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”

Carbon News 1/12/14: Future of work in NZ in clean tech, says Labour

Labour vows to watch work and the new economy


The Labour Party’s Future of Work Commission will include analysis of the impacts on work of climate change and the low-carbon economy. The commission was announced by Labour leader Andrew Little at a business briefing in Auckland this morning. It will be led by finance spokesman Grant Robertson, who told Carbon News that clean-tech opportunities are at the forefront of the party’s thinking.

Govt hopes Kyoto credits will cover emissions blow-out


The Government will use international Kyoto credits received in what’s known as the KP1 true-up to cover its emissions blow-out. But it doesn’t yet know how much of a help they will be.

Memo farmers: Learn to manage your methanotrophs


Farmers could cut their future exposure to carbon prices by looking after the methanotrophs in their soils, a soil scientist says.

Lima climate talks ‘stepping stone’ for universal treaty


A new round of talks in Lima is an opportunity to raise immediate awareness on climate change and lay the foundation for a new universal agreement to be adopted in 2015, says a top UN official. Continue reading “Carbon News 1/12/14: Future of work in NZ in clean tech, says Labour”

Carbon News 17/11/14: G20 climate action

Minister knows of water woes, but public information tap is turned off

Finance Minister Bill English has been told something about fresh water — but the public isn’t allowed to know what it is. Last month, Ministry for the Environment officials were forced to admit they were wrong to say that the quality of our waterways is “stable or improving”.

Deal or no deal — can China and the US deliver?

It’s been called an historic agreement — a game changer in the battle to combat climate change. But can China and the US fulfil the promises in their announcement of plans to cut carbon emissions?

Does this climate deal let China do nothing for 16 years?

“As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country.” — US Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, November 12, 2014.

Crowd-funders get behind CarbonScape

Kiwi cleantech company CarbonScape has hit its crowd-funding equity target. Continue reading “Carbon News 17/11/14: G20 climate action”