The Age Of Resilience starts tonight

AgeofResilience_logoA quick heads up that the Royal Society of New Zealand’s panel discussion series on the theme of The Age Of Resilience starts tonight at the Auckland Museum at 6pm. French and NZ experts will consider the “economic conundrum” of transitioning to a low-carbon economy and at the same time deliver a “high and sustainable level of human well-being”. On the panel are Pierre Ducret (see the NZ Herald today), Dr Suzi Kerr, Professor Catherine Larrère and Fraser Whinerary. Kim Hill will be in the chair, and the evening is being recorded by Radio New Zealand for broadcast next month. More details at the RSNZ web site, and you can download a flyer here.

Two further sessions are being held in Wellington and Christchurch: in Wellington tomorrow night on Climate in-justice? and Christchurch next Tuesday on The Anthropocene Challenge. Details and flyers from the RSNZ here. An interesting series — and if you can’t make the live recordings, all three will be on Radio NZ National in September and October as part of the Talking Heads strand.

74 thoughts on “The Age Of Resilience starts tonight”

  1. Its a bit late for me to get to Auckland for that meeting. I would like to have asked questions about the electrification of the rail system and having rail developed as part of a national transport system that takes heavy traffic off the roads and uses domestic, renewable energy to cut the oil import bill and reduce CO2 emissions.

  2. KiwiRail are in a bit of a bind because the main truck line is not efficient as it is not 100% electrified and many of their long haul electric locomotives have reached the end of their useful life. It would not look good if they replaced them with diesels….

    1. After half a century without a vision, neglect and stupidity, Kiwi Rail is a Train-wreck….
      How about we allow the Chinese to build us a fast efficient rail corridor from Whangarai to Wellington and Picton to Invercargil with some branches to Tauranga, Gisborne and the Hawkes Bay and New Plymouth. Once NZ’s population swells as the tidal wave of international resettlement under way already reaches our shores too, we would be prepared at least.

  3. Only slightly OT:

    Apropos Christchurch sea level rise…

    “The agency says that we’ve seen 3 inches of global sea level increase since the year 1992 — with large regional variation — and a further rise of three feet has likely been “locked in” by warming that has already occurred. Other scientists have recently suggested that we may be about to unleash considerably more than that.”

      1. What don’t you comprehend about NZ tide gauges?

        This might help you in your quest.

        NZ’s SLR of 1.7mm/year is in line with the expectations from the regional rise in our area of the world. Remember Andy, NZ is not sitting in one of hot-spots of SLR.

        SLR is not evenly distributed.

  4. Economists urge action to slow AGW:

    This Guardian article: Citi report: slowing global warming would save tens of trillions of dollars” demonstrates the fallacy of the argument of the contrarians that acting to curb fossil fuel emissions would result in an economic catastrophe:

    This conclusion [of the report] soundly refutes the main argument against climate action – that it’s too expensive, with some contrarians even having gone so far as to claim that cutting carbon pollution will create an economic catastrophe. To the contrary, the Citi report finds that these investments will save money, before even accounting for the tremendous savings from avoiding climate damage costs.

  5. I went to the Christchurch talk last night.
    it was an interesting event highlighted by Dave Frame trying to look non-plussed surrounded by female social justice warriors.

    Well done Dave, you handled yourself well!

    1. Thanks Andy.

      It was actually quite fun. I enjoyed chatting to the others, disagreements or not. It was a bit unfortunate I ended up mostly being a lightning rod for criticisms regarding mainstream economics – I tried on a few occasions to make sure people understood I was a scientist who happened to endorse mainstream views on economic policy, rather than an economist per se. But whatever – it was fun. It was nice to meet the visitors, and Kim, and to have a proper chance to chat with Bronwyn. Thanks to the french Embassy and RSNZ for doing all the organising.

      1. I thought Kim Hill’s suggestion that climate change has become “everything we hate about the world, including fat men in big cars” was very perceptive.

        I thought Dave’s response, “as a fat man with a big car” was very sharp too.

        But you are not fat Dave!

  6. Andy, as a climate change refugee yourself, why are you so focused on irrelevancies and distractions?

    Or are you just trying to derail the conversation from the powerful point that Thomas made before your post?

    Having observed you closely over the years, I believe you are following a version of the “Karl Rove Playbook for Conservative Blogging”, with “Liberal” replaced with “Rational”, e.g:


    Your job is to prevent the presentation and spread of Liberal viewpoints.

    Do anything you must do to prevent a Liberal poster from presenting a well-reasoned argument or starting a civil discussion.

    Don’t allow a Liberal to present their dogma unchallenged EVER.

  7. I am trying to derail a conversation by mentioning that I went to the talk that the blog post advertised.yes makes perfect sense.

    Did anyone else go to this? What were your thoughts?

    1. >>There wasn’t any scientific content to the meeting.”

      >So a complete waste of time then….

      Strange attitude. Most of the people there seemed to want us to do things about climate change (and other environmental problems). This implies policy, which draws on, but it distinct from, science. We talked, on the whole, about policy, social science and social change. I think everyone on the panel thinks that those things are just as valuable as science. (I know I do.)

      1. i didn’t find it a waste of time either. As someone with a technical bent, “climate change” seems quite an easy problem to define (as energy imbalance) and potentially quite an easy problem to fix

        I find it fascinating how it has morphed into something quite different. As Kim Hill said, everything we hate about the world, including fat men in big cars.

        1. Hurray! Andy finally claims that he understands Climate Change and grasps that its an energy imbalance and he now also holds an easy solution to fix the same. Would you mind to enlighten us?

          Oh, and some of us occasionally venture to the dark side of the Treadgolds dungeon where some Andy, strangely with the very same teddy-bear collection as his avatar as you here, struts his stuff as an arch denier of the mere idea of GW being linked to CO2 emissions….

          Andy S over there, August 6:

          We don’t need to get bogged down in Greenhouse physics when there is no empirical evidence that anything unusual is happening to sea level at all.

          And July 28:

          The geological record would suggest that CO2 doesn’t regulate temperature to any significance.

          Go figure….

      2. Indeed, Dave, science-based policy and action is all we have to get us through this existential bottleneck, and I look forward to listening to the RNZ podcast of the series.

          1. I don’t remember you getting booed. I was on your side, by the way. I was going to ask a question at the end,, but I wasn’t sure if the exits were locked.
            The audience looked like they would be pretty hostile to my line of questioning.

            1. …your line of questioning Andy? Oh please share with us what that would have been. Perhaps your question could enlighten the discussion here, especially as Dave is listening.

      3. I guess my problem with policy at the forefront, is best explained with the colonoscopy analogy. Most people understand that colonoscopies are unpleasant, but that the price of not having one can be quite high and so will unquestionably go through the ordeal. If people don’t have the same level of understanding or faith in climate change science as they are for modern medicine, then surely policy is going to reflect that. How else can you explain the extreme lethargy on the part of central government and ministers like Bill English?

      1. Yes. Puke! A bunch of whingers moaning the fact that somebody has the audacity to actually spell out what the future holds for their coastal settlements. It is a travesty that grown up people believe they can hold back the inevitable with legal wrangling.
        You know, ownership of coastal property within reach of SLR related impacts is really like a game of musical chairs. The current owners want to see their asset rise in value (meaning they hope that somebody else will want to buy it in the next decade or more for a lot of money) while the physics of climate change clearly spells out that their land is doomed, some sooner, some later.
        The council does not have the liberty to deny climate science, they would be held liable if they did. It is their obligation to inform property owners and potential investors of conditions known to affect properties.
        Also, I do not believe that taxpayers in the rest of NZ should pick up the tab for coastal landowners. The predictions of climate science and SLR were clearly spelled out for all for more than a decade.
        Your little troupe of grieved property owners is simply looking greedy and silly. What do they want? Being protected by the rest of us from the rising seas of the future? If you really wanted protection, then drop your nonsensical denial of the science and work towards limiting the effects of AGW.
        Of cause, thanks to the mental virus that has befallen you and that you do your best to try to pass on to others, we have left it much too late to protect land within 5m of the current SL as it seems clear that we already set the pendulum into motion enough to cause at least 5m SLR over the next centuries.

        1. Good, I’m glad you managed to catch our prime time TVOne news coverage, Thomas.

          I will pass on your empathetic wishes to the 850+ members of our CCRU Facebook group that we have assembled in the last 2 weeks.

          Alternatively you can join the group yourself. Be my guest

          1. Your CCRU group needs to grow some balls and man up to the fact that they own property that has a use-by sticker no matter what the council or any person or institution deems otherwise. Unless we stop and reverse AGW these land owners patches will be eventually under water and no hand waving and legal posturing will help and Facebook won’t revert the laws of Physics either. Unless you tell your good people this they will simply be hoodwinked out of more of their money.
            But they have certainly done some good for the rest of us and warned any possible buyer from cape to cape to be alert and ask questions about the future before investing into such properties. At least most of us are now aware of all this thanks to the noise you guys made. Good on you.

            1. I’m glad you think out group has done the country a service

              More on this will be announced in due course.

        2. Your little troupe of grieved property owners is simply looking greedy

          it hardly seems greedy to simply ask that your property rights are not taken away.

          By the way, a “little” troup consists of 18,000 properties. I don’t know how many submissions have been received by the council, but I would guess in the thousands now

          1. Their property rights were never sovereign in any case. They need to abide by the law of the land. Owning a property does not give them the right to prevent future buyers, banks and insurance companies learning about issues with that property that are known to the council. They can submit to hell and high water (pun intended) but that will not change the physics involved in making predictions about the future state of their patch. I am sure if you were an investor in insurance funds or wanted to make sure your bank makes sensible loans with your savings that these companies do due diligence on the matter they are dealing with.
            Sorry but no sympathy here.

            1. I don’t expect any sympathy
              However, if one group of residents on one side of the road get red zoned and paid out in full by the government, and people on the other side of the road get told that their property is worthless, it isn’t too fair.
              Note also that much of central christchurch that does actually get flooded on a regular basis (unlike the coastal strip) doesn’t come under these rules, even though a one metre sea level rise will destroy all this land

              I am hoping that this will be taken to a national level. Then the property loss will be very significant

              The equity in the affected Christchurch areas alone is several billion.

              So when as few hundred billion is wiped off NZ equity and people are rioting in the streets, you can laugh at them and tell them you have no sympathy

            2. The age of wilful denial is over Andy. You seem to come to that realisation yourself as it seems. If people want to make the best happen for our future, they should vote in a government that is taking climate change and its causes seriously.
              And your comparison with red-stickered earthquake properties is not quite accurate. The earthquake was an event. The damage was insured.
              The coastal properties are not being red-stickered and nobody is forced to move out at the moment. The owners are likely to see a reasonable “sunset time” in their properties counting in perhaps a couple of decades at least. But long term plans with their lands are probably going to be a waste of investment.

            3. The coastal properties are not being red stickered and no one is being forced to move out

              This is true.

              However, there are severe restrictions on what you can do in the hazard zones. There are people who have left a plot of land vacant for more than 12 months, after a demolishion following the earthquake. Existing usage rules expire at 12 months as I understand, so these sections are no worthless as you are not permitted to build on bare land in these areas, as we understand it.

              In the meantime, a multi-million dollar waterfront hotel complex has been given the go ahead in Auckland.

              It is all very inconsistent.

  8. Here is an incredible comparison of images of glaciers in Alaska showing the effect of global warming over the past 100 years. This is absolutely stunning.

    At the current rate glaciers in Alaska apparently melt fast enough to cover the entire state with 30cm of water every 7 years!

    Can we still hope that the “Age of Resilience” will work out better for humanity than it does for the Glaciers….?

  9. The issue evolving in regard to Chch coastal properties is only a precursor to what and is occurring elsewhere in NZ and of course world wide so expect a lot more whinging and whining to come.
    Incidentally I seem to recall a brass plaque just inside the door of the cathedral with a line on it indicating a level 7ft above Lyttleton high tide. Not a lot of free-board given the expected life of the city and projections of SLR way over the conservative 1mtr. But big Gerry would have taken that into account of course. ????????
    Buy in Oxford. It`ll never be cheaper folks.

    1. I expect this will be escalated to national level and Jan Wright’s office is working on a report due out in October.

      We also have to consider the very high probability of the Alpine Fault (and associated Mag 8 quake) rupturing in the next 50 years, not to mention various volcanoes erupting in the north Island

      Mackenzie District Council have done a risk assessment on Tsunami for Lake Tekapo.

      Eventually, the whole of NZ will be deemed too dangerous to live in, and we will all have to migrate somewhere else.

      Like Syria, for example…

      1. Andy, I don’t know what they expect from a ‘report’. Regardless of what the report says, the sea is going to rise, probably by as much as 2 to 5 metres by 2100. And since we have taken the ice block out of the fridge and sat it in the hot sun, it is going to continue to melt until virtually all of it is gone while millennial-scale natural cycles get underway to remove the forcing and get some ice growing again at the poles and mountain tops.

        As Hansen has said “No stable shoreline would be re-established in any time frame that humanity can conceive.” 1. Get over it. 2. Get on with it. 3. Enjoy (you may as well!)

        There is no practical or affordable strategy to stand in the way of sea level rises of 2, 5, 20 or eventually 75 metres. Its just adapt, or get wet.

        Nature doesn’t give a damn about unfortunate (I won’t call them ‘silly’) people who have persisted with buying inundation-prone properties, who then whimper and thrash about when they find that they don’t have a chair to sit on when the music stops in the ‘informed property market waltz’.

        If you have the misfortune to own coastal property, then the sensible (selfish) move is to quietly put it on the market, take what you’re offered, say ‘Thank You’ to your Lord, get the hell up the hill with you and your loved ones. and don’t look back.

        Don’t worry about the foolish ones who persist with their denial – the Devil will take the hindmost in his good time.

        1. “Regardless of what the report says, the sea is going to rise, probably by as much as 2 to 5 metres by 2100”

          Meanwhile, the Lyttelton tide gauge chugs along at 1.7 mm per year.

        2. I don’t have the misfortune to own a coastal property. I have the good fortune., since I like the beach lifestyle

          Since we got fully paid out by the insurance for earthquake damage, I have a house that has a book value of zero, that I can still live in, and build a house somewhere else. 700m above sea level to be precise.

          We get real estate agents ringing us on a regular basis with price ranges of $200k-$250k for our “zero-value” property, which we don’t take because we still need a base in town.

          So I don’t feel unfortunate or unlucky. Quite the opposite. It’s the other poor suckers around me that I feel sorry for and am trying to help.

          1. What exactly are your expectations from the NZ taxpayers for the benefit of these “other poor suckers” that you want the government to do for them on behalf of the NZ taxpayers?

            1. I don’t expect the NZ taxpayer to do anything for these people.

              If these people have their houses washed away by rising seas, then no one is going to bail them out, just as EQC have walked away from their obligations

              Don’t worry Thomas, I don’t expect any money or sympathy from you

            2. …just as EQC have walked away from their obligations…

              So you DO make a comparison to EQC then and it seems you DO actually think somebody is obliged to bail out (literally?) the SLR threatened settlements? Who is supposed to play the role of EQC for the SLR threatened settlements???

              Oh please, tell is who should then bail these people out?

            3. No one is expecting anyone to bail anyone out.

              However, we do not expect the council to render land worthless on a whim, as they are proposing to do

            4. Two small points: the land is not being made worthless, nor is the council acting on a “whim”.

              I understand the concerns being expressed about the council’s process, and agree there needs to be a national approach to the problem, but trying to pretend there is no problem, or low-balling the dangers, helps nobody.

            5. Under the proposed district plan, section 5, you cannot build on bare land that lies within the inundation zone

              This included land that previously had property on it but was demolished and laid empty for more than 12 months, after which Existing Use rights expire.

              This includes quite a lot of land in the Brighton Mall commercial area. Given the earthquake situation, these bare land issues are quite commonplace in the area.

              Since residential and business owners were not made aware that these changes were being made in early stages of the District Plan, the appearance to them is the council “acting on a whim”, even if their own process was long and complex.

            6. If that is so (not allowed to build on land cleared after the Earthquake) then I would tend to agree with Andy at least to the point that people who are willing to take the risk of having their properties inundated and who are having this stated on their LIM report also should be able to build with their own capital or that of banks, should they find any willing to give them a mortgage. Insurance is another matter between the owner and the insurers.

              Council should perhaps have a disclaimer that they take no responsibility for any damages arising in the name of the taxpayer if they issue a building permit on the land. This will make it more difficult for people to build but probably it would be wiser if these people spend their capital somewhere higher up….

              Other than that, clearly we need a national policy as Gareth pointed out and a much-needed discussion of what we as a society will do to protect our future. A progressive carbon emissions policy would be a start followed by a reality check that much of our beloved coastal land is threatened just as much as the Christchurch suburbs are.

            7. AndyS makes this point that the rules in Christchurch seem to prohibit people rebuilding on this low lying coastal land, or significantly altering their homes. I think he may have a valid concern here. I don’t see why council feel they have this right, as it costs council nothing if people do choose to rebuild low down like this. I live near the coast so have some concerns that the Christchurch decision hopefully doesn’t set a precedent.

              Of course if people rebuild like this it is at own risk and may not be a smart idea longer term. Council may decide not to upgrade services in very low lying areas. However it down to homeowners choice.

              However it does seem foolish to believe that a 1.8mm sea level rise rate per year In Christchurch will continue like that forever. The IPCC predicts a strong global acceleration to sea level rise after about 2050, and there is no reason to believe Christchurch would be immune.

            8. It all becomes a horrible technical mess too…

              Even before the high tide has started to swirl around the front doorsteps of the houses and into the gully-traps by the bathroom, the rising tide will have flooded vented manholes and pumping stations in the road outside.

              A sewage treatment plant cannot function with an endless supply of seawater added to the inflows. You cannot maintain pumping stations that are below high tide; you cannot clear blocked sewers that are flooded to ground level (or to the water level above that ground).

              So at some point from a purely technical perspective an area has to be declared unservable by numerous public health-related utilities.

              Then, no matter what risk an individual denialist home-owner wants to take on (uninsured or not), the area becomes unfit for habitation, and any remaining dwellings are seen as creating health risks for the rest of the population due to their discharge of raw sewage into the water around them.

              Similarly any water supply wells will get salt-water intrusion, the pump control gear gets saltwater in the works, electrical supply and telecom cabinets get wet feet and blow fuses – the list goes on.

              Culs-de-sac street facing the sea (low end ‘down’, as most are) become unaccessible, stranding high and dry houses within them.

              Sewerage treatment plants will be among the first casualties of sea level rise in most coastal towns. No treatment available for poo from as far afield as Templeton, what do you do? Abandon every property between the coast and Templeton? Seems likely. Or do you just let it well-up in the manholes near the coast, and put a sign up saying ‘No bathing or fishing – water unfit for habitation’?

              So it will be infrastructure issues, not water in your living room, which pull the plug on surprisingly large areas of developed land, rendering it useless.

            9. Some excellent points Nigwil. And indeed, the council has a lot of other concerns at hand beside the flooding of individual houses. The maintenance and continuation of services, especially as you point out the underground ones, will suffer quite a while before the streets or the homes get flooded. And if people get a permit to build, they would expect these services to be delivered by the council to them for a the lifetime of the building as part of the bargain of building a structure that impacts on resources. Many structures have a lifetime of 50 years and that is certainly well into the flooding territory decades ahead.

          1. Oh that Christchurch had such an enlightened government as North Carolina is currently blessed with!

            North Carolina Legislative Report – July 6, 2012

            Climate Change
            After a wide-ranging debate on the validity of climate-change science Tuesday, state lawmakers agreed to ban any state agencies from making policies on sea level change until 2016…

            The measure is a watered-down version of the original legislation to put strict limits on the state’s use of climate change data, which drew international attention and made the state a punch line on a late-night comedy show.

            Republican lawmakers had sought to quash a March 2010 report from scientists with the Coastal Resources Commission that projected a 20-to-55-inch rise by the end of the century, disputing the science because it would hurt coastal development.

            Under the new language in House bill 819, the commission must re-evaluate its study and consider scientific literature debunking rising water levels and the economic cost to the state if it prohibits development based on sea-level regulations.

          2. But surely, Gareth, you jest?

            [Nope. You want to indulge in tortuous, incomprehensible and long-winded ramblings, but you have a blog already devoted to that. Stay there, please, unless you are willing to apologise to the NIWA and other NZ climate scientists you have maligned over the years. Oh, and you could pay back some of the taxpayers money you so egregiously rorted by folding your “Education” Trust. Until then, your presence is not welcome here. GR]

      2. Andy, the significant difference between volcanos, earthquakes and tsunamis is that their occurrence is random and event-like. Even after an earthquake or tsunami the properties affected are likely to be built on again. And it would have been silly not to build Auckland even if an eruption may happen on the timescale of many centuries.

        SLR however, is relentless, it’s calculable and its occurrence – all around the coastal areas of the world – is unavoidable by now. Once the ground is taken by the sea, it’s gone. And even before then, the rising frequency of storm related inundations on properties affected by a rising SL will eventually render these places non-insurable, perhaps even a few decades before they are consumed by the sea.

        I live in Whitianga, say no more. This is a growing community at present, one of the few rural communities with a growing school and population and a booming property market, yet most of it is predictably going to be taken by the sea on this side of the end of the century. This will happen likely after my time…. but our children will witness the mayhem unfolding in their lifetimes. People buying here now are aware of the risk they take. Many are retirees wanting a peace of the coastal bliss. Good on them and many will enjoy a few decades still in this beautiful place, just don’t come running for the purse of the tax man when the patch is getting wet….

  10. This paper on SLR is worth a read.

    “Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet”, Winkelmann et. al. 11 Sep 2015

    The graphs in the introduction are reminder of the long tail our CO2 pulse will have and the associated long tail of warming and consequential SLR.

    It seems that some of the denier folk still rabble on that we should not worry about the next centuries as surely we would have found successor technology to carbon fuels by then. But they forget that even if we were to find that fabled new technology at the end of the century we would have kicked the momentum of climate change much too far already, dooming future generations to abandon most cities we live in today and most arable land we cultivate.

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