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MUST READ GUEST BLOG: Donna Awatere Huata – Is Jacinda’s ‘Nuclear-free moment’ on climate change nothing more than a bumper sticker? 

By   /  January 30, 2019  /  38 Comments

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Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, stated that climate change was her generations ‘nuclear-free moment’, yet when we consider actual environmental policy to date, we can conclude that this ‘moment’ is little more than a feel good nuclear free bumper sticker. This criticism is not just levelled at our Government, the latest research shows it can be made against almost every Government.

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Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, stated that climate change was her generations ‘nuclear-free moment’, yet when we consider actual environmental policy to date, we can conclude that this ‘moment’ is little more than a feel good nuclear free bumper sticker. This criticism is not just levelled at our Government, the latest research shows it can be made against almost every Government.
 
A new study published by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy has found that of the 197 countries in the Paris Climate Agreement, only 16 are on track to meet their goals. We are seeing lip service paid to climate change policy, we are not seeing actual change.
In New Zealand, this means a concerted effort to redesign our entire agricultural sector. Massive R&D research into synthetic meat and milk alongside unprecedented tree planting incentives, carbon farming, banning synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, culling of cow numbers and a huge investment into regenerative farming are all required immediately. 
 
That’s what is needed, what has the current Government offered?
 
A wishy washy plan to be carbon neutral in 32 years time.
 
Right now, the latest research tells us that melting Arctic ice is pouring 14 000 tons of water each second into the oceans. Desalination shuts down the ocean conveyor current, that in turn causes enormous climate change that will see the displacement of tens of millions and make parts of the planet uninhabitable. 
 
Even if we actually lived up to the pledges that many countries aren’t even bothering to endorse, we are still on track for a 3 to 4 degree rise in temperatures by the end of the century, that’s how weak the promises in Paris really were.
 
We are being delusional if we think the current policy platform to combat climate change is even close to the leadership and courage required.
 
Which brings us back to Jacinda’s claim that climate change is our generations ‘Nuclear-free moment’, because on examination, I fear what she has stated here is actually uncomfortably closer to the truth than many of us appreciate.
 
In February of 1985, David Lange didn’t as popular mythology would have us believe, reject the United States from allowing the USS  Buchanan from visiting New Zealand. CIA files show he was privately attempting to find a loop hole that would have allowed the ship visit and when that became too difficult to achieve, he left for Tokelau and was uncontactable when the news of the ship visit was leaked to the media leaving Sir Geoffrey Palmer to reject the USS Buchanan, not Lange. 
 
David had simply abdicated responsibility for the decision by being uncontactable in Tokelau. Our ‘nuclear-free moment’ was more accidental than designed and the lacklustre attempts so far to do anything meaningful on climate change suggests Jacinda’s declaration of a ‘nuclear-free moment’ could be the same empty gesture.
Donna Awatere Huata
Māori Climate Commissioner
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38 Comments

  1. Alan says:

    International politicians will do nothing about climate change because the wealthy individuals who benefit from the status quo fund their election campaigns. They are more scared of them and their tame media commentators than they are their electorates. Expect no change until, if or when climate change starts to impact the bottom line.

  2. esoteric pineapples says:

    When the United States, Canada, France, Britain etc unite to overthrow the government of Venezuela because of its huge oil deposits, you know they aren’t serious about climate change.

  3. Michelle says:

    yes our Pm needs to walk her talk and more so now when we are having a heat wave and some parts of NZ haven’t had any rain for months.

  4. Helena says:

    Climate change is code speak.
    Jacinda knows the code, as does Tony Blair, even George Bernard Shaw knew it.

  5. jay11 says:

    Other than preparation and adaptation all efforts are “bumper stickers” Climate Change will continue onto hot house earth even if emissions ceased 100% worldwide today. Nothing we can do now will make any difference it’s been taken out of our hands. This is a fact people can’t comprehend. Can we stop a cyclone or a volcano? No! Could King Canute stop the tide coming in when he commanded it to stop!? In Huntingdon’s account, Canute set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the incoming tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes.
    Incidentally Humanity is very unlikely to survive this transition! C’est la Vie! We’ll share the tragic fate of our dying biosphere that gave us birth we’ll die along with it.

    • Johnnybg says:

      True but fatalistic. Being resigned to the horrifying future that business as usual offers us though just breeds apathy & despair.

      I believe NZ is destined to make a real difference in world affairs by playing a very different role from the one our current politicians & the globalisation elite would have us play.

      Call me old fashioned, but I think we’re not only destined but also duty bound to abandon globalisation & embrace radical localisation which will involve becoming a sustainable, largely self sufficient nation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating going back to the stone age. This process will involve developing both hi & low tech solutions to the many challenges we all face, & implementing them in all aspects of our lives.

      Of course such thinking makes me a voice in the wilderness as there aren’t many among us that support this radical, survivalist, war footing approach to such matters.

      I’m also convinced that we can’t rely on politicians or our government to intervene & implement the radical measures that will be required to adapt to the perfect storm of challenges that are heading our way.

      This is why I’m now taking the Breakaway NZ movement approach which aim is; to work towards establishing a radical, model post-globalalistion homeland somewhere within Aotearoa & then nominally secede from brand globalisation NZ.

      Call me crazy if you like but I see this as the first step towards the eventual establishment of a resilient Aotearoan or Zealandian confederacy of independent regions, which through leading by example will become a sustainable beacon of hope & renewal that the wider world may choose to follow. The Prophet of Zealandia.

    • jay11 says:

      Deb Ozarko: “We’ve Certainly Reached a ‘Critical Mass’ in Extinction Consciousness”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i93fw38xgcM

      http://www.debozarko.com/blog/

  6. David Stone says:

    Although 82% of our power on the national grid is generated renewably, 60% of our total energy use when transport, industry and mowing the lawn is taken into account is from fossil fuels. So to convert to electric transport the clean energy supply has to increase by 150%. The increase in wind generation , hydro will be contested . No one wants their rivers damed any more of a windmill next door. Solar is probably least offensive , but to get anything like the capacity continuously the existing hydro would have to be kept off line while wind and solar can operate, so as to be available when wind and solar are not.
    This couldn’t possibly be done under the existing private ownership structure of the supply. It would need to come under government control.
    Donna is right that no one is taking this seriously.
    D J S

  7. Afewknowthetruth says:

    The madness can continue as long as there is ice cover in the Arctic. And as long as frackers can keep drilling and extracting.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  8. Lulu says:

    “lacklustre attempts so far to do anything meaningful on climate change”?
    Yeah you could go full Greta Thunberg and behave as if your house is on fire but it is hard to get a whole economy to do that. The eventual passing of a net zero act (currently a bill), establishment of a climate change commission (pending the passing of the act) and reform of the ETS (underway) should lead to a step change in meaningful effort.

  9. Jays says:

    Why would anyone listen to Donna Awatere?
    She had heright chance to help others but decided to help herself instead.

    • The March Hare says:

      Agree, and she has zero credibility in my eyes too. But by the same token, it’s reassuring to know that a former MP of the only party in parliament that is into climate change denialism is herself not a climate change denier.

    • Darien Fenton says:

      Yep agreed ; the very name is a turnoff after she ripped off her own people. And after all, she was an ACT politician too. I cant get my head around anything else and dont take kindly to being lectured by her.

  10. let me be frank says:

    while im inclined to agree that little of worth re CC will be done by this Gov. lets at least wait and see what they propose with their climate change policy implementation later this year….and then vote them out when we find it is mere window dressing

    • dennis dorney says:

      LMBF….”then vote them (Labour) out when we find it (Climate change) is mere window dressing” Who then do we vote for?. National are so irrelevant on this topic that voting for them is throwing in the towel.
      Voting Green or NZ First risks wasting your vote because neither look like getting past 5% (and can you guarantee that NZ First wont give their vote to National anyhow). So voting Labour, useless as they are, is almost the only option.

      • let me be frank says:

        I know where you are coming from Dennis…but at some point we must reject ALL parties that refuse to act as needed…lets say that IF the coalition fail to meet their own stated obligations they are history, they have been warned….after all this type of inaction by existing parties is what fuels populism…they have a choice

  11. Marc says:

    It was convenient during the election campaign, to get the young votes, that were crucial for Labour to gain back some voter share.

    Jacinda was as shallow and hollow when Labour’s spokesperson on welfare (when in opposition), as she is now as PM on many topics, including climate change and environmental issues.

    She can talk well, but it is more window dressing than anything of substance. Soon she will realise that 2020 will be a lost election for her, so prepare for her to discover that Neve needs her attention more, than the nation. She will suddenly announce her retirement, leaving many surprised and stunned.

  12. Afewknowthetruth says:

    Most of the trapped heat ends up in the oceans, and the effects are starting to become dire, not just around the Arctic and around Antarctica but now locally.

    https://theconversation.com/coastal-seas-around-new-zealand-are-heading-into-a-marine-heatwave-again-110028

    Despite the lethal long term effects, we can expect the NZ government to continue to promote faster meltdown via economic growth.

  13. Denny Paoa says:

    The “Lets Do This!” Lady, isnt gunnah do this.

  14. saveNZ says:

    The biggest polluters are Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says

    A relatively small number of fossil fuel producers and their investors could hold the key to tackling climate change

    https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

    I think a person produces about 10x as much carbon as a cow, so might be time to think about humans reducing their own populations, get rid of fossil fuels and target things like recreation that are highly polluting aka cruise ships, cheap flights and so forth before target food as some big boggy man.

    Less humans and more sustainable living of humans would help habitat destruction of flora and flora before we lose even more biodiversity as well as our intense ocean pollution of plastic (no plastic tax even mentioned).

    Seems weird to me that food is considered the number one thing to change for climate change when actually we know what companies are the biggest contributors to climate change aka 100 that should be taxed immediately and made to change to sustainable methods or be closed down.

    The world should be encouraging smaller families not constant human growth needing more consumer products based around fossil fuels in particualar.

    We also need to stop humans throw away plastic choices made from oil and polluting the oceans and landfill at alarming rates…

  15. sumsuch says:

    Total Mobilisation is needed without immediate threat. The naked ape reveals its basic nature by its non-response.

    This is 1939.

  16. John W says:

    Blame whoever you like, but acting for change is effective – blaming is not.

    Blaming is a do nothing activity or strictly really a non activity.

    Argue over and presenting and counter present details all is fine but it does little in itself. It is not a substitute for change.

    We know what has to be done

    About climate
    About overshoot of population
    About using rapidly shrinking Non Renewable Natural Resources
    About the global deforestation
    About consumerism eating up out planet and future
    About the mind numbing advertising urging disregard for planet and our well being
    About irresponsibly stupid people who CHOOSE to fly
    About the crazy transporting of people by private car
    About the community growth patterns that rely in excessive transporting of people and goods
    About the rule of the corporatocracy and wealth collection by the few.
    About our deadly industrialisation
    About the nuclear threat left to psychopathic players
    About the lies fed to us by the corporate MSM
    About developers and private groups controlling our piecemeal sprawl
    About business groups running our towns and councils
    About the money system and banks sucking our community lifeblood
    About how all the related systems we live under care little about people.
    About how the environment is collapsing
    About how “economic”‘ matters are addressed without wider considerations
    About how we have lost our local resilience and survival supports destroyed with globalism
    About our kids and grandkids limited future because are not acting now.
    About our lifestyle contributing to all of the above problems.
    About our overwhelming powerlessness acting alone against organised greed and power.

    News about road tolls shock many as do individual killing and tragedies and hardships, but we are complicit authors of mass disaster ahead for humans as well as a mass specie extinction happening now but largely ignored.

    Our lifestyle cradles out stupidity and ignorant denial.

    We need to act and rip control out of private greedy hands and change the system.

    Its really is simple

    Overcome your fear as the consequences of acting for change now are far better then not acting so maintaining the constructed path to far worse consequences ahead.

    It really is “wake up” simple.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/greta_thunberg_the_disarming_case_to_act_right_now_on_climate?utm_source=tedcomshare&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tedspread

    Change your position.
    Keep on a new track in spite of any denial held by others around you.

    Join with others and find support from like minds.

    Act.

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      Even Greta is hated for speaking out against the system that is ruining her future.

      ‘Recently I’ve seen many rumors circulating about me and enormous amounts of hate. This is no surprise to me. I know that since most people are not aware of the full meaning of the climate crisis (which is understandable since it has never been treated as a crisis) a school strike for the climate would seem very strange to people in general.
      So let me make some things clear about my school strike.
      In may 2018 I was one of the winners in a writing competition about the environment held by Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper. I got my article published and some people contacted me, among others was Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland. He had some kind of group with people, especially youth, who wanted to do something about the climate crisis.
      I had a few phone meetings with other activists. The purpose was to come up with ideas of new projects that would bring attention to the climate crisis. Bo had a few ideas of things we could do. Everything from marches to a loose idea of some kind of a school strike (that school children would do something on the schoolyards or in the classrooms). That idea was inspired by the Parkland Students, who had refused to go to school after the school shootings.
      I liked the idea of a school strike. So I developed that idea and tried to get the other young people to join me, but no one was really interested. They thought that a Swedish version of the Zero Hour march was going to have a bigger impact. So I went on planning the school strike all by myself and after that I didn’t participate in any more meetings.
      When I told my parents about my plans they weren’t very fond of it. They did not support the idea of school striking and they said that if I were to do this I would have to do it completely by myself and with no support from them.
      On the 20 of august I sat down outside the Swedish Parliament. I handed out fliers with a long list of facts about the climate crisis and explanations on why I was striking. The first thing I did was to post on Twitter and Instagram what I was doing and it soon went viral. Then journalists and newspapers started to come. A Swedish entrepreneur and business man active in the climate movement, Ingmar Rentzhog, was among the first to arrive. He spoke with me and took pictures that he posted on Facebook. That was the first time I had ever met or spoken with him. I had not communicated or encountered with him ever before.
      Many people love to spread rumors saying that I have people ”behind me” or that I’m being ”paid” or ”used” to do what I’m doing. But there is no one ”behind” me except for myself. My parents were as far from climate activists as possible before I made them aware of the situation.
      I am not part of any organization. I sometimes support and cooperate with several NGOs that work with the climate and environment. But I am absolutely independent and I only represent myself. And I do what I do completely for free, I have not received any money or any promise of future payments in any form at all. And nor has anyone linked to me or my family done so.
      And of course it will stay this way. I have not met one single climate activist who is fighting for the climate for money. That idea is completely absurd.
      Furthermore I only travel with permission from my school and my parents pay for tickets and accommodations.
      My family has written a book together about our family and how me and my sister Beata have influenced my parents way of thinking and seeing the world, especially when it comes to the climate. And about our diagnoses.
      That book was due to be released in May. But since there was a major disagreement with the book company, we ended up changing to a new publisher and so the book was released in august instead.
      Before the book was released my parents made it clear that their possible profits from the book ”Scener ur hjärtat” will be going to 8 different charities working with environment, children with diagnoses and animal rights.
      And yes, I write my own speeches. But since I know that what I say is going to reach many, many people I often ask for input. I also have a few scientists that I frequently ask for help on how to express certain complicated matters. I want everything to be absolutely correct so that I don’t spread incorrect facts, or things that can be misunderstood.
      Some people mock me for my diagnosis. But Asperger is not a disease, it’s a gift. People also say that since I have Asperger I couldn’t possibly have put myself in this position. But that’s exactly why I did this. Because if I would have been ”normal” and social I would have organized myself in an organisation, or started an organisation by myself. But since I am not that good at socializing I did this instead. I was so frustrated that nothing was being done about the climate crisis and I felt like I had to do something, anything. And sometimes NOT doing things – like just sitting down outside the parliament – speaks much louder than doing things. Just like a whisper sometimes is louder than shouting.
      Also there is one complaint that I ”sound and write like an adult”. And to that I can only say; don’t you think that a 16-year old can speak for herself? There’s also some people who say that I oversimplify things. For example when I say that “the climate crisis is a black and white issue”, ”we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases” and ”I want you to panic”. But that I only say because it’s true. Yes, the climate crisis is the most complex issue that we have ever faced and it’s going to take everything from our part to ”stop it”. But the solution is black and white; we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases.
      Because either we limit the warming to 1,5 degrees C over pre industrial levels, or we don’t. Either we reach a tipping point where we start a chain reaction with events way beyond human control, or we don’t. Either we go on as a civilization, or we don’t. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival.
      And when I say that I want you to panic I mean that we need to treat the crisis as a crisis. When your house is on fire you don’t sit down and talk about how nice you can rebuild it once you put out the fire. If your house is on fire you run outside and make sure that everyone is out while you call the fire department. That requires some level of panic.
      There is one other argument that I can’t do anything about. And that is the fact that I’m ”just a child and we shouldn’t be listening to children.” But that is easily fixed – just start to listen to the rock solid science instead. Because if everyone listened to the scientists and the facts that I constantly refer to – then no one would have to listen to me or any of the other hundreds of thousands of school children on strike for the climate across the world. Then we could all go back to school.
      I am just a messenger, and yet I get all this hate. I am not saying anything new, I am just saying what scientists have repeatedly said for decades. And I agree with you, I’m too young to do this. We children shouldn’t have to do this. But since almost no one is doing anything, and our very future is at risk, we feel like we have to continue.

      And if you have any other concern or doubt about me, then you can listen to my TED talk ( https://www.ted.com/…/greta_thunberg_the_disarming_…/up-next ), in which I talk about how my interest for the climate and environment began.
      And thank you everyone for you kind support! It brings me hope.
      /Greta’

      https://www.facebook.com/gretathunbergsweden/posts/767646880269801?__tn__=K-R

  17. jay11 says:

    Kiwi Kevin Hester interviewed on climate change.

    1:20:54 / 1:24:19
    Calling On ALL Climate Scientists To Disprove The McPherson Paradox

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jII6alK6eeU&fbclid=IwAR1u3sr2R2ptOcA7IpX22W1TtT_9dJQ_2tHfaenXBAImxv8_SquRU2PavXk

    Robert Poen
    13 hours ago
    Thanks you guys for having the guts to talk about this stuff. In my part of California the forests are drying out after 6 years of drought in the last 8 years. When it does rain the water doesn’t saturate the ground but runs off into the streams and rivers. The weirdest thing are the warm nights. When I was growing up we had winter nights in the 30s/40s and occasionally the 20s but the last few winters most nights are in the 50s. In my garden the plum trees are already blossoming, the annual flowers did not die back like they used to in a freeze and are already sending out new shoots. The monarch butterflies used to overwinter here in the millions; now the count is in the low thousands. And now we have mosquitos in January. As Guy has pointed out, every year it gets worse. The salmon are long gone. And so it goes. I guess we are lucky to be alive, for now.

    Lisa S
    11 hours ago
    When i moved to Georgia usa in 2004 my car would be covered in dead bugs that hit my car while driving at night, now none. I killed two spiders in January and yesterday i saw a butterfly; you should not see them at this time of the year. Everything is out of whack ! used to have at least six weeks of Winter now just a few days. The woods behind my house there are still green plants. Everyone sees this and talks about it but doesn’t think it is due to us and how we live. The future will be scary

    Jim Sigrist
    13 hours ago (edited)
    James Hansen and other climate scientists may be silent so as not to cause despair in their children and grandchildren.It is a natural instinct to protect your children from harm. Truth might lead to societal collapse. What would that look like?? We don’t know. Humanity has not “lived” through anything like this. Mass hysteria would be a harrowing experience. It may just be better to practice cognitive dissonance as long as possible. There is no changing the outcome by broadcasting the truth. 

  18. Afewknowthetruth says:

    I was a very close supporter of Guy McPherson for almost a decade (he stayed at my home on a NZ tour I facilitated). Although his narratives were generally correct, he was prone to errors and exaggeration. That said, I and others supported him because he was ‘the best we had at the time’.

    Some of the many points on which Guy McPherson is absolutely right:

    1. Industrial Civilisation acts like a heat engine. It utilises the energy of fossil fuels to modify the environment, and in doing so releases CO2 which traps heat.

    2. The fundamental science of warming has been known for well over a century and the specific danger of overheating has been known for decades.

    3. Industrial Civilisation cannot function without fossil fuels, and the longer I. C. persists, the hotter the Earth will become.

    4. The overheating is already causing significant effects on climate and ecology, and further overheating will compound those effects.

    5. Industrial Civilisation will collapse because it will raise Earth’s average temperature so much that mass production and distribution of food will become impossible.

    6. Industrial Civilisation has already affected the ecological balance so much it has cause wide-ranging species loss. The longer I.C. persists, the greater the species loss. At some point in the not-too-distant future species that are essential to the functioning of human systems will be seriously affected (e.g. loss of insects equates with no pollination; loss of krill at the base of the ocean food chains equates with no fish to catch and eat).

    7. The higher the average temperature, the greater the capacity of the air to carry water vapour. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas which will add to the warming caused by excess CO2.

    8. Humans (like other mammals) naturally regulate their temperature in hot conditions via evaporative cooling (and in unnatural situations by air conditioning which is ultimately reliant on fossil fuels). At some point the combination of high temperature and high humidity will render large regions [currently inhabited] impossible to live in.

    9. Industrial Civilisation has already caused profound changes to the chemical and ecological balance to the point of generating a mass extinction event, and there is severe danger that positive feedbacks will increase the rate of change (which already far exceeds that during most previous mass extinction events).

    10. Even without environmental damage, Industrial Civilisation is doomed because it is dependent on rapidly depleting resources.

    11. Commercial and political vested interests block the open discussion of the reality of our collective predicament while making it worse by the second in order to maintain status quo arrangements, including the Ponzi global financial system.

    12. His claim that the American Empire is predicated on compliance at home and oppression abroad.

    Some points on which Guy McPherson has been proven wrong or is scientifically wrong.

    1. His claim in 2013 that the SW of the US would become uninhabitable within 5 years.

    2. His claim over 2007 to 2016 that Industrial Civilisation was at the point of collapsing.

    3. His claim over 2011-2016 that the Arctic would become ice-free and that would result in massive methane ‘burbs’ that would raise the temperature by several degrees.

    4. His claim, in 2016, that increased atmospheric CO2 would cause a massive increase in water vapour in the stratosphere, and that would cause almost instantaneous overheating ‘in a matter of months’.

    5. His ignoring of the thermal mass of oceans and his claims that the average temperature of the Earth could rise by several degrees ‘in a matter of months’.

    Some points on which Guy McPherson may or may not be correct.

    1. His claim that the loss of aerosols and particulate matter in the atmosphere when industrial activity goes into decline will cause a rapid increase in average temperature. .

    2. His claim that nuclear reactors would blow up shortly after all aspects reach a critical point and that there would be dozens of Fukushimas around the world.

    • John W says:

      Guy has served a purpose of creating attention and shaking up many who live in complacency.

      His dire messages have also spurred many to prepare and form small local communities of folk who will develop support systems as well as agitate for local community representation opposing frivolous developments by local bodies and Govt.
      eg Nationals push for amalgamation leading to privatisation of community assets and loss of community control over vital local resources.

      The accuracy of some detail he has concluded is not that relevant as Guy or anyone else who has spent time similarly immersed in grappling with the horror of what has and is happening in spite of warnings given over 45 years ago, remains to be tested as events develop.

      They are more liable to be well informed than completely wrong.

      He deserves praise and respect for his tireless contributions, but is not a god.

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