Denial Tango 2014

Here’s a new recording by Aussie group Men With Day Jobs of their climate classic The Denial Tango, accompanied by a rather striking video. Men With Day Jobs are Rod Crundwell, Stafford Sanders and Kim Constable (from left to right in the pix in the video) and their new album “Deep in Denial” is due for release early next year.

I’d go with Tony Abbott, It’s just a load of crap

This round-the-world disaster is an evil greedy trap

‘Cause everybody knows the world is flat

I posted the full lyrics back in 2011

Santa Baby (and other views)

Christmas morning has dawned sunny and warm chez Hot Topic, and there’s a pile of presents waiting to be opened. I doubt that any will be what Eartha Kitt had in mind when she recorded Santa Baby in 1953, but she makes a compelling case for Christmas largesse to be directed her way. This afternoon the weather is expected to turn to custard (or, perhaps, brandy butter) and when the rain sets in my mood may turn to match Eric Idle’s rather more ascerbic (and sweary – definitely NSFW) take on the festive season:

And if you’re feeling at all gloomy about prospects for the human race, then I have the perfect song for you. Peter Blegvad and Andy Partridge1 assure us that worse is on the way — a truth we will all have to live with.

Normal service will be resumed when the mince pies are finished.

  1. From their 2012 album, Gonwards. []

Any way the wind blows: earth’s atmosphere animated

NZwindssurface

This is just brilliant: click on the image to see an animation of atmospheric flows around the planet, coded by Cameron Beccario, using forecast data from NOAA1. It’s mesmerising and addictive, but educational and informative too. Click on the “earth” on the bottom left of the web page, and a menu pops up that allows you to choose different layers of the atmosphere (explained on the about page). Click on 250mb to see the jet streams that guide storm tracks. This is what they looked like over New Zealand yesterday (the brighter the colour, the faster the winds).

NZwindsjetstreams

If you click and drag the globe, you can choose your viewpoint and zoom in or out. Here are the jet stream tracks above the northern hemisphere yesterday:

NHwindsjetstream

You can also play with different map projections – the row of letters in the menu – go backwards and forwards through forecasts, and click to hover above your location (the circle in brackets). Beccario was inspired by the hint.fm wind map of North America, and cut his teeth by coding a wind map for Tokyo. Wonderful stuff.

[Bo Rap with lyrics]

  1. Data updates every three hours []

Why NZ’s Emissions Trading Scheme is failing and how we could fix it

This guest post by Professor Euan Mason of the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry first appeared at his Photosynthesis blog. His analysis of the NZ and global position, and assessment of the potential forestry response is so interesting that I asked his permission to repost it here.

New Zealand’s initial attempt to mitigate the problem of climate change is moribund, so why is this? The Kyoto Protocol, which we ratified in 1997, bound us to keep our net emissions at 1990 gross emission levels between 2008 and 2012, but also tied us to particular patterns of thinking about greenhouse gases. Not all of these patterns are rational, nor are they all helpful. Nonetheless, with a rather unique emissions profile for a “first world” nation, we could offer the world valuable solutions for developing nations if only we would accept the opportunity. Forestry could easily make us fully greenhouse gas neutral while solving erosion problems and improving profitability of our hill country farms, but for this we need a rational approach to emissions trading and commitment from our populace.

In this article I shall outline some of the key modes of thinking introduced by the Kyoto Protocol; highlight where we are going wrong with emissions trading; and show how forestry could be at the heart of solutions to this global problem.

Continue reading “Why NZ’s Emissions Trading Scheme is failing and how we could fix it”

NZ government climate policy: look, a squirrel!

Two major new government reports on New Zealand’s emissions projections and the expected impacts of four degrees of warming on NZ agriculture were released without fanfare last Friday — the timing clearly designed to minimise media fallout from reports that highlight the paucity and ineffectiveness of current climate policy settings.

Climate change minister Tim Groser dutifully issued a press release welcoming the release of New Zealand’s Sixth National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol, the first such report since 2009. Groser praised government policies, but failed to draw attention to the fact that his own report shows NZ emissions failing to meet the government’s targeted cuts, or that current policy settings will do little to reduce them — let alone achieve reductions by comparison with 1990 levels. This graph1 of actual and projected net emissions out to 2030 tells the story of the Key government’s abject policy failure:

Continue reading “NZ government climate policy: look, a squirrel!”

  1. From p126 of the report []