Why being Carbon Neutral in 2050 is meaningless sophistry and the Greens go a lighter shade of lime

By   /   June 8, 2018  /   30 Comments

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The Greens are going a lighter shade of Lime by once again allowing the Farming Industry off the hook by not including methane in the climate change emissions.

The Greens are going a lighter shade of Lime by once again allowing the Farming Industry off the hook by not including methane in the climate change emissions.

This is bullshit.

Yes Methane doesn’t have the life of carbon, but it’s over 20 times more potent at holding heat, so a small spike of methane can have huge impacts on the planet. Leaving methane out is such a spineless move by the Greens and is further proof that while they can do identity politics until they have arrested everyone for micro-aggressions, they will fold on actual environmental policy if it spooks industry.

Methane is now becoming the new danger front on climate change. The huge amounts of frozen methane on the bottom of warming oceans and the methane that is pouring out of the permafrost all look like tipping point events that once embarked upon we can’t do anything to stop.

The Greens, who know this, are using environmentalism to get elected but aren’t prepared to be radical enough to do the things that must be done, and this isn’t the first example.

Take the new Government’s much vaunted decision to ban future oil exploration rights. The decision does sweet fuck all for the here and now, they are just vacant promises made in the future sometime which can be easily reversed.

Look at the pure sophistry of their plans to make NZ carbon neutral by 2050.

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 2050 NZ might be carbon neutral.

Yay!

See, when you actually compare what the planet will look like by 2030, being carbon neutral by 2050 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 and that is most apparent with the Greens.

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

A Socialist Green Aotearoa Party would have an economic solution to this.

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30 Comments

  1. Marc says:

    Well, did you seriously expect something more determined and radical? We have a government that does some nice talking, but little real walking the talk.

    It is after all still a neoliberal light compromise government, as they fear the fury of the vested interest holding groups in business, that includes farming, horticulture, fisheries also.

    Those sectors prefer a few tweaks, but no turnaround from business as usual, as they are hooked to ‘growth’ and what they invested in.

    Even most city dwellers are hooked to unsustainable life styles, tell the many car drivers to go and cycle to work, you will have a revolt at your hands, by those angry middle class convenience citizens, they will not separate from their combustion powered cars any time soon, they love their cars, and want to drive everywhere, rather than walk, cycle, catch the bus or so.

    By the way, some new research shows that methane may not deserve to be treated the same as CO2:

    ‘ Climate researchers argue for new way to treat methane’
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12064270

    I wonder who funded that research, and how peer reviews comment on it?

    More on methane and research about it:
    https://theconversation.com/global/topics/methane-1208

    • ray says:

      The methane that breaks down yields CO2 and water vapor. It’s a double whammy, not the “short lived” earth heater (actually a triple whammy considering ozone depletion). Even worse, the breakdown water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas, so a quadruple whammy. From wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane):

      Troposphere
      The most effective sink of atmospheric methane is the hydroxyl radical in the troposphere, or the lowest portion of Earth’s atmosphere. As methane rises into the air, it reacts with the hydroxyl radical to create water vapor and carbon dioxide. The lifespan of methane in the atmosphere was estimated at 9.6 years as of 2001; however, increasing emissions of methane over time reduce the concentration of the hydroxyl radical in the atmosphere.[38] With less OH˚ to react with, the lifespan of methane could also increase, resulting in greater concentrations of atmospheric methane.[68]
      Stratosphere
      If it is not destroyed in the troposphere, methane will last approximately 120 years before it is eventually destroyed in Earth’s next atmospheric layer: the stratosphere. Destruction in the stratosphere occurs the same way that it does in the troposphere: methane is oxidized to produce carbon dioxide and water vapor. Based on balloon-borne measurements since 1978, the abundance of stratospheric methane has increased by 13.4%±3.6% between 1978 and 2003.[69]
      Reaction with free chlorine
      Methane also reacts with natural chlorine gas in the atmosphere to produce chloromethane and hydrochloric acid (HCl). This process is known as free radical halogenations.[70]
      CH4 + Cl2 → CH3Cl + HCl
      The HCl produced in this reaction leads to catalytic ozone destruction in the stratosphere.[69]
      Studies show that water vapor feedback roughly doubles the amount of warming caused by CO2. So if there is a 1°C change caused by CO2, the water vapor will cause the temperature to go up another 1°C. When other feedback loops are included, the total warming from a potential 1°C change caused by CO2 is, in reality, as much as 3°C

  2. Marc says:

    Climate change will be irreversible for centuries at least:

    https://theconversation.com/if-we-stopped-emitting-greenhouse-gases-right-now-would-we-stop-climate-change-78882

    “Best of the worst-case scenarios

    In any event, it’s not possible to stop emitting carbon dioxide right now. Despite significant advances in renewable energy sources, total demand for energy accelerates and carbon dioxide emissions increase. As a professor of climate and space sciences, I teach my students they need to plan for a world 4℃ warmer. A 2011 report from the International Energy Agency states that if we don’t get off our current path, then we’re looking at an Earth 6℃ warmer. Even now after the Paris Agreement, the trajectory is essentially the same. It’s hard to say we’re on a new path until we see a peak and then a downturn in carbon emissions. With the approximately 1℃ of warming we’ve already seen, the observed changes are already disturbing.”

    If any person is serious about stopping CO2 and similar gas emissions a.s.a.p., perhaps go and smash your own and your neighbours’ cars to bits now, that is all the combustion engine ones, to set A SIGNAL. But then, prepare to be caught and charged and pulled before a court, and pay a hefty fine, or face even worse.

  3. Tony Veitch (not etc) says:

    Loved the film, Martyn – so so totally out of touch with the realities of a nuclear explosion.

    And we are still living in an unreal perception of events – a perpetual present, where cars become better looking and more fuel efficient, but have no long term effect on climate, where farming, and especially dairying, produces billions of dollars of exports which are shipped all round the world, without affecting the climate balance, where . . .

    Guy MacPherson may have been a bit premature in his time line, but we humans, as a species, are doing our damnedest to destroy the planet. The real tragedy is all the innocent species we’ll take into oblivion with us!

  4. Mjolnir says:

    Methane does indeed have a shorter chemical life than carbon dioxide. It breaks down in the atmosphere to ozone and… carbon dioxide.

    Once the methane in the arctic permafrost is released, that will be disastrous.

  5. let me be frank says:

    our politicians may be flawed but WE (collectively) are the problem

  6. e-clectic says:

    One of (the many) supreme ironies is that apart from tourism the other industry that is dependent upon stable weather and climate is agriculture. Leaving farming out of immediate GHG reduction is ultimately consigning farming to the scrap heap.

  7. Johnnybg says:

    Climate change is a fact of life, always has been, always will be. It’s not about reducing anything, we’re way beyond that. It’s very simple it’s about urgently adapting & surviving. If we don’t, as you said, we’re looking at planet wasteland by 2050. The greens are living in a cosy little 20th century thinking bubble, off with their heads. Far too much consultation, boardroom waffling, keyboard punching, paper waving photo opp’s & hot air; LESS HUI MORE DOEY (clever action & intervention); RADICALS OF OUR NATION UNITE!!

    • Marc says:

      Hah, there are hardly any RADICALS left in this place. Sad fact is that most pay mere lip service to ‘environmental’ aspirations, they are not truly and honestly committed at all.

      It seems much fake activity by vested business interests also, now rushing to get rid of ‘one way plastic bags’, while they replace them with even worse so called ‘compost able plastic bags’ and pay for ’emergency plastic bags’.

      Plastic packaging is still everywhere, and commitments to get rid of them seem as insincere as the plastic bag reductions measures announced.

      Most LOVE their cars, and will not part from combustion engine ones, unless a truly cheaper, just as convenient replacement is on offer.

      So forget any honest effort by NZers when it comes to combating or counter acting ‘global warming’, it is not happening.

      The majority of NZers are great at paying lip service (like many others do in other ‘developed’ countries), somehow there is a great disconnect between what goes on between lips and brain, and between brain and the rest of the body, it seems.

      Run for your lives, forget the ones who cannot and will not make it, that is the approach once the shorelines get flooded.

  8. esoteric pineapples says:

    While I agree wholeheartedly with the view that methane should be included, I don’t get why the Greens are being blamed for this. The last time I looked, it was Labour and NZ First that are the government with the Greens in support. The Greens don’t have much power in the government and have to go along with Labour on a lot of things. I don’t doubt for a moment that if it was a Green lead government, the measures would be tougher, but as things stands, the majority of voters did not vote for any party with a radical (and necessary) approach to climate change. The majority of the public have voted for parties on the expectation that they can have their cake and eat it too. This is the underlying problem. New Zealanders don’t have any back bone for making, or accepting, hard but necessary decisions.

  9. phillip ure says:

    how many of those venting here are still eating animals and their bye-products..?

    here’s a heads-up! for you..

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/08/save-planet-meat-dairy-livestock-food-free-range-steak

    ‘cos if you are still eating animals and their bye-products – you really are just blowing it out of your arses whenever you environmentally-whine/finger-point..eh..?

    how can you not be..?

    and last time i looked none of the green mp’s have switched to a plant-based diet..i think a couple of bye-products still eating is the best they get..

    so that means yes – they also are just blowing it out their arses..

    how can they not be..?

  10. Robert Atack says:

    Methane is now becoming the new danger front on climate change. The huge amounts of frozen methane on the bottom of warming oceans and the methane that is pouring out of the permafrost all look like tipping point events that once embarked upon we can’t do anything to stop.

    Exactly – “we can’t do anything to stop”
    Hence why I keep saying having children is insanity, and cruel to the children, the ones people profess to love.
    And the way the ‘Islams’ are going if it isn’t extinction, it will be burkers and beards all round.
    CH4 could be 150 to 300 times worse than CO2 depending on concentrations, it converts to water vapor way up there, causing more warming, or to CO2.
    According to Natalia Shakhova it is looking like we are about 5 years past ‘any time soon’ for a 50 GT burst = to all the CO2 humans have placed in the atmosphere = extinction ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kx1Jxk6kjbQ
    4.7 c water will sink to the sea floor, melting the plugs to the CH4, in shallow water, it was predicted to be hitting 30C near the top of Russia(?) a couple of days ago. Burp

  11. Robert Atack says:

    Paul Beckwith
    Published on Apr 28, 2017
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKRpoP1s_0k
    Arctic Methane: A Catastrophe in the Making
    Up to 2005, the oceans over the shallow continental shelves in the Russian Arctic (ESAS, Laptev) were ice covered, keeping the -100 meter deep oceans near freezing temperatures.

    Since 2005, the ice cap cover has gone. The water has warmed as high as 17 degrees C there in summer, heating the sea-floor, perforating the permafrost cap, & thawing methane hydrates. Ebulition (bubbling methane) is rising up the water into the atmosphere in ever increasing amounts.

  12. Nitrium Nitrium says:

    By 2030 I predict that none of those doom and gloom events happen because not a single climate model to date has accurately predicted a single thing that is now happening. Unless some serious breakthroughs occur, this legacy of failure will continue into the future. If so, I suspect by 2030 most rationally thinking people will not continue to put a whole lot of faith in any climate model predictions and rather deal with actual changes as they occur (which has served us well enough for 1000’s of years, if global population growth is anything to go by).

    • Sam Sam says:

      I did. What’s your point

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      What a cosy, selfish view of the world you have!

      It is the epitome of ‘I’m alright Jack and bugger those that follow me’ thinking.

      You nasty narrative completely disregards the science, which clearly points out that industrial humans are emitting CO2 at a rate (35+ billion tonnes a year)which is a rate far exceeding that which occurred during the four great Extinction Events that were driven by release of CO2 (when volcanic activity desequestered carbon that had been deposited as oil and coal).

      You predict! What extraordinary arrogance! And on what the basis do you ‘predict’! Your totally unscientific thinking and complete disregard for the science that is readily available to anyone who cares to look?

    • Helena says:

      Serious breakthroughs have been made, Nitrium. This global warming/climate change hype has netted Al Gore…a not so inconvenient billions of dollars.

  13. Andrea says:

    We have volcanoes burping ash, fumes, and lava all over the place. The crust seems quite lively of late. Lots of CO2.

    We have vested interests pleading for help to stay viable – combustion engine makers…
    And we have no real action from at least our government to convert the national vehicle fleet to other forms of fuel. No supplies or suppliers. No converters and trained mechanics. No carrots and sticks to get diesel off the roads. Same old and forever.

    The Greens – thataway. Along the primrose path. ‘Hello clouds!’
    They’d need a massive makeover to return to being an intelligent, well-educated and comprehending party that does more than simply advocate or come up with foolish ‘tax the rich!’ notions.

    The business rich are vital to the propagation of alternative messages and systems and stuff that people WANT to own/use. That’s how they make their livelihoods – and they’re good at it.

    Will the Greens ever be smart enough to see that and start wooing one of the key sections of our society who can influence the buying population? You know – the people who sold us home PCs, laptops, and those evil little devices now clutched in the hands of most.

    First sell us what we want – then sell us what we need. From visionary, across the chasm to the early adopters and then relentlessly into the early mainstream with simpler, cheaper, fancier. Answers that make sense and make change both possible and rapid.

    But can the dear old Greens manage that? Or are they so wedded to their fake socialism that they’ll fail and fall?

  14. Janio says:

    Someone with a name to do with pineapples complained that people would have cake and eat it too. This common saying is ridiculous If you have cake ofcourse you eat it, what else would you do? Let it get stale, grow mildew/fungus and throw it away? Who would that benefit? We need to be serious about this frightening issue (sorry my contribution is relatively trivial).

  15. Peter Bradley says:

    In the end most political problems boil down to economics. All governments depend on economic growth to be able to do anything. Growth is dependent on exports, dairy is our biggest export etc. There is also the fact that most voters are consumers of this industry on a massive scale and may not want horrible facts thrown in their face – see http://www.cowspiracy.com/ for an excellent examination of this dilemma.

  16. Afewknowthetruth says:

    ‘Yes Methane doesn’t have the life of carbon, but it’s over 20 times more potent at holding heat’

    Actually Martyn, although ‘over 20 times’ is true, in 2013 the UNIPCC upgraded the relative warming factor (global warming potential) of methane over 100 years to 34 times that of carbon dioxide.

    And for time scales that matter when discussing sudden releases of methane (such as might occur if methane hydrates are destabilized) the factor is at least 86 times that of CO2.

    GWP values and lifetimes from 2013 IPCC AR5 p714
    (with climate-carbon feedbacks)[8]
    Lifetime (years) 12.4
    GWP
    20 years 86
    100 years 34

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

    Methane that does find its way into the atmosphere is oxidized by free radicals in the atmosphere to carbon dioxide, and in that form exacerbates the CO2 emission predicament.

    The Greens position is unscientific. In other words a load of bollocks.

    On the other hand, Guy McPherson’s ‘all over by 2026’ is also unscientific. A load of bollocks which cause complete rupturing of his movement in 2016.

    In practice, current generations of adults are quite content to sacrifice their children’s/grandchildren’s futures in order to have luxuries for just a little longer, and the meltdown will get ultra serious over the period 2025 to 2040.

    In case anyone missed it, and for the sake of those still in denial, the previously posted link for the US drought monitor, which is going to take a lot to ‘turn around’.

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

  17. Afewknowthetruth says:

    ‘Arctic sea ice extent for May 2018 was 12.2 million square kilometers (4.7 million square miles). This was the second lowest May extent in the 39-year satellite record….’

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  18. Nick J says:

    One huge elephant in the room. Oil as our primary energy source is not being replaced by renewables, they don’t scale. Our economy runs on oil,and when it becomes scarce over the next half century we will scale back economic activity. So whilst Greens have techno fantasies of electro bike futures and Nats think we can grow forever with no consequences the resource availability or lack of will sort this out. Our species in the meantime will burn carbon regardless of risk and damage.

  19. Chris says:

    These clowns are going to let the North Island Main Trunk revert from electric to diesel traction. They say it is a purely a business decision for Kiwirail.

    If they can’t change the behaviour of a publicly owned business how the hell are they going to change the private sector?