You ain’t seen nothing yet…

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Mt Brown slips-2

Extreme weather is where the climate change rubber hits the road, and I’ve had enough of it. Unfortunately, it looks like there’s lot more to come.

Last week it rained in Waipara and North Canterbury. Rather a lot. The weather system that brought record winds and rain to Auckland delivered 130 mm of rain to my little farm over Tuesday and Wednesday. The Waipara River, which normally pootles past us at around a cubic metre per second hit a peak of 257 cumecs on Wednesday. On Tuesday night State Highway One was closed by flooding between Amberley and Woodend, with no diversion possible. Christchurch was cut off from the delights of Waipara wine. Overnight, two large slips blocked the road between us and civilisation (civilisation’s loss, obviously), washouts undercut the road edge in three or four places, and a large section of tarmac slid 20 cm towards the river below. For the last week, we’ve had to drive past road closed signs to get in and out of our property.

Driving under the face of Mt Brown, the hill that looms majestically over our place, has felt a bit like dicing with death. If you could see the size of the rocks that came bouncing down over the road last week, you’d feel the same way. Some of them were the size of a family fridge, and they’re now on the riverbank – which is where our car would be if one of them had hit it.
When I walked the bounds of our property on Wednesday I discovered that the rain had washed out a track down to the river, eroded a gully headwall back into one of my truffieres, cut a fence line, and caused a major slump of the limestone cliff on top of which we live. A pile of raw rock and rubble now fills half the river bed below us.

But 130 mm of rain in 36 hours is not unheard of in North Canterbury. My records, which stretch back 17 years, show we’ve had several rainstorms of the same sort of size in that time. None of them has been remotely as damaging as this one. But none of them has come on top of a record wet autumn. We had 113 mm of rain in March, 161 mm in April and 43 mm in May — our wettest autumn by a fair margin. It was Christchurch’s wettest autumn since records began. When the rain started last week, it had nowhere to go but to run off the hills and into the rivers. Floods and erosion were the inevitable result.

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Floods are not the only extreme weather we’ve had to put up with in the last 12 months. Back in September, we were on the receiving end of damaging gales — the worst since the 1970s. The hills behind us registered gusts of 230 kph. We were without power for six days, and I still haven’t finished chainsawing all the bits of tree strategically piled around the place. More norwest gales in December ruined the fruit set in our olive grove. Now the sodden soil is placing my truffle harvest at risk, and I’m getting a bit fed up.

Just another small farmer moaning about the weather? Perhaps. But my experience is not unique. My neighbours are starting to notice just how weird the weather is getting. I do not need to bring up climate change, everyone is noticing just how different things have been — how volatile and unreliable and damaging to daily life.

The sad fact is that it’s only going to get worse. Not just in North Canterbury, but in New Zealand and the rest of the world. Because the oceans act as giant heat sinks, the climate we’re getting now is being driven by the greenhouse gas levels of 30 years ago. CO2 was at 344 ppm in 1984. It’s now at 400 ppm, and we ain’t seen nothing yet. The heat that has been accumulating in the system will drive weather ever wilder. Not everywhere, and not all the time, but when bad weather arrives it’s going to get worse and worse.

There’s nothing we can do but batten down the hatches and try to endure the coming decades, but if we cut emissions steeply and soon, we can stop the very worst from happening. Given the weather that has battered us in the least year, I shudder to think what the angry climate beast has in store, but I know it’s worth doing a great deal to avoid what will happen if CO2 is allowed to increase unabated.

49 COMMENTS

  1. I just told someone at work who is going to London as part of a holiday in Europe to enjoy it because she is a member of the last generation (more or less) that will see it. The fate of London, New York and many other cities around the world have been signed, sealed and delivered with the scientific research that found that the melting of the West Antarctic ice shelf is now unstoppable. This is obviously too catastrophic a concept for most people to mentally grasp but as anyone who has ever been in a flood situation knows, water doesn’t listen to any arguments and it is an unstoppable force.

    • Yes but the WAIS isn’t predicted to melt in this way for several hundred years, so I think there’s a few more London shopping trips yet

  2. Funny how those living in the country notice the effects first. We have a similar experience here in Western Australia – talk to the local farmers and they have certainly noticed the effects over the years….

    • When you grow stuff, you depend on a reasonably consistent climate, and you are at the mercy of what the weather delivers. It’s not surprising that you notice when things go awry.

      You won’t find many winegrowers who are climate deniers, for instance.

  3. Humans are stuck with a blind spot when it comes to global warming.

    If carbon dioxide was sickly green in color and stank to high heaven, we would have done something about it by now. -Dale Jamieson

    What makes it such a knotty problem is that we have to override our evolutionary programming to fix it. At an intellectual level we know there’s a problem but down at the gut level we don’t get it.
    More here – Climate change and our evolutionary weaknesses

  4. More alarmist bollocks. Are you seriously suggesting North Canterbury never had severe rain before 2 weeks ago Gareth?

    [Read the fscking post, IV. GR]

    • Not only the country folk, Gareth. We’ve had a minor flooding problem on our city section, normally once a decade maybe, but 3 times this year.

      Meanwhile Our Glorious Leaders up at Fort Fumble appear to be advised by financiers whose predictions on climate change underestimate the cost by at least an order of magnitude, not just a few percents here or there.

      On the “winegrowers as climate deniers (not!)” did Marlborough dodge the bullet on that crap weather? I thought I saw a headline about a great harvest this year…?

      • I dunno about “great”. It was a challenging harvest in Waipara and Marlborough, got cold and wet a bit too early. Quite a lot of grapes were left to rot unharvested. Marlborough did get good tonnage though – largely because they’re more mechanised – and I think most winemakers are happy with the quality they achieved. Our pinot was a challenge – we were racing botrytis, picking in the rain – but the grapes ended up tasty if a bit low in sugar.

      • The Prime Ministers chief science adviser Peter Gluckman is not only absolutely positively ‘climate change is happening’, but also a strong believer in the ’caused by man’ theory.

        You can be rest assured, kiwiiano, that the lobbying pressure is well and truly on in the beehive

        • Hah, I fear that Gluckman is not one that much out to put the pressure on. He is trying to keep neutrality, and all he offers the PM and his government is “advice”, not more.

          As we know, the government does not seem to listen that much to Gluckman and others.

          • You “may fear” that Peter Gluckman is not taken seriously, but I can assure you from personal experience that he has enormous influence on government policy.

    • [Snipped: Engage with the substance of the discussion, or your comments will not appear here. If you want to be obnoxiously rude, there are at least two rightwing NZ blogs that would welcome your presence. GR]

    • IV – you offer intrinsic value less satire, each time I read your comments, I struggle to work out, shall I laugh or cry.

  5. Has Waimakariri infrastructure been adequate? Some Rangiora people blamed new subdivisions but the Council said the run off was from farm land?

    • With waterlogged soil and very heavy rain, the water had nowhere to go. Whatever drainage there is couldn’t cope – but this was such an extreme event that it would have been very hard to plan for. New builds will need to take increasing probability of heavy rain and flash flooding into account, but I’m not sure if this is factored into Waimak’s long term plan or not. I’ll ask the Mayor.

      There’s still a lot of standing water in paddocks around SH1, and at this time of year it will take an age to drain away, even if we don’t get much more rain. One worry: with the soil so wet and soft, if we get another round of gales from NW or South, a lot more trees could be blown over. Fingers crossed…

      • Trees = good

        There is growing evidence that strategic tree planting and woodland management can help reduce flood risk.

        Recent projects, in the Lake District National Park and Yorkshire and the Humber region, have used GIS and spatial data sets to identify areas where woodland establishment has the greatest potential to reduce flooding.

        I would suggest the you and others around the region talk to the council about planting some trees. I’d also suggest that you and other farmers look to plant trees on marginal ground on your own land so as to help mitigate flooding.

        And, no, I wouldn’t be surprised if the new subdivisions helped increase the flooding.

        • Trees are good, but not in all circumstances. The loose face of Mt Brown that caused all my roading problems is a QE2 reserve and being actively studied by botanists because of the rare native plants growing there. I don’t think they’d be very happy if I advocated covering it in trees – even native ones, because it’s unlikely that the slopes were ever forested.

          But in general, I do agree that we should be planting a lot more trees on marginal and erosion-prone ground. There are lots of co-benefits to be had.

      • Hang on Gareth, there is no statistical evidence of “increasing probability of heavy rain and flash flooding”, only computer modelling.

        FYI, the last time our region experienced such a ridiculously wet autumn/winter such as this was 1967/68 which turned out to be a lead up to (what some refer to as) the worst drought in living memory of 1969.

        It is interesting to note, however, how much the scientific study of the weather and scientific terminology has changed in the last 45 years. What used to be known as “the greenhouse effect” then “global warming” used to be cleverly characterised into many different terms to better reflect the actual conditions experienced. But as laymen and those of lesser wisdom became more interested in partaking in the glory of making their own dubious predictions, a need for a simpler system was recognised. It was then that the suite of highly accurate and gloriously animated meteorological descriptive terms such as ‘she’s bloody hot’, ‘she’s a bloody wet year’, this is what you call a good old fashioned flood like the one in ’45, ‘it may be dry, but the ’69 drought was worse’ have all given way in these busy modern times to the all encompassing cover-every-eventuality-and-turn-it-into-an-omen-of-impending-doom term of “climate change.”

        • Increases in heavy rainfall/rainfall intensity are both observed, and projected to increase in the future.

          I do share your concern about an impending drought in Canterbury. With an El Niño waiting in the wings, one might well kick in next summer. But I’m much better set up to cope with that. In fact a long hot and dry summer will be great for the grapes and olives, and I have enough water to keep the truffles going – that’s if I can repair the track down to the pump shed in good time…

        • Not only is the increase in heavy downpours expected in a warming climate, due to the warmer atmosphere being able to hold more moisture, but it has already been observed to have occurred. See: Westra (2013) – Global Increasing Trends in Annual Maximum Daily Precipitation.

          It is hard for some to accept science, but it is simply a description of reality. As Gareth points out, these heavy deluges will get much worse in the future because of our warming global climate, but it’s likely to be interspersed with more intense dry periods too.

        • MIKE@NZ The term “climate change” was first used by George W Bush on the recommendation of his PR/Comms adviser as it was a bit softer, less alarming i.e. easier to ignore.
          The “clever characterisation” was indeed a ruse to have us believe that the “change” is part of cyclical change and removed the man-made connotation of “global warming”. So it’s somewhat amusing that what you feel is the nomenclature of doom came from the denier, do nothing cabal.
          Personally, I think we should stick to “global warming” because that is what is happening to the planet – at about the rate of 4 Hiroshima atomic bombs worth of heat every second.

          • Mike: are you aware that the IPCC was set up in 1988? Care to hazard a guess as to what the CC stands for?

  6. Yes, indeed, it will get much, much worse, and people better wake up (those that have not yet and walk around with blinkers).

    When I came to New Zealand many years ago, I was rather concerned, when seeing on the East Coast of the North Island a lot of slips on hills, that were otherwise green with mostly endless grasslands, and too little in the way of trees and scrub growth.

    New Zealand has been turned into a giant farm for dairying and sheep farming, and forests here are also grown like they grow maize or other plants in large plantations overseas.

    Apart from National Parks and some other protected areas, most of New Zealand has been turned into grassland and cropland, to grow feed for mostly animals we grow, milk, slaughter and export. The hilly lands are no longer overgrown with trees and so, as they largely were before the settlers came and changed the environment. Forestry has also knocked trees down in too many places, and with increasing rain, the thin grass growth, and largely monoculture type woodlands will be very exposed to erosion.

    Within a century or two this place may start looking like much of the Greek isles, if we do not change farming and forestry practices, ensure more planting of slopes on steep hillsides and so.

    And we will get a lot more rain in certain parts. But other parts will turn drier, but still may face more extreme weather, like more frequent and heftier storms.

    The “green grass and intensive dairying mentality” is not going to assist, but sadly this government wants to pump yet more out of the soil and the cattle and sheep they allow to roam it.

    • I appreciate your concern for the environment, even if that concern is voiced from a safe distance. But it must be appreciated that a country that possesses such rugged beauty is one of natures works in progress. After being essentially ‘created’ by earthquake and seismic activity, the country will continue to be sculpted and rearranged in clever and unique ways by the forces of nature. Silt soils and soft, buttery clays on a base of solid rock is a perfect combination for erosion, no matter what the ground cover. Yes, there are areas scouring out by rill erosion accelerated by the choice of land use, but planting trees, retiring the land and holding hands is not a practical solution to feeding the poor and funding your lifestyle.

      If it was, we would have by now appointed a government agent to grab minister Nick Smith by the collar whilst standing on the crater rim of White Island and forcibly ask the question, “Hey, have you got resource consent for that?

  7. Gareth, you are forgetting that rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by increasingly destructive weather is good for GDP, and the money system (and money in general) is the only thing the government is interested in.

    More earthquakes, more flooding, more wind damage, more hospitalisations, more insurance claims -all good for employment and the economy. Hence the Key government is frantically promoting fracking, deep-sea drilling and coal mining etc., plus additional oil-based transport so that we can burn whatever comes out of the ground as quickly as possible …… all coming under the general heading of Ponzi economics.

    I’m quite shocked the proposal to dredge iron sands from off the Taranaki coast and ship it to China or wherever was not given the green light.

    An uninhabitable planet is the ‘better, brighter future’ on offer.

    • Ponzu economics? Ha!!!! Take the time to learn the meaning of the term.

      The last thing your cause needs right now is the rantings of an insanely Keynesian Luddite.

      • I have known the meaning of Ponzi for many years.

        Any scheme (usually financial) in which present benefits to a few are dependent on present inputs from the many, who are then scammed by the few.

        If you are going to argue that central banks creating money out of thin air and charging interest on it in a system which is totally dependent on rapidly declining energy supplies is not a Ponzi scheme you are more uninformed and stupid than you have already indicated.

        By the way, the Luddites were right all along, it’s just that the money-lenders and industrialists had to give them a bad name in order to loot and pollute the planet.

        The present world is full of uninformed fools and liars. And people vote for them.

        • Wow, so much hate!

          And therein lies the problem. It is not the people you hate, it’s the groups of people. You hate money lenders, not an average joe middle class struggling family man with a mortgage, 2 kids and a dog just trying to do the best for his family by working for a living in a job that just happens to be providing the essential service of lending money to meet the needs of other hardworking people. No, you just hate the fact that he is a money lender.

          Although maybe if you got to know him you could convince yourself to hate him for all sorts of reasons…maybe his car is newer than yours, hate him. He is upwardly mobile and motivated, teaching his children that it is savings and production that drives an economy, not borrowing and consumption, hate him. He is politically positioned anywhere to the right of hard left, hate him.

          If it wasn’t for the industrialists, the industrial revolution and green revolution (in agriculture) there would be a very strong possibility that you would be starving somewhere cold and dark right now. Almost EVERYTHING material that matters in your life right now was made possible or made affordable to you by the industrial revolution. Yes, granted, the removal of the gold standard and deregulation of the financial markets has created more problems than it has cured, mostly in the name of short term gain due to an inability by a (dishonest) politician to admit that his outdated populist policies are failing to compete in the present economy, but you are benefitting from their economic mismanagement as much as the next guy.

          Ultimately, any money lender, industrialist, farmer, butcher, baker and candlestick maker is in business for the sole reason of satisfying demand. If the demand is not there, we are out of business. In a lot of cases, China for instance, their competitive advantage is lower cost of production. That has the flow on effect of raising the quality of life of those who would struggle to pay for a product at a higher price. In your criticism of the industrial sector, you need to consider the downstream effects of the families you may claim to represent having substantially less purchasing power than they have now.

          People vote for certain politicians because they base their vote on the ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality. Every political party is the same. In fact, it can be correctly argued that parties on the left of centre promote the most financially irresponsible and environmentally unsustainable policies due to the fact that their policies favour consumption and promote non-production at the expense of the productive sector. A struggling productive sector will generally have higher costs of production, will fail to meet demand and are more likely to take shortcuts around environmental sustainability.

          Do us all a favour Mr knowthetruth, if you believe the Luddites had it right, walk the talk and live like a Luddite. Show the country that there is a better way.

          • MIKE@NZ, actually the financial system has let us down badly in recent years with the GFC etc.Try reading the economist.com. ironically they are right leaning but even they concede the system has problems. Stop excusing the obvious and trying to blame everything on the left wing.

            • Of course the financial system has let us down, that is exactly what I said. I even gave a reason.

              I did not maliciously blame the left wing for the sake of it, I merely made a statement of fact. I did not excuse anything.

              Sheesh. Calm down and stop barking at parked cars!

          • You continue to demonstrate your gross ignorance on a grand scale.

            There is no such thing as a productive economy. It’s all an illusion; natural geological processes produced all the fossil fuels that are being extracted and burned (thereby destroying the future of every human and most vertebrate species on this planet via ocean acidification and overheating). The same applies to all minerals: nature produced them. Humans dig them up using fossil fuels and turn them into something else, plus a lot of highly destructive waste. All farm production is by way of exploitation of animals and plants (usually with a large input of energy from fossil fuels via fertiliser use and transport systems etc.), and all plant and animal growth is courtesy of nature and the systems that make life on Earth possible -which the industrial system you are a shill for is destroying at a pace faster than any recorded in geological history over the past 600 million years.

            ‘There is no better slave than one who thinks he is free and defends the slave-master’s right to own and exploit slaves.’

            As for politicians, I do not believe one word any of them say: they are put there to manufacture consent for looting and polluting and exploitation of the masses by the psychotic sociopaths who run the system from afar.

            it will make not one scrap of difference which party forms the next government because the Earth is now at around 400ppm CO2 and 2000ppm CH4 (which has a global warming factor of around 300 times CO2 for time scales that matter) so we are at around 1100ppm CO2e (equivalent) right now and unstoppable planetary meltdown is underway.

            Not only that, the Ponzi financial system is on its last legs and will collapse the moment Russia and China withdraw their support for US dollar hegemony.

            In case you had not noticed, Brent oil is now trading at over $114 a barrel, a level which will bring most western economies to their knees within months unless the US reinvades Iraq and guards all the oil infrastructure there while at the same time fighting a low-level war with Russia over the last of the lootable resources in Ukraine.

            It is only the on-going fall in the value of the US dollar that is providing a cushion for uninformed New Zealanders who think everything is just fine because the one Kiwi dollar buys 87 US cents and imports of crap from China are cheaper than they would otherwise be.

            • Wow, a real dyed in the wool prepper! How’s it hangin’ Chicken Licken?!

              You are a collectible. A real live doomsayer.

              I have always worried and wondered what the product of a bad education would be. I fear I might have now seen it first hand. If you believe all that spin, I have a bridge that you might be interested in buying! 🙂

          • “If it wasn’t for the industrialists, the industrial revolution and green revolution (in agriculture) there would be a very strong possibility that you would be starving somewhere cold and dark right now. Almost EVERYTHING material that matters in your life right now…”
            This statement may well be true, Mike@NZ, although we will never know for sure as Robert Frost’s road less travelled wasn’t taken.
            The point you seem incapable of grasping is that this world is coming to an end. Exponential economical growth in a world of finite resources is simply impossible to sustain.

            • Yaaaahhhh, the sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!

              “The world is coming to an end.” What a load of bollocks. We live, we assess, we change, we adapt.

              But then if I believed that nobody ever analysed anything, that ALL branches of science were magical mumbo jumbo, nothing can ever be made better, that the sun rising each morning is made possible by a forgiving omnipotent demigod and that the earth is flat, I would probably think that the best option for dealing with a world moving faster than I am is climb into my kennel, assume the foetal position and mumble ‘the sky is falling, the world is coming to an end.’

              • If you’re going to quote me, Mike@NZ, at the very least I would expect you to afford me the courtesy of quoting me accurately… I said, THIS world is coming to an end, not the entire world.
                By this world I meant the world we have been so happy to exploit since the start of the Industrial Revoltution. I think we have to change our ways if we are continue living on this wonderful planet.
                I do not believe the world is flat and I’m an atheist who finds your flippant remarks insulting.

                • ‘The’ world….’this’ world. Potato, potaato.

                  Ok, I admit I made a genuine mistake in the form of a misquote….

                  But the fact remains, neither you or the equally kooky afewknowthetruth are on ‘the’ world,, ‘this’ world or any other world on this side of reality.

                  That is a fact and feel free to quote me on that!

                  • Instead of continuing to insult “Truth” and I why don’t you explain to us the main point I raised.,namely, “Exponential economical growth in a world of finite resources is simply impossible to sustain”…in THIS exploitive world picture you drew for our enlightenment.
                    (I’m assuming you’re educated enough to know that, as a rough estimate, 70, divided by the rate of economic growth, is the time required for double the resources required to maintain said growth rate. A simple example… To maintain a growth rate of 10%, double the initial resources would be required in just 7 years).
                    ,

                    • The mistake you make is to assume that everything stays the same except consumption. That may be so in your case, but not on a New Zealand or world scale. The key word is ‘growth’, namely doing more with less, adding value, production gains through efficiencies.

                      Examples.
                      1) in 1982, New Zealand had more than 50 million sheep. In 2013, we had 18 million sheep but produced more product than in 1982 because of efficiencies through different stock management, feeding systems and breeding gains. Year on year efficiency gains of more than 1.5% per annum make New Zealand sheep farmers THE best sheep farmers in the world. More from less.

                      2) Cummins engines have made fuel efficiency gains of more than 20% in the last 8 years due to common rail technology and computer aided design. In some of the bigger more polluted cities in the world, it is a fact that Cummins diesel engines engines using Adblue have cleaner exhaust emissions than the air going in the intake! More from less and cleaner than the surrounding air.

                      Almost everything we use is becoming more efficient. Manufacturers are adapting and improving design. Consumers are the beneficiaries of these gains. Open fires are about 10% effective for domestic heating, our new Metro log fire (without water booster) is 91% effective. Hydro electricity is far far more efficient than wind power. International travel is far more efficient in terms of fuel consumption per passenger. The world is changing, adapting, and more efficient than ever.

                      These certainly are exciting times for the productive and motivated among us.

          • The world economy is a subset of the Earths ecosystem. The population explosion is enabled by fossil fuels but the CO2 released is having an effect on agriculture.

            • Exactly!

              As a species we are very good at utilising available resources. In fact, supply and demand dictates not only our way of life, but our pace of life. Almost every family, even those who can’t really afford one, have at least one car. They say it is essential. I can remember walking for 1 1/2 hours to go and visit a friend in the ‘olden days’, now most of us believe we don’t have the time for that. We have relations who live in Takanini and work at Mt Wellington. When the proposal was mooted (again) of a second harbour bridge and more motorways, the mayor said it would speed up traffic, my relation said “that’s good. That would mean we could live on the North Shore!” He knew how long he was prepared to travel, and the easier it is to travel, the further he would go. Supply and demand. The consumerist mentality.

              You can sit at home in a darkened room and choose not to participate in a world that is moving too fast for you if you like, but this is reality. There will be good times, tight times, revolutions and life changes. But times will change and adapt to the available resources. Open fire and old wood burner bans in the cities, nutrient discharge caps and irrigation restrictions in the country, smoking bans, tougher drink driving laws, freedom camping bans, new tax laws, native logging restrictions, the resource management act, our no nuclear stance, interest free student loans, giving women the vote, removing lead from petrol, mechanical crop harvesting and four wheel drive are all examples of change that enables us to do more for less and efficiently use the resources available.

              Change is inevitable, and the only thing to fear is fear itself.

            • Mike@NZ seems to think our technological advances can overcome the realities of our exponential growth in many areas, perhaps including population growth. Let’s all hope he’s right but my fear is that he has a poor grasp on the consequences of this exponential growth.
              Here’s a video that helps explain the problem…
              http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vII-GxsrR2c

              • I didn’t say overcome, I said improve.

                It is resources and the supply and demand of those resources that drives the pattern of society.
                Examples
                1) farmers in the American Midwest. Poor cultivation, rotation and land management choices led to what we now know as the dust bowl years. Ruined and limited resources drove the people to move on (west).
                2) the Central Otago gold rush brought thousands of people to the area, generating a huge demand for resources while catering to a demand for gold. Then most moved on to better(?) things after the initial rush and left the Otago region to adapt and thrive to form what it is now.
                3) coal was our fuel of choice 100 years ago. Then came gasoline, then diesel. Most of us would be more than willing to use an alternative cheaper, cleaner fuel if a practical alternative existed. In the meantime, we use gasoline/diesel while it is plentiful and cost effective.
                4) the lower classes are breeding more offspring than the middle and upper classes in most developed countries, who have set themselves high ideals. So larger families are not as practical in families whose careers are more bureaucratic than physical toil.

                If the resources that we use to their full extent and which shape the way we live were to suddenly become scarce, we are forced to make choices. Most commonly we choose to either move to where there is no shortage, change our lifestyle, adapt or invent a new replacement product or simply start a civil war to fight for our “right” to the product or resource.

                Whichever way, we adapt, change, move or die as a civilisation, eg, Rome.

                • MIKE@NZ

                  Economic Growth is slowing everywhere particularly in the western world. This is at least partly due to resource pressures. Growth in the western world has slowed since the 1970s over the exact period oil has increased in price. We are probably heading for a low growth world.

                  The only way to boost growth would be abundant cheap clean energy. This would also help fight climate change.
                  The obvious answer is to push hard for renewable energy and hopefully overcome storage problems.

                  Nuclear energy is another option but would need major breakthroughs in safety and reductions in costs. Humanity should push all available clean energy options.

                  • Yes, quite correct. Humanity is already pushing all available clean energy options very hard. So hard in fact that in some cases efficient energy is being replaced by ‘clean’ energy, a decision only made possible by huge government subsidies and anti competition legislation.

                    Yes, economic growth is slowing everywhere, mainly because the growth experienced over the last 14 years was based mainly on borrowed ‘printed’ cheap money rather than growth in production. If only more money was spent on investigating ways of improving production efficiencies rather than on consumption.

                    The economy must now be allowed to adjust to allow consumption and production to reach an equilibrium. That, I fear, can only be achieved in this case by a drop in consumption, especially government sponsored and funded consumption.

                    • The effects of over 400 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere haven’t even begun to kick in yet.
                      The Keeling graph keeps climbing relentlessly upwards despite Mike@NZ assurances of technological fixes.

                    • MIKE@NZ

                      Totally disagree. No point burning coal or oil if it contributes to climate change.

                      Slowing growth since the 1970’s is nothing to do with money printing. Quantitative easing only started in 2008 and would not be a reason anyway.

                      Slowing growth is due to saturating markets, higher oil prices, and too much money wasted in property bubbles and property investment in recent decades.

  8. I have lived in Auckland for 40 years and the recent storm was the worst I can remember. Bought down a few tree branches on my property. This storm had a sort of northerly path, and even though we are in Winter possibly these storms are being enhanced by warming oceans north of NZ.

    I would note that increasing rainfall over recent decades in NZ has been documented by NIWA. Unfortunately this is mostly in already high rainfall areas.

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