There will never be any peace (until God is seated at the conference table)

hot-topic-cover.jpg Some notes from Saturday’s conference. God may not have been at the conference table, but there was Swamiji, who is certainly revered amongst his followers. My presentation [PDF here: warning – 7MB] followed two Nobel prizewinners – David Wratt (NZ’s representative on the IPCC, who covered the basic AR4 findings) and Pene Lefale (lead author of the WG2 chapter on impacts in the Pacific). Pene’s talk was fascinating, based on a paper he’s preparing on what he’s called the “perfect political problem” – reconciling the differences between developed and developing countries views on how to approach climate change. All the other speakers were good, but it was Andrew West, CEO of AgResearch who made – for me – the most telling comments. Drawing on his background as an ecologist, he looked at the big issue – coping with 9 billion people. Not all of them will be able to eat a meat-rich diet… Andrew shares my enthusiasm for topoclimate studies as a means of adapting to climate change. Are you reading this MfE? Time for a full topoclimate survey of NZ…

Notes on my talk below the fold…

Continue reading “There will never be any peace (until God is seated at the conference table)”

(What’s so funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding

hot-topic-cover.jpg I’m just putting the final touches to my talk at tomorrow’s World Peace Summit: Climate Change – What To Do? in Wellington, at the Westpac St James Theatre. David Wratt, Pene Lefale and I will be covering climate science and local impacts, and Andrew West, Rod Oram, Rachel Brown and Nick Collins will handle the what to do part (full programme here). The day’s organised by the Yoga In Daily Life organisation, and their top man H. H. Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda (Swamiji) will be in the chair. The event runs from 9-00 to 5-30, and tickets are $75. Should be an interesting way to spend a Saturday for Wellingtonians, if you ignore my bit…

Breaking up is (not so) hard to do

wilkins_ice_shelf_from_bas_.jpg “Hot” news from the Antarctic: another ice sheet is breaking up. The Wilkins Ice Shelf, a 13,680 square kilometre ice shelf on the SW coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, began to break up at the end of February. From the NSIDC release:

Satellite images indicate that the Wilkins began its collapse on February 28; data revealed that a large iceberg, 41 by 2.5 kilometers (25.5 by 1.5 miles), fell away from the ice shelf’s southwestern front, triggering a runaway disintegration of 405 square kilometers (160 square miles) of the shelf interior (Figure 1)

Here’s Figure 1:


The British Antarctic Survey flew their Twin Otter aircraft over the collapsing ice shelf. The video it took (available here) is truly amazing.

[Update: Jeff Masters posts a nice map of Antarctic warming, the BBC story includes the BAS video.]

[Update 2: NASA Earth Observatory coverage (with new pix), dompost story here.]

Black is the new white

homer.jpg Once again the sceptic-friendly opinion pages of the Herald provide noted NZ denier Chris de Freitas with a platform to spout the most astonishing tripe. It seems CdF reacted badly to a Reuters report about Tuvalu’s concerns about sea level rise. So he rushes to assure the Pacific island nation that their problem has nothing to do with climate change:

There is some inundation evident on islands in Tuvalu, but global warming is not the cause. It is the result of erosion, sand mining and construction projects causing an inflow of sea water.

That’s a relief. An associate professor in the geography department at Auckland University knows better than the world’s climate scientists and the government of Tuvalu. I hope the people of Tuvalu are suitably relieved.

Unfortunately, Chris undermines his good deed by continuing to talk utter nonsense. And “utter” is a mild description.

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Emissions trading: baby steps not big enough

NZETS.jpg As parliament starts to get stuck into the serious business of legislating for the government’s proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS), the tempo of criticism (from all sides) is increasing. Owners of pre-1990 forests have weighed in, and in the past week Greenpeace has launched a broadside:

“The current proposal for the structure of the ETS will deliver no significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, will act as an impediment to the rapid implementation of less carbon intensive production technologies in the manufacturing industry and will do nothing to slow the destruction of forests to make way for increasingly greenhouse gas intensive forms of dairy farming.” (Full report here [PDF])

At the same time, the New Zealand Institute has produced its second report on climate change policy (Actions speak louder than words: Adjusting the New Zealand economy to a low emissions world [PDF]), and isn’t impressed either…

Overall, however, we estimate that the various policies will only serve to reduce New Zealand’s domestic emissions in 2050 to about their 1990 level. The level of emissions reduction is not sufficient to adjust the New Zealand economy so that it is well positioned to compete in a low-emissions world.

Herald report here. Meanwhile Brian Fallow considers some more complex fishhooks in the proposed ETS, particularly as they affect cement manufacturers Holcim.
Both new reports make good points (and are well worth reading), but both also suffer from real problems, some general and some particular.

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