IPCC WG2 impacts report released: fire, floods and rising seas in all our futures

After the usual run of late nights and argument, the IPCC has released the second part of its fifth report — the Working Group 2 report on climate impacts and risks management. Commenting on the report, VUW climate scientist Professor Tim Naish said “this latest report makes it quite clear that New Zealand is under-prepared and faces a significant ‘adaptation deficit’ in the context of the projected impacts and risks from global average warming of +2 to 4°C by the end of the century.”

The IPCC identifies eight key regional risks for New Zealand and Australia:

  • significant impacts on coral reefs in Australia as oceans warm and acidify
  • loss of montane ecosystems in Australia, as climate warms and snow lines rise
  • increased frequency of and intensity of flooding in NZ and Australia
  • water resources in Southern Australia will be under increased pressure
  • more intense heatwaves will bring increased death rates and infrastructure damage
  • increasing risks of damaging wildfires in New Zealand and southern Australia
  • increased risks to coastal infrastructure and ecosystems from sea level rise
  • risk of severe drying in parts of Australia could hit agricultural production

For New Zealand, extreme weather events such as flooding and heatwaves are expected to increase in frequency and severity, and rainfall is expected to increase on the already wet west coast and decrease in the east and north east. Sea level rise of up to one metre is expected to cause significant problems for coastal communities.

VUW’s Jim Renwick points to sea level rise as a big issue:

Every 10cm of rise triples the risk of a given inundation event, and we are expecting something like a metre of rise this century. That would mean today’s 1-in-100 year event occurs at least annually at many New Zealand coastal locations. New Zealand has a great deal of valuable property and infrastructure close to the coast that will be increasingly at risk as time goes on.

The Summary for Policymakers of the WG2 report is available here (pdf), and the final draft of the full report can be downloaded from this page. The Australia and New Zealand chapter (25) is here (pdf) and the Small Islands (Ch 29) here (pdf).

A huge amount of coverage of the report’s findings has already hit the net, and there will be more to come. Check out The Guardian‘s take on the five key points in the report, The Conversation’s examination of climate health risks, Graham Readfearn’s commentary on 25 years of IPCC warnings, and Peter Griffin’s look at the prospects for agriculture. I’ll have a post about the NZ political response to the report tomorrow.

172 thoughts on “IPCC WG2 impacts report released: fire, floods and rising seas in all our futures”

  1. looks like adaptation is the new black

    “”I think the really big breakthrough in this report is the new idea of thinking about managing climate change as a problem in managing risks,” said Dr Chris Field.

    “Climate change is really important but we have a lot of the tools for dealing effectively with it – we just need to be smart about it.”

    There is far greater emphasis to adapting to the impacts of climate in this new summary. The problem, as ever, is who foots the bill?

    “It is not up to IPCC to define that,” said Dr Jose Morengo, a Brazilian government official who attended the talks.

    “It provides the scientific basis to say this is the bill, somebody has to pay, and with the scientific grounds it is relatively easier now to go to the climate negotiations in the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and start making deals about who will pay for adaptation.””


    1. WEll, we could start with a decent carbon tax, that actively discourages unnecessary fossil fuel use and levels the field for alternatives.
      British Columbia have one that is apparently very popular, see

      The tax has actually become quite popular. “Polls have shown anywhere from 55 to 65 percent support for the tax,” says Stewart Elgie, director of the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment. “And it would be hard to find any tax that the majority of people say they like, but the majority of people say they like this tax.

      It certainly doesn’t hurt that the tax, well, worked. That’s clear on at least three fronts: Major reductions in fuel usage in BC, a corresponding decline in greenhouse gas emissions, and the lack of a negative impact on the BC economy.

    2. Hadn’t noticed this guff. Gawd, talk about a premature frenzy of self-congratulation!

      I mean, ain’t it funny that ‘Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’ should contain an emphasis on ‘Adaptation’.

      Golly, I wonder what WG III’s going to be about?…

      D’oh! That’ll have to count as the admission of failure the Bios of this world are incapable of making…

      1. Too late Bill ;the horse has bolted. What else would you talk about when emissions continue to rise?
        Nice try. Bit of a rearguard action though.
        Failure ? What are you talking about?
        On second thoughts; don’t bother.

  2. Biofarmer, no I dont think anyone is saying we should rely purely on adaptation. We should be looking at reducing emissions as well.

    Your quote by some Brazilian official doesnt really say much of any significance for NZ, and what we do for our own adaptation. This is what we should be discussing.

    1. ” We should be looking at reducing emissions as well.”

      If you took a look at the latest coal import figures for China , Japan , India and South Korea, then you would realise what a forlorn hope that is.

      The map in the link appears to suggest that NZ is one of the countries least affected by climate. However the report is from the BBC , so should be viewed with some caution.

      1. It’s only a forlorn hope if inactivists like you keep saying that it’s a forlorn hope. Right now, you are part of the problem. Time to choose sides – are you with humanity or against it?

        1. Well actually I had not realised that the above mentioned nations were taking any notice of anything that anybody said , let alone that they were listening to me.
          Am I really so influential? No way!

          1. “Am I really so influential? No way!”
            Actually you underestimate yourself. Politicians listen to your masters – the fossil fuel industries – who feed to the likes of you the misinformation you spout. If you stopped listening to the rubbish peddled by them, they would have no audience, and hence not the influence they wield.

      2. Bio, it appears you haven’t been keeping up with reality. Here’s Geoffrey Lean writing in the UK Telegraph (not noted for its enthusiasm to cut emissions):

        Even more improbably, China, which burns about half the world’s coal, is beginning to move away from it, partly to clean up the smogs that kill an estimated quarter of a million of its citizens each year. Scores of planned new coal plants are being scrapped, while in December the national energy administration announced that, for the first time, more renewable energy than fossil-fuel power generation capacity joined the grid in the first 10 months of 2013. Some expect China’s emissions to peak in the next decade.

        Far from doing nothing, the Chinese are doing heaps.

  3. The weather in NZ has already started to change with more west winds than previously and a consequent increase in drought. This trend will increase and I think we should be harvesting water from the west coast and syphoning it to the river heads on the east coast. We will not be short of water it will just be falling in the wrong place.
    I have already posted my views on peak oil and converting our transport to our renewable electricity. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/clean-energy-alternatives.html
    The next bee in my bonnet is likely to be fencing and planting river banks.

    1. Of course the past summer was exactly the opposite. Right now the East Coast of the Nth Island is very green.
      Winds have been predominantly E-SE.
      And of course the Manawatu river arises in the east and flows to the west.

      “The next bee in my bonnet is likely to be fencing and planting river banks.”

      It might pay to check the science first , if you hoping to make a difference.

      1. “Right now the East Coast of the Nth Island is very green.”

        Bullshit – I live on the East coast – the waikato is in drought, and the cyclone we had 2 weeks ago bringing around 60mm of rain to some parts of the plains (many parts got none at all especially inland) is the only rain that we have had in the past 2-3 months. Today is another fine day with no prospect of rain.

        There is a little parch of green around waihi which for some reason gets any rain that is going – but that is hardly the whole of the East.

        1. Macro , are you suggesting that Waikato farmers have yet to learn how to carry feed reserves from the bountiful years to the lean years?
          This practice is as old as the bible.
          Perhaps there is some other factor at work.
          Insufficient cash flow leading to short-term thinking perhaps.

          1. Yes the need to conserve feed for the lean years is as old as the bible, and but even that lesson did not save Babylon in the end. Or have you forgotten that what was once the bread basket of Civilisation is now sand.
            But you seem to have missed the point somewhat. The point is that this is the 5th drought in 10years for some of these farmers – and it looks likely that next year will be even worse. Last year was a severe drought – the worst in recorded history for this area. The past winter was mild and not particularly wet so the land never fully regained its former water capacity. This past summer has also seen persistent westerly winds which have also contributed so that pastures have dried out as much as last year. These farmers are importing palm kernel at astonishing rates.
            We purchase our live milk from a sustainably farmed dairy in the waikato. It is possible, as you say, for good farming practices to manage – but even then they have to dry their cows off early. But the industrial farming practices which predominate our agriculture will not survive in the future.

            1. The point is that those who plan to have a constant supply of milk, and who habitually produce the same daily volume , 365 days of the year, come drought or flood, wonder what all the fuss is about.
              Contingency plans are part and parcel of sustainability.

            2. You obviously have no idea….

              6 years of drought out of 10? (the 6 is including the forecast drought of 2015) the bible forecast 7 followed by 7 – but even then the climate change won out. Humans over worked the resource and we will do so again and again but in the end we will lose. Yes limit production to include lean years. That is only sensible. But what we are experiencing now is simply a foretaste of what is to come.
              Please read the AR5 WG2 report – particularly as it relates to the inability of the Earth to continue with food production at todays levels. Self satisfied smugness will not be enough in the end. And we in NZ need to start thinking now about diversifying our agriculture to deal with a climate that will bring reduced rainfall to many areas.

            3. I was in the Waikato two weeks ago:I know exactly what it’s like. And it has happened before.
              If , as you allege , this is the new normal , then there is no problem. It’ s predictable and can be planned for.
              The plan up until now has been to be unprepared for consecutive droughts.
              Good farmers always have reserves ; either feed , or money in the bank: preferably both. Farming is just not fun when you are continually on the bones of your Rs.
              Diversification at the farm level is common in sustainable agriculture.
              Seasonal dairying has been a disaster waiting to happen for decades now: it won’t be a surprise to anyone outside of the industry.

            4. Bio, you really puzzle us:

              Good farmers always have reserves ; either feed , or money in the bank: preferably both.

              You do not comprehend. Climate change is moving us to an ever shifting new regime. The droughts of this decade are just a foretaste. For how long will the stored feed (if any) and the saved money (what really?) last to throw at a slowly drying and dying farm with longer and dryer summers decade by decade? The Mayan farmers probably too thought, for a few years, perhaps a decade or a few, that they would muddle through when their climate changed (and that was by comparatively small shifts compared to what we have in store for the planet by the end of the century…)

              And importing palm kernels is a crime. We grow milk from the demise of the last great rain forests.

              You seem clueless.

            5. You don’t understand Thomas.
              Grass grows in winter in a Mediteranean climate (that’s why the winter-active ryegrass is popular, but it is useless in hot summer conditions).
              Mixed- species pasture is far more productive , less polluting and more persistent.
              As you know similar conditions have occurred before (e.g. 1935).
              The difference now is mostly stocking rates and mono-cultures ; lower carbon in soil; eradication of summer species like cocksfoot and paspalum ; reliance on nitrogen fertiliser ;low profitability; increased debt; farms are less resilient as a consequence. A perfect storm really , and significantly self-inflicted.

              Buying palm kernel, maize silage , dairy support, nitrogen, etc , is compelling evidence that a farmer has more cows than his farm will naturally feed.

              And then there is the over-drainage of the Hauraki Plains and Waikato and Waihou Valleys (to prevent winter treading damage) which were all just swampy 100 years ago.
              When we moved to the Waikato in 1960 , older farmers in the district (no doubt recalling earlier dry periods) cautioned us not to be in too much of a hurry to get rid of the paspalum ; we never did do so.

              As geoffrey Palmer famously said
              ” NZ is irreducibly pluvial”.
              It hasn’t changed ; farmers have .

              Obvious isn’t it?

            6. You likely don’t know Thomas , but in recent years , dairy farm advisors have been pushing the line that if a dairy farmer can regularly afford to make hay or silage , then he/she doesn’t have enough cows , and is letting the (national exports) side down .
              Ask yourself 🙂

            7. ” Climate change is moving us to an ever shifting new regime. ”

              You mean it will keep changing?


            8. “During summer, regions of Mediterranean climate are dominated by subtropical high pressure cells, with dry sinking air capping a surface marine layer of varying humidity and making rainfall impossible or unlikely except for the occasional thunderstorm, while during winter the polar jet stream and associated periodic storms reach into the lower latitudes of the Mediterranean zones, bringing rain, with snow at higher elevations. As a result, areas with this climate receive almost all of their precipitation during their winter season, and may go anywhere from 4 to 6 months during the summer without having any significant precipitation.”

              Get it?

            9. Of course , it is reasonable to ask , why then do seasonal dairy farmers calve all of their cows in a very short period in late winter/early spring.
              Answer ; to try and get something in the bank before the summer dry sets in.
              Massey University has shown (many years ago) that Autumn calving is better from several perspectives (including the environment).

              The report fell on deaf ears.
              Funny , that!

  4. As Graham Readfearn notes in the Guardian we have been aware of all this for 25 years and 5 reports only now, unsurprisingly, it is more certain than ever. Adaptation, if that is possible with 100 year floods every year, is the only hope and the only solution available after the greedies of this world have obfuscated and delayed any possible action that might have prevented the catastrophe that awaits our children and grandchildren. Our resident useful idiot asks who is to pay for this? Isn’t it obvious? Who else pays for the externalised costs of delinquent industries? The general public through increased taxation and impairment of health as usual.

    1. ” Adaptation, if that is possible with 100 year floods every year, is the only hope”
      I didn’t read that : they were talking about sea levels. You mean storm surges and flood tides perhaps.
      But yes , the die is cast. Adaptation it is .

      1. It is rather easy to see that without mittigation any adaptation will be overwhelmed. Adaptation is what we have to do anyway regardless of any arguments about who pays. Even with mitigation (don’t be depressing!) we will have to go on adapting for hundreds of years.

        Pssst … I’m pulling out of the reincarnation scheme for a long time 🙂

        1. “we will have to go on adapting for hundreds of years.”

          We have been doing it for hundreds of thousands of years now Noel, rather successfully wouldn’t you say?
          But with very obvious costs to the environment in more recent times.When populations were lower it was easier to avoid the most brittle environments where the effects can be very long lasting.
          Do you like Tim Flannery’s book – The Future Eaters ?

          1. I haven’t read ‘The Future Eaters’ but on historical adaptation – there’s a point of interest you’ve raised.

            Now and then I’ve read about the collapse of past civilizations and more recently a roundup making the point that they collapsed because climate change was occuring but people did not know this so repeated the same old with devastating consequences.

            The current change is the first occasion when we have had the science and communications to make us conscious of the change and its nature, giving us opportunity to mitigate and adapt before events rather than after them even though we have barely done so as yet.

            I don’t recall my specific references now but google past civilization collapse and climate change and there are heaps displayed.

            1. Well that’s right Noel , but the collapse of the odd civilisation here and there over time seems to have little or no effect on our ability to proliferate.

            2. Except that on this occasion “civilisation” extends around the globe and the climate is changing globally. Furthermore the resources of the past were essentially conserved. This “civilisation’ has pretty much consumed them. So any future civilisation will have far fewer resources at hand.

            3. They might spend a lot less time on recreation pollution aka tourism. And I guess Formula 1 racing won’t be nearly as popular. Same for stockcars and jet skis.
              Maybe even . . . the horses won’t be riding along in their caravans behind the SUVs.
              Dunno about that last one . . .

            4. Motorsport should not be completely shunned – it has after all improved transportation considerably and the increased efficiency of the modern ICE is almost singlehandly the result of continual improvement and design for motorsport. What could be useful is to move from ICE to other forms of motive power, restricted capacities of “fuels”, etc. All these would firstly alert the general public to the alternative forms, and prove their reliability. The early racers were by todays standards very primitive but the concepts were all there. It just needed refinement. I believe that is the justification for this pursuit. Time will tell.

      2. “But yes , the die is cast. Adaptation it is”…. Says he, who with all his might, tapping way on his keyboard, trying to get as many posts in in a day as possible as if he owned the place, wants to make sure that we all really understand that he who says so under absolutely no circumstances wants anybody to talk sensibly about emissions reductions….
        Bio, are you a member or supporter of the ACT party by any chance? It would explain a lot if the hypothesis was true.

        Anyway, I hope you can explain to the ocean life which depends on carbonate shell building (includes many plankton species and thereby a very significant chunk of the bottom the oceans food chain) that they need to adapt. And then explain to those creatures that depend on the shell builders for food and shelter, the dwellers on Corral reefs amongst them, that they too should adapt, eat something else (Fish and Chips?), and move on to somewhere else… and then….
        You will then also need to tell those communities that run out of water (California and the SW of the US is much affected already) to adapt. Perhaps they can drink something else and irrigate their crops with something other….
        You will also need to tell the Amazon Rainforests and all the species that live in this unique eco system to well, adapt, and quickly so. Perhaps they can move to some other place…
        And so on…
        While you may think that people in comparatively affluent places like NZ can perhaps let go of their sea water inundated coastal property by the end of the century, those people and species that are a bit more directly affected, such as lack of basic necessities for survival, will have a slightly different perspective on the matter.

        But as I said, people with a brick in their head and stead fast conviction that any talk about carbon emissions reduction is politically unacceptable to them should simply step aside from this discussion as in the case of Bio here, their contributions become totally predictable myopic propaganda best fit to, well in NZ, the ACT party stall wards and their fellowship of thunderheads.

        1. ” talk about carbon emissions reduction is politically unacceptable ”
          You made that up Thomas. 🙂 I have never said that.

          I merely pointed out that emissions reduction was not happening at this time . Of course one day it probably will happen.

          And the planet will still be here , with a bit of luck.

          1. Emissions reductions are happening all over the world, in all sorts of ways. See my note about China above. Note that the US actually reduced emissions and is on target to meet its 2020 emissions commitment.

            The simple fact is that adaptation without mitigation is as stupid as mitigation without adaptation.

            1. There are indeed solutions ; it’s all about the money.

              Abstract: Industrial combustion facilities are integrated with greenhouse gas-solidifying fertilizer production reactions so that CO2, CO, NOx, and SOx emissions can be converted prior to emission into carbonate-containing fertilizers, mainly NH4HCO3 and/or (NH2)2CO, plus a small fraction of NH4NO3 and (NH4)2SO4.

              The invention enhances sequestration of CO2 into soil and the earth subsurface;
              reduces NO3 contamination of surface and groundwater;
              and stimulates photosynthetic fixation of CO2 from the atmosphere.

              The method for converting CO2, CO, NOx, and SOx emissions into fertilizers includes the step of collecting these materials from the emissions of industrial combustion facilities such as fossil fuel-powered energy sources and transporting the emissions to a reactor.

              In the reactor, the CO2, CO, N2, SOx, and/or NOx are converted into carbonate-containing fertilizers using H2, CH4, or NH3.

              The carbonate-containing fertilizers are then applied to soil and green plants to:

              (1) sequester inorganic carbon into soil and subsoil earth layers by enhanced carbonation of groundwater and the earth minerals,

              (2) reduce the environmental problem of NO3 runoff by substituting for ammonium nitrate fertilizer, and:

              (3) stimulate photosynthetic fixation of CO2 from the atmosphere by the fertilization effect of the carbonate-containing fertilizers.

              We know how to do it, but it’s cheaper not to at present.

            2. I don’t know the details but I’m reminded of New Zealand Steel processing C02 near Waiuku (South Manukau harbour) ? It was featured in the recent Clean New Zealand TV series. I rather thought that if the oil produced was then burned lthe only gain is to diminish by that volume other oil being burned. I’m glad there is the process you draw attention to. What is it called? Link please?

            3. The US reduced emissions without being a signatory to Kyoto, and much of the reduction in emissions can be attributed to the natural gas revival

        2. “You will then also need to tell those communities that run out of water (California and the SW of the US is much affected already) ”

          Get a grip. Building cities in desert regions has never been a really sustainable option. What a stupid example.

          1. The rise of the snow line and the reduction of water stored in the Sierra Nevada as snow and ice in winter due to AGW has a very significant impact on the states ability to meet water requirements in the future:
            Californian water use was probably sustainable with the climate of the mid 20th century.
            This is a prime example of where AGW’s ugly phase begins to byte hard. It is not a silly example at all.

      3. As has been pointed out many, many times before, adaptation on its own will cost a hell of a lot more than mitigation. The problem is that confusionists like you have been holding politicians back for so long that now mitigation alone will not work either. We have to undertake adaptation as well because of the inertia in the climate system. Had the politicians listened to the scientists instead of you dunderheads 30 years ago, we might have had a chance of dealing with the problem through mitigation alone. Thanks, bio, you’ve cost us all billions. Hope you are happy with that.

        1. Speak for yourself CTG
          Adaptation is common sense in most cases, but if you’re up to your neck in debt , there is probably little that you can do.

          And for people who do adaptation as a matter of course e.g. sustainable farmers , then it’s just business as usual.
          Resilience pays!

    1. Macro, it’s not the microphone he should be tapping to see if it is on. We should be tapping the heads of people like biofarmer to see if their brains are working. Sadly, they are not.

      1. It’s not me who is burning all the coal Ian.
        And I am one of the farmers who takes the CO2 out of the atmosphere.
        I understand how difficult you find it to accept the reality that China , Japan, India and Sth Korea etc. could not care less about what you think, but they will do what they want to do.

        1. If everyone waits until everyone else does it, it will never get done. Alas, I suspect that the collective stupidity of humanity means that is exactly what will happen.

          Bio: does your farm really not use any diesel or petrol? A rarity indeed!

          1. Of course it uses petrol and diesel . . . and CO2 🙂
            Did you have a point about the coal -burning practises of the above nations?

            I think everybody here should immediately send a copy of their most impassioned alarmist selfie to the leaders of these renegade nations.
            That will work!

        2. Interestingly you mention South Korea. I linked this article on another thread, and you obviously didn’t read it. But it is well worth the read and shows just what can happen when decisions are made to rethink our dependence upon fossil fuels – cars trucks and motorways – and get back to a more sensible lifestyle – even in large cities. The most dramatic to me is the example of Seoul. Truly amazing.

            1. Which tells you nothing about total energy consumption.
              The link is an example of how people can change the way they behave now to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and at the same time enhance their environment and total well-being.
              Your re-active comment is entirely negative and belies your so-called persona of caring for the environment.

            2. Fair enough: you didn’t look. The first section is on total energy consumption.
              None so blind . . .

        3. These constant assertions about emissions reductions are invented, I’d say…

          Bio appears to believe he’s a wit. Perhaps, but of a very particular type.

          Form unconstructed carbon knowledge without ingesting truth. As the Maoists might have said… 😉

  5. Biofarmer has as usual saturated the site with about 20 posts of largely sceptical claims about emissions reduction, practicalities of adaptation, and global warming, along with many silly, snarky comments.

    These are amusing, and you need the sceptical position, but the large volumes and superficial sophistry gets tedious. I think most people visiting this site for the first time would think it’s a complete joke.

      1. +1

        I read this blog regularly but the value of comments stream is invariably destroyed by biofarmer.. if s/he were genuinely asking questions or engaging in dialogue it could be helpful.

        For everyone’s sake, BF, put a sock in it. Get off your keyboard and do something useful.

          1. “Farming is a total waste of time right?”

            Don’t be silly. On the other hand we have very little evidence from your posts that you are, in fact, a farmer.

            What do you grow? Can you suggest some outlets in the Auckland region where we can purchase your produce?

            1. Shameless self -promotion . Every supermarket in Auckland stocks the products that I make.

            2. Then you have more to lose than most as the climate changes faster than your land and crops can adapt.

              One would expect a more rational attitude but I suppose you are confident that New Zealand’s taxpayers will foot the bill for the future you inevitably face.

            3. It seems that you are not familiar with sustainable agriculture Gary.
              We are able to respond VERY rapidly to any changes as they occur, but if you have a specific example of something that you think we have not considered then I would be very interested to hear it.
              For the record , we grow no crops , and many of the paddocks have not been re-grassed for over 50 years, so it is not clear what you think might be a problem.

              I expect no taxpayer support ever , because of the high profitability of the farm. Why did you assume otherwise?
              Our approach is entirely rational and science -based.
              What more should we do , in your view?

            4. “What more should we do , in your view?”

              Ideally, stop getting in the way of those who are trying to prevent disaster.

              By adding your voice to the chorus of ‘don’t worry, do nothing, no problems here” you carry some of the responsibility for what lies ahead for our society.

              I doubt either you or I will live to see the worst but I have no doubt you will end your days still self-righteously proclaiming ‘it wasn’t my fault’.

            5. ” ‘don’t worry, do nothing, no problems here”

              I said no such thing, but I suppose you feel the need to blame somebody for your perceived failure.

            6. The failure is not ‘perceived’ it is real and it is not mine, it is yours; morally, ethically and socially.

            7. Thanks Judge, can I go now?
              And you can shove your judgement.
              And if you did not fail, and have achieved your objective, then what are you whining about?

  6. Although mitigation and adaption sounds very clever it is really not a good solution. Planning for one meter of sea level rise means relocating Christchurch CBD and Auckland airport just for a start. We could grow different food, stop dairy and go for arable but at the same time all the trees would be dying. Its cheaper to stop burning fossil fuel but it may already be too late in out life time. Well it is for me anyway..

    1. One metre of sea level rise is the upper end of the range shown in the Tonkin and Taylor report.

      Don’t you think it might be a good idea to wait for a bit before we commit to spending 100s of billions moving an entire city?
      After all, the same report admits there has been no sea level rise at all over the last 10 years

      1. Once again you show you don’t understand risk management. Waiting is not any kind of answer. Managed retreat is, and that’s what should be happening because sea level rise is inevitable, and going to be substantial. Consider the Pliocene: when CO2 peaked at 415ppm…

        …Sea level ranged between five and 40 meters (16 to 131 feet) higher than today…

      2. “After all, the same report admits there has been no sea level rise at all over the last 10 years”… and that means what?
        I tell you what it means that you even mention it this, Andy: it means that despite some education in Mathematics (so you claim), you fail to have any comprehension whatsoever of statistics nor can you read the significant aspects of a graph.


        If you want to know more about the science behind the “wiggly green line” showing the actual Port of Auckland readings of the past, contact NIWA.

        1. The graph that Thomas provides is the same one that is in the T&T report and shows a range of scenarios without a probability distribution function supplied .

          For that reason it isn’t that useful from a policy perspective

            1. I was curtly advised by Thomas that I didn’t understand statistics, then he presented a PowerPoint graph that doesn’t contain any statistics, and implied that the worst case scenario was the one we should use, even though no probability of this scenario is provided.

              I can’t think of any other risk assessment process that would use this methodology

            2. You still need to read more about risk assessment and planning in the face of uncertainty. Hoping – in the face of the evidence – for the best is not best practice.

          1. Oh come on andy! That is just more of your sophistry, and it’s really quite silly! You OBVIOUSLY haven’t read the legend or looked at the blue “triangle” and what does the legend say of the blue area extended out to 2100 on the graph?
            Let me quote it for you, seeing you are incapable of reading it.
            “Range of modelled globally averaged sea-level rise”.
            Now what does that imply? Oh yes! a range of probable out comes.
            However, it does not include the distinct possibility Of Greenland or Antarctic Ice melt. Recent research shows that that is becoming more certain.
            That is the senario to which Thomas is referring and as you can SEE if you were to read the LEGEND it is the “Potential upper range of sea level rise if Greenland and Antarctica contributions were to grow linearly with global average temperature range” Note the use of the words “range” and “linearly”.

            And you wonder why no one takes you seriously?

            1. I was after some numbers. A probability distribution function. What is the relative likelihood of 1 metre vs 20 cm (I, e the boundary values shown in the graph)

              A probability is a number between 1 and 0

              Any takers?

            2. If you had any idea just how stupid a question that was – you wouldn’t be posing it. But as you obviously have so little understanding of the subject I shall not waste my time any longer trying to explain why your question has no meaning. Except to say this: “you are already given the range of possible outcomes” as determined by models (get that last word andy it’s plural).

            3. No I have no idea why this is a stupid question.
              Some local councils are using probabilities to determine SLR policy.

      3. Remember that’s 10 years of some spectacular rainfalls around the world that can take water out of the oceans and distribute them over land where it may take years to return to the sea. The floods in Australia caused a measurable drop in sea level.
        Remember too, that the IPCC and consequently T&T are inherently conservative and more likely to underestimate change to avoid charges of scare-mongering. Of course, when the doggy-doo does hit the ducting, they get accused of not warning us forcefully enough.
        And we have the latest reports revealing that both Greenland and the Antarctic are losing ice faster than previously believed.
        My suspicion is that ChCh will blithely continue following Gerry & the Nat Party’s Grand Plan until the next 100-year depression & storm surge takes out the Brighton Spit and the realisation dawns that maybe the scientists weren’t bullshitting. Probably before they finish rebuilding the Cathedrals or with luck maybe even before they start rebuilding them.

        1. “…..until the next 100-year depression & storm surge takes out the Brighton Spit and the realisation dawns that maybe the scientists weren’t bullshitting.”

          Well they can’t say they weren’t told.

  7. Is Christchurch not about 6m above sea level? That will take many hundreds of years to go under. Bobs comments seem a bit on the pessimistic side. Why would dairy in the South Island in 86 years time be any different from dairying in the North Island now? They may have the same climate by that time. Dito of the NI and Queensland by then. Would some south islanders like to explain why they find our NI climate so scary?

    A lot has been said about the cost of not acting on climate change, the latest IPCC reports seems to suggest it will only be 2% GDP by the time it hits 2 deg warming. That’s less than one years global growth! Or one banking crisis.

    1. The Cathedral steps are 4m above SL, with the Avon high tide mark between the Kilmore and Barbados St bridges. As noted above it won’t need the tide sloshing through the Square to collapse confidence in the rebuild, just 1m taking out the Spit will do it.

      1. Whoops got cut off by the editing time limit.
        The problem envisaged is that the South Is climate won’t be a gentle transfer of Waikato’s, the average temperature might be but we’ll also have to deal with more frequent & prolonged droughts & heatwaves, peppered with torrential rains and floods.

        As for the costs of a 2°C rise, that 2% figure sounds suspect, they’re predicting huge problems with food supplies and wacky weather with large numbers of refugees. Technically we’re getting those already with less than 1°C rise.

    2. Btw John, you repeatedly suggested that nobody is currently affected by climate change…
      The reality however, according to the latest release from the IPCC says:

      “We are now in an era where climate change isn’t some kind of future hypothetical,” said the leading author of the report, Chris Field of Stanford University. “We live in an area where impacts from climate change are already widespread and consequential.”


  8. Well Kiwi, you and all the other hot topic regulars are in the privileged position of knowing about sea level rise. You can now sell you coastal property holdings at a good price and buy inland on a hill. If other people want to continue owning coastal land it’s their loss right? What save people who don’t want to be saved.

    1. Easier said than done, John. It would entail a messy divorce on my part for a start. And where would I go? Inland Canterbury is projected to have hotter, drier weather. Maybe Otago or Southland but in the end, no man is an island, we’re all in the same lifeboat Earth.

      A bit like contemplating living off-the-grid with minimal carbon footprint, but it would be damn hard to live today without some fossil fuel input. Live in a wattle and daub hut, how did you cut the wattles? An axe? Where did that come from? Or the spade you dug the clay to daub? You might be able to make a fired clay pot or flax sandals, but that’s the limit.

      My expectation is that we, or our descendants will achieve it*, but the target is currently reducing our footprint to 12% and that percentage gets lower the longer we put it off. Unfortunately most folk couldn’t even envisage living without cheap energy and will fight it tooth & claw until something scares the bejezzes out of them and by then we’ll be committed to a very different and unfriendly world. Certainly a lot more unfriendly than our ancestors enjoyed and that was no cake-walk. Forget the untapped resources, the unsullied prairies, the endless forests, the bountiful seas, the largely reliable seasons.

      *they’ve got stuff-all choice!!

  9. I think it’s worth taking a clipping from the Monbiot link cited above (slightly paraphrased.)

    When people say we can adapt, what do they envisage? Cities relocated to higher ground? Roads and railways shifted inland? Rivers diverted? Arable land abandoned? Regions depopulated? Have they any clue about what this would cost? Of what the impacts would be for the people breezily being told to live with it?

    My guess is that they don’t envisage anything: they have no idea what they mean when they say adaptation. If they’ve thought about it at all, they probably picture a steady rise in temperatures, followed by a steady rise in impacts, to which we steadily adjust. But that, as we should know from our own recent (flooding in England) experience, is not how it happens. Climate breakdown proceeds in fits and starts, sudden changes of state against which, as we discovered on a small scale in January, preparations cannot easily be made.

    1. It’s rather like this glib rubbish coming from some quarters – i.e. pontificating ‘skeptical’ economists, the people who don’t think ‘when the price of eggs is high enough the roosters begin to lay’ is a joke – that if some crops fail we’ll just substitute others!

      Like, say, what, buckbush for wheat? That’ll happen anyway…

  10. Well we don’t want any climate change induced divorces. I would think if you are a coast dweller in chch simply moving to the west side of town will keep you out of the ocean for many years. Riccerton must be 20 plus m above sea level? No need to leave town. Every Nz town or city I can picture has high ground within its boundaries. All you can do is warn people, there will always be the ones like me that think the risks from sea level rise in our lifetime are minor. I have no plans to sell my bach and you have every right to say ‘told you so’ if it washes away. It will only be the sceptics who loss out.

    As for food supplies, we waste most of it now feeding it to cars and animals. It takes 11 kg of grain to get 1 kg of milk solids. The conversion to meat must be similar. Cutting down on animal products will feed the world several times over. We are extremely inefficient food produces at the moment, because we can afford to be.

    1. According to Google Earth, Riccarton Mall carpark is 8m above SL, where we are in Papanui is 11m. But that is minimal buffer when problems arise. If you wait until CC starts to bite and the first row of houses along the coast topple into the sea, you run the risk of finding that you are trying to sell in a buyers market with no-one interested in anything even remotely close to the coast. It’s all about confidence.

      Personally, I would think long and hard about buying anything below the 100m contour, which in ChCh is out West Melton way. Gareth has the right idea, Ram Paddock Rd is around 160m….well above the worse case high tide level but vulnerable to galloping fuel costs. Sheesh, we can’t win. And we can’t get out of the game….

      1. Land loss is one thing, but it is also possible that the combination of over abstraction of groundwater and sea level rise may mean salt water incursion on our pure clean aquifers. Then there is the rapid and irreversible loss of our glaciers, which feed the Waimak and the main source of our aquifers.

        How will Canterbury adapt? Desalinatisation for drinking water is possible but what will the dairy farmers use to irrigate their paddocks, particularly as droughts become more prevalent? If last years drought cost us billions, imagine what the next el nino drought is going to cost us.

        Sea level rise will mean numerous coast lines with highly productive soils will be lost due to saltwater intrusion, and farmers, if they have a choice will forced to move up into higher terrain with less productive soils, which means reduced food production and greater requirement for fertiliser inputs on marginal soils. They may also not have the luxury of steady supply of water in higher terrain.

        A downward shift on food production from the loss of coastal plains can’t be good thing, and may be worth paying to prevent.

    1. The Tonkin and Taylor report says no sea level rise in Littleton Barbour for 10 years.
      Maybe they are deniers.

      I think CCC must be deniers too, since they are building schools and aquatic centers on the east side.

      Clearly they should not be investing any money in the east, if they believe their own propaganda

      1. AndyS Littleton harbour is not all of nz or the entire planet. Sea level rise has increased over the last ten years globally, but the rate varies quite a lot from place to place due to local geography.

        1. What will be interesting is just what NZ’s SLR will be? Apparently places like Baffin Island, Iceland, Scotland and Norway are expected to have nett sea level falls in the future. Their current sea levels are much higher than they should be because the huge gravitational mass of Greenland’s ice cap pulls water toward it, raising levels all around it. As the ice melts, the mass will decrease and the water will spread out across the globe causing higher than expected rises in tropical regions in particular, but falls in the northern regions.

          The same effect will happen with the gravitational mass of Antarctica which does affect NZ’s sea levels even though we are much further away. Maybe we’ll get lucky and have minimal rises or even slight falls, at least in Southland/Otago.

          Has anyone seen more detailed expert predictions?

      2. It would be political suicide for the CCC to announce that since anything below 100m is threatened, including the entire city, port, airport, etc, the new rebuild will happen at Darfield*. Pity, it was a missed Golden Opportunity.

        * which also happens to be just a whistle and a long spit from the Alpine Fault…..

        1. But Lianne Dalziel wants to adopt the one metre rise as a national policy, so they should abandon their plans to build new schools and sports centres in the East

      3. Andy, take the long view…
        You suffer from the misconception that was long outed by the famous:
        Escalator graph. Again, if you actually had an education in Mathematics that had some effect, you would not even think for one moment to point at an arbitrary 10 year interval in the history of SLR. You would look at multi decadal trends instead.
        Then of cause, if you want to purposefully mislead others into a position of SLR and other climate change denial myths, then your silly instance on taking short term views (when it suits you) make perfect sense.
        BTW the greenish line on the graph is the NZ specific effect of a seasonal, multi annual and multi decadal oscillations of the Pacific.

        1. I will say this again.
          There is no probability distribution function for the sea level estimates

          PDFs are provided for climate sensitivity estimates.

          1. The likelihood of a 1m SLR over the next 100 years is high enough to have become the standard goal post the Ministry for the Environment has set for local governments to factor into their planing.
            Here you have some reading on probabilities of SLR.
            As you will see, the do-nothing-deny-AGW and carry on as usual practice that your history of comments here suggest you would want us to follow, will have a significant impact on the outcome of the prob-dist of SLR.
            You see, your silly question of ‘one probability distribution’ to rule them all is rather simplistic. The outcome depends on many contributing factors, humanities own choices being the most important factor.

            Risk management looks at the likelihood AND the severity of impacts. An event with a 10% probability BUT a severe impact is a risk that we must manage and mitigate for. Don’t you think? If you don’t then why would you put a seat belt on….!

            But according to the experts AND assuming a business as usual emissions path (which unfortunately and thanks to the thunderheads from the right) we must give a significant probability, an SLR of 1m by 2100 is a highly likely outcome, way above 10%. Its impact would be severe.

    2. The comments don’t actually need to be true for the denialist camp. They only need to repeat their disinformation endlessly in order to spread doubt and confusion.

      It delays meaningful action. That is their purpose.

  11. John C, you appear to be saying leave adaptation purely up to decisions by private individuals. The government should play no role in mitigation, land zoning, etc.

    This just all sounds like a one sided libertarian agenda that is anti government and believes markets have all the answers. Well they don’t, especially in environmental matters.

  12. Can anyone say with a straight face they think the sea will rise 10m by 2100? That is alarmist in the extreme (I assume the 100m rise talk was a joke). We will need to average a 11mm rise for the next 86 years to get to 1m! Given it is only 2.4mm now, down from 3.7mm last decade, I’m not sure it will happen. Yeah but the models, the models! you will say. Show us they work.

    1. No model suggests 10 m rise by 2100 so where you get your figure from I am at a loss?
      However john – you and i will not be around to see it – but if our generation and the next persist with BAU then 10 m and more in a few centuries time is a very real possibility

    1. I think Kiwi is referring to the concerns expressed by Jim Renwick and highlighted by Gareth. In case you have missed it is worth repeating.

      Every 10cm of rise triples the risk of a given inundation event, and we are expecting something like a metre of rise this century. That would mean today’s 1-in-100 year event occurs at least annually at many New Zealand coastal locations. New Zealand has a great deal of valuable property and infrastructure close to the coast that will be increasingly at risk as time goes on.

      Essentially this means is that storm surges will regularly inundate coastal properties that at the present time appear “safe” but in reality are vulnerable to 100 year events. We have seen this in England over their recent winter.
      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-26081187. 1m above sea level?, 2m?, 3m?, – just what is safe?

      1. It’s not just a matter of “safe” when we are talking about climate change in NZ, Macro. As I’ve noted above, once homes start disappearing into the sea, thousands, possibly 100’s of thousands of people will discover their properties are seriously devalued as market confidence collapses. When it’s well below the mortgage value there’s a huge temptation to walk away, leaving it to the banks or whoever holds the mortgage. There-in lies serious financial instabilities.

        Meanwhile the financial geniuses in Wellington are opening up huge areas of NZ to marine oil exploration, as investors around the world are getting the message that 75% of reserves have to stay in the ground. They must be planning on huge prices for the oil that is brought up to cover the colossal exploration and development costs.

        Or not….

      2. Yes, quite right. If you look at this:

        This is the Tomkin Taylor graph. I put a line over it that shows the “public perception” at work…. It is interesting to note that we had significant swings from time to time well above the general trend, when there was a significant positive interference between ENSO, IPO and Seasonal oscillations in the Pacific with high spikes in the 50ies and 60ies. We are sort of ‘due’ for one as it would seem. In the meanwhile, the “public perception” of SLR misses the point entirely.
        It will be interesting to see what happens if we have a strong storm surge in a year with a positive oscillation peak. Could happen any year now. SLR, like other aspects of AGW will hit us in fits and starts. The Deniers will forever point at those as “natural events” and at the time between as “pauses”. None seem to ever get the climate escalator graph or deny the simple message it conveys.

        1. The “deniers” point to the empirical fact that sea level is doing nothing particularly unusual at all.

          The high end values are all projections based on models and some assumptions about paleo-climate that may not be valid (the RSNZ paper on SLR even states that the assumptions may not be valid)

          1. If you don’t like being called a denier, then stop denying things. SLR is ongoing, and is only going to increase. Saying that sea level is “doing nothing particularly unusual” is denying the fact that sea level is rising. If you deny the facts, you are a denier.

            1. I am not drying that sea levels have risen a few cm over the last decades. The rise seems to correlate with the two main periods of warming during the 20th century, which is what we would expect from thermal expansion.

              In order to reach the one metre plus projections, SLR would have to accelerate to an order of magnitude higher.

            2. If you cannot see the illogicality of your assertion, then we must wish you luck I suppose.
              That is quite a handicap you are displaying there.

          2. AndyS says “the “deniers” point to the empirical fact that sea level is doing nothing particularly unusual at all.”

            Sea levels have been rising since 1900 with some acceleration since about 1970 according to the jason topex satellite data. I would have thought that is unusual and at least significant. There is no natural process that accounts for this. It is also consistent with very early climate model predictions.


            1. The sea level rise correlates with the warming periods during the 20th. C (whether anthropogenic or not)

              Judith Curry pointed out this week on Radio Scotland that the IPCC only try to explain the warming since 1976, and that it has been warming for a couple of hundred years, although that is a side issue

              Somehow, the SLR will have to accelerate rapidly due to ice loss or rapid warming, neither of which is occurring yet.

              Maybe it never will, as the RSNZ paper on SLR admits that the assumptions may not be correct.

              I am not convinced that there is an acceleration of SLR. [snipped. GR]

            2. AndyS, you say you are not convinced there is an acceleration in sea level rise.

              I showed you the graph, the official record, which has a curve fitted. This by definition shows acceleration.

              However let’s just assume the existing trend is linear, even that locks in about 300mm sea level rise this century. Assuming the actual existing acceleration is in fact valid, you have easily got 500mm locked in. If there is even a slight increase in this rate of acceleration you easily have 1 – 2 metres.

              I’m a pretty sceptical person myself, but I dont belong to the flat earth society. There comes a point where evidence is rather strong and obvious.

            3. Nigel, if you think 1 metre sea level rise is obvious, why does the same graph show a 20cm rise as a lower bound for the same period?

              My explanation for the “acceleration” was unfortunately snipped, by the way

            4. But why would you assume that any trend associated with climate is linear?
              All the evidence points to its being non-linear.

            5. Sorry, I’m getting confused by this parallel universe you people inhabit. You are now saying that non-linear SLR is nothing to be worried about? Seriously? So it’s not enough that sea level are rising at the end of an interglacial when they should be falling, now you are saying that the normal state of affairs is for the *rate* of SLR to be accelerating? WTF? I mean really, WTF? What planet are you people inhabiting? It certainly is not this one.

            1. Sorry, I’m getting confused by this parallel universe you people inhabit.

              Well they’re called deniers for a reason you know.

            2. CTG
              I protest! It’s not parallel, it’s skew – a skewniverse

              ” ‘to those who look with crooked eyes, truth has a wry face.'”

            3. That’s a very true quote! I’ve often wanted to find a way to convey the wilful, selective, bigoted, blinkered hyper’scepticism’ that characterizes Denial.

            4. Go to ‘The Daily Caller’ and post a comment about climate change and see what happens. Its quite enlightening to see the American mind at work.

          3. Andy, you have absolutely NO education in Mathematics or statistics obviously. If you cannot even read and comprehend a graph like the one shown to you and the message it conveys then you are truly lost in Gaga land.
            You are the very subject of the “public perception” trap that I pointed out in the graph. You can not see the trend for the data like a dufus can’t see the forest for all the trees that obscure the view…

            1. Obviously my education has been wasted because I can’t understand your powerpoint graph.

              Maybe you can explain to me sometime how you can infer that a one metre SLR is likely just by looking at the graph

            2. I still cannot see the statistics in the graph that you refer to.

              Calling me a “dufus” because I cannot see something that is not shown is not really fair

    2. What I find fascinating is the likelihood that the spot where his house is will eventually be around 13 metres under the sea surface.

      That will probably take two thousand years to occur, but quite remarkable when you think about it. And all because we burnt fossil fuels.

      1. 1.2 metres of sea level rise per century seems to be the norm when we look at the last few hundred thousand years. Rates were much higher with the disintegration of the vast Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, but that’s probably the exception.

        And you are right Macro, small rises in sea level translate into massive increases in the risk of flooding. Something not appreciated well enough yet, but that will change.

        1. Hi Rob -That is something I and Thomas are working on with the current draft Thames Coromandel DC Plan. Much of our infrastructure is very vulnerable to SLR. Thames township in particular, and the access north. We don’t get the massive waves of ocean beaches here in the Firth, but nevertheless many times on a High Tide even now they can inundate causing severe damage to the roadway. Getting councillors to get their head around the need to plan ahead and build into the plan adequate risk management for the next few decades at least is a major task.

    1. Thanks Bill for drawing everyone’s attention to my corrections of Thomas’ misconceptions about agriculture and NZ climate.
      There were several.

  13. But why would you assume that any trend associated with climate is linear?
    All the evidence points to its being non-linear.

    True indeed. Some of the graphs, if not exponential, show steadily increasing rates of increase. Others are very noisy over shorter terms but never-the-less show increasing trends.
    About the only exception I can think of is increasing sea ice in Antarctica and even that is partially caused by increasing volumes of fresh water draining off the continent.
    Can you cite ANY graphs pertaining to climate change that are flat-lining?

    1. I’ll help you. Surely you noticed the pretty examples of cherry picking and misrepresentation in that article?

      Our no-effect placebo NZ ETS is “the world’s most comprehensive ETS” I’m amazed but I have long maintained ETS schemes have proved rather useless in achieving emissions reduction.

      “The IPCC reports our region’s efforts to enhance adaptive capacity and adaptation processes have increased over the past five years, particularly in Australia.” Hmm, I’ve noticed it decreasing in NZ but I grant it increased in Australia. Pity the Abbot reversing Government came in after the cutoff date for the report.

      I am particularly thrilled that NZ carbon emissions have fallen from 0.19% of the global total in 2005 to an estimated 0.14% today.” yet our emissions have increased 30% since 1990 and are set to increase further I’ve read. It just shows how the world’s emissions keep rising if ours proportion has dropped since 2005. China I’ve read is getting serious about climate change as the populace gets more concerned so lots of coal fired power station projects have been canned.

      Jamie Whyte gets kudos and we are warned that the Greens will insist further ETS self-flagellation by New Zealand is essential to save the planet. I guess I will take the NBR off my list of objective NZ media but wait, it’s not on the list anyway! I have noted that Sweden is doing rather well with a US$150 per tonne carbon tax and the British Columbians too with their own version.

      1. That’s a good start Noel. Comments are open at NBR. I see that Bob Bingham has a go there every so often.
        I wonder though , if it is not China that is ramping up emissions (and it’s not the US) , to cause NZ to drop to 0.14% of the global total today, then who is it?
        It must be nearly everyone else.
        I think that the “save the planet” comment is tongue-in-cheek, don’t you? The NZ Herald is suggesting the extinction of humanity is possible, but then , that is always true.


        I think this is alarmist horseshit.

  14. On NZ adaptation efforts – not from government, perhaps the Tonkin and Taylor report? What else has escaped me? – Macro and Thomas at work in the Thames are perhaps? Wait , I get it! I’ve put a number of solar energy devices on my roof.

    1. I do like the bit that says adaptation should be region and context specific i.e. local.
      Give the people the information and let them decide what is appropriate.

      1. That’s mitigation – adaptation is growing paspalum and what do you do if the stop banks fail – I liked your paspalum argument; a woman who visited described my lawn as good stock feed and I’m trying to encourage paspalum – it’s always green. I do draw the line at plantains though. New paspalum is going wherever the plantain scars need healing.

  15. Biofarmer is just putting a libertarian view through his various posts, where he is implying government should stay right out of the climate issue, and leave it all up to individuals. The problem is this doesn’t work.

    Free markets have a terrible history of dealing with the big environmental problems. Read some history of air or water pollution issues the market has never resolved these, it has always required government legislation in the end. Climate change is no different.

    1. That is a very confused jumble you have produced there.
      It is the IPCC who has stated that adaptation should be at the local level, and they are right about that.
      Air and water and any other form of pollution are rightly in the purview of governments, who ought to protect the commons, as well as private property rights, and all manner of law already exists to deal with what is essentially nuisance , in the legal sense.

      What has the notion of ideal free markets got to do with it?
      Unicorns are more common.

      1. Biofarmer there is nothing confused about my post.

        What is confusing is your position on climate change as it constantly shifts and is rarely clearly stated. This is one reason why you get criticised over climate change. (You make more of a decent case over the water purity issue)

        Since you seem to believe in government legislation on environmental matters, what is your real objection to the emissions trading scheme, or governments legislating to require land zoning around building near the coast etc?

        It seems your only real objection is “its all too hard” so lets do nothing. You spend pages stating this in a complex way but it’s not a very good argument.

        1. “, what is your real objection to the emissions trading scheme, or governments legislating to require land zoning around building near the coast etc?”

          I have expressed no opinion on either of those .

          1. Biofarmer actually you have expressed an opinion on the ets, right near the top of the page, although you hedge your bets and keep it suitably generalised.

      2. Bio said (finally, about time really…):
        Air and water and any other form of pollution are rightly in the purview of governments, who ought to protect the commons, as well as private property rights, and all manner of law already exists to deal with what is essentially nuisance , in the legal sense.
        Indeed Bio. The ‘free market’ is helpless in organizing responses to matters that threaten the commons, such as AGW and its consequences, especially, as the ‘free market’ would want to burn every once of producible carbon based fuels that they could sell.
        It is therefore the task of the governments, and in case of AGW of the community of world governments, to come up with a scheme that sets bounds to the ‘free market’, internalizes the real cost of pollution including and in particular in our case here on this website: CO2 emissions, so that the ‘free market’ put into sensible bounds will be guided to be part of the solution. Henceforth I declare that Bio finally has come in from the dark side and will support emissions reduction schemes to protect the commons…. 😉

        1. “Air and water and any other form of pollution are rightly in the purview of governments, who ought to protect the commons, as well as private property rights, and all manner of law already exists to deal with what is essentially nuisance , in the legal sense.”

          It seems to have escaped you Thomas that this is exactly what I
          said from my very first posts here.

          I actually said it in discussion of the RMA , and the conspicuous failure of that act to control pollution of the commons.

          But I find talk of “free” markets somewhat academic , because in my experience such things exist only in theory.

          I think the current system is best described as crony capitalism, which of course is , by definition a rigged market. In no sense is it free.

          What we have in reality is simply a form of elitism, and this phenomenon seems to almost universally transcend all political persuasions; left/right, collectivist/individual; you name it.

  16. When checking for sea level rise in various locations I use Firetree http://flood.firetree.net/ and set it to one meter. NZ does quite well with just one spot the landward side of the Christchurch CBD and a spot in the middle of Auckland airport runway. The big disaster is the UK around Peterborough and of course Holland. There would be no point in asking for help with our flooding problems when the UK has just lost 10% of its farmland and Holland has just gone under..

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