Why being Carbon neutral by 2030 is meaningless sophistry

By   /   December 20, 2017  /   63 Comments

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I think it’s lovely and nice and respect the importance of positive sounding rhetoric to help move the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind towards giving a shit.
But let’s be honest.
It’s meaningless sophistry.

Labour and the Greens are hyping up their plans for NZ to be carbon neutral by 2030.

I think it’s lovely and nice and respect the importance of positive sounding rhetoric to help move the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind towards giving a shit.

But let’s be honest.

It’s meaningless sophistry.

By 2030, over 50% of the oceans will be collapsing as bio-habitats.

By 2030, East Coast cities in the U.S. can expect to see two to three-times as many flooding incidents.

By 2030, 122million will be driven into extreme poverty as  direct result of climate change.

By 2030, 100million will die as a direct consequence of climate change.

By 2030, even if the Paris Agreement is actually implemented, we will see a planet warm to 3.4 degrees by the end of this century meaning there will effectively be no future civilisation capable of surviving on a planet that warm.

By 2030, the global annual cost of global warming will be $3trillion.

2030, the number of extremely hot days — classified as maximum temperatures of more than 35C — are tipped to climb in all capital cities.

Oh.

And by 2030 NZ might be carbon neutral.

Yay!

See, when you actually compare what the planet will look like by 2030, being carbon neutral looks meaningless doesn’t it?

The magnitude of what we need to do to adapt to counter the nightmare unending capitalism has wrought upon the planet is simply beyond the capacity of the current political establishment.

Jacinda was 100% right when she called climate change our nuclear free moment. Unfortunately what she is proposing on climate change is about as pointless as the duck and cover advice in the event of a nuclear explosion from the 1950s.

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63 Comments

  1. Andrewo says:

    A couple of points

    Firstly you’re correct: The government’s commitment to carbon neutrality is just meaningless window dressing. A committee will be formed. Political friends will be appointed to it at great expense, but bugger-all will be achieved.

    Secondly, your dire predictions are just wild-assed guesses (WAGs). Nobody really knows what the outcomes of increased CO2 levels will be. It could be worse or it could be better. Most likely it will just be different.

    • Secondly, your dire predictions are just wild-assed guesses (WAGs). Nobody really knows what the outcomes of increased CO2 levels will be. It could be worse or it could be better. Most likely it will just be different.

      Insurance companies don’t appear to share your blase attitude, AndrewO…

      Bryce Davies, general manager corporate relations for insurance giant IAG, says the shift towards evaluating properties for their individual climate-change risk has already began, meaning homeowners with properties in flood plains and beachfronts could expect increases.

      “We know it’s going to rain more in some places, we know there will be flooding in some locations, we know the sea level is going to rise and places are going to get drier – those all have impacts on the things that we insure.”

      ref: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/98797867/insurers-warn-climate-change-will-hit-policy-prices-and-make-some-properties-uninsurable

      Your attempt to trivialise and obscure a growing environmental crisis is unhelpful.

      • patricia bremner says:

        Councils and past governments knew about sea level rises many years ago, but allowed building permits in areas threatened by storm surges and rises.

        There should be a level of liability in those cases. But as usual, it will be publicize debt and privatize profits. We will all pay extra Andrewo, and Frank is correct, insurance will not be available for many.

        • Andy says:

          The MfE have a recommendation to plan for 1.9 metres of sea level rise in 100 years.

          This is fanciful bollocks, with no scientific basis in reality

          • Sam Sam says:

            Bruh, did you even read the report that you said claimed a minimal sea level rise. It’s not the the first time you’ve misrepresented reports to suit your bubble narrative.

          • This is fanciful bollocks, with no scientific basis in reality

            … based on what, Andy? What makes you right, and the scientific concensus all wrong?

            And when did you finally accept that the world is not flat?

          • John W says:

            Andy the sea level rise by 2100 will not be 1.9m.

            The best modeling shows several times that rise when taken conservatively.

            What reality are you talking about.

            Help us to understand your point.

            It looks like there will not be many humans around by that date to occupy the very damaged biosphere.

          • Otto Mann says:

            Andy, are you willfuilly ignorant? Do you believe the world is still flat? Are you a believer that Earth is only 6000 years old and Adam and Eve walked with dinosaurs? If so, I have some shares in the Auckland Harbour bridge to sell you. Real cheap!! Literally a STEAL at the price!

    • Pat O'Dea says:

      Current climate change deniers have got a lot to deny.
      Consequently climate change deniers, have had to become more subtle.

      Nobody really knows what the outcomes of increased CO2 levels will be. It could be worse or it could be better. Most likely it will just be different.

      With a little tweaking their comments downplaying the deadly threat posed to humanity by climate change, could be easily attributed to past monsters.

      Nobody really knows what the outcomes of Fascist rule will be. It could be worse or it could be better. Most likely it will just be different.

      Oswald Ernald Mosley;
      Member of Parliament for Harrow from 1918 to 1924, for the Conservative Party, before joining the Labour Party. Mosley became a Labour MP in a by-election in 1926, appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Labour Government of 1929–31. Mosley was considered a potential Labour Prime Minister.

    • Otto Mann says:

      “Nobody really knows what the outcomes of increased CO2 levels will be. It could be worse or it could be better. Most likely it will just be different.”

      Ummm… yeah, nah. Head in the sand much, Andrew?? It won’t be “just different”. Things are going to turn to shit real fast. You’ll notice that your insurance premiums will skyrocket. And if you’re unlucky enough to be living on the coast, well, you’re fucked then. You won’t get ANY insurance after a while.

      Who will you blame then? Labour? Al Gore? The Chinese? Uncle Tom Cobbly? Nah. Look in the mirror. There’s your culprit.

    • John W says:

      Andrew they do know the outcome of increased atmospheric CO2 and other green house gases.

      It gets hotter.

      Where have you been.

  2. Stephen Howard says:

    Drawn down of carbon from the atmosphere is what is called for. We can do it with a concerted effort, but not with half measures, claiming that we need to keep making profits,

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      Removing large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a short time is chemically impossible. (It’s all to do with bond energies, entropy and enthalpy, the foundation of chemical reactivity.)

      The reason the atmospheric CO2 level is higher every year is that industrial humans add around 35 billion tonnes of CO2 every year by burning fossil fuels, and in doing so overwhelm all the natural systems that slowly remove CO2 from the atmosphere and incorporate it inot other substances.

      It suits governments and bureaucrats -who are, almost without exception, scientifically illiterate – to keep parroting nonsense in order to ‘not scare the horses’ and to provide false hope to the masses they screw every minute of the day.

      The starting point for ‘saving our sorry arses’ is to stop squandering fossil fuels on tourism, consumerism, construction of infrastructure etc. We can’t even manage that.

      In fact, the current societal narrative is all about squandering fossil fuels as quickly as possible (and rapidly increasing the CO2 burden). That narrative will not change until price-availability factors associated with the peaking of global oil extraction force a change.

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        I so much admire your knowledge AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH.

        Our note to the Climate change Minister and others sent today.

        Dear Ministers, Physics discussion.
        Climate change.

        Please consider this physics discussion we are having on the climate change situation and some steps you can use to control emissions.

        Less chlorine in our water also please, as it is toxic read here.
        Less trucks & more electric rail is required to lessen the emissions of alkenes from internal combustion engines.
        Rail must be used far more here in our regions of HB/Gisborne please.
        (Please read our physics discussion below here we have today on the social media.)

        Warmest regards,

        I so much admire your knowledge AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH.

        “Removing large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a short time is chemically impossible. (It’s all to do with bond energies, entropy and enthalpy, the foundation of chemical reactivity.)”

        This is so correct as there they changes in all chemical structures during weather conditions, in the presence of salt sea spray, and sunlight for example in the presence of certain chemicals such as traces of chlorine.

        The changes in chemical structures is called “substitution reaction” and is the hallmark of learning science and is covered in the “common law of physics” in ‘General Chemistry.’
        “Scientific American” by PW Atkins Oxford University. Page 851

        quote;
        “Substitution reaction is a reaction in which an atom or a group of atoms is substituted for an atom in a reactant molecule”

        For an alkane, The displaced is a hydrogen atom(7)
        An example is the reaction between methane and chorine.
        A mixture of these two substances is stable in the dark but in the sunlight when exposed to ultra-violet radiation or when they are heated they react.

        Their action does not only produce chloromethane but instead leads to a mixture that also contains dichloromethane, and trichloromethane and tetrachloromethane..

        Trichloromethane better known as ‘chloroform’ was one of the early anaesthetics.

        Tetrachloromethane which was commonly called ‘carbon tetrachloride’ as been used as a solvent and in fire extinguishers however the realisation that it is toxic has limited its use.” unquote.

        So we are in a real pickle now are we not, and we all need to get serious before we all are toxic and poisoned as I was 25yrs ago.

        Less trucks & more electric rail is required to lessen the emissions of alkenes from internal combustion engines.

    • John W says:

      Stephen. It is far cheaper not to put the CO2 into the atmosphere.

      Removing it and disposing of it is not possible. The amount of energy and Non Renewable Natural resource needed far exceeds what is available.

      The talk of carbon removal and sequestration is just another ploy to allay fears fostering hope that an answer will come. Basically bullshit to cloud tiny minds.

      Finding and populating another planet is another ploy to avoid recognising the dilemma and creating further confusion. Humans have a problem ands are the problem.

  3. Nitrium Nitrium says:

    I’ve always cynically maintained that anything New Zealand does wrt climate change is just shooting yourself in the foot. It’s MUCH worse policy than “nuclear free” because that didn’t cost us anything since we weren’t reliant on nuclear energy (or weapons in the first place so was a very easy policy to make. Jacinda is, imo, wrong on this because NZ has exactly zero influence over the major polluters (India, China, USA), so hobbling our economy to command some sort of moral high-ground is exactly pointless. I’m sure someone here will try and convince cynical realists like me that NZ should take some sort of meaningless “global lead” that literally no-one else takes any notice of on this issue, but I honestly don’t “get it” myself.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions
    There we are at number… oh wait we didn’t even make the fucking list.

    • Strypey says:

      If the actions we need to take to stop contributing to climate change were highly dangerous, and had no other benefits, your attitude might be justified. But the main thing we need to do is stop burning fossil fuels (and also extracting them, and exploring for them), which is something we need to do *anyway* because global oil supply is at peak and about to start its inevitable downward trajectory. Things that reduce our carbon footprint, like growing food closer to where it’s eaten, have numerous other benefits (like fresher food and stronger local economies). Things that extract C02 from the atmosphere, like planting forests, have numerous other benefits (like tree crops, wildlife habitat, and reduced soil erosion).

      As for “hobbling our economy”, this is just a fossil fuel industry talking point. As pointed out above, what hobbles *their* global, corporate-controlled supply chain economy is good for *our* interconnected, local economies. It’s a win-win.

      • John W says:

        “Hobbling our economy”?

        It has been and continues to be hobbled by many aspects of our activities and activities we allow overseas..

        Reducing or use of fossil fuel will enhance our opportunity to change many hobbling practices surrounding the wasteful consumption of Non Renewable Natural resources, which are in a much diminished supply as a result of using coal and oil.

        The bigger picture is grim if we expect to continue as we have been over the last century.

        Our energy use per capita is a major problem that there is no way around. Energy harvesting and consumption has to be heavily regulated and reduced voluntarily or it will reduce any way as we crash.

  4. CLEANGREEN says:

    Gotta ANDREWO He wrongly said;

    “Secondly, your dire predictions are just wild-assed guesses (WAGs). Nobody really knows what the outcomes of increased CO2 levels will be. It could be worse or it could be better. Most likely it will just be different.”

    Read what the ‘Carnegie Institution’ says Andrewo

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100503161435.htm

    Trees and other plants help keep the planet cool, but rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are turning down this global air conditioner. According to a new study by researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science, in some regions more than a quarter of the warming from increased carbon dioxide is due to its direct impact on vegetation.

  5. Afewknowthetruth says:

    You are right, Martyn.

    Carbon neutrality is incompatible with maintaining industrial civilisation. Everything in industrial civilisation is dependent on burning fossil fuels and increasing the CO2 burden.

    What we do not know is how many positive feedback loops have been triggered, and how much the meltdown of the planet will accelerate between now and 2030. The extraordinarily low ice cover at both ends of the planet suggests ‘we’ will be in deep shit long before 2030.

    Interestingly, NZ agriculture could be in deep shit in a matter of months:

    https://www.niwa.co.nz/climate/daily-climate-maps

    And towns and cities don’t function at all well without tap water.

    Until the shit does hit the fan, I’m sure we can rely on politicians and bureaucrats to continue sacrifice the future in order to temporarily prop up present living arrangements.

  6. Christine says:

    I am sure you are right, Martyn. Some scientists believe we have already reached tipping point. Unfortunately, Bill English may have also been right when he was electioneering down the West Coast and said that NZ’ers aren’t interested in climate change.

    English may be opposed to McDonald’s workers being educated, but we very much need a better educated society.

  7. Johnnybg says:

    Exactly right, meaningless do as I say not do as I do green wash. Our only hope is too gradually disentangle our nation from our dependence on the wider world for our survival. We don’t need the mountains of useless stuff that we import to appease our consumer addicted populace. If we’re smart & genuinely committed to a more environmentally sustainable future, then we should lead by example by unilaterally forging our own unique path towards self sufficiency, real independence & post-globalalisation nationhood.

  8. Greg #56 says:

    I see those failed, millennial, end-of-the-world prophecies are still flying about in 2017. Thought we’d all grown up and moved on from those scary, nightmare, childhood bedtime stories…

    Of the 400 ppm atmospheric CO₂ – i.e. 0.04% – a mere 4% of that is ours, or human-produced, which comes to the grand total of 0.0016% – not very much in the scheme of things. Maybe we should be more concerned about, oh, I don’t know, maybe oxygen, which makes up 21% of the atmosphere: apart from oxidising it also burns.

    And as for GHG, why aren’t concerned worriers calling for the banishment of the most prolific and powerful of gases, namely H₂O as water vapour, which makes up 95% (or thereabouts) of the atmosphere. Room, meet elephant.

    • Nitrium Nitrium says:

      The argument is that we don’t produce H₂O, but do produce CO₂. The flawed climate models (that have yet to make a correct prediction) assume that the current warming is entirely (or very nearly so) attributable to human CO₂ emissions. The very slight increase in warming that human CO₂ emissions have (supposedly) produced has resulted in a feedback loop that has massively increased water vapour and and methane (from thawing permafrost) levels further increasing warming. Rinse and repeat. None of it stands up to scrutiny (or reality), let alone models that actually accurately model the climate, and scientists have even had to reduce themselves to doctoring climate data to make there patented top secret (these models are entirely kept behind closed doors and not open to analysis from anyone who isn’t invested in said model) climate models “fit”.
      https://thsresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/ef-gast-data-research-report-062717.pdf

    • Marc says:

      “namely H₂O as water vapour, which makes up 95% (or thereabouts) of the atmosphere”

      Oh really?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth

      Another keyboard ‘scientist’, I note.

      • Nitrium Nitrium says:

        He very obviously meant “greenhouse gas”, not “atmosphere” (your sort of pedantic internet nitpicking just wastes everyone’s time and doesn’t further the debate). That said, he’s still very much wrong regardless (even though imo his overall point is valid):
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas#Impacts_on_the_overall_greenhouse_effect

        • Greg #56 says:

          Thank you, Nitrium, for reading and comprehending my third paragraph, the one which begins, “And as for GHG…” How a ‘trace’ gas – not much of it and the planet could do with more, like it had eons ago – which is essential to the web of life, has been demonised as a ‘pollutant’ shows that some people still don’t comprehend high-school-level science.

          And as you say, those billion-dollar climate models just somehow forgot to take into account ‘clouds’, how they are formed, how they affect temperature (day & night) and how the ocean affects their growth and decay. Clouds are, of course, water vapour – the most potent and dominant ‘greenhouse’ gas of ’em all. “That said, he’s still very much wrong regardless (even though imo his overall point is valid):” Huh? As Neil from The Young Ones would say: That’s a negative reality inversion, man.

          P.S. Anyone checked a long-range weather forecast lately for NZ? Looks like we’re in for (another) White Christmas down on the Mainland with snow to 1,200 metres Monday/Tuesday with over half-a-metre in the Aoraki/Mt Cook region by Boxing Day. Oops – there goes another theory.

          • CLEANGREEN says:

            GREG #56
            How come you didn’t read and comment on this “substitution reaction” discussion on physics my learned friend as you was partly there then?

            You was mentioning some ‘reactant atoms’ below which coincides with my references on “Substitution reaction”

            GREG #56 – The trouble is clearly that we dont know the full impacts of mixing the different molicules and atoms together as AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH said in his statement clearly says correctly also Quote; “Removing large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a short time is chemically impossible. (It’s all to do with bond energies, entropy and enthalpy, the foundation of chemical reactivity.)”

            Your statement here was o/k.

            “oh, I don’t know, maybe oxygen, which makes up 21% of the atmosphere: apart from oxidising it also burns.”

          • let me be frank says:

            “And as you say, those billion-dollar climate models just somehow forgot to take into account ‘clouds’, how they are formed, how they affect temperature (day & night) and how the ocean affects their growth and decay.”

            Far from being forgotten, clouds and their type and position are a major source in the spread of temperature variations under the various models,

            “Since the changes in low- and high-level clouds mostly cancelled each other out, the net global effect of the clouds did not differ very much in the warmer climate scenario from that in today’s climate. This scenario differs considerably from what many climate scientists had been assuming in the 1990s. It had been thought that brighter clouds would partly “save” us from significant global warming, by reflecting more energy into space. Instead, these results suggest that clouds are not necessarily the white knight that will rescue us from climate change. Therefore, our society should seriously consider reasonable steps to limit future emissions of greenhouse gases and soot aerosols as part of an overall strategy to reduce air pollution”

            https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/delgenio_03/

            But no need to let the facts get in the way of a convenient theory

          • Afewknowthetruth says:

            ‘Clouds are, of course, water vapour – the most potent and dominant ‘greenhouse’ gas of ’em all.’

            ‘which is essential to the web of life, has been demonised as a ‘pollutant’ shows that some people still don’t comprehend high-school-level science.’

            Well, I’ve seen plenty of ignorance, stupidity and arrogance over the years, but that must be one of the best examples ever!

            Clouds are, of course, droplets of water, formed when water vapour condenses in the lower atmosphere! Simple ‘high-school-level science that climate change deniers cannot cope with (or deliberately choose to ignore.

            The role of clouds is extraordinarily complicated, since during the daytime they reflect light back into space and at nighttime reflect heat that would otherwise escape back towards the ground.

            Recent research indicates the overall effect of clouds is greater heating effect than cooling effect.

            With the oceans rapidly warming as a consequence of elevated atmospheric CO2 levels, more water vapour is being generated now than in the recent past. his additional water vapour loading has two effects: it reinforces the heat trapping effect of CO2; it causes torrential rain episodes and additional snowfall.

            Of course, climate change deniers cite additional snow is indicative of cooling when in fact the reverse is the case, i.e. additional snowfall is indicative of warming!

            As with all ideologically- based arguments, when it comes to climate change denial, it pays to ignore the facts or attempt to misrepresent them! Oil companies and coal companies have been doing it for decades.

  9. Marc says:

    The Green Party is no longer that ‘green’ anymore, and listening to that speech by their youngest PM, Chloe Swarbrick, in Parliament yesterday afternoon, it shows that they are just a weird bunch of mostly well educated urban liberals, munching on carrots and hummus, and thinking that is what does mean something.

    While I would not discredit them totally, and think they actually are well meaning, they have as a parliamentary party become victims of the powers that run and control the system.

    Trying to ‘convince’ the public by fronting MSM on crap programs that only reinforce the bias the largely urban based middle class has, by offering slogans that sound nice, but nothing of substance, and by compromising on so much, they will inevitably become part of the furniture in the house of the establishment, and can be removed once considered ‘out of fashion’.

    Only a new and grass root based, a principled green movement outside of Parliament, can bring us back to basics, and to effective pressuring of those in power, and of industry and so forth, to address the formidable challenges there are.

  10. Afewknowthetruth says:

    I see the climate change deniers continue to regurgitate tired old arguments that do not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

    This graph says it all:

    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/wp-content/plugins/sio-bluemoon/graphs/co2_800k.png

    Currently atmospheric CO2 is 170 ppm above the 800,000 year average. And the oceans have never been hotter than now over that 800,000 year period.

    The plan is to keep burning fossil the fuels that are at the heart of our collective predicament. And the reason for that is because banks and corporations rule the world. Profits before people: it has been that way for centuries. The big difference between now and previous times is that we are witnessing planetary meltdown.

    2018 is surely going to be very ‘interesting’.

  11. let me be frank says:

    believe you have knocked 20 years off the current governments goal….though in looking for a relevant link I discovered you have added 10 years to a previous goal.

    Progress by regression?

    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/10/20/jacinda-ardern-commits-new-zealand-zero-carbon-2050/

    http://www.sciencealert.com/new-zealand-carbon-neutral-by-2020

  12. The Masked Moa says:

    I agree it is a completely redundant focus for the local and global environment. Firstly, because the climate science is all wrong anyway as increasing CO2 is not the primary factor responsible for the increasing disruptive weather patterns being observed it is the sun and the decreasing magnetic shield of the earth letting in more electromagnetic energy (further details here: http://earthchanges.org).

    Secondly, I agree on one thing with George Monbiot that the destruction of insect, animal and plant life by human created toxins particularly agriculture and pesticides is the #1 environmental threat to all life on the planet – see more on Insectageddon here:(https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/20/insectageddon-farming-catastrophe-climate-breakdown-insect-populations)

    Why dont the Greens get this given that the original environmental movement was driven by pesticide poisoning by DDT which created the organic farming movement. But nary a word on organics now in government? This is what you get when a banker is planted at the head of the Green party. Someone whose job is to finish what Enron started with the carbon trading scam? Shaw has to get with the programme or his leadership needs to be terminated.

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      ‘CO2 is not the primary factor responsible for the increasing disruptive weather patterns being observed it is the sun’

      That tired old argument regurgitated again and again.

      The variation in the Sun’s output is of the order of one part in 1366.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle

      On the other hand, atmospheric CO2, at 407 ppm, is now around 180 ppm above the long term average [of 230 ppm]and nearly 130 ppm above the highest peak value [280 ppm] in the 800,000 year record prior to the commencement of mass burning of fossil fuels.

      Go figure which is the more significant.

      • The Masked Moa says:

        Its not about Total Solar Irradiance levels a red herring if ever there was one. Check this out if you want to know where the real science is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJrsRQF4BcI&feature=share
        But will you dare to open your mind to all the science?

      • Nitrium Nitrium says:

        That said, now explain why and how it has hit at least 4,000 ppm (10x your Doomsday figure) before and the world not only didn’t end, but thrived?

        • I don’t think anyone’s talking of asteroid-impact style, literal world-ending, Nitrium. But it will impact heavily on our civilisation. Not just climate/drought/fire wise – but as nations struggle for resources and millions are displaced from ever-increasingly flooded coastal regions. The blow to our economy and to peace will be incalculable.

        • Marc says:

          Perhaps have a read of this:

          http://www.climatecentral.org/news/the-last-time-co2-was-this-high-humans-didnt-exist-15938

          https://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-higher-in-past.htm

          https://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=77

          In that world that ‘thrived’ according to your comment, there were NO humans, CO2 is of course not the only gas affecting climate, and during human history on this planet it has never been as high.

          Ancient ages of the world may have been comfortable homes for crustacean beings, later for dinosaurs, but for humans? I doubt it.

          • Afewknowthetruth says:

            What those who try to deny the obvious conveniently forget is that all the crops that feed the world are adapted to low atmospheric CO2, i.e. less than 400 ppm, and are also adapted to the climate conditions that accompany below 400 ppm CO2.

            Nobody knows how this will play out exactly but the climate change denier argument that ‘CO2 is a nutrient’ has been well and truly demolished by research that demonstrates crop yields fall with rising atmospheric CO2 not only because of the effect on the number and activity of the stomata in leaves but also because the weather changes so unpredictably.

            Interestingly, the US drought monitor shows just how awful growing conditions are in the US these days, with about 50% of the land mass in drought and several major grain-growing regions experiencing severe drought:

            http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

            • John W says:

              And a large chunk of cropping in the US relies on the use of ground water some of which is drawn from aquifers thousands of years in the making.

  13. The Masked Moa says:

    The problem is correlation is not causation and a holistic look at all factors that drive the natural fluctuating weather patterns over geological timeframes need to be taken into account leaving the sun as the primary driver of weather and climate change through multiple feedback mechanisms on our planet not inert gases: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ew05sRDAcU

    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      Actually, the prime drivers of climatic changes in the past were orbital factors -the elliptical orbit of the Earth and the precession of the wobble of the axis, and extreme volcanism.

      In particular, note the Permian Extinction Event, which is attributed to the great increase in atmospheric CO2 (plus the feedbacks that induced) associated with large-scale volcanism.

      ‘The flood basalt eruptions that produced the Siberian Traps constituted one of the largest known volcanic events on Earth and covered over 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi) with lava.[109][110][111] The date of the Siberian Traps eruptions and the extinction event are in good agreement.[22][112]’

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian–Triassic_extinction_event

      Industrial humans are destabilizing geochemistry at a rate far faster than occurred during such great extinction events, and will pay the price for their extraordinary stupidity and greed in a matter of a few decades.

  14. Andrea says:

    When a bunch of venal evils decided to initiate ‘carbon trading’ that let the big folks continue polluting and trading – power was taken from the people.

    Hobbits or otherwise, if there’s no way of joining the game – why bother? If it’s too dear to ditch the old petrol car we’ll have to stick with it, however dire. (Which it shouldn’t be. Corporate welfare is easily pre-empted by the need to bring our bingeing under control. Let’s make El Cheapo vehicles using safe fuel that any low-income or fixed income person can afford without taking out a loan at all. Of course we can do it.)

    Carbon neutral – alternative power, different lifestyles, the end of dark roofs and roads and high-heat cityscapes. The introduction of high-tech composting toilets instead of creaky water-wasting sewage ‘systems’.

    Green walls and multi-level food production units. Sail and solar powered shipping (it’s already here and being used. Let’s get the long-haul trucks off the roads, PDQ.)

    A total and irrevocable end to the ‘go forth and multiply’ memo issued to ‘the faithful believers’ of several overly prolific religions.

    A toal ban on the clearance of old forests (which capture more carbon than young ones). And keep planting. Reduce the desserts.

    Fundamentally – really fundamentally – repeated assessments of the manmade ‘economic models’ that have driven this insanity in the first place. Consumerism and other foulnesses. With a view to wiping its evil from the world. (Don’t bother with the BS about ‘lifting more people out of poverty’ – a simple rising to become yet another debt and wage slave is rarely in the best interests of anyone.)

    Include the Third World people – particularly women because they are the farmers and food growers. The ones who walk miles for firewood and water. The majority in the refugee camps. The people who bear children. The sex at the bottom of the list, generally.

    Some blokes, of course. Just not the ones who are over-awed by power, money, reflected status. The sort who rush to give their names when America threatens. Not them, nor their ilk.

    Get practical. Start massively funding science, design, engineering, agricultural/horticultural adaption – and take that economic dog out the back, and don’t bring it back. Ever.

    And stop the war-sport. Absolutely. Thickos playing for short-term advantage. No white utes, and no materiel. Either play sport or make your own weapons from rocks and bones – and leave the civilians alone. Stop the forced migration of people who need stability to adapt to changes.

    Trusting in the power of Us, we, the people – and give us action to take, feedback we can use.

    (Just – don’t let the Greens too near. They’re big proponents of the Conservation religion and that’s too flabby for the task ahead.)

  15. david llewellin says:

    I hope the readers of this article will read it critically and wonder about your sources. I am not saying that you do not have sources; I am not even saying that these things you say will not happen, but the truth is that no one really knows how fast and how bad. All that is known is that it is a serious and urgent problem. The photo of Manhatten: is this supposed to also be a vision of 2030? If so I think it is a bit extreme! 2100? Yes. Isn’t it funny how any article about climate change now brings out a lot of lay experts on the topic, and on both sides still?!

  16. Afewknowthetruth says:

    Robert Scribbler’s commentary on the dire situation in California makes somber reading because it is indicative of what will be experienced in many parts of the world in the near future, now that climate stability has been ruined by the staggeringly high CO2 burden that is a consequence of industrialism.

    ‘If there is one thing we know about climate change and weather it is that it promotes extremes. Particularly extreme swings between cooler+wet and record hot+dry as the water cycle is thrown through the atmospheric equivalent of a hyperloop. And the level of extremity California experienced from winter to summer ran a six month race from wettest to hottest. For following the early year deluge, 2017 rapidly rocketed into the hottest summer in California history. Temperatures in many places regularly soared to well above the scorching 100 degree mark. Records for all-time hottest days fell like trees before the wild hurricane.’

    Toasted — California’s 2017 Foreshadowing of the Monster Fires to Come

    https://robertscribbler.com/2017/12/22/toasted-californias-2017-foreshadowing-of-the-monster-fires-to-come/

  17. Pat O'Dea says:

    Kicking the can down the road

    Carbon neutral by 2030?

    Aspirational?

    Much like the last government’s Predator Free by 2050 “Aspirational policy”?

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/govt-seeking-business-and-philanthropic-boost-predator-free-policy-b-192080

    Or the last government’s “very aspirational target” for moving people off benefits.

    http:/www.voxy.co.nz/politics/5/257068

    “Mr Aspiration”

    http://www.noted.co.nz/archive/listener-nz-2006/mister-aspiration/

    Carbon neutral by 2030 is a meaningless aspiration. Kicking the can down the road, leaving action to some future administration, so that the current Ardern administration doesn’t have to do anything about climate change in the here and now?

    12 years from now, will this administration still be in office?

    Will Jacinda Ardern still be Prime Minister?

    The answer to the first is, unlikely. The answer to the second is no.

    Jacinda Ardern said “This is my generation’s nuclear-free moment”

    If Ardern wants to take any action on climate change her only chance is to act now.

    Carbon neutral by 2030, is great. We don’t have to do anything, we don’t have to stop deep sea oil drilling, fracking can continue, we can even approve the opening of new coal mines.

    Carbon neutral in 2030, is wonderful, we don’t have the dreadful prospect of having to face down the terrible and wrathful power of the fossil fuel lobby.

    What if David Lange had said in 1984 that my administration wants New Zealand to be Nuclear Free in 12 years, in the meantime this administration will be allowing nuclear powered and armed warships into our ports.

    Deep sea oil drilling vessels, are this generations nuclear warships. New Coal mines are this generations Nuclear reactors. Allowing fracking is the equivalent of hosting ICBMs on New Zealand soil.

    What if Winston Churchill said in 1939 we will make Europe free of Fascism by 1951?

    Real leaders don’t set meaningless deadlines. They take action.

    Allowing deep sea oil drilling and fracking, and allowing new coal mines to be opened is like allowing Germany to invade Poland.

    Britain did not give Germany a deadline of 12 years to withdraw from Poland they gave them 2 hours.

    The Second World War caused 60 million deaths. The projected human death toll for World War Three was projected to be between 100 million and a billion depending on who you ask.

    https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/world-war-three-estimated-death-tolls.226670/

    The death toll from climate change is comparable. to global thermo-nuclear war.

    The projected death toll from climate change by 2030, (yes the deadline for New Zealand to be Carbon Neutral), is a 100 million.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/climate-change-deaths_n_1915365.html

    From 2030 onward the death toll according to UN WHO figures;

    Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/en/

    And this is not to mention the destruction wrought on the natural world, like the Great Barrier Reef.

    Doesn’t death and destruction on this scale warrant a Churchillian or even Lange like response?

    Rather than some meaningless deadline?

    Chamberlain or Churchill?

    Aspiration, or action?

    No NEW COAL MINES

    NO FRACKING

    NO DEEP SEA OIL DRILLING

    No compromise.

  18. Pat O'Dea says:

    You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

    Winston Churchill – May 13, 1940

    According to a paper published in the journal Palaeoworld, volcanic eruptions pumped large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, causing average temperatures to rise by eight to 11°C.

    This melted vast amounts of methane that had been trapped in the permafrost and sea floor, causing temperatures to soar even further to levels “lethal to most life on land and in the oceans”.

    “Based on measurements of gases trapped in [the mineral] calcite, the release of methane … is deemed the ultimate source and cause for the dramatic life-changing global warming … observed at the end Permian.

    “Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate [its frozen state] may be apocalyptic.

    The paper said the average global temperature would have reached “well above 29°C”. Today’s average is about 15°C.

    “The emission of carbon dioxide from volcanic deposits may have started the world onto the road of mass extinction, but it was the release of methane from shelf sediments and permafrost hydrates that was the ultimate cause for the catastrophic biotic event at the end Permian,” the researchers added.

    Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, suggested a major methane pulse was possible.

    However he said this would be “maybe not apocalyptic, but catastrophic”.

    “If there were a large methane release, which is now possible because of the instability of the methane hydrates underneath the Arctic continental shelves, the off-shore waters, that could quite easily give rise to a very large pulse,” Professor Wadhams said.

    He was one of the authors of a paper in the journal Nature, which suggested it was possible for a truly vast amount of frozen methane to be released over just 10 years – a blink of an eye in geological terms.

    “We were concerned if there were a 50 gigatonne release, about eight per cent of the methane in the hydrates, that would give an immediate 0.6°C of global warming, which is a very large pulse indeed,” Professor Wadhams said.

    “That modern threat is very real and very serious and has been disregarded a lot by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change … I feel strongly about it.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/earth-permian-mass-extinction-apocalypse-warning-climate-change-frozen-methane-a7648006.html

    • Pat O'Dea says:

      “New Zealand is a small emitter by world standards – only emitting some 0.2% of global green house gases. So anything we do as a nation will have little impact on the climate – our impact will be symbolic, moral, and political”

      Sir Peter Gluckman Chief Science adviser to Prime Minister Key

      http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/climate-change/

      Carbon neutral by 2030 is neither symbolic, or moral.

      It might be political, but not in the sense the good professor meant of giving a political lead.

      Not while this government continues to frack the land and drill the deep sea and other extreme unconventional fossil fuel extraction while opening new coal mines.

      It is a very sad joke on us all.

      • Sam Sam says:

        People love the Wikipedia is irrelevant meme and I love citing wiki as a source of information because I know it kind of annoys denial mentalities. That said lets see what wiki has to say about climate finance.

        “According to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment Report 2011, investments in renewable energy in 2010 reached a record of USD 211 billion (not including large hydropower).[6] These amounts far exceed existing dedicated resources and those proposed under the developed world at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Cancún Agreements.”- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_Finance

        This is one of my favorite feature of capitalism is how there are always solutions to fundamental problems, they’re just “Not economically viable yet” but they will be, and they’ll get here in time because there’s so much capital.

        Any second now…

        Or to put it another way. The government must take control of the situation. It’s also rather laughably inefficient one when capitalism is used all by itself, and will result in tons of duplicate efforts and wasted time and resources on redundancies throughout, with a high chance of failure due to not making any use of efficiencies of scale. It could be nothing more than an unfocused, uncoordinated, chaotic mess reminiscent of the Iraq wars and that’s not something that cannot be afforded with the sale and the stakes in play. Again, nobody ever thought that finance would be a good solution for problems that ‘appear’ small and trifling compared to, like fighting an industrial nation-scale war against peer opponents.

        To put this into context The American Empire spent USD$7tln on the Middle East vs USD$210bln. And it’s a few guys who are all mates of the Koch brothers that are maintaining this imbalance. The Koch brothers just finished receiving about $2bln worth of tax cuts and I expect that U.S macro tailwind to show up in political donations over the next 2 years and some how every one else is going to have to match that.

  19. 44 south says:

    The reason why this predicament, this situation, is only going to be a “worst case scenario”, is demonstrated by this very article.
    Still fucking arguing and proposing at this point in time, and not one word about LAND!
    All that ever needed to be done to solve this problem, maybe even now, was for every one to go home and STAY there.
    How many of you could actually do that?
    No political party ever mentions land reform. We are fucked. Get ready to die. And “sooner than expected”.

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      Yes. Stay home. And produce food and make things by hand at home. And if you need to go somewhere, walk or cycle.

      As you suggest, ‘no one’ is going to do that, especially in ‘advanced’ industrial societies..

      And, of course, frugality and conservation are the last things the government wants when it is operating a consumption-based economy, even if melting the planet is the price for the gross overconsumption that characterises industrial nations.

      It is still not clear whether ‘we are fucked’. We probably are. Our grandchildren definitely are.

      December 23, 2017 407.09 ppm NOAA-ESRL

      December 23, 2016 404.89 ppm NOAA-ESRL

      Antarctic sea ice cover continues to track the lowest ever, and the undercutting of the major ice sheets continues, decreasing the albedo and increasing the rate of absorption of solar energy.

    • Pat O'Dea says:

      So how can we change?

      The missing ingredient is leadership.

      As individuals human beings are one of the most useless and feeble creatures on the planet.

      The secret to humanity’s success, is our ability to cooperate and work together.

      Think about it; there is nothing really worth doing, or at least doing well, that doesn’t require team work. Whether it is building a house, or a road, or crossing an ocean.

      Teamwork is what makes us great.

      It is important to note, that at the heart of every team of human beings engaged in any worthwhile work or project, (and at the service of that team) is a leader or leaders. It is an inescapable fact that human teamwork requires leadership.

      This is why COP21 and all the other global climate change meetings before it, that have tried to get a global consensus to act on climate change, have failed and will continue to fail. Because that is not how change happens.

      Change happens when one country, or even one influential person or group of persons, in that country decide to take the lead and set an example. They don’t wait until they get a global consensus to act, they just act. And by their actions challenge all the other nations and governments and peoples to follow.

      Winston Churchill, who I mentioned above, is a case study in leadership. When all major countries in the world were preparing to make their peace with the Nazis, he refused to go along with the consensus, even with his own country’s government, that England should make peace with Germany.

      What we need is a climate change Churchill.

      Saying we are going to be carbon neutral by 2030 is not leadership it is following.

      Cancelling all deep sea oil drilling concessions is leadership.

      Banning fracking is leadership.

      Stopping the development of new coal mines is leadership.

      These are the sort of things that will make the world sit up and take notice.

      Saying that this country will be carbon neutral by 2030 is as pointless as it is defeatist, it is an admission that we can’t or won’t do anything meaningful about climate change in the present.

      We need to start decarbonising the country right now.

      And yes it will be hard, but whatever the hardship, without victory their can be no survival. (You know who).

      New Zealand’s total Green House Gas emissions from all sources is 0.2% of the world’s total.

      New Zealand’s top scientist advising the last government writing about climate change on the government website, wrote New Zealand’s greatest contribution to fighting climate change, will be by setting an example.

      That needs to begin right now.

      • Afewknowthetruth says:

        ‘Change happens when one country, or even one influential person or group of persons, in that country decide to take the lead and set an example. They don’t wait until they get a global consensus to act, they just act.’

        There have been plenty of individuals in NZ who have lead by example. The problem is, their leadership and examples have been systematically sabotaged by the media, by city, district and regional councils, and by the government -whichever party has been in power.

        What is so dismal is that local authorities are prepared to breach Government Statutes to promote business-as-usual. Indeed, council officers are extremely enthusiastic about breaching Government Statutes……and there is not a thing to be done because councils there are no mechanisms for challenging idiotic policies and councils are ‘above the law’.

        The essential truth about our dire predicament challenges business-as-usual. And nothing is allowed to challenge growth-based business as usual. The bulk of the populace has been carefully trained from a young age to believe in absolute bullshit: so they do.

        There will be massive change via collapse very soon, because industrial civilization consumes or destroys everything it needs to exist. We are just not certain about is the exact timing of the collapse, which will occur some time over 2020 to 2030, but almost certainly commencing 2018.

        About 0.1% of the populace is prepared.
        .

        • Pat O'Dea says:

          PAT O’DEA says:

          ‘Change happens when one country, or even one influential person or group of persons, in that country decide to take the lead and set an example. They don’t wait until they get a global consensus to act, they just act.’

          AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH says:

          There have been plenty of individuals in NZ who have lead by example. The problem is, their leadership and examples have been systematically sabotaged by the media, by city, district and regional councils, and by the government -whichever party has been in power.

          The dance between leadership and people is a subtle one, (especially in a democracy). First of all, to be a leader you have to have a mandate, secondly you can’t exceed that mandate. (Well not by much anyway).

          What I mean by this, is that real leaders, (it sorta goes without saying), have to be out in front, but our leaders can’t be so far out in front that they risk getting out on a limb and becoming isolated. (Think John A. Lee).

          You see the conundrum?

          So how do we overcome this impasse?

          As I have pointed out in my above comments, real effective action is collective action and collective action needs leadership. But it is a two way street, from the bottom up and then back down.

          Grass roots activists have a role, in that we can build a movement for change that can end in a sea change in public perception, in which our political leaders can go a bit further out in front than they would otherwise be able to.

          The anti-nuclear movement showed that there has to be a conveyor belt between the elected parliamentary executive and the movement. Protests are good, but on their own are not enough. For instance the anti-nuclear movement brought out thousands on the streets and on the water against nuclear ship visits but what cemented their victory was legislation in the house. Neither protest on the streets and harbours on their own would have been enough, just as legislating in the house in isolation would have been successful or effective enough.

          So how do we, (I mean the sort of activists who read this blog), build a movement for action against climate change?

          It is my opinion that we have to pick a target and a realisable goal to build a movement around.

          Every political movement must have a realistically achievable concrete real world goal, and success breeds success.

          In the New Zealand anti-nuclear war movement, the target was nuclear ship visits. The goal was to make New Zealand nuclear weapons free as an example to the world. (Forget that Lange said our nuclear free policy was not for export, As far as we were concerned that was the whole point).

          Not to be to obtuse about it, I think we should choose coal mining as our target. The goal; to stop all new coal mines. This to my mind is an achievable real world goal.

          The struggle against the development and opening of new coal mines will be the polarising issue just like nuclear ship visits were, one that we can realistically build a movement around. Hopefully this movement will create the political space where our leaders and legislators can act to ban all new coal mines.

          New-coal Free NZ

          This will be no small thing, it would be a world first. It would be statement to the world that New Zealand takes the threat of climate change seriously. More importantly it would be an example to Australia, which unlike New Zealand is a major coal producer and which is currently preparing to build the biggest new coal mine in the world. A victory against coal in this country, would give a big moral boost to the Australian climate change activists opposed to the construction of the Adani Coal Mine, while demoralising and isolating the supporters of the coal mine, especially the coal mine investors. A victory against coal will be our our climate change Al Alamein, that will make other victories possible.

          As Churchill said; “Before Al Alamein we never had a victory, after Al Alamein we never had a defeat.”

          http://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/11/15/video-palau-raise-adani-coal-mine-australia/

  20. Otto Mann says:

    Climate change deniers are a valuable asset. They will be the ones to buy coastal properties as people sell up and escape rising sea levels and storm surges.

  21. John W says:

    Climate change is connected with pollution, but one of the five significant considerations about the changes humans have wrought to the planet.

    Population – we have overshot

    Pollution – we have overshot

    Food supply – we are on a plateau just passed peak and soil fertility is declining rapidly.

    Industrialisation – close to peak before a steep decline

    Non Renewable Natural resources – Three quarters of all available in 1800 have been squandered at an increasing rate and just the hard to get stuff left.

    NRNRs are the big one there is no answer for.

    If we lived as before 1800 it would be hard as the resources have been squandered since. But there is no other likely path.

    Warming, ocean acidification and poisoning of the biosphere make survival in numbers extremely unlikely.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

  22. e-clectic says:

    OMG – are we moving from denial to anger?

  23. Greg #56 says:

    As Saint Cindy would say, what a great “conversation”. Meanwhile:

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/347099/cold-snap-to-bring-snow-heavy-rain-and-gales

    “Freezing levels are low, so it will be snowing on all the higher parts of the ranges, especially Ruapehu. Waiouru this morning got down to one degree”.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11966327

    “Who asked for a white Xmas? We received snow today. Sorry for picture quality we have turned off our camera heating as its meant to be summer? ” [sic] Mt Hutt farcebook page, 27 Dec 2017.

    Today is the 5th consecutive day of snow falling across Aotearoa NZ. That heat-trapping quality of the trace gas, CO₂, aka the miracle gas of life and/or ‘pollution’, appears to have taken a holiday. Happy New Year’s Day to one and all – and please, try to stay warm (if you can afford it).

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      Yes indeed Greg, we are now suffering severe weather instability as a consequence of the highly elevated (407 ppm) atmospheric CO2 level.

      There is now much evidence that Arctic amplification (the greater warming that occurs in the polar region) has disturbed the thermal gradient and caused the jet streams to be severely weakened. That weakening (identified and characterized by Doctor Jenifer Francis back in 2011) has now ‘buggered’ the jet streams to the point they no longer circulate the world as they did, but form loops that drag very cold air into temperate regions.

      Interestingly (or should we say scarily?) many regions of NZ have experienced an extraordinarily wet winter-spring, followed by an extraordinarily dry start to the summer. And now, as you say, an extraordinarily cold snap, as air from the deep south gets dragged across the country.

      No doubt, as a climate science denier, you will be looking forward to the complete breakdown of all long-standing climate system, and will be looking forward to the collapse of the economy and the collapse of the food supply that is an inevitable consequence of the massive planetary overheating we are now witnessing.

      I guess you will also be looking forward to the massive sea level rise that will make vast amounts of property around the world valueless as the ocean inexorably expand due to the ever-increasing heat content, plus the actual ice melt contributing to multi-metre rise.

      I guess you will be looking forward to more ancient forests going up in smoke at an ever-faster pace, as normal climate burns away and chaos reigns:

      https://www.nationalobserver.com/2017/12/23/analysis/californias-thomas-fire-torches-record-books-normal-climate-burns-away

    • let me be frank says:

      Im looking at Mt Hutt right now and hoping like hell it snows on all the surrounding mountains so the melt will irrigate the parched land on the plains below…and no sign of white capped peaks to be seen….just more clear blue skies and sunshine.