A big week coming: meanwhile Anglicans divest

It’s shaping up to be a big week. On Friday in Stockholm (Saturday in NZ) the IPCC will release the final version (not the one that’s been leaked to and seen by all and sundry) of the Summary for Policy Makers of the Working Group One report of their Fifth Report (AR5 — official web site here). As you might expect, the usual suspects have been lining up to try and dominate the news media — to provide a carbon friendly “frame” through which to view the IPCC’s findings. Most of it has been singularly ineffective, as Graham Readfearn noted in the Guardian, but I’ll hold my fire until the final SPM is released. Watch this space…

Meanwhile, the Anglican Diocese of Wellington voted this weekend to join their colleagues in Auckland by divesting itself of any fossil fuel investments in its portfolio. The Auckland synod at the beginning of the month took the opportunity to listen to two presentations that I think it worth drawing attention to here. First, Jim Renwick from VUW (an IPCC lead author) lays out the basic science that underlies the case for action to reduce emissions:

…then economic commentator Rod Oram explains the “carbon bubble” in market valuations of fossil fuel energy stocks, and why it would make sense to avoid that risk:

Two compelling presentations, with an obvious conclusion that the members of the Anglican church were happy to accept. We should not be investing in companies whose value depends on the burning of excessive amounts of carbon.

Dear Negotiators…

Guest Post by Sam Sharp, a member of the NZ Youth Delegation in Doha 

This morning I stood with 40 other youth from all around the world to represent the voices of 1.5 billion youth who are not directly represented here at the climate change negotiations in Doha.

We stood for one and a half hours, while thousands of negotiators and NGO’s passed us on their way to the negotiations. The response was pretty overwhelming.

Between us in NZYD, we were interviewed by eight different international journalists. Youth that I had never met in my life came and stood next to me to hold up the boards with our message

”Dear Negotiators, 1.5 billion youth are not directly represented here at COP18. Your decisions must reflect their demands”.  

The Irish ex-president and nobel peace prize winner , Mary Robinson, shook our hands. Thousands of photos were taken, iPhones and cameras left right and centre.

But to me, this international media attention was not what made this experience so special.

What blew me away, was the exchanges of smiles from a select few negotiators and this huge sense of pride I felt from standing with youth from all over the world  who are fighting for action on climate change.

Negotiators who looked us in the eye, acknowledging our message and saying “We are with you” have given me this new sense of hope among  this place full of cold stares and pressed business suits. In particular, it was the negotiators from the developing countries that really stopped to acknowledge what we were doing, as many of their youth are un-represented here at COP.

I have learnt this morning, that as youth we can give such a powerful message to the world, simply by standing together to show that regardless of our nationalities, we are all here for the same reason.

We are here to be heard, and we are here to show that we already doing what we can to make sure that our generations actions make a positive, lasting change. Regardless of the amount of negotiators that gave us a smile, it is us – today’s youth – that have shown that we have the strength in numbers and unity to actually make change.

Check out the NZYD Doha Blog 

Uncertainty overdone

Earlier this month James Hansen wrote a trenchant op-ed in the New York Times.  He reiterated the warning that the exploitation of the Canadian tar sands will be game over for the climate, spelt out some of the long-term drought consequences for the US of continued warming and identified notable heat waves of the last decade as most likely due to human-caused climate change. He was clearly anxious to drive home the message that humanity is in serious danger if we carry on exploiting all the fossil fuels we can find. “If it sounds apocalyptic, it is.”

On cue, journalist Andrew Revkin in his Dot Earth blog on the New York Times a few days later reported a meteorologist, Martin Hoerling, who claimed that Hansen had exceeded his brief as a scientist and allowed his policy commitment to overrule scientific caution. Revkin then asked climatologist Kerry Emanuel for his reaction to both Hansen and Hoerling. He received the comment that Emanuel saw overstatements on all sides, and, unsurprisingly, aligned himself with Emanuel.

But there was more to come on Revkin’s blog. A few days later he posted a response to Hoerling by Dan Miller who had assisted Hansen in the preparation of his op-ed. Miller had also been in touch with Emanuel to find out what his concerns were. It turned out they were hardly substantial:

Continue reading “Uncertainty overdone”

SOS roadshow comes to Hamilton

I attended the Hamilton stop of the Saunders/Oram/Salinger roadshow yesterday. It was a very worthwhile occasion.  Around seventy present and the speakers introduced by the Chair of the Regional Council, himself a farmer.  Caroline Saunders was unfortunately unable to be present, but Rod Oram included her material in his talk. I won’t try to cover what he and Jim Salinger had to say in any detail, as I simply sat back and enjoyed the expertise they displayed without any thought of reporting. But Gareth wondered about a short review, so in broadest outline from an untrustworthy ageing memory… Continue reading “SOS roadshow comes to Hamilton”

John Abraham: How to give good radio

It’s hard to know listening to this recent US radio interview with John Abraham whether to be more admiring of his incisive responses or more astonished at the regularity with which tired old denier claims are put forward by the interviewers. The interview perhaps highlights the extraordinary divergences of American society – home to impressively intelligent and dependable science yet harbouring, at high levels of government and in major media, scientific denial expressed with a confidence untethered to any scientific grounding.

Continue reading “John Abraham: How to give good radio”