Donna Awatere Huata’s Herald Column, the latest Climate Scientist warnings and why radical Green Socialism will become a thing

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The denial that man made pollution is causing unprecedented super heating of the planet, a lie far right hate monger and New Conservative candidate is consistently spreading as part of the alt right rise in NZ…

…is creating a smoke screen of ‘confusion’ being exploited by big polluters who want to keep political apathy from forcing them to change.

Donna Awatere Huata’s Herald Column on the 1st of January is damning of this inaction…

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For future of our species, it’s time to fight

Fast-worsening climate threat calls for leadership to avert catastrophe

The latest science is telling us we are rapidly running out of time and yet big corporate interests are still the ones shaping the debate.

On September 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain stepped off a plane and waved a signed document with Hitler declaring “Peace for our time”. His appeasement pre-empted the invasion of Poland and I fear we have seen another appeasement in Poland 80 years later against a threat far more dangerous to our species than the fight against fascism.

The recent UN climate conference in Poland has been hailed as some sort of breakthrough, it was nothing of the sort. Refusing to wean the planet off fossil fuels, no clear target for 2030 was set. What amounts to little more than vague promises to record existing emissions is not a “breakthrough”, only a step in the right direction if the alternative was to do nothing at all.

The latest science is telling us we are rapidly running out of time and yet big corporate interests are still the ones shaping the debate while governments offer nothing more than appeasement to those big polluter interests.

To achieve the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit requires a worldwide cut of 45 per cent in gas emissions by 2030. Scientists are telling us the window of opportunity is fast closing, making this delay even more morally despicable.

The irony of the conference was that it was sponsored by the coal industry and Poland made it clear that coal, which fuels 80 per cent of its energy, is there to stay.

An audit of the Paris Agreement promises in 2017 tells us that if action against climate change is limited to just the current pledges the planet will still heat by 3C by 2100. That kind of warming would be catastrophic for many parts of our planet, to the point formal social structures in some countries would simply shut down.

While optimism is important to help stop people slipping into nihilistic apathy, we can not continue to appease corporate interests and must force immediate strategies to mitigate and adapt to the challenge of climate change, and to do this we need the economy on a war footing.

Global warming is as much an existential threat to our way of life as the fight against Nazism in World War II and demands a similar single-minded response if we have any hope of adapting in time.

We must look at an enormous upgrade of planting forests, we must look to be carbon neutral within a decade, not by 2050 and we must provide tax breaks for an economy that sustains, not pollutes.

The latest scientific research is grim — 14,000 tons of fresh water per second is pouring into the oceans from a melting Arctic while Antarctica is far less stable than we had previously believed. If the “Thwaites Doomsday Glacier” melts, we will see a 13-foot (4m) sea level rise.

But it gets worse. The latest paper in the journal Science shows these events are linked and can become feedback loops for far more disruptive climate events. The desalination of the water near vulnerable current pumps like the Labrador Sea could shut down the ocean conveyor belt that takes heat from the tropics and makes Northern Europe inhabitable. That shutdown could cause global climatic chaos.

These aren’t theoretical any longer, they are looming possibilities for a planet that hurtles towards a rapidly warming future. To continue with business as usual misunderstands the enormity of the problem facing us and is a cowardly appeasement that sells out future generations.

Now is the time for leadership and courage, not hollow words and empty deeds. It took a lot more than handwringing to defeat fascism.

Donna Awatere Huata, a former Act MP, is Ma¯ ori Climate Commissioner, an office set up by iwi to give Ma¯ ori a voice in the development of climate change policy.

…we are past the denial, action is required.

I’ve made the point last year that we need a new radical approach, because real action on climate change will require a political, social & economic revolution.

The truth is that the vested interests that create the pollution and economic framework that is making climate change the catastrophe that it is will not do anything meaningful to disrupt their interests.

Unfortunately, we have run out of time to allow incremental change. I have followed the IPCC reports on climate change since their first one and the thing that is striking is that the worst case scenario is fast becoming the only scenario. What most don’t appreciate about the IPCC is that they are an incredibly conservative group and still don’t include many of the feedback loops that will make climate change faster and far more damaging, so when they say we have 10 years left to make the adaption, we are in far more danger than that claim suggests…

UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It’s Actually Worse Than That.
Just two years ago, amid global fanfare, the Paris climate accords were signed — initiating what seemed, for a brief moment, like the beginning of a planet-saving movement. But almost immediately, the international goal it established of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius began to seem, to many of the world’s most vulnerable, dramatically inadequate; the Marshall Islands’ representative gave it a blunter name, calling two degrees of warming “genocide.”

The alarming new report you may have read about this week from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which examines just how much better 1.5 degrees of warming would be than 2 — echoes the charge. “Amplifies” may be the better term. Hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, the report declares, should the world warm more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which it will do as soon as 2040, if current trends continue. Nearly all coral reefs would die out, wildfires and heat waves would sweep across the planet annually, and the interplay between drought and flooding and temperature would mean that the world’s food supply would become dramatically less secure. Avoiding that scale of suffering, the report says, requires such a thorough transformation of the world’s economy, agriculture, and culture that “there is no documented historical precedent.” The New York Times declared that the report showed a “strong risk” of climate crisis in the coming decades; in Grist, Eric Holthaus wrote that “civilization is at stake.”

If you are alarmed by those sentences, you should be — they are horrifying. But it is, actually, worse than that — considerably worse. That is because the new report’s worst-case scenario is, actually, a best case. In fact, it is a beyond-best-case scenario. What has been called a genocidal level of warming is already our inevitable future. The question is how much worse than that it will get.

…the truth is we are in far more danger than we acknowledge…

Earth’s resources consumed in ever greater destructive volumes
Humanity is devouring our planet’s resources in increasingly destructive volumes, according to a new study that reveals we have consumed a year’s worth of carbon, food, water, fibre, land and timber in a record 212 days.

As a result, the Earth Overshoot Day – which marks the point at which consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate – has moved forward two days to 1 August, the earliest date ever recorded.

To maintain our current appetite for resources, we would need the equivalent of 1.7 Earths, according to Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation that makes an annual assessment of how far humankind is falling into ecological debt.

…which leaves us with few options other than radical revolution…

The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us
It was a moment of the kind that changes lives. At a press conference held by climate activists Extinction Rebellion last week, two of us journalists pressed the organisers on whether their aims were realistic. They have called, for example, for UK carbon emissions to be reduced to net zero by 2025. Wouldn’t it be better, we asked, to pursue some intermediate aims?

A young woman called Lizia Woolf stepped forward. She hadn’t spoken before, but the passion, grief and fury of her response was utterly compelling. “What is it that you are asking me as a 20-year-old to face and to accept about my future and my life? … This is an emergency. We are facing extinction. When you ask questions like that, what is it you want me to feel?” We had no answer.

Softer aims might be politically realistic, but they are physically unrealistic. Only shifts commensurate with the scale of our existential crises have any prospect of averting them. Hopeless realism, tinkering at the edges of the problem, got us into this mess. It will not get us out.

Public figures talk and act as if environmental change will be linear and gradual. But the Earth’s systems are highly complex, and complex systems do not respond to pressure in linear ways. When these systems interact (because the world’s atmosphere, oceans, land surface and lifeforms do not sit placidly within the boxes that make study more convenient), their reactions to change become highly unpredictable. Small perturbations can ramify wildly. Tipping points are likely to remain invisible until we have passed them. We could see changes of state so abrupt and profound that no continuity can be safely assumed.

Only one of the many life support systems on which we depend – soils, aquifers, rainfall, ice, the pattern of winds and currents, pollinators, biological abundance and diversity – need fail for everything to slide. For example, when Arctic sea ice melts beyond a certain point, the positive feedbacks this triggers (such as darker water absorbing more heat, melting permafrost releasing methane, shifts in the polar vortex) could render runaway climate breakdown unstoppable. When the Younger Dryas period ended 11,600 years ago, temperatures rose 10C within a decade.

…so what is to be done?

 

Politics

Politically we need a radical Green Socialist Party. The Middle Class Woke Identity Politics vehicle we have with the current Green Party is a sad joke that alienates more than it recruits. While they bicker  about reclaiming the word ‘cunt’ and deciding which pronoun to use for Trans gender rights, the planet melts. Building every Millennial micro-aggression into a war crime doesn’t do a fucking thing to combat climate change.

What few Green Party voters even recognise is that the current Green Party is built upon free market economics, so we need a new radical Green Socialism Party with one goal and one goal only – radical populist climate change adaption that utterly rejects neoliberalism.

The firs thing this new political movement needs is to lobby hard for a lower MMP threshold in the upcoming MMP referendum. MMP was supposed to be about growing political diversity, instead it has smoothed and suffocated our representation because the 5% threshold makes it impossible for fledgling political movements to gain state funding and build.

Secondly this new political movement needs a populist economic manifesto that rejects free market globalisation and neoliberalism, supports 5 year economic planning, invests in economic self sufficiency and seeks real independence and sovereignty by rejecting open door mass immigration, foreign sales of our water and foreign ownership of any NZ land. We need to rapidly increase our military budget and invest heavily in community self sufficiency. Under a rapidly warming world, mass climate change migration will become an obscene reality and New Zealand will be one of the few lifeboats left.

Thirdly, we need to entrench our own sovereignty with an upper house that is 50-50 Maori/Pakeha representation with a focus on retaining our independence against free trade hegemony and extend Parliamentary terms to 5 years so Government have an obligation to look long term instead of short term.

And finally,  this new political movement needs to be uncompromising in its insistence to face climate change on a war footing and refuse to allow the narrative to be dominated by any other issue.

 

Social

This fledgling political movement needs to be supported by an equally radical social movement that uses small cell groups to plan social action that targets climate change polluters in a way that goes well  beyond Greenpeace.

It also requires inter-community self sufficiency…

Overall NZ strategy for climate resilience, based upon extra-parliamentary initiatives.

Those elements should be brought together under a framework for “local action and resilience”. The following priorities or initial thoughts could be part of such framework:

• Formation of an ‘Alliance for NZ Climate Resilience’, with local members and groups from all strata of life, operating beyond party boundaries.
• Establishment of a ‘NZ Climate Resilience Trust Fund’ for pooling of resources to support local and rural initiatives for climate adaptation and resilience.
• Climate awareness and action programmes evolving through Community Radio Stations and Mobile IT media.
• Implementation of a ‘Rural Kiwi Development Strategy’ with focus on diversified agriculture, fisheries, forestry, small and medium enterprises with low emission standards, vocational training in appropriate and adaptive technologies, conservation and sustainable management of local natural resources (water, soil, flora, fauna, land, land- and seascapes).

…so Green Socialists can either decide on radical direct action or community resilience.

 

Economics

When just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions, and when Oil Corporations knew about and hide climate change as far back as the 1990s we must acknowledge that those who have created and fostered the economic model that has allowed for this damage must be the first to pay for the adaption funding.

Oil companies must be sued for the damage they have caused the way Tobacco was sued over cancer.

That money needs to help fund the adaption.

A total rejection of neoliberalism and free market globalisation will be at the root of any economic agenda focused on self sufficiency and 5 year plans as opposed to quarterly profit margins.

The simple truth is catastrophic climate change will decimate any sense of a free market and the current dogma and belief system that props up free market mythology will implode upon its own lies.

 

Conclusion

Climate change and its impacts are far more dangerous than currently acknowledged and only a radical populist response can unseat the vested corporate interests that create the current political and economic inertia. As more and more climate events occur at faster and faster rates, voters will turn on the current hegemony, the question is who will harvest that anger and fear, the Left or the Right?

16 COMMENTS

  1. I always find it interesting that the majority of climate change deniers are older white males. There’s got to be a reason for this.

  2. If the right win then cutting funding to services worked and Serco picks up a lot of the primary, secondary and tertiary PPPs.

    If the left win the billion tree strategy would have flourished and universal health and education will be around in a hundred years. No matter what.

  3. Madness…communism by another name. The worst man made plague of the 20th century and you’re advocating its reintroduction!?

  4. It’s interesting that the charges that Bradbury lays at the door of the Green Party could equally apply to the Labour Party, yet it escapes criticism. We don’t need a new socialist Green Party – what we need is a new ecosocialist party that isn’t bound to Labour. So are you up for that Martyn or are you blowing smoke again?

  5. More codswallop and swill from the desperate leftists, the gravy boat is sinking, the carbon dollars drying up, they know its all over, this winter in the northern hemisphere has broken the back of fake man made warming propaganda.
    The Eddy Minimum is upon us N.A.S.A. says 400 year Ice age starts This Year!!

    • Evidence or does that not matter.

      Will the atmospheric CO2 level drop when mankind is increasing emissions yearly.

      Will the ocean cool and the steadily increasing rise in sea level reverse.

      Will the rapidly increasing methane release reverse also.

      Will you choose what to believe.

  6. The brutal reality is this; ensuring the survival of our species somewhere on our planet, if you really think this is a worthwhile & noble undertaking, will require someone somewhere deciding to take drastic, interventionist measures.

    I’m talking about the emergence of a RADICAL GREEN NATIONALIST MOVEMENT/PARTY that is prepared to seize power by any means necessary for the greater good.

    As a feisty descendant of freedom loving Anglo-Saxons, Celts & Viking marauders I hate to say this, but if we in NZ are to lead the charge in this regard, then only a green fascist like national unity government will do the trick.

    Middle of the road stick & carrot liberal democracy stuff will not be enough to save the day, only war footing action will.

    When the time comes & it will, this land will be no place for wishy washy old lefties, pie in the sky dreamers or bleeding hearts who still have faith in our social/economic liberal establishment & their globalisation fantasies.

    This may may hurt but as I see it we need much more calling a spade a spade kind of talk & less self deception, ego massaging, cyber space ranting & delusional green wash posturing.

    • I guess i have become a bit of a Eurofederalist lately. I didn’t really care all that much about the EU in the past, but what i have seen the last few years and particularily after Brexit has convinced me that we need to do everything possible to keep this beautiful, unique project alive and successful.

      There isn’t much that i wouldn’t pay in order to see it finalized.

      I can’t even explain it all that well. Maybe i am indeed a nationalist. Just, you know, you can’t be a nationalist for Germany, eh , and personally I don’t think New Zealand deserves it. I like it, but it isn’t something to be admired.

      The EU is. The dream, the ideals behind it draw me. The idea that people can bridge the gaps of a thousand years of warfare, of nations, languages and cultures, that they can all come together as one…, I just find it admirable.

  7. Firstly; why should anyone take any notice a former ACT party fanatic who’s obviously had a born again environmentalist moment & found a new cause to give her life some meaning? Talk about a Johnny or should that be Joanny come lately. Secondly; Martyn why don’t you do your darnedest to start this movement/party you’ve been banging on about for a while now? If you add the word national (radical green national socialist) then I may be in, as only then would it have real spirit & teeth. Anything else would be a cop out.

  8. The formation of an Eco-Socialist Party of NZ should not aim to replace or damage the existing Green Party but rather to transform the complete political spectrum in Aotearoa.

    The present political landscape and parties – as set – will not be able to arrange for all necessities required for meaningful climate resilience. A transformative shift across all parties is required, coupled with community based action and practical adaptation skill.

    If the existing Green Party of NZ is able to break into voter blocks of other parties, so be it. Certainly it would be an advantage for the overall movement and should be supported (with occasional constructive criticism).

    If the transformational process toward resilience cannot seriously be stimulated in near future, actual events associated to climate disasters and new shapes of impoverishment (e.g. through falling prices of properties in vulnerable zones) may take over and drive voters and large segments of the population into the nets of all sorts of right-wing loudmouths, demagogues and pistoleros.

    Along such erosion of society and culture, humanity will lose most of the liberties and rights long fought for over centuries (liberty, equality, fraternity) by our ancestors.

    The formation of an Eco-Socialist Part of NZ can be an element that kick-starts needed changes, also in all other parties.

    The idea of a simple Eco-Socialist Manifest is a good one to gather further potential interest and serve as initial platform for action. Setting up a database of interested individuals and to manage flow of
    information should be another part of it.

    Someone needs to throw the hat in the ring and to start organizing it.

    Action.

    ———————

    olala, what’s that?

    A summer at the seaside

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/front-page-top-stories/news/article.cfm?c_id=698&objectid=12185163&ref=rss

    I hate robbing banks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZqNUo6y52Q

    Satisfy my soul
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8GCc8OhTz8

    • Maybe.

      My thinking is that the MMP threshold desperately needs to be lowered to 3% so that small parties can build. The fundamental problem is that the current political spectrum all agree with neoliberalism – The greens do, Labour do and of course National does. NZ First speaks one way and rules another and ACT wants to go further. We need a party that would articulate a different political frame work, and that can only happen in a closed society like NZ by more diverse political representation that gets platformed to a wider group of voters.

  9. I am new to this forum and have a contribution to make on this article.

    Agree, rapid anthropogenic global-warming is the major existential threat to humanity. For fast political action to happen, a single-issue party is required, now. For that party to have immediate electoral impact it must appeal very widely to left, right and centrist environmentally aware people. It must therefore be politically neutral. Another lefty-greeny party will not attract sufficient votes, in the same way the Greens hover around 6%. The hardout socialism must be left out of the equation if you care about results and not just posturing. I know you will hate this but if you are genuine in your concern about CC it is an inescapable conclusion.

    Agree fully with the immigration / lifeboat thoughts and also love the snowflake putdowns.

  10. Martyn’s comments re the role of the oil companies were exemplified in tonight’s TVNZ One News. Customers at BP service stations were being given a breakdown of the price structure of the retail price of petrol and diesel. The handout emphasized the considerable impact that taxes and levies have on the price of fuel. Predictably, the white middle class SUV drivers interviewed for this item condemned the high fuel taxes they were paying and unwittingly supported the oil industries campaign against using taxation to reduce carbon emissions.

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