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…

106 thoughts on “This year can’t end fast enough”

  1. I see that my comment got censored. So much for open debate!

    [No idea what you’re on about. There’s no other comment from you in the system. But before you clog up the columns here: don’t bother. GR]

  2. Trump as President is scary for many reasons, but the world is stuck with that reality unfortunately. Clinton would have done something to act on climate change, but it probably wouldn’t have been enough, so I’m going with the only silver lining I can see here.

    Politicians were never going to take truly effective action to cut emissions. Change will only come when millions of ordinary people demand it.

    Perhaps concerned people worldwide will now understand that we can’t rely on the politicians, so now more than ever, we have to speak out, stand up and take action.

  3. Goodbye to the Climate
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/opinion/election-night-2016/goodbye-to-the-climate
    “The incoming Trump administration simply can disregard America’s pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 26 to 28 percent below the 2005 level by 2025. That is bad enough. But the big worry is what other key countries, including the world’s largest emitter, China, as well as India and Brazil, will do if the United States reneges on its pledge. The result could be that the Paris agreement unravels, taking it from the 97 percent of global emissions currently covered by the pact to little more than the European Union’s 10 percent share.

    “In addition, Mr. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency probably will stop work on regulations of methane emissions (a very potent greenhouse gas) from existing oil and gas operations. Undoing complex existing regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan, will be more difficult, but a reconstituted Supreme Court will probably help President Trump when that plan inevitably comes before the court.”

    Robert N. Stavins is a professor at Harvard, where he directs the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements.

  4. Yes Trump winning and Leonard Cohens death was a particularly dismal and unjust sort of combination. For the first time in my life politics depressed me. However Trump will hopefully only be there 4 years (he said clutching at small straws)

    I actually bought a Leonard Cohen album about 6 weeks ago, The Essential Leonard Cohen, a double cd. I’m over 50 but had never really listened to this guy, but that song Hallelujah is so moving and got me interested. I was more of a Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell follower, ( I hear she is ill as well).

    But back to Trump. He has gone crazy on the climate change issue, and is just so wrong. He has already put climate change sceptics in his cabinet, and has pledged to even stop research. Given the Republican sentiments and majority in congress it could at least be reduced.

    Trumps huge scepticism on the climate issue is weird in some ways. Trump is on record as supporting Obama’s early efforts to combat climate change. So why the big change? Maybe he was always insincere, but that doesn’t seem entirely convincing.

    I think some climate change sceptic has got in Trump’s ear, and Trump just lacks much scientific awareness. Climate sceptics can be very seductive and cleverly misleading, especially if you don’t have an interest in detail – which is just like Trump.

  5. The fact that the right wing idiots have forsaken the council of Science in their decision making is biggest travesty of our times. These people claim to be oh-so-clever (“hey I went bankrupt, got thereby out of paying my contractors and their workers, got a billion dollar tax write off and am now a zillionaire and brag about it….”) . But when it comes to the science and the evidence that we are killing this planet in the name of “jobs, greed, and power”, then these loggerheads make the most risible choices. We all know that there are actually way more jobs in re-tooling our society into a sustainable future. The only “losers” are shareholders of fossil fuel companies…..

    Before, all they were was bluster and lies, lies and more lies from the right wing conspirators. Now they have reached the levers of power and they will act. While their verbal garbage amounted libel in many cases, their actions will certainly be criminal and will destroy real value well beyond all the combined wealth. And it will be these actions that they take will put them squarely into the path of liability. And certainly, they cannot claim ignorance! Their actions are indefensible and already we are seeing the first legal actions mounting in the name of young generations. Trump may be protected as president, but his advisers and minions are not. The tobacco legal action will be kindergarten play in comparison. And nations will sue the USA for obstruction in the international court also.

  6. Thanks Andy and retsilla: we’re all well, but it was the longest shake I’ve felt in 20 years. House seems to be OK, but I haven’t checked round the farm yet. We were lucky, though. I’m hearing reports of very significant damage in the rural districts around the epicentre of the big one – and of course the aftershocks are still rolling in. I’ll post more later.

  7. When will the bad news end of this year…. and my wishes are with all the good people down south. The privilege of life on the wonderful islands along the ring of fire comes with its price…

    Meanwhile the USA news is getting more depressing day by day.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/13/stephen-bannon-reince-priebus-donald-trump-white-house-staff

    The chief propaganda minister and the spider in the centre of the web of the right wing conspiracy, designer of strategic lies, tactical mind-bombs, and chaos by design: Stephen Bannon, will now be in the Whitehouse himself. Trump will the his puppet on strings…

    Here is a good character analysis of this man: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2015-steve-bannon/

    So now we have “the most dangerous political operative in America” (Bloomberg) sitting right at the source and the levers of the most sophisticated intelligence, surveillance and covert operations center of the world. If you thought Goebles was bad, how about Goebles with the power of today’s communications and secret services arsenal…. Truth will be his enemy #1 and fabricated doubt through sweet little lies his easiest weapon to rule by confusing the people.

    1. The problem is, Thomas, at least 50% of the public don’t trust the mainstream media. Why should they, when there is documented collusion between them and the Clinton campaign?

      Now we have death threats against Trump, “spontaneous” riots in American cities that conveniently have buses laid on to transport the protestors to flash points, rape threats against Melania Trump, people being beaten up because they have Trump stickers on their cars.

      You have the temerity to refer to Trump supporters as “Brownshirts”. OK, try looking in the mirror Thomas.

  8. Commiserations to anyone affected by the earthquake.

    Trump is putting together a huge righwing machine so hard line and so deluded its actually genuinely scary. Apparently Sarah Palin is going to be in his cabinet.

    The trouble is these republicans think because they do well in business, (often by walking all over people) this makes them super smart about everything. Well the science, medical and engineering professions are likely to have a higher average IQ, if you consider the material they have to understand.

    And being bright and good at financial accounting does not equate to a lifetime studying something like atmospheric physics. They are totally different subjects.

    And intelligence is clearly not wisdom, because I doubt if your average Republican could even spell the word wisdom. They seem more at home with the words deliberate stupidity.

    We have a beautiful world, and we need to be a bit careful with it. The lunatics Trump is putting together could genuinely do serious damage to the planet, the economy and basically everything.

    They appear driven by gut feelings and convictions over reason. They are taking the easy way out. They are putting everything at huge risk.

  9. On the matter of Truth versus Fake News in the time of the Internet:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/14/fake-news-donald-trump-election-alt-right-social-media-tech-companies

    It is interesting to note how the brown shirts are really trying hard to promote the idea (and hope it will become a self-fulfilling strategy) to kill the traditional mass media (see our own brown shirt troll Andy and his dutiful regurgitation of that strategy – Andy seems to read from the pages of Bannon no less…).

    They have seen how the gullible gutter press readership can be much better confused with tosh dished up online, which is then in a spiral of circular referencing elevated to semi-truth or at least reasonable doubts in order to capture the valuable and limited mind space in its intended target audience. The Internet makes this possible through bypassing media organisations and editors.

    In fact, any odd conspiracy theory, from Chem-Trails to wired miracle cures and UFO tosh is all useful to them and will assist them in their goal to steadily erode the confidence in experts, scientists, and authority. It is part of the wrecking ball strategy to take down society and make the masses ready to be ruled and to become desensitised to lies so they will no longer react gainst those that matter….

    All this is becoming so clear now since the players of this conspiracy and their aims and methods are being revealed. And no wonder that the message from climate science of our impending doom through a heat-transformation of the Earth’s climate systems is not being accepted yet by the masses, despite decades of education and information. The masses have been intentionally confused by the make-belief alt-realities created by Bannon and the like.

    We have been there before…: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/holoprelude/goebbels.html

    1. Hi Thomas
      Thanks for your Guardian article about “fake news”. Unfortunately, I can’t find any “fake news” referenced, other than the child sex allegations. I don’t recall any “right wing” websites claiming that Clinton is a head of a global paedophile network.
      We have allegations that Bill Clinton went to Jeff Epstein’s “orgy island” onboard the “Lolita Express”, his personal 727. These allegations are backed up by flight records. Mrs Clinton had about 6 trips there. We know from the Podesta emails that the term “spirit cooking” doesn’t refer to marinading in Brandy

      Much of this stuff came from Julian Assange and Wikileaks, which has suddenly become a “right wing fake news” site, which is weird since the NZ left were quite keen to embrace him during the last election here.

      Also, the “shocking” heading quoted in the Guardian article about birth control making women fat and unattractive came from Milo Yiannopoulos who recently ran a highly successful tour of US campuses called the Dangerous Faggot tour. As you can imagine, Milo (who refers to Trump as “Daddy”, is the Queen of Trolls and the Most Fabulous Supervillain on the Internet.

      Not a Brownshirt in sight, though

      1. I guess we should not be surprised that Andy will not only deny the evidence of AGW but also the existence of articles like this one, which arguably is best described as risible misogynistic crap fake news, designed to give right wing men ammunition to deny their partners or daughters control over their bodies… shame:
        http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2015/12/08/birth-control-makes-women-unattractive-and-crazy/
        Bannon, who published this load of horse s..t fake news, will soon sit in the white house, being the president’s strategist….
        And this is just one example. Anybody venturing to any of Bannons outlets (Breitbart, Daily Caller etc, bring a barf bag…) will find a wonderland of fake carp drumming up brain numbing tosh as fodder for the Trump movement…. yuck.

        1. The Breitbart article on birth control making women fat and unattractive was not a piece on preventing women having birth control. It was a provocative headline intended to draw you in to some arguments that are based on facts. Milo is quite good at this. So good, in fact, that Mrs Clinton quoted these headlines in a campaign speech

          Milo has been banned from speaking at his old school in England by the “counter extremism unit” This is both laughable and worrying at the same time, given that Milo sang the US national anthem in full drag at one of his talks

          Obviously leftists don’t understand any of this because they live in a humourless beige world of tedious social conformity, which used to be the territory of conservatives

  10. Here are some solid examples of fake news in the internet media, since poor old Andy seems unaware of the issue, and couldn’t cope with a simple google search:

    https://www.cnet.com/news/internet-fake-news-problem-google-facebook-election/

    “Donald Trump won the popular vote.

    The Clinton Foundation bought $137 million worth of illegal arms and ammunition.

    An FBI agent associated with Hillary Clinton’s email leaks was found dead in a murder-suicide.

    The Pope endorsed Trump.

    If you saw any of these stories on the internet over the past few weeks, let’s be crystal clear: They’re not true.

    But you might not have known that if you saw them on Google or Facebook. Google listed the popular-vote story prominently on Google News on Monday for those searching for election results. The other stories made the rounds, unchecked, on Facebook, where they racked up likes, shares and views.

    That’s a problem because Facebook and Google are now two of the largest and most popular sites on the internet. They’re also the Hungry Hungry Hippos of digital ad dollars. Between them, they draw billions of visitors a day. So if Facebook and Google have a fake news problem, there’s an argument to be made that the internet itself has a fake news. And that’s not good for the general public.

    By the way Andy, somebody visiting an Island proves nothing.

    1. It’s strange but most of your “fake news” stories that you quote are completely unknown to me, leading me to think that it is a fake news story about fake news.

      I did read that Trump did win the popular vote, after further counting. It’s hard to know and irrelevant anyway. Some of those fake videos taken by fake people with fake phones of voting machines switching votes may be something to do with it.

      The fake story about the murder suicide may have some guts as there are lots of “fake” stories about suicides and plane crashes that remain unexplained after 30 years of the Clintons. It is stressful being in politics, and it is entirely reasonable that a DNC staffer would commit suicide on a hiking holiday by shooting themselves in the back of the head on getting to the top of a mountain.

      It is also unreasonable to assume there is anything wrong with visiting a billionaire on a private island, someone who served 10 months for sex with a minor. (I think the other 35 counts were dropped after he pleaded guilty to this one). We shouldn’t read too much into the rape allegations against Bill Clinton. These women are probably making it up and doing it for money, as do most rape victims.

      The idea that paedophile rings exist is just a right wing conspiracy. Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and all the other “children’s entertainers” were just decent people who went off the rails a bit.

      I look forward to a future where “fake news” doesn’t exist and we only read The Truth.

      1. AndyS, I believe the account in the article I quoted. There’s enough detail in the article on fake news stories to give it credibility and it quotes the original sources where the fake news was printed. I have seen one of the stories, and many other similar ones, and I’m not even a person who uses facebook much.

        All I did was a simple google search “fake news stories in the internet media”. There are of course hundreds of hits, and more than enough of those hits are from reputable looking writers. The case is proven beyond doubt.

        And the vast majority of the fake news stories are right wing leaning conspiracy theories and attacks on progressives. We have our own dear old Ian Wishart, although granted we are talking more books and opinions there, but all the idiots swallow it hook, line and sinker.

        You are in denial and in danger of becoming a conspiracy theorist.

        Im not a Clinton fan, she has warmongering tendencies (but so does trump, in a different sort of way, but equally dangerous), however its absurd to label these Clinton people murderers. You could find quite a few celebrities surrounded with numerous staff and fans and of course some deaths that seem suspicious. Its just a statistical odds sort of thing.

        Show me proof someone skiing was shot in the back of the head. Whenever I have checked on these sorts of claims in the past, they dissolve into nothing or have an innocent explanation like a proven hunting accident

        Yes there are rape allegations against Bill Clinton, but also sexual assault allegations against Donald trump, except in your world where you seem unable to acknowledge both. Neither are remotely proven. There could of course be some truth in them. Its entirely possible some of the women are looking for money, and others are genuine. Both Trump and Clinton are randy old sods. Personally I’m not sure either would commit rape, but probably have wandering hands.

        Show me proof Andy. Until then its conspiracy theory nonsense, and people are actually innocent until proven guilty. We don’t want to go back to a world of burning witches, which is the mentality of Donald Trump and where he would take us.

        Yes we have Jimmy Saville, an odious character, but extensive and compelling proof has come forward. He was also from a time period where institutions turned a blind eye.

        The internet is great because it does ask questions about peoples actions. I see no problem with opinions and expressing ideas. However in the cases I quoted supposedly reputable organisations were allowing stuff to be presented as factual news when it was at best opinion, and at worst nasty conspiracy theory nonsense.

        Thank goodness we at least have defamation laws.

        1. Seth Rich was the most recent guy to be mysteriously shot
          Obviously, this is a “right wing conspiracy theory” because Julian Assange hinted that Rich might have been the DNC whistleblower, and as we know, Assange and Snowden are right wing conspiracy nut jobs, as are all the people that talk about 5 eyes and the NSA monitoring us, like right wing conspiracy nut job Martin Bradbury

          All mad as hatters. All right wing. All fake.

          1. Andy, I’m just not that interested in your murder conspiracy theories. If you think something is suspicious, go to the authorities.

            Clinton has been investigated numerous times over a couple of strange deaths in people known to her, and perfectly innocent explanations have been found.

            Its the same by analogy with Trump. He has been accused of sexual assault, but I’m not jumping to conclusions. Its up to a court of law, however his attitude to women is disgusting.

            I don’t want to be drawn into a debate on who is the more murderous, left or right. I think you will find its about equal if you look at history. However if you insist on a debate, I will bury you alive with detail on right wing atrocities around the world all through history.

            Regarding Five Eyes. This is not some imagined “conspiracy theory”. This network exists and includes NZ, Aussie, America, Britain and Canada. They freely admit to this network and at least to its basic powers and roles.

            The network shares intelligence, and operates the Echelon satellite network that monitors email traffic for keywords like “Bomb”. We have a satellite monitoring base up north somewhere near Whangarei, and both Labour and National are in the picture, although its fair to say Labour are the more sceptical on the whole issue.

            Obviously there’s a valid question about how far their surveillance goes, – and should go! My own view is some monitoring is justified, but there needs to be very strict, independent oversight and strong limits. But the point is your beloved right wing governments have a stronger history of pushing surveillance powers to the limits, – for example John Key and the GCSB issue! So in promoting Trump you have probably just promoted even more abuse of surveillance powers!

            As to the MSM maybe they dont like Trump. That’s their opinion and we have a world of free speech dont we? Maybe for once they are right.

            But anyway the MSM actually spent most of their time on this silly Clinton email issue. The worst you could say is Clinton was self indulgent, using a private server, theres just nothing more than that. And the head of the FBI, James Comey dumped these emails in the final week ignoring a very strong convention to stay out of politics right before an election. He could yet find himself in trouble in court over this. He basically lost the election for Clinton.

            1. Of course the email server issue is “silly”

              It is “silly” for the Secretary of State to have classified documents on an unsecured network, thought to have been hacked by up to 5 foreign governments. It is also “silly” for the President to use a pseudonym when replying to emails, and it is silly for emails to turn up on Wieners laptop

              There could be charges of treason here. Treason doesn’t have to be done with intent

              Trump would have to appoint a judge to investigate. If it goes through, it could take a lot of people down.

            2. Andy, you say its its “thought” that these Clinton emails have been hacked and fallen into foreign hands. Once again you indulge in assumption on what might have happened. I shudder to think of you on a jury.

              But no worries from you about Trump University being in court right now over suspected fraud. No worries from you about his amazing propensity to lie, or the accusations of sexual assault.

              Trump would probably send someone to prison on his gut instincts, or their political allegiance or ideology. Trump has said he would kill the families of suspected terrorists. No problem with you eh?

              Trump could try to rewrite the law or ignore the constitution. You have cherished and defended these things in the past, but I bet it would suddenly be ok with you. I can read you like a book.

        2. Actually I don’t disagree that there are fake news stories out there. However, when the MSM have been pushing demonstrably false lies during this election campaign, then most people have lost faith in the MSM and will find anything to fill the void.

          If the MSM had covered the Wikileaks issues, for example, just for a minute, instead of pushing anti-Trump messages 24×7, then maybe people might believe them.

          Oh and I hear, possibly via a fake source, that Breitbart is planning a multi-million dollar law suit against the media for pushing the narrative that they are a White Supremacist website. You know, the false narrative that Thomas has been pushing.

        3. Nigel, Andy is not in denial, no, he is an active and tactical agent of the very system and is pushing that alt right fake news crap and associated blog mud slinging. Bannon is opening Breitbart offices in London, Paris and probably soon also somewhere in Germany to work towards his grand plan of a 4th Reich that will encompass the West. I am sure Andy will offer his services for NZ in that undertaking. In fact, Andy was very quiet here in the run up to the election! “Me thinks” he was perhaps busy fighting online wars for the alt-right on sites more relevant to pushing Trump and hating liberals and Clinton in the US at that time than HT. Funny he returned to lurk here once his handiwork over there was done… Oh, they are so predictable these brown shirts.

            1. AndyS, you say Obama is hard left because of someone he talked to or was associated with, and a couple of appointments he made to his administration .

              This is wrong and is such a silly argument. People associate with a wide range of people. You cant make sweeping judgements on a couple of examples. Many of Obamas appointments were pretty moderate people.

              And note Trump has just appointed Steve Bannon and Myron Ebell, and you cant get more hard right, and these are key appointments. In fact most of Trumps appointments look pretty hard right.

              Is John Key hard right because he was in close contact with Cameron Slater?

              However I think whether someone is hard right or hard left is mainly about their policies, and general opinions, and what they do in government. On that basis Obama is pretty much in the centre and appears similar to John Key. Ha ha.

              And Trumps policies are so confused its hard to know. Taking his pre- election rhetoric I would say its hard to deny he came across as hard right on immigration and social policy concerns, isolationist on foreign affairs and quite hard left in terms of his opposition to free trade (Im talking about old style leftist parties.)

              Trump is in danger of “Muldoonism” where he subscribes to the worst ideas of both left and right. You should remember Muldoon as you appear in the middle age group.

              So to summarise things. Obama is near the centre judging by what he actually says and does, and Trump is totally confused.

              Right now Trumps world view and policy agenda is an unresolved total mess that makes political parties in NZ seem brilliant!

            2. I don’t recall saying that Obama is “hard left”. The left right paradigm isn’t that helpful anyway
              Trump is actually faily left wing by some metrics. Matthew Hooten pointed out on RNZ that Trump has similar policies to Andrew Little in terms of immigration and economic protectionism, although it is hard to parse where Trumps policy is anyway, as you say.

              Here s a question. The media a always labelling people “far right”

              How many times do you hear people labelled “far left” in the press? For that matter, when is the last time anyone in the media discussed what these terms mean?

              Right, for example can cover anything from libertarians to Christian paleoconservatives, and left can cover anything from Marxist radicals to soft social democrats.

            1. The claim that I am a secret agent for the 4th Reich takes some beating though

              At least people have made movies and written books about the subjects I discuss

            2. Well, your ‘professional’ handiwork here and elsewhere to promote climate change denial is undeniable… I am not the first suggesting here that there is perhaps another level of motivation to your activities than a personal denial of reality…..
              Connecting dots….
              Meanwhile in the USA… the horrors of the right wing takeover attempt are taking shape with some of the worst characters of the horror show being selected for office….
              Call me paranoid. I think I am realistic….
              https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/18/trump-cabinet-appointments-sessions-pompeo-flynn

            3. Thomas claims that I “promote” denial, that I “deny reality”, that I have some kind of higher motivation that may lead me to being a stormtrooper for the 4th Reich

              It isn’t making a lot of sense, I have to admit.

            4. Thomas, when Marine le Pen wins the French presidency, and puts the final nail in the coffin of the EU, will you blame me for that too?

            5. Well Andy, it’s just that do you come across as promoting climate denial, and have a very one sided stance on all the various issues we debate.

              And you do appear to have connections with the oil industry, to quote a small Christchurch newspaper called the Fairlie Accessible on the family of one Andy Scrase.

              “Andy’s work is largely internet based. Most of his current work is for a client in Aberdeen, Scotland, who develops technical software for monitoring and analysis of oil pipeline data”

              http://www.fairlienz.com/media/10879/Issue%2012-05%20march%2014th%202012.pdf

            6. Congratulations Nigel on your super sluth work on digging out the past editions of the Fairlie Accessible for which I have written articles about geocaching and skiing

              The gig is up. I come clean guvnor

            7. “You have a very one sided view on the issues that we debate”

              Isn’t that the nature of debate? I don’t have one sided views in person, but I may present a counter view

            8. Andi, Le Pen would indeed be another Nail in the coffin. You are correct about that.

              What is inside that coffin is the freedom that we have held for granted in the Western world. The freedom that meant freedom for those who are different from us. Freedom is always only as good as the freedom we grant those that are different from us.

              Le Pen, Trump, the Clownface (Farage) and all the neo-nationalist-right-wing bigots and xenophobes that have arisen lately are driving society into the opposite direction of freedom. They cater to fear and hate. They drive society to division and ultimately to war. Trump’s anti Muslim agenda will directly invite the hate from Muslims around the world. Hate mongers like him will harvest precisely what the seed.

              Humanity needs to very quickly send the authoritarian loud-mouths back to their caves: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/21/how-do-we-fight-loudmouth-politics-authoritarianism-populism-paul-mason

              One can only hope that a grand coalition of responsible politicians in the USA will stop Trump and his brownshirt brigade in their tracks.

              BTW: you are still a brownshirt yourself in my book as you so far have made no move to distance yourself clearly from the racist and xenophobic drift of the right wing drift.

              BTW: You have so far failed to

            9. Thomas writes:

              “The freedom that meant freedom for those who are different from us. Freedom is always only as good as the freedom we grant those that are different from us.”

              Which freedoms are you referring to? Are these freedoms different depending on who they apply to (i.e which part of the increasingly complex world of identity politics) ?

              Which specific freedoms are being taken away? I see freedom being taken away at a rapid rate and it is not from the new populists. You seem to think I should be placed in a camp (your exact words) for daring to express my opinions

              I’m sorry to say Thomas, but people are seeing through the smokescreen and are not buying the narrative anymore.

            10. Andy S, you must be a busy man. All this magazine writing, software writing for the oil industry, climate blogging all over the internet, looking after a family, and long holidays In America with the klu klux clan. Please note the last bit is a joke.

              Regarding Le Pen, and Trump etc, I just cannot stomach people like this. Their bigoted, fearful reaction to anyone who is not white and western is just beyond the pale. It belongs in yesterdays world. Yes of course they will deny they are bigoted, but if it walks like a duck, etc.

              Their rhetoric will divide society and lead to confrontation, violence, and discrimination, just like Adolf Hitler did. Sure we all probably have a trace of bigotry in us, but we don’t want leaders who actively encourage this. It will take us back decades, and meanwhile the real sources of economic problems go unsolved and not even properly acknowledged.

              Trade is not the problem. Rural america is being hurt by the dominance of large corporate farmers and the rustbelt is being hurt by robotics and automation. The solutions to this mean helping the victims but it will require complex policies and bi partisan efforts, so don’t hold your breath.

              I do concede we need to be careful about immigrants. Nobody wants criminals or religious fanatics who preach genuinely dangerous things, however these people can be screened out in the background, without turning society into a sort of bigoted wrecking ball of hate.

            11. Nigel, I don’t know which movie is playing in your head but it is different to the one playing in mine

              I see no evidence that Trump or Le Pen have bigoted views towards non whites

              In fact, I hear that Marine Le Pen has dumped the anti Semitic baggage inherited from her father and is gaining a lot of traction in the Jewish and gay communities in France

              I’ll leave it to you to figure out why this might be

            12. Andy, I see plenty of evidence that Trump has both bigoted and racist views. For example his extreme reaction to Moslem immigrants to the point of total exclusion, his reaction to Mexicans, his reaction against China, his cuddling up to the white skinned, pale faced, orthodox christian Putin, his mocking of the disabled reporter. His sudden dislike of gay marriage. We have plenty of evidence forming a pattern, and I’m glad to see many people worldwide see it the same way.

              Some may argue he is taking an extreme position, and really only intends more moderate and sensible changes. I hope so, but I think he has a genuine bigoted streak.

              As to Le Pen, she is only softening her position as a strategy to get people onside and deal with the thing that annoys her most. Islamic immigrants. I suspect she is just as anti Jewish etc underneath. Time will tell.

              There has already been an increase in hate crimes against minorities in America. Things are being unleashed that shouldn’t be, now that Trump is elected.

              I would also be more convinced if you denounced the hard right.

            13. Ok let’s look at some of these “bigoted racist views” that Trump apparently holds:

              Mexicans: wants to deport illegal aliens with criminal records – same as NZ policy
              (Actually we deport all illegals)

              Problem with Islamic extremists- same as NZ with the row over the Auckland Iman. Jews and Gays are flocking to Le Pen because they feel threatened by Islam. Jews are leaving France in record numbers
              1500 girls sexually assaulted in Rotherham – police did nothing. Sweden – rape capital of Europe. Germany – women only train carriages now exist for safety

              Attitudes towards Chinese trade is not racist. How is being friends with Russia racist? Does being friends with a white guy make me racist?

              Answer. Yes it does. According to a radio interview I heard on RNZ recently, there are 2 types of people. Tolerant people and racists

              I am not tolerant of paedophilia, people that think gays should be executed, that Jews are descended from apes and pigs, and that women should always obey their husbands and cannot get divorced

              Therefore, I am racist

              How about you?

            14. Thomas calls me a Brownshirt because I haven’t disavowed the Brownshirts that seem to exist only in his mind
              (trump increased voter percentages in Hispanics and blacks over previous GOP candidates)

              When Thomas disavowes the child abusers and rapists that he is reaching out to, I will stop calling him the obvious names too

              You can only take cultural and moral relativism so far before logic and reason take a back seat

            15. Nigel writes

              “I would also be more convinced if you denounced the hard right”

              I would be more convinced if you denounced the hard left.

              But then, no one ever does do they? When Soros backed Black Lives Matter gets invited to the White House, where is the outrage? These are the guys whose moral leader is a convicted cop killer, a group that openly calls for the murder of white cops

              Obama has done more damage to race relations in the USA than any president in recent memory, openly supporting violent racist thugs

            16. Andy, playing the denial game seems to be your most favorite occupation. And I must admit, you are well versed with that as well all know.
              As far as the so-called alt-right and the Trump movement (I call them brownshirts):
              https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/22/white-nationalists-alt-right-nazi-language-trump

              And your most exciting ‘wet dreams’ Andy are perhaps coming true: Trump is said to strip Nasa’s Earth science division of its funding so that the people of the world are blind-sided from what we do to our planet.
              https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/nasa-earth-donald-trump-eliminate-climate-change-research

              Oh, the idiots of the world united must be so happy. After Florida’s under Republican idiocy banned the mention of Climate Change from official state language, the ‘most dangerous organization of the Western World: Republicans’ are now going for the eyes and ears on the planet.

              Some people have rightfully said that this latest episode of US lunacy is in fact, another chapter in the civil war of that country.

              And Monbiot, I am afraid, has the correct long-term concerns about where this is all heading:
              https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/23/donald-trump-climate-change-war

              As far as the Brownshirt girl Le-Pen goes:
              http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2016/01/21/normalizing-racism-national-front-rhetoric

              Happy denial Andy. And just because denial is spreading like the flu in winter does not make it right.

            17. Andy: I’ve allowed your last three comments through, but find them deeply unpleasant. You seem to live in a different world to the rest of us, judging by the picture you paint. In future, when you make allegations such as “Jews and Gays flocking to Le Pen”, please supply a reference to your source.

              I’m willing to bet we won’t be seeing references to mainstream media outlets…

            18. AndyS, we will have to wait and see. Trump has changed his mind so many times over immigration policy, and is in such a state of total contradiction nobody knows what he will do. He may end up doing nothing. I have a feeling a lot of his supporters will end up bitterly disappointed in so many ways.

              For a good list of Trumps inane contradictions on climate change read some of the comments following this article

              http://www.skepticalscience.com/groups-working-with-republicans-on-climate-discouraged-glimmer-hope.html

              Regarding Islam, America has virtually no problems. Their Islamic community is very well behaved with lower rates of crime than many communities. Sweden has let in too many people too fast, but Sweden is not America. Trump is totally out of touch with reality, and is pandering to hate and ignorance.

              Look at the total picture and the evidence suggests Trump has a racist streak, and this is regardless of his exact ultimate policies on immigration.

              I never accused you of being racist, just deluded in supporting Trump. However as a general rule that is mostly true in my experience, people do tend to be either tolerant or towards being closet racists. Actually its on a sort of continuum.

              Your cultural views may be of a more discerning kind, focused more on who poses a genuine threat, but like I said until you specifically condemn the alternate right, who are most definitely racists in the main, its hard to be sure.

            19. AndyS, I have already been critical of the hard left on this website. I have already stated I’m a moderate.

              However neither Soros, or Obama or Clinton are remotely hard left. In fact they would be considered centre right in many countries. Even Sanders would only be considered moderately to the left.

              Hard left is someone like Fidel Castro or the guy that ruled Venezuela, Chavez!

            20. “Obama is a moderate”

              Obama is a disciple of Saul Alinsky, a radical leftist. Obama has invited Black Lives Matter to the White House, a group that openly calls for the murder of white cops. He has appointed people associated with the Muslim Brotherhood to senior govt positions, a group whose stated aim is to “destroy the USA from within”

              Nothing to see here….

            21. Nigel says

              “but like I said until you specifically condemn the alternate right, who are most definitely racists in the main”

              I don’t condone racism, anti-Semitism or any kind of bullying.
              However, I don’t accept your thesis that the Alt-Right are mostly racists

              The “Alt-Right” is mostly a construct of the media. Who are these people? Sure, there is small fringe elements of white supremacists, but most are just those that feel disenfranchised with the GOP, much as Bernie supporters might be the Alt-Left.

              The murderer of British MP Jo Cox has just been sentenced to life without parole. He is the full ticket item – a white supremacist neo-nazi. However, a week before the EU referendum, the press were trying to paint all leavers as people like this odious character.

              Same with Trump. Bear in mind a lot of Trump voters were Obama voters in 2008

              You might be interested in this blog post by Scott Adams, the Dilbert cartoonist
              http://blog.dilbert.com/post/153559105081/a-lesson-in-cognitive-dissonance

              Thomas needs to read this if he wants to keep going with his “Brownshirt” narrative

            22. Gareth writes:

              ” In future, when you make allegations such as “Jews and Gays flocking to Le Pen”, please supply a reference to your source.

              I’m willing to bet we won’t be seeing references to mainstream media outlets…”

              Try these then:

              How Marine Le Pen is winning France’s gay vote
              The Front National now has the support of a quarter of Paris’s gay voters – and only 16 per cent of the straight ones:
              http://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/01/how-marine-le-pen-is-winning-frances-gay-vote/

              and

              “National Front’s tough stance on terrorism and the long memory of French Jews expelled from Arab lands make for a growing number of Jewish voters for a party once deemed taboo”
              http://www.timesofisrael.com/as-french-jews-vote-for-le-pen-a-case-of-the-enemy-of-my-enemy/

            23. Andy: The Spectator may once have been mainstream, but it’s now so right wing that I would find it hard to treat as a credible source. And the Times Of Israel article also points out that Le Pen’s party is still deeply racist! You need to read beyond the “clever headlines”.

  11. “Between a rock and a hard place” may be an appropriate description of the future of some small communities in New Zealand as sea-level rise plus storm surges push them back against unstable mountain slopes – particularly where those mountains are in the north of the south island. As I see it, this is a region where the collision of the pacific and indo-australian plates may be gradually giving way to the pacific plate sliding under the australian plate as with most of the north island. Earthquakes are guaranteed for a chunk of geological time!

    I have not previously given much thought to small communities generally but this recent 7.8 magnitude and the widespread damage to state highway 1 along the NE coast of the south island has changed that. Kaikoura itself has room to move for longer than some maybe – up onto the “future islands” of that peninsular and/or back toward the mountains.

    1. As geologists start surveying the damage between Culverden and Seddon, it’s becoming apparent that the land throughout the region is very badly damaged indeed. The number of landslides and slips is huge, and every time it rains more will come down. There’s already been speculation that reinstating SH1 north and south of Kaikoura will cost billions and take many months, perhaps years.

      I think we need to start thinking strategically. Now the inland road to Kaikoura is open, it’s obvious that this twisty little country road (only tar sealed in the last ten years) is actually really important nationally and regionally. The Hurunui Council has been trying to make that case for years. Perhaps now the government and NZTA will start listening. Upgrading it to full state highway standard would (I’m guessing) be cheaper than completely rebuilding and quake and sea level rise-proofing the coast road south of Kaikoura and through the Hundalees.

      We’d still need to rebuild and raise the road and rail line north of Kaikoura, which looks like being a real challenge, but the road and rail routes were established before we had any understanding of the tectonics of the region. We just learned a lot more about that – and perhaps some routes should change.

      Other than all that, chez Hot Topic has ridden this out very well so far. I lost four bottles of good wine, a chunk of our cliff fell into the Waipara River, and some huge rocks landed on the road near us, but we (and the rest of Waipara) have done well. I wish I could say the same for friends further north…

      1. I’ll be very interested in the conclusions they reach. I’ve been thinking about that region some more, with that reported uplift of the shoreline in mind and something I caught on the radio about a lowering of the seabed further out – if I heard correctly. I’m thinking that the pacific plate is finding a way to slide under the indo-australian plate by shearing off that part piled up against the australian plate creating perhaps a tectonic island; a kind of wedge with the thin end along some fault running near northeast-southwest along the coast. I’m speculating of course. This hardly has the merit of a hypothesis due to lack of data on my part. I’m even supposing that the wedge is broken further inland. I then guess in my mind modeling that the subduction process will have more big bumps in it. The wedge will be tilted. Uplift will continue for some time. Thus that coast might have gained some relief from sea-level rise, for a while anyway. The geologists will measure all the relevant changes and reach eventually, an informed conclusion.

        I’ve heard that the business activities of Kaikoura are worth $150 million a year, and it all depends on a good connection with Christchurch. So while some are shaking their heads at my guesses I am smiling at the cheek of Kaikoura businessmen in demanding the country spend billions on the coast road to support their millions. “They are not wanting a handout.” Certainly some creative thought is required. Do we have an Elon Musk?

  12. I read something the other day that earthquakes follow a global 100 year cycle, and we are at a high point in the cycle of more earthquakes than normal. This appears to be a tentative real theory in geological circles, but not proven as yet. The good news is that this cycle is due to end shortly in 2019. The article below gives a general description of the issues.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/earth-now-seismically-active-period-according-quake-cluster-theory-1502158

    One thing on climate change. As ice sheets melt, its predicted this could trigger earthquakes due to the decreasing weight over fault lines. Given changes in ice volume in the glaciers of the southern alps this could be interesting.

  13. nigelj
    My understanding of that science study is that the loss of land based ice cover in northern arctic circle (Iceland) and Antarctic and the related reduction of gravitational pressure as a result of trillions of tonnes of ice dissipated results in incremental changes to the earths shape.
    Like placing a balloon between you hands with a little pressure applied then releasing that pressure.
    Certainly sounds feasible when you consider the enormous ball of magma only a few kms under us and the relatively thin plastic nature of the `crust` we exist on.
    There is scientific evidence of volcanic and earthquake activity being part of previous climatic change periods.
    As with US elections, anything is possible.

    1. I’m sure the article I read related to my post above talked about simple weight. Ice sheets melt and this causes instability and uplift and thus earthquakes.

      But I certainly agree ice sheets melting could generate gravity effects, and thus earthquakes. Your analogy is compelling. It could be a combination of both.

      We also have this related popular issue of whether the moons cycles cause earthquakes. The notion is that when the moon is closer to the earth (perigree moon?) it’s gravity pulls more on the earths crust. Of course it must do this, but the changes gravity forces are quite small.

      Scientists have found a very weak correlation between the perigree moon with earthquakes. They believe that if an earthquake is about to happen, the moon could kind of be the straw that breaks the camels back. But given this scenario the moons phases can’t predict an earthquake precisely, and can only say there may be slightly more earthquakes globally when the moon is closest to the earth. So people like Len Ring are getting over excited.

      But it shows that even weak changes in gravity do have an effect on the crust and earthquakes, so significant changes in ice sheet volume could have a more notable effect.

  14. The damage to road and rail links will have serious implications for NZ tourism as it forms part of the northern loop of the South Island
    Unless something is done soon, it could completely wipe out the Kaikoura whale watch industry
    Kiwirail are thinking of starting the Lyttelton to Picton or Wellington route
    This would keep the tourists flowing but miss out all of Marlborough, so Blenheim would also be badly affected

  15. Andy: Obviously we need to disagree on whether Trump represents a racist, misogynist, and xenophobic brown shirt agenda…..

    Here is a Question for you: Trump has said he will ax NASA’s Eath Science wing, you know the part of NASA that uses space observation of the planet to do such things as climate research.
    Do you agree with his decision?

  16. Bolivia is running dry:
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/25/bolivia-drought-water-rationing-crops

    The current shortage (of water) is exacerbated by the rapid retreat of Bolivia’s glaciers. The Rutgers University climate scientist Jim Miller has found that temperatures at altitudes such as El Alto’s, which lies above 13,000 feet, have risen 75% faster than in lower regions over the past 20 years. “You hear people everywhere complaining how hot it is,” said Limber Sánchez, director of the not-for-profit group CEPA in high-altitude Oruro. “Our average temperature has risen by 2C (3.6F) in just a few years.”

    “Global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese to ruin the US economy” (Trump, 2016)…. yea right!

    1. No mention of the fires in Israel, the old man in a rest home who was tied to a chair by a Jihadist in Montpellier and had his throat slit, or the rows of cars set fire to in a posh part of Paris. (In my newsfeed this morning)
      These were just minor stories that might involve “racism” so best to ignore them

      Just talk about Trump and climate change (and mention “racists” every now and then)
      Good enough for Guardian readers

          1. Andy, forever playing stupid. Perhaps you really are….
            “our own patch” obviously refers to our Western Democracies as such, and at this point in time the US in particular.

            1. Yes I agree democracy is under threat when people don’t accept the result of a democratic election and go on burning and looting rampages

  17. The following article is interesting. It deals with the current rapid arctic warming, the unprecedented arctic temperatures, 20C above normal for this time of year, and the implications for melting and feedbacks, and the potentially serious effects on rest of the world.

    The article mentions how most of the arctic research is funded by the USA, and that Trump wants to cut NASAs funding. Still waiting to see what Andy thinks about that, and how well he dances on the head of a pin.

    http://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/arctic-ice-melt-could-trigger-uncontrollable-climate-change-at-global-level/ar-AAkK2VK?li=BBqdg4K&ocid=mailsignout

      1. Oh boy, here we have it: A cold calm day end of November in Scotland, even at lunchtime! Global Warming disproved. Trump and Andy are right, it was just a hoax created by the Chinese!
        And behold: There is the evidence:
        http://blog.ucsusa.org/erika-spanger-siegfried/global-warming-in-the-arctic-a-sensitive-climate-gone-off-the-rails
        On the global temp map in that article find Scotland! It’s blue = cold! (don’t mind that big red blob of high temps where the North Pole is hiding, that is in fact the Chinese flag shining through the image, showing clearly who made this hoax up!

      2. Cold in Scotland Andy? Probably because its getting near winter.

        Anyway a weeks data is just short term variation. The arctic is more concerning, because we see a longer term pattern of high temperatures.

        Your spelling is terrible. For someone who constantly criticises other peoples spelling, this is amusing.

        1. Yes it is getting near winter but it is much colder than I remember from last year. However my anecdotes are worth less than yours because they don’t fit the narrative

          1. Andys, your anecdote about Scotland having an unusually cold week isn’t worth much because its such a short period, and an occasional event, so is likely to be natural variation. High temperatures in the Arctic are becoming more of a pattern, which suggests something is going on outside of the norm.

            A warming climate is also expected to lead to occasional very cold periods in winter due to changes in atmospheric moisture etc. You know that so why the nonsense?

          2. No, because yours are simply anecdotes. While the data that underly this:
            http://blog.ucsusa.org/erika-spanger-siegfried/global-warming-in-the-arctic-a-sensitive-climate-gone-off-the-rails
            Are based on careful measurements.

            The Gulf Stream has long been said to wane once ice melt and freshwater influx into the North West Atlantic increases. This will lead to a gradual cooling of the UK and northern Europe, despite the fact that the Arctic is warming. Could it just be, that your anecdote is in line with this picture? How about you bring us some stats from the UK Met Office for the average winter temps in Scottland for the last 50 years or so. Let me know what you find.

            1. Then of course there is the not insignificant matter of rosby waves. I recall arctic cold extending down to north Africa and Texas in recent years with record high temperatures in Alaska, Hudson Bay, Norway, northern Russia quite apart from 2x warming in Arctic. But it is all connected and just because the arctic is warming at a higher rate than places south does not mean that it is actually warmer. However, arctic cold gets displaced south. We’ve discussed this before often enough. It just gets forgotten in the discussion of thermal anomalies.

            2. I see, so a cooler UK is evidence of Global Warming. Presumably a warmer UK is also evidence of Global Warming.

            3. For someone who professes to have a degree in maths I find it hilarious that andyS doesn’t know the difference between “result of” and “evidence for”. However, trolls just spread nonsense because they are so nasty and despicable.

            4. What is the difference between “result of” and “evidence for” in this context?

              This is an English language rather than mathematical problem

            5. Andy at his usual game: Pretend ignorance, play stupid, play games, deny the science and deny the evidence.

            6. andyS’ comment is hilarious. In the good old days maths students used to have to take courses in logic, I guess that only the better colleges did that and poor andy missed out. He also seems to have missed out on simple English skills too. Such a pity. However, reading his nonsense does bring a smile to my face, well maybe not a smile, more of a grimace.

            7. Ian Forrester, I am sure you find my comments amusing. My teasing of ideas is presumably unknown to you, where you prefer robotic output that conforms to your unthinking dogma.

            8. It’s all “cause” and “effect” really. The clockwork of “Koch’s Law” is creating the political reality around us with perfect and perfidious precision: Make a dozen scam “institutes” with legitimacy oozing names which then generate PR, throw a few billions at these, make them look like “grass roots” campaigns and shape the entire political agenda:
              Monbiot sums it up beautifully:
              https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/30/donald-trump-george-monbiot-misinformation
              And Trump of cause, in true Orwellian style, vowed to “drain the swamp” of industry lobbyism in Washington yet he is in fact, hiring the entire cabal of lobbyists now to lead the very government departments they used to lobby. The Koch Brothers and Exxon purchased the US government from the people for a few billion quit in PR, Tea Party funding. The deal of the millennium!

            9. Hi Thomas
              Do you have any evidence that Trump was “bought” by the fossil fuel industry?

              If not, then it is just another conspiracy theory

            10. Thomas, like for example “The Heartland Institute”? Such a sweet, comforting name but just a cover for quite hard right conservative ideologies, and ones of no benefit to many ordinary people living in the heartland. Its all just a cover for people with crazy or very selfish agendas.

            11. I can assure everyone that my comments are not “unthinking dogma”. They are based on my extensive knowledge of science, something in which andyS appears to be seriously lacking. Of course the other option is always that he is just a dishonest troll.

            12. Ian Forrester,
              I don’t really expect anything from you other than a stream of abuse.

              Has it ever occurred to you that this tactic doesn’t work?

            13. Nigel, of course Trump was bought by Heartland. Is this a “post truth” fact that you made up?

              Speaking of “post truth” I am enjoying the adulation being poured on the mass murderer Fidel Castro. He was a role model for socialists, sociopaths and homophobes around the world

            14. AndyS, I cant recall referring to Trump in connection with the Heartland Institute. I really wouldn’t know if there’s a connection although there are some similarities of view on various issues.

              The point is the names of these bodies are so warm and fuzzy and deceptive, like wolves in sheeps clothing. The so called competitive enterprise institute is another.

              The NZ Climate Science Coalition is another example. Makes them sound so mainstream when they clearly are not.

              I don’t know much about Castros rule in detail. I do know Cuba wanted to go it’s own way economically, and be independent, and this really annoyed America. You should appreciate this as you have been promoting economic sovereignty. I also think Cuba had a right to follow its own policies.

              America reacted by calling them communists and the enemy. Its the same thing all the time. America wants economic domination and free markets for their products, but the right to have their own tariffs and subsidies. Its a double standard.

              However Castro clearly went off the rails and became a repressive dictator and clearly there were human rights abuses, although I haven’t followed the details. I’m not a fan.

              Cuba ended up with a broken economy and lack of private sector competition, although it did have quite decent health services and schools. This just proves what I have always said, the private sector works well for many things but governments should sometimes provide health and education services. I have a well considered world view about these things.

            15. Andy, I did not say that Trump was bought by the fossil fuel industry. Read what I said. The summary is: Trump is hiring the worst of the lobbyists into government positions and total opposite of his pre-election claims to “drain the swamp of Washington” from industry lobbyists, he is actually doing the exact opposite, swamping the government with the trained liars and paid shills from the fossil fuel industry scam PR institutes.
              Surely the irony of all this will not stay hidden, even from his support base!
              We live in truly Orwellian times when red is green and white is black. It is precisely the chaos that the architects of this wanted…. It keeps the common people from pointing their anger at those who actually abuse them and our common future….

            16. Good grief andyS has just shown that history is another of the subjects he failed at. Perhaps he should read about the Batista regime. Of course that vile dictator was backed by US interests, corporations and the Mafia so it gets a passing grade. Castro really improved the living standards after he took power. The US didn’t like that so they eventually put on an embargo and that started Cuba’s problems.

              What Castro has done is no worse than all the US backed dictators in South America. I bet the living standards in many of these countries are worse than in Cuba, except for those supporting the US backed dictators.

            17. Cuba is one example of Americas twisted motives, but Nicaragua is possibly an even better one. The country was ruled by an oppressive, murderous right wing dictator Samoza, favoured by America.

              Samoza was overthrown by The Sandinistas who were left wing and implemented various semi – socialist reforms which led to an improving economy, but the Sandinistas were hated by America especially the Republican Party. America did all it could to undermine them.

              So sure Castro was not a nice guy but many of the right wing dictators favoured by America are at least as odious and repressive. General Pinochet of Chile would be another example.

            18. Ian Forrester claims that I “failed history”.

              My reading of Castro is that he executed over 1500 people by firing squad, some without trial. He persecuted homosexuals, some with torture. He took seven pints of blood from some of his victims, selling the blood to the Vietnamese before shooting the victims. He took over $700 million whilst his people lived in poverty. Thousands drowned trying to escape Cuba for Miami. He tried to start a nuclear war between the Soviets and Russia.
              A colleague of mine recently visited and said the taxi drivers made more money than surgeons and doctors. Everyone has at least 2 jobs.

              Apparently, according to the Boy Prince Trudeau, Castro was a great man. I’m sure there were and are just as evil despots in the world, some backed by the USA, but I don’t deal in relativism.

            19. Andy, what has Castro really got to do with climate change, or with discussion of Donald Trump and neoliberalism, (which do have something to do with climate change)?

              I think most educated people who would read this website are aware Castro is not a nice guy, but neither are various despots of left or right. I wonder why you are having a hate session on Castro in particular?

              Are we to write lists of the sins of various dictators?
              If anything it shows the risks of dictatorships, that they can all potentially go bad. I hope the same fate doesn’t come to China.

            20. Really Andy. You just felt compelled to write a hate screed about Castro because he has to quote “just died”. On a climate change website.

              I don’t recall you writing a similar hate screed about Francisco Guillermo Flores of El Salvador, a conservative right wing dictator and awful creep with an awful record. He died this very year.

              Still its not too late Andy. You can condemn him here like you condemned Castro. It may be cathartic for you.

            21. Andy is an active and provocative agent of the Alt-Right Brownshirt movement. He has not said anything to even begin convincing anybody here that he is not.

              The Alt-Right to which Andy belongs is a fight club against liberalism, multiculturalism, internationalism, environmentalism and against anything and anybody who might get in their way of their imagined entitlement to absolute rule. Science is hated and fought against because it dares to make statements of fact. Right-wing activists believe in their unquestioned God-given entitlement to be ‘sovereign’ patriarchs and to have the absolute power to dictate what’s right and what’s wrong, to their families, their communities, the nation, and those hated others. The rights normally cannot function without a target to channel and evoke Hate as their primal emotional motivator. Science, facts and nature herself, if in the way, must and simply can be defeated in their belief, and is denied, derided, ridiculed and inverted with Orwellian ‘logic’.

              Sadly, in these tense times, the underbelly of our electorates (just as in 1933) proves susceptible to their tunes. Hate sells. In that way ISIS and the Western Right wingers are very similar and – they need and enhance each other. ISIS leadership has in fact confirmed that and admitted how much they wanted the Alt-Right and Trump to win. They danced in the streets when Brexit put the UK into an anti-immigrant and anti-foreigners nationalist direction. ISIS needs a right wing reaction of our societies like the fire needs oxygen.

              Welcome to Andy’s world.

            22. With the erosive agitation of the alt-right movement, we have entered the “Post-Truth World” as many commentators have realized. What remains where can commonly agree on truth are perhaps just the scoreboards of our sports games:
              https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/05/sports-distraction-post-truth-world

              And perhaps – for as long as Google and others can rely on satellites to look back towards us and our planet – until the day Trumps little army of truth fudgers will succeed in blinding us all, Google has some ‘sport’ to watch for us:

              https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2016/dec/05/google-timelapse-satellite-pictures-earth-climate-change

            23. Thomas, yes agreed. I have also watched the development of politics and the alternate right in America. I have had much the same thoughts as you.

              I have a natural innate dislike of the alternate right or hard right. The alternate right get bogged down in irrational fears, and this is probably the biggest potential global source of conflict and war. To me multiculturalism has a range of benefits in linking the world together, and seems to have largely worked in NZ. It can only help diffuse major global tension.

              The irrational fears of the alternate right go hand in hand with racism, bigotry, demanding high levels of conformity, suspicion of science, and dogmatic, unproven views on moral issues. Its one big combination of things that exists in an increasingly alternative reality divorced from scientific knowledge.

              The nonsense of the alternate right all spreads with false news on websites. For example the Herald ran an article today where some nutter with a gun has tried to attack a shop because he believed it was the centre of a paedophile ring (it wasnt). This is because of false news linking Hilary Clinton to paedophile rings.

              However I dont want to fall into the same bubble trap as the alternative right do in their alternative universe. Fear of other cultures or beliefs is obviously an evolutionary trait, that protects us against potential threats. It does serve some purpose, and we would be naive to think no threat ever exists. The thing is not to be ruled by this fear like the alternate right, and take a more discerning, rational approach.

              Most cultures seem to fit into NZ reasonably well, but as I have said before we need to be thinking about a certain middle eastern religion carefully, and making sure we do our best to keep more radical individuals out of NZ. In out rush to embrace others we have been a bit soft on this issue. That’s not racist to be concerned about a certain culture, because we are considering what may be a genuine threat, not nameless fears. Todays Herald has an interesting article on radical branches of Islam.

              But as you point out The Donald Trump response to the issue is clumsy and plays into the radicals hands. He proposes high levels of exclusion of immigrants and 24 / 7 monitoring etc at least in his campaign rhetoric. This is clumsy, appeals to hate and emotion, and will do more harm than good as it plays into the extremists hands. This is so frustrating and I can just see how it will play out.

              Maybe Trump will tone it down and do something more sensible but amazingly he is already starting a war of words with China. I’m just not optimistic about Trump.

          3. The planet starts to suffer on many corners now from our actions:
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11761624
            A 60,000 square km dead zone in the Indian Ocean to the northeast of Australia.
            No oxygen breathing life can sustain itself in these waters anymore. And the future of this patch spells serious trouble for the nutrition cycle in the oceans. Dead zones are caused by over fertilization from runoff and are also promoted by rising temperatures.

            Welcome to your future in Andy’s world… unless….

  18. And if anyone doubts that Climate Change is already affecting the lives of millions and creating misery no end:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/26/boko-haram-nigeria-famine-hunger-displacement-refugees-climate-change-lake-chad

    Just looking at what happened to Lake Chad over the last 50 years is simply horrific.

    And those Brexit clown-faces, who are aghast at a million Africans trying to find survival in Europe, should consider that currently about 17million displaced people in Africa are on the move with their families to find a place to live another day, food and water. Many of them displaced by the effects of climate change and associated hardships, violence, and chaos. Farage & Johnson should have to spend a few month living with and in the same conditions of these people. Fear like them for what the next day might bring and starve with them.

  19. Some comments on Lake Chad.

    I have just returned from four weeks in Nigeria working for the World Bank looking at seriously neglected irrigation dams in the Kano region. The Kano catchment drains into Lake Chad. Several of the irrigation dams have very large storage areas and the annual evaporation is about 10 m of water. A lot of water is also used for irrigation.

    Numerous reports have identified the Nigerian irrigation dams and schemes as the major reason for the retreating waters in Lake Chad. Another possible reason is movement of the Sahel boundary – the edge of the Sahara desert – which would have a major effect.

    So yes, Lake Chad is retreating and one cause is man-made – the loss of water – and the other is natural – the possible change in the Sahel boundary. But it has nothing to do with dangerous man-made global warming – which isn’t happening anyway.

    1. Causes of the shrinking of lake Chad include over use of water, but also climate effects. Research strongly suggests European air pollution had shifted rainfall patterns further south, thereby making the region drier and not allowing the lake to replenish. The major causes of the air pollution were smog, soot and burning coal.

      Since the implementation of new regulations in the EU concerning air pollutants, much of this rainfall is now beginning to return, thereby explaining the small improvements observed since 2007.

      http://www.climatechangenews.com/2013/06/18/lake-chads-receding-waters-linked-to-european-air-pollution/

  20. Bryan Leyland, the other man-made reasons you cite certainly contribute significantly to the shrinking of the lake. But global warming has its part to play to amplify the crisis in many ways.

    The shrinking of the lake as such contributes significantly to local climate change in the area as well. A deadly feedback cycle for the people and – as you admit – man-made. Conflict in the region is also fanned by the famine and the dire economic outlook. For the millions of people who are as a consequence displaced, this change in their local climate is certainly dangerous and – as we agree – man-made.

    Globally cases like these will increase year by year as the overall climate of Earth warms. The zones where this is becoming dangerous will expand, some rapidly. Coastal flooding will in the decades to come be just as dangerous for hundreds of millions.

    Your denial is of ‘dangerous’ man-made global warming remains risible, in particular in the light of the last few years, that certainly shut up the ‘global warming has stopped’ brigade, to which you firmly belonged. You even bet a few years back that by now we would see rapid cooling of the planet. I am sure Gareth can dig that tosh of yours up.

    I hope you live long enough to see some of the stark consequences. Your descendants will likely remember you as one of those contrarian quacks who denied the science.

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