What you are not being told about in the Royal Society of New Zealand Climate Change Report

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The climate denial that permeates NZ politics, media and society is increasingly becoming impossible to cling to. The Royal Society of New Zealand has painted a grim picture of the mildest impacts of Climate Change and they are deeply concerning…

1-in-100 year events could be annually 

Coming from New Zealand’s pre-eminent research body for science, the report confirms the severity of the local threat posed by climate change. Chair of the expert panel which wrote it, Professor James Renwick, said New Zealanders were particularly vulnerable.

“Many New Zealanders live on the coast and two-thirds of us live in flood-prone areas,” he said.

In South Dunedin, a high water table meant high tides would lead to frequent surface ponding and a lack of drainage for storm water.

The report added that the east coasts of both the North and South Islands were sensitive to erosion and inundation caused by climate change.

The Royal Society’s warnings come just a day after New Zealand was accused of cheating over its main climate change weapon, the Emissions Trading Scheme.

In its report, the Royal Society broke down its analysis into several key areas.

One was the effect of climate change on coastal environments.

Depending on how greenhouse gas emissions were managed, the sea would rise between 30 centimetres and 1.1 metres by 2100, it said.

This would have an exponential impact, making a one-in-100-year high tide an almost daily event in some places and making storm surges much more potent.

Ponding and soil saturation from previous floods would aggravate the effect.

Freshwater resources would also be harmed by climate change.

…most concerning is that these are the best impacts we can hope for, the worst case scenarios however are what we are seeing with super heating of the planet crossing environmental tipping points that are impossible to reverse. Rapid adaptation is where we need to be now, not slow followers.

Climate deniers like Cameron Slater mix with climate minimalists like David Farrar to keep the debate from  advancing. NZ has one of the highest levels of climate deniers in the developed world, that wilful ignorance is what is stopping us from politically demanding action on every front.

Mass transport solutions, sustainability, rethinking work, solar, hydro, water preservation, climate refugees, inequality and poverty – these all need radical rethinks as the planet melts.

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But we also need to crack down on corporate power.

What you are not being told about in the Royal Society of New Zealand Climate Change Report is who is to blame for this madness.

The answer on that front, is painfully obvious…

The Oil Industry Was Warned About Climate Change in 1968

A newly released trove of documents from the US oil industry is a walk through a forgotten past — a world before the science of climate change was controversial.

The records, amassed over four years of research by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), outline how much American petroleum companies knew about the dangers of carbon emissions from fossil fuels long before global warming became the hot-button issue it is today. The center began releasing those documents this week, including a 1968 report to the American Petroleum Institute (API) that urged more research into reducing their carbon footprints.

“There are numerous points along this path where the industry was on notice that this was a rising risk,” said Carroll Muffett, the president of CIEL. By 1968, “You have two paths in front of you. One is to respond to this rising risk, notwithstanding the continuing uncertainty, or the alternative is to try to discredit the science. And I think history has shown what path they chose.”

Oil executives started huddling about pollution controls in 1946 as the public began raising concerns about smog in cities like Los Angeles, the documents lay out. Those meetings eventually resulted in a “Smoke and Fumes Committee” being set up by the API, the industry’s top trade association.

By 1957, scientists from ExxonMobil’s corporate ancestor, Humble Oil, identified the burning of fossil fuels as a contributor to the rise of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. Then in 1968, Elmer Robinson — a meteorologist who led environmental research at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), which had extensive ties to the industry — warned API that rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere “may be the cause of serious world-wide environmental changes.”

“This is SRI, their own consulting scientists, delivering a very clear message to industry leaders that climate change poses a potentially significant risk,” Muffett said. “It could affect sea-level rise, glacial melt, lead to potentially severe environmental damage worldwide.”

Related: ExxonMobil Is Increasingly Being Singled Out for Its Role in Climate Change Deceit

Gretchen Goldman, lead analyst for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the documents show the oil industry not only knew climate change was happening, “but were at the cutting edge of the science when the science was in its infancy.”

“These new studies push the timeline back for when we have evidence that the fossil fuel industry knew about climate change,” she said. The Humble study in particular “takes it as a given” that fossil fuels are adding CO2 to the atmosphere, with warming a likely effect.

“It’s remarkable to see them have this sophisticated a position this early,” she said.

The 1968 Robinson report recognizes the uncertainties in the science at the time — but Robinson “is clearly and quite explicitly concerned” about CO2, Muffett said. And he said the industry’s leading players responded by trying to poke holes in the science and delaying action.

“From my perspective, one of the testaments to the effectiveness of the climate-denial movement — the climate skepticism that they sought to sow — is that the clock on climate change keeps getting reset over and over again,” he said. “Constantly, the public is persuaded that climate change is a new issue, some new theory that is just being tested, just being proved.”

…we have been set up by big oil from the beginning. Like an evil drug dealer, big oil has addicted capitalism to cheap petrol and occupied and butchered millions and enslaved hundreds of millions more while murdering the environment for quarterly profit margins.

Climate change is the ultimate achilles heal of consumer capitalism and as it rapidly warps our world fighting back stops being optional. It will become mandatory.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Why the free pass for the arms manufacturers? And the plastics and fertilizer industries?

    “We’re all in this together”.

    • Um… criticizing one industry does not exonerate others. That said, the ones you list are all effectively subsidiaries of the oil industry. Plastics were literally made from oil, and industrial fertilizer requires barrels of it to mine, transport, process, and deliver, as do weapons. Plus, climate change has the potential to kill more living things (both human and non-human) than arms, plastics, and fertilizer put together.

  2. It does need to be noted that this predicted sea level rise is ENTIRELY based on computer models. These models have yet to produce any useful predictions since the early 90’s when they were first formulated (and since endlessly tweaked). They might this time be correct, to be sure, but it needs to be said that they have so far utterly failed to produce data consistent with reality.

    • “Utterly failed”? You need to provide evidence for that claim, otherwise it will be seen as merely opinion. Personally I prefer to go with the global consensus (which includes NAA, the NOAA, the UK Royal Society an every other national science academy) – and the consensus is that climate change is set to become a massive problem with increased variability of climate, more frequent extreme events, and therefore a king hit to the global economy. And I can provide references for those claims if you wish.

    • And a denialist pops in to the conversation and lies.

      The only people who have failed to produce anything consistent with reality are the denialists and National.

  3. The reality of sea level rise is lived with daily in the pacific. Once seen and experienced it is not forgotten I assure you.

  4. We need to take our country back and our Radio NZ & TVNZ to tell where we are going to before we hang ourselves.

    Global investing tail winds may become head winds

    7:06 am today

    An Auckland based international investment manager is warning of a return to market volatility and slowing investment returns as the financial world comes to grip with a new environment.
    Listen (duration 2′ :27″)
    Download: Ogg  |  MP3

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201797712

  5. Apart from the criminal behaviour of corporations and politicians, there is the reality aspect.

    The latest indicators suggest sea level rise far exceeding anything The Royal Society of NZ had to say on the matter in their recent report.

    This is from just a few days ago (previously linked, and ignored, of course).

    ‘Davidson said recent data that has been collected but has yet to be made official indicates sea levels could rise by roughly 3 meters or 9 feet by 2050-2060, far higher and quicker than current projections. Until now most projections have warned of sea level rise of up to 4 feet by 2100.’

    http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/04/12/405089.htm

    Let’s just highlight the juicy bit: Davidson, representing NOAA, is flagging the potential for 3 metres of sea level rise in less than 35 years.

    Bearing on mind that atmospheric CO2 is at a record high and is rising faster than ever (recent year-on-year figures have been close to 4 ppm per annum, far exceeding the most recent multi-year average: ‘2005 – 2014 2.11 ppm per year’

    https://www.co2.earth/co2-acceleration )

    For example the latest reported results:

    Daily CO2

    April 18, 2016: 407.45 ppm versus April 19, 2015: 403.65 ppm

    Up 3.80 ppm

    And bearing in mind the Greenland summer melt commenced a month early, I think we can safely say that the sea level rise will far exceed anything ‘official’.

    Fortunately for the denialists, the NSIDC data flow has been interrupted by a sensor failure:

    ‘Sensor on F-17 experiencing difficulties, sea ice time series temporarily suspended

    April 12, 2016

    NSIDC has suspended daily sea ice extent updates until further notice, due to issues with the satellite data used to produce these images. The vertically polarized 37 GHz channel (37V) of the Special Sensor Microwave Imager and Sounder (SSMIS) on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-17 satellite that provides passive microwave brightness temperatures is providing spurious data…….’

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    so we don’t quite how bad the Arctic meltdown is at the moment.

    Anyone who does not think Planetary Meltdown is the greatest threat in all of human history obviously does not know much (anything) about the Permian Mass Extinction Event or the PETM.

    Human activity is shifting geochemical balances faster than at any time since life began on this planet and what took hundreds of years or thousands of years will be ‘accomplished’ in a matter of decades..

  6. Pro global warming researchers get about 1 billion dollars a YEAR in funding from the US government alone.

    So when you follow the money, take your pick.

  7. “NZ has one of the highest levels of climate deniers in the developed world”

    And very strangely, I haven’t met one yet who wasn’t a white male over 40. I not sure why this is but I have an unproven theory is that it’s a kind of “men’s shed” or “number 8 wire” sort of thing, maybe a bit like New Zealanders wanting to believe that somehow we invented flying rather than the Wright Brothers. The big huge world of science has explained why and how climate change is happening, but a lot of white blokes believe that by tinkering around in their metaphorical “shed” they have come up with a better explanation. And because they have a kind of intellectual arrogance far beyond their actual capabilities (possibly due to the remnants of the colonial notion that the civilised white man knows more than women or darker skinned people) think their opinion outweighs that of all the scientists of the world.

    They also get really pissed off when you call them out, I have found too, often becoming quite abusive.

  8. In my region there’s a seaside campground up for sale. The real estate agent is quoted in the local paper as saying, “I think it’s a great little spot. You couldn’t get much closer to the beach if you tried.” I guess he hasn’t seen the RSNZ report.

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