undoubtedly point out that we have the tools to cut emissions very cost-effectively. Which is something that we’ve known and understood for at least the last decade.

The whole mighty AR5 enterprise will draw to a close in October with the release of the “synthesis” report, which pulls together the key elements from all three working groups. As ever, it will be a very carefully put together summary of what we knew a few years ago, and it will just as certainly be ignored by politicians the world over.

What might get their attention is a sequence of weather extremes made worse by warming — fires, floods, droughts, storms, ice melt, weather whiplashing from one extreme to the next in a matter of days or weeks. Sadly, that sort of thing has been going on for the last few years, and yet there’s precious little evidence that politicians have noticed.

2014 will be another warm year — almost certainly in the top ten — perhaps with a shot at the top if the tropical Pacific switches into El Niño mode. There will be more floods and fires and heatwaves and storms and jetstream weirdness. Glaciers and icecaps will carry on melting and sea level rising. The problem is not going away.

We are living beyond our environmental and resource means. All our current prosperity and the ecosystem services that make it possible are being stolen from future generations. Delaying action is just making the final bill bigger, and the ultimate damage worse.

We face an existential crisis. If we screw this up, we screw up our entire civilisation, yet we have politicians of all stripes and ideologies who simply don’t take the climate problem seriously.

The mission for 2014 has to be to make climate change the elephant in the room that politicians can’t ignore. Climate policy has to be a central plank of any political platform. It has to be an election issue, and the Key government’s abject failure to do anything meaningful has to be made to make them pay where it hurts — in the polling booth.

85 COMMENTS

    • jesus why are there downvotes on this? Did you kids even click the link? This is a major independent study that shows that the earth is cooling, and was much hotter at every point in human history that wasn’t an ice age

      • Hey Climber, did you read the actual *study*? or even the abstract? Or did you just believe the denialist interpretation of it in that Register article because it suits your prejudices?

    • CLIMBER – we are talking about well researched data here, and the bulk of scientists accept that climate change is real and is happening. That it gets colder in some places, while it gets hotter in others, and that it gets warmer all over, that is undisputed.

      It is also well accepted that human behaviour in the form of pollution and fossil fuel use is contributing to this.

      As for the internet, yes, a lot of statistics and information maybe unreliable, but that does not apply to well researched data, from leading, well respected research institutes.

    • That study only looked at Northern Europe; in fact all of the trees in the study came from Finnish Lapland.

      “An international team including scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has published a reconstruction of the climate in northern Europe over the last 2,000 years based on the information provided by tree-rings. Professor Dr. Jan Esper’s group at the Institute of Geography at JGU used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC”
      http://www.uni-mainz.de/eng/15491.php

      Here’s a hint: Finnish Lapland is not the world. There are no global temp reconstructions that show the RWP or the MWP to be warmer than the present. It’s been known for a while now that there has been a long term (slight) cooling trend over the last 5K years, a trend that has been reversed in the last 100 or so years.

      “Did you know that 78% of statistics on the internet are made up?”

      Bet you didn’t know how ironic that would be when you typed that.

  1. The announcement that off-shore oil and gas drilling has been approved to start in the Great South Basin feels like another nail in the coffin of the next generation’s future.

    • VIV K: we should perhaps ask Tim Shadbolt why he is supporting drilling when 75% or more of KNOWN (or claimed) fossil carbon must stay in the ground to avoid climate calamity? Is it just for the money and bugger our grandchildren, what have they ever done for us?

      We could also point out that investment in the vast energy potential of Foveaux Strait tidal flows would be a much better, safer and no more complex way to spend the money.

      • My answer is that Tim Shadbolt is an egotistical idiot. Shell may have promised to name a ship after him, or maybe even a statue.

  2. John Key needs to f**k right off! Sorry but I believe heads need to start rolling over this issue it has been forecast for decades. It feels like the wild west pioneer days, not whale blubber or boiling penguins down or destroying all the Kauri forests, but killing the whole F**ken planet for oil and gas! I am so angry, I watched a programme on penguins, some colonies they believe the ice shelf is melting before the chicks fledge so they are drowning…others are abandoning nests having to walk over 100 Kilometres as ice flows shift. It is heart breaking. I am sick of politicians with ridiculous egos and snouts in the swill making decisions on oil drilling and fracking that are frightening the wits out of people like me who care about nature. They are psychopaths. It seems sad that many young people are so busy with bullshit likes on Facebook, twitter, and game stations that they don’t even give a toss, they are the zombie addicts who will inherit a big cow pat for a planet. That seems to me like the perfect storm, apathetic distracted youth, psychopathic drilling, fracking burn baby burn lunatic world leaders….. I am going to take my anger out on painting a series of environmental paintings this year, it is all I feel I can do other than vote Key out!

  3. You can’t deny the climate is changing. That would be to deny the seasons and precession of the equinoxes.

    Carbon Dioxide is not the problem.. That is a scapegoat.

    Focus should be on deforestation, geo-engineering, radiation and rubbish in the ocean (plankton produces around 50% of earth’s oxygen), High Frequency Active Auroral Research Programs and industrial pollutants (not only carbon dioxide).

    Water vapour has more of a ‘green-house’ effect than carbon dioxide ffs 🙂

    • JIM says: “Carbon Dioxide is not the problem.. That is a scapegoat.”
      Sorry, Jim, the laws of physics are facts, not opinions. The measurement of the heat trapping qualities of increased CO2 in the atmosphere is high-school science.

      Sure, the other factors you cite are problems we must deal with, but the release of fossil carbon as either CO2 or methane are the big bogies!

      And don’t fret about water vapour, it is a greenhouse gas, but its concentration in the atmosphere is linked to CO2 levels……. um, maybe you should be fretting. Still, as soon as its concentration gets too high it falls out as rain. Just pray it doesn’t fall on or uphill of you and yours.

  4. Climate Change will not be televised.

    Climate policy has to be a central plank of any political platform. It has to be an election issue….
    Gareth Renowden

    Gareth Renowden demands that climate change be made an election issue.

    The politician’s answer is, not if we can help it.

    Why?

    Because both Labour and National support deep sea oil drilling and fracking, and expanding and subsidising continued coal mining.

    Both, Labour and National support opening up new coal mining, including one of the biggest ever new coal mines on the Denniston Plateau.

    Both, Labour and National support oil and gas drilling in the Great South Basin, and off the coast of Raglan.

    Both, Labour and National support fracking.

    Both, Labour and National administrations have earmarked $billions for new motorways while starving public transport of funding.

    Both Labour and National will refuse to put in the the policy settings that Eric Pyle of the NZ wind energy association say will be needed for the necessary increase in renewable energy projects.

    Because of this bi-partisan consensus on climate change.

    Even though, climate change is the government’s worst performing portfolio.
    Even though, over 60% of the population want the government to do more on climate change.
    Climate change will not be raised as an election issue.

    If climate change is not raised as an election issue; Whatever the makeup of the next administration, it will have no mandate to act.

    If climate change is not raised as an election issue and not vigorously debated out, then we will have to wait another 3 years before our parliamentary leaders can begin to take any meaningful overt political action to avert the coming crisis.

    This is too late.

    We have already run out of time.

    This is why it is vital that climate change be put on the election’s agenda this time round.

    All the pundits are saying that the economy, and inequality will be the battleground these elections.

    Already on both sides the big guns for the coming battle are being rolled into place.

    Already, on the Right, the Herald, the Dominion, all the usual Right wing pundits, are cranking up their guns to focus on a glorious vision of an economic recovery just around the corner in 2015, where everybody will be in line for a pay rise, If we stick with National

    Already, the Left are lowering their guns to concentrate on the reality of those being left behind by the recovery, whose condition which will worsen, if we stick with National.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think that inequality and poverty should be dealt with. In fact, it will be a vital front in getting maximum engagement from the population for the upcoming global battle to save our world.

    I support Gareth Renowden’s call to make climate change an election issue. Every political leader needs to be put on the spot.

    These are the questions they must be asked

    Are you for or against deep sea oil drilling?

    Are you for or against opening new coal mines?

    Are you for or against building more motorways?

    Are you for or against switching the $billions earmarked for motorway construction into public transport?

    Do you support putting in place the right “policy settings” that Eric Pyle says are necessary to restart renewable energy projects like Hauauru Ma Raki?

    Do you, or do you not support the tenets of the Majuro Declaration to which New Zealand is a signatory?

    Would you support ratifying the Majuro declaration in parliament?

    Do you oppose “Government Investor Rights To Sue”, that gives foreign governments or private multinational corporations the right to sue New Zealand if we take action to curtail Green house gas emissions, if taking such action will be detrimental to the profitability of their investments in this country?

    Lastly;

    Do you believe that climate change presents a clear and present danger to humanity, to civilisation, to life in general?

    • Thanks, Jenny. I might quibble about the detail of your questions and how they’re posed, but there needs to be a concerted effort to put our pollies on the spot before the election. And we need more than fine words – we need firm commitments to sensible action.

      • I might quibble about the detail of your questions and how they’re posed.
        Gareth Renowden

        This is only a suggested list. It could be shorter, it could be longer.

        If Labour announced that it intends to do just even one of these things, like for instance, if the Labour Leader David Cunliffe announced today, that a Labour led administration will ban all deep sea oil drilling, and explained why.
        Not only would this be an extremely popular measure. It would put the issue of climate change front and centre in the electoral debate.

        • Climate change is a human rights issue. It is the poor countries, and poor people in developed countries, who will suffer the most. If Labour ignore climate change they will make inequality worse. David Cunliffe has made fine speeches and the pressure must go on him (and the rest of Labour) to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

  5. Hey Climber, did you just make up that 78%? Is that one of the stats you’re talking about?

    If you are correct, then I’m glad that Climate Science is based on peer reviewed hard copy published in reputable science periodicals. Some of this data can be found in PDF form, unfiltered by spinners and cherry pickers, so we know we are looking at the real thing. Besides, the sheer complexity and volume of data behind the graphs and stats of climate science makes making it up impossible, as contradictions and incoherence would quickly show. Instead, a clear and consistent picture emerges.

    It’s not that 98% of climate scientists can’t be wrong, it’s that they are not wrong – all verified evidence points to man-made global warming. Vague claims to the contrary just don’t cut the mustard, I’m afraid.
    When we cannot stand to see the reality is exactly when we need to most.

    • I love the “97% of Scientists agree on GW” quote, it’s hilarious! The “97%” comes from just 77 scientists of the 10,257 surveyed. Which means 75 of 10,257 agreed on GW. Hardly anything to brag about!

      [snipped: TDB is not a platform for you to spam with propaganda]

      • Trevor the study you highlight only had a small response, only 75 scientists replied and gave an opinion but the position was overwhelming. It doesnt mean the other scientists believe something different, they simply chose not to respond and state an opinion, they didnt want to participate in the poll.

        There are now other studies showing a huge consensus that we are altering the climate. Refer skepticalscience.com.

        Sceptics are free to publish a study, the fact that they havent shows they know where the truth is.

  6. So let’s make “climate change’ an election issue.

    My proposed policies:

    Ban all oil and gas drilling
    Ban all coal mining
    Make petrol and diesel $10 a litre.
    Stop all dairy farming
    Ban all international and national flights.
    Stop all development of roads.
    Introduce a one child policy
    Make travel in a car without a passenger illegal
    Seize ownership of all golf courses and plant with trees

    Should be popular

        • I’m prepared to negotiate on one or two of these points.
          Andy

          Very funny Andy, about as funny as your outdated racist gollywog avatar.

          As ridiculous as Andy’s list of joke demands sound. Emergency measures of this sort, and on this sort of scale, and more, were enacted in this country, (and others), to win the war against fascism.

          In the war against climate change we are not talking about anything like that. (And certainly not asking anyone to sacrifice their lives)

          Measured against the sort of measures taken in 1939 – ’45, – Halting Deep Sea Oil Drilling, or Banning All new coal mines, are trivial sacrifices to make, compared to the sacrifices the generation that fought fascism made.

          They fought and many sacrificed their very lives to preserve human civilisation from “A monstrous tyranny” and “A new dark age”.

          Human civilisation is threatened again.
          Again in the words of Churchill quoted above, humanity is under threat of a new dark age.

          The final death toll for the war against fascism was 60 million. If we don’t act, the projected death toll from climate change could be almost twice that.

          But the worst is still preventable.

          For us to raise petrol and diesel prices and plough the money raised into public transport would be a noble sacrifice to make, and hardly comparable to the complete removal of retail petrol in the ’40s which could only be bought with government coupons and only for essential travel.

          Yes golf courses were ploughed up and turned into vegetable gardens.

          Yes fuel and food and electricity and transport were all rationed. Public works, (yes, including the building of roads) was halted.

          Tens of thousands of men and women were recruited into helping the war effort.

          All industry including most of private industry was turned to the war effort.

          Many gave their very lives.

          But such a desperate effort is not needed to defeat climate change. (well, not yet anyway)

          If we made only just a fraction of the same effort our forebears did, and turned industry to replacing fossil fuels with renewables, and barely inconvenienced ourselves, the problem would be solved.

          For the future of humanity this is the mission of our generation.

          Looking back, we applaud the huge sacrifices the generation that fought fascism made for us.

          Looking forward, if we continue with Business As Usual, if we continue to ignore climate change.
          Future generations surviving in a ravaged biosphere will have little to thank us for.

              • Maybe you would like to tell me which points I made you specifically disagree with, and we can take it from there.

                The first 2 points are basically Green party policy, and also the reason that the party vote will go to National in the labour seat of Buller, West Coast.

                • “My proposed policies:

                  Ban all oil and gas drilling
                  Ban all coal mining…."
                  Andys

                  “The first 2 points are basically Green party policy,…
                  Andys

                  Andys, you are either mistaken or a deliberate liar.

                  Green Party policy is to ban all “Deep” sea oil and gas drilling

                  And;

                  Ban all “New” coal mining.

                  Hardly radical demands at all, Andys. Wouldn’t you agree?

                  But ones the fossil fuel lunatics in Labour and National refuse to concede. Both Labour and National are determined to keep their foot down as hard as possible on the climate change accelerator.

                  • So the Greens are in favour of shallow oil and gas exploration?

                    Really?

                    As for the new coal mines, the Bathhurst open cast proposal at Stockton is favoured by most of the locals in Westport, so stopping that won’t get many votes over there.

                    • “So the Greens are in favour of shallow oil and gas exploration?

                      Really?”
                      Andys

                      Andys, Politics has been called the art of the possible.

                      Yes, the science is telling us that we should be cutting back on all oil and gas and coal exploitation.

                      What we should not be doing, is expanding them. Something both Labour and National support.

                      The Green Party demand, that at the very least, we should stop all new coal mining and unconventional oil extraction, is a moderate and reasonable demand. The Green Party are being conciliatory, and acting sensibly.

                      It is the Labour and National Parties who are behaving like heedless raving fanatics. (witness Simon Bridges behavior)

                      By expanding into new coal mines and unconventional oil and gas extraction, at a time when the science and physics and real world catastrophes, are all screaming at us that we should be drastically cutting back, these activities not expanding them, By advocating the opposite Labour and National are demonstrating themselves to be unreasonable and dangerous extremists.

                  • “Everybody talks about the weather but no one does anything about it”
                    Mark Twain

                    http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7779-everyone-talks-about-the-weather-but-no-one-does-anything

                    “No New Coal Mines”

                    “No Deep Sea Oil Drilling”

                    No Fracking

                    These are the three, absolute, minimum, things that a Labour/Green coalition must do about the “weather”.

                    Failure of the next administration, whatever its make up, to do even one of these three things, will sentence them to be condemned by history.

                    • I understand that there is a lot of opposition to “fracking”, which is surprising considering that it is a process that has been going on for decades.

                      The end product, natural gas, is lower in CO2 content than coal (for a given amount of energy output), and this has helped the USA to significantly reduce its dependence on coal and also to reduce CO2 emissions quite drastically

                      The NZ environment commission decided recently that there should not be a moratorium on fracking, and that applications should be looked at on an individual basis

                      If you are completely 100% opposed to shale gas exploitation, then it would be good to get an idea on why this might be the case.

    • “Ban all oil and gas drilling
      Ban all coal mining”

      Yes, yes, and yes.

      “Make petrol and diesel $10 a litre.”

      “Stop all dairy farming”

      I’m vegan myself, but if adult humans insist on drinking bovine breast secretions intended for baby cows, there are more intelligent ways to manage that than mining our aquifers and soil fertility to make milk powder for a global commodity market increasingly glutted with the stuff.

      How about a managed transition to organic dairying, supplying milk for local markets, and preserved dairy products like cheese, yoghurt (or in newspeak, “value added products”) for longer distance trade? Also public funding to NZ universities to develop ships which run solely on renewables (eg wind/ solar), to get those products to market without burning carbon?

      “Ban all international and national flights.”

      How about make the companies offering them pay full environmental cost, and investing that money in zero-carbon transport options (green ships, light rail, biofuel-run buses, airships etc)? Faced with vastly more expensive flights, and a range of alternative ways of getting around the planet, people and transport organisations would gradually transition away from fossil-fuel use without the need to ban anything.

      In the short term, how about a train/ ferry from Dunedin to Wellington where I can plug in my laptop and do some work on the way, go to a sleeper carriage when I need a nap? I would vastly prefer this to flying, even if it cost the same as a flight. Currently, using the train costs about twice as much as a flight, and I have to bus to Christchurch to catch it, then pick up my luggage when I get to Picton and walk between the train and ferry.

      “Stop all development of [new] roads.”

      Yes. Also, stop tar-sealing gravel roads.

      “Introduce a one child policy”

      Well obviously not. Unless we want a generation of kiwis growing up with no uncles or aunties. Instead, how about doing everything we can to support people who choose not to have children, or choose to foster or adopt instead of having their own children? How about giving everyone easy access to all forms of contraception from the time they hit puberty? How about giving anyone who asks for a vasectomy or a tubal ligation an immediate appointment for surgery?

      “Make travel in a car without a passenger illegal”

      How about creating public transport lanes usable only by buses, taxis, bicycles, skateboards, unicycles, and cars with 3 or more passengers? How many people would sit in traffic by themselves for hours watching people flashing past with the company of their friends or family?

      “Seize ownership of all golf courses and plant with trees.”

      Golf may well be a good walk wasted, but there are forms of green management which can make golf courses carbon sinks without turning them into forests. By all means let’s plant more trees in all the marginal and disused bits of grass around our cities, including fruit and nut trees which provide food as well as sinking carbon. Imagine if our kids could walk through the park after school and pick their afternoon tea straight from the tree!

      I would ban all clear-felling of plantation forest, and burning of slash, and replace it with intelligent forest management, involving selective logging and constant replanting of multi-use forests (and riparian zones, gullies, marginal hillsides, marshy areas etc) producing a range of timber, food, fibre, and fuel.

      Anyone who claims we can transition to a post-carbon economy without highly disruptive changes is as much in denial as those who still claim human-emitted carbon isn’t forcing catastrophic climate change. However, if we approach the challenge with compassion, creativity, and a vision of a society even better than what we have now, there’s no reason it has to be a zombie apocalypse. If we pretend we can carry on with business-as-usual though, it will be.

    • Andy no we should sit on our hands and do nothing. Given the right wing media say theres no problem with climate change it must be so.

      On the other hand, given their appalling record of inaccuracy over basically everything, I wouldn’t put too much credibility in what they say. I think I will go with the IPCC at least they employ scientists, people who have a brain.

      • If you think we should go with the IPCC, why have Christchurch City Council commissioned Tonkin and Taylor to produce a report on sea level rise that doubles the projections of the IPCC?

        This is fairly serious for some Christchurch residents as it might render they properties uninsurable.

        • Andy, what’s the more serious risk, being unable to insure a property, or having it become part of the foreshore or seabed?

          Keep in mind that large parts of Christchurch were built on a coastal wetland which was once the bed of the Waimakariri river (of which the Avon and Heathcote rivers are remainders). These areas have always been prone to flooding and any sea level rise, even one as modest as the conservative estimates of the IPCC, will have catastrophic consequences for anyone still living there.

          Because of the earthquake, a lot of Christchurch’s population are already moving out of these areas, into the more geologically solid areas inland, and further north and south (as well as moving to other towns and cities in Te Wai Pounamu), which is good. If the Council and the government take the Tonkin and Taylor report seriously, they will plan the post-quake rebuild in such a way that in 10-20 years nobody lives in the liquifaction-prone, flood-prone, ex-wetland parts of the city. These areas will be reforested and wetlands restored, buffering the inhabited areas from the rising seas, and providing a beautiful reserve for the enjoyment of residents.

          • It doesn’t affect me personally, as we have had a cash settlement on our coastal property from the insurance company.
            However, if the CCC feel that it is Ok to pay T&T $90,000 for a report that exaggerates the IPCC findings by 200%, then what recourse do the people in the city have?

            People who don’t follow the guidelines of the IPCC are often referred to as “deniers”, yet when the CCC pay an engineering consulting company to exaggerate the results of the IPCC, it is OK

            If the insurance companies turn to the people remaining and tell them that their properties are uninsurable, they will be worthless.

            Maybe this isn’t a problem for you. However, I would suggest that this could become a major source of civil unrest

            Of course, my policies that I suggest above are just the icing on the cake really. A complete evacuation of our coastal cities, 100% unemployment and a completely wrecked economy is what the Greens dream of.

  7. You seem to forget that most “Climate Scientists” are paid to write reports that support the ‘warming theory’ In fact, one of the lead scientists encourages them to hide anything that doesn’t support the theory, and even to lie if need be. This in turn makes 99% of the so called “research” 100$ biased and of little to no value.

    There are currently many highly respected scientists around the World who are predicting the World is going into a cooling stage, the difference is – they are not part of the ‘money industry’, aka “Global Warming Scientists” so get little to no media coverage.

    Of course we should just ignore the record cold temperatures around the World at the moment, and the record cold Winters in many countries over the last few years and instead ban any mention of that in the Media – I know the Greenpeace members will be trying to achieve that – are you one?

    • Remarkably, everything you assert in the above comment is completely untrue. I suggest you take a very careful look at your sources before you venture any further into this discussion.

      • Really Gareth? Give me any so called “fact” about manmade Global Warming, and I will show you how it has been proved wrong. Go on, any, just one? You can do it, come on…. put the Greenpeace Journal down for a second, stop putting black lines through the news reports of the record cold temps around the World, and give me just one “fact”. BTW I have been studying so called ‘Climate Change for about ten years now, and have read thousands of pages of “research”, so far I haven’t come across anything that proved either the World was warming to a statistically significant level, or anything that proved mankind was causing any warming that had occurred.

        (By the way, even the IPCC admits any warming that was occurring stopped 15 years ago, but never mind that…) Give it a try anyway, always worth a go.

    • Trevor: if you can PROVE a world-wide conspiracy over climate change by 1000’s of scientists in dozens of different disciplines without ANYONE breaking cover, the US Military would dearly love to have the details of just how. They have the ultimate sanction if need be and still can’t guarantee secrets are safe. You will be up for a gong at the very least. Note these are scientists who traditionally have made their careers by proving their colleagues wrong! Who will argue and bicker and backstab to get ahead, but…… nothing……
      The only dissenting voices are invariably linked to ‘dark money’ that someone is trying to hide and certainly are not producing any alternative explanations for the observed changes that stand up to review.

      • Trevor follow the money, fossil fuel company profits over $50 BILLION US in a quarter! For god sake, you have to be an utter cretin to think that it’s about scientists getting rich. It IS about money. It is those making fortunes from fossil fuels who are screwing the climate, the oceans and the lives of the next generations. Dumb, greedy bastards own most of the media too.

        • I’d like to believe all the deniers commenting here are paid shills hired by the aforementioned think tanks. Unfortunately, I know lots of well-meaning people, many of them green-leaning, who are still trying to convince me that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the “mainstream media”, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

          For example, Ozzie mining mogul Gina Rinehart owns a big chunk of Fairfax, and was recently refused a position on the Board because she refused to sign a statement agreeing not to interfere with editorial independence (see the JMAD New Zealand Media Ownership 2012 report for details and references).

          Rinehart and her ilk stand to lose out big time if effective action is taken to reduce carbon emissions. They are already funding hundreds of climate denial think tanks around the planet, many of whose “scientific experts” are retired petroleum geologists. Now they are buying major shareholdings in media companies and trying to use that to further bias the mainstream media against reporting accurately about climate science.

          In order to claim a conspiracy, you need to establish motive. Carbon emission companies (mining, road-building, etc) have a multi-billion dollar motive to deny the reality of climate change. Can those who believe climate change is a conspiracy please tell me which super-rich party or parties are supposedly funding this conspiracy, and with what motive?

          • Oil companies have quite a lot to gain from Carbon trading. This is why companies like Shell are getting into it. Natural Gas has lower CO2 emissions than coal, so climate policies favour the gas companies

            I am not claiming that the Oil companies are part of any “conspiracy”, mind.

            • You’re right Andy, and this seems to be one of the key points of confusion in the debate. The seems to be an assumption that accepting anthropogenic climate change = being in favour of carbon trading, carbon taxes, Clean Development Mechanisms, geo-engineering etc. I would argue, as you do here, that many of the”solutions” being proposed are really just ways for various players in the state-corporate system to hedge their bets. For as long as the heavily-funded denials works, they get to pocket massive profits from emitting carbon, once it becomes undeniable that their business practices are forcing climate change, they switch to making profits off the “solutions”.

              One simple test I apply to any proposed climate change “solution” is, does it purport to fix climate change as a stand-alone issue, or does it address the full range of environmental problems we face. Carbon trading and other state-corporate favoured “solutions” fail miserably on any other criteria;
              * peaking of oil, nuclear, and other mineral fuels in the face of growing demand
              * mass extinction and loss of biodiversity
              * pollution of waterways and oceans
              * deforestation and erosion of soils
              * etc, etc, etc

              The other criteria is whom the “solution” empowers. Carbon trading, as you suggest, benefits the carbon emitting corporates, and the financial elites who brought us the 2008 meltdown. Carbon taxes benefits increasingly centralized and authoritarian states (hey there GCSB and SIS spooks), and the corporate puppets like Snapper Key who increasingly get to administrate them. They also, like GST, shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the working class.

              Holistic approaches like permaculture, TransitionTowns, and biotechture (Earth Ships), address the whole environmental crisis, in its personal, social, ecological, and economic aspects. They empower individuals, families, neighbourhoods, municipalities, and bioregions to be less beholden to corporations, and states. They do this by working towards new ways of living together, which are less dependent on fossil fuels, and turn atmospheric carbon into local sources of food, fibre, fuel, furniture, housing etc.

              Carbon emissions and carbon trading/ taxes are two sides of the same debased coin.

              • Danyl, I have absolutely no problem with your proposals. I am all in favour of local community driven projects like you suggest.

                What I am not in favour of is heavy handed big government/big corporate intervention to try to address “decarbonisation” or whatever you want to call it.

    • TREVOR – what idiotic drivel this is!

      Scientists get paid to do research and to write reports. The bad news they present us is not stuff the paymasters (being governments and some private research institutes) would love to hear. If your suggestion would be the case, we would be getting nothing but denying white wash reports from scientists.

      So you have no leg to stand on. But it is true, that there are oil and other industry players, who pay their own “researchers”, who present the pseudo scientific stuff that they want. They are though the minority.

      Even the smarter private enterprises that have an interest in doing business for years to come, they will have an interest in getting true, reliable data, so they can adjust their plans and actions.

      By the way, is your usual home not “Kiwiblog”?

    • Yes Trevor the government pay people to say the climate is warming. The government really need another headache to deal with.

      Your so called scientists who believe there is some cooling trend are in a small minority of eccentrics. They get plenty of funds from oil companies and think tanks. They are wrong and their evidence is very weak.

      The current cold conditions in America are a direct result of the warming arctic changing the polar jet stream position and bringing polar air further south. Its not called climate change for nothing. You were warned.

  8. People who deny human activity is the cause of environmental degradation and climate change are dangerous extremists.

    Or stark raving conservatives as I define them

    They probably believe in infinite growth on a finite planet as well …….

    Anyway there’s not much point arguing with stark raving conservatives

    They always come back with some obscure loony ‘fact’

    Real science is a threat to them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umFnrvcS6AQ&list=PL1013403AE363D737&index=2

    • I don’t think anyone denies that humans are responsible for some environmental degradation or climate change

      The question is, of course, how much?

      • Andy says: ” The question is, how much?”
        Lots Andy.
        Four pieces of evidence show that humans are raising CO2 levels:

        1) Humans are currently emitting around 30 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
        2) Oxygen levels are falling as if carbon is being burned to create carbon dioxide.
        3) Fossil carbon is building up in the atmosphere. (We know this because the two types of carbon have different chemical properties.)
        4) Corals show that fossil carbon has recently risen sharply.

        Read on at

        An ideal resource for finding out more about climate. If you are interested.

        • When looking for answers to questions like “how much climate change”, providing evidence for rising CO2 levels isn’t really the correct response, since you automatically infer a causal connection between CO2 and the said climate change, with no indication how sensitive the climate is to changing levels of CO2

            • Jenny – I pull no legs
              The sensitivity of the climate is an unknown factor. In the AR4 report, the IPCC gave a range of 2-4.5 degrees C of warming for a doubling of CO2, with a central estimate of 3 degrees.

              In the AR5 report, they give a range of 1.5 degrees – 4.5 degrees, with no central estimate given, because of disagreements.

              There is no causal link in the geological record between CO2 driving temperature, but there is the other way around.

              Take that as you may

              • I’m sorry, but your understanding of both climate sensitivity and the role of CO2 is badly flawed. Why not do some reading beyond your beloved Bishop and Retreadgold, and learn what’s really going on?

                I won’t be holding my breath.

      • How much….like a scourge of bacteria across the face of the planet, we’ll eventually die in the cesspool of shit we created – unless we do something about it – just think of climate warming as the planet getting a temperature while it fights the infection…!

      • Andys, the quantity of climate warming relates to climate sensitivity. Estimates vary but moderately high sensitivity best fits past records of climate change and information on feedbacks.

        There is some new published research on this in todays skepticalscience.com that suggests high sensitivity. It also relates to how much more fossil fuels we burn.

        • Nigel – I have read up on climate sensitivity so I grasp the basics.

          The idea is that it represents the amount of warming (or cooling) for a given change in external forcing, be it back-radiation from CO2 and other GHGs, or aerosols, or cloud cover, or total solar irradiance, etc.

          More specifically, we often refer to “climate sensitivity” as the expected temperature rise we would get from a doubling of CO2 levels, above pre-industrial levels.

          We also refer to “transient climate sensitivity” (TCS) as the expected warming att he point in time that the doubling occurs. Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) refers to the temperature rise that would occur after the system has reached an equilibrium state, (i.e “warming in the pipeline”) which might be millennia away.

          TCS values have been estimated from empirical studies, from paleo-climatic studies, and from models.

          The IPCC give the range 1.5 – 4.5 degrees for ECS in their AR5 summary for policymakers. The lower numbers come from recent studies based on empirical measurements. (e.g Otto et al) .
          They don’t assign a central estimate in AR5. In AR4 they assigned a central estimate of 3 degrees C

          • Andys, correct on the definition of climate senstivity, however you need to appreciate that the field is changing rapidly. At the time of the last IPCC report most papers suggested moderate sensitivity, around 3 degrees, but a couple of papers suggested sensitivity could be low so hence the IPCC scale of 1.5 – 4.5 degrees. They are being conservative, and fair enough.

            Since then new research has refuted those low sensitivity papers as per my post. My personal belief is its actually likely in the middle.

            I struggle to see massive temperature increases of say 6 degrees by end of century but I believe smaller increases of around 2 – 3 degrees will be far more destabilising than we realise. Just look at the pace of change in the Arctic right now, or some of the changes in the past geologic ages.

  9. Watch out for a documentary series coming up on Prime called “Keeping it Pure.” It looks at environmental problems facing NZ, including climate change.

  10. Al Gore really started something with his “Inconvenient Truth”. It actually makes for striking parallels with L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology “religion”. “Global Warming” has become, for many, exactly that. An unfalsifiable religion. It doesn’t matter how many facts you present (for example, the FACT that the Earth has cooled by ~0.1 deg over the last 10 years, instead of the predicted RAISE of 0.8 deg that some models predicted! http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/hadcrut4-v-hadcrut3/ ).
    The amount of cherry picking by climate change “believers” is simply astounding – particularly their citing of worst case scenarios only, and not providing any sort of error analysis.
    As for that consensus among scientists on the validity of using climate models:
    http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/02/02/what-they-said-about-the-climate-models/
    I’ve been banging on about the problems of climate models for many, many years now. As an actual scientist I understand them, I have talked with the STUDENTS (who actually do the research, not simply write endless government grant proposals) involved on numerous occasions at various conferences, and more often than not tell me (after a few drinks) these things have near ZERO predictive power for very obvious reasons (i.e. countless unjustifiable assumptions), and I strongly suspect we will CONTINUE to see this become ever more clear in the years ahead. This will of course fall on deaf ears for the believers, and of course the models will be continually kludged to show that this or that was predicted all along.

    • Nothing is worse than an aging academic who hangs around students, getting them drunk so they’ll agree with him. Do you give talks at these conferences yourself, or are you eternally condemned to posters because you’re a raging bore?

      As for the rest of it, you’re just making stuff up. I’ll do an error analysis right now – you are 100% in error.

    • “for example, the FACT that the Earth has cooled by ~0.1 deg over the last 10 years, instead of the predicted RAISE of 0.8 deg that some models predicted!”

      Absolute nonsense. The last ten years have been warmer than the previous 10. No model has predicted a .8C rise in just 10 years. None. Your link doesn’t say that either. Why are you just making things up?

    • Nitrium I disagree about your claimed cooling period. There is new evidence form Cowtan (2013) that the last ten years have warmed almost as much as previously, and that there is no pause. I suggest you read it.

      The IPCC also said back in around 1990 that you would see variability, slower warming of about a decade, due to natural variability. The long term trend over the last 100 years is still a rising trend, and anyone can see we are most interested in longer term trends. You are cherry picking short term periods the exact thing you accuse others of! This is unbelievable really.

      Climate models have actually predicted a large number of things with good accuracy. Not saying they are prefect no modelling is, but they have certainly made several predictions. Realclimate.org gives a list and a lot of sources to back up its statements. Theres too much ranting in your post to have credibility for me.

  11. In response to the couple of climate deniers here is slightly edited version of a piece I wrote last year:

    Let’s start by getting some facts right. Here are some key findings from the Policymakers Summary of the new IPCC report on the state of the science of climate change:
    1. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.
    2. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
    3. Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
    4. Global mean sea level will continue to rise during the 21st century.
    5. Cumulative emissions of CO2 largely determine global mean surface warming by the late 21st century and beyond. Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped. This represents a substantial multi-century climate change commitment created by past, present and future emissions of CO2.

    Almost without exception climate change deniers have been and continue to be very selective in their use of information and very effective at distorting it for public consumption. This is well documented in ‘Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming’.

    As the authors note “real science – done by scientists and published in scientific journals ‘ is dismissed as “junk”, while misrepresentations and inventions are offered in its place.” They note with deep irony that one of the great heroes of the anti-Communist political right wing “was George Orwell whose famous 1984 portrayed a government that manufactured fake history to support its political program. Orwell coined the term “memory hole” to denote a system that destroyed inconvenient facts, and “Newspeak” for a language designed to constrain thought within politically acceptable bounds.” They further comment that “the right-wing defenders of American liberty have now done the same”. They’ve done it very effectively not just in the US, but to a global audience via the internet. Their “Newspeak” is only a Google search away. And as the authors of this excellent book say “Orwell’s Newspeak contained no science at all, as the very concept of science had been erased from his dystopia. And not surprisingly, for if science is about studying the world as it actually is – rather than as we wish it to be – then science will always have the potential to unsettle the status quo.”

    If we take the science of climate change seriously, as we need to do with great urgency, then the status quo, or “Business as Usual”, is no longer a viable option. It means we have to begin thinking and acting very differently from what we are doing now.

    With the proposed Ruataniwha dam and other similar developments, continued intensification of dairy farming, mining of the Denniston Plateau, and open season for oil and gas exploration this country is at a crossroads. We can believe the “Newspeak” and carry on the Business-as-Usual path or we can listen to what the science is telling us and change direction. The question is whether we have to will to change, individually and collectively. In a recent paper to Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, James Hansen and his co-authors stated in their conclusion that “It seems implausible that humanity will not alter its energy course as consequences of burning all fossil fuels become clearer. Yet strong evidence about the dangers of human-made climate change have so far had little effect.”

    As a footnote here’s a quote from nearly 50 years ago …

    “If man’s ingenuity through the years had been directed to the utilization of solar energy instead of development of devices to consume fossil fuels, it is quite conceivable that we might today have a solar economy just as effective and just as efficient as our fossil-fuel economy. Ultimately man will probably be driven to turn to the sun.” L.P. Gaucher ‘Energy Sources of the Future for the U.S.’, 1965

  12. WWIII the war on the climate

    From the front lines:

    1# Sandy, Bopha, Haiyan, a catalogue of human tragedy

    2# Doha, Majuro, Rauauru Ma Raki, a catalogue of treason

    3# Subsidising the fossil fuel industry, a catalogue of climate war crimes

    1# Sandy, Bopha, Haiyan:
    Emergency services were overwhelmed when Hurricane Sandy struck New York, within weeks of Hurricane Sandy, a bigger and even more devastating hurricane struck the Southern Philippines Island of Mindanao. Like Sandy which struck the US unusually north, Cyclone Bopha was the most powerful hurrricane to strike the Philippines so far south. Unlike the Northern Philippines, Mindanao was unused to such storms, buildings and infrastructure were more vulnerable. The devastation was incredible, (though little reported in the Western Media), many hundreds more were killed than by Superstorm Sandy. Death Toll Sandy, Death Toll Bopha. The unusual track of Cyclone Bofa, (even more so, than that of Hurricane Sandy) was definitively linked by scientists to climate change.

    In the latest attack Hurricane Haiyan has struck the Philippines. Haiyan is the most powerful Hurricane ever recorded anywhere on earth.

    “Typhoon Haiyan the most powerful storm in history”

    According to the Wall Street Journal more people have been made homeless by “Superstorm” Haiyan “than the number of those displaced by Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami combined” 4 million, equivalent to the total population of New Zealand has been made homeless.

    “Last month’s devastating Typhoon Haiyan [Yolanda] destroyed many towns and communities in central Philippines left more than six thousand people dead and an estimated four million homeless”.
    4 million homeless

    This is just the beginning, the tropics will be hard hit by climate change. It is predicted to get much worse. Rising seas, drought, unendurable heatwaves, Superstorms, ocean acidification, disease, crop failure, will all hit the tropics harder than the temperate regions.
    Some computer simulations and projections even suggest that large areas of the tropics, currently home to millions, will become uninhabitable.

    2# Doha, Majuro, Rauauru Ma Raki :
    Superstorm Bopha struck the Philippine Island of Mindanao during the Doha round of global talks on climate change….. The size of this tragedy and the stubbourn intransigence of the big emitters who continued to refuse to agree to act on climate change, caused the Philippine delegate to break down in tears as he gave what he knew would be a fruitless appeal to the assembled government delegations at Doha to come to an agreement to act. “If not here, then where?” he asked. “If not now then when?”

    It is generally agreed that the Doha round was a failure. But one of the few things the Doha conference did agree on, was to extend the 20 year old Kyoto Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which was due to expire.

    Notoriously, New Zealand alongside the big emitters US Japan and Canada, then immediately withdrew from the Kyoto treaty.

    Following the inaction by major emitters, Pacific Island Nations convened a special Pacific Forum conference on Climate Change in the capital of the Marshall Islands at Majuro.

    In the lead up to the Majuro Conference the President Loeak of the Marshalls called on New Zealand to do more.

    ‘We are fighting for survival,’ Pacific islands leader warns
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/01/pacific-islands-climate-change

    Many of the islands look to New Zealand, their closest large land mass, to give financial and diplomatic leadership. “New Zealand can and should do more,” said Loeak. “They are the fifth highest per capita emitters in the world and Kiwi emissions continue to climb.”

    The culmination of the Pacific Islands Forum Conference on Climate Change, was the signing of the Majuro Declaration where the signatories agreed to try and cut down their Greenhouse gas emissions. Again as at Doha, the big emitters refused to sign. (New Zealand the largest nation in the Polynesian Triangle did become a signatory.

    “Pacific island nations challenge big emitters to follow their lead”
    September 6, 2013

    “to lead is to act”, the 15 Pacific states that signed the declaration have all set themselves ambitious targets to “accelerate the transition to the low-carbon economy”. The Marshall Islands pledged a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions – below 2009 levels – and a target for 20% indigenous renewable energy by 2020. Tuvalu and the Cook Islands have both set targets to supply 100% of their countries’ energy with renewables by 2020, while Papua New Guinea pledged to become carbon neutral before 2050.

    In keeping with the Majuro Declaration the Marshall Islands and other low lying Pacific Island nations have vowed to actively cut their reliance on fossil fuels. President Loeak has asks us, “If we can do it why can’t you?”

    Accepting the “Pacific gift”

    At Majuro, Pacific leaders, (including Australia and New Zealand) demonstrated ‘climate leadership’ by committing themselves to cut emissions. All Pacific island nations took this approach knowing fully that their contribution to the global phenomenon was only a miniscule one. But the message was emphasised by President Loeak: ‘if we can do it, so can you

    And of course we could, (and even easier than the Island nations). The
    Rauaruru Ma Raki
    project in the Waikato region is all ready to go, all that is holding it back, according to New Zealand Wind Energy Association chief executive Eric Pyle is “the right policy settings”.

    3# Subsidising the fossil fuel industry:

    “Will rising Sea Levels, or Dirty Fuel Subsidies Rise Fastest”

    “Govts Pour $500 Billion Into Fossil Fuel Subsidies”
    Common Dreams November 7, 2013

    While greenhouse gas emissions reach record levels, governments across the world are pouring hundreds of billions into fossil fuel subsidies, fostering “perverse incentives” to continue the race towards climate doom, a new report details

    Make no mistake, despite the justification made about jobs and the economy, government subsidies for fossil fuels is a crime comparable to a war crime.

    More than any other country on earth, per capita, New Zealand is the world’s worst offender. In September at the first Pacific Forum on climate change, held in the Marshall Islands, John Key on our behalf, signed the Majuro Declaration in which we agreed to try to cut down our CO2 emissions. Only a matter of weeks later, in a dirty act of treachery supported by the Labour opposition but condemned by the Greens, John Key gifted and loaned $155 million to Solid Energy to keep mining coal. Coal is the number 1 single greatest cause of global climate change. John Key and his government need to be brought to account for this dirty act of racist treachery, which flies in the face of the agreement he personally signed on our behalf at Majuro. Through his actions John Key is condemning our Island neighbours to a very uncertain future, in which the the Coral Atoll Island Nations will drown under devastating tropical Super Storms made worse with sea level rise. (Like Typhoon Haiyan which struck the Phillipines, said to be the most powerful storm ever recorded to strike any country, beating out the previous world record holder Hurricane Camille).

  13. What are you all even still talking about?

    I put a link in the very first comment to a major independent study that shows conclusively that the temperature of the earth isn’t particularly hot at the moment. In fact the overall trend shows that the earth is cooling. It points out that the average temperature during the roman and medieval times was on average ten degrees hotter than it is now.

    click it and rethink your worldviews children.

    • The link you provided is to an article at The Register that badly misrepresents Esper’s 2012 reconstruction of northern Scandinavian temperatures over the last 2,000 years. Esper’s paper says nothing about global temperatures whatsoever. For more: see here.

      If there’s any world view rethinking to be done, I might respectfully suggest you give it a try.

    • If the average temperatures were 10 degrees hotter than now, it would have been a very different world today – one , probably uninhabitable by most current living creatures!
      Dolt!

      • Even for someone on my side of the fence, to suggest that the world was 10 degrees hotter during the MWP is complete BS.

    • Climber you comments are wrong and are insulting and condesending. Your study isnt global in scope or even regional so isnt particularly useful or representative.

      Temperatures over the last 40 years are definitly hotter than the medieval warm period (which wasnt global anyway). There is an interesting published global reconstruction going back 10,000 years that shows that temperatures over the last 100 years are very anomalous and increasing rapidly by historic norms. You can find this on realclimate.org.

    • Climber, If you really believe the fairy tales you write, I’m guessing you also also believe Jack climbs magically, massive beanstalks while Gill goes tumbling down locally, hot hills!

  14. Anyone who still believes our perpetual growth capitalist model can still work on a planet with finite resources should read the truth-out.org article Green Capitalism: The God That Failed.
    This capitalism model does encourage us all to recycle, while it ignores the other two “R”s, reuse and reduce, as that would impact their profitablity.

  15. How many more summers like this can Australians take? before they start flooding into New Zealand.

    For the inhumane way they treat refugees themselves….

    For being the highest per capita green house gas emitter in the world….

    For being the biggest exporter of coal in the world…..

    For the racist “unimpeded migration” Australians are allowed, over Pacific migrants who have contributed nothing to this crisis….

    What steps need to be taken to prevent the Australian “Plane People” from flooding into the country?

Comments are closed.