This year can’t end fast enough

I sat down to write a piece looking at recent depressing climate news, and the diminished prospects of significant  US climate action now that Trump is on his way to the White House. I may still: but then I heard the news that Leonard Cohen had died and the will to wax analytical left me. This has been a pig of a year in so many ways — from Bowie, Prince and Cohen, to Brexit and Trump. In memory of one of the greatest songwriters of the last 100 years, here’s one of my favourite Laughing Len tunes, in a 2014 live performance. He was 80 at the time. I hope I have half his vitality if I get that far…

Treat this as an open thread…

New year, new theme (2016)

The new look, that is. The WordPress official theme of the year, and I like it enough to make it Hot Topic‘s new look. Simpler for me to maintain than the old, very customised theme, but it does mean we’ve lost the comment editing facility. Sorry about that. Meanwhile, please use this as an excuse to discuss whatever climate-related issues you like. More substantive posts may appear soon.

[Update #2 Feb 2nd: I may have tracked the comment issue down to a conflict with an anti-spam plug in. We’ll see… Thanks to Andy and Mr February for helping me try to diagnose the problem. GR]

[Update #3 Feb 4th: The Jetpack guys at WordPress are trying to unpick this problem. Thanks for your patience. GR]

[Update #4: Working again, but without “social log in” enabled, while WP fix the code. Thanks again to everyone who helped us diagnose the problem. GR]

[Update #5: And while we’re on the subject, please be warned that very long comments are difficult to post, because of a coding fault in the theme – basically the “post” button disappears… So try to keep your thoughts succinct, until the theme is updated. 😉 GR]

Hiatus explained

It’s been a long time since a new post appeared at the top of Hot Topic’s front page. You might almost call it a hiatus — but like that other mythical pause it wasn’t brought about by any change in the underlying forcings. Climate change and the ever-increasing impacts of warming have not dropped out of the news, nor are they likely to as we approach the end of another record-breaking year for global temperatures. The denialati remain active, as one might expect, though I have tired of that particular game of whack-a-mole pending any upturn in the originality on display.

Nope. The truth is I’ve been busy tending trees and vines and catching up with work on our small farm, preparing for what looks all too likely to be a summer of drought. What passes for normal service will resume before Christmas — but in the meantime, keep an eye open for reports from the COP21 climate negotiations. HT’s roving correspondent Cindy Baxter will be on a bateau mouche beneath the bridges of Paris, keeping us up to date with events.

Meanwhile, consider this to be an invitation to discuss all matters climate related — an open thread, no less. Usual caveats apply.

Stuffed birds and hot years (Merry Christmas)

The fourth LP I bought (after Sgt Pepper and The Monkees first two albums — this was 1967/8, and I’d just acquired a record player that could handle discs larger than singles) was a Stax sampler called This Is Soul. It triggered a life-long love of that Memphis soul sound, and in particular the voice of Otis Redding. His version of White Christmas is a thing of joy. Play it today, and think not of the fact that this year is likely to set new records for hottest year on many of the global temperature series.

Nick Cave’s take on Christmas is (characteristically) a little gloomier than most, and perhaps more appropriate.

Things down here are fragmented

In fact they’ve exploded all over the room

I think everything’s a little off-center, babe

I do dear, I do

So, dear reader, allow me (and all the contributors to Hot Topic) to wish you the very merriest of whatever season it may be that you are currently celebrating. In the Waipara Valley it looks like it’s going to be a long hot day. A turkey is truffled and soon to be cooked, there is too much good wine to drink1, and Rosie the beagle is looking forward to a break in her post-harvest diet. Nadolig llawen.

PS: If confronted by a climate-denying family member over the holidays, here’s some advice on how to approach them, from The Conversation via the NZ Herald.

  1. Considering the supplies laid in for the next week, and my intention to have a dry January, my liver is going to take a hammering. Do not expect much in the way of posts here. []

Carbon News 8/12/14: NZ’s multi-billion carbon blowout

We’re facing a $3b carbon crisis … and it could be worse

New Zealand has a $3 billion carbon headache looming – and Treasury says that’s the conservative estimate. Carbon emissions in the period 2021 to 2030 could cost the country as much as $52 billion. Official briefings to the incoming Government acknowledge that the costs of meeting emissions reductions targets after 2020 were likely to rise significantly because “our emissions are forecast to increase and carbon prices are likely to be higher”.

The country needs a carbon budget, says pressure group

A climate change lobby group is calling for a national carbon budget and legally binding emissions reduction targets. The Sustainability Council’s paper comes as it releases figures showing New Zealand is facing a carbon liability of between $3 billion and $52 billion by 2030. Drawing on Government documents and its own work, the research and advocacy trust paints a picture of a country running a creative carbon accounting process, in which carbon liabilities have been shunted off to a time when carbon prices are predicted to be much higher.

Groser has a cunning plan (but he won’t say what it is)

Climate Change Minister Tim Groser says New Zealand will “push the envelope” on post-2020 emissions reductions. But he still won’t say what that means. New Zealand has to announce its 2021-2030 emissions reduction target before the negotiations for a new international climate treaty in Paris late next year. Groser, who is now in Lima for UN climate talks, told TV’s The Nation at the weekend that the target didn’t have to be settled until the middle of next year.

Ocean heat drives surge to global warming record

It’s official, even though it won’t be conclusive for a few months yet: if present trends continue, 2014 will be one of the hottest years on record − and quite possibly the hottest of them all. Continue reading “Carbon News 8/12/14: NZ’s multi-billion carbon blowout”