Is it really six months since I posted the last open thread? I do apologise — please avail yourselves of the facility. I’m busy battening down the hatches before the first big winter storm hits, and preparing for the first Climate Show recording in a long while. Meanwhile, severe weather in Europe is striking very close to my heart, with a dramatic hailstorm devastating vineyards around Vouvray in the Loire Valley. And in Britain, the Met Office has called a meeting to see if they can tease out why they’ve had the recent run of wet summers and sharp cold spells in winter. The influence of the Arctic is definitely up for discussion…
Bill McKibben must have been doing something right during his New Zealand tour: he’s drawn the ire of the local climate cranks in no uncertain fashion. Perhaps it was the packed houses he addressed in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington, or his interview on RNZ National’s high-rating Saturday Morning show with Kim Hill, but the clarity and certainty of his message drew a vituperative response from “Climate Conversation” blogger Richard Treadgold. In an ill-tempered personal attack, Treadgold described McKibben as a “climate nutcase” and “a madman”.
His voice is engaging, almost reasonable, but his wild eyes cannot help but flash his burning lunacy at the camera.
It’s par for the course for Treadgold, whose tenuous claim to fame is as the man who kicked off the climate cranks’ losing attempt to sue the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), but his fact-free and ill-informed rant was not the only attempt to counter McKibben’s message.
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Bill McKibben‘s on the New Zealand leg of his Do The Maths downunder tour, and I got the chance for a quick chat with him earlier today. Bill lays out the essence of the carbon budget we have to live within if we’re to avoid roaring past 2ºC, explains the carbon finance bubble, discusses China’s approach to renewables, and why NZ should avoid exploiting its oil and coal reserves. See Bill in Dunedin tonight, and Wellington tomorrow.
In my column at The Daily Blog today, I ruminate on the links between the historic and damaging floods in central Europe and the rapid warming of the Arctic. What will it take to make the world’s leaders wake up to the rapid changes that are happening now? Comments at TDB, please…
Here’s the final interview I recorded at last week’s NZ Climate Change Conference in Palmerston North: VUW’s Dr Jim Renwick talking about the complex relationship between the southern annular mode — a north-south movement of the westerly winds that blow around Antarctica — sea ice growth and the ozone hole. It’s interesting stuff, not least because SAM has a significant impact on NZ weather and climate, and how it might change in the future is a very big factor in projecting southern hemisphere climates in a warmer world. The abstract of his conference presentation, Antarctic sea ice, the SAM, and the future of the ozone hole, is here.
Day two of last week’s climate change conference kicked off with a keynote from Andy Reisinger, the deputy director of the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre on New Zealand’s wedges – a balanced meal? I grabbed ten minutes with him to explore some of the issues he raised.